Category Archives: SEM & SEO

4 SEM tactics that produce fast results

Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches daily. That breaks down to 40,000 searches per second or 1.2 trillion queries per year.

What might be more astonishing than these figures is that capturing a fraction of this traffic with various search marketing practices is incredibly challenging; with this many searches taking place every day, you’d think there would be enough to go around.

The key to effectively driving users to your business’ webpage lies in deploying effective SEO and SEM techniques that will help your business outrank competitors on Google and other search engines.

While most are still under the impression that SEM encompasses SEO, over the past several years, the term has evolved, now strictly revolving around boosting visibility in the SERPs via paid advertising techniques.

One of the key differences between SEO and SEM is that the optimization route is a slow-going but powerful process, whereas SEM is more capable of providing quick bursts of business.

If your brand needs some fast-moving SEM strategies, look no further.

Here are four SEM tactics that drive quick results.

1. Adopt AMP

In the era of 4G Internet, no mobile user on Earth wants to sit around and wait for a website to load. In fact, 40 percent of mobile surfers will wait no more than three seconds for a website to load; after that, they are on to another site; probably one of your competitors. Moreover, a two second delay can impact bounce rates by a whopping 103 percent.

This is significant information when you take into account that more than 50 percent of all searches take place on mobile devices.

What makes these revelations even more frightening is that the average U.S. retail website takes almost a full five seconds to load.

When we put this information in the context of paid search advertising, the scene can be pretty disheartening. You’re spending your business’ money, hoping for a return on your investment, but slow load times send users fleeing from your landing page without converting.

This means that solving your load speed problem is vital; and Google has just the solution: Accelerated Mobile Pages.

By leveraging AMP for your ad’s landing pages, brands can provide users with a faster (and therefore better) experience; Wired did this very thing and saw a 25 percent CTR increase.

Additionally, the lower a brand’s bounce rate, the more benefit it adds to its organic placement in the SERPs.

Accelerated Mobile Pages are a powerful means to driving fast results.

2. Leverage Call Extensions

Extensions are powerful AdWords addons that enable brands to include more information in their adverts without taking away space from their limited character counts.

Speaking directly to call extensions (see what I did there?), these expansions make it possible for mobile search users to contact a brand directly through the advert by placing a company’s phone number in the headline or having a call button next to the ad.

This effectively eliminates a step in the conversion process and helps brands to see more immediate results from their ad campaigns.

Additionally, if you are promoting an application, you can accomplish a similar goal by having users download the offering directly from the SERPs.

3. Ensure Proper Relevance and Intent

A great way to aggravate potential customers (not to mention Google) is to send search users to a landing page that seemingly has little to do with your advert’s promises.

This happens quite often which, in turn, sends prospects in search of more suitable info, and lowers your ad’s quality score.

The key to avoiding this type of blunder is to ensure that the keywords your campaign is targeting matches the assurance made in your ad copy.

For instance, if you are targeting users searching for “great deals on Converse shoes,” don’t send them to an article about Converse; send them to a sales page featuring this type of footwear.

If you want to drive fast results, the keywords you bid on need to clearly display intent to purchase, download, or drive whatever goal you are aiming to achieve.

That means that if you are selling Converse shoes, you don’t want to target keywords like “shoes” or “Converse,” but terms like “discount Converse shoes,” “Converse shoes for sale,” and similar phrases.

4. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Here’s the thing: The word “free” is a total eye-catcher.

Previous studies have shown that terms like “free” and “discount” are able to drive higher click-through rates than ads that don’t feature such words. If you want to drive clicks fast, this is the way to do it.

It’s also important to keep in mind that “free” doesn’t need to be expensive. This could be a “buy one get one free offer” on certain items, a free consultation, a free eBook download, or similar offering.

If giving away something for free isn’t your style, you may want to consider highlighting any deals or discounts you are running, instead of merely displaying the price of an item.

When running a Product ad, displaying prices only reminds the customer that they will be spending their money. Discounts, however, show potential buyers that they can get a great deal; if they act quickly.

The prospect of saving money is something that many consumers can’t pass up. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website and receive a quick influx of sales.

Search engine marketing may be difficult, but it surely isn’t impossible. The key to attaining results in an expedient manner is simply understanding user pain points and desires and incorporating those elements into your campaign.

Using these tips, you should be able to target users who are looking to act now, drive them to quick-loading landing pages using compelling offers, or even get them to convert directly from the SERPs.

Results don’t get any faster than that.

Which of these tips are your favorite? Do you think that SEM is better for your business than SEO?

Meta Tags in 2018: Why they are important in SEO

If you are interested in knowing more about SEO, there is no better way to start than with Meta tags. According to Wordstream: Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content; the meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s code.

In short, Meta tags are key components for all search engines that appear in the HTML code of a website page and tell search engines what your page is about.

Meta tags are added in the <head> section of an HTML web page and they are the “Legally” Hide Words on Your Pages for Search Engines.

Every platform has a different solution for adding Meta tags. WordPress, for example, has FREE plugins  to choose from. I personally recommend All in One SEO Packand Yoast SEO. Both are popular and the most used WordPress plugins of all time and you can choose either according to your needs.

Do Meta Tags matter for SEO in 2018?

Yes, they do, but not all  Meta tags can help you in 2018. In my experience, if you want to rank high in Google in 2018, then you also need to focus on high-quality content and user satisfaction. The main goal of this post is to explain which Meta tags are useful and which are unimportant. (See below: There are a few tags which we can call bad Meta tags and should simply be ignored).

“Meta Tags can affect the way that users see your site in the search results and whether or not they actually click through to your site.” John Mueller 2017

How to check meta tags on a site?

If you want to check the Meta tags for any page, just right-click anywhere on the page and select “View Page Source.” You can also use tools like SEMRush (specifically the SEMRush Audit Tool), and Screaming Frog to check the Meta tags on any site.

The Most Important Meta Tags For SEO in 2018

For any startup business or running website, I personally focus on the 8 major Meta tags which can improve the optimization of your site.

 I am sharing my opinions about them all below:

  1. Title tag
  2. Meta description
  3. Canonical Tag
  4. Alternative text (Alt) Tag
  5. Robots meta tag
  6. Social Media Meta Tags (Open Graph and Twitter Cards)
  7. Header tags  
  8. Responsive Design Meta Tag

Title tag

A title tag is the very first HTML element that specifies your web page for search engines and to visitors. The Title element is supported all browsers including Chrome, Firefox Safari etc. 

Add your title tag in the <head> section of your site.


<title>This is a Title Sample</title>


Optimal length for the Title tag: Google typically shows 55-64 characters (Keep it under 60 characters) in the Title tag.

Title tags are important for SEO and visitors and it shows up in the SERPs and in Browser Tabs.

Browser Tab Title Tag shown below for SEMrush post:

E.g. SERP Title Tag shown below:

According to MOZ: Title tags are the second most important on-page factor for SEO, after content

You cannot add more than one <title> element in your web page. w3schools

Key Points for writing a good title tag: 

  • Add “modifiers” to your title tag –
    How to |The current year | Review |Best | Tips | Top |Find | Buy | Easy
  • Embed Long Tail Keywords In Title Tags
  • Add numbers to your title –
    9 Important HTML tags for your website to improve your SEO
  • Start your title tag with your main targeted keyword
  • Don’t stuff your keywords
  • Every page should have a unique title tag.

Meta description 

A Meta Description is an HTML element that summarizes your webpage. Search engines typically show the Meta description in search results below your Title tag. 

Code sample


  <meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description Sample. You can add up to 300 characters.”>


Google does not use the Meta description as a ranking signal but it still it has a massive effect on your page CTR, or clickthrough rate because it shows up in search results.

Optimal length for the Description tag: in December 2017, Google officially increases length of snippets in search results. Your Meta descriptions should be between 50–300 characters.

Google generated Description in Search Result

Key Points to writing a good Description tag:

  • Don’t overly focus on the number of characters because Google might pull description text from your content based on a user’s query.
  • Do not add duplicate Meta Descriptions
  • Add a clear Call-to-action (CTA) in your descriptions like Apply today, Check out, Contact us today etc. Check out  100 Call to Action Keywords for Marketing Campaigns.
  • Add targeted keywords in your descriptions
  • Strategically provide a solution to a problem 
  • Write for your users and encourage them to click with specific and relevant content 
  • Add any discounts or offers you have going on
  • Show empathy while writing your Meta Descriptions


Canonical Tag

The Canonical tag is an HTML link tag with the attribute “rel=canonical” and is used if you have a single page URL that has the same content as other multiple page URLS.

By implementing the Canonical tag in the code, we are telling search engines that this URL is the main page and to avoid indexing other duplicate page URLS.

A canonical tag Syntax:

<link rel="canonical" href="" />

Where should the canonical tag be used?

Multiple URLs:

To a search engine crawler the above URLs are considered to be 4 copies of the Home page. The canonical tag was created to fix this problem.

Session ID URLs

These are the automatic system generated URLS and commonly generated due to the tracking URLs, breadcrumb links and permalinks in CMS 

Mobile URL – when using a special URL (m. for the mobile version of your website. 

SEMrush itself has 2 versions – one is a mobile version and the other a desktop version.
For the mobile and desktop versions SEMrush  is using the following canonical tag
<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

Alternative text (Alt) Tag  

Alt text is important for any images because search engines cannot read images, and you need to add proper Alt text to the images so that search engines can consider your images.

Syntax for Alt Text:

<img src=”” alt=”xyz” />

In addition, the key points to consider while creating alt-tags for images:

  • Always use a proper description; never stuff your keywords in this tag.
  • All images should have informative filenames.
  • Alt text needs to be short, clear and to the point.
  • Always use the Original, Right type of image, as this is an essential step towards success.
  • Create an image sitemap
  • Use 50-55 characters (upto 16 words) in the alt text
  • Use an Optimal File Size without losing its quality for faster page loading speed

“Adding an alt tag is very easy to do and you should pretty much do it on all of your images. It helps your accessibility and it can help us understand what’s going on in your image.” Source

Robots Meta tag

The Robots Meta tag is an HTML tag that provides instructions to web crawlers either to index or not index web pages.

Meta robots tags have four main values for search engine crawlers:

FOLLOW –The search engine crawler will follow all the links in that webpage

INDEX –The search engine crawler will index the whole webpage

NOFOLLOW – The search engine crawler will NOT follow the page or any links on that webpage

NOINDEX – The search engine crawler will NOT index that webpage


<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>  Means not to index or not to follow this webpage.

<meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow”> Means index and follow this webpage.

Note: The robots Meta tag should be placed in the <head> section of your webpage.

Social Media Meta Tags (Open Graph and Twitter Cards)

Open Graph Tags:
Open Graph Meta tags are designed to promote integration between Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and your website URLS that you shared on these platforms. 

Here is a sample of how Open Graph tags look like in standard HTML:

<meta property="og:type" content="article" /> 

<meta property=”og:title” content=”TITLE OF YOUR POST OR PAGE” />

<meta property=”og:description” content=”DESCRIPTION OF PAGE CONTENT” />

<meta property=”og:image” content=”LINK TO THE IMAGE FILE” />

<meta property=”og:url” content=”PERMALINK” />

<meta property="og:site_name" content="SITE NAME" />

Twitter Cards: 

Twitter cards work in a similar way to Open Graph except you add these special Meta tags only for Twitter. Twitter will use these tags to enhance the display of your page when shared on their platform. 

Here is a sample of How Twitter card look like in standard HTML:

<meta name="twitter:title" content="TITLE OF POST OR PAGE">

<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”DESCRIPTION OF PAGE CONTENT”>

<meta name=”twitter:image” content=”LINK TO IMAGE”>

<meta name=”twitter:site” content=”@USERNAME”>

<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@USERNAME">

Both these Social Media Meta Tags look like:

Head over to this post if you want to know everything about these tags

Header tags

Header tags are used for headings creation i.e. by using these we can apply font changes.

The heading elements are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 with H1 being the highest (or most important) level and H6 the least.

Here is an example of how we can use header tags taken from 

<h1> 9 Tips for Boosting the Speed of your Shopify Website </h1>

<p>Paragraph of content</p>

<p>another paragraph of content</p>

<h2>Performance Analysis</h2> 

<p>Paragraph of content</p>

<h3>Analyzes the Mobile and Desktop Performance with PageSpeed Insights</h3> 

Important Point to consider: Use as Many H1 Tags as You Want source

Responsive Design Meta Tag

The final important Meta tag is the responsive design Meta tag, which we call “Viewport Meta Element”. By using the viewport meta tag you can turn your web pages into responsive web pages on mobile browsers.

This viewport element is included in the head section of your web page.


<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1">

If you want to learn more about responsive design Meta tags, head over to this nicely written post here

Note: Do not use this responsive Meta tag if your website pages are not designed to be responsive, as it will make the user experience worse.

There are few tags that we can call bad Meta tags and should simply be ignored:

  • Keywords tag- Google does not use the keywords Meta tag in web ranking Source
  • Revisit after – This HTML tag is a command to the robots to return to a page after a specific period. This tag is not followed by any major search engine and has no value in SEO. It isbetter to avoid this tag and leave it to the search engines to decide how to crawl your website. Syntax: <meta name=”revisit-after” content=”7 days” />
  • Expiration/date – This tag defines the expiration date of your page. Personally I would not recommend this. Just remove it.  Syntax: <meta http-equiv=”Expires” content=”Fri, 28 April 2018 23:59:59 GMT”>
  • Site verification- Just Ignore this. You can verify your site using Google search console and the Bing webmaster tool.
  • Copyright- Every site puts the copyright in their web page footer so why would you need a separate tag. A big No for this tag.
  • Distribution – The “distribution” value is supposedly used to control who can access the document, typically set to “global.” It’s inherently implied that if the page is open (not password-protected, like on an intranet) that it’s meant for the world. Go with it, and leave the tag off the page. Source
  • Generator – useless tag.
  • Cache control –This Tag allows web publishers to define how often a page is cached. Generally, these are not required; we can simply use the HTTP header instead of this HTML tag.
  • The ODP Robots Meta Tag – Google no longer follows this Meta tag. 

Google Stops Support for NOODP Robots Directive & Taking DMOZ Description –Source

  • Geo Meta Tags- Google does not use Geo Meta Tags to Rank Pages.

We don’t use geo meta tags at all for search, probably never have. Use hreflang + normal geotargeting – Source

So, these are the few HTML tags which we should consider or simply ignore. Now you can easily use the relevant HTML Meta tags intelligently. Don’t forget to comment below and share your views on HTML Tags. Thanks for reading.

How to choose keywords that really matter

Unlike PPC ads, organic traffic is the gift that keeps on giving. When you diminish your PPC budget, your traffic goes away. When it comes to SEO and content marketing, though, things are much better.

Sure, a website that’s updated infrequently won’t get you too far. But once you’ve gained a solid domain authority and created an editorial calendar that you stick to, the traffic is yours to have and to hold.

Evergreen content has, of course, the biggest ROI in terms of traffic, says this study. It turn out that only one-third of all the views a good blog post will get are generated in the first day (the publish date). The rest of them will come gradually, even over the course of more than one year.

So yes, we can get traffic with content marketing and SEO. But the most important question is not “how much traffic can we get?” It’s “what does this traffic bring us?”

If you’ve read my previous posts here, on Site Pro News, you already know that I advocate against vanity metrics. Who cares about having millions of page views if none of those visitors converts into a client?

For my agency, as well as for every client we work with on copywriting or strategy, we ignore such metrics and focus on what matters: revenue.

And, in SEO, there is no revenue without proper keyword research.

Let me explain:

One of the examples I’m most fond of is that of a client who contacted me after reading one of my articles here. The client needed SEO copywriting for a local business in a small town and wanted to optimize both content and blog posts for generic keywords (like ‘wedding dresses,’ for instance).

We quickly realized the client had little chance of competing with the big names in the industry (which is, obviously, not related to wedding dresses). So we proposed a locally-oriented strategy instead. We were to optimize for keywords like “ivory wedding dress Tampa,” “wedding dress boutique Tampa,” “custom-made wedding dresses Tampa” and so on.

The results appeared in a few short months. And by results I mean revenue, not just traffic.

Here are a few key lessons we can learn from this example:

User intent should be at the core of your keyword research

Before writing even a single word, you need to know to whom your copy should appeal. What type of customers are your targeting and in which phase of their buying cycle do you want to target them?

For instance, optimizing your content for ‘wedding dresses’ targets clients who still don’t know what they want. They might not even have a date set. But who doesn’t like looking at pretty dresses?

This strategy is excellent if you’re a big company in your field and you want to boost your brand awareness. If you already have enough sales and don’t need customers right now, then by all means, optimize for generic keywords.

On the other hand, a query like “ivory wedding dress Tampa” shows that the customers know what they want. They are very close to making a purchase; they are past the window shopping phase.

This type of keyword strategy is ideal if you want clients faster. You appeal to people that you no longer have to educate – they are savvy shoppers. All you have to do is convince them to choose you over your competitors.

Of course, highly targeted keywords won’t bring you as much traffic as generic ones. But they will bring you the right type of traffic.

This is why I always advise our clients to forget about search volume when choosing keywords. Our SEO writers are trained to look for business opportunities whenever they do keyword research for our clients. Fifty queries per month that you can easily direct to your website and convert into customers or (at least) leads are better than 1,000 queries that have no tangible ROI.

Know your competitors

Before you start writing copy for a certain keyword, you should consider more than the Yoast green light. Yes, your WordPress plugin may say your on-page SEO is done correctly, but this doesn’t really matter if you’re up against Internet giants.

At my agency, we rely heavily on tools like BuzzSumo and Moz Explorer to find out what it takes to rank for certain keywords. Your research can start on BuzzSumo to find out which pages rank highest for the keywords you have in mind. Repeat the search in Moz Explorer to double-check your findings. Moz Explorer will also tell you how hard it is to rank for any given keyword.

However, please note that the ranking difficulty is a generic metric. It’s not specific to your website.

This is where another Moz tool comes into place – the Open Site Explorer. Type your website address to check your domain and page authority. Then do the same for the websites you want to outrank.

Do they have higher authority than you?

Then you will have to work harder to outrank them. This means more content, long form blog posts, impeccable technical SEO and a lot of content promotion.

The best part about this is, once again, that it is an investment that will keep on giving. The more long form, well-optimized content you add, the better your page and domain authority will get in time. And, consequently, you will rank higher in SERPs.

Make revenue-oriented calculations

Login to your Google Search Console, navigate to ‘Search Analytics’ (you’ll find it under ‘Search Traffic’) and select the 90 days time frame. Filter your branded results. If your company name is ‘Executive Puppies,’ filter all those that contain it.

Next, export your search terms. You will have a complete overview of the terms you rank for, your CTR and your ranking for each of them.

And now, for the hard part: take a look at those who could rank better. How much effort would it be involved in adding more content to certain articles or pages to help them rank higher?

Most importantly, what ROI will this effort have? Sure, you’ll get more clicks, but will you actually get sales if you rank higher for certain terms?

Make sure to not spread yourself too thin and only invest in those terms that are congruent with the user intent you need, the one that supports your business goals i.e. boost brand awareness or generate sales or leads.


No one doubts that content marketing and SEO yield results. But we should always avoid falling for vanity metrics. Organic traffic is great, but it should be your end goal only if your blog runs AdSense (and you get paid for views, not clicks).

Otherwise, keep in mind that your SEO and content marketing strategies should always be designed to support your business goals. Always go back to your buyer persona template and ask yourself how can you match the type of query they would enter in the search bar.

The future of search

SEO is one of the most fast-paced industries out there; constantly kept on our toes, it’s one of the reasons we love it so much. But thinking about what the future holds for the industry can be both exciting and a little frightening. Will artificial intelligence (AI) ultimately make search better or worse? Is the future SERPless? And what are the ramifications for SEOs? Plenty of questions and speculation abound.

In this article, we take a look at just a few of the key themes that come up when considering the future of search.

Artificial intelligence

Right now, AI seems to be all people can talk about, and it’s not going anywhere. In fact, it’s anticipated that AI will have a significant impact on all things marketing.


We have already been experiencing the effects of AI in search for some time, since Google released its RankBrain algorithm. In short, the aim of RankBrain is to help search engines acknowledge the context of the query, better understanding what the user actually wants and not just processing each individual word of the query. This is particularly important given the rise of voice search, which uses more natural language.

Data dreaming

AI is inherently linked with big data; it’s the data that enables AI to function and for machine learning to transform the way we search. Humans are only capable of processing a limited amount of data, which is where AI comes in –to do things that humans can’t, or are inherently bad at doing. This is where AI in search is heading, gradually replacing and improving on tasks that humans cannot complete (or at least complete to a high quality). We are looking to use the significant processing power of binary to our advantage.

We’ve already seen bots attempting to write content, and it was good enough to make it past the first round of screening for a national literary prize in Japan. While it’s not as good as something an experienced copywriter or journalist could manage, it’s just the beginning. In a few more years, bot-written content will probably be a very viable option for businesses looking to create content as part of an SEO campaign.

Bridging the human gap

AI will make the SEO process smoother, quicker and more automated, leaving humans to add the creative icing on the cake. We can try to give bots as much sentiment and emotional intelligence as possible but at the end of the day, they’re simply not human.

We’ve already seen some of the issues with the new algorithms. Take, for example, the proliferation of fake news across the web in recent times –  as smart as these algorithms are, bots still can’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. That takes careful human judgement. As long as this is still the case, humans will remain an essential part of any marketing or SEO campaign.

What AI means for SEO

Whether we like it or not, AI will change the face of SEO over the next few years. There will always be concerns around campaigns led by AI and not humans – – from fears around spun content to an over-reliance on automated campaigns. But in a way, automation will only serve to make the campaigns more human.

AI is capable of crunching huge amounts of data and is constantly getting better at learning and understanding user intent. Combine this deep understanding of search users with big data and you’ve got a sure-fire way of creating a campaign that is hyper-targeted to the right audience, knowing exactly what they want and what they are looking for. In other words, a campaign that will really work.

What does this mean for search marketers?

The increasing use and sophistication of AI means we are going to see priorities change over the next few years, in terms of which tasks we dedicate the most time to. With the data-led tasks more likely to be automated, it will allow us to focus on the more creative aspects, as well as mediating the bot versus human conundrum.

We need to be prepared for the content creation process to change and for the prospect that not all blog content will be human-produced in future. This may be a cause for concern for some, but people will always want to read content written by humans so we don’t see this being an all-encompassing step. At the very least we will likely see content researchers replaced by our software counterparts.

Voice search

According to comScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Voice search is gaining in popularity at a rapid rate and its effect on search will be noticeable. According to Gartner, approximately 30% of all searches will be done without a screen at all by 2020 – in just 18 months’ time. Just imagine how this could change in 5–10 years. We could be looking at a SERPless future.

5 Free Chrome extensions to boost your SEO

Google launched the Chrome browser in 2008 and it quickly became the most popular browser on the market. Statistics reveal more than 50 percent of users (and likely many more than that) use Chrome on a regular basis.

Chrome has become the world’s most popular browser due to it’s speed and reliability, but also due to new functionality that was launched in 2010: The Chrome Web Store.

Although this new browser ‘add-on’ concept wasn’t the first in the market (Mozilla’s Firefox holds that claim), extensions have been a game changer that have allowed developers to create applications, themes and extensions for Chrome. This concept has the capability to add previously unavailable functionality to a Web browser, and crosses the chasm between a browser and a third-party application.

Chrome isn’t the only browser to have extensions; the two main competing browsers, namely Mozilla Firefox and more recently Microsoft Edge (previously Internet Explorer), have their own versions of add-ons also.

Extensions and reliability are a large part of why Chrome is the browser of choice for SEOs. In this post, I’ll outline five free Chrome extensions that I use on a regular basis that are useful for SEO.

1. Check My Links

Google hates broken links. Most SEOs are versed in the danger of the dreaded 404 error, however, finding broken links can be troublesome, especially in pages that have thousands of words.

Check My Links solves this issue. This fantastic extension runs against the currently loaded webpage, and makes it easy to identify any broken links or redirects.

It also has a handy feature to allow you to export content to CSV format for further data manipulation or safe keeping.

2. Yslow 

Site performance is an important ranking factor. So much so, that Google provides it’s own tool to check the performance of your website: Page Speed Insights. Whilst Page Speed Insights is good, it’s somewhat simplistic and doesn’t check all factors that can affect your website’s performance.

That’s where Yslow comes in. This excellent extension runs a variety of tests against your website, and where this extension excels is the comprehensive data that’s generated. Everything from DNS lookup requests, URL redirects, missing expires headers to the lack of a Content Delivery Network. It also provides detailed advice on how to increase the speed of your website.

3. SEO Quake

This is arguably the most useful SEO extension in my arsenal. SEO Quake uses SEMRush data to provide a powerful SEO tool right in your browser. It provides information such as the date your page was cached in Google, keyword density, backlink (and internal link) information, basic technical site information as well as traffic statistics.

Simply create a free SEMRush account, and you have a plethora of SEO information at your disposal:

The other great feature that’s part of SEO Quake is it’s integration with Google search. If enabled, it adds a sidebar that allows you to produce a SERP report and to export the Google search results to Excel.

SEOquake also has the option to provide SEO metrics after each SERP snippet. This makes it quick and easy to see key metrics of the site/page, before clicking on a link. I use this tool daily.

4. Open SEO Stats 

Open SEO Stats is another extremely useful SEO extension for Google Chrome. This tool provides an overview of the most commonly used SEO stats and provides useful information, such as backlinks, web server hosting location, traffic stats (via Alexa), on-page SEO analysis as well as page speed analysis.

This extension lets you perform fast analysis of a website and is a real time saver.

5. Moz Bar

Moz bar is another must-have SEO extension for Chrome. This is a good extension to leave running (and visible) in your Chrome toolbar at all times. It enables you to see the excellent Moz metrics, including Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) at a glance:

The enhanced view adds a row of information to the top of Chrome. This means your page authority and spam score will always be visible in Chrome.

By clicking the toolbar through to the Moz website, you get a quick indication of the links to the website and the detailed Spam score.

I find the Moz toolbar particularly useful tool when prospecting for link building, to see the metrics of a potential link target quickly.

Chrome really is an excellent browser for SEOs. The speed, and excellent support from the developer community means that high quality extensions for Chrome are readily available.

Although Firefox has had add-ins for many years, and recently Microsoft Edge has also added similar functionality, Chrome has the best selection and most frequently updated SEO extensions.

The five extensions listed above can supplement full functionality SEO tools. Combined, these tools help us to make better SEO.

Do you have any Chrome extensions you use for SEO? Leave a comment below!

The top 3 SEO ranking factors

SEO strategies are constantly influx. This is the very nature of the practice; perpetual evolution.

In 2016, webmasters had to be in flow with updates like Penguin 4.0 while the Possum algorithm update shook up local search results.

Because of SEO’s dynamic and uncertain nature, business owners need to regularly brush up on the discipline’s latest best practices and most important ranking factors.

To help keep you up-to-date, here are the three most important ranking factors for your business to be focusing on right now.

1. Content

Surprise! Content is still one of the most important ranking factors. This was confirmed by Andrey Lipattsev, Partner Development Manager at Google, in a Google Q&A session.

There is no revelation here. Content has topped the list of ranking factors for a long time. What has been evolving in this realm, however, is what Google looks for in great content.

There has been a shift away from keywords while greater emphasis has been placed on natural language and intent.

That doesn’t mean that keywords are dead. Keywords and their variants should still be included in the title of publications, meta descriptions, H1 tags, and in the body of the content. While the power of keywords is dwindling, they still need to be used.

When it comes to article length, there are no real guidelines here as Google has stated that, “. . . the amount of content necessary for the page to be satisfying depends on the topic and purpose of the page.”

This translates as: Don’t worry about length. Worry about comprehensiveness and satisfying the user’s intention.

Google’s RankBrain (which is part of the Hummingbird algorithm) is partially responsible for establishing which search results display high user satisfaction metrics.

This means that you should focus on seeking to meet the needs of searchers; this will often end up developing more comprehensive pieces, which will likely be lengthier and full of great keywords and variants.

2. Mobile-Friendly User Experiences

Again, no Earth-shattering news here. If you have been keeping up with SEO at all, you should know how important mobile-first everything is to Google.

This year, the search giant made of one the biggest and most monumental changes in the company’s history by announcing that it would shift its ranking focus toward mobile-first indexing. This means that your mobile site needs to be top-notch because this will soon take precedence over the desktop experience.

Because of Google’s aggressive push toward small-screen sovereignty, mobile optimization should be one of your company’s top priorities. This includes ensuring that your primary content is available and responsive on the mobile version of your site, serving structured markup across both desktop and mobile, as well as adhering to other guidelines Google expressed in its webmaster blog announcing the move to mobile-first indexing.

It’s critical that your brand prepares its online presence for the impending future that mobile will dominate. As of late 2016, Google noted that, “. . . 85 percent of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria and show the mobile-friendly label.”

If your site isn’t one of them, make sure it is very soon.

It is important, however, that you don’t launch a mobile site for the sake of getting it out there. According to Google, if you release your mobile site before its finished, this could be harmful to your rankings.

3. Various Technical Elements

In addition to content and mobile-friendliness, there are numerous technical aspects to keep an eye on if you hope to rank well in the SERPs.

The first aspect to focus on is encryption. Various studies are still finding positive correlations between the use of HTTPS encryption and first page placement. While Google confirmed this as a ranking signal way back in 2014, those that have yet to adopt are being labeled as downright unsafe in Google Chrome. This label will have a significant impact on traffic.

The next component to be mindful of is your site’s anchor text. While exact-match anchors are still power players in influencing rankings, if they appear unnatural in any way, you run the risk of getting hit with a Penguin penalty. Always make sure that your anchors are organic, even if they aren’t an exact match.

The final element that I will touch on here is your site’s pop-ups and CTAs. As Google continues to emphasize the importance of mobile-friendliness, the company has been focused on providing a prime user experience. This means Google doesn’t take too kindly to intrusive pop-ups.

As of Jan. 10, Google has made it clear that, “…pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.”

If your mobile site employs any elements that obscure content with an ad or CTA, be sure to remove that immediately or risk getting hit with a penalty. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, so visit the company’s blog to gain a deeper understanding.

SEO is always in motion, but great content is also always in style. While it can be hard to keep up with the SEO updates, making this a cornerstone to your marketing efforts is one of the smartest commitments you can make to your brand’s success.

Did any of these ranking factors surprise you? How do you think this list might change in 2018?

17 organic ranking factors that impact ranking

SEMrush used its incredible machine learning algorithm to find out the top organic search ranking factors. You know, the age-old question that no one can really say they have the answer to.

They analyzed 600,000 keywords to come up with these 17 factors. The results are not entirely surprising. We knew about most of them.

What caught my eye, though, was the fact that almost all of them take you back to the quality of your content, directly or indirectly.

Let’s take a look at them.

The 17 factors that determine how your website ranks in search engine results pages:

Arranged in order of importance, here are the 17 factors that determine organic ranking, according to SEMrush:

1. Direct website visits

This one is puzzling. I remember discussing it in one of my previous articles on SiteProNews.

Basically, the more direct visits you get, the more organic traffic you’ll attract. What happens if you have a new website and no one knows of you so no one will ever visit you directly? Well, you can use one of the factors below.

But I digress.

Direct website visits and great content go hand-in-hand. I don’t know about you, but I go to the websites I like for their content directly. No Google search, no social media. There are a few websites that I visit at least once per week.


Because I know they have great content.

2. Time on site

This one is a no-brainer: Google likes it when visitors spend a lot of time on your website. This tells Google bots that they found something interesting there. And, of course, that you deserve to rank higher.

But how can you keep visitors engaged for more than a minute?

You guessed it, with great content. Give them something interesting to read and they’ll be hooked.

3. Pages per session

When a user lands on a high-ranking website from search, they usually visit around three pages. Why don’t they stop after the first one? Because the content was good enough to keep them wanting more.

4. Bounce rate

How often do people bounce back to search results after clicking on your links? It looks like 49 percent is the average bounce rate for domains ranking in top three.

Again, this speaks of the quality of your content. If people find what they are looking for on your website, then they will visit additional pages even if they resume their search at some point. If your content is unsatisfactory, they won’t waste too much time on it before bouncing back to the SERP.

5. Total referring domains

The more websites link back to you, the higher you will rank. A high number of referring domains tells Google that you are an authority in your field. In other words, that you create authority content that needs to rank higher so that more people can easily get to it.

At the digital marketing agency I manage, we saw incredible spikes in organic rankings for both our own website and the websites of our clients when we switched to authority content. Briefly put, we moved from the usual 500-word blog post to in-depth pieces that cover topics thoroughly. They are well researched, well written and filled with relevant LSI keywords.

Google loves it, the readers love it – it’s the definition of a win-win situation. Plus, it brings in qualified leads. Three for the price of one.

6. Total backlinks

Yes, this is different from the factor above. You can have more than one backlink from a domain. Just to get an idea of how important this is and how much every backlink counts, you should know that 2.2 times more backlinks lead to pages in the first position than to those in the second position.

This goes to show that a single, cornerstone piece of content won’t get you too far. It may bring in some backlinks and new domains linking back to you, but it won’t be a constant occurrence.

When we onboard a client for copywriting services or blog writing, we always ask about their commitment level. We tell them that four blog posts, no matter how good they are, won’t make much of a difference. A commitment to constant, regular blogging, on the other hand, is something that yields amazing results.

7. Total referring IPs

This is the third factor connected to referrals. In case you’re wondering how it is different from referring domains, the answer is simple: one domain can have more than one IP.

However, this is something that you can exert very little influence on.

8. Total follow backlinks

When someone links to your website, they can add a no-follow attribute to the link. It looks like this:

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>

As you may have expected, no-follow links have no value. This attribute basically tells engines “do not count this”. Why do they exist?

Obviously, to prevent spam. A lot of black hat SEO “specialists” use commenting on blogs and forums to get links back to their website. A no-follow attribute prevents them from gaining any traction.

If, however, someone links to your website because they found your content useful and they want others to discover it as well, you’re in the clear!

9. Content length

This is another much discussed topic. Should you post short articles 10 times per week or long form articles two to four times per week? According to SEMrush, there is a 45 percent difference in content length between the top three and the 20th position.

At my company, we create blog posts at different intervals for different clients. But there is one constant: long form always wins. This is why we have adapted both our prices and our team of SEO copywriters to accommodate longer posts for our clients.

When we ran the idea by our existing clients, some of them were skeptical. Since long form content had worked great for us, we knew we had to convince them. So we offered that, for a limited time, we’d charge the same amount of money for long form posts as we did for their short counterparts.

The result?

None of the clients wanted to go back to short blog posts. They all agreed to scale up.

10. Website security (HTTPS)

Finally, something that has nothing to do with content. If you haven’t upgraded to HTTPS yet, it’s high time you did!

11. Total anchors

Texts that link to another location on the Internet are called anchors. In other words, anchors are the clickable text in hyperlinks. For example, this is an anchor text.

Well written content takes advantage of both inbound and outbound anchors – links that lead to another page of your website and links that lead to another website.

12. Keyword in anchor

One of the things you can expect when you hire great SEO copywriters is to have relevant keywords in your anchors. Ideally, the same keywords you want an article or page to rank higher for.

Let’s see an example. One of my SiteProNews articles is entitled How to Do SEO for a Brand New Website. If I wanted to boost its rankings, I would link to it using SEO for a brand new website as an anchor.

13. Keyword in body

This one goes without saying: no piece of content will ever perform well in SERPs if you don’t add the keyword in the copy. You can read more on choosing keywords that matter to your business goals here.

14. Keyword density

There has been a lot of talk about the right keyword density. We never go beyond two percent. The general consensus is that the right keyword density is between five percent and 2.5 percent.

One thing is certain: keyword-stuffed articles are a thing of the past. Not only are they barely legible, but they will be labeled as spam by search engines and penalized heavily.

Our formula relies heavily on through keyword research, long form content and LSI keywords. We found it to be extremely effective for our own website and for those of our clients.

15. Keyword in title

Ideally, your keyword should be part of your title. However, if it’s a complicated long-tail keyword, you should sacrifice a catchy headline for a small SEO gain.

You can compensate with LSI keywords and going long form.

16. Keyword in meta

You have no excuses here. Your keyword should be part of your meta description. It is the best way to let search engines know what your page is about.

17. Video on page

This is a brand-new one and something we expect to become even more important with time. We all know that video reigns supreme now, so it’s no wonder that pages containing videos rank higher.

If you haven’t started producing your own videos yet, you can always embed some from thought leaders in your industry. I would also add images to this one. The more types of content on a page, the better.

How to integrate these 17 factors in your SEO strategy

Naturally, you should start with upgrading the quality of your content. Move past bite-sized blog posts and dig deeper into your topics in long form articles.

And, most importantly, think about what your readers want. Use this as the starting point for everything, from tone of voice to keyword research and the layout of your web pages

3 powerfull ways to drive traffic from Reddit

If you have an Internet connection, you probably know what Reddit is.

For those who don’t know much about this edgy community, Reddit is a multilingual social news and entertainment platform that calls itself “the front page of the Internet.”

Reddit is the eighth most popular website in the world, according to Alexa, drives roughly 1.5 billion unique visits a month, and houses more than 250 million active members.

When leveraged correctly, Reddit can be an incredibly powerful source for driving massive amounts of traffic to your website. For instance, Eddy Arza was able to increase his site’s daily visitors from 41 to 4,266 literally overnight. Similarly, Ryan Stewart was able to grow his traffic by 33 percent  by learning the ins and outs of the platform.

It is extremely necessary to become familiar with how Reddit works before you start trying to plug your brand because the community’s members (called Redditors) are sometimes known for ruthless behavior; particularly toward outsiders.

Part of why Reddit is such an effective tool for increasing blog readership, sales, and overall traffic, however, is that the site is essentially one massive aggregator.

For the most part, Redditors submit outbound links to various niche communities called subreddits. There are a seemingly infinite number of subreddits, so I’ll cover this more in a bit.

Before we dive into how to drive traffic from Reddit to your site, a quick public service announcement:

You Must Participate Before Plugging!

The first step to leveraging Reddit is the most vital and the most time-consuming: You must participate within communities – a lot – before posting anything about your brand or website.

Truthfully, Reddit hates marketing.

If you just create a new account and try to promote your site, prepare to be eaten alive. Redditors are notoriously suspicious of new accounts and they can sniff out an advertisement like digital bloodhounds.

To gain the trust of Redditors, you need to start off by posting relevant (non-promotional) materials and engaging in various discussions.

Here are three ways to leverage Reddit to drive tons of traffic to your website.

1. Engage the Right Subreddits

As stated earlier, Reddit has tons of niche communities called subreddits.

While not all will be relevant to your cause, you are likely to find dozens that are. Before you start targeting specific communities, however, ask yourself:

  • What is my target audience interested in?
  • What is my expertise?
  • What value can I provide potential followers?

The answers to these questions will help you develop a blueprint in selecting which communities to join. If you fail to conduct this short exercise, you’re more likely to join subreddits that don’t provide you much value to you, and vice versa.

While this may seem to conflict with the above paragraph, you may also want to consider some smaller, more overlooked communities as these folks tend to be highly engaged. This is the exact strategy that Gfycat used to build its audience and become the largest user-generated GIF platform in the world in a mere two years.

To find subreddits that will be valuable for your brand, search relevant keywords that your audience would use to find information about product or service like yours. For instance, if you run a gaming blog, you might join the r/Games subreddit whose goal is to, “. . . provide a place for informative and interesting gaming content and discussions.”

Depending on what your brand does, you might want to join subreddits that are a little more marketing-friendly such as r/dealswhere you can post discounts, coupon codes, and all sorts of other offerings for savvy consumers.

2. Use Reddit As a Source for Content Creation

Content is one of the top Google ranking factors. While creating a wealth of great content is necessary, it certainly isn’t easy.

Reddit provides content marketers with an endless pool of inspiration for great content. By engaging in conversations and mining comment threads for hot topics, pain points, curiosities, etc., business owners can gain an abundance of quality topics to write about and then post back to those same communities, effectively driving traffic to their site.

Additionally, there are often individuals within subreddits who share interesting insights or perspectives on certain topics. Depending on how informative the individual seems, you might want to consider reaching out to them for a podcast or interview that you later craft into a blog post.

Alternately, businesses can uncover some common themes of what users desire and run content within a subreddit, driving traffic to a dedicated landing page on their site. Prizes should be relevant to the community’s wants and needs. You could offer products or services from your business, Reddit Gold, or various other payoffs.

Before utilizing this tactic, however, be sure to reach out to the subreddit’s moderators and gain their approval. Otherwise, you could be banned from the community.

3. Host an AMA Session

This strategy should be saved for after you have developed something of a name for yourself within the subreddits you subscribe to so that users know who you are and that you have value to offer.

AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. AMA’s are essentially interviews where the whole of the reddit community can ask you, well, anything.

These are often a prime opportunity to share information about your business without coming off too promotional.

The key to these group conversations is to provide the community with lots of in-depth, valuable knowledge. Think about things like behind-the-scenes stories, struggles and solutions that most would never consider and other intimate details that only an industry insider would know.

For an Ask Me Anything session, you can target the dedicated AMA subreddit, or you can simply conduct it within one of the subreddits you subscribe to — most will allow for these types of conversations.

Holding the talk within a subreddit that is relevant to your audience might be the best option. This increases the likelihood that you’ll have an interested and engaged audience.

Reddit is a goldmine for generating awareness and traffic for your website. Familiarize yourself with the platform, its lingo, and interact with the right groups before promoting your brand. If you do this prior to leveraging the tactics listed above, you stand a far greater chance of achieving the outcome you desire.

What is your favorite method for driving traffic from Reddit? What subreddits have you found most engaging for your business?

4 ways SEO has changed fir the better

Ever since the birth of Google in 1997, surfing the web has never been the same. Easily the world’s most notable search engine, its name even earning a spot in the English Oxford dictionary to describe making a search on the internet, Google has also dictated the direction of SEO significantly. By introducing PageRank, Google could rank websites in a more meaningful and accurate way, making SEO an essential part of running an online business.

Yet, more accurate ranking did come with a cost. Over the years, there have been plenty of bad practices, like keyword stuffing and disingenuous link exchanges which led to an abundance of poor content being generated online. Luckily, Google revamped their protocol and now penalizes businesses for engaging in cheap and easy SEO practices. As a result, search engine optimization has become somewhat of an art and it’s getting better every day.

Whether you run a business, or are just enthusiastic about SEO, here are 4 ways that SEO has changed for the better that might inspire your future content.

1. Original is the new black

While this one might seem like a no brainer, there are a surprising number of businesses that have yet to harness the power of original content. To make the most of content creation, it’s wise to invest in someone who knows their way around SEO and also has a good writing style. Many companies initially struggle to find a topic, but it’s a welcome opportunity to get to know yourself as a brand and then transfer that into a blog post. You could consider writing about your personal development as a company, or provide useful tools and tips that readers can benefit from. Content that is original should aim to activate the reader’s imagination and encourage them to engage, which is a great way to gain loyal customers.

2. Guest posting

Remember, guest posting is not link building. Rather than having a guest write a post with the intention of simply sharing a link to your landing page, look for someone who can help make a contribution to your brand in the long run. That means carefully considering experts that are relevant to your industry and also who could make beneficial long term partners. Also, discuss ways that their expertise could be translated into content that will help boost your readership, and if applicable, theirs as well.

3. Looking good is essential

Content isn’t just about the quality of the writing, although that is very important, it’s also important to pay attention to aesthetics. By investing in a designer who can help you create a beautiful landing page that complements your content, you will be able to catch readers’ attention. One important thing to note is that while you want to catch the eye of consumers, you don’t want to go overboard. Much like defining your original content plan, think of design as a way to deliver a message to your audience about who you are as a brand.

4. Making the most of the available tools

Thanks to changes in content creation, for example people demanding more meaningful and personalized messages, there are now a wealth of tools to help you optimize your content creating plan. While there are an abundance of free tools, like Google Webmaster tools, there are many that are worth investing in, like IdeaFlip, which helps you navigate the brainstorming process and is ideal for those who are new to content marketing.

No matter what direction you take in your content creation journey, it’s important that you reflect your brand through your content voice. Understanding the ways in which content has changed will greatly benefit your ability to attract consumers in the long run and also increase your chances of remaining relevant in a competitive business world.

5 tips for positive, large-scale SEO changes

Search engine optimization, at its core, is the process of optimizing webpages and content offerings to make it easily accessible for search engines and its users, in accordance with predetermined ranking factors. To implement successful alterations, webmasters enact specific changes to individual pages or to content management systems.

These alterations target areas of the site like URL structures, headings, various tags, and keyword density. The goal is to improve the relevance of each page for a set of words or phrases.

The process of achieving successful, large-scale SEO changes for a sizable website isn’t that much different than working with smaller destinations. The idea is the same: Update the backend to reflect current best practices, create unique and relevant content, and engender a better overall user experience.

If you aren’t sure how to make large-scale SEO changes successfully, use these five tips as your guidelines.

1. Create More Value

Adding more value to your site may sound simple, but in practice it may prove a bit more challenging.

Creating more value does not simply mean pumping out more content. To add more worth to your site, it is imperative that you intimately understand your audience.

Through the greater understanding of your audience’s likes, wants and needs, additional, optimized content can be developed.

Here are some simple ways to establish how to add more value to your site:

  • Analyze your content using tools like Buzzsumo to find the most popular topics.
  • Survey your fans and followers to uncover questions they need answered.
  • Expand your content offerings into peripheral categories that are still relevant to your audience’s needs.

2. Invest More Time in Your Content

As we have learned from algorithm changes like Penguin and Hummingbird, Google cares more about the effectiveness of your content and less about its optimization.

This means that you can do all the optimizing you want, but if your content is not appealing or doesn’t contain relevant answers to searched queries, your efforts will be in vain.

SEO has changed from targeting keywords to addressing user intent. Through this lens, webmasters must ensure their content is centered on what search engine users seek to uncover when searching your brand, or the terms that might be associated with it.

3. Optimize Your Site’s Visuals

Visual content, particularly video, is more popular than ever; which also means that it’s more important for brands to create or host than ever. Visual content is much more engaging for consumers and can serve to supplement or replace text in various places.

Visual content also can affect SEO in significant ways, assuming it is optimized properly. Many marketers and site owners forget or outright neglect optimizing visual content for search engines. Fortunately, however, the process is rather simple and only takes a few minutes.

The first thing you’ll want to do is add a relevant title that leverages an applicable keyword targeted for that page. Moreover, add applicable alt text, metadata, and other keywords.

It is important to pay attention to the file’s size as well because this can slow down your site’s load times and have an adverse impact on your rankings. If you are hosting videos on your website, add a transcript — it will likely be packed with keywords that can boost your site’s SEO.

4. Create a Stellar User Experience

Google is pretty much obsessed with creating the best user experience possible for its users and expects webmasters to do the same.

User experience (UX) is a critical component to SEO, thus continually testing various elements of your site’s experience should be a priority for your business; especially on large-scale sites where many things can go wrong.

When optimizing your website’s user experience be sure to:

  • Test all of your site’s links and fix any that appear to be broken. The Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool is excellent for such tasks.
  • Consider your content’s visual appeal and readability for users and search engine spiders.
  • Verify that all navigational elements work properly and are intuitive.
  • Test your site’s load times using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
  • Consider experimenting with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages to possibly receive a boost in speed and rankings. This is likely to become more important with the mobile-first indexunderway.

5. Ensure the Entirety of Your Web Presence is Current

Many marketers and business owners tend to overlook how far beyond a dedicated website a brand’s online existence goes. For instance, many businesses will opt to try out a new social platform, only to realize that it isn’t fruitful for its goals and abandon its profile.

While not sticking with social media sites that don’t work for your brand is fine, you do need to keep them up-to-date with your business’ current information.

This means making sure your brand’s website, address, phone number, and other pertinent details are all current so that users don’t have any trouble interacting with your brand or finding your site.

Even after you have implemented all of the above advice, your job is not done. The truth is, it will never be. SEO is an ever-changing process that is constantly in flux. Outside of its fickle nature, you can always find further improvements to make on your site.

Commit to continually learning and evolving alongside SEO best practices, and your rankings will reflect your efforts in the long-term.

What are your biggest hurdles with large-scale SEO changes?