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https://relativityseo.com/seo-services/ Sponsored Content: SEO PowerSuite – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Mon, 30 Mar 2020 13:07:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 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 the most obvious ones. To find real keyword gems, you need to dig out all the possible variations from multiple data sources.

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 keywords’ traffic potential and check how fierce their SEO competition is. 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 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 free to use.

  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 tools shows you 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:

The tool is a free one. 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 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. And with the rise of voice search, the trend got even further.

Making your content answer exact searcher’s questions is one of the key aspects of your voice search 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 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 “preposition” keywords (when your seed keyword is combined with another word via a preposition) and “comparisons” (like “your keyword vs another keyword”).

Free version:

AnswerThePublic is free to use.

 5. Keyword Tool Dominator

To find keywords from Amazon, Etsy and Ebay.

When to use:  

The way your customers search Google differs from the way they search Amazon. In fact, they Google for places to shop at, and search Amazon for the goods they shop for.

So, for you as an Amazon vendor, it isn’t going to be quite enough to simply research SEO keywords for Google. You need to have your listing optimized for Amazon search and Amazon keywords just 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 Amazon’s search volumes. What you get is a plain keyword ideas list.

Free version:

Without a paid license, you can only make three requests to each of the databases (eBay, Amazon, Etsy) a day.

6.  Google Trends

To find the right keywords for your local business.

When to use:  

Quite obviously, user search patterns differ between countries. But, more surprisingly, the trends also vary considerably from region to region.

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 free to use.

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 free to use.

8. Keywords Everywhere

To analyze keywords while you’re browsing.

When to use:  

Keywords Everywhere is a free browser add-on, which lets you analyze keywords while simply browsing Google, Bing, YouTube and other websites.

Whenever you start typing into the search box, search volumes are added to all the keywords you see in Autocomplete suggestions. 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 free to use.

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.

The post 8 free keyword research tools for SEO (that beat their paid alternatives) appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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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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8 game-changing SEO trends that will dominate 2018 /8-game-changing-seo-trends-that-will-dominate-2018-286023 Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:30:30 +0000 /?p=286023 With over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm, SEO is a complex science. But it’s not how much you need to know that makes it really challenging — it’s the ever-changing nature of the rules of the game. As search engines strive to improve the quality of search results, some ranking factors shift shapes, others fall […]

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With over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm, SEO is a complex science. But it’s not how much you need to know that makes it really challenging — it’s the ever-changing nature of the rules of the game.

As search engines strive to improve the quality of search results, some ranking factors shift shapes, others fall into oblivion, and completely new ones arise out of nowhere. To help you stay ahead of the game in 2018, here’s a list of the most prominent trends that are gaining momentum, with tips on how you can prepare for each.

1. The rise of SERP features

Are you assuming a #1 organic ranking is the way to get as much traffic as possible? Think again. Increasingly, SERP features (local packs, Knowledge panels, featured snippets and so on) are stealing searchers’ attention and clicks from organic listings.

And it’s only fair if you consider the evolution the Google SERP has been through. It has gone all the way from “10 blue links”…

… to something that makes you feel like you’re part of a Brazilian carnival.

What can you do about it?

With the evolution of SERP features, it’s critical that you (a) track your rankings within these features, and (b) monitor the features that show up for your keywords and are potentially stealing traffic from you. You can do this with SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker by simply starting a project for your site. The tool will track 15 Google SERP features, along with organic results. The Google SERP Features column will show you all features triggered by your keywords, with the ones you rank in highlighted in green. Additionally, you can measure the volatility of SERP features day-to-day under the SERP Analysis tab.

Based on this data, analyze the opportunities that SERP features pose. Can you squeeze into the local pack? Can you get a featured snippet for this query? How about a Knowledge Graph panel? Which brings us straight to the next point:

2. Structured data

Structured data is a way of formatting HTML that uses a specific vocabulary, telling search engines how to interpret content — and how to display it in the SERPs.

Google’s never officially confirmed structured data is a ranking signal — and in itself, it likely isn’t.

Why bother, then? Glad you asked!

Structured data lets you enhance your search listings in several ways: Think Knowledge Graph panels and rich snippets. The latter can increase your listings’ CTR (click-through rate) by 30 percent. Multiple real-life experiments show an increase in clicks boosts rankings.

With search results getting more diverse, you can’t ignore the opportunity to stand out. In fact, you’d better get at it right now, before a competitor does.

What can you do about it?

Go on and do it, really. There are several structured data formats, but most SEOs stick to Schema.org. This step-by-step guide to Schema for SEO is a good place to start. Once you’ve implemented the markup, track whether rich snippets show up for your site with the Rank Tracker tool mentioned above.

3. Survival of the fastest

Speed is big. Not only is it a ranking signal; it’s a major UX factor. UX, in turn, impacts rankings. It’s a loop of sorts!

But how fast is fast, exactly? Google expects pages to load in under three seconds. Here’s what you can do to get there.

What can you do about it?

First, take Google’s page speed test. The test is integrated into WebSite Auditor and available in its free version. Just launch WebSite Auditor and create a project. Jump to Content Analysis and specify the page you’d like to test. In a moment, you’ll see a selection of on-page factors calculated for you. Go to Technical factors and scroll to Page speed (Dekstop).

For any problematic factor, click on it for an explanation and how-to-fix advice.

4. Relevance 2.0

Increasingly, it’s getting harder to convince Google you have great content when you really don’t (and easier to get penalized for trying). There are a number of ways Google assesses content quality, one of them being Latent Semantic Indexing. By looking at billions of pages and terms used in them, Google learns which terms are related and builds expectations as to the terms that are likely to appear in a given context. This helps Google decide whether a piece of content is “comprehensive.”

With RankBrain, Google may further analyze the best-performing search results (according to Google’s user satisfaction metrics) and look for similarities between them. These shared features, such as usage of certain terms, may become query-specific ranking signals for the given search term.

What can you do about it?

How do you make sure your content is comprehensive? By researching the top-ranking pages in your niche and looking for the features they share, just like RankBrain does. Clearly, you can’t do this manually for each term, so here’s a simple framework that uses WebSite Auditor and its TF-IDF tool.

In WebSite Auditor, jump to Content Analysis > TF-IDF and select a page. The app will go to Google’s search results, analyze the 10 top-ranking pages and calculate a TF-IDF score for each term used on each page. As a result, you’ll get a list of relevant terms and phrases, sorted by the number of competitors that use them.

You can implement the recommended changes and edit your page right in WebSite Auditor’s Content Editor.

5. Voice search is the real deal

Still skeptical about voice search? Consider this: Google reports that 55 percent of teens and 40 percent of adults use voice search daily; and, according to Google’s Behshad Behzadi, the ratio of voice search is growing faster than type search. Voice search calls for a whole new keyword research routine: Voice searchers use normal, conversational sentences instead of the odd-sounding query lingo.

What can you do about it?

Rank Tracker is a great help in researching questions voice searchers are likely to ask. Launch Rank Tracker (free version is fine), jump to Keyword Research, and press Suggest Keywords. Pick the Common Questions method from the list, and type in your keywords.

In a minute, you’ll end up with hundreds of questions you can target!

6. Mobile is unignorably big

With the rise of voice search, over half of Google searches coming from mobile devices, the impending mobile-first index, and mobile-friendliness being a ranking factor, you simply can’t afford to ignore mobile SEO anymore.

What can you do about it?

First off, check if your pages are mobile-friendly. Google’s mobile test is available in WebSite Auditor, under Content Analysis. Enter the URL of the page you’d like to test, switch to Technical factors, and scroll down to Page usability (Mobile).

Click on the problematic factors, if any, for how-to-fix advice. Forward the tips to your dev team, and re-run the test once the improvements have been made.

7. ‘Linkless’ backlinks

For years, links have been the trust signal for search engines — one that SEOs spent the most time on optimizing (and often manipulating). But times are changing, and linkless mentions may be becoming an off-page signal of equal weight.

Search engines can easily associate mentions with brands and use them to determine a site’s authority. Duane Forrester, formerly senior product manager at Bing, confirmed that Bing is already using unlinked mentions for ranking. This patent and many SEO experts’ observations are reason enough to believe that Google may be doing this too.

What can you do about it?

In addition to a backlink checker, use a web monitoring tool to find mentions of your brand and products. Awario is perhaps one of the best apps for this, with their own real-time index of the web and the Reach metric that lets you see the most authoritative mentions first.

8. An increasingly personalized SERP

Personalized search results aren’t just based on the traditional ranking factors, but also on the information about the user (such as their location, search history or interests).

Google, Bing and Yahoo all personalize their search results in multiple ways. Back in 2011, an experiment showed that over 50 percent of Google searches were being personalized; that number has likely only gone up since.

What can you do about it?

Don’t panic: Personalization doesn’t have to work against you. When someone searches for your target keyword for the first time, you’ve got to do your best to appear among the top results in the unbiased SERP. If the searcher clicks on your listing, you’re becoming their preferred entity, and their subsequent searches will most likely include your site as the top result.

One thing to keep in mind is to ensure your rank tracking is accurate. Rank Tracker will check your rankings in a depersonalized way by default, so there’s no need to set up any extra prefs. But if you’re looking to see unbiased results in your browser, make sure you’re using an Incognito/Private mode.

To learn more about how how Google personalizes its results, jump to this post.

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8 major Google algorithm updates, explained /8-major-google-algorithm-updates-explained-282627 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:30:58 +0000 http:/?p=282627 Almost every day, Google introduces changes to its ranking algorithm. Some are tiny tweaks; others seriously shake up the SERPs. This cheat sheet will help you make sense of the most important algo changes and penalties rolled out in the recent years, with a brief overview and SEO advice on each. Read on or get […]

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Almost every day, Google introduces changes to its ranking algorithm. Some are tiny tweaks; others seriously shake up the SERPs. This cheat sheet will help you make sense of the most important algo changes and penalties rolled out in the recent years, with a brief overview and SEO advice on each. Read on or get the cheat sheet in a free PDF.

But before we start, let’s do something fun. What if you could see which of the updates impacted your organic traffic, and in what way? Surprise surprise, you can, with a tool called Rank Tracker. All you need to do is launch Rank Tracker and create a project for your site. Then, click the Update Traffic button in Rank Tracker’s top menu, and enter your Google Analytics credentials to sync your account with the tool. In the lower part of your Rank Tracker dashboard, switch to Organic Traffic:

Did any of your traffic changes correlate with Google’s updates? Let’s find out what each of the updates was about and how to adjust.

1. Panda

Launch date: February 24, 2011
Hazards: Duplicate, plagiarized or thin content; user-generated spam; keyword stuffing

How it works: Panda assigns a so-called “quality score” to web pages; this score is then used as a ranking factor. Initially, Panda was a filter rather than part of Google’s ranking algo, but in January 2016, it was officially incorporated into the core algorithm. Panda rollouts have become more frequent, so both 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.

To check for instances of external content duplication, use a plagiarism checker like Copyscape.

If you have an e-commerce site and cannot afford to have 100 percent unique content, try to use original images where you can, and utilize user reviews to make product descriptions stand out from the crowd. For more tips on content auditing, jump to this six-step guide.

2. Penguin

Launch 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 links it deems manipulative. Since late 2016, Penguin has been part of Google’s core algorithm; unlike Panda, it works in real time.

How to adjust: 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 are reason enough to look into the backlinks you’ve unexpectedly gained.

The stats that we know Penguin takes into account are incorporated into SEO SpyGlass’s Penalty Risk formula. To check for penalty risks, go to the Linking Domains dashboard, navigate to the Link Penalty Risks tab, select your links, and click Update Penalty Risk. When the check is complete, check with the Penalty Risk column, and make sure to look into every link with a score over 50 percent.

For a more detailed guide on link auditing, jump here.

3. Hummingbird

Launch date: August 22, 2013
Hazards: Keyword stuffing; low-quality content

How it works: Hummingbird 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, Hummingbird 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, not keywords. Carefully research related searches, synonyms and co-occurring terms. Great sources of such ideas are Google Related Searches and Google Autocomplete. You’ll find all of them incorporated into Rank Tracker’s Keyword Research module.

Use these insights to understand your audience’s language better and diversify your content. By creating comprehensive content that satisfies searcher intent, you’ll win both in terms of engagement and SEO. We’ll look at comprehensiveness in more detail later in this post when we discuss RankBrain.

4. Pigeon

Launch date: July 24, 2014 (US); December 22, 2014 (UK, Canada, Australia)
Hazards: Poor on- and off-page SEO

How it works: Pigeon affects those searches in which the user’s location plays an important part. The update created closer ties between the local algorithm and the core algorithm: traditional SEO factors are now used to rank local results.

How to adjust: Invest effort into on- and off-page SEO. A good starting point is running an on-page analysis with WebSite Auditor. The tool’s Content Analysis dashboard will give you a good idea about the aspects of on-page optimization you need to focus on.

A good way to start with off-page SEO is getting listed in relevant business directories. Not only do those act like backlinks, helping your site rank; they rank well in Google themselves. You can easily find quality directories and reach out to webmasters asking to get listed with LinkAssistant.

Just click Look for Prospects, select Directories, and enter your keywords. It’s a good idea to specify category keywords plus your location (e.g., “dentist Denver”). In a moment, the tools will return a list of relevant directories in your niche, along with the site owner’s email addresses.

For more tips on local SEO, jump to this guide.

5. Mobile

Launch date: April 21, 2015
Hazards: Lack of a mobile version of the page; poor mobile usability

How it works: Google’s Mobile Update (aka Mobilegeddon) ensures that mobile-friendly pages rank at the top of mobile search, while pages not optimized for mobile are filtered out from the SERPs or seriously down-ranked.

How to adjust: Go mobile and focus on speed and usability. Google’s mobile-friendly test will help you see which aspects of your page’s mobile version need to be improved. The test in integrated into WebSite Auditor so you can check your pages’ mobile friendliness quickly. You’ll find it in Content Analysis > Page Audit, under the Technical factors tab.

6. RankBrain

Launch date: October 26, 2015
Hazards: Lack of query-specific relevance features; shallow content; poor UX

How it works: RankBrain is 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 ins and outs of RankBrain, the general opinion is that it identifies relevance features for web pages ranking for a given query, which are basically query-specific ranking factors.

How to adjust: Optimize content for relevance and comprehensiveness with the help of competitive analysis. With the help of WebSite Auditor‘s TF-IDF tool, you can discover relevant terms and concepts used by a large number of your top-ranking competitors: those are a brilliant way to diversify your content.

7. Possum

Launch date: September 1, 2016
Hazards: Tense competition in your target location

How it works: The Possum update ensured that local results vary more depending on the searcher’s location: the closer you are to a business’s address, the more likely you are to see it among local results. Possum also resulted in greater variety among results ranking for very similar queries, like “dentist denver” and “dentist denver co.” Interestingly, Possum also gave a boost to businesses located outside the physical city area.

How to adjust: Expand your keyword list and do location-specific rank tracking. Local businesses now need to be targeting more keywords than they used to, due to the volatility Possum brought into the local SERPs. As you check your rankings, make sure you’re doing this from your target location (or, better yet, a bunch of them). You can do this in Rank Tracker under Preferences > Preferred Search Engines. Click Add Custom next to Google. Next, specify your preferred location — you can make it as specific as a street address.

8. Fred

Launch date: March 8, 2017
Hazards: Thin, affiliate-heavy or ad-centered content

How it works: The latest of Google’s confirmed updates, Fred targets websites that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines. The majority of affected sites are blogs with low-quality posts that appear to be created mostly for the purpose of generating ad revenue.

How to adjust: Review Google Search Quality Guidelines and watch out for thin content. If you show ads, make sure the pages they are found on are high-quality and offer relevant, ample information. This is basically it: Don’t try to trick Google into thinking your page is about something when it really is a gateway page full of affiliate links. Most publishers make money off ads, and that’s totally legit as long as you are not cheating.

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8 major Google ranking signals in 2017 /8-major-google-ranking-signals-2017-278450 Tue, 11 Jul 2017 11:36:11 +0000 http:/?p=278450   It’s no secret that Google’s ranking algorithm is made up of over 200 components, or “signals.” And while the list is impressive, it can get daunting if you’re a just regular human with 24 hours in a day. Luckily, SEO isn’t about getting every tiny thing right; it’s about getting your priorities right. Below, […]

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It’s no secret that Google’s ranking algorithm is made up of over 200 components, or “signals.” And while the list is impressive, it can get daunting if you’re a just regular human with 24 hours in a day.

Luckily, SEO isn’t about getting every tiny thing right; it’s about getting your priorities right. Below, we’ve put up a list of top eight rankings factors, based on the industry studies by SearchMetrics, Backlinko and SEO PowerSuite. Read on to find what they are, and how to optimize your site for each.

Backlinks

Surprise, surprise, right? In 2017, backlinks continue to be the strongest indication of authority to Google. Let’s look at the things that can make or break yours.

1. Link score

How does Google turn the abstract concept of “backlinks” into a quantifiable ranking signal? In several patents, Google explains that this is done by calculating a “link score.” The score is made up by every incoming link’s individual quality score (aka PageRank) and the number of links to the site.

So link quantity is an important part of the score. However, remember that you can’t afford to have spammy, low-quality links in 2017. It’s also worth noting that links coming from the same domain carry little weight; Google will typically only count one of them when evaluating your link profile. So in terms of quantity, your primary factor to focus on should be the number of linking domains.

Measuring quality is less straightforward. While we know that PageRank is still one of the key factors in Google’s algorithm, its public version is no longer available. Luckily, there are reliable alternatives that are based on PageRank’s original formula, including SEO PowerSuite’s recently launched InLink Rank.

2. Anchor text relevance (but not too much of it)

Anchor text is another part of the “backlinks” concept that matters for rankings. Much like the content on your pages, your backlinks’ anchors tell Google what your page is about — and what it should rank for. Of course, you’ve got to remember about Penguin and keep your anchors diverse and natural; it’s all about striking the right balance.

But what is this “right balance?” Alas, there’s no universal answer. Still, these anchor text averages (across various industries) may give you a hint.

How to optimize:

Checking on your SEO competitors’ links is a good way to understand what kind of link scores you are competing against, and how much work it’ll take to catch up. To do this, you’ll need a tool that lets you compare several sites’ link profiles against numerous criteria. SEO SpyGlass with its Domain Comparison module does this brilliantly. Fire up the tool and create a project for your site, then jump to Domain Comparison and add the domains of your major competitors, one by one. In a second, you’ll see how every aspect of your link profile compares to your rivals’.

Content

All right, content is king. But what is Google looking for in quality content, exactly? Here are the three things that make a difference.

  1. Keyword usage

Your title remains the strongest relevance signal to Google. Using keywords or variations in the title tag is still important in 2017 (the closer to the beginning, the better). The meta description can also boost relevance, although it carries less weight. Finally, don’t forget about using keywords in the page’s body, remembering that the H1 tag holds the most SEO weight out of all headings.

  1. Length

In its search quality guidelines, Google mentions that the amount of a page’s content is important for its overall quality — and therefore rankings. Clearly, there’s no ideal content length to aim for; as Google puts it, “the amount of content necessary for the page to be satisfying depends on the topic and purpose of the page.”

For a realistic reference on the “satisfying amount” of content, look at the pages that already rank well for your keywords, and learn from their strategies.

  1. Comprehensiveness

RankBrain (launched in October 2015) forms part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm and, according to Google, is involved in every query. One of RankBrain’s functions is analyzing results with good user satisfaction metrics and identifying their common features — features that make them good search results.

Because most of online content is text, such features are often certain terms and phrases used on the page. Think about it: if you search for “things to see in new york,” it’s only logical that the comprehensive results will mention “times square.” “central park,” “empire state building” and so on.

But it’s not always that obvious. Did you know all of the top 10 results for “best new york bagels” mention “cream cheese”?

 

How to optimize:

WebSite Auditor is the tool that lets you check pages against numerous on-page factors, including keyword usage and content length. The tool will also analyze your pages’ comprehensiveness using the TF-IDF algorithm and give you recommendations based on your top competitors.

To start, launch WebSite Auditor, create a project, and go to Content Analysis. Specify the page you’re optimizing and enter your target keywords. Look through the on-page factors for stats and recommendations on keyword usage, and check with the Competitors tab to see how your top competitors handle any given page element.

Next, look at Word count in body and check how it compares to competitors’.

Finally, switch to the TF-IDF dashboard for a list of terms that many of your top competitors use (remember RankBrain?) and specific usage advice for your content. Use these insights as inspiration to make your page more relevant and comprehensive.

Now, it’s time to make changes to your page. Jump to Content Editor and optimize away! When you’re done, hit the save button in the top right corner to download the optimized HTML to your hard drive, ready for upload to your site.

Technical SEO

The technical foundation of your site is crucial for SEO (and well beyond). Here are the top two factors that matter for rankings.

  1. Page speed

Google expects pages to load in two seconds or less, and they’ve officially confirmed that speed is a ranking signal. Speed also has a massive impact on UX: slower pages have higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates.

The most common culprits for poor speed are uncompressed resources: scripts, images and CSS files.

  1. Mobile-friendliness

If your pages aren’t optimized for smartphones, they won’t rank in mobile search at all. With over half of Google queries coming from mobile devices, that’s not something you can put up with in 2017.

The focus on mobile will likely continue with Google’s commitment to switch to mobile-first indexing soon.

How to optimize:

To check if your page passes Google’s mobile and speed tests, go to Content Analysis > Page Audit in WebSite Auditor and switch to Technical factors. Examine the Page usability (Mobile) and Page speed (Desktop) sections, and click on any factors with Error or Warning statuses for details and how-to-fix advice.

 

User experience

The debate around the use of behavioral factors in ranking has been on for years. But in Google’s own words, “searching users are often the best judges of relevance, so that if they select a particular search result, it is likely to be relevant, or at least more relevant than the presented alternatives.”

  1. Click-through rate

A SERP (search engine results page) click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of the number of times a search listing was clicked to the number of times it was displayed to searchers. Numerous patents filed by Google focus on CTR as a ranking signal. SearchMetrics’ study even found that CTR has the highest correlation with rankings out of all factors examined.

True, correlation doesn’t equal causation. But it’s hard to argue with real-life experiments showing that a CTR increase almost immediately results in a ranking boost.

How to optimize:

The first thing to check is your current SERP CTR. In Google Search Console, go to the Search Analytics report and select Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position.

While CTR averages vary depending on the type of the query, as a rule of thumb, you can expect a 30 percent CTR for a #1 result, 15 percent for #2, and 10 percent for #3.

If some of your listings’ CTRs are seriously below these averages, these are the low-hanging fruit to focus on. Think of how you can make your snippets click-worthy and look into competitors’ listings for inspiration. To edit and preview your Google snippet , open WebSite Auditor, go to Content Analysis > Content Editor, and switch to Title & Meta tags. Once you’re happy with it, hit the save button to download the HTML file to your hard drive.

Conclusion

SEO is a complex, multidimensional, ever-evolving science. It’s only natural that you can’t afford to focus on every detail; and you don’t have to, either. If you prioritize your efforts, focus on the eight factors above, and remember to watch competitors closely, you’re sure to come out ahead of them in the SERPs.

 

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6 types of negative SEO to watch out for /6-types-negative-seo-watch-272881 Tue, 18 Apr 2017 11:30:14 +0000 http:/?p=272881 The threat of negative SEO is remote but daunting. How easy is it to for a competitor to ruin your rankings, and how do you protect your site? But before we start, let’s make sure we’re clear on what negative SEO is, and what it definitely isn’t. Negative SEO is a set of activities aimed […]

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The threat of negative SEO is remote but daunting. How easy is it to for a competitor to ruin your rankings, and how do you protect your site? But before we start, let’s make sure we’re clear on what negative SEO is, and what it definitely isn’t.

Negative SEO is a set of activities aimed at lowering a competitor’s rankings in search results. These activities are more often off-page (e.g., building unnatural links to the site or scraping and reposting its content); but in some cases, they may also involve hacking the site and modifying its content.

Negative SEO isn’t the most likely explanation for a sudden ranking drop. Before you decide someone may be deliberately hurting your rankings, factor out the more common reasons for ranking drops. You’ll find a comprehensive list here.

Negative off-page SEO

This kind of negative SEO targets the site without internally interfering with it. Here are the most common shapes negative off-page SEO can take.

  1. Link farms

One or two spammy links likely won’t hurt a site’s rankings. That’s why negative SEO attacks usually involve building links from a group of interconnected sites, or link farms. Typically, most of these links use the same anchor text. These exact-match anchors may be completely unrelated to the site under attack; or they might include a niche keyword to make the site’s link profile look like the owner is manipulating it.

A while ago, this happened to WP Bacon, a WordPress podcast site. Over a short period of time, the site acquired thousands of links with the anchor text “porn movie.” Throughout 10 days, WP Bacon fell 50+ spots in Google for the majority of keywords it ranked for. This story has a happy ending though: the webmaster disavowed the spammy domains, and eventually, WP Bacon recovered most of its rankings.

Source: jacobking.com

 

How to stay safe: Preventing a negative SEO attack isn’t something in your power, but spotting the attempt early enough to reverse the damage is possible. To do that, you need to regularly monitor link profile growth. SEO SpyGlass, for example, gives you progress graphs for both the number of links in your profile, and the number of referring domains. An unusual spike in either of those graphs is reason enough to look into the links you suddenly acquired.

To actually see the links that made up the spike, go to the Linking Domains (or Backlinks) dashboard in SEO SpyGlass and sort the links by Last Found Date by clicking on the header of the column twice. Look for the links that were found around the same time when the spike on the graph appeared.

If you’ve no idea where the links are coming from, it’s useful to look at their Penalty Risk. Switch to the Link penalty risk tab, select those suspicious backlinks you just discovered, and click Update Link Penalty Risk. In a few minutes, the column should be populated with values on a scale from 0 to 100. It’s a pretty accurate metric to tell if the links are coming from link farms, as, among other things, it looks at the number of linking domains that come from the same IP address or C block.

Lastly, once you’ve identified the spammy links, you can create a disavow file right in SEO SpyGlass. To do that, right-click the backlink/linking domain and select Disavow (make sure to select Entire domain under Disavow mode). Do the same for all unnatural links you spotted. Finally, go to Preferences > Disavow/Blacklist backlinks, review your disavow file, and export it once you’re happy with it.

  1. Scraping

Scraping your content and copying it across other sites is another way a competitor can ruin your rankings. When Google finds content that is duplicated across multiple sites, it will usually pick only one version to rank. In most cases, Google is clever enough to identify the original piece… unless they find the “stolen” version first. That’s why scrapers often automatically copy new content and repost it straightaway.

How to stay safe: Copyscape is an essential tool if you’re determined to find instances of content duplication. If you do find scraped copies of your content, it’s a good idea to first contact the webmaster asking them to remove the piece. If that’s not effective, you may want to report the scraper using Google’s copyright infringement report.

  1. Forceful crawling

There are examples of desperate site owners trying to crash a competitor’s site by forcefully crawling it and causing heavy server load. If Googlebot can’t access your site for a few times in a row… you guessed it — you might get de-ranked.

How to stay safe: If you notice that your site has become slow, or, worse, unavailable, a wise thing to do is contact your hosting company or webmaster — they should be able to tell you where the load is coming from. If you know a thing or two about server logs, here are some detailed instructions on finding the villain crawlers and blocking them with robots.txt and .htaccess.

Negative on-page SEO

Negative on-page SEO attacks are way more difficult to implement. These involve hacking into your site and changing things around. Here are the main SEO threats a hacker attack can pose.

  1. Modifying your content

 

You’d think you’d notice if someone changed your content, but this tactic can also be very subtle and difficult to spot. As the attacker adds spammy content (usually links) to a site, they often hide it (e.g., under “display:none” in the HTML), so you won’t see it unless you look in the code.

Another possible negative SEO scenario is someone modifying your pages to redirect to theirs. This isn’t a threat for most small businesses, but if your site enjoys high authority and link popularity, it could be someone’s sneaky way to increase their own site’s PageRank, or to simply redirect visitors to their site when they try to access yours. For the site under attack, such redirects aren’t just a temporary inconvenience. If Google finds out about the redirect before you do, they can penalize the site for “redirecting to a malicious website.”

How to stay safe: Regular site audits with a tool like WebSite Auditor are the best way to spot such subtle attacks. To start your first audit, just launch WebSite Auditor and create a project for your site. Whenever you need to re-run the audit, use the Rebuild Project button. As long as you do this regularly, you should be able to spot changes that could otherwise go unnoticed, such as the number of outgoing links on the site or pages with redirects.

To look into those links or redirects in detail, switch to the All Resources dashboard and go through the External Resources section. If you see an unexpected increase in the count of these, look through the list on the right to see where those links point to, and the lower part of the screen for the pages they were found on.

2. Getting the site de-indexed

A small change in robots.txt is one alteration that could wreak havoc on your entire SEO strategy. A disallow rule is all it takes to tell Google to completely ignore your website.

There are multiple examples of this online, including this story. A client fired an SEO agency he wasn’t happy with, and their revenge was adding a Disallow: / rule to the client’s robots.txt.

How to stay safe: Regular ranking checks will help you be the first to know should your site get de-indexed. With Rank Tracker, you can schedule automatic checks to occur daily or weekly. If your site suddenly drops from search engines’ results, you’ll see a Dropped note in the Difference column.

When this happens across a big number of keywords, it usually implies a penalty or de-indexation. If you suspect the latter, check the crawl stats in your Google Search Console account and take a look at your robots.txt.

  1. Hacking the site (per se)

Even if the hacker has no negative SEO in mind, the attack per se can hurt your SEO. Google wants to protect its users, which is why, if they suspect a site has been hacked, they may de-rank it, or at the very least add a “this site may be hacked” line to your search listings.

Would you click on a result like that?

How to stay safe: Negative SEO aside, stepping up your site’s security should be high on your list of priorities for obvious reasons. This topic deserves a post of its own, but you can find some great tips here and here.

 

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