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Internet Wayback Machine Adds Historical TextDiff

The Wayback Machine has a cool new feature for looking at the historical changes of a web page.

The color scale shows how much a page has changed since it was last cached & you can select between any two documents to see how a page has changed over time.

You can then select between any two documents to see a side-by-side comparison of the documents.

That quickly gives you an at-a-glance view of how they’ve changed their:

  • web design
  • on-page SEO strategy
  • marketing copy & sales strategy

For sites that conduct seasonal sales & rely heavily on holiday themed ads you can also look up the new & historical ad copy used by large advertisers using tools like Moat, WhatRunsWhere & Adbeat.

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SEO Risks to Take and SEO Risks to Avoid

Many business people have a hard time seeing the value of SEO, and we understand that. There is a lot of information and misinformation out there about search engine optimization, and it can really increase the difficulty of this decision.

While an effective SEO strategy will take many months to yield positive results for a company, and the tactics may not make sense for non-SEOers, it can make a significant improvement in a company’s online exposure and profits.

Many companies are naturally nervous about trying something out they’re not familiar with, but let’s face it, nearly any business decision is going to carry some risks with it. Some can be avoided, and some can lead to sudden and serious growth.

The question that has to be asked, then, is what SEO risks are worth it, and which should be avoided.

Before we get into it, though, let’s put this out there first: the greatest SEO risk a company can make is to avoid SEO all together. Everyone got that? Great. Let’s consider a few more.

SEO Risks to Take

1.  Making and Testing Large and Small Changes

The overall goal of SEO is to get traffic and, ultimately, transactions on your website.

Neither of those will happen if nobody clicks on your website in the first place.

So, what if you’re getting your website to rank well for certain keywords, but no one is actually clicking on your link?

There could be any number of reasons for this, and it can take some time to zero in on exactly why it isn’t performing as well as expected.

And the only way to do that is through A/B testing. You’re going to have to take one element at a time, whether that’s the meta descriptions, the titles, the content and more, and test them against new variations.

That’s all well and good and even a little obvious. So what makes it a “risk”?

It will likely take a bit of trial and error to come up with the correct wording and layout combination that results in maximum website traffic and transactions. During this time, you may find a combination that doesn’t work well at all and ends up reducing what traffic you do have – at least for a while.

The risk is worth it, though, because once you find the best results, you’ll be able to focus on that element and continue to drive more traffic and get better returns.

As you make changes, you should document what was changed, when it was changed and the date it was first re-crawled by Google after the change. This will help you correlate ranking movements to changes made. Just make sure you use a solid keyword rank checker so you’re data is valid and useful.

2.  Getting and Giving High-Quality Backlinks

Why would one company feature a link to another company’s website and risk the web user leaving their page?

Backlinks are a well-established part of SEO, and most companies want to get as many of them as they can. They help increase rankings and build authority.

However, it’s not just about being the one with the most links. Sometimes you need to give a little back.

So, yes, you may risk losing a few web visitors by providing a link to other high-quality sites, but at the same time, you’re showing Google that you are using and referencing reliable sites with established authority.

Just keep in mind, webpages that knowingly feature links to low-quality, malicious, spammy websites are at risk of getting penalized by Google. You may also get penalized by getting too many links to your site from those poor-quality sites.

3.  Enhancing Your Site’s URL Structure

Ideally, your homepage URL should be short, with only the company name, such as: www.yourcompany.com. Short, simple, concise and easily remembered.

Subsequent pages, however, should have targeted keywords and be more specific about the content of the webpage.

Even so, you don’t want to let the URL get out of hand. If they’re too long and descriptive, the search engine will truncate their display with a […] after a cut-off point.

So, it may be time to alter some of your URLs with an overhaul of the site’s structure.

The risk, here, is that any kind of change like this can impact your rankings. As you alter old URLs and 301 redirect traffic to the new ones, you may see some dips in traffic and rankings.

However, if you do it right, you can end up with a streamlined structure that appeals to both search engines and internet users.

4.  Overhauling Your Website

Every once in a while, websites need to get updated and redesigned. Website redesigns can be risky and expensive, not to mention time-consuming.

Eventually, though, your website may need a new facelift. Maybe it just looks extremely outdated. Then again, it may be optimized for search engines, but human users find it difficult to navigate. There could be any number of reasons to take another look at your website and maybe – just maybe – consider reconstructing it from the ground up.

Of course, just like changing the URL structure, these types of changes come with a risk to your rankings as Google tries to re-evaluate your site. For that matter, it comes with the risk of alienating customers who have grown accustomed to your website just the way it is.

Usually, though, Google understands that every website goes through these overhauls every once in a while, so your rankings will usually bounce right back. You just have to be patient. Most of your customers will eventually get used to the changes, too. More importantly, updated your website has a better chance of bringing in many more new clients.

5.  Buy Expired or Available Domains

Some website owners, for whatever reason, don’t renew their domains, making them available for others to buy and use.

Buying some domains with a history and redirecting them to your site can potentially be a quick and easy way to increase the number of valuable backlinks adding some link juice to your site.

There are some serious risks with this technique, though, so you should only do so when you know exactly what you’re doing.

The domain, for example, has to be related to your business. It should be professional and legitimate, because if that domain still receives rankings and traffic, those visitors will be redirected to your site, and there is nothing more frustrating than arriving on a site that isn’t at all related to your original search.

Also, expired domains that were filled with spammy content and links will also be transferred over to your website, causing your site to potentially drop in rankings and get penalized by Google.

This tactic, however, is inexpensive and has the potential to drive serious traffic to your site if you follow the best practices.

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Good and Bad SEO Risks2

SEO Risks to Avoid

Now that you have an idea of what SEO risks are worth taking, here are SEO risks that will likely do your business more harm than good:

1.  Poor Doorway Pages (or any doorway pages at all)

Doorway pages are simple and easy to create in batches to target specific keywords and keyword groups. Trustworthy SEOers avoid doorway pages as a rule because Google greatly dislikes them and penalizes sites that use them.

Google’s opinion of such pages should be reason enough for you to avoid this particular risk.

The only time Google will let doorway pages slide is if they offer unique, clear and valuable content and information to the site visitor – in other words, only if it acts just like the regular content on your website.

There is simply no reason to bother with them, so don’t risk it.

2.  Disallowing Neutral Backlinks

You want good backlinks to your website, not bad ones. What about the ones that are neutral, that don’t help, yet don’t hurt your website’s ranking and SEO?

Neutral backlinks may not give your website the SEO boost it needs, but they also won’t subject your site to Google’s potentially harsh penalties.

In fact, with Google’s Penguin update, some penalties for bad backlinks because the search engine realized that the websites themselves don’t have control over every site that links to theirs.

As a result, it is harder for a site to be punished by Google for malicious backlinks.

The only way you’ll be able to tell if the backlinks on your website are bad, spammy and low-quality is if you’ve noticed that Google has taken manual action on your site.

If no action has been taken against your website by Google, the backlinks on your website are safe, though they may not be high enough quality to boost your site’s search rankings.

It is possible to disavow certain links, but you need to be careful about it. If you attempt to disavow all your neutral links, you risk potentially blocking sites that can improve your ranking.

3.  Deleting or Condensing Content or Entire Pages

It may seem like no big deal to delete a page from your website, especially if it is about a product or service your company has discontinued.

Once a page is deleted, the keywords it once ranked for are now gone. The same thing happens to the URL of the page, which also includes those page-specific keywords.

Instead of risking the loss of those rankings, consider keeping the webpage even if you’ve discontinued the product. Simply leave a message on the page for the visitor that redirects them to a similar page with a relevant product or service.

If you’re merging or condensing two pages into one, make sure to include 301 redirects on the old URLs to make sure that all the link juice and traffic isn’t lost.

4.  Using Exact Match Keywords in Anchor Text

It may seem logical to have your targeted keyword as the anchor text for a link to your website. After all, you want your site to rank for that keyword or phrase.

This practice was popular for SEOers in the past who had the same logic. Unfortunately, this practice got abused by “black hat” SEOers who used an excessive amount of exact match keyword anchor texts to link to their websites – and the links didn’t exactly come from the most authoritative sites.

Since then, Google has greatly cracked down on this practice and will punish websites who overdo this practice. Don’t risk it. Look for more natural ways to link to your site and develop a more varied backlink portfolio.

5.  Making Too Many “Small” SEO Changes to a Site

Occasionally, it is a good idea to update the content on your website. In fact, Google favors fresh, updated content.

However, constantly changing the content and the look and feel of your website, even a little bit at a time, strictly for SEO purposes, will not go unnoticed by your website visitors or Google.

Making too many changes to your website or making the changes too often will raise red flags for Google which will likely see your webpage as suspicious and likely penalize your site.

Over time your site visitors will also notice the changes (especially since most of the changes were likely done for search engines instead of them). If this happens, they may find your site harder to navigate and find value. Some visitors may even start to think your site is suspicious.

Balancing Risk and Reward

SEO is essential for any business to succeed. There are many risks to SEO, some of which are worth taking because they can produce favorable results for a business. Other risks can harm and hinder a company’s internet marketing strategy and online presence.

As risky as SEO is, the only thing riskier is for a company not to do any SEO at all.

Social media has its own share of risks. So before you jump into your next campaign, download and complete this checklist to ensure everything is ready to go.

Download your free social media checklist

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The post SEO Risks to Take and SEO Risks to Avoid appeared first on SEO.com.

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How to Make Your Website Less Scary and Intrusive to Gain More Business

Creepy looking guy wearing a red hoody squats in the dark. His eyes are ligh graffiti crosses, his mouth a light line. It seems there is a car in the background - we see the headlights.

When it comes to online business: are you a creepy stalker invading people’s privacy for profit?

  • Do you have dozens of trackers installed on your site?
  • Do you want visitors to allow you to send notifications up front on the first visit?
  • Do you let your ads follow people around the Web in a creepy way?

Not just tech-savvy users hate and block intrusive marketing tactics. They’re also unethical and harm the perception of your website.

You effectively scare people away! They won’t be doing business with you whether you are

  1. just a publisher
  2. running an online store
  3. or selling services on the Web.

It’s not hard to fathom. Being creepy is actually a bad habit in private but is downright self-sabotage when you ask people to spend time, effort or money on your site.

Are You Stalking Your Visitors You Creep?

Yeah, I know. Many marketers will advise you to “retarget” your visitors and the likes to increase profits but you actually stalk your users or let other stalkers do it.

Most business sites also do use Google Analytics because it’s free and everybody loves Google. Does everybody really?

Privacy Badger blocks Facebook and Google on a website.

There is a growing unease about Google and Facebook tracking every single step of ours online. Protecting your online privacy seems to be common sense by now.

Yet most website owners still treat privacy of their visitors lightly. They trade user data for some free tools or scripts. Is it worth it?

Protect Users or Wreck Yourself

By now there are many tools to protect your privacy online you can use directly in your browser – ideally Firefox – as Google which builds Chrome makes money off your “big data”.

Personally I use Privacy Badger by the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) – an American non profit fighting for our online rights and Findx Privacy Control.

There is also a similar extension by the DuckDuckGo team which is probably a good start for beginners. I like the way Privacy Badger works though.

I have been using Privacy Badger for over a year. At first many sites literally broke when I visited them with privacy protection.

Many sites literally use hundreds of potential trackers on their unsuspecting users! Consider Wired.com – the website of the popular technology magazine.

239 tracking items blocked on Wired.com

I can’t link Wired.com here for security reasons! The Wired website is spyware! The FindX Privacy Control extension blocked 239 suspicious items! And guess what? The site still worked.

What does that mean? Wired used up to 239 redundant tracking scripts that you didn’t even need to load to make the website work or view the content!

Of course it’s mostly third party scripts and images. Google ads and analytics by themselves were responsible for dozens of trackers. Every image Google shows reports back on you!

Wired can get away with it why can’t I? Well, Wired exists for almost 20 years and has a faithful audience. Even I do visit it despite all the surveillance.

Imagine a site you don’t even know though that x-rays you on entry. That’s nono. That’s like a stranger looking under your skirt or opening your zipper.

Yet many sites add dozens or even hundreds of cookies to your local machine. Due to the European privacy law they have to ask for consent. It sometimes looks like this:

A wesbite ask for permission to use numerous cookies for all kinds of purposes. It's a dialog provided by Cookiebot.

This site is even one of the better examples – it just adds 60 cookies and only 34 of them “for marketing purposes”. I have seen worse ones. I rather decline in such cases.

Most of the cookies are used for tracking and are “unnecessary”.

By itself the idea and implementation by Cookiebot is a good one – it is also compliant with the EU privacy law. You just need to make sure to limit the number of cookies!

Lack of Privacy May Cost You Money

Some people by now think I’m one of those paranoid “tinfoil hat” nerds. I’m not advocating hiding in the woods with a bunch of survivalists though.

We need to use technology ind the information age or we’ll get left behind. I still want to be able to use the Web but I don’t want to be exploited by “big data” while at it.

Even in case you don’t care for privacy you will surely admit that some of the ramifications are unsettling. You surely care about money, don’t you?

Based on your Internet activity or data you share you may see a different pricing online. In simple terms: lack of privacy will cost you more money!

Based on your profile some products won’t even get shown to you while others may be overtly promoted.

For example inner city Afro-American youths are much more likely to see ads for alcohol while they won’t get shown real estate ads.

Who are you on the Web? Are you yourself with your

  • ethnicity and skin color
  • religion or lack there of
  • sexual orientation and gender
  • age and birth date
  • political bias and affiliations

or a carefully crafted persona made to be as likeable as possible?

Each of those very common “data points” may have some negative impact on your online and real life. For example I can’t see a lot of online content because I’m in Germany.

A lot of video content and music is limited to the United States or at least blocked in Germany as Google’s YouTube fails to pay German copyright holders.

  • To see videos or listen to music that is “not available in your country” you have to use a so called VPN or Virtual Private Network like Proton VPN that hides your actual whereabouts.
  • Muslims are not only subject to discrimination on the street but also on the Web. Are you sure you want to disclose that you believe in Allah?
  • Studies show that women are much more likely to be harassed online than men. Homosexuals or transgender people are exposed to even more hate speech.
  • Some online stores show different pricing depending on your background and browsing history. You may pay more than others without realizing it.
  • Age is clearly often used to decide whether you can access some online content. It’s not only about adult topics though.

Ageism becomes also apparent when you have to pay more because you’re older. Just think insurance policies.

When you follow the news online you might have noticed over the recent years that increasingly more and more people tend to agree with you. That’s the so called filter bubble.

Algorithms notice what you like and only show you items based on your political preferences. In the US this has led to a completely unexpected presidency by Donald Trump.

Many websites collect data like age or gender routinely. Just to sign up somewhere or to buy something you need to give away vital information on yourself.

Yet an increasing number of people – potential customers – are not fond of such random data collection even you have a – or despite of your – huge privacy policy.

Thus not only Internet users who end up on your site may lose money. You – the website owner – may lose money too when you neglect actual data protection.

I don’t even refer to the actual threat of getting sued when you don’t comply with local privacy laws . I mean losing customers because of lack of or downright disregard for privacy.

You Have a Privacy Policy? Awesome! Can I Read it?

Excerpt from Ecosia privacy policy explaining clearly that they us no third party trackers like Gogle Analytics

A privacy policy – some people already regard it as a “profiling policy” – may actually backfire. Most such policies are written in undecipherable legalese only lawyers can understand after many hours of study.

Even by skimming such wall of text written in alien language many people get scared. You only share the data with your partners, advertisers and everybody else? Back off!

There are some examples of actually human readable privacy policies out there you can not only understand but they don’t scare you with their message. Sadly they are few and far in between.

It seems the more complicated a privacy policy is the more suspicious activity of dubious data sharing it is hiding. Just think Facebook.

While Facebook may get away with an egregious tracking record because it is too big to fail and indispensable for most people your website may not.

Now with the new European privacy law every website serving visitors from the EU needs a plain language privacy policy. I have created one for myself. Yes, you can read it!

Know When to Ask for Private Information and Permission or if at All

One creepy yet wide-spread practice many business websites adhere to is asking strangers for private information or access to their mailboxes.

This is the infamous “I fcuk on the first date” mentality. You enter a site and have to close a pop up asking for your mail address, a notification permission dialog and a consent notice for cookies.

Some sites also ask for permission to have access to location data – that is where you are or where you live. No, thank you!

When I asked my colleagues on Twitter most of them mentioned these issues. Even as Web professionals with technical know how they are ostracized by such sites.

Thank you Dean Cruddace, Zack Neary-Hayes, Andrew Akesson for feedback and additional insights. Click their names for their feedback!

The privacy-oriented Firefox browser already allows to block most of these requests altogether out of the box:

Firefox brwoser permission that allow to block notification rquests by default along with pop-ups.

It’s a shame! These features can be very useful when used responsively. They are not just tools for stalkers and creepy marketers!

Personally I’m trying my best to reconcile website optimization and privacy needs. You need analytics to know how your website works and whether people really view it.

What you don’t really need unless for selfish reasons is tracking across domains and similar privacy breaches. Learn from the Facebook debacle!

Stop treating website visitors like easy prey. The goal of a website is not to make money off unsuspecting visitors by tricking them into giving away their data.

You need to convince people that you offer value. That’s marketing. Attract privacy oriented visitors to gain more business!

Stalking and selling private data is crime even if the laws aren’t applicable everywhere yet. Just because some sites still can get away with it does not mean it’s OK.

The post How to Make Your Website Less Scary and Intrusive to Gain More Business appeared first on SEO 2.0.

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This Simple 4-Step SEO Strategy = 639% More Organic Search Traffic

Using a repeatable SEO strategy is the only way to achieve consistent results.

In fact:

The repeatable (and proven) SEO strategy I’m going to show you today is what we used to achieve 639% more organic search traffic for a “dead” fashion blog:

results

2,938% more organic search traffic a consumer-facing brand:

results

So if you want to stop doing guesSEO and use a proven SEO strategy, then keep reading.

Easy 4-Step SEO Strategy (Plus 2 Bonus Steps)

This process is simple on the surface, but you need to understand the nuance behind each phase.

Here’s how the process looks:

SEO strategy process

Let’s start with step #1, which is:

1. Audit

Starting a campaign without an SEO audit is like building a house without a foundation. You need to audit your website and off-site signals to get a clear understanding of what you’re working with.

Believe it or not, I start my audits in reverse order.

Most SEOs start with on-site signals, but I always start with off-site signals.

Why?

Because backlinks are the single biggest ranking factor. It’s been proven time-and-time again.

For example, Backlinko found that the total number of referring domains correlated to better rankings:

Linking Root Domains Ranking Factor

SEMRush discovered the same:

SEMrush Study

And even Ahrefs agrees:

Ahrefs Link Study

I’ve audited over a 1,000 SEO campaigns through the years and backlinks are always the determining factor of performance.

That’s why we must start there.

6 Step Backlink Profile Audit

1. Are the backlinks high-quality?

The first thing I look for in a link profile are low-quality links.

Low-quality links aren’t a problem when they comprise a small percentage of your profile.

That said, what does a “low-quality” link look like?

Let me show you.

Here’s an example of web 2.0 spam:

You’ll see that the content is unreadable and they’re using exact match anchor text. There’s an attempt to make the link more credible by adding an external link to a trusted source.

However, it’s a futile effort because there are way too many other factors working against this placement.

Here’s an example of public blog network link:

example of PBN

This one isn’t as obvious because it (almost) looks like a real website. But there are a few signs that it’s nothing more than a private blog network.

First, the outbound links aren’t topically relevant and are using exact match anchor text.

Secondly, the homepage has ~50 full length blog posts.

Most people who use PBNs know that the homepage is often the most powerful page on a site.

In this case, the most powerful page on rebuilt expired domain.

Here’s the last low-quality link example, a “DoFollow” blog comment:

Dofollow blog comment spam

I don’t think I need to elaborate on why this is a low-quality link.

Avoid this nonsense.

Here’s a simple workflow for combatting these links if you have them.

Don’t remove the links

This might seem like an odd recommendation, but this is a huge mistake that people make.

You do not, I repeat, you don’t want to go on a link removing spree.

Why?

Because removing links (even low-quality ones) will reduce your website’s authority.

If your authority drops, so will your rankings. Removing toxic links is a part of the process.

Just not at this point. Instead, you need to:

Load up on NEW high-quality links

Most people don’t realize this, but link-related penalties aren’t just because of low-quality links.

It’s also because of a lack of high-quality links.

For example, an authority website like Moz can have the exact same low-quality links that you do and NOT get penalized.

The reason is because those low-quality links represent a very small percentage of their overall link profile. The majority of their links come from high-quality, trusted sources.

As a result, that offsets any toxic links they may in their profile. So instead of removing your toxic links, actively work to acquire new high-quality links to offset them.

Slowly remove the worst offenders

Once you’ve built up a nice base on high-quality links from real websites, you can begin removing toxic links.

Do it slowly while you continue to acquire new links.

2. Are the backlinks relevant?

Most of your links should come from relevant sources. Relevance comes in two different forms: topical and geo-targeted.

The best way to think about link relevance is to use a method I created called The Relevancy Pyramid:

Relevancy Pyramid

In essence, you need to focus on acquiring links on websites at the top of the pyramid first. These are your most relevant opportunities. Work your way down the pyramid as you run out of opportunities.

3. Are the backlinks hitting the right pages?

The biggest mistake link builders make is sending all their backlinks to transactional pages.

You have to remember that backlinks are votes.

How many websites are willing to “vote” for a boring page about a Chicago plumbing service?

Not many.

Driving the majority of your links to these types of transactional pages is a huge footprint and is unnatural.

Do this instead:

You should drive backlinks to informational assets at the top of the funnel. If these assets are constructed well, they deserve “votes” (backlinks).

4. Is there an effort to acquire new backlinks?

I haven’t put much emphasis on this over the years, but I now think it’s a huge factor. You have to continually acquire new backlinks to your website.

The reason to two fold.

First, you will lose backlinks. Websites shut down (or hacked), people remove links, posts get deleted, etc. It’s inevitable.

Secondly, what does it say about your content and website if it stops getting new backlinks?

It indicates to Google that you’re no longer getting votes. That may imply that your website or content isn’t popular or high-quality any more.

You have to continue acquiring new backlinks to your content and website to solidify your website’s authority.

Here’s an example of perfect link velocity (Backlinko):

Link Velocity

Need more backlinks? Try these 7 untapped link building techniques.

5. Is the anchor text over-optimized?

Using keyword-rich anchor text was all the rage back before 2012.

Over-Optimized Anchor Text

Now it can get your website penalized.

Read my anchor text guide to learn how to optimize it the right way.

Now that you know what you’re working with, you need to audit your on-site SEO.

Here are important items to analyze.

4 High-Impact On-Site Factors to Audit

1. Are you targeting the right keywords?

Every effective SEO campaigns start with the right keywords. Some people call them topics. Regardless:

You need to structure your pages around phrases that your ideal customers are searching for in Google. I recommend focusing most of your effort on informational keywords at the top of the funnel.

Types of Search Intent

However, you should also tackle transactional and comparison types of keywords as well because they will have the best conversion rates.

So how do you know if you’re targeting the “right” keywords?

It all comes down to qualification.

2. Is your site architecture built well?

Site Architecture is a lead domino for SEO performance because it impacts so many other facets of the process.

For example, a well-designed site architecture can help search engine crawlers navigate through your site better, which leads to better indexation.

Also, an effective site architecture can drive link equity to your most important pages, which will help them perform better in organic search.

How you attack structuring your site architecture will depend on the type of website you have.

Here are some general rules of thumb about building an effective site architecture:

Remember that internal links are votes too

Just like external links, you should think of your internal links as “votes” for a page. The more links (votes) a page has, the higher the value.

You can use Screaming Frog to see how many internal links a page has. Just look under the “Unique Inlinks” column.

Internal Links

If you want a page to perform better, give it more internal link love.

Make your page easily accessible

Every page on your site should be accessible for crawlers unless intended otherwise. This will ensure proper indexing.

Understand that internal Links are not valued the same

For example, internal links on your homepage and your site-wide menu are valued more than links in your footer, sidebar, or even within a blog post.

Try to keep depth to 3-4 clicks

This will ensure that your pages are getting crawled and indexed well. In general, the deeper a page is on your website, the less valuable it is to Google.

You can see how deep each of your pages are in your site architecture with Screaming Frog. Look under the “Crawl Depth” column.

Crawl Depth

Just remember:

Less clicks = more value, more clicks = less value.

Use intelligent anchor text

You should always use exact match anchor text with your internal links. Just be careful with site-wide navigational links because they can cause issues.

It’s better to create a category page and then link to the other pages than to jam it into the menu.

The main reason is because of anchor text over-optimization.

If you have 1,000 internal links for “dark roast coffee” and then you acquire 100 external links with that same anchor text, it could lead to over-optimization.

Consider using breadcrumbs

If you have a large website, you may want to consider using breadcrumb schema because this will ensure proper coverage.

Mega menu are useful for big sites

A mega menu may be a necessity for large websites.

Make sure you have a sitemap

SEO 101, but your site should have a sitemap.

3. Are there any content-related issues?

“Content” applies to every page on the website in this case. I always find that most issues are content-related. Some content-related issues you need to watch out for are:

Thin content

“Thin” often applies to pages with low word counts. However, “thin” can also apply to pages with regurgitated content that doesn’t add any unique value.

You can find pages with low word counts using Screaming Frog. Look under the “Word Count” column.

Word Count

Duplicate content

Every page on your websites should have unique content. It’s okay to have the same testimonials on some pages, but the bulk of every page should be unique.

Use Siteliner to find duplicate content.

siteliner

Keyword cannibalization

Once you pick a qualified keyword, use ONE page to target it. Don’t create another page targeting the same exact keyword phrase. This is why so many SEO experts talk in “topics” instead of keywords.

Keyword cannibalization occurs when two pages are targeting the same exact keyword phrase.

Keep in mind:

It makes sense to create new pages for similar keywords if the intent is different.

For example, I have a blog post about “backlinks” and a post about “buy backlinks”.

These have different intents.

Over-optimization

Don’t stuff keywords all over your page.

You only need your primary keyword phrase to show up in prominent locations such as your URL, title tag, meta description (which Google will likely rewrite any way), H1 tag, first sentence, sometimes your H2 tag (but I typically use a variation here), and your last sentence.

Other than that, just write naturally the keyword density should work itself out.

Lack of linkable assets

This goes along with the link profile audit section. If you don’t have anything worthy to link to, then your SEO campaign is going to be a struggle.

4. Does the site have technical issues?

Technical issues impact your SEO performance on two levels.

First, if Google can’t crawl and index your site well, you won’t rank well.

Second, if technical issues are hurting the User Experience (UX), Google may devalue your website.

Technical SEO is a big topic, but here are some key areas to tackle:

Crawling & indexing

If Google can’t crawl your site, your pages won’t get indexed. If your page aren’t indexed, you won’t rank.

Therefore, optimizing your crawling and indexation is critical.

The good news is that it isn’t super hard.

The lead domino is your site architecture.

Also, fixing other technical issues like the ones below will improve your crawling and indexation. Lastly, make sure you aren’t using “noindex” tags incorrectly or blocking crawlers in the robot.txt file.

Mobile friendliness

It’s common knowledge that your website needs to be mobile friendly. If it isn’t, make it a priority.

Page loading speed

Page loading speed is a big deal because it can affect your SEO performance and conversion rates. Aim to get your page loading below 3 seconds.

Use Pingdom, GTmetrix, and Google PageSpeed Insights to improve your page loading speed.

Redirects

302 redirects and redirect chains are two types of redirects that should be tackled. There’s some debate on whether you should change 302s to 301s, but we recommend that you do.

404s & broken links

404 errors are only a problem at scale, when they have existing backlinks, or when they’re accidental.

Broken links are never good because they will hurt user experience.

Now that you know what to audit, it’s time to move onto phase two:

2. Optimize

The audit phase identifies every issue holding your campaign back. Now you need to optimize all existing issues before moving onto anything else. Many of the issues you’ll encounter are easy fixes.

However, there are some that will require intelligent logistics.

Let me show you a few of my “go-to” optimization techniques that don’t require new content or backlinks.

4 Simple SEO Techniques

1. The Phantom Technique

This is the most basic technique on the list, but you wouldn’t believe how many sites don’t take advantage of it.

All you need to do is add “best” or the “year” onto your title tag wherever it makes sense.

I’ve recently finished a few hundred SEO content audits and 95% of these clients aren’t using title modifiers.

It’s crazy how much traffic you actually miss out on when you don’t use them.

For example, we added the year “2019” to a clients page and now 3 of their most popular queries have the year attached to it.

Title Modifiers

Although we would still be getting traffic from the primary phrase, we would have missed out on 1,000 new organic search visitors.

There aren’t many easy wins in SEO, but using the Phantom Technique is one of them.

2. Tunnel Vision Technique

One of the biggest mistakes I see websites make is trying to target too many keywords at one time. It’s much better to have tunnel vision and allocate all your resources to dominating ONE keyword phrase.

That’s how we grew this clients organic search traffic by 1,337%:

Results

We only focused on blog post and used all of our resources to make A) make the blog post incredible and B) acquire as many links as we needed.

Having this type of tunnel vision directs all your focus and resources and helps you avoid spreading your resources too thin.

Here’s how to execute the tunnel vision technique:

  1. Identify a qualified keyword
  2. Allocate all your resources to dominating that keyword
  3. Keep working on the page and promoting it until it ranks

Once the page is ranking in the top 5, move onto to another keyword phrase

3. Spider Food Technique

So if you want a particular page on your website to rank better in Google, then you need to show Google’s crawlers that it’s a priority.

That means you need to move your page higher up into your site architecture.

Once you do that, Google will be able to crawl that page easier and frequently.

It also signals to Google that your target page is important.

Here’s an example:

If you go to the Gotch SEO blog, you’ll see that there’s a blog post titled “How to Learn SEO in 2019 (According to 130 Experts)”.

Screenshot

When you click on that learn SEO blog post and scroll down to the “Start Learning Now With These SEO Resources”, you’ll see that I’ve linked to many of my other blog posts.

Architecture

This blog post is pinned to my blog page because I want Google to crawl that page and all my other important blog posts.

It also means that any backlinks that are acquired to my learn SEO blog post will send link equity and authority to all the other blog posts I linked to.

Here’s the big takeaway:

Make your most important SEO-driven pages easily accessible to Google’s crawler.

4. Authority Transfer Technique

The Authority Transfer Technique is a powerful way to distribute link authority (PageRank) to your most important SEO-driven pages.

Here’s how it works:

1. Identify what pages on your site have existing backlinks

The best way to find these pages is to use Ahrefs.

Open up Ahrefs, enter your domain, and start the analysis.

Then click on “Best by Links” under “Pages” and sort by “RDs”:

best by links ahrefs

2. Add internal links on those pages to relevant SEO-driven pages

Now all you need to do now is add internal links.

Your internal should target pages that are A) topically relevant and B) you’re trying to rank.

I recommend using exact match anchor text with your internal links (it’s safe to do so as long as they aren’t site-wide).

Internal Link

I recommend using this technique every time you publish a new SEO-driven page.

It’s one of the best ways to give your page a boost out of the gate (by leveraging existing authority). Your goal should be to push your pages up the SERPs as far as possible before acquiring links.

The Authority Transfer Technique is one of the best ways to accomplish that goal (fast).

3. Create

Now you’ve audit and optimized your site, you need to create. There are many different types of content to create for SEO purposes, but there’s one that stands above all else.

Linkable assets.

Every business should create informational assets with the intent of driving backlinks to your site.

This is the most natural way to build your site’s authority.

In fact:

This is the exact strategy I use for growing every website’s authority. It’s called the Reverse Silo technique:

Reverse Silo

In essence, you grow your site’s authority by creating top of the funnel, informational assets.

It’s best to target keyword phrases that are highly linkable.

Does this mean you shouldn’t target keyword that aren’t as linkable?

Definitely not.

But if you’re trying to grow your site’s authority (and get as many backlinks as possible) you should focus on linkable ideas.

To verify that an idea is linkable, use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer. Enter your keyword and scroll down to the “SERP overview”. If the ranking pages have links, then it’s a linkable topic.

Linkable Idea

In addition to creating linkable assets, you need to improve your transactional pages.

“Transactional” pages are built around keywords that have transactional intent.

Some examples include: “los angeles personal injury lawyer” or “SEO services”.

These pages must be built differently than an informational asset that targets top of the funnel keywords.

I have a post dedicated to SEO content, but here are some ways to create effective transactional pages:

Video. Video. Video.

Did I mention you should use video? Using HQ videos on your transactional pages can increase trust, dwell time, and conversion rates. It’s a good investment.

Use Relevant Testimonials

Every great transactional page will have testimonials.

Micro Stories

I like picking 3-5 customer stories and displaying those on the transactional page. This increases word count and helps increase trust even further.

Educational Section

There is always an opportunity to educate your ideal customer. What information can you give them that will help them make a better decision?

An example from the SEO industry is: “7 Steps to Take Before Hiring an SEO Agency”.

Add an FAQ Section

Every product and service will have common questions that popup. Add these questions and answers to your page. It’s a super easy way to add more unique content.

4. Promote

Here’s the truth about this SEO strategy:

It won’t reach its full potential if you neglect the Promote phase.

Ever heard this idea:

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

That “tree” is your website.

You can’t expect your site to perform well in Google in no one knows your brand and you have no links.

Backlinks are validation that your brand is doing something right or that your content is valuable.

You thinking your content is “good” is a moot point. “Good” is subjective.

The only way to prove that something is “good” is through external validation.

In the case of SEO, links are that validation.

So how do you get more backlinks?

Need more backlinks? Try these 7 untapped link building techniques.

Here are some of my favorite techniques:

1. The Switch Up Technique

The Switch Up Technique is my favorite way to build relationships fast. As you may or may not, building relationships is a critical piece to getting more backlinks.

Most people fail at link outreach because they’re metaphorically trying to hit a home run on the first date.

Just like in sales, you need to take baby steps along the journey.

You have to build relationships with the websites (and people who are capable of linking to you) BEFORE you ask for something.

There needs to be an exchange of value.

“Value” comes in many different forms including money, help, or content.

Here’s a perfect example of a student of Gotch SEO Academy exchanging value with me (I had no choice but to link to this tool because it solved a REAL problem and added REAL value):

Switch Up Technique

Money works well, but you can acquire links without having to pay people. But that will only be possible through building real relationships.

The first step to accomplishing that is to use the Switch Up Technique.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Go through your blog content and examine all your external links.
  2. See if you’re linking out to general websites like Wikipedia, CNN, or any authority website with many authors.
  3. Go to Google and look for a replacement from a lower authority blog.
  4. Change the link
  5. Reach out to the person

Use a non-threatening template like this:

Hey [NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. I was doing some research on [TOPIC] and discovered your guide about [TOPIC]. I really enjoyed it. I never realized that [SOMETHING YOU LEARNED FROM THEIR CONTENT]. Super cool. Anyway, I won’t take up any more of your time. Just wanted to thank you for putting the article together and wanted to let you know that I linked to it from my article: [INSERT NAKED URL] – it’s about [TOPIC].

Thanks again!
[NAME]

2. Oprah Technique

I created a cool name for this technique, but it’s super simple.

You’re going to get interviewed and land links.

Go to Google and enter “interview + niche” or “interview with + [YOUR COMPETITOR]”.

Interview

Add all these prospects to your link building document. Then, just reach out and pitch yourself for the interview.

Use a simple template like this:

Hey [NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. First, just wanted to thank you for all the amazing interviews you’ve been doing. I’ve listened to your interview with [INSERT ONE YOU LIKED] multiple times because it’s so incredibly valuable. Quick question: are you accepting new interviewees at this time? If you are, I would love to chat because I [COOL RESULT].

Let me know, thanks!

3. Relationship Accelerator Technique

The Relationship Accelerator Technique serves a dual purpose:

  1. It can help you build relationships with key “linkerati” (people who are capable and willing to link to you)
  2. It can help you score links with very little effort.

There are a few different ways to go about this, but my favorite techniques are to host expert roundups, host interviews, or ask for expert contributions to your content.

In short:

You’re giving value upfront because you’re going to link to these expert’s website. In exchange, you’re building a relationship with them and there’s the possibility that they’ll link to the content they’re featured in.

This is often referred to as “ego bait” and it’s incredibly effective.

Even if you don’t score a link, the relationship you’ll build can lead to something else in the future.

4. Reverse Guest Post Technique

This is by far one of the most untapped link building methods. It actually surprising how little people use it.

In short:

You’re going to pitch experts (who have blogs) to create content on your site as a guest author. It’s an easy pitch if you have some traffic and a decent audience because most experts want to promote themselves.

For example, I had Venchito Tampon write a guest post for GotchSEO.com and check out the links that it has picked up:

reverse guest posting

That’s because Venchito references because it not only adds value, but it benefits his brand as well. It’s a win-win.

There are a few important points to keep in mind about this strategy:

  • Be selective about who can write for your blog (they should have an audience and website)
  • Make sure they write on a topic that you haven’t covered yet to avoid keyword cannibalization (multiple pages targeting the keyword phrases)

Bonus #1: Convert

Getting more traffic is awesome, but it’s worthless if you can’t convert it into leads and customers.

This is the point where most SEO campaigns fail.

Some SEOs are amazing at ranking and driving traffic. But they’re horrific at converting that traffic.

As a result:

Clients get pissed because they’re not seeing the one result they actually care about:

New leads and new customers.

Driving traffic to a website without a conversion foundation is a pointless endeavor.

If you want to see real success from all your SEO efforts, you shouldn’t do SEO right away.

Instead:

Build a conversion foundation and then use SEO as fuel on the fire.

I won’t get deep into CRO because it’s outside the scope of this guide.

But there’s one high-impact action I highly recommend you take:

Create Relevant Lead Magnets

A user can receive a lead magnet (a quality content asset) when they enter their email. Since most people aren’t ready to buy, this is the perfect baby step.

The key to a successful lead magnet is relevance.

Whenever I build lead magnets, I always make them hyper relevant to the ToFu (top of the funnel) content.

For example, this “52 Lucrative SEO Niches” lead magnet is strategically placed on my “How to Start an SEO Company” guide.

Lead Magnet

And because it’s hyper relevant, the squeeze page has a 60% optin rate.

Conversion rate

Pretty insane, right?

It’s all because of relevance.

I have these relevant lead magnets throughout my site which result in ~50 new email subs everyday.

But the trick to taking this to another level is to have a remarketing layer.

Bonus #2: Remarketing

Did you know that ~97% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy?

That number applies to organic search traffic driven by an intelligent SEO strategy as well.

So even if you do an awesome job and you convert 1-3%, you’re still missing out an enormous amount of new revenue.

The good news is that you can change it.

You just need to set up remarketing campaigns.

My go-to source for remarketing are Facebook Ads.

Let me walk you through a basic remarketing campaign.

So when anyone visits “link building” related content on my site, they get placed into a custom audience.

Facebook Audience

Once they’re in that audience, they’ll start seeing my relevant lead magnet offer: “7 Untapped Link Building Techniques” (if they’re not already an email subscriber).

Facebook Ad

This add alone has driven an additional 166 new email subscribers for only $1.72.

Facebook Remarketing

I’m willing to invest that much to acquire a new email sub because A) email is my primary marketing vehicle and B) the lifetime value of a Gotch SEO customer is much higher than $1.72.

Your Turn

Launching an effective SEO strategy isn’t simple, but it’s worth it.

Quick question for you:

What part of your SEO campaign are you going to tackle after reading this?

Let me know in the comment section.

P.S. This is the exact SEO strategy I teach inside Gotch SEO Academy.

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