r/SEO sucks lately, I want to make it better. Here are some resources/answers to common questions. Tons of info inside.
I've come a long way in 6 months. I went from not knowing what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was to having a strong working knowledge that I gleaned just from reading and building my website. Around 4 months ago I posted this
thread and I got a ton of great input from the community. I subscribed and thought this subreddit would be a gold mine going forward. Unfortunately, it hasn't been. But I want to make it better. You guys really helped me when I was starting and I want to help pay it forward with the little bit of knowledge I've gained in the last 6 months.
r/seo should be more than spam links and the repetitive keyword research question. I think it would be great if this subreddit had contributors and some essential reference posts—the kind of great information you can't get anywhere else. I am hoping this post, and the comments it gets will serve as a great starting block for anyone trying to learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
I don't pretend to be an expert and if anyone has any input for my website
www.ivancielaw.com, I am all ears. The legal niche is super saturated and my target keywords are around $50 Cost Per Click (CPC). My traffic has not shot off like I thought it would, but I am till trying to churn out quality content. I have started to rank well for some focused keywords and the website has brought me actual paying clients which is a real and exciting result—but to be honest traffic has not grown as much as I'd like.
As an aside, I'm building an affiliate website to teach myself more about SEO and I have to say it is liberating not being in such a competitive niche.
I really have a passion for SEO and someday I hope to support myself doing mainly SEO and possibly transition away from the law. Internet marketing is fascinating and it feels like the wild west sometimes; so much opportunity and so much freedom.
Ok, enough about me, on to the goods.
• [Moz beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)] (
http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo) If you know nothing start here.
CCarter Big Brand Checklist – From 2012, but this is pretty much the essential checklist for starting any website/brand. Really great guide.
46-Point Landing Page Breakdown -> Creating a Killer Landing Page Timeless guide to writing good copy for landing pages.
• [7 Smart Ways to Combine Content Marketing with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for More Qualified Search Traffic] (
• [Using Google WMT for supporting keywords] (
http://www.wickedfire.com/traffic-and-content/180499-make-google-wmt-your-b1tch-vol-1-a.html) – Thinking outside the box article related to using Google WMT to find keyword Google thinks you should rank for and pushing yourself up to the top using google's "hints"
• [Silo organization of a website] (
http://www.bruceclay.com/seo/silo.htm) This is how you should be building your sites. This is the foundation, start with this technique, it is hard to implement later (301 redirects are a pain)
• [skyscraper link technique] (
http://Backlinko.com/skyscraper-technique) – Holy grail of link building, great info.
• [NichePursuits Podcasts] (
http://www.nichepursuits.com/category/podcasts/) This is a greaking gold mine, I listened to podcast #57 three times. This woman is pulling down huge income with no link building. Not everything is gospel here, but you will get great nuggets from these podcasts.
• [Case Study 2k to 18mil visits per month] (
Initial Steps to building a website The articles above should help you with this. But here are some basic steps I recommend taking EARLY on in the process.
• Selecting a niche
• Keyword research – Google keyword planner
• Selecting a domain
• Creating a silo'ed site map – do this by hand, be creative and really think about usability and the long term when you draw this up
• Create titles for pages/posts article, have a long list of articles to write or get written
• Find hosting
• Buy a domain
• Choose your Content Management System (cms) (WordPress)
• Start writing and creating
• Create a social presence
• Link building
Balancing SEO practices I think it is important that you not get caught up in any one "SEO strategy." So don't just do link building, or don't just do social media. You should think about your niche and then allocate resources accordingly.
For example, a law website is not going to have a ton of social media followers, who retweets a lawyer or loves reading their Facebook posts? No one. I still have a social media presence, but I know link building and more targeted outreach are going to do more for me than hammering Instagram or Facebook. To the contrary if I was starting a niche website selling selfie sticks, I would hammer Instagram and Facebook all day. You just need to reflect on what your niche is, who your customers will be, and how you can engage them.
Allocating SEO efforts: As mentioned above, depending on your site, adjust these % accordingly.
• 40% On-page SEO – CONTENT, internal links, breadcrumbs, [schema/microdata] (
• 20% Link building – This is the pillar of what Google was founded on: citations from a reliable source suggest the cited source is reliable. Make your site a trusted website by getting high quality links.
• 20% Social media – The kids love it, Google does too. Learn to leverage it to your benefit. Incorporate time saving hacks like IFTTT which let you post to Instagram Facebook twitter G+ all at once.
• 10% Page optimization – Speed is one of the few things I can control in the SEO world. Since I can control it, I am going to do the best job I can to optimize my sites. Here is a screenshot of
my site's performance today. To get there I had to do tons of tweaking AND move hosts which was a big pain. But now I don't have to worry about speed being an SEO factor, that lets me focus on other things such as content creation and link building.
• 10% Experiment – Try new techniques, test landing pages, try new ideas. Make an infographic, create a troll social media account to drive traffic to your site. Mix it up, most likely your efforts will yield little but you may discover an absolute gold mine. So much of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is sadly all about fads. Once the fad is known it doesn't work anymore (that doesn't mean 1000 people wont try and sell you a service leveraging that fad). Create your own private fad and win. Get creative, lets say you have an affilliate site that sells power tools. Instead of marketing to contractors you try a campaign where you pin pictures of attractive men holding power tools linked back to your affiliate site around fathers day. Lo and behold all the moms on pinterest come to your site because of the hot guy and decided it would be good to get their husband a power tool because they felt guilty and you reminded them fathers day is 2 weeks away. (Crazy Idea, but you get my point—BE CREATIVE).
PILLARS OF A GOOD WEBSITE
• Organized – Easy to use/navigate
• CONTENT – relevant, unique, hand-written and USEFUL content
• Fast – slow kills in the SEO wold, see my speed comments above
TOOLS I USE
• WordPress – duh
• Google Analytics / Piwik / HotJar – if you're terrified of Google use one of the other two
• Google keyword planner – crucial in the beginning for keyword research.
• Google Trends – useful to see if your niche is dying or growing
• Google / Bing Webmaster Tools – Core info, also make sure you are not facing any penalties
http://Wincher.com – Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rank tracker, only 6 euro (swedich company) a month to track unlimited SERP ranks for your website
http://Serpwoo.com – keyword finder tool is free (limited # of searches), I don't have a subscription yet.
http://gtmetrix.com/ – Website speed test
http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ – Website speed test
http://www.webpagetest.org/ – yet another website speed test
http://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker – Content idea generator, sometimes writing is hard, this helps get you going
https://readability-score.com/ – make sure the pleebs can understand what you're saying.
http://openlinkprofiler.org/ – free backlink checker
https:// Ahrefs .com – backlink tool
http://www.feedthebot.com/ – audit of your website for basic googlebot compliance
ESSENTIAL WordPress PLUGINS: It took me a long time to find these guys. I love these tools they make my website better, faster and more usable. Honestly, I would have paid someone to give me this list 6 months ago. The amount of time and energy these plugins save is amazing.
• Yoast SEO – better than all in one, I was reluctant to make the switch but glad I did
• Table of Contents Plus – Long articles should have a table of contents this helps a ton
• WP Twitter Autopost – All my posts are automatically tweeted. I have a daisy chain to my FB/G+ as well. You can also use IFTTT for this.
• W3 Total Cache – I'm obsessed with seed. Use this.
• Breadcrumb NavXT – Google and users like breadcrumbs, you should too
• Use Google Libraries – Speeds up load times, loads jQuery from googles servers not yours = faster.
Conclusion As they say, time is money. I hammered this out over a couple hours this morning. I may try to fix typos and formatting but really the substance is there. I hope someone finds this helpful. If you have questions I am happy to give my thoughts. I also hope other people chime in.
Anyone who responds, share a resource or a link you use regularly. It will make this thread a valuable reference going forward!
Thanks Everybody! Good luck!
Site's looking good, and your content is high quality.
I'm super busy and only taken a look around your site for a couple of mins, but one thing I'd recommend is adding Disallow: /tag/ to your robots.txt file – you're serving up a heap of duplicate content on the site because each tag the post is filed under means a different page with exactly the same content on. Hope this helps!
Good luck with the site/conquest to improve
Thank you! I had debated doing this, now I will. Hopefully it helps any duplicate content penalties I may have created.
Somebody give me a practical definition and use case of breadcrumbs…
Breadcrumbs help a user know where they are on your website. So if they are in a deep page the breadcrumb would look like this. You are here: Widgets.com > big > blue > round. So they know they are at big blue round widgets page, but let's say they want big red widgets, they can click big and find red from there. Amazon does this with all its pages. I've incorporated it into my site as well.
SEMrush is great for competitive research and although its focused more on Adwords data, its a solid tool for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They just improved their rank tracking and its on point. I'd also recommend
Ahrefs .com for backlink research.
Personally, I prefer the style used for reporting by
majestic but that is just about the user interface. Sadly, sometime ago
Matthew Woodward did a piece about how Ahrefs kicks the ass of majestic in terms of the number of links their bots find and their system reports. Even more embarrassing, his study focused on sites in the "Majestic Million" so these were sites that they apparently know a lot about.
That's a shame because I find Ahrefs less user friendly…
Its also worth pointing out that these sites have their limitations when it comes to looking into competitor link profiles. If the competitor is using a Private Blog Network (PBN) of some sort, most will be using Spyder Spanker, Link Privacy or some other coding (in robots.txt or htaccess) to block certain types of robot from spidering their network. This will mean that Google sees the links into the competitor sites, but the link tools don't. I see this more and more in the local markets I am in (I do some ranking and renting of sites – explained
here). Or, more to the point, I see very average sites ranking with apparently no incoming links, which is kind of the same thing.
Anyway, great post and resource. Thanks!
I found a guy ranking for some highly competitive search terms using Private Blog Networks (PBN)s and some paid links. He hid most of his sites using spyder spanker but I was able to reverse engineer one of his unprotected sites to find abut 80 of his blogs (he had several major footprints). I'm surprised Google hasn't caught on to a lot of PBNs, if I can track them down then Google sure as hell can.
Great info here, thanks for the reminders!
I've been afraid to use scheme/microdata for fear of Google scraping content and displaying it directly on their search results page. Have you had any experience with that happening?
I haven't, but I think it depends on how 'simple' the query is. You can't summarize my articles in one sentence.
Whereas a query like "safe temperature to cook pork" can result in Google pulling the result directly. But if you look at the screenshot,
http://i.imgur.com/3NoA9pO.png, Google is not pulling schema, it is pulling actual content from the FDA website. However, it also includes a link direclty to the source which probably drives a ton of traffic to that site if it is a topic worth further reading. I think as a best practice you want to include schema/microdata in most instances.
Thanks for putting this whole post together! I often over concentrate on some areas of the process which leads to me either not ever getting something ready and launched, or else wastes time. I find it helpful to see timelines like the rough one that you drew out. Thanks again!!
Hardest thing is doing. But remember when you're not working someone else is out there putting in the hard work.
Also, don't be a perfectionist that vacillates and does endless research or editing. "Done is better than perfect."
I completely agree! One of the other hardest things for me is pulling the trigger on expenses to actually move forward with a project etc.. I love doing the market research and other aspects, but I just end up with a lot of unfinished (potentially profitable?) ideas and projects :/
This is a well thought out list. I would just caution anyone using this (or any similar list) to take into consideration when the list was made. Things change fast on the internet. Because of this, the "best" resources (and information) often changes just as fast. What was good, and worked, a year ago, may not work now.
Some things are timeless, but certain gimmicks come and go. I tried to provide a list that should, generally, stand the test of time.
Please add any resources you think are current and helpful!
Thanks for the gold!
Do you use any WP plugins for schema, or do you do it by hand?
Was going to applaud OP, but then I looked at his site. Only 11 visitors a month and only ranks for 3 keywords, none of which are in the top 3 spots of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
I have a 5 month site that gets almost 10x OP's traffic and only ranks for 2 keywords, and one is #1 spot.
OP seems like you are wasting a lot of time. OP you want to hire me?
Well the site is about 5 months old too. Not sure what you're comparing it to but legal keywords are very competitive. If you can rank top page for personal injury attorney that means a lot more than something like kiwi milkshake recipe.
You have any constructive criticism? I'm always looking to improve.
private messaged you. Add me on Skype if you want some advice, I don't mind
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