Category Archives: SEO

SEO competitor research

How to do SEO competitor research the right way

When working on an SEO strategy, competitor research is something often overlooked. I am the first one to blame. Back in the day, I used to take for granted the brands I worked for where unique, and Google and users would instantly know that. Digging a bit into my psychology, I was actually avoiding looking too much into the competitors and in turn avoiding the temptation of ending up copying what they were doing. This is actually what many brands do, and one of my main goals is to always make my brands different from the competitors. After all, I am a marketer.
But to do that you need to understand your competitors first! Continue reading

Consider the Meteorites: top 6 ways to prevent website and SEO cataclysms

I recently saw the Joe Rogan podcast with Randall Carlson and Graham Hancock where they discuss the cataclysm theory. The guests argue there is the possibility that an advanced civilisation existed before it was thoroughly wiped out by a huge meteorite that shattered the ice sheet and caused a giant tsunami, fires and rainfall over most of the Northern Hemisphere.

Even if this idea sounds preposterous to you, the reality is that a meteorite could fall into the Earth at any time, and at the moment…..WE ARE NOT READY.
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How to find golden landing page and content opportunities on your website

When you set out to write some commercial content for your website, the first thing you are told to do (at best) is conduct some keyword research and identify what people are looking for vs what you can offer. You use keyword tools like Google Adwords to find the average search volume for groups of keywords –and even Google is now giving less accurate figures for this –which is a push approach, a sampled and inaccurate interpretation of reality.

In addition, Google Analytics used to tell you what keywords people were typing before arriving to your website but now they only give you a sample of them, and too many ‘not provided’ ones.

If you don’t spend lots of time doing ground research before writing your content, you might find yourself writing landing pages that are not relevant to what your audience is looking for, and thus not being able to attract them effectively.

Yet Content marketing has mushroomed in the past two years; there are millions of tools, tactics and articles about how to create high quality content and measure its performance. It gets as complicated and expensive as you want, and you can easily fall into the trap you are always missing out on data or better ways of doing it.

At least I do sometimes get that guilt of missing out; but then I say, the hell with it, creativity is all about thriving with scarce resources, and though information is abundant, the one your brain is able to process is scarce (due to time).
An answer is within

Before spending time and money on content marketing research, you can get useful insights from your current website performance metrics.

Two weeks ago I was in Thailand, where I was astonished by the gorgeous karst peaks across the South of the country. Karst formations are a result of rain water reacting with the chemicals of the very rock and eroding it in unusual ways. The rock themselves have the information to shape themselves within.
Your website ca get inspired by this; it has performance data that can shape it with the help of an external aid (you!).

So you just need to know what to look for and how to find the data. The good news is the solution I’m giving you uses just two basic tools and the ball of mucus you have over your shoulders, which by the way, are all free.

First and foremost, what is a landing page?

A landing page is a page on your website people use to enter your website from. Search engines might serve your landing page if it is clearly relevant to the query a user types in. In this sense, landing pages allow you to target specific search intents, remove the clutter form your homepage and narrow your focus.

Did I mention relevancy?

yes I did!

You need to lay the red carpet to your target audience. I tell you, they are spoiled like cat cafe cats. Just like me, they fear missing out on the right information, and as long as they don’t find what they are looking for, they will click around and type like maniacs and silently leave the room, no farewell.
We underestimate how irritating is for people to click around on things. They are craving for a syringe that gives them the information they need. Don’t you crave the same? think about it.

In this context, A keyword itself does not give you the necessary information of what people want. Yet we marketers used to create a landing page for every keyword. Google was way dumber that it is now so it would believe that your landing page for ‘women’s horse saddles’ and your other landing page for ‘ladies horse saddles’ were offering unique content. As it is natural, Google got tired of wasting their time reading copied pages and they developed a machine that understands the meaning of keywords beyond their face value.

You need to start thinking in terms of intents and needs. You also should differentiate between homepage and the landing page. The homepage is the main hall of your happy hotel, and your landing pages are other hotel services such as spa, gym and restaurant.

How to identify landing page opportunities

1. Untap Google Search Console

I remember when I started in SEO, Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) was a slightly esoteric tool and apparently reserved to the realm of the Googlers or Technical SEO freaks. I have found out most of marketers do not feel incredibly comfortable with this tool, yet it gives you amazing data you can exploit to your benefit.
In time I realised how awesome this tool is, and for most of my accounts, it is because of Search Console that I stopped using inaccurate and clunky ranking tools (most of them anyway).

In Search Console, go to

search traffic>search analytics>

Tick on the queries report and you want to be just looking at impressions. These are the number of times your website has appeared in front of the eyes of people on search results for the search queries shown.

Sort Impressions from high to low.

Go through the list.
No based on your knowledge of your market and your industry, do you see any query that might embody an intent you currently don’t have a landing page for? I’ll leave you to think.

Example:

In my website, I did the same exercise and I noticed I have impressions for the query ‘SEO health check’, for which I do not have an optimised landing page. Based on my ‘off the top of my head’ knowledge I can assume people are looking for tools to have a quick scan and see if their SEO consultant is taking a piss or not.

What I will do is do a little more research on what people mean by that query and potentially offer a tool or a quick service to give people that information.

Screen_Shot_2016-11-30_at_08.08.11

2. Getting help from our old friend Google Analytics

Go to Behaviour>landing pages report

Anal..yse bounce rate of landing pages. Are there any unusually high bounce rates –you can use over 50% as a rule of thumb– in landing pages?

analytics meme

This means that people leave your site immediately after arriving to your landing page.

If your landing page is a blog post without a specific call to action, then it should not matter that much, but if you are expecting the user to visit other pages after that.

It means it was not relevant enough, people where looking for something else and go elsewhere to get satisfied. What that might be? should you change the content of that page and make it more relevant?

you want to keep bounce rates low, and could do that by rethinking the landing page and adjusting it to the issues your users are looking to solve.

But wait a minute, because it can also mean that they are comparing and contrasting with other offers and competitors.

So you want to be also looking at conversion rates.

Check conversion rates in Google Analytics (first set up your goals)

It might be they are leaving because they don’t trust you or they don’t find the necessary content they before the purchase.

For the first problem, you want to have as much social proof as possible, but this post is not about conversion rate optimisation, you should read this instead.

The second problem can be solved with content creation and improvement. For example, writing guides and producing videos addressing the problems users might have.

For example, car lease specialist Nationwide Vehicle contracts have done a really good job in creating guides and supporting information to assist the purchasing process, giving the user all the necessary information to lease a car.

Conclusion

As I said, you can simply find landing page opportunities with easy and free tools that you most likely have already set up. You can always use fancy models, tools and spreadsheet full of data but I am very concerned about your available time, and just going through search console and Google analytics (and using your brain a little) bit can help you get great ideas for more converting traffic.

But make sure that you write those landing pages and they don’t get forgotten in the abyss of your to dos.

Do you know other ways to finding insights from your website performance data?

Please share below!

SEO strategy- start building your house from the Roof!

Sometimes you wanna start the house from the Roof!

This post takes for granted that you understand in order to have a successful SEO campaign, you need an SEO strategy. By strategy I mean your team knows what the campaign goals are and have a specific plan for getting there. Forgive me if by saying this I sound patronising to you, but you would be surprised how many big brands I have seen without a proper SEO strategy. Yes, they don’t have an idea of where they are going and consequently they stab in the dark and hope for the best, while their agency’s account managers keep quiet, as they don’t want to challenge their incompetence.
As a small business, you have more cards to play against big businesses that you think, it’s all about being able to coordinate your guerrilla like the Mongols. Continue reading

How to 10X your Traffic With the 80 20 Rule

The 80 20 is one of those buzzwords that is so frequently mentioned that my head spins in incredulity when I meet marketers that have not heard about it. The truth is its application into campaigns is somewhat esoteric, and not everyone applies it consciously.  If you fully understand it you realise that using it is a matter of common sense. But as a friend of mine says, common sense is the least common of all the senses. If you work in SEO, Pareto can be a massive time-saver and a wonderful tool to sell your clients activities you believe are going to result in epic wins. Continue reading

7 Things the Best SEOs Do

When you are to invest your money on any technology or digital service for your business, you want to make sure that you get the ‘state of the art’ of whatever you are after and can afford. If you don’t do this you take the risk that your recently purchased technology is going to go redundant sooner than later. This is also very important when investing in your digital marketing and SEO. With Google constantly evolving as an information hub, new SEO services need to be at the forefront of the latest industry trends, and rather than providing specific techniques, any modern SEO work needs to be based on a set of evergreen principles. Continue reading

Page Speed and the Future of the Internet

I came across an entertaining and refreshing talk by Maciej Cegłowski.
I was very surprised and delighted by how he dares to suggest a future without internet surveillance. What? I am constantly reading and getting exposed to different, disruptive ideas, yet this blew my mind. 80% of my job is about using surveillance data to establish theories and recommend actions that are going to help companies make more money. How would we make money without surveillance? I am not implying I am against this model though. On the contrary, I always say that if the end of advertising would cost me my livelyhood, I still would rejoice from the end of advertising (that could go onto the list of my unpopular beliefs).

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Lessons from Brighton SEO 2015

Last Friday I had the big fortune of attending Brighton SEO conference where I met lots of people with the same frustrations, aspirations, illusions and motivations that many of us.
brightonseo
In short, it was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to realise that you are not alone, and that the work that we do in SEO can be extremely valuable if we identify the golden nuggets, or the chicken nuggets as the host of the event, Kelvin Newman put it.

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