The Competition-Busting SEO Strategy No One Is Talking About: Siloing Your Site

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The Competition-Busting SEO Strategy No One Is Talking About: Siloing Your Site was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

What if I told you that the way most websites are structured is completely wrong for search marketing?

And then what if I told you that there was a proven way to structure your website to:

  • Boost its relevancy for search engines
  • Drive more organic search traffic
  • And gain a massive competitive advantage?

Let me tell you more …

seo siloing for competitive advantage

It’s an SEO strategy that’s been around for a while, yet the majority of brands — even bigger brands — aren’t utilizing its power to improve their site’s rankings, relevance and usability.

You’ll gain a competitive advantage as I explain in this post:

  • Why website architecture is the key to making your site relevant to the search engines.
  • How the organization of your content positions you as a subject matter expert and creates a good user experience.
  • Case studies that show the power of website architecture for SEO.

Website Architecture: The Wrong Way

It may or may not surprise you that the majority of website designers and developers are not skilled in search engine optimization.

Yet, these are the folks who are in charge of designing your website.

And the design of your site, from the code to the layout to the architecture, impacts your SEO strategy.

So why aren’t more brands building SEO into their website from the start? Simply put: no one is really talking about SEO during a website launch or redesign.

Most brands today design their sites like brochures, focusing on colors, look and feel and high-level business objectives.

Topic-focused content organization is overlooked. The problem with that is it doesn’t create subject matter expertise in the search engines’ eyes.

If you were a search engine, which of these would you rather show to users?

The garage without order or the garage with a clear focus?

disorganized garage

organized garage

Our job as website publishers is to help the search engines better understand what our business is about.

To do that, we have to hit the mark when it comes to look and feel and colors, but also content depth and organization. Google’s algorithms are getting smarter, but they still need a lot of help.

To better understand that a business is about X and has subject matter expertise about X, you need to create a cluster of organized content around X versus just mentioning it in a few words on pages randomly throughout your site.

And by the way, doing this will help you in a RankBrain world, where the machine learning AI system is working hard to match a search query to the best possible website.

Website Architecture for SEO

OK, now let’s talk about the right way to structure a site for SEO.

We invented siloing for SEO 17 years ago and have taught and written about it ever since.

This is something you should consider when you’re launching a new website, redesigning an old website or trying to implement a more powerful SEO strategy.

Organizing your website’s content, through directory structure and links, in a way that conveys subject matter expertise to search engines is an SEO methodology I devised years ago, and it’s called siloing.

Siloing is organizing a website’s content by heavily queried themes to make it clear what topics a site is about.

Put another way, siloing attempts to take a website with disjointed areas of focus and make sense of it by organizing the content.

Why is this important? A disorganized site doesn’t clearly convey what it is about. So a disorganized site can negatively impact your search rankings, and thus traffic.

When you organize your website content by topic or theme, search engines can see that you have sufficient content around Topic X, and that you are probably a relevant choice for a query on X.

Remember, one of Google’s key recommendations is to have a site with a clear structure and information-rich content.

Here’s an excerpt of Google’s recommendations from its Webmaster Guidelines:

  • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it …
  • Design your site to have a clear conceptual page hierarchy.

Siloing: What You Need to Know

Siloing is a highly technical and strategic SEO process. I won’t go into the technical details here, although you can find them in this guide to SEO siloing.

Instead, I’m going to share with you the guiding rules of siloing, so that you can consider it for your own website.

Siloing starts with sufficient website content around the topics and ideas that are crucial to your business.

In SEO-speak, your site needs to have lots of content that uses your target keywords.

Let’s look at an example. Say your website sells power tools. A website with disorganized focus may cover all the types of power tools on one page.

A website that has siloed its content might instead organize the various types of power tools it sells like this:

example of siloing hierarchy with power tools

And by the way, each one of those pages represents a primary target search keyword and mentions the keywords common to their own themes.

This is not only a way to create a more streamlined user experience for your visitors, but also a way to tell Google that you are an expert on the various categories of power tools you sell.

That’s because there’s a clear hierarchical structure that makes it easy for search engine bots to crawl and understand the relationships and focus of topics.

In its simplest terms, here are the steps for how to do siloing for SEO:

Step 1 to siloing is knowing your keywords.
Step 2 is understanding how people search.
Step 3 is having ample content.
Step 4 is organizing topics and supporting topics hierarchically.
Step 5 is using internal links to connect related pages.

All of these pieces are critical to establishing your site as an expert.
The technical implementation instructions for SEO siloing are outlined here.

But now, let’s look at some results, shall we?

The Power of Siloing: 2 Case Studies

Siloing is a foundational component of our SEO services, and clients see powerful results.

Let’s look at a couple examples of real client results now.

Understand that the siloing strategy in these cases didn’t exist in a vacuum. There were other SEO-driven revisions that occurred along with the website architecture edits and internal linking of siloing. However, it is our experience that every SEO tactic is amplified once siloing is in place.

Case Study No. 1: Manufacturer of Custom, Specialty Home Construction Parts

This client came to us due to a link penalty from Penguin. But they also wanted us to migrate their site from a .net domain to their Unix-based .com, and from a custom CMS to WordPress. We found this to be a perfect opportunity to silo their content.

For this engagement, we did the following:

  • Link pruning
  • Physical and virtual siloing
  • Reorganized navigation
  • Internal contextual linking to related pages
  • Breadcrumb linking
  • Targeted anchor text
  • On-page title tag and meta description optimization

Here are the results:

  • 107 percent increase year-over-year (YoY) organic traffic, from around 9,000 visits per month to around 20,000 visits per month
  • 30,000 additional organic visits YoY in Q4
  • 90 percent increase in tracked online revenue YoY
  • 88 percent increase in number of transactions YoY
Q4 2015 vs Q4 2016 YoY organic search traffic

Siloing supported a 107% lift in organic search traffic from Q4 2015 to Q4 2016. Click to enlarge.


Case Study No. 2: Insurance Plans and Easy Enrollment Website

This client had a new domain with very little content. They needed to identify the top keywords to target and the supporting content that would help them reinforce their primary keywords. Site architecture and internal linking structure would need to be established.

Here’s what we did:

  • Physical and virtual siloing
  • Reorganized navigation
  • Internal contextual linking to related pages
  • Breadcrumb linking
  • Targeted anchor text
  • On-page title tag and meta description optimization

And here are the results we saw:

  • 327 percent increase YoY in Google organic traffic, from around 2,000 visits per month during Q4 2015 to around 10,000 visits per month during Q4 2016
  • 19,000 additional Google organic visits YoY in Q4
Q4 2015 vs Q4 2016 YoY organic Google search traffic

Siloing supported a 327% lift in organic Google traffic from Q4 2015 to Q4 2016. Click to enlarge.

Start Siloing for a Competitive Advantage

Siloing can be the most powerful tool in your SEO arsenal, and yet many brands aren’t even aware of it. Talk about a competitive advantage to siloing adopters.

If your website needs a boost in relevancy and a lift in organic search traffic, siloing your web content and organizing your link structure is just the thing to do that.

Tell me your own siloing experience in the comments.

Would you want to discuss more about how you can be helped? Let’s talk.

This article just scratches the surface of the most powerful SEO tactic, siloing. Send your technical search marketing team to SEO training with me to learn how to do it for your business.

January 17th 2017 SEO

Google Explains How It Establishes a Crawl Budget for Your Site

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If you’ve never heard of a “crawl budget” you’re not alone. It’s actually something that most publishers don’t have to worry about, as long as your pages tend to be crawled by Googlebot the same day that they’re published. Also, if you have a small site with fewer than a few thousand URLs, it is probably already being crawled in a timely fashion.

However, Google felt it necessary to explain in a blog post exactly what a crawl budget is and what factors can impact a quick crawl by Google.

First there is the Crawl Rate Limit which limits the maximum fetching rate for a given site in order to not degrade the user experience. “Simply put, this represents the number of simultaneous parallel connections Googlebot may use to crawl the site, as well as the time it has to wait between the fetches,” says Gary Illyes who is part of the webmaster team at Google.

The crawl rate will go up and down based on site speed and server errors. Fast responsive sites with no errors will get crawled more. Also, in the Search Console webmasters can manually add limits to crawling.

“Even if the crawl rate limit isn’t reached, if there’s no demand from indexing, there will be low activity from Googlebot,” said Illyes. He says that popular sites get priority crawling and that in general Google wants to crawl new content. “Taking crawl rate and crawl demand together we define crawl budget as the number of URLs Googlebot can and wants to crawl.”

Low-Value-Add URLs

Having many low-value-add URLs can negatively affect a site’s crawling and indexing. In order of significance, low-value-add URLs fall into these categories:

“Wasting server resources on pages like these will drain crawl activity from pages that do actually have value, which may cause a significant delay in discovering great content on a site,” says Illyes.

Read their full blog post here.

The post Google Explains How It Establishes a Crawl Budget for Your Site appeared first on WebProNews.

January 17th 2017 Google, Search, SEO

My 10 Predictions for Digital Marketing in 2017

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My 10 Predictions for Digital Marketing in 2017 was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Bruce Clay's 2017 digital marketing predictions

It was hard to miss the “good riddance to 2016” trumpet blasts just two weeks ago.

So 2017 starts off in a pretty good position with small shoes to fill.

However, the expectations we as individuals have for our own achievements have not waned. Redo everything and improve it all. “Nothing is sacred” has been my mantra lately. Up takes effort.

For you, let 2017 be the year you say you got better every day. The year you surrounded yourself with smart people. The year you got a hold of better data. The year you made more informed decisions.

In that spirit, I perform my annual exercise of crystal ball gazing, offering predictions for the search marketing and affiliated digital marketing spaces for the year to come.

Why have I done this every year for the last 12 years?

A few reasons:

  1. Everything we do is done in service of this primary goal: Get more traffic to websites.
  2. To get more web traffic, we have to know what works and what will change — and the sooner the better.
  3. With a digital marketing road map clearly drawn, we can gain a competitive edge by innovating strategies around upcoming opportunities.

So the predictions below are the starting point for a conversation about how search marketing is evolving to be smarter over the next few months.

Give them a read and let me know what you think.

My Predictions

1. The SEO world will be shocked to see that organic listings will shrink as PPC and Local Paid Inclusion takes hold. Google will become a pay-to-play space with only the top few organic rankings getting continual search traffic, usually for information-centric sites.

2. Mobile will significantly dominate the traffic on the web. In the early part of the year, desktop search will fall as a percentage of total queries. Later in 2017, desktop search will gain search traffic share as an information portal as mobile search tests a totally paid model.

3. Voice search will exceed half of all searches, and find increasingly common use for desktop search. This will totally flip the concept of keywords as people speak what they want instead of typing it.

Bruce Clay’s 2017 #SEO prediction: Voice search will exceed half of all searches. Read all 10
Click To Tweet

4. AMP is here and will likely remain, but it will not be a very successful project. There are several other and more attractive solutions that will gain a foothold … Your website as an app? Yes, definitely.

5. PPC will grow exponentially. When the entire first screen is paid ads you become a believer. We advise ourselves and clients that they need to follow the money … How does Google make money? Certainly not from organic listings.

Bruce Clay predicts 2017: the first screen of a mobile search is paid ads. Read 10 #predictions
Click To Tweet

6. Shopping on Instagram, Instagram storefronts and affiliate programs take hold. The online fashion industry is many billions of dollars, and visuals rule. Look for massive growth in the area of Instagram shopping.

7. Ads on social media continue to grow, not without challenges. Social is rejected by users as an inappropriate channel for ads. While highly targeted social ads are great for the success of advertisers, users will have the final say.

8. We will see new forms of behavior around virtual social rooms. Social media users and platforms innovate new means of social engagement instead of meeting people in person. Virtual reality (VR) chat rooms become a new social experience.

9. Content is going to be a significant SEO focus, driving most projects throughout the year. This is an easy prediction to make. The key is that the quality of the content will be judged by RankBrain, and so content for content’s sake will not prevail.

10. New tools will help content marketers produce targeted, high-quality content at the time of publishing. Content writers demand more data and become more technically bold as easy-to-use tools provide traffic and competitor SEO stats, ushering in a new generation of targeted high-quality content.

What’s Next? Serving Up Strategy

blog post updates from bruce

How should these changes affect your digital strategy this year? That’s where my 2017 resolution kicks in.

I’ve committed to blogging every week, and you can bet these predictions will be a catalyst for many posts to come.

Follow along with me by signing up for free email updates for the blog.

It’s always an honor to answer your toughest digital marketing and SEO questions. Let me know of any topics you’d like me to cover here.

Fun fact: 2012 was the one time I took a formal poll to rate how I did on my predictions one year out. I scored a 58%.

As for these predictions, how do you think I did? Let me know in the comments.

January 10th 2017 SEO

The Most-Read Digital Marketing Blog Posts of 2016

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The Most-Read Digital Marketing Blog Posts of 2016 was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Hello friends! Happy New Year!

We’re looking forward to a lot of exciting new products and services to share with you in 2017, including an upgrade to our blog. The exciting commitment we’ve made — Bruce made — is more posts by him. Stay connected with weekly posts from Bruce by subscribing to the blog here.

In 2016 we were busy bringing digital marketers answers to the toughest questions surrounding SEO, content marketing and PPC. Out of more than 100 articles, these are the top 12 most-read articles on the Bruce Clay Blog this year.

From managing SEO projects to understanding the Facebook algorithm, keeping your website fresh to disavowing links, here’s the year’s most popular posts for you to read up on as you head into the New Year!

1. The Always Up-to-Date SEO Checklist

Just getting started optimizing websites? Here’s a checklist to keep on-hand to keep in-hand as you embark on an SEO project. We update this SEO list regularly so it reflects all the updates to ranking factors as they emerge.

2. What Is Google PageRank, How Is It Earned & Does It Matter in 2016?

PageRank is the score Google gives pages when determining the quality and quantity of links pointing to a web page. Find out why PageRank is a critical SEO component and how to better your PageRank.

3. 30 SEO Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared For

If you’re looking to hire an in-house SEO analyst, we want to help you find the right one. That’s because our most successful SEO consulting happens when there’s a competent SEO manager working in-house. So we compiled the questions we would ask of a prospective SEO analyst in an interview. It’s a must-read for anyone making digital marketing hiring decisions.

4. The Digital Marketing Conference Calendar

The Digital Marketing Conference Calendar is your one-stop shop for planning your digital marketing conference attendance. Discover more than 100 search engine optimization, paid search, social media and content marketing events happening around the world. This conference calendar is updated regularly, and undergoes a massive update each January. Next week, the calendar will be published anew to reflect the conferences of 2017! Subscribe to the blog to get the 2017 edition delivered straight to your inbox.

6. Keep It Fresh: Steps for Updating Your Website Content

One of the factors Google takes into consideration when determining a site’s maintenance (an important ranking factor) is how up-to-date the content is. This article explains the process of cataloging content, identifying what needs to be updated, evaluating content performance, strategizing content updates and monitoring the results post-update.

7. Advanced Search Operators for Yahoo, Bing and Google

If you’re researching a site you’re working on, investigating a competitor’s site, or trying to locate something specific online, advanced search operators can come in extremely handy. Develop ninja-like search skills with this useful guide.

8. 43 Reasons SEOs Can’t Fear Change: 2016 Digital Marketing Predictions

Digital marketing thought-leaders Bruce Clay, Eric Enge, Cindy Krum and more shared what they were anticipating for the industry in 2016. It’s interesting to look back on this January article now and see how accurate their predictions were. Next month, we’ll have a new predictions post for 2017. Subscribe to the blog to get the predictions for 2017 when we publish them next month!

9. All-In-One Mobile SEO & Design Checklist

Learn about mobile SEO and how to take your mobile user experience and mobile search rankings from good to great with this hands-on optimization checklist! We updated this post in light of Google’s change to a mobile-first index  as well as new technologies including AMP and PWAs.

10. The Complete Guide to Disavowing Links for Google and Bing

A September 2016 update of Penguin — Google’s link analysis algorithm — brought the sophistication with which Google judges links into sharp focus. It’s vital that SEOs closely evaluate every link pointing to their site to determine its quality and relevance. If the link is found wanting, it’s time to disavow. This article is your complete guide to disavowing links for Google and Bing.

11. What Is the Facebook Algorithm?

Facebook’s News Feed filtration system takes into consideration as many as 100,000 individually weighted factors to deliver the most authoritative, relevant and timely content to individuals. Learn more about these factors and how to optimize your content on Facebook to increase your organic reach.

12. 15 Social Media Manager Interview Questions

If you want to hire a social media manager but want some guidance on vetting candidates, this article will guide you through the criteria we would look for in a social media manager and the questions we would ask.

We are excited to see what 2017 has in store for digital marketers. Bruce will be a familiar face on the blog tackling critical “why does this matter?” questions to help the C-suite make strategic decisions. And we’ll continue to cover breaking SEO, PPC, content marketing and social media news, and provide in-depth, tactical guides to fuel your next digital marketing win.

To stay in-the-know, subscribe to get posts from the Bruce Clay Blog delivered straight to your inbox.

December 30th 2016 SEO

The Future of Search Engine Optimization: Top SEO Predictions for 2017

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class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-21686" src="" alt="2017-seo-predictions" width="600" height="350" srcset=" 600w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />

style="font-weight: 400;">In the past, the SEO battle was focused on either black hat, or white hat tactics. Black hat SEO was considered extremely aggressive and didn’t typically play by the rules of search engines. White hat SEO tactics on the other hand were typically closely aligned with search engine guidelines.

style="font-weight: 400;">Today’s world of SEO looks much different (and it’s about time). Instead of hyper focusing only on keywords or search engine needs, smart marketers are concentrating first and foremost on the needs of users. User experience as it relates to mobile accessibility, content structure and user intent on search engines have become the new norm.

style="font-weight: 400;">Content is the reason search began in the first place. – Lee Odden

style="font-weight: 400;">As many of you know, TopRank Marketing’s history is deeply rooted in SEO. Over the years, we’ve continued to incorporate an optimized approach to digital marketing by implementing href=""> style="font-weight: 400;">integrated digital marketing programs style="font-weight: 400;"> that always follow SEO best practices.

style="font-weight: 400;">But what does the future of SEO hold, is there more? We tapped into the minds of some great marketers to provide their predictions of what SEO will look like in 2017.

style="font-weight: 400;">Experts Share Their Top Predictions for 2017

style="font-weight: 400;">Doug Walker

class="alignnone size-full wp-image-21683" src="" alt="doug-walker-seo-prediction" width="200" height="250" />

style="font-weight: 400;">Senior Search Marketer, Dell />
href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">@dougwalkerseo


Companies will experience big wins by creating relevant and highly useful content. @dougwalkerseo /> href='' class='bctt-ctt-btn'>Click To Tweet />

style="font-weight: 400;">While I think it will be important to be up to speed with AMP and other important technologies, with continued content saturation, I think we’ll see even bigger wins by companies who can remain focused on the effort to:

style="font-weight: 400;">1) Create stand-out content, completely relevant and highly useful to their target audience.

style="font-weight: 400;">2) Successfully promote that content to drive consistent engagement in the form of links, social shares, news, and other buzz.

style="font-weight: 400;">Troy Eaves

class="alignnone size-full wp-image-21684" src="" alt="troy-eaves-seo-prediction" width="200" height="250" />

style="font-weight: 400;">Senior Manager, Digital Media – Target Corp />
href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">@Troyville


In 2017, RankBrain will factor in more user intent signals than ever before. @Troyville /> href='' class='bctt-ctt-btn'>Click To Tweet />

style="font-weight: 400;">We’re already seeing RankBrain begin to ‘take over’ and factor in more user intent signals than ever before. I think that will continue to happen and increase in 2017 (specifically, time on site, bounce rates, etc.). I think CTR from SERPs will be a bigger factor in re-ranking URLs as people develop more affinity for the brands they like and click on them when they see them; regardless if they are in pos. #1 or #9.

style="font-weight: 400;">I think people will try to optimize for voice searches because, well voice is here. style="font-weight: 400;">I think links will still be important. I don’t care what article you read that says they are dying, they aren’t. I think social sentiment around brands, hashtags, keyword association (neighbors) across the web will help sort results.

style="font-weight: 400;">If social platforms ever work together with Google, I could see platform specific searches influence rank on Google too.

style="font-weight: 400;">Kevin Cotch

class="alignnone size-full wp-image-21682" src="" alt="kevin-cotch-seo-prediction" width="200" height="250" />

style="font-weight: 400;">SEO Analyst, TopRank Marketing />
href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">@KCotch


SEO experts need to focus on the mobile user moving forward into 2017. @KCotch /> href='' class='bctt-ctt-btn'>Click To Tweet />

style="font-weight: 400;">The most significant change for SEO in 2017 will be the importance of the mobile-first index for Google. Many sites are ready for a mobile-first index but unfortunately many others are not. Google is continuing its focus on mobile, and it has been increasingly important to optimize for mobile users. SEO experts need to focus on the mobile user moving forward in 2017 in terms of metadata and user experience.

style="font-weight: 400;">Danny Goodwin

class="alignnone size-full wp-image-21685" src="" alt="danny-goodwin-seo-prediction" width="200" height="250" />

style="font-weight: 400;">News Writer, Search Engine Journal />
href="" > style="font-weight: 400;">@DannyNMIGoodwin


In 2017, pay attention to how much engagement your brand or business is generating. @DannyNMIGoodwin /> href='' class='bctt-ctt-btn'>Click To Tweet />

style="font-weight: 400;">With the rise of Google RankBrain, AI and machine learning are becoming incredibly important to think about for marketers and SEOs who want to capture valuable search visibility and be found at key moments of the customer journey.

style="font-weight: 400;">What do these types of algorithms reward? Engagement – how many searchers click on your result and how long they stick around on your website. While these aren’t the only signals Google looks at to determine the quality of its search results (and where your site should rank for specific queries), it is definitely important.

style="font-weight: 400;">In 2017, pay attention to how much engagement your brand or business is generating. Specifically: organic search CTR and time on site.

style="font-weight: 400;">Even if improving your organic CTR and time-on-site doesn’t directly impact your rankings, it will still bring in more traffic that sticks around longer (and is more likely to convert). Write great titles that make searchers click – and reward searchers for their click by providing awesome, relevant content to match.


style="font-weight: 400;">Optimize for Humans in 2017

style="font-weight: 400;">Each of these experts shared great advice about different tactics that they predict will rule 2017. You’ll notice that the core message behind each of these predictions is the same: put people first.

style="font-weight: 400;">By focusing on creating a great user experience and understanding what it is that your users want, you’ll start 2017 off on the right foot!

style="font-weight: 400;">Disclosure: Dell is a TopRank Marketing client.



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December 29th 2016 SEO

9 Tips for Artists Looking for More Search Visibility

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by Jayson DeMers

Most artists these days maintain a website to sell their services, or at least a blog to show their work. But it’s hard to earn new commissions and work opportunities — whether in the form of a music gig or audience at an art show — unless you can generate a steady stream of traffic to your site.

There are many viable ways to earn such traffic. For example, you can pay for advertising, or build a social media audience first. There’s usually a downside, however: Paying for advertising requires upfront capital that most artists don’t have, and building a social media audience can be an unpredictable and even counterproductive mission.

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Advantage

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best strategies for additional visibility, and that goes for artists, too. It’s fairly inexpensive, especially when compared to outright advertising; it doesn’t require a base following to start; it requires no formal expertise (at least, again, in the beginning); and it has the potential to grow your traffic exponentially — both in a local area and on a national basis.

Higher search rankings will almost always result in higher inbound traffic. So as long as your site’s content and conversion rates are in order, attention to SEO is going to lead to greater interest in your services.

Tips for Artists and Musicians

So how can an artist make the most of this strategy? In addition to following standard best practices for SEO, you’ll particularly want to employ the following tactics:

1. Declare a niche for yourself.

Make sure you have a dedicated, specific niche that you serve, and be as specific as possible. This specificity will ensure you don’t have much competition. For example, if you knit blankets, don’t just optimize for terms such as “knitted blankets”; get more specific with terms like “custom knitted blankets for newborns” or “knitted blankets with nerdy design.”

2. Make your services clear on dedicated pages.

Dedicated pages with associated keyword terms aren’t as essential as they used to be, but they’re still valuable for artists and musicians. Most people are going to be searching for your goods based on the type of service you’re performing, so keep at least one or two pages that have rich content focused on what you actually do.

3. Use a personal brand.

Even if you have a regular brand (such as a dedicated store for your products or a band name), you’ll want to use a personal brand in conjunction with it. A personal brand will help you increase the visibility of your content, and increase the appeal of your business for prospective customers.

4. Keep your branding consistent.

No matter what you’re doing — whether it’s on your own site, a publisher’s site, or social media — keep your branding consistent. Sooner or later, people will search for you by name, so you’ll want to keep all your brand names and identity signatures as consistent and recognizable as possible over the long run.

5. Write about your trade.

People are always interested in learning arts, crafts, and music, so take the time to write a blog about your trade. Don’t necessarily give away the “secret sauce,” but you should go out of your way to share your knowledge and expertise. This will make your content highly shareable and visible, which is an easy shortcut to getting more backlinks for your page (and therefore more domain authority to boost your rankings).

6. Incorporate multimedia content.

You’re an artist, so show off the goods! Make sure you’re incorporating plenty of examples of multi-media content on your site, including images, video, and sound clips. Optimize these features with appropriate titles and description tags so they can easily be found through search.

7. Network with other artists.

Get to know other local artists, and network with them online. Work on sharing one another’s content, and cross-pollinate your social media followings (especially if you serve complementary niches). Any boosts in visibility you garner will help you both out.

8. Get involved in local events.

Local SEO is a good shortcut for fast visibility … especially for artists, who usually have a specifically local appeal. Get involved in local events, and write about your presence: You’ll get some love from the event hosts, and you’ll build your relevance for your region. On top of that, you’ll probably earn some backlinks, which make it even easier to land a spot in the local “3-pack.”

9. Attract reviews.

One of the best ways to build local search visibility is through positive online reviews. The more reviews you have on third-party directory sites, and the more highly rated they are, the more likely you’ll be to appear in the local 3-pack. Publicize your listings in these areas, and try to optimize your reviews (without soliciting them directly).

Keeping Things Affordable

Plenty of SEO agencies and professionals can help you earn higher rankings, but they may cost several thousand dollars a month or more. As a budding artist or musician, you may not have access to that kind of cash.

Instead, focus on building your rankings as frugally as possible. Spend a few hours learning the basics of SEO on your own, and focus on the tactics you can do effectively on your own. You may run into issues, and eventually find it helpful, even necessary, to enlist professional services; but to get started, you don’t need much. Prioritize the fundamentals; you can always build from there.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

December 16th 2016 Search Engine Optimization, SEO

The Relationship Between Marketing Automation and SEO

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by Jayson DeMers

Marketing automation platforms and SEO are often discussed in the same breath, but they have somewhat of a tumultuous relationship. Some say marketing automation platforms can hurt SEO if you aren’t careful, while others believe it’s complementary. What’s the real answer?

Understanding the Relationship

“Your business is like a bar stool,” digital marketing consultant Jon Rognerud says. “Take any one of the four legs out and it will fall over. Strangely, most businesses are like a three legged stool.”

What does Rognerud mean by this? Well, he admits that most successful businesses have a great product, good salespeople, and a team that understands exactly what their target market needs. However, the fourth and most important leg is missing: lead generation.

Lead generation is typically missing because it’s scary, intimidating, and there are so many different options to choose from. There’s SEO, social media, content marketing, paid advertising, and an entire suite of other specialties.

Over the past few years, software known as “marketing automation” has risen to prominence. As the name suggests, its goal is to automate various marketing actions that are seen as repetitive. These include social media, email, and various website actions.

The problem is that many companies have invested in marketing automation without understanding how it really fits into the larger digital marketing picture. Specifically, they’re viewing it as totally separate and unrelated to SEO. As a result, thousands of businesses resemble unbalanced three legged stools that could topple at any given moment.

To understand this imbalance, you have to start by reviewing the conversion funnel. While there are many different versions of the conversion funnel, we’ll use the very basic example that follows a three-tiered progression of Awareness > Evaluation > Conversion. In this example, awareness is at the top of the funnel, evaluation is in the middle, and conversion is at the bottom.

When a company invests in marketing automation, they’re nailing down the middle of the funnel. While this is great, the problem is that many of these companies haven’t done anything to address the top of the funnel. The result is something like an inverted hourglass. The middle of the funnel is prepared, but there’s nothing going on at the top of the funnel to bring leads in.

When does marketing automation fall short? “When there’s no top-of-the-funnel foundation put in place to support middle of the funnel marketing automation,” HubSpot explains. “Many marketers invest in marketing automation before they have fertile ground for advanced lead nurturing campaigns to blossom. Marketers won’t have the ingredients they need for effective marketing automation until they have both a steady flow of organic leads coming through the funnel.”

This is where SEO enters the picture. While SEO touches multiple points in the funnel, it’s largely a top-of-the-funnel tool for reaching customers who are searching for your products and services in the awareness stage. In order to get the most out of both SEO and marketing automation, the two must work in harmony with one another.

SEO allows you to make the most out of your marketing automation investment while marketing automation ensures your SEO leads don’t go to waste.

Five Important Crossover Points

Without further ado, let’s check out some of the specific crossover points where marketing automation and SEO complement each other for maximum benefit.

1. Closed-Loop ROI Tracking

Are you familiar with closed-loop return on investment (ROI) tracking? This tracking allows you to see the revenue each keyword produces over a specific period of time. It’s essentially the measuring stick by which you gauge how profitable it is to focus on individual search terms.

“With marketing automation, closed-loop ROI tracking tracks every lead, giving you the ability to attach each keyword to a prospect record and continue to follow the lead until it is a closed opportunity in the CRM,” marketing automation expert Matthew Sweezey explains.

This is tremendously beneficial and removes much of the guessing game associated with understanding how leads progress through the funnel. “You see the full closed loop and therefore know where each lead came from and the revenue it brought in, which in turn enables you to prove the value of each marketing channel,” Sweezey continues.

2. Tracking Visitor Behavior

You aren’t required to have marketing automation software in place to bring in new sales prospects – your SEO efforts alone can certainly generate leads. The problem is that you don’t necessarily know which ones are producing the bulk of your sales.

If the old adage that 20 percent of your customers generate 80 percent of your revenue is true, then you need a way to identify and focus on the 20 percent. If your marketing automation software has built-in web tracking software, you can follow your PPC ads so that you know which leads are serious.

“By knowing how your visitors are interacting with your ads and how in depth their engagement is, you are able to fully optimize the productivity and effectiveness of these ad campaigns, thus increasing the chance for conversions,” digital marketing strategist Erin McCabe says.

3. Checking for Toxic Inbound links

You spend a lot of time attempting to build up high-quality, organic links that will improve your organic search rankings. Unfortunately, all it takes is too many unsolicited backlinks from spam sites to get you slapped with a Google link penalty.

With marketing automation, you can set up a feature that will automatically notify you when a potential harmful inbound link is detected. This allows you to take immediate action to remove the link and prevent costly SEO penalties.

4. Improving Campaign Relevancy

When you’re able to better understand which keywords and ads are helpful in generating leads, suddenly you’re able to put together highly relevant marketing campaigns that stand a better chance of penetrating your target audience and pushing customers down to the bottom of the funnel. This means you’re able to better maximize your budget and strategically reallocate funds to the places that matter most.

5. Better Sales Intelligence

Ultimately, this all leads to better sales intelligence. “Because every lead passed to sales through marketing automation has a full history report, including the keywords a prospect searched for, the sales department can use this data to improve its sales process,” Sweezey notes.

The end result is a more intelligent organization that’s no longer simply making assumptions and experimenting with SEO and marketing, but rather identifying trends and strategically acting upon this information.

Make the Most of Your Efforts

While you do have to be careful that you don’t rely too heavily on marketing automation and forget about your core SEO responsibilities, the reality is that marketing automation platforms help SEO tremendously.

If you want to be an organization that sits on a well-balanced stool with four legs, then you would do well to facilitate a healthy relationship between these two core areas.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

December 14th 2016 Search Engine Optimization, SEO

5 Best Alternatives to Older Competitor Analysis Tools

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Are you tired of paying a lot for WebCEO and some other older tools? Looking for the best alternatives? This post is right for you. WebCEO is a great tool deserves the right to be at the top of the SEO tools list.

The only drawback of the tool is a high price. However, the market is fast-evolving, and there are lots of useful alternatives to WebCEO and other older tools to conduct a detailed competitor analysis.

Having said that, we’re going to review 5 good alternatives for getting insights into your competitors’ data. All these products offer a good set of standard SEO tools such as keyword research, backlink checker, rank tracker, keyword grouping, and much more. Let’s dive into these alternatives in order to increase your sales and website traffic.

1. SE Ranking

Hands down, SE Ranking is one of the best WebCEO alternatives. It is a good competitor research tool for digging into organic and paid search. The tool is versatile and gives one of the most accurate insights about your competitors.

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When it comes to competitors’ monitoring, the tool allows you detect top organic and paid rivals, get a list of competitors and advertisers for certain query and find a similar keyword in order to increase your search visibility.

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Here are some amazing benefits of using SE Ranking:

  1. To track website positions at any location in the world
  2. To perform a comprehensive website audit
  3. To check and analyze backlinks
  4. To find profitable keywords for your projects
  5. To group keywords with search volume
  6. To manage social media campaigns

Using SE Ranking, you can easily analyze your competitors, increase the site’s rank, revenue and visitors. You can test the tool out for free within 14 days and figure out all major features.

2. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is considered a good alternative to WebEO and widely known among thousands of SEO experts. The tool has a pretty large link database that includes over 15 trillion live links. It is a very important factor as you can perform a very detailed competitor analysis and build up new marketing strategies.

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Here are a few great features of Ahrefs:

  1. To find new content ideas with Content explorer
  2. To monitor competitors’ link profiles
  3. To conduct a detailed crawl report of websites
  4. Get alerts for competitors’ new links
  5. To get notice of broken links

If you want to learn more about Ahrefs, you can use a free trial within 14 days.

3. Alexa

Alexa is a good digital marketing tool that helps you compare different sites traffic and control general traffic trends. The tool allows you compare up to 5 websites at a time what is really useful, especially if you run a large number of marketing projects.

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The tool offers more about websites, particularly all about traffic. It shows a total number of pageviews per user, bounce rate percentage, time on a website and the average percentage of visits from search engines. One of the drawbacks is accuracy, as some reports are not helpful for predicting traffic on their own.

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To find out more about Alexa possibilities, you can try a 7-day trial.

4. SimilarWeb

Similar Web is good competitive analysis tool that helps you compare the traffic statistics from three competitors in the dashboard. In comparison with Alexa, the tool provides more accurate insight sets about your rivals and gives a well-detailed analysis of their traffic sources. You can key more on SEO and stand out from the crowd.

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Once you enter a website or a list of websites, you will get data on:

  1. What are the basic traffic sources (Search, PPC,  Email, etc.)?
  2. What are the main competition’s online strategies?
  3. How much traffic are they receiving?
  4. How the traffic strategies vary among your rivals and countries?
  5. Do the rivals use the same traffic sources?

If you want to get more about this tool, you can test SimilarWeb for free, but with a pretty limited features.

5. Siteliner

Siteliner is a free and useful tool to quickly evaluate competitors’ content on a site including page sizes, duplicate content, internal linking, broken links, a number of words and links on a page.

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When it comes to link building, it works in a very effective way: content-focused and Google-friendly. It helps you reveal dead or broken links on your website or other resources to avoid penalties from Google. The richer your piece of content is on a site, the more successful your link building tactic works. For SEO purposes, it is worth using SiteLiner.


To increase your sales and get much traffic, you need to use right SEO tools. The problem with many SEO tools is that SEO beginner or small agencies can’t afford expensive tools like WebCEO, Moz, etc. These 5 best alternatives are a lot cheaper and provide a good suite of tools to do a comprehensive competitor analysis.

Did I miss any of SEO tools? Which of these tools have you used? Your comments help me produce useful content on a consistent basis.

The post 5 Best Alternatives to Older Competitor Analysis Tools appeared first on SEO Chat.

December 13th 2016 Keywords, SEO

5 Digital Marketing Tools You Must try in 2017

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I love this industry because there are always new tools to check! New tools open up new opportunities, offer new insights and inspire new tactics.

Here are 5 tools I intend to give a thorough look in 2017.

What are yours?

1. Netpeak Spider

Netpeak Spider

One of the most indepth and flexible web crawlers out there, Netpeak Spider provides smooth experience and lots of features. It automatically checks 50+ parameters and detects more than 60 SEO errors (including http status errors, canonical issues, Robots.txt issues, meta tag issues and more).

Netpeak Spider

It has 5 crawling modes (site-wide, directory, URL list, XML Sitemap and even from Google SERP).

search engines.'}" data-sheets-userformat="{'2':9107,'3':{'1':0},'4':{'1':2,'2':16370588},'7':{'1':[{'1':2,'2':0,'5':{'1':2,'2':0}},{'1':0,'2':0,'3':3},{'1':1,'2':0,'4':1}]},'10':1,'11':4,'12':0,'16':9}">Each of them allows to perform certain SEO tasks, for example, by crawling an XML sitemap, you can detect 21 XML sitemap issues in 17 parameters and send the corrected sitemap files to the search engines.

It even has the ability to calculate your site internal PageRank giving your ideas if important pages of your site are not getting enough power internally.

2. Buffer for video

There’s nothing new about Buffer. It’s been around for quite some time now! So why am I including it in this list? Because Buffer never stops and their most recently added feature is a proof!

Buffer for video is the first product to allow native video scheduling to all the big social media networks. So: upload once, share everywhere.

Not in the video game yet? This stats should change your mind:

  • 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter
  • The number of videos in Facebook feeds has grown by 360%
  • In the U.S., people are posting 94% more videos to Facebook
  • 50% of Americans who use Facebook daily watch at least 1 video every day

3. Slack

I am sure many of you are aware of Slack but few people know that it’s not merely about chatting and collaborating. With the ability to add bots, Slack has become one of the most diverse multi-purpose platforms.

The two cool bots to add:

  • Notify: Brings your brand mentions to your Slack feed. It serves as more of an ambient notification feed for these alerts and may inspire more team conversation than individual emails.
  • Statsbot: Brings Google Analytics stats to your Slack feed. Ask the bot about your stats and see the graphs and numbers right in the message thread.


4. Drip

It is no secret that I am not a big fan of Mail Chimp. I find their system overly bulky, difficult to use, and their policies are so unclear you can violate them by accident. I have tried a number of alternatives, but none of them were the simple, effective drip email platform I wanted. Until I found Drip.

It is a cool system that lets you create an easy sales funnel, in a visual way. While I don’t do direct sales, I have found the same principle applies to content promotion. My email campaigns have become much more effective thanks to this little gem.


Drip workflows seem amazingly easy and fun to set up. Here are options for automation systems and this one seems like a great one to add to the list.

5. Ptengine


Ptengine is a great heatmap application, you can find out at exactly what point customers are choosing to leave your site. Isolating that point is crucial, so you can make the necessary changes to push them to the final step.

Unlike many other heatmap tools, this one provides much more insight than just a visualization. See referral information, track social media campaigns and engagement (page views, visit duration and conversions).

If you are planning a redesign in 2017, this is must-have tool to try! M-Connect Media also has a great guide listing more tools and tips.

And which tools are you planning to try in 2017?

The post 5 Digital Marketing Tools You Must try in 2017 appeared first on SEO Chat.

December 9th 2016 Facebook, SEO

5 SEO Strategies You Can Implement in Real Life

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by Jayson DeMers

For the most part, everything you need for search engine optimization (SEO) can be completed online. There are two main areas of optimization to worry about: on-site optimization, which is the ongoing publication of content that introduces new material to your site, and off-site optimization, which involves building relationships and links that point inward to your domain. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can work on these two areas and see progress over time.

However, there are also some optional in-person or real-life strategies that you can use to boost your SEO campaign. For traditional businesses, this is an exciting possibility.

Real-Life SEO Strategies

Try using some of these in-real-life strategies to improve your SEO campaign’s performance:

1. Advertise your content through print.

The content you develop for your site doesn’t have to remain exclusive to your site. After all, you spent a lot of time on it and it’s appealing to your target audience. You can use your best copy in printed brochures, or use printed ads to direct your key demographics to your website to view your most popular materials. This will generate more interest in your on-site content from new demographics, who will then be more likely to share, comment, and engage with it, driving your visibility and effectiveness up.

2. Network with more people.

You could also work on attending more professional networking events and meeting more people when you get there. These are easy opportunities to meet more people who are interested in expanding their personal networks of contacts; almost everyone you meet will be willing to connect on social media, which will instantly increase the diversity and volume of your audience. Assuming you meet 10 new people at every event and attend one or two events a week, you could easily rack up 1,000 new followers a year–and that’s not even counting the additional contacts those new contacts will give you.

3. Get mentioned in major publications.

It’s also a good idea to try and get your business featured in local publications, even if they don’t have an online presence. Though newspapers are slowly dying, they remain a viable medium for some demographics and can be easier routes for mass visibility than some online sources. Do noteworthy things in your community and build a relationship with at least one journalist who works for a local publication. There are a few easy ways to find a reporter’s email address, so pitch them a few interesting ideas and get yourself featured.

4. Attend local events.

You could also increase visibility for your business by attending more local events. For example, if there are street fairs and festivals going on, make sure your business is represented at a table or even help with the event. This will help build your notoriety in the local sphere, which means you’ll attract more local followers, get featured in more local publications, and earn more online visibility and local relevance, even if you aren’t directly trying to build it. Stay plugged into your community to learn what’s going on at any point in time, and don’t be afraid to get things started–odds are, other business owners would jump at the chance to get involved with a budding event.

5. Draw more people to your site through traditional ads.

Remember, more traffic is always a good thing for SEO. It means that more people will be reading, sharing, and linking to your content, you’ll develop a bigger reputation, and as long as they’re engaged, Google will view your site as having a higher domain authority. You can also drive traffic to your website through traditional advertising methods, such as TV spots or billboards. These tend to be more expensive than long-term digital investments like content and social media, but they’re worth it if your business needs the extra SEO boost from an offline angle.

The Importance of Creativity

Why bother with these in-person strategies instead of just relying on the known off-site and on-site tactics? At first glance, these tactics may seem like they add extra effort without much of an extra payoff, but there’s always an advantage in pursuing more creative SEO strategies.

Your biggest threat in SEO is competition; one competitor outranking you for an important keyword term could disrupt your entire campaign. Therefore, you’ll have an edge when pursuing any tactic that differentiates you from your competitors.

As long as you keep targeting the right keywords, the right audience, and the right overall direction, these creative additional touches can be just what you need to get ahead. Keep challenging yourself and your team to pursue these new directions and help your strategy stay alive.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

December 9th 2016 Search Engine Optimization, SEO