Sponsored Content: SEO PowerSuite – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Fri, 27 Nov 2020 17:58:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.1 How to check Google search results for different locations /how-to-check-google-search-results-for-different-locations-343802 Tue, 17 Nov 2020 13:46:46 +0000 /?p=343802 When doing SEO, make sure to focus on search results specific to your location -- this is where your true competitors are.

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It’s no secret that the same query will often produce different Google search results in different locations. Someone looking to “buy a bike” in Atlanta will see different suggestions than someone using the same query in New York. And two people looking for a “pizza place” might end up with different results if they are just a block apart. 

What it means for SEO is that you should aim for optimizing the version of Google search results that your target audience is most likely to see. And the version they are most likely to see will change depending on a few factors — Google search results are personalized based on the users’ search history, their device, and current location.

The location is the most important SERP modifier. It will often impact queries with strong transactional intent, suggesting local stores and service providers first.

So, if your operations are limited to a particular location, you should be optimizing your pages for the area-specific Google search results. That means you’ll need to be able to change locations when researching SERPs as well as monitoring your rankings.

In this article, you’ll learn: 

How to view country-level Google search results

Nationwide Google search results are the easiest to view because Google usually shows them by default. If you’ve never tampered with Google’s search settings, then you are always getting the results for the country you are currently in. But, in case you want to change the country of Google search results, here is what you can do:

Use Google settings to choose a country

Google allows us to change the country we want to see the results for. You can set this up from Google’s SERP.

First, go to Tools > Search settings:

Then scroll to the bottom of the page, where you will find a list of countries. Choose the country you want to see Google search results for and click Save.

Use a VPN service or a proxy

Either of those will help you fake your location, so all of your online interactions (not just search, but also ads, country-specific redirects, restricted resources, etc.) will happen as if you were in a different country.

Use an SEO tool

Most SEO tools, particularly rank tracking tools, are built to accommodate local SEO. So, whichever tool you use, be it Rank Tracker, Semrush, Ahrefs, or Moz, it will definitely allow you to set a specific country.

Of course, the advantage of using an SEO tool is that you can research your queries in bulk. There is no need to Google each of your keywords to view corresponding SERPs. Instead, you can create/upload a list of keywords and have all of their Google search results conveniently arranged for your viewing — which is much more efficient.

How to view city-level Google search results

City-level search results are important for the types of businesses that really do serve the entire city. For example, businesses that aren’t tied to a particular address within the city: photographers, cleaning services, catering, delivery and online stores. Search results for these queries tend to stay more or less the same throughout the city.

It’s a little bit different for businesses that are heavily dependent on their physical locations. Google is very granular when showing local search results for coffee shops, restaurants, dry cleaners, gyms and similar types of queries. The results might be very different from one block to the next. If you are doing SEO research for this type of business, it’s best you move onto street-level search results.

Add a city to your query

It’s basic, but it kind of works. If you are looking for a quick insight into city-wide search results, all you have to do is add the name of the city to your search query.

Use Google Ads preview tool

A more sophisticated and a much more reliable way to view city-wide Google search results is to use the Google Ads preview tool. The tool has been created to help you visualize your Google ads in the context of location-specific search results. Luckily, you can use the preview tool even if you are not running any ads.

To access the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool from your Google Ads dashboard, go to TOOLS & SETTINGs > PLANNING > Ad Preview and Diagnosis.

Once there, enter your query, change the city, language, and device, and view Google search results as if you were searching from the city of your choice.

Use an SEO tool

Same deal as before, most SEO tools allow for customized rank tracking and SERP research, and that includes location settings. Except, not all tools will allow you to go as granular as city-level and, even if they do, they might have a limited selection of cities to research.

For this particular task, it is best to go with rank tracking tools that boast advanced location settings. Some of the recommended tools include Rank Tracker, Ahrefs, AccuRanker, and BrightLocal.

How to view street-level Google search results

Viewing street-level Google search results is most useful when doing SEO for small businesses with brick-and-mortar locations. These businesses are particularly dependent on their being in local search results. The wider the area for which they show up in search, the more customers they get.

When it gets to these types of search results, Google tends to become extremely picky. Your business might appear in search results when searched from a block away and then suddenly drop off when searched from two blocks away.

So, the idea here is to monitor your “street” presence, figure out who your current competitors are, and gradually expand your area of influence in SERPs.

Use Chrome Developer Tools

This method is a bit technical, but it’s not that  complicated. Follow these step-by-step instructions to change your location using Google Dev Tools.

First, use Chrome to open Google and launch Developer Tools (CTRL+SHIFT+I for Windows and Command + Option + I for Mac). Your page will change to something like this:

Find the customization menu (three dots) and choose More tools > Sensors:

In the Sensors panel, go to Location and use the drop-down menu to choose Other. Enter the exact coordinates of your locations (to find coordinates, go to Google maps, zoom in to the desired location, click on the map, and Google will supply you with the coordinates).

Now run your search and Google will behave as if you were searching from these exact coordinates.

Use a dedicated local search tool

In case you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty, there is an easier way to change your location. A tool called Valentin App does essentially the same thing as Google Chrome Dev Tools, without all the complexity.

All you have to do is open the tool in your browser, state your query, choose your locale, and enter your address (freeform —  the tool will interpret your input, be it a street address or a set of coordinates).

Click search and you will be transported to a Google search results page that corresponds to your selected location.

Use an SEO tool

This has been a running theme throughout the article — SEO tools can be used to view local search results of all levels. Now, the more specific we get with our location settings, the fewer tools can accommodate our needs. At this level, your best bet is either Rank Tracker or Ahrefs.

Taking Rank Tracker as an example, you can use the tool to view and track your search rankings on the country, state, city, and address level. To set this up, go to Preferences > Preferred Search Engines, find Google and click Add custom. Now enter your location (freeform, the tool will fill out the details), name it, and click Save.

From now on, Rank Tracker will keep tabs on your Google rankings for this specific location, as well as other locations you have chosen.

This is the beauty of using SEO tools — with a few quick settings you could be tracking your performance for thousands of keywords, across any number of locations, all at the same time.

Final thoughts

If you want to reach your intended audience in Google search results, then it’s absolutely essential to know which version of search results is the one they see. And of all the factors that influence SERP customization, a change in location is the one with the most impact. Consequently, being able to view location-specific SERPs is an essential part of fine-tuning your SEO strategy.

While there are multiple quick fixes to faking your geographic location in search, a serious SEO effort will require a more permanent solution. For researching and tracking multiple locations, it is best to use an SEO tool with advanced localization settings.

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8 major Google algorithm updates, explained /8-major-google-algorithm-updates-explained-282627 Tue, 13 Oct 2020 12:30:58 +0000 http:/?p=282627 Of countless Google algorithm updates introduced over the last decade, here are the ones that changed SEO forever.

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Google claims to update its search algorithm several thousand times per year. In the absolute majority of cases, Google algorithm updates are too small to notice. But, every once in a while, Google introduces a change so fundamental, that it disrupts the way we do SEO forever.

In this post, we will be counting down eight of the most critical search algorithm changes. We will look into why these updates were introduced, how they work and what adjustments we had to make to our SEO strategies in response.

But before we start, let’s see if you’ve ever been impacted by an algorithm update. All you need to do is launch Rank Tracker, sync it with your Google Analytics account and switch to Organic Traffic.

Just hover your mouse over the dash lines on the graph to see if certain algo updates correspond with your site’s traffic changes.

1. Panda

Date: February 24, 2011

Hazards: Duplicate, plagiarized or thin content; user-generated spam; keyword stuffing.

How it works: The Panda algorithm update assigns a so-called “quality score” to web pages. This score is then used as a ranking factor. Initially, the effects of Panda were mild, but in January 2016 it was permanently incorporated into Google’s core algorithm. Since then, update rollouts have become more frequent, so both Panda penalties and recoveries now happen faster.

How to adjust: Run regular site checks for content duplication, thin content, and keyword stuffing. To do that, you’ll need a site crawler, like SEO PowerSuite’s Website Auditor.

With the WebSite Auditor’s new Content Editor module, you can also avoid a potential penalty and create pages without the risk of accidental keyword stuffing. Content Editor analyzes the pages of your top competitors and provides SEO recommendations based on the content that’s already successful in Google search.

And if you want to check whether your content is duplicated elsewhere on the web, use a plagiarism checker like Copyscape.

2. Penguin

Date: April 24, 2012

Hazards: Spammy or irrelevant links; links with over-optimized anchor text.

How it works: Google Penguin’s objective is to down-rank sites whose backlinks look unnatural. This update put an end to low-effort link building, like buying links from link farms and PBNs.

How to adjust: To stay safe from the effects of the Google Penguin update, monitor your link profile’s growth and run regular audits with a backlink checker like SEO SpyGlass. In the tool’s Summary dashboard, you’ll find a progress graph for your link profile’s growth. Look out for any unusual spikes: those might be the result of a negative SEO attack by your competitors.

The stats that we know Penguin takes into account are incorporated into SEO SpyGlass’s Penalty Risk formula. Navigate to the Penalty Risk tab and sort your backlink list from highest risk to lowest. Links with a risk above 50% should be investigated. If they turn out to be malicious, add them to the disavow file, download it, and submit it to Google’s Disavow Links Tool.

3. Hummingbird

Date: August 22, 2013

Hazards: Keyword stuffing; low-quality content.

How it works: The Hummingbird algorithm helps Google better interpret search queries and provide results that match searcher intent (as opposed to the individual terms within the query). While keywords continue to be important, the Hummingbird algorithm makes it possible for a page to rank for a query even if it doesn’t contain the exact words the searcher entered. This is achieved with the help of natural language processing that relies on latent semantic indexing, co-occurring terms and synonyms.

How to adjust: Expand your keyword research and focus on concepts behind the keywords. Carefully analyze related searches, synonyms and co-occurring terms. Great sources of such ideas are Google Related Searches and Google Related Questions, as well as Google Autocomplete suggestions. You’ll find all of them incorporated into Rank Tracker’s Keyword Research module.

Use these insights to better understand your audience’s language and diversify your content. By creating comprehensive content that satisfies searcher intent, you’ll win both in terms of engagement and SEO. 

4. Mobile

Date: April 21, 2015

Hazards: Lack of a mobile version of the page; poor mobile usability.

How it works: This, and subsequent mobile search updates (2018, 2020) have shifted the focus from a desktop to a mobile version of your website. Today, Google ranks all websites based on how fast and user-friendly their mobile versions are.

How to adjust: Optimize your pages for mobile search and focus on speed and usability. Google’s mobile-friendly and page speed tests will help you see which aspects of your page need to be improved. The tests are integrated into WebSite Auditor so you can check your pages’ mobile optimization as a part of your overall website audit. You’ll find it in Content Analysis > Page Audit:

5. RankBrain

Date: October 26, 2015

Hazards: Lack of query-specific relevance; shallow content; poor UX.

How it works: RankBrain is a part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. It is a machine learning system that helps Google understand the meaning behind queries and serve best-matching search results in response to those queries. Google calls RankBrain the third most important ranking factor.
While we don’t know the exact formula behind this major update, the consensus is that RankBrain is responsible for customizing a user’s Google search results. Basically, Google goes beyond a person’s search query and takes into account the larger context, like synonyms, implied words, and personal search history.

How to adjust: Optimize your pages for relevance and comprehensiveness with the help of competitive analysis. With the WebSite Auditor‘s TF-IDF tool, you can discover entire lists of relevant terms and concepts used by a large number of your top-ranking competitors. Find a way to add these terms to your content and you will see your search relevance increase dramatically.

6. Medic

Date: May 4, 2018

Hazards: Lack of authority on YMYL websites; weak E-A-T signals.

How it works: The Google Medic update seemed to disproportionately affect medical websites as well as other websites that have to do with potentially life-altering decisions (finance, law, education). Although not explicitly confirmed, Google representatives have hinted that the update implemented some of the E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) signals from the Quality Rater Guidelines document.

How to adjust: To date, there is no proven recovery strategy for the Medic update. Some SEOs suggest hiring expert writers to lend credibility to your website, others claim the solution is in building entities for your brand. But, if we were to stick to the facts, the only reliable way to increase the authority of your website is by growing your backlink profile. An efficient approach would be to use a backlink research tool, like SEO SpyGlass, and borrow backlink ideas from your competitors.

SEO SpyGlass allows you to find the backlink gap between your website and your competitors’ websites. The best prospects are the high-authority websites that link to two or more of your competitors. This indicates that the websites are interested in your niche, but do not have an exclusive relationship with any one company.

For more tips, explore this SEO guide based on the Quality Rater Guidelines.

7. Bert

Date: October 22, 2019

Hazards: Poorly written content; lack of focus; lack of context.

How it works: This Google algorithm update uses natural language processing technology to better understand search queries, interpret text, identify entities and relationships between entities. We’ve seen Panda, Hummingbird and RankBrain updates move away from keywords, and the BERT update is the culmination of this effort — it allows Google to understand much more nuance in both queries and search results.

How to adjust: We’ve finally lived to see the day when Google is actually rewarding good writing. Like never before, it is important to strive for meaningful copy. It means you should go easy on fluff words and adopt an expository style of writing. It is also a good idea to do entity research when creating copy — including relevant entities helps create context for your content.

For more tips, check out this guide on using entities in SEO.

8. Core Updates

Date: 2017-present

How it works: As far back as 2017, Google has started to refer to bigger updates as Google core updates. Since then, there is even less transparency about what those updates are and which parts of search they are intended to improve. SEOs would often track post-update ranking shifts and try to figure out what exactly has changed, but there is rarely a conclusive observation. It is likely that Google core updates are just improvements on previous Google updates or perhaps bundles of smaller updates tied together.

How to adjust: Since the effects of Google core updates are often unknown, one thing you can do is track SERP history for the keywords you are targeting. Once the update happens, you can check which of your competitors have moved up or down in rankings and make an educated guess about the contributing factors.

To start tracking your SERP history, launch Rank Tracker, go to Target Keywords > Rank Tracking > SERP Analysis, and click Record SERP data. The tool will start tracking the top 30 SERP positions for each of your keywords.

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8 major Google ranking factors — SEO guide /8-major-google-ranking-signals-2017-278450 Tue, 15 Sep 2020 11:30:00 +0000 http:/?p=278450 Of over two hundred Google ranking factors that we know about, which ones are the most important? Here is the definitive list.

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The SEO community is always looking for new ranking factors and we have discovered over two hundred of them so far. But there may be hundreds more actually used by Google. Luckily, we don’t have to work on all of them. Most have very little weight in SEO and are often used as tie-breakers rather than ranking signals. Instead, here is the definitive list of Google ranking factors, each of which can make or break your search optimization strategy.

1. Backlinks

Even though Google is planning to move away from backlinks in the future, they still remain the most important ranking factor for your pages. Except it is now too risky to use black hat SEO strategies — your links have to come from a variety of high authority websites that are similar to yours. Furthermore, some Google patents say that freshness and traffic may also be important backlink metrics.

Optimization strategy

The most efficient way to grow your backlink profile is to borrow backlink ideas from your search competitors. All you have to do is launch SEO SpyGlass, go to Domain Comparison > Link Intersection, and add a few of your top competitors. The tool will analyze your competitors’ backlinks and find the backlink gap — websites that link to your competitors, but not you. Those websites are your prime outreach targets. Seeing how they already link to other websites in your niche, they are very likely to host your links as well.

2. Semantic saturation

Your SEO content has to contain an appropriate amount of relevant keywords, entities, and images for the length of the copy. The content should not be stuffed, like in the old days of SEO, it should rather be a natural-sounding copy written in an informative style.

Optimization strategy

It could be a little challenging to figure out exactly which keywords to use, where to put them, and how many of them are needed. So, if you want to play it safe, a good strategy is to create a benchmark by analyzing your search competitors’ top-ranking pages. To do this in Website Auditor, go to Content Analysis > Content Editor, enter your main keyword, and get a detailed list of SEO writing instructions. The SEO Content Editor tool will tell you the right amount of main and secondary keywords, their placement, and the recommended length of the copy.

3. HTML tags

HTML tags tell Google which bits of your copy are the most important. The title and meta description tags are what users see in search results – write them like a keyword-rich promo. Heading tags (H1-H6) split your copy into sections — they should also contain keywords and be written in an informative style. Finally, alt text is used to describe images to search engines and should be filled out if you want to appear in the image search results.

Optimization strategy

If you weren’t mindful of HTML tags, then there are probably hundreds of pages on your website that are not properly optimized for search. A thorough approach would be to use Website Auditor and review your pages in bulk. First, go to Site Structure > Pages > On-page and sort the pages by their search optimization score. If you spot any pages with a low score, click on them for a detailed report. It will tell you exactly which HTML tags are in need of optimization and what’s wrong with them.

4. Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are the newest user experience metrics that will soon become Google ranking factors. The metrics will measure the first impression the user gets when visiting a page. Specifically, how fast it loads, how soon it becomes interactive, and how stable the layout is. Now, it’s important to note that the vitals are not yet official Google ranking factors. But they definitely will be, so it’s best to use the remaining time to get them into proper shape.

Optimization strategy

Google has been kind enough to equip each vital with a detailed set of optimization guidelines. For faster loading, Google recommends better server response times, less render-blocking JS and CSS, and faster resource loading. For improved interactivity, Google recommends code splitting and using less JS. Finally, for better visual stability, Google recommends using size attributes for images and videos and loading content from the top.

5. User behavior

There is a lot of uncertainty in the SEO community on whether Google actually uses behavioral metrics to rank pages. Google says that it doesn’t, but there’s been some pretty convincing evidence that it might.

The metrics we are talking about are the click-through-rate (CTR), bounce rate, session depth, and session duration. To check your performance on user behavior metrics, use your

 Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.

Optimization strategy

Improving user behavior metrics has a lot to do with creating engaging content. For example, CTR relies on having an attractive snippet in search results. Meanwhile, bounce rate, session duration, and session depth rely on whether there is anything fun to do on your page. To keep users engaged, make sure to produce high-quality copy with plenty of visuals and internal links. The goal is to catch the visitors and send them down your sales funnel.

6. Structured data

There are thousands of tags to choose from, and they can tell Google every little detail about your content. Structured data can be used to tag authors, ratings, product features, locations, and so much more. And it can do wonders for your SEO — create links between entities, pin your location, and enhance your search snippets with rich elements:

Optimization strategy

If you are not a technically inclined person, then it’s best to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Choose the type of markup (article, local business, and product come highly recommended) and submit a link to the page you want to enhance. Now highlight bits of text and choose corresponding tags. When done, save the HTML file and upload it to your website. Extra step — check whether your structured data actually works with the help of Google’s Rich Result Test.

7. Google My Business  listing

Claiming, optimizing, and maintaining your Google My Business listing is the single most important thing you can do for your local SEO. It helps establish your company as an entity, which in itself is a great asset to your SEO. More importantly, it skyrockets your local search performance. Once you create a listing, it becomes eligible for the local business panel as well as Google maps, opening your business to nearby searchers:

Optimization strategy

First, you have to visit Google My Business and either create or claim your profile. You will be asked to provide a few basic details as well as verify your ownership. When done, you will be transported to your Google My Business dashboard, where you will find many additional ways to enhance your listing. The least you can do is add a description, business hours, and photos, but there are many more cool features to explore. Google is constantly adding new Google My Business features and it’s gotten so advanced that it’s almost like a website of its own.

8. Mobile optimization

Mobile-first indexing is fully rolled out. Google announced that starting from September 2020 all websites without exception will be judged on their mobile version, not the desktop version. So, if you want your website to have any chance of ranking in search results, you have to make sure that it is designed for mobile users.

Optimization strategy

To check whether your page is mobile-friendly, visit Google’s mobile-friendly test, and submit a URL. If the page is ok, you will get a green light, and if it’s not, you’ll get some suggestions on what to improve.

Checking your website page by page is hardly practical, so you can use Google Search Console to check all your pages at once. Launch the tool, go to Enhancements > Mobile Usability, and view a report along with a list of suggested improvements.

Final thoughts

It’s important to keep tabs on the ever-evolving Google algorithm. Some ranking factors, like keywords and backlinks, are gradually losing importance. Other ranking factors, like user experience and semantic saturation, are taking their place. For now, though, the list above is a pretty solid selection of tactics to add to your SEO strategy.

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Top 5 free backlink checkers you should be using /top-5-free-backlink-checkers-you-should-be-using-336492 Tue, 30 Jun 2020 11:30:00 +0000 /?p=336492 Backlink checkers cost a lot? Not necessarily. Check out these 5 free tools that do the job no worse than their paid alternatives.

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Website and page authority, as defined by the number and quality of backlinks, is one of the most important search ranking factors. It is also one of the search engine optimization areas where you can gain the most advantage over your competitors. Sure, there are also technical and on-page SEO, keyword research, and content optimization, but there is only so much you can improve in these areas. With link building — the sky’s the limit.

This is why it is crucial that you are equipped with the best backlink tools. The best backlink checker will enable you to spot new link-building opportunities, discover the strategies of your competitors, and monitor the health of your backlink profile. In this post, we will focus on some of the best backlink checkers on the market, with one added condition — they have to be available for free, either completely or at least partially.

1. SEO SpyGlass

One of those backlink analysis tools that can truly do it all.

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SEO SpyGlass provides you with a fully specced-out dashboard for backlink analysis and management. Unlike other free checkers, SpyGlass allows you to sort and filter the discovered backlink data using any of the several dozen backlink parameters:

  • Linking and linked pages;
  • Anchor text and anchor URL;
  • Dofollow and nofollow attributes;
  • Domain and page authority of the link source;
  • Penalty risk, i.e. how spammy the link source is;
  • And more.

The number of backlinks you can view for free is limited to 1,100 per domain, but the number of domains you can check is unlimited, so you can research your own websites as well as your competitor websites. And if you want some additional data, there is an option to connect SEO SpyGlass to Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Once connected, you will be able to pull your backlink information from Google tools, pour it into SEO SpyGlass, and process the data using the SEO SpyGlass dashboard — free of charge.

And when it comes to discovering new backlink opportunities, SEO SpyGlass is equipped with a feature called Domain Comparison. Add a few of your competitors and find the websites where their backlinks intersect. These websites are your immediate leads. Since these websites are linking to two or more of your competitors, it means that they do not have a particularly exclusive partnership and will probably agree to link to you website as well.

Best for: with advanced analytics and the largest data allowance on this list, SEO SpyGlass is best used as your home base for backlink research and management.

Free data allowance: up to 1,100 backlinks per domain, unlimited domain checks, unlimited backlink analytics.

2. Google Search Console

A completely free backlink tool with a large data allowance, but limited opportunities for backlink analysis.

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Search Console is a Google tool meant to help webmasters improve their websites. It is completely free, but can only be used to analyze the websites that you own. Once you get your ownership verified, you will be granted access to a variety of site quality dashboards, one of which is the list of backlinks drawn directly from Google’s index. However long the list, you can only view the top 1,000 results. No additional metrics and no analytics features are provided on-site, but you are free to export the data and analyze it using other tools.

A peculiar thing about Search Console is that its backlink lists are usually much shorter than the ones from other backlink checkers. It’s because Search Console removes low-quality backlinks from the list and only counts the ones that matter. This type of vetting means you can’t use the tool to catch spammy backlinks and remove them from your profile. But, on the bright side, it also means you receive a set of backlinks very different from other tools.

Best for: Google Search Console is best used as a source of raw backlink data, which can then be exported to SEO SpyGlass for analysis and additional insights.

Free data allowance: up to 1,000 backlinks, but you can only check the sites that you own.

3. Seobility

A perfect tool for a quick review of your or your competitors’ backlink profiles.

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Seobility allows up to three backlink checks per day and limits the number of backlinks you can view to 400 per check. The list of backlinks is sorted from the highest link rating to the lowest, so, even though the number of links you can view is limited, you do get to see the best ones.

The links are accompanied by a few additional parameters, like anchor texts, dofollow/nofollow attributes, link types, and linked pages. At the top of the page, you also get a quick summary of the overall backlink profile: total backlink count, domain rating, and the number of referring domains.

Best for: Seobility can be used in two ways. One is to check your own website and perhaps find some of the links missed by Search Console and SEO SpyGlass. Two is to run a quick check of your competitor’s backlinks and gain an insight into their strategy.

Free data allowance: 400 backlinks per check, three checks per day.

4. Ahrefs

A popular link checker tool that draws data from one of the largest backlink indexes.

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Ahrefs backlink checker allows an unlimited number of checks per day, but the number of backlinks you can view is limited to the top 100. Backlinks come with some additional metrics, like domain and page authority, traffic, and anchor text and type. There is also a quick review of the overall backlink profile: domain rating, the total number of backlinks, and the total number of referring domains.

Best for: use this checker interchangeably with Seobility for a quick exploration of your own or your competitor’s websites. Use Ahrefs first because it doesn’t have a daily limit. If it looks like there might be something interesting beyond the first 100 backlinks, switch over to Seobility to retrieve another couple hundred backlinks available over there.

Free data allowance: 100 backlinks per check, unlimited checks per day.

5. SEMrush

The best tool for generating high-level backlink reports and domain summaries.

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Most of the tools on this list try to attract users by allowing them to see partial backlink tables and then asking for a payment to check out the rest. SEMrush has gone in a completely different direction. It shares a ton of backlink analytics, but no backlink lists. So you are free to explore the high-level stuff, but, if you want to drill down, you’d have to buy a subscription.

This is perfectly fine because high-level analytics is about the only thing missing from most of the other free backlink checkers. And SEMrush has got plenty to go around. They offer over a dozen of tables and graphs summarizing your backlink profile: backlinks by industry, by country, by top-level domain, attribute, type, anchor, and authority score, as well as backlink history going back over five years.

Best for: SEMrush is a great tool for generating quick, attractive-looking reports and taking the bird’s-eye view of your or your competitors’ link-building effort.

Free data allowance: unlimited reports, but only 5-10 actual backlinks per domain.

Final thoughts

One of the trade-offs of using free SEO tools is that you might have to sacrifice some of the convenience. In the case of backlink checkers, it could mean using a combination of different tools in order to satisfy all of your backlink research needs.

Of the link checker tools discussed in this article, the majority of your needs will be satisfied with a combination of SEO SpyGlass and Google Search Console. The analytics in SEO SpyGlass can be used to compensate for the lack of metrics in Search Console, while Search Console data can be used to combat the backlink limit in SEO SpyGlass. Together, these two make a solid home base for monitoring and managing your own backlink profile and some spying on your competitors.

Other than that, the free versions of Seobility and Ahrefs can be used for quick but limited backlink extraction, while the free version of SEMrush can supply much-needed analytics and reporting. Together, these three make a perfect combo for spying on your competitors and uncovering their backlink strategies.

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9 of the best SEO tools you can try for free /9-of-the-best-seo-tools-you-can-try-for-free-331100 Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:30:00 +0000 /?p=331100 Free trial is a great way to get acquainted with pricey SEO software. So here's a list of SEO tools you can try out before spending money.

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We all know that SEO is the cornerstone of ranking higher, and this is why there are now hundreds of SEO tools all vying for your attention. 

To avoid splurging on an ultimately disappointing software, here’s the list of 10 most prominent SEO tools you can take for a spin before you spend even a single dollar on them.

1. SEO PowerSuite

Key points: All-in-one SEO solution; desktop software; no limits on SEO functionality; free version available.

SEO PowerSuite aims to handle all of the SEO tasks in a single desktop-based package at an affordable price. Providing everything from an SEO crawler to a mobile-friendly test tool, SEO PowerSuite is a one-stop-shop.

There are no restrictions on the number of projects, nor on the backlinks and keywords researched, so it’s great for large-volume SEO campaigns. That said, there is a limit on competitors researched at the same time, where you can’t research more than 10 at once.

It’s also a freemium tool. There is a perfectly viable free version of the software, which boasts the same functionality as the paid version, with some limits on backlink research and competitive analysis, and no limits on keywords, which makes it perfect for affordable keyword research

Free trial terms: 

  • 7 days full functionality
  • No credit card required
  • After trial, you move to free version

Pricing plans: 

Free version available; Professional license is $299/year and Enterprise license is $699/year.

2. SE Ranking

Key points: All-in-one SEO solution; web-based; adjustable plans; no free version.

In a similar fashion to #1, this is also a comprehensive SEO suite. It’s not the best keyword research tool, but it’s still a great SEO toolbar, and the good news is that there are no restricted functions. 

All of the tool’s functionality is available even with the cheapest plan, and the only thing that changes with the increased pricing are the limits. 

And within every plan, you can adjust the limits on keywords researched yourself, changing the final price of the product. That way, you’ll only be paying for the functionality you actually need.

Free trial terms:

  • 14 days full functionality
  • No credit card required
  • After trial, you lose access to the tool

Pricing plans: 

As per adjustments on keywords researched, Optimum plan is priced at $372-660/year, Plus is $852-1,428/year and Enterprise is $1,812-8,628/year.

3. Moz Pro

Key points: All-in-one SEO solution; web-based; no free version.

Moz is another one of the all-in-one solutions for SEO enthusiasts. From a keyword research tool to a site crawler, it’s got you covered. 

It also boasts one of the best backlink databases on the market right now, making its backlink checker one of the most sought-after features for SEO. On the other hand, there is no PPC functionality and no way to directly manage your website’s content. 

Additionally, it’s quite a bit more expensive than most other SEO tools, so it might not be the best fit for a freelance specialist or a small business owner. 

Free trial terms: 

  • 30 days full functionality
  • Credit card required
  • After trial, you get charged for a month

Pricing plans: 

Standard plan is $950/year, Medium is $1,719/year, Large is $2,390/year and Premium is $5,750/year.

4. Raven Tools

Key points: All-in-one SEO solution; web-based; uses data from different sources; no free version.

Raven Tools is a cloud-based SEO solution that combines a bunch of different databases for different features, using Moz and Majestic, for example, to give users the best results. 

It boasts a very convenient feature of integration with your email automation and call tracking software, where you could import your data from Mailchimp, and run your email campaigns from your SEO tool. 

On the other hand, there are restrictions on the amount of projects, keywords tracked and pages available for auditing. This is why it’s best used by an in-house SEO specialist, rather than an agency or an SEO with multiple clients.

Free trial terms:

  • 7 days of full functionality
  • No credit card required
  • After trial, you lose access to the tool

Pricing plans: 

Start license is $948/year, Grow is $1,668/year, Thrive is $2,988/year and Lead is $4,788/year.

5. SEMrush

Key points: All-in-one SEO software; web-based; free version available.

SEMrush is a platform aiming to be a real one-stop-shop for all digital marketers out there. SEMrush provides full SEO functionality to its users, from a robust backlink checker to local SEO tools. 

Additionally, there are CPC research tools to help run PPC campaigns.This functionality, along with pretty generous limits on the keyword research tool and projects (up to 200), makes it especially convenient for SEO experts working with numerous clients, rather than small business owners or freelance SEOs.

There is also a Free version of SEMrush, which is limited to the point of being unusable for regular work, but it’s perfectly functional as a demo of the larger tool.

Free trial terms:

  • 7 day free trial of either Pro or Guru plan
  • Credit card required
  • After trial, you get charged for the month of a plan you decided to try

Pricing plans: 

Pro plan is $999.36/year, Guru is $1,999.36/year and Business is $3,999.36/year.

6. Netpeak Software

Key points: Website audit; competition analysis; desktop-based; no free version.

Netpeak software is actually two apps, both desktop-based. There’s Netpeak Spider, which is an SEO crawler you can use as a website auditor and backlink checker. There is also Netpeak Checker, which is a tool for URL analysis and competitor research.

It’s convenient because you can pay half the price, and use either one of the apps exclusively. That said, the whitelabel SEO report tool, as well as the ability to crawl more than one domain at once and export of search queries from Google Search Console, are only available in the Pro version of the Netpeak Spider, which costs as much as both of the tools’ Standard versions.

Free trial terms:

  • 14 days full functionality
  • No credit card required
  • After trial, you lose access to the tool

Pricing plans: 

Standart plan is $364.80/year, Pro is $556.80/year.

7. Monitor Backlinks

Key points: Backlink audit; competition analysis; rank tracking; no free version.

Manage Backlinks is created to help you create a solid backlink profile. It’s first and foremost a backlink research tool. It reviews your current backlinks and gives you historical data you can analyze.

There’s a very handy disavowal tool in place to get rid of your unwanted and spammy backlinks, as well as a Competitor Links module for researching your competition’s backlinks.

This tool might work for an in-house SEO specialist or a business owner who only needs a backlink checker tool and might not have the largest budget available.

Free trial terms:

  • 30 days full functionality
  • No credit card required
  • After trial you lose access to the tool

Pricing plans:

The Start plan is $25/month; Plus is $47.40/month; Professional is $89.91/month; 5D4C is $106.16/month; 7D4C is $139.92/month; 10D4C is $187.42/month. 

There’s also a Custom plan if you need extended limits, and its price will depend on your particular arrangement with Monitor Backlinks.

8. RankRanger

Key points: Rank tracking; keyword research; backlink audit; website audit; social media integrations; no free version.

Rank Ranger aims to be the HQ of a digital marketer, with website audit, keyword research, and plenty of social media integrations. Although the Site Auditor feature can only crawl up to 500 URLs daily, and its website audit is still in beta, its main emphasis is on those integrations.

From Mailchimp to Twilio, and from Google Ads to YouTube Analytics, RankRanger can bring together dozens of different tools’ analytics, and work as a single dashboard for your entire social media and PPC marketing campaigns.

Free trial terms:

  • 14 days full functionality
  • No credit card required
  • After trial you lose access to the tool

Pricing plans:

Basic plan is $69/month, Standard is $119/month, and Pro is $399/month.

9. Cognitive SEO

Key points: Site audit; link analysis; rank tracking; social visibility; no free version.

Cognitive SEO is a tool aiming at SEO specialists running content marketing projects. In its Starter plan, the functionality is quite limited, with no Whitelabel nor API access available. There’s also no competition research and CPC management tools.

On the other hand, its limits on backlink research and rank tracking would make it a good choice for an in-house SEO running even a large-volume campaign.

Free trial terms:

  • 7 days full functionality
  • Credit card required
  • After trial, you get charged for the next month

Pricing plans:

Starter plan is $129.99/month; Business plan is completely customizable and its pricing will depend on your particular deal with CognitiveSEO.

Choose your tools wisely

With SEO being the most important factor for a website’s ranking, the type of SEO tool you’ll choose will likely determine the success of your entire marketing campaign.

So choose very carefully, test drive any tool you’re interested in, and, if you decide not to proceed, don’t forget to cancel your subscription before you are charged!

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2020 SEO trends that will influence your work /2020-seo-trends-that-will-influence-your-work-325232 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 12:30:25 +0000 /?p=325232 Google is aiming to be the end destination of their users' journeys. This, more than anything, defines major SEO trends for 2020.

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The SEO landscape is very dynamic. Sure, some things stay the same: put relevant keywords in your titles, make it a priority to optimize for mobile users, etc.

But other things continue changing in a never-ending spiral. This year, Google, along with other huge platforms, is trying more and more to be the end destination of their users’ journeys.

This, more than anything, defines major SEO trends for 2020, since now we need to find the best ways to stay effective within the framework created by Google.

1. Zero-click searches are the new normal 

Thanks to such SERP features as featured snippets, Google’s Local Packs, Knowledge graphs, and so on, more than half of all searches are now “zero-click searches.” That means that the user’s query is answered on the SERP itself, without them having to click away anywhere.

What do we do?

  • Don’t panic. Consider what kind of searches these are: those are people looking for your address and phone number. Or people looking for an answer to a quick and easy question. Those particular clicks probably wouldn’t convert anyway, and so shouldn’t be fretted over.
  • Identify what keywords can actually bring you clicks. Using Rank Tracker in conjunction with your Google Search Console account, you can analyze what keywords of the ones you’re optimizing for actually bring you clicks. That way, you save yourself a whole lot of time and effort optimizing for queries with keywords such as “when,” “how many,” “what year,” and so on. 

Those are vital for content, of course, but shouldn’t be the focal point of your SEO efforts.

2. Do your best to optimize for Rich and Featured snippets

In the situation where zero-click searches are so prevalent, the information shown on the SERP itself is now more important than ever. Two great ways to stand out is to get Rich or Featured snippets. 

Rich snippets — those that, in addition to title and description, show images, stars for reviews, prices for products, etc. — are easier to get, but they will also bring lower CTR improvements compared to a Featured snippet. Your result will be more noticeable, though, even if your position in a SERP will remain the same. 

Featured snippets — an entire block of information that is shown at the top of a SERP — bring great increases in CTR. But getting one is quite a bit more tricky. 

What do we do?

  • Getting both of these types of snippets requires, most of all, that your data be structured. Turn to WebSite Auditor and check if the data on your site is already structured.

Always keep in mind that nothing, including ranking first, actually guarantees you getting Rich or Featured snippets. At the same time, the potential gains are absolutely worth optimizing for them.

3. Local SEO is changing 

A huge number of the aforementioned zero-click searches are local searches for which the results are shown on the SERP itself, in so-called Local Packs. For mobile devices, a single Local Pack might take up as much space as an entire SERP shown to a user.

What do we do?

You can cover a vast number of searches, mostly those containing keywords such as “near me” or “address” and “phone number” in one fell swoop, by creating a Google My Business page for your company. 

But that should only be the beginning of your efforts. A large number of searches will not end on Local packs. People who want to compare products, look up more detailed information, etc. will still go on your website, and that’s where the traditional SEO practices become important. 

So, having a solid backlink profile is paramount. Look up what kind of backlinks your competitors get, and try to get those for yourself. 

A specific feature of local SEO is that you need to have not just any backlinks, but the ones that Google deems locally authoritative.

And of course, remember to track your local ranking performance. Keep in mind that the least change in location will influence the kind of results that the user will get. To look up rankings for keywords down to a street and a house, you should use a keyword research tool like Rank Tracker.

For more in-depth instruction, check out this local SEO guide.

4.  The machines are here to stay

For years now Google’s been using learning algorithms to improve their users’ experience with search and help avoid keyword-stuffed webpages. In 2020, this will be more important than ever with Google’s latest algorithm named BERT

Now, as far as we know, Google uses three mechanisms: first is Neural Matching, which figures out the meaning of the query. Second is RankBrain, which adjusts the SERP’s relying on the collected data about users’ behavior. The third, the newly-implemented BERT, is the algorithm that is used for analyzing the structure of a search to better understand the context in which keywords are used.

What do we do?

As far as Neural matching or BERT go, there isn’t much we can do about those algorithms — Neural matching is really Google’s inner kitchen, and BERT really requires you to write good content

But RankBrain really should be accounted for very carefully. The goal here is not simply to rank for whatever keyword. Now, and more and more in the future, intent matching is paramount for creating successful content.

Because right now, simply ranking without matching intent will cut you off from a huge number of SERPs. 

To understand the correct search intent, you need to keep your hand on the pulse of what’s ranking right now. Using Rank Tracker software, monitor the results to see what content exactly Google considers relevant for the searches you want to rank for.

After properly determining the intent behind the search queries you want to rank for, create the content to match your users’ intent in their search.

5. Brand building should be a priority

One noticeable trend for any marketer working today is that organic social is pretty much dead. While paid advertising still works brilliantly for social, the fact that more and more companies are doing it creates a real trend where ROI for paid ads will be decreasing. 

It’s obvious at this point that paid ads will become more prevalent and expensive for everybody who wants to grow through that avenue. In these conditions, brand awareness and brand building come to the forefront of digital marketers’ efforts. On the other hand, linkless mentions are becoming more and more important, with Google and Bing confirming those are used as ranking signals.

What do we do?

First and foremost we need to go and build relevant mentions. And for 2020, we need to pay as much attention to building quality link profiles, as handling and managing linkless brand mentions.

Utilizing what is called social media listening, for example, will allow you to monitor every mention of not just your brand, but even the type of service/product you provide.

That allows you to, first of all, engage with your clientele directly. Second of all, it’s giving you an opportunity to build brand awareness through publicly providing customer care.

It’s helping inform the people who are actually interested in your product about any campaigns or promotions you might have going on, etc. Also you can look up where your main competitors are mentioned and start a campaign to get mentioned there as well.

By utilizing social listening tools marketers are able to build brand awareness through direct interaction with their customer base, so that should not be thrown out of any digital marketer’s agenda.

Conclusion

Every time marketers think we got this SEO thing down, the rules start to shift and change. A great example is how local SEO changed. Today, having Google My Business is becoming more important for some local businesses than having a website, and this is just a symptom of a larger trend.

We need to always keep our hand on the pulse, then, and adjust our work to the new challenges we’re facing, to provide the best results possible for our clients.

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8 free keyword research tools for SEO (that beat their paid alternatives) /8-free-keyword-research-tools-for-seo-that-beat-their-paid-alternatives-318091 Tue, 18 Jun 2019 11:30:29 +0000 /?p=318091 Do you really need to pay a fortune to find the best SEO & PPC keywords for your business?

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If you Google for a list of SEO tools, you’ll see there are almost 200 options on the market now.

All of them differ in features, amounts and sources of data, and, definitely, prices. But which of them do you really need? And, most importantly, do you have to fork out hundreds of dollars a month, or is there a way to cut the costs?

Today we’ll explore 8 of the best free keyword research tools. Each of them best fits a specific keyword research task and does the job no worse than their paid alternatives.

  1. Rank Tracker

To find the most ample list of keyword variations and analyze their SEO profitability.

When to use:  

Your best SEO keywords are often not very obvious. To find real keyword gems, you need to dig out all the possible variations from multiple data sources. That’s the essence of keyword research.

And this is where Rank Tracker comes in especially handy with 23 different keyword research tools inside it:

  • Suggestions from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Amazon;
  • Google Ads Keyword Planner and Google Search Console integration;
  • Database of all SEO keywords your competitors rank for;
  • Long-tail keyword and question generator;
  • Popular misspellings and permutations;
  • And more.

Using the tools one by one, you get the most ample list of keyword ideas. More to that, you can analyze the keyword difficulty and traffic potential of each keyword you get. This lets you focus the SEO efforts on what takes the least effort to bring in the most traffic.

Free version:

Even though the tool has a more feature-rich paid version, the 100%-free version is absolutely enough for keyword research. It lets you use all the research tools and analyze the keywords’ traffic potential.

  2. Google Search Console

To discover “low-hanging fruit” traffic growth opportunities for your current keywords.

When to use:  

Google Search Console is the place to analyze your current SEO keywords with their average Google positions, impressions and CTRs.

Looking through this research data is a great way to find unexpected SEO shortcuts. For example, if your URL currently ranks on page two or three, Google already considers it pretty relevant for the keyword. And the URL might need just a little SEO boost to storm onto page one and start bringing you a lot more traffic.

Or you might notice that some of your page-one ranking keywords underperform in terms of clicks (have low CTRs). A little tweaking of their SERP snippets or adding the Schema markup could work wonders here.

Free version:

Google Search Console is a free keyword research tool.

  3. Google Ads Keyword Planner

To decide which keywords to target with SEO and PPC.

When to use:  

For some keywords, low ad bids make it reasonable to simply purchase keyword clicks with PPC. For others, overly expensive clicks mean you need to win over the traffic with SEO.

So, before starting out any search engine marketing campaign, you need to split your keyword list between SEO and PPC targeting. And the best place to look for the needed data is, obviously, Google Ads Keyword Planner.

The tool shows you keyword suggestions, search volumes, cost-per-click data, advertiser competition and seasonal traffic fluctuations, all in one place. And it even lets you estimate the prospective PPC spends in your niche.

Free version:

Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool. However, keep in mind that unless you are already spending enough money in Google Ads campaigns, your search volume analysis is limited to ranges (rather than exact search volumes). And you might need another tool (like Rank Tracker) for more precise search volume analytics.

  4. AnswerThePublic

To find keyword suggestions through popular questions for featured answers and voice search optimization.

When to use:  

With Google’s ability to better understand natural language, searchers got used to phrasing their queries as questions rather than separate words. The rise of voice search also helped this trend along.

Making your content to answer the exact questions is one of the key aspects of your keyword research success. Plus, question-based content has a bigger chance of squeezing into Google’s featured answers or the so-called “position 0” results.

The quickest and easiest way to find popular questions related to your business niche is AnswerThePublic – a no-brainer keyword tool that combines your main keywords with various question words (like who, what, why, etc.).

Along with questions, you will also get a handful of keyword ideas through “preposition” keywords (when your seed keyword is combined with another keyword via a preposition) and “comparisons” (like “your keyword vs another keyword”).

Free version:

AnswerThePublic is a free keyword generator.

 5. Keyword Tool Dominator

Perfect keyword research tool for Amazon, Etsy and Ebay.

When to use: 

The way your customers search Google differs from the way they search Amazon, Etsy, or Ebay. Google is used to find places to shop at, whereas Amazon et al. are searched for the actual goods they need.

For you as an Amazon vendor, it isn’t going to be enough to do keyword research for Google. You need to have your listing optimized for Amazon search as well.

A nice tool to dig through the Amazon database is Keyword Tool Dominator. The only thing to keep in mind is that there’s no way to check keyword search volume. What you get is a plain keyword ideas list.

Free version:

While it’s a free keyword research tool, without a paid license, you are limited to three requests per database a day.

6.  Google Trends

To find the right keywords for your local business.

When to use:  

Anybody doing local keyword research knows that search patterns differ between countries. But, surprisingly, the trends also vary considerably from region to region — this is why a precise local keyword tool is needed.

Google Trends is here to help you identify city/location specific search volume variation. Just have the tool compare two synonymic queries to see how misleading a country level keyword analysis could be for a local biz.

For instance, according to Google Trends, even though “personal injury lawyer” is the most popular search request throughout most of the US states, in Tennessee and New Mexico you’re way better off when optimizing for “personal injury attorney”.

Another no less important use-case is tracking down your keywords’ seasonal fluctuation and being able to reliably predict how this or that keyword is going to perform in it’s high and low seasons.

Free version:

Google Trends is a free keyword tool.

7.  Google Correlate

To pull unexpected keyword ideas from adjacent niches.

When to use:  

When thinking of seed keywords for your business, most probably you’ve already listed the most obvious ideas. Say, it comes as no surprise you flower delivery shop should target all kinds of “local florist” and “roses delivery” variations.

But Google Correlate helps you look at your keyword list at a new, unexpected angle, identifying the words, whose seasonal interest fluctuations correlate with that of your main keywords.

For the flower delivery example, our main keywords are in correlation with other female present delivery services: chocolate delivery, dipped strawberries and so on. And even if those have nothing to do with your biz, you can probably utilize them in content targeting for holidays like St. Valentine’s Day.

Free version:

Google Correlate is a free keyword tool.

8. Keywords Everywhere

To analyze keywords while you’re browsing.

When to use:  

Keywords Everywhere is a free browser add-on which lets you do keyword research naturally while browsing Google, Bing, YouTube, etc.

Every time you search for something it will be considered a keyword, and you’ll get keyword search volume immediately in Autosuggest. On the SERPs themselves, a box with new keyword ideas is embedded on the right-hand side of the page, so that you can fill in your keyword list without actually leaving Google.

Free version:

Keywords Everywhere is a free keyword tool.

These are the tools to always keep at hand

There’s hardly any SEO task more important than keyword research. Whatever goals you have, and whatever business you run, picking the right SEO keywords lays the basis and adjusts the direction of your SEO campaign. So you’d better make sure to pack your SEO toolset with a few of these free and easy-to-use tools.

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5 SEO trends that will matter most in 2019 /5-seo-trends-that-will-matter-most-in-2019-307641 Tue, 13 Nov 2018 12:30:14 +0000 /?p=307641 To be atop the waves, think about your SEO strategy in advance. A shortcut to success: get to know the upcoming trends and work out an action plan for each. This year, Google’s shaken the world with its mobile- and speed-related efforts. As a result, most of next year’s SEO efforts are expected in this […]

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To be atop the waves, think about your SEO strategy in advance. A shortcut to success: get to know the upcoming trends and work out an action plan for each.

This year, Google’s shaken the world with its mobile- and speed-related efforts. As a result, most of next year’s SEO efforts are expected in this direction. However, some “non-Google” game-changers will also influence how we build our SEO campaigns. Let’s explore these trends and ways to embrace them.

1. Mobile-first indexing

In a nutshell, mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of your page for indexing and ranking. Since March 2018, Google’s started the process of migrating sites to mobile-first index. It might happen that Search Console has already notified you about it.

Bear in mind, a mobile-first index does not mean “mobile-only.” There’s still a single index with both mobile and desktop versions. However, the whole “mobile-first” buzz means that Google will be using the mobile versions for ranking once the site’s migrated.

You get it, right? With your mobile version being the primary one for ranking, there’s no excuse to procrastinate with mobile-friendliness.

Action plan:

  • Any mobile version type is fine. Just take into account a few moments. Google’s Trends Analyst John Mueller mentioned: “If you want to go responsive, better do it before the mobile-first launch”. So, if your site hasn’t migrated yet, and you’ve been thinking about switching, do it now. Plus, Google strongly recommends against m-dot and responsive for the same page, as it confuses crawlers.
  • To understand how search engine spiders see your mobile pages, crawl them with a mobile bot. For example, WebSite Auditor can do it for you:

  • Track your mobile pages’ loading speed. It’s easy with PageSpeed Insights.
  • Regularly check whether your pages deliver impeccable user experience. You can use WebSite Auditor and its mobile performance section for this task.

2. Page speed

Google’s nuts about delivering the best UX and delivering it fast. Desktop page loading time has been a ranking factor for a while. In July, it got a twin sibling – mobile page speed’s become a ranking factor for mobile.

This crucial change calls for understanding which metrics matter for Google in terms of page speed evaluation.

Historically, when analyzed in PageSpeed Insights, a site was evaluated just on the basis of technical parameters. Now, both for desktop and mobile, it’s graded according to two different metrics: Optimization and, a new one, Speed.

The game-changing part here is how Speed score is generated. The data for the metric’s taken from Chrome User Experience report, the real users’ performance database. It reflects how your site loads for each visitor. It’s obviously hard to measure how fast each visitor’s device loads your site. As a result, the metric’s impossible to get through local tests.

As for Optimization score, you can totally control it by fixing all the issues preventing your site from loading fast.

So, which metric has the strongest influence on rankings? According to the mobile page speed experiment by SEO PowerSuite, the correlation between the page’s Optimization score and its position in SERPs is strong (0.97). And there is no correlation between the page’s position and its Speed score. In other words, now Google can rate your site as slow, but your rankings stay the same.

However, Speed metric is something new, so it’s clear Google’s testing it. With time, those correlations may change.

Action plan:

Optimization score is what matters now for rankings. Luckily, site optimization and result tracking are totally in your hands. Google’s nicely provided a handy list of recommendations. You may also refer to the even more detailed guide on improving the Optimization score.

3. Brand as a ranking signal

Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, has stated at Pubcon that Google uses online brand mentions in its search algo. There’re two ways it can use a brand as a ranking signal.

First of all, through unlinked brand mentions, the search engine learns that your brand’s an entity. By further analyzing all the properties mentioning it, Google gets a better picture of your authority in a particular field.

Second, each component’s sentiment and context matters: reputation, trust, advertising, complaint-solving, etc. Through context, Google learns to tell the good from the bad. For example, its Search Quality Guidelines state that reputation matters for rankings. Consequently, the sentiment around brand mentions can affect the site’s rankings.

Action plan:

  • Backlinks are still a strong ranking signal. However, building links fast is rarely a white-hat business. Use the power of linkless backlinks then. Mention your brand name online whenever you have a natural opportunity.
  • Cater to your reputation. Try to address the customers’ pains with your brand. Engage with happy clients as well. For that, track mentions of your brand online. Try the monitoring tool Awario for finding such linkless mentions all across the Web.

  • Find influencers ready to talk about you (but who haven’t realized it yet) or who are already talking about your brand. Awario tool has everything to help you here as well.
  • Look at your competitors. By reverse-engineering their strategies, you will look at your own SEO efforts holistically, not single-pointedly. For that, look at the competitors’ brand mentions to see how they grow awareness. Or go for a deep analysis of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

4. GDPR

Let’s bet you got annoyed this spring when your inbox got filled with GDPR and Privacy Policy mails. What’s this thing?

GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation passed in the European Union. It regulates a very nagging issue – who owns the data created by users’ interactions online. From now on, it’s users who do, not corporations which collect it. Consequently, users can now request to see what personal data the company has about them and ask for its correction or export. If a company doesn’t comply with the regulations, it can be hit with severe fines (€20 mln or 4% of the company’s annual profit).

This regulation affects the EU companies and customers. However, international companies should also comply with GDPR. As a result, Google’s decided to introduce changes into its Analytics. Now all personal user data expires after 26 months since it was collected. Such data includes demographic and affinity data (earlier kept perpetually) and doesn’t include sessions and goal completions. However, each site owner can change this data collection default period. Plus, it’s now possible to delete the data of individual users upon their request.

Action plan:

If you have no European customers:

  • You can switch to the “do not automatically expire” option in Google Analytics. Beware that this way Google shakes off the user data protection responsibility on you. Plus, these user data control efforts can extend well outside the EU. Just wait for it.

If you have European customers or plan to:

  • Review all the sources collecting user data on your site. Make sure you don’t accidentally send some private data to Google Analytics;
  • Update your Privacy policy file by GDPR requirements;
  • Revise your cookie consent form. It should have the following content: what information you collect, why you do it, where you store it, affirm the info’s protected;
  • If you use Google Tag Manager, activate IP anonymization. Don’t worry, you will still have a general idea where your traffic comes from. It just will be a bit less precise.

5. Amazon search

First things first, Amazon’s not a universal search engine. It’s an algo similar to Google’s, but used for internal search within Amazon pages. What’s the fuss about then? Well, more and more people go straight to Amazon to do shopping. According to a study, 56% of consumers visit Amazon first if they have shopping in mind. 51% check with Amazon after finding something elsewhere.

These figures tell us that Amazon’s becoming Google of e-commerce. It means that if you sell something and you’re not on Amazon, you are missing out on all those 56% of potential customers.

Thus, if you’re a seller of books, music, electronics, etc., include optimization for Amazon into your SEO strategy.

Action plan:

1. Run keyword research. To be more industry-wise, use Amazon itself. Rank Tracker, for example, has Amazon Autocomplete keyword research tool:

  1. Make item’s title&description efficient and user-friendly (+ smart use of keywords);
  2. Provide high-quality images;
  3. Cater to “backend keywords” (or meta tags, if in Google’s terms). They tell Amazon algo that a specific item targets a specific keyword on the site;
  4. Track customers’ reviews and address complaints.

Looking at the year ahead…

Few trends, but big changes. While all things mobile are going far, we still have to keep an eye on Amazon and GDPR’s consequences. This list’s still a prediction, we’ll surely have zillions of things to discuss in 2019. What are your thoughts on an SEO landscape for the next year?

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SEO PowerSuite Review: features, analysis, results /seo-powersuite-review-features-analysis-results-305368 Tue, 18 Sep 2018 11:30:55 +0000 /?p=305368 SEO software is what makes automation of SEO processes possible. However, the choice is so vast today that it is hard to find a winning set of tools for each cycle of an SEO campaign. Of course, there is an option to run down a perfect tool for each part of your SEO routine, but […]

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SEO software is what makes automation of SEO processes possible. However, the choice is so vast today that it is hard to find a winning set of tools for each cycle of an SEO campaign.

Of course, there is an option to run down a perfect tool for each part of your SEO routine, but you will end up with dozens of instruments and, most probably, endless spreadsheets with data.

To avoid this situation and get a great value for your money, consider SEO PowerSuite. This pack of tools happens to manage any task SEO you can think of: run a technical audit, help to optimize pages, find millions of keywords and monitor their rankings, trace dangerous backlinks, and build some more quality backlinks, with neat SEO reports and task auto-scheduling.

This review of SEO PowerSuite toolkit will show you how you can do all of these, and more! If in doubt, you can always give the free version of the software a try. And here is what SEO PowerSuite can help you with.

1. Audit & optimize your site

Tool: WebSite Auditor

WebSite Auditor tackles two big SEO tasks: technical site audit and page optimization. Here is a short spectrum of tasks that the tool can help you with.

  • Run a tech audit

Once you create a project for your site, the tool crawls ALL your site’s resources (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flash, etc.) and runs a scan for technical issues. As a result, you have a dashboard full of factors (indexing, crawlability, on-page, redirects, encoding, etc.) and their statuses: Correct, Warning or Error, which are accompanied with what-to-do tips as well as overall information on the importance of a particular factor.

It is a great resource for both quick fixes and long-term tech tasks.

  • Visualize the site structure

The Visualization tool in WebSite Auditor allows you to create interactive site maps where you can see both overall and detailed structures of your site with all the connection types between your pages. The structure can be visualized by click depth, internal Page Rank and pageviews.

What’s more, you can edit the structure in-app to further export and apply all the needed changes.

  • Optimize your pages

Proceed from an overall site audit to optimization of individual pages. The tool provides clear-cut advice on a page’s technical factors, as well as the use of keywords in on-page elements like title, meta tags, body and images.

What’s more, the tool allows editing pages in-app to see how changes will look like on your site and in SERPs.

  • Employ a TF-IDF analysis

WebSite Auditor’s TF-IDF tool optimizes pages for topical relevance, which is a must-do for semantic search optimization. The tool runs analysis of pages of your 10 top-ranking competitors against your target keywords to understand what topically relevant terms they use. As a result, you receive a dashboard of terms and phrases with usage recommendations.

2. Find keywords and track rankings

Tool: Rank Tracker

Rank Tracker helps to cover two big and important SEO tasks: find new keywords and track their rankings. See what tasks you can manage with this tool.

  • Discover new keywords

When you create a project for your site in Rank Tracker, the tool pulls seed keywords from your Google AdWords and Analytics accounts. Then it offers you 20 keyword research tools to choose from for collecting your new keyword ideas: keyword suggestions, combinations, autocomplete, related searches and questions, competitors’ keywords.

All discovered keywords are stored in the archive called Keyword Sandbox where they can be analyzed and re-analyzed in the future.

  • Find the most efficient keywords

Rank Tracker also has a number of factors that help to understand which terms are of the highest value for your business. Analyze your keywords according to the number of searches, competition, expected visits, cost per click, keyword difficulty and so on to choose winning ones and start their rank tracking.

  • Build a keyword map

Rank Tracker automatically distributes researched keywords into groups according to their semantic similarity. You can edit your keyword groups and then assign them to particular pages of your site.

  • Set up rank checking preferences

Select your target search engines from the list of 570+ supported ones. You can also specify your target location(s), which can be as specific as a street address.

What’s more, apart from organic results tracking, the tool enables you to monitor multiple SERP results, like featured snippets, image carousels, local packs and more than a dozen more Google result types.

If you want to track competitors’ rankings along with yours, you can also add competitors’ sites to your dashboard.

  • Check your rankings

Finally, you can monitor your rankings according to your setup preferences for an unlimited number of keywords.

3. Run a backlink audit

Tool: SEO SpyGlass

SEO SpyGlass helps you to find all your backlinks and audit them to run down those that are dangerous for your rankings.

  • Find all your backlinks

When you create a project in SEO SpyGlass, the tool collects all your backlinks. Plus, Google Search Console and Analytics are integrated in the software, so you can additionally pull backlinks from those tools for an even more comprehensive backlink profile.

  • Assess your overall backlink analytics

To see the core strong and weak points of your backlink profile, you can access the overall analytics for your backlinks, like total links vs. linking domains, dofollow vs. nofollow, profile growth stats, backlink countries, top anchor texts and many more.

  • Spy on your competitors

The tool allows you to add the sites of your top competitors to compare your backlink profiles as well as see where your links intersect.

  • Detect dangerous links

SEO SpyGlass calculates Penalty Risk values for backlinks. Whenever you see high Penalty Risk scores in the tool, you can analyze the provided list of factors that make links from this domain potentially dangerous and consider whether you need to get rid of those.

  • Deal with harmful links

The tool gives you the contact details of webmasters, so you can reach them with the request to take some links down. If this way is not quite convenient in any terms, you can disavow spammy links right in SEO SpyGlass.

4. Begin building quality links

Tool: LinkAssistant

LinkAssistant helps to efficiently manage your link-building process: search for prospects, assess their quality and get in touch with potential link prospects.

  • Search for link prospects

Once you have a project for your site in LinkAssistant, you can start searching for link prospects with the help of any of 12 methods: guest posting, reviews, blogs, competitors’ backlinks and more.

  • Assess the quality of potential links

The tool has a number of quality metrics (page/domain authority, Alexa rank, domain age, social shares and more) that allow you to pinpoint the links of the highest quality.

  • Contact link prospects

The tool provides contact info of the potential partners as well as gives the possibility to get in touch with them right from the tool using one of provided customizable email templates. What’s more, you can track the status of your emails in the app.

  • Manage your links

LinkAssistant helps you to keep an eye on your link profile: check the status of your links, whether they have a right anchor text and so on.

5. Create powerful SEO reports for your clients

Tool: All SEO PowerSuite tools

SEO PowerSuite allows its users to create beautiful, comprehensive SEO reports in any of its tools.

In each SEO PowerSuite tool, you can create SEO reports that are:

  • White-label.
  • Customizable with logo and colors.
  • Uploadable.
  • Shareable with clients and colleagues.
  • Designed responsively.
  • Scheduled for delivering to clients.
  • Visually rich and informative.

Conclusion

As you can see from this review, SEO PowerSuite tools are indeed able to cover all cycles of your SEO campaign, from keyword research to link building. The best thing is that besides the reviewed features, this toolkit is packed with more things that can come in handy particularly for your business. Give SEO PowerSuite a try to make your SEO routine much more lightweight and your clients much more delighted.

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5 things to check if your traffic suddenly drops /5-things-to-check-if-your-traffic-suddenly-drops-300025 Tue, 19 Jun 2018 11:30:42 +0000 /?p=300025 No one’s immune to traffic drops, and the causes may be easy to overlook. Still, to avoid barking up the wrong tree, gather the evidence first: look closely at the overall stats for a long enough period in your Google Analytics to see if the traffic spike really looks out of place or if it […]

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No one’s immune to traffic drops, and the causes may be easy to overlook. Still, to avoid barking up the wrong tree, gather the evidence first: look closely at the overall stats for a long enough period in your Google Analytics to see if the traffic spike really looks out of place or if it might occur due to seasonality, holidays or other patterns inherent to the niche.

Another thing to make sure of is that you don’t miss any pieces of data for certain days or devices. Double-check to see if Google Analytics codes are implemented properly on all pages of your site (here’s a tracking code checker), if correct snippets for your property are being used and if the code formatting is preserved (your GA tracking code can be found under Admin > Tracking Info > Tracking Code).

Once you know for sure the error isn’t statistical, it’s time to have a closer look at the symptoms and start digging to find the root cause.

1. Significant changes to your site

Substantial site changes like redesign, migration or content clearout may have pitfalls, potentially subversive, for your SEO. If you have recently been through any, and there’s a traffic dip out of the blue, pay close attention to the aspects that were involved. The most commonly overlooked issues would concern indexation and crawlability.

First, go to Crawl > Crawl Errors in your Google Search Console (GSC) and examine the graphs closely to spot any abrupt changes after the renovation.

To track down the broken URLs reported by GSC, you can turn to a tool like WebSite Auditor: create a project for your site and allow a few moments for the app to crawl it in-depth. Find the URLs in the All Resources tab with a Quick Search filter and check the Links to Page section at the bottom to see where the broken links hide.

Next, go to Google Index >  Index Status  in GSC and check to see if the number of indexed pages for your site may have drastically decreased. To make sure you haven’t disallowed anything mistakenly, rebuild your WebSite Auditor project to recrawl the site on behalf of Googlebot. Check the Robots Instructions column under All Resources, showing the directives from your robots.txt, as well as page-level restrictions (X-Robots or noindex tags) and how they apply to each URL.

2. Manual search engine penalty

If you have called down the wrath of Google by violating webmaster quality guidelines and got caught by Google’s human reviewers, you will see a notice in your GSC account in the Search Traffic > Manual Actions section. The site being hacked is one possible reason that lies beyond your control; for such a case, Google has a comprehensive recovery guide. Most other reasons are fully under your control and are easier to recover from.

User-generated spam

You can be penalized for spammy and irrelevant links on pages of your site that allow user-generated content. The cure would be to detect the violations and clean up carefully. Further preventive treatment would be moderation, anti-spam measures like a reCAPTCHA plugin or defaulting the UG content to “nofollow.

Unnatural outgoing lnks, cloaking and sneaky redirects

Those on-page violations may be hard to spot on a site that’s larger than average, yet WebSite Auditor can lift that burden for you again.

If the penalty refers to unnatural linking, go to All Resources and review the list of all external links from your site. Get rid of the paid links and links gained through evident link exchange.

If you’re punished for sneaky redirects, make sure none of the redirects lead from your site to anywhere unforeseen or suspicious. Check the Pages with 301/302 redirects and meta refresh sections under Site Audit to revise all the destination URLs.

As for cloaking, ensure that your pages return the same content to a user in a browser and to a search engine bot. To see your site from Google’s perspective, crawl it with the Fetch as Google tool, and check for any discrepancies.

Thin or duplicate content

Having too many pages that provide too little meaningful content may trigger a thin content penalty. These may be category pages with loads of links and only a few lines of text, thin local landings instead of one information-rich store locator or other need-to-have pages with no value in terms of content. Those are better off merged or hidden, as all the accessible content adds up to the overall quality of your site.

To find the peacebreakers, turn back to your WebSite Auditor project. Add the Word Count column to your workspace, click on its header to sort the URLs, and check if there are too many pages with thin content. You may also pay attention to the ratio between the word count and the number of Links From Page.

To spot the pages that are likely to be duplicated or very similar, check the Duplicate Titles and Duplicate Meta Descriptions sections under Site Audit.

Unnatural links to your site

To find the culprits here, fire up SEO SpyGlass: create a project for your site and choose SEO PowerSuite Backlink Explorer in tandem with Google Search Console (connect the GSC account associated with your site). Once the backlinks are gathered, switch to Linking Domains and go to Link Penalty Risk workspace, select the domains and click Update Penalty Risk.

Penalty Risk column will show the likelihood of getting penalized for any link, considering the sites’ quality and your backlink profile diversity. The domains with penalty risk higher than 50 percent are worth manual revision. The ones you decide to take down can be disavowed right from the tool (select > right-click > Disavow Domains). The ready-to-submit disavow file can be exported from the Preferences > Disavow/Blacklist Backlinks menu.

Once you’ve cleaned up the mess, submit a reconsideration request to Google: click to Request A Review under Manual Actions in your GSC.

3. Google algorithm update

Google is evolving without a break: it tweaks and rolls something out every once in a while. If traffic decline corresponds to any update rollout, investigate the factors triggering it.

New core updates (and renewals to well-known algos) would normally be all over the SEO news, so you should be able to find out what they are about.

Narrowly focused and niche-specific updates, however, may not get covered right away, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on SERP fluctuations for your niche keywords to spot any unusual shakeups. Rank Tracker is there to help: in the bottom tab of the Rank Tracking module, you can go to SERP Analysis and click to Record SERP Data. The tool will gather the top 30 pages for your keywords with each ranking check and accumulate the results in the SERP History table.

The Fluctuation Graph will reflect any suspicious fluctuations for individual keywords and the whole project. The SERP History table will show the dropped URLs so that you could investigate a possible cause by analyzing pages’ common traits.

4. Valuable backlinks lost

Losing backlinks may hurt your visibility and traffic big times, especially if your site doesn’t have loads of backlinks overall. If the traffic drop affected most keywords and pages, check for any noticeable changes to your backlink profile. Back in SEO SpyGlass, you can look through the Summary section to see if the Backlink Progress graph went down recently.

If so, you can track the lost links by updating Backlink Page Info factor for the backlinks. In the Links Back column, you’ll see the real-time status of each; the Last Found Date column will give a hint as to when you may have lost any. If possible, contact website owners personally to get the crucial links back.

5. Competitors and SERPs changes

If the traffic drop is rather moderate or specific to certain keywords, some of your pages may have gone a few results down the SERPs. To investigate, turn back to SERP History tab in Rank Tracker: you may notice new kinds of results on some SERPs that now answer your target queries directly in a Featured Snippet, Knowledge Graph or Answer Box. That would be one good reason to consider optimizing for position 0.

If rankings and traffic are lost to a competitor, try reverse-engineering the upranked pages and find the aspect where you fall behind. Are the pages mobile-optimized as opposed to yours, was the content significantly renewed, new backlinks gained? Or perhaps schema markup made the result stand out and entice your clicks. Think of catching up on weak spots you discover.

Finally, it may happen that your competitors set up a PPC campaign and started biding on keywords you rank high for, and now their ads show up on SERPs and drive the traffic away from the top organic results including yours. If that’s the case, you may consider overbidding the competitor if given keywords are of high importance to you or shifting your focus to other target queries.

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