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Just think of it this way: Every week I publish one new piece of content, but my team, on average, is updating 23 older articles.
When I used to write more frequently, my top 10 pages made up 33% of my search traffic.
Since then, I have increased my search traffic by 107% and reduced my reliance on my top 10 pages by 13%.
So how did I do this? Well, as I mentioned, I have my team focus on updating my old, outdated content while I focus on creating new content.
Here’s exactly what I have my team implement, step by step.
Look for pages that were once loved
With Google Search Console, you have access to data for a much longer period of time. You can go back up to 16 months.
So, I want you to compare this month’s results during the same period as last year.
You can do this by clicking on “date” and then “compare.” Next, select your older date period first (should be roughly from a year ago) and then select today’s date period.
I’ve been doing this for a while, so I selected an older date range so you can see a better set of data before my team really focused on updating old content.
You should then see a report that looks something like this:
What you’ll want to do is look for articles that used to get a ton of traffic and have less now. From the screenshot above, you can see that my article on Instagram used to perform really well, but no so much anymore.
Keep in mind that I selected the older date range first. I did this to see which of my old pieces of content used to rank well so I can see if any of them have dropped over the last 12 months.
This will show you old content that Google used to love, but no longer does.
Now, let’s find content that Google never loved.
Look for pages Google never loved
Log back into Search Console and look for pages that have a high impression count but never got any real clicks.
The easiest way to find these pages is to set your date range to the last 28 days and look at each page’s metrics from an impression, click, and CTR perspective.
Sort the CTR column in ascending order (lowest percentage at the top, the highest percentage at the bottom).
Typically, the pages at the top of that list have the most potential. It means that Google is ranking you but you just aren’t getting too many clicks.
It usually isn’t just related to your title tag and meta description. It typically has to do with the content on the page.
Now it’s time to create a list of pages that have the greatest potential.
It’s time to prioritize
Typically, the pages that have the most potential are the ones that used to rank but no longer rank. Google used to rank and like them, which means if you give those pages a little tender loving care, you can easily get them loved by Google again.
The second group of pages that have potential, but not as much as the first, are the ones with a high impression count but an extremely low CTR.
These pages are harder to fix because they never really performed that well.
How to update your old content
Now that you have a list of pages to fix so you can boost your search engine rankings, I want you to log in to Google Search Console, find that article, click on it, and then click on “queries.”
For the keywords that don’t rank in the top 5 or have a high impression volume, I want you to go to your ranking article and see if the article is relevant for that term.
If not, adjust the article to at least include that term and cover that topic.
For the terms you already rank for in the top 5 spots, head over to Ubersuggest and type in those keywords and click on the keyword ideas report.
You’ll then see a report with all of the long-tail variations of that keyword.
If you adjust the article and include any of the long-tail phrases Ubersuggest gives you, you’ll see quick traffic gains.
In other words, if you already rank for the head term, it’s not hard to rank for the long-tail variation of it as well.
In addition to including the right keywords, you’ll want to update the post. Make sure all of the information is relevant, the pictures are up to date, and if you could include any multimedia (like embedding relevant YouTube videos) you’ll be able to increase the time on site of your visitors.
Finally, when updating your content, make sure your article is more thorough than all of the other sites that rank for the terms you are trying to rank for.
Remember that keyword ideas report I had you check out on Ubersuggest? On the right-hand side of that report, it shows you all of the sites that rank for that keyword.
You can quickly see who’s currently ranking in each country, visit their web page, and make sure you create something better.
User behavior is one of the biggest factors with Google’s algorithm.
Once you update your old content, you’ll want to optimize for user signals as that’ll help boost rankings.
For example, if everyone searched a keyword on Google and clicked on the second result instead of the first, it tells Google that the second result is more relevant and that it should be ranking in the first spot instead of the second.
And Google eventually would make that change.
If you can use persuasive copy and convince people to click on your search listing instead of the competition, eventually your rankings will climb. And you can do so by following these 2 articles:
And if you want to go above and beyond, check out Meet Edgar. It’s what I use to continually schedule my old content to be promoted on the social web. That way I don’t have to manually do it or set reminders.
In addition to social shares, you should consider sending out a text-based email blast to your audience promoting your content.
It’s a great way to get a quick boost of traffic and breathe life into your old content.
Here’s an example of a text-based email blast that I send so you can copy my format.
Subject: How to Generate 10K visitors from a Brand New Blog in Under 6 Months
If I tell you to do 100 things to grow your traffic, I know you won’t do it.
Heck, even I wouldn’t. It’s just too much work.
In the spirit of simplicity, just do this and you’ll get to 10,000 visitors.
I’ll even make a deal with you. If you follow it and don’t hit 10,000 visitors and you can show me you followed it, I will help you for free.
That’s how confident I am that it works.
As you can see, simple text-based emails are generating 30% open rates and 6% click rates for me. Not too shabby.
You can also use tools like Subscribers to send out a push notification. Every time I update a post I send out a push. Look at my stats… I can easily generate an extra 7,000 visitors from a single push.
And don’t forget to build links
The last step you want to leverage is link building. You can use Backlinks to see who is linking to competing articles:
All you have to do is put in a competing URL and select “URL” from the drop-down menu and you’ll see every site that links to that page.
From there, you’ll want to reach out to each site and ask them to link to you.
The social web is huge. From Facebook to Pinterest, they all command billions of eyeballs per year.
Which, of course, makes these channels too big to ignore. In other words, you have no choice but to participate in them or else you’ll miss out on traffic and revenue.
But, how much time and money should you devote to each social network?
Which ones produce the best ROI?
How much are 100 social media followers really worth?
To answer these questions and more, I polled 483 companies who are all leveraging Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Each company has been participating in all these social networks for at least 3 years and they have at least 100 social media followers on each platform.
Of the 483 companies, 159 of them were in the B2B space and 324 were B2C companies. And their revenues varied from $10,000 a year to $250,000,000.
Now before we dive into the data, keep in mind all of the stats are broken down based on 100 social followers.
For example, if we looked at traffic, we looked at how many visitors they generate per 100 followers.
And for the purpose of this blog post, we will focus only on organic social media traffic.
So, let’s dive into what we learned:
Social media traffic over time
Compared to when each social network originally came out, it’s become much harder to generate organic traffic from each of them.
You can still generate organic visits, but of course, reach has died down. But how much has it died down?
As you can see, it has drastically decreased.
In 2015, you could generate a bit more than 3 visitors a month from the social web for every 100 followers you had, and now it’s dropped down to roughly 2 visitors per month.
I know that data isn’t shocking, but think of it this way, that’s a 38.6% drop in organic social media traffic. And based on the chart, there are no signs of recovery.
But what about traffic by social network?
Sure, organic social media traffic might be dying as each network wants you to advertise, but which networks drive the most traffic per 100 followers?
If you had to take a guess, which one do you think it would be?
It’s definitely not a social network owned by Facebook. Both Facebook and Instagram drive the least amount of visitors per 100 followers.
Instagram isn’t much of a shocker, though, as you can only drive traffic through bio links and asking people to swipe up in stories.
But what was surprising is the amount of traffic Pinterest drives. Pinterest was the best performer, followed by LinkedIn and then YouTube.
Here’s the thing to note about YouTube… although it drives a decent amount of visitors per 100 subscribers, most people using YouTube don’t experience much (if any) traffic because they don’t link out to their site within their videos.
The first chart shows that organic social traffic is slowly dying down, but how about if you increase your posting frequency?
That should increase your organic social media traffic, right?
In general, posting more often does lead to more traffic. But after 8 monthly posts on each social network, the data shows you’ll see diminishing returns.
Why you may ask?
The way most social media algorithms work is that the more people engage with your content, the more of them will see your content as you post it.
So, your goal should be to only post content people love and want to engage with. The moment you start posting mediocre content, it hurts your overall traffic numbers because that means fewer people in the future will see your new content no matter how amazing it is.
Speaking of engagement, which social networks tend to have the most engaged users?
Engagement by social network
I was shocked by the engagement stats because I assumed that Pinterest would have won in this battle as they are driving the most traffic per 100 followers to websites.
But I was wrong.
Pinterest did perform really well, but LinkedIn won.
Instagram also did extremely well, which I wasn’t shocked by as most of the people I know who use it do so as a “personal” social network instead of leveraging it for work.
That’s why the engagement is so high on Instagram.
One thing to note is that posts not containing a link, such as images or videos, tend to get the most engagement.
This is also because social sites tend to promote content that keeps people on their social sites as opposed to driving their visitors off to your site.
Which social networks prefer videos?
If you aren’t producing videos, you should definitely consider starting. Even though videos don’t rank well on Google, they are the future.
With video, there are 2 main types of videos… one that you just upload and ones that are live.
Let’s see how the different video types stack up against each other.
When you look at the chart above, it’s easy to say that Instagram produces the best results for videos. Then come LinkedIn and YouTube.
But there is something that you have to keep in mind… Instagram auto-plays videos while YouTube is much pickier about what they count as a “video view.”
None-the-less, if you’re going to create video content, you should post it on all of the social networks out there, but I would first focus the majority of your efforts on Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
YouTube won’t provide amazing numbers in the first 24 hours of uploading a video, but through YouTube SEO, you can continually get views while you won’t see that happen on any of the other social networks.
For live videos, the results are similar in which Instagram and YouTube lead the pack.
But what is interesting is that live videos don’t generate as many viewers as just posting and scheduling them.
When we dug into why the main reason wasn’t that social sites don’t want live content, it’s that with non-live videos, businesses spend more time leveraging keyword research and optimizing their videos for the maximum amount of views.
While on the flip side it is a bit harder to do that with live videos.
If you want to get the most views from your videos, use tools like Ubersuggest to see what keywords are popular.
Putting keywords in your title and descriptions isn’t enough, though. Social media sites are able to decipher the sound to see what your video is really about.
Now let’s get into the best part… conversions and sales.
The money is in the list
Have you heard the saying, the money is in the list?
If you aren’t collecting emails, you should start right away. Because once you have an email list, you can always market to people on your list and convince them to buy your products or services.
LinkedIn has the best conversion rates from a visitor to an email subscriber. Pinterest and YouTube also perform really well.
You may think that most of the people on LinkedIn only care about B2B but that is wrong. Remember everyone on LinkedIn is also a consumer. They buy everyday products just like you and me.
What was interesting with the email collection numbers is that the majority of your social media followers won’t ever convert into email subscribers. But as you share and post content on the social web, the followers of your followers may also see your content, which then increases the likelihood of getting more traffic and email subscribers.
What about revenue?
Whether you love or hate social sites, they do drive revenue. And no you don’t have to spend money on ads to generate revenue.
Ads do help, of course, but here is the percentage of revenue that each business generated from organic social media traffic.
It’s been declining over the years, but the numbers are starting to flatten out.
The decline isn’t just related to social media algorithms becoming tougher, though. It’s that businesses are also diversifying their marketing approach. They are taking an omnichannel approach which means they leverage more channels. Because of that, each one also makes up a smaller portion of their revenue.
Social media is still strong and kicking. You may only be able to generate 2 visitors a month for every 100 followers you have, but that scales as you grow your social following on every network.
Plus, the brand effect you can get by doing things like uploading videos will also help significantly.
Now before we wrap things up, I thought it would be interesting to see what percentage of social media traffic is generated from organic efforts versus paid:
There is a huge trend of companies spending more and more money on social media, which aligns with the stock price and financials of companies like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
None-the-less, don’t be discouraged by your social media traffic dwindling down.
It’s to find more lucrative keywords to rank for on Google, right?
But once you find these keywords, you still have to figure out how to rank for them.
For that reason, I decided to update Ubersuggest because I wanted to show you what kind of content to create and even how to promote it.
That way you can start ranking for these newly found keywords.
Here’s what’s new…
The way you rank for a keyword is by creating content around it. I know content isn’t king anymore and that’s because there are over 1 billion blogs on the web. That means Google can be really picky about what they decide to rank.
So now, not only do you need to write amazing content, but you also have to promote it if you want to do well.
To help you with this I created a Content Ideas report in Ubersuggest. So whenever you do keyword research, you’ll see an overview that looks like this:
Just like before, you’ll see a graph at the top with the search volume over time, some keyword recommendations and, at the very bottom, a list of blog posts that performed exceptionally well for that keyword.
When you click on “content ideas” in the navigational menu or you click on “view all content ideas,” you’ll then be taken to a page that looks something like this:
This page shows you all of the popular blog posts that have been written related to the keyword or phrase you searched.
The list is ordered by social shares, so the posts with the highest social shares are at the top. At the bottom, you can keep clicking to see more results. Even if your screen only shows 1 or 2 pages, just keep clicking next and you’ll start to see results for pages 3, 4, 5, etc.
We only show you 20 results per page, but each key phrase will typically have hundreds, if not thousands, of results as our database has over 500,000,000 blog posts from around the world.
And because there are so many results, we’ve also created an easy to use filtering system so you can fine-tune your search by including certain keywords or excluding other ones and even putting minimum and maximum thresholds on social shares.
My favorite part about the content ideas report
I know you can do similar things with Buzzsumo and other tools, but this is why I created the Content Ideas report.
As I mentioned earlier, content isn’t king. You not only have to write amazing content (that’s why I sort the content by social shares as more shares typically mean people love it), but you also have to promote it.
You’ll notice that there are two other columns in this report that make the tool unique… one is “Estimated Visits” and the other is “Backlinks”.
Estimated visits will show you how many visits the blog post generated from Google each month. Just click on “Keywords” and it will even show you the keywords that drive those visits and the position the article ranks for each of those terms.
Backlinks, on the other hand, are all of the referring domains that point to each article. So if 12 unique domains link to that blog post, then you’ll see the number “12” in that column. All you have to do is click on “links” and you’ll see the full list of backlinks.
Not only do I provide a thorough list of backlinks, but I also show you the overall page score, domain score, anchor text, and even the type of link.
The reasons I made the Content Ideas report like this are:
By creating content similar to posts that have a lot of social shares, it increases the chances that the content you are writing is going to do well as people have already shown interest in that topic and even shared it on the social web.
By showing you the keywords a blog post ranks for, you’ll know what keywords to focus on when writing the content. This way your post can rank as well.
In addition to the Content Ideas report, you’ll now find that Ubersuggest provides you with more data and less fluff when you perform a keyword query.
For example, if you search for the term “dog food,” it will tell you that the average result that ranks in the top 10 has 72 backlinks and a domain score of 82.
This way, if you want to rank for that term or any other term, you’ll have a rough idea of what you need from an authority and backlink standpoint to achieve a spot on page one.
If you are going to create content or write a blog post, you should check out the Content Ideas report each time before you write.
The last thing you want to do is create content that people don’t care about reading. And this report will give you good feedback so that way you aren’t wasting your time creating content that doesn’t generate social shares, backlinks, or rankings.
You’ll also notice that some posts do extremely well from a social sharing standpoint but terrible from a backlink and a search traffic perspective.
Social shares will bring you more short-term traffic and search engines bring you less traffic upfront, but more consistent traffic over time.
This report will help you find a balance so that you can get both short-term traffic and consistent traffic over the long-haul.
If I write a blog post on any topic, what do you think happens?
It typically gets indexed by Google the same day I publish the content and within a week it tends to rank high on Google.
Then again, I have a domain score of 94 and I have 633,791 backlinks. Just look at the image above. (If you are curious what your link count or domain score is, put in your URL here.)
But if you have a lot fewer backlinks and a much lower domain score, what do you think would happen?
Chances are your content won’t get indexed fast and it won’t rank as high as you want.
But there has to be a way to change this, right? Especially without building more backlinks because we all know that’s time-consuming and hard.
To find the most ideal solution, I decided to run a little experiment.
Around five months ago, I sent out an email to a portion of my mailing list asking people if they wanted to partake in an SEO experiment.
As you could imagine, I had well over a thousand websites who were willing to participate. I had to narrow down the list because for this experiment to be effective, a website had to have a domain score of 30 or less and no more than 40 backlinks.
That way it’s at least a challenge to figure out how to rank new content higher.
In addition to that, the site couldn’t be a subdomain, such as domain.wordpress.com. It had to be a standalone site.
Once I removed all of the outliers, I was left with 983 people who agreed to participate in the experiment. Of those, 347 stopped replying or backed out of the experiment due to time commitments, which means I was left with 636.
How did the SEO experiment work?
For all of the sites, we had them write a piece of content. We didn’t make it a requirement that the content had to be about any specific topic or that it had to be written a certain way… we just had them write one piece of content that was between 1,800 and 2,000 words in length.
We enforced the minimum and maximum length limit because we needed the post to be long enough to naturally include keywords, but if it was too long… such as 10,000 words, it would have a higher chance to rank on Google.
Each site had 30 days to write the piece of content and publish it on their site. Within 30 days of the content being published, we looked up the URL in our Ubersuggest database to see how many keywords the post ranks for in the top 100, top 50, and top 10 spots.
We also repeated this search 60 days after the article was published to see if there were any major differences.
The Ubersuggest database currently contains information on 1,459,103,429 keywords from around the world in all languages (a lot of keywords have low search volume like 10 searches per month). But for this experiment, we focused on English speaking sites.
We then split the sites up into 9 groups. Roughly 70 sites per group. Each group only leveraged 1 tactic to see if it helped with rankings.
Here’s a breakdown of each group.
Control group – this group just published the article and didn’t leverage any promotional or SEO tactics. Having a control group allows us to compare how specific tactics affect rankings.
Sitemap – all this group leveraged was a sitemap. They added the article to their sitemap, and we made sure the sitemap was submitted to Google Search Console.
Internal linking – this group added 3 internal links from older pieces of content to the newly written article.
URL Inspection – within Google Search Console you can request that they Crawl and index a URL. That feature is called URL Inspection.
Social shares – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Reddit were the social sites that this group submitted and promoted their content on.
Google Chrome lookup – for each site in this group, we had 40 people type in the URL directly into their address bar and look up the site. This could have been done on either mobile or desktop versions of Chrome. I added this group in there because I was curious to see if people visiting your site from Chrome browsers affects your rankings.
Meta tags – my team optimized the title tag and meta description for everyone in this group. Based on the article, we crafted the optimal meta tags to not only include keywords but also to entice clicks.
Everything – this group combined all of the tactics above other than the control group as they didn’t do anything.
Before I dive into the data, keep in mind that if someone was in one of the groups, we did our best to make sure that they weren’t leveraging any other tactic. For example, for everyone who wasn’t in the sitemap group, we had them remove their existing sitemaps for Google Search Console (other than the everything group).
So how many keywords does an average website with a domain score of 30 or less rank for in Google within a month and even two months?
I was shocked at how many keywords a site could rank for when it barely has any links and a low domain score.
But what wasn’t as shocking is how a web page’s ranking can increase over time. The orange line shows the number of keywords that ranked within the first 30 days and the green line shows the number over the first 60 days.
You know how people say you need an XML sitemap, well it is even more important if you have a low domain score. At least, that is what the data shows.
When your site has very few links and a low domain score, you’ll find that Google may not crawl your site as often as you want. But by leveraging a sitemap, you can speed up the indexing process, which helps decrease the time it takes for your site to start ranking for keywords.
Internal linking group
Links, links, and more links… it’s what every site needs to rank well. Technically they are external links, but internal links are better than nothing.
When you add internal links from your old content to your newer articles, it helps them get indexed faster and it helps push them up in the rankings.
Especially when these internal links come from relevant pages that have some decent rankings on Google.
Articles that leveraged 3 internal links had more page 1 rankings than sites that just used an XML sitemap.
URL inspection group
If you aren’t familiar with the URL inspection feature within Google Search Console, it’s a quick way to getting your content index.
Just log into Search Console and type in your article URL in the search bar at the top. You’ll see a screen that looks something like this:
All you have to do is click the “request indexing” link.
Leveraging this feature has a similar result to using the sitemap.
Social shares group
I’ve noticed a trend with my own website, in which if I create a piece of content that goes viral on the social web, my rankings for that new piece of content skyrocket to the top of Google… at least in the very short run.
And after a few weeks, I notice that my rankings drop.
Now, my site isn’t a large enough sample size and there are many reasons why my site ranks really well quickly.
Nonetheless, it was interesting to see how much social shares impact rankings.
Getting social shares substantially performed better than the control group, but similar to my experience with NeilPatel.com, the rankings did slip a bit in month 2 instead of continually rising to the top.
Social shares may not have a direct impact on rankings, but the more people who see your content the higher the chance you build backlinks, increase your brand queries, and build brand loyalty.
Google Chrome lookup group
Do you know how people are saying that Google is using data from Google Analytics and Chrome to determine how high your site should rank?
Well, I wasn’t able to prove that from this experiment.
I had 40 random people directly type in the URL of each new article into Google Chrome. I spread it out over a week, making sure they clicked around on the site and stayed for at least 2 minutes.
The ranking results were very similar to the control group.
Meta tags group
Now this group performed very similarly to the group that leveraged internal linking. And the month 2 results outperformed all other groups.
User metrics are a key part of Google’s algorithm. If you can create a compelling title tag and meta description, you’ll see a boost in your click-through rate and eventually, your rankings will climb.
If you want to boost your rankings through your meta tags, it’s not just about adding in the right keywords, you’ll also want to boost your click-through rate. Follow these steps to do just that.
The 8th group tested if URL length impacts how high a new piece of content ranks on Google.
Based on the graph above, you can see that it does. It didn’t have as much of an impact as internal linking or meta tags, but it did have an impact.
The key to creating SEO friendly URLs is to include a keyword or two and keep them short.
The article will rank for very long tail phrases but will struggle to rank for more popular terms like “meta tags” compared to URLs like:
The beautiful part about the short URLs is that they rank well for head terms and long tail phrases.
The charts clearly show that little things like meta tags, URLs, internal linking, social shares, and even sitemaps help.
But the key to doing well, especially if you want your new content to rank well is to not just do one of those things, but instead do them all.
As you can see from the chart, doing everything gives you the best results. Now sure, some of the things are redundant like using an XML sitemap and using the URL inspection feature, but you get the point.
You’ll also notice that when you leverage everything together your results aren’t exponentially better… SEO is competitive and has turned into a game where every little thing adds up.
If you want to do well and have your new AND old content rank faster and higher, you need to do everything.
I know the tactics above aren’t anything revolutionary or new, but it’s interesting to look at the data and see how specific tactics affect rankings.
If you want to find out what’s wrong with your website, you won’t have to do it manually anymore.
All you have to do is head over to the SEO Analyzer and put in your URL.
How SEO Analyzer works
Once you put in your URL, you’ll be taken to a report that looks something like this:
Once the report loads (it typically takes 3 minutes or less), you’ll see an overview like the image above.
The overview is broken down into 3 main sections.
The first section shows you your on-page SEO score (the higher the better), your estimated search traffic, the number of keywords the domain ranks for, and how many backlinks the site has.
You’ll also see a message from me that breaks down how many pages were crawled and any SEO errors that were found.
When you click on any of those 4 boxes, it will take you to a more in-depth report.
Clicking on the on-page score takes you to a page that lists out your SEO errors. It looks something like this:
Clicking on the organic traffic takes you to a report that shows you how well your site is performing.
Clicking on the keywords box shows you all of the keywords your website ranks for organically.
And clicking on the backlinks box shows you all of the sites linking to that domain.
This is my favorite section of the site audit report. This is where you can really dig around and boost your rankings
You can click on any of the four site health boxes and drill down into more reports.
This is important because you’ll want to first focus on clearing up any critical errors. From there, you’ll want to fix any warnings and then, finally, consider doing any of the given recommendations.
The health check box gives you an overview of the healthy pages and the ones that have issues or are broken or blocked or even redirected. By clicking on this box you’ll get taken to a report that lists all your SEO issues in detail.
From there you can click on any of those issues and you’ll be taken to the exact pages that contain any SEO errors and what they are exactly. An example of this is pages with too long of a title tag.
If you aren’t sure on how to fix any of the issues, just click on “what is this and how do I fix it?” and a box like this will appear:
And if you click on the critical errors, warnings or recommendations boxes, you’ll see reports just like the ones above. They will be broken down by how important they are.
That way you’ll know which fixes have the greatest SEO impact and how hard they are to implement.
You should first focus on the ones that have the highest SEO impact and are the easiest to implement. And I took the liberty to prioritize the table for you, so all you have to do is start at the top and work your way down to the bottom.
Speed is important. Not only do faster load times help boost conversion rates, but they also help boost your search rankings.
There are two sections to the site speed. The section on the left breaks down your desktop load time and the section on the right breaks down your mobile load time.
Site speed varies drastically by a person’s connection and computer, but the charts give you a rough range of how fast or slow your site loads.
Your goal should be to have your site load in 3 seconds or less for both mobile and desktop.
The report even breaks down which areas are slowing down your site speed.
For example, you could have an issue with “First CPU Idle”… and if you aren’t sure what that means, just hover over the question mark and the tool will tell you.
Top SEO Issues
I know I said the report has 3 main sections, but the 4th section is just repeating the site health section.
You’ll see the 3 most important fixes that you should make to your site if you want higher rankings.
If you don’t have the time to fix everything, start off by fixing the 3 issues listed here. Those will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
I know I haven’t talked about the SEO Analyzer report much, but we’ve been working on it for 4 months now.
For now, the tool crawls the first 100 pages on your website, and eventually, our goal is to increase the limit to 500 or even 1,000. Technically we can do that fairly easily, but for the launch, I’ve capped it at 100 due to the sheer number of users I have and server load.
Over the last few months, I’ve been running numerous Instagram experiments and I’ve finally figured out how to grow my Instagram following.
My Neil Patel account has been growing by 1,260 followers per week.
And I know what you are thinking… Neil, you are already well known, this can’t be replicated by anyone else.
Well, not only did we test this strategy out on my profile, but we also did it on 2 other profiles.
It works no matter what industry you are in. Heck, it works even better if you aren’t in B2B like me.
Just look at Dhavalilama. His likes per image have been growing by just using the heart trick, which I will explain in a bit, and he isn’t using my whole strategy. :/
So, how do you gain more Instagram followers each week without spending money?
Tip #1: Instagram wants long videos
You’ve heard everyone say that you need to upload videos. Social networks like Instagram aren’t just competing with other social networks, they are competing with traditional media and even companies like Netflix for your attention.
If you upload videos, you’ll find that you’ll get more engagement than if you just upload images.
But the key isn’t to just upload any video… it ideally needs to be engaging and long.
By long I am not talking about a 60-second video, I’m talking minutes. You’ll have to leverage IGTV for this, but that’s what they want as not enough people are using that feature.
Hence, if you use IGTV, they’ll push your video more.
That way when someone is watching a 5-minute video you just posted, they’ll be able to watch the first 60 seconds on their feed and then they’ll be pushed over to IGTV.
All you have to do is upload the video to IGTV and select the “post a preview” option.
What this does is, it uploads the video to IGTV and then also promotes the video through your feed.
Just look at this video that I only posted on IGTV.
It had 236 views before writing this blog post.
When I posted that video, I had 9,078 followers, which means I had an engagement rate of 2.59%.
When I posted that video I had 21,047 followers, which means I had an engagement rate of 14.11%.
What’s crazy is, that one simple change increased my video engagement by 444%.
Tip #2: Ask and you will receive
Instagram’s algorithm is simple… the more views and likes your videos and images receive, the more people will see them, which increases engagement and your follower count over time.
There’s not too much more to the algorithm.
Of course, they are looking at things like what percentage of your followers actually engage… but still, the algorithm from a conceptual standpoint is simple.
So, have you thought about asking for people to “like” your image?
Now with Instagram, people are using it via their cell phone so it’s more of a “double tap” than a like… but you get the point.
On average, when I post an image on Instagram I can generate 945.6 likes.
Here’s an example of one of those images:
And as you can see from the engagement, that one did better than most of my images as it has over 1,000 likes.
Plus, the messaging resonates with a lot of people.
But here is one that is simple…
I just asked people to “double tap” if they need to improve their video skills.
It didn’t take much creativity to come up with that image and it received 1,441 likes. In other words, it produced 51.96% more engagement.
You should give it a try… I tend to use this tactic a few times a month and it works really well.
Just be careful though, if you use it every day or every week, people will get sick of it and it will stop working. Hence, I only use it a few times a month max.
Tip #3: Go live
Did I already mention that Instagram is competing with television networks and Netflix?
Because of that, what kind of content do you think they want more of?
Well, yes they want more video content, but we already talked about that.
They want more live content.
Think… reality TV.
Now the live content you produce doesn’t have to be like Keeping up with the Kardashians… they just want live content that people are looking forward to viewing.
You know how you will tune into shows like American Idol or the latest soccer or football match because it’s live and you want to see what’s happening in real time? That’s the effect Instagram is hoping for with live content.
Now, when you go live, Instagram is promoting it heavily so you’ll get more viewers. It doesn’t matter what you talk about… they just want to see more people go live.
Every time I go live, I am able to get at least 1,000 views. Just look at the live I just did…
In the first 6 hours, it’s already received 718 views and I did this live session on a Sunday during non-peak hours. Within the first 24 hours, it will easily surpass 1000 views.
In other words, go live! It’s a simple and quick way to grow your following count. Ideally, you should be going live on a weekly basis.
Heck, you can’t go live too much… feel free to go live daily.
Tip #4: Respond to comments
This one is simple, but no one really does it.
Social networks are supposed to be social. That means you should participate.
And no, I am not talking about just liking other images and viewing videos. I’m talking about engaging with people and talking to them.
So, when you like something that someone else posts, leave a comment.
And when someone leaves a comment on one of your posts… what do you think you should do?
You should respond to them with a comment.
Now, let’s look at some of my posts for a minute. You’ll see decent engagement, but more so, you’ll see me being very active.
Just look at all of my responses.
By engaging with people, you’re more likely to build a relationship with these individuals, which makes it more likely that they will back and continually engage with your posts.
Tip #5: The heart trick
Alright, are you ready for the heart trick? You know, the one Dhavalilama has been using to boost his like count by 300%.
The concept is simple, but it will take a bit of finesse to implement.
A part of Instagram’s algorithm is how much engagement you get from other Instagram users within the first hour of you posting anything.
Now, I’ve done a lot of tests with this… if you can get Instagram users who have more followers than you to like your image or video when it first goes live you’ll find that your content is much more likely to show up on the discovery page.
From a lot of testing, here’s what seems to be the most effective:
Get people with larger following accounts to like your image or video within the first hour it comes out.
Ask them to not like anything else within that hour. We’ve found that if they like too many images or videos it doesn’t work.
And if they are feeling extra generous, have them leave a comment.
The heart trick isn’t that complex, but it is hard to implement because you have to convince users who are more popular than you to like your content right when you publish.
And ideally, you need 6 people who have large accounts (the bigger the better), for this to work extremely well.
Tip #6: Create multiple stories each day
What do Tai Lopez, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Grant Cardone have in common?
Well, other than the fact that they all have over a million Instagram followers…
They all post a ton of stories per day.
And when I mean a ton, sometimes they are posting over 20 stories a day… literally.
The more stories you post, the more engagement you’ll create, which will lead to more followers.
Just look at the stats from the stories I just posted:
I can generate over 1,000 views within 8 hours of posting a story and generally in the range of 1,600 to 2,000 views within 24 hours.
The same story 23 hours later received 1870 views.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to maximize stories:
Don’t post all of your stories at once, spread them out throughout the day. This will cause people to keep coming back and engaging with your profile.
Use a combination of both images and videos within your stories. Overall, you’ll find that videos create more engagement.
The more stories you publish, the better off you are.
Add polls to your stories, this also helps boost engagement.
Tip #7: Quality matters
Have you noticed that some images get more likes than others? Or certain videos get more engagement?
Instagram is a visual social network. So the visual part is important… you want your images and videos to look great no matter what.
Now, they don’t have to be perfect, but you do want to make sure you are posting images that people enjoy.
Here’s what I mean…
When you look at my profile, you’ll see a ton of images of me that contain quotes.
Some of those images perform really well, while others don’t. For example, every time I post a quote using this image template…
It gets 21.4% less engagement then when I use this template…
Keep track of what your followers like and don’t like. Post more of what they like and stop posting the stuff that has low engagement.
Tip #8: Test, test, test
Speaking of posting more of what your followers like and less of what they don’t, you need to constantly test.
Even though quality matters, when you are testing you shouldn’t aim for perfection. Just aim for speed.
Once you find something that people like, do more of it.
For example, I ask people to double tap as I talked about in tip number 2 because I learned it through testing.
Here are some other things I’ve learned through testing:
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – people prefer clean images that are simple.
Use bright colors – images that are darker, such as night photography don’t perform as well.
Switch things up – if you do the same thing every week you’ll find your engagement starting to drop.
People want to get to know you – they don’t want to get to know the Photoshop version of you. Be realistic and personal. Connect with your followers.
Filters don’t matter – don’t waste too much time modifying or adjusting your images. Little things like filters don’t make the biggest difference.
Hashtags aren’t game changing – I know everyone says you have to use hashtags and you should here and there… but they aren’t game-changing. So don’t spam and use 20 hashtags per image you post. And when you do use them, pick relevant and popular ones. You can use Ubersuggest to figure out what keywords are popular.
Use Instagram analytics – it tells you when your followers are online so you know when to post. If you post when they are online you’ll get much more engagement.
A good example of a test I’ve run is when I post on my feed. As you can see from my stats…
My followers are most likely to be on Instagram at 9am. So I try to post around that time, which has helped me get 8.41% more likes per image.
Every little bit adds up!
You don’t have to spend money on ads to grow your Instagram following. If you follow the tips above, you’ll do well and find that you can grow your weekly following count by over 1,000 net new followers each week.
Now, I know you may not want to use Instagram because it doesn’t have your “ideal” audience, but you can drive conversions from Instagram.
For example, when I went live on Instagram and I told the audience to check out my ad agency Neil Patel Digital, I was able to generate 2 leads.
Neither of the leads were ideal customers, but it is a numbers game. If I continually do it I will be able to generate clients.
In the past, I have closed 3 deals from Instagram… one paid $120,000, the other paid $1,000,000, and the last paid $300,000.
They were all consulting arrangements, so I had substantial costs associated with the revenue, but it shows that Instagram does work.
Heck, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be back on Instagram again (this is my 3rd profile, I no longer use the other 2).
You can also use the swipe up feature to drive people to your site and this will help you generate leads and sales.
So, what do you think about Instagram? Are you using it on a daily basis?
When you think about SEO and what’s changed over the last 5 years, what comes to your mind?
Chances are, it’s something related to how it’s harder to get rankings on Google.
But why has it gotten harder to get more organic traffic?
Well, if you ask most SEOs, they’ll say it’s because Google has created a much more complex algorithm.
They look at factors like page speed, brand queries, and hundreds of other factors that it may have not been placing much emphasis on in the past.
But that’s only half the story.
The reason SEO has gotten harder is only partially related to Google’s algorithm changes.
Here’s what most SEOs aren’t talking about that you need to pay attention to because this will show you the future of SEO.
Google’s ever-changing layout
When you perform a Google search, what do you see?
Some organic listings and some paid results, right?
And that’s what Google has shown for years. Much hasn’t changed from its core concept.
But over the years, they have continually made small layout tweaks which have added up to big changes.
Let’s look at Google’s layout changes over the past few years… lucky for us, Orbit Media performed random Google searches in 2013, 2014, and 2015 and compared them to Google’s current layout for us.
The big differences from 2013 versus 2019 are:
The first organic listing is drastically pushed down
The ads used to be clearly identified through design elements, but now they blend in more.
Now let’s look at 2014 versus 2019:
And 2015 versus 2019:
The big trend is that the organic search results have been drastically pushed down below the fold. Roughly by 3.3X.
That’s a huge difference!
A listing these days may have a map, elements from their knowledge graph, more videos and images, and whatever else Google feels their users may want.
Another big trend is that there are now featured snippets. Although these featured snippets can drive traffic to your site, they also provide the searcher with the answer they are looking for without having to click through to your site.
Just perform a search for the largest tree in the world…
Sure, I could click through over to livescience.com to get the answer, but why? Google gives it to me right then and there.
With organic listings being pushed down, and Google answering a portion of people’s questions without them even needing to click through, this means organic listings will get fewer clicks over time.
And it’s not stopping there
Let me ask you a question…
How many organic listings are on the first page?
Well, that’s what we are used to, but when’s the last time you actually counted?
And over time you should continually expect Google to run more layout experiments and make more permanent changes.
Now before we get into the future of SEO, let’s get one thing straight.
Google is a publicly traded company. Sure, their goal is to create an amazing product, but they have to make money at the same time.
You can’t blame them for making changes that increase their ad revenues.
Yes, you may claim that this is creating a terrible experience for users, but is it really? If it was, people would switch to Bing or any of the other alternative search engines out there.
I still use Google every day. Yes, it may be harder to get clicks organically, but as a user, they’ve created an amazing experience.
The future of SEO
Google doesn’t just make changes to their layout blindly. They run experiments, they survey users, they try to figure out what searchers want and provide it.
Based on the layout changes they have made over the years, you can make a few assumptions:
More rich snippets – people want the answers to their problems as quickly as possible. You’ll see more versions and variations of rich snippets integrated within future layouts as this provides searches with their answers faster.
People are trained to ignore ads – no matter how much Google pushes the first organic listing below the fold, people are trained to ignore ads. No matter how much Google blends them in, most people tend to click on organic listings.
43.9% of the world still hasn’t come online – we all know Google is the dominant global search engine. But only 56.1% of the world’s population has Internet access. As more people come online, more people will use Google as their search engine, which means more people to click on your organic listings.
In other words, SEO isn’t dead and it is still an amazing channel. Just look at my traffic stats over the last 31 days:
Now of those 4,362,165 million monthly visits, guess how many come from search engines like Google?
A whopping 2,343,362 million visits.
In other words, SEO makes up 53.71% of my traffic. That’s a ton of traffic.
And even with Google’s continual changes, you would expect my traffic to be lower, but it isn’t… it’s gone up.
A year ago, I was generating 1,088,251 visits a month from Google. It’s now gone up to 2,343,362 even though Google’s algorithm has continually gotten harder and organic results are continually being pushed further below the fold.
But still, you shouldn’t only rely on SEO
I love Google and even though there is a future for SEO, you shouldn’t rely on it. No matter how good you are at SEO, it doesn’t guarantee success.
Let’s look at a company that you are familiar with… Airbnb.
Did you know that Airbnb didn’t come up with the concept of renting out your house or rooms in your house?
Can you guess who it was?
It was VRBO and they came up with that model 13 years before Airbnb did.
But here’s what’s interesting… who do you think wins when it comes to SEO?
Airbnb does rank for organic keywords as well, but most of them are brand related.
They crushed their competition without relying on SEO and they were 13 years late when it came to entering the market.
So how did Airbnb win? Well, the main way was they built a better product.
But in addition to that, you focused on an omnichannel approach. From SEO to PPC to advertising on TV screens in airplanes, they tried all of the major channels out there.
Yes, you need to do SEO, but you can’t rely on it as your only source of traffic or income. Diversify, not because of Google, but because you can’t control consumer behavior.
People may not prefer to use search engines in the future, they may want something else, which means you will have to adapt.
Plus you can no longer build a big business through one channel.
Yes, Facebook did grow through referrals. Quora did grow through SEO. Dropbox grew through social media… but those circumstances don’t exist anymore. What worked for these old companies won’t work for you.
You have to leverage all channels to do well in today’s market.
Google may be making changes that you don’t like as a marketer or business owner, but that doesn’t mean SEO is dead.