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Wondering how to build a niche website? Perfect because I’m going to show you exactly what to do from A-Z.

Here’s what you’re going to learn:

  • The key difference between a niche site and an authority site
  • How to find untapped niches
  • My secret process for choosing profitable, but uncompetitive niches
  • How to become an expert in any niche within only 30 DAYS
  • The best ways to monetize your website
  • How to establish a real brand so you can generate income from your niche website today (and into the future)
  • How to create SEO content that ranks consistently
  • The DIY content creation tools that practically create content for you
  • How to acquire incredible backlinks that actually work
  • And so much more!
How to Start a Niche Website (Step-by-Step Tutorial) - YouTube

The first thing we need to cover is the difference between a niche site and authority website.

Niche Site vs. Authority Site

Let me start by saying that every website is technically a “niche” website because you’re going to target a niche. The big difference is how you decide to target a niche.

For example, an authority site targets a larger niche. While a niche or micro niche website targets a niche within that niche.

Let’s take Gotch SEO for example.

Gotch SEO is an authority website in the SEO industry, but when you take a step back, my website is actually a micro niche of inbound marketing, inbound marketing is a micro niche of marketing, and marketing is a micro niche of business.

That means “SEO” as a topic is a micro-micro-micro-niche of business.

Now you’re probably wondering:

How do you decide what route to take?

Well, I personally think this whole discussion about whether you should create a micro niche or larger niche website is pretty useless.

All that matters is that you find a niche that you can compete in.

If you have just a minor passion in that topic, that’s even better. It’s not necessary, but it certainly helps.

I’ll be covering how to find a niche and whether or not you should build a brand vs. a personal brand in later lessons. But for now, don’t worry about whether you’re creating a micro-niche or an “authority” website.

Just remember that the goal is find a niche that you can actually compete in from an SEO perspective. More on this later.

Before we go any further I want to establish some expectations about building niche websites.

The first thing you need to understand is that:

What You Do Today Won’t Produce Results Tomorrow

…But it will produce results over the next few months and years. Building niche websites is a long-term game.

You will not get rich overnight using this monetization model, but there is a compound effect. Once your SEO picks up steam, the income will slowly grow. Then you’ll know how the whole system works. This allows you to use your skills and build niche-site-after-niche-site.

Or you can just continue to build and reinvest into your existing site.

But here’s the hardest part:

You will be producing content and taking all kinds of SEO actions and you won’t see results right away. THIS IS NORMAL!

Even on Gotch SEO I sometimes spend weeks writing a single piece of content. I don’t technically get “paid” while I’m producing this content.

I will drive leads and sales once I publish it because of my email list and audience on other platforms, but that’s all short-lived until the page ranks in Google.

That means that I wait 2-3 months for these pages to drive new traffic.

The point is that you have to be patient.

Just do the work and trust the process.

This particularly important for new websites which are incredibly stubborn in the beginning. You can get everything right from an SEO perspective and still not rank because your website is simply too new and not authoritative enough.

You can rank for long-tail keywords within 3-6 months, but it’s going take probably 6-12 months for a new website to rank for body or more competitive keywords.

To conclude:

  • Think long-term about this process
  • Be patient
  • Trust the process
  • Do the work

If you can change your mindset to think of your niche website as an investment, it makes it much easier.

Whenever you’re feeling down about the progress of your niche website just read this quote from Warren Buffet:

Or:

Now that you know the difference between niche sites and authority sites, let me show how to find niches.

How to Find Niches

The goal of this section is to build a list of potential niches that you could enter. The following section will help you narrow this list down and ultimately allow you to pick a niche.

But for now, let’s just focus on finding some possible niches for you to enter.

The first thing I like to do is think about my life in general.

Ask yourself:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What are your interests?
  • What are your skills & strengths?
  • What are things that make you happy?
  • What are thing that make you mad?

Now I’m going to actually do this exercise with you. Let’s start with your passions.

My passions are:

  • Trying to become a better entrepreneur
  • Helping as many people as I can achieve their goals
  • Developing myself and trying to be better than I was yesterday
  • Giving back and philanthropy

Now what about your hobbies?

My hobbies are very boring, but here they are:

  • Doing fun activities with my wife and daughter
  • Going to the movies
  • Going to dinner
  • Spending time with my dogs and taking them on walks
  • Reading non-fiction books
  • Watching YouTube videos
  • Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix
  • Watching the Lakers or NBA in general
  • Playing pick-up basketball
  • Weight lifting (not really a hobby, but a necessity)

The goal here is to get your wheels turning. Most of what you write down won’t qualify as a niche to enter, but it’s important just to think.

Now before I show you where to find niche ideas, I need to address a super important question:

Do you need to be passionate about the niche you enter?

The short is “No”, but it can help a ton if you at least some interest in the topic.

Let me put this concept into perspective:

I started many niche websites from 2011 – 2013 and my motive was to learn SEO and build a portfolio.

After some research I decided to enter the “undercounter ice maker” niche. I created the site, ranked for “undercounter ice makers” and all kinds of product-related keywords, but here’s the problem:

I hated every second of it because it was the most boring topic ever.

I eventually got so bored with it that I stopped working on it. That’s when I decided to focus on the sites I actually enjoyed working on.

One of those websites was my first, which was a baseball pitching blog. I ended up selling this blog to a former MLB baseball pitcher.

The point here is that it took nearly no willpower to work on the baseball pitching blog. That’s because I was already passionate about the topic and I genuinely enjoyed writing about the topic.

On the other hand:

I needed maximum willpower to work on the undercounter ice maker website. Even when I mustered up the strength to work on it, I didn’t enjoy a single second.

My point here is that you should have some interest in the topic. Or, at least the potential to have interest in it once you dig a little deeper.

5 Easy Ways to Find Niche Ideas

With that said, here are some places you look to find profitable niches:

1. Find Niche Ideas on Amazon

The first is good ol’e Amazon. I recommend starting with non-branded categories.

That means you should ignore Amazon products and focus on the general topics like “Home, Garden & Tools”.

Open up the first 3 primary categories in new tabs, so I’m going to explore “Home Decor”, “Furniture”, and Kitchen & Dining” for this example.

Then I’m going to hover of the dropdown for “Home Decor” and then you’ll see some micro topics.

Add all of these ideas to your list. Remember, we’re not validating these ideas yet. We’re building a prospect list.

Just keep going through all of the categories and adding the ideas to your list. The goal here is to build a list of at least 100 ideas. You can probably find more than enough ideas on Amazon, but let me show you a few other methods you can use.

2. Find Niche Ideas on Clickbank

The next method is to use ClickBank. Clickbank isn’t great for finding micro niches, but it can give you some ideas based on the larger niches you’ll see.

Look at the categories on the left hand side.

Then expand those categories.

Now what you need to do is take all the ideas you’ve found using Amazon and Clickbank to find sub-niches.

3. Find Sub-Niches on Quora

Just copy a topic and open up Quora. In this example, I’ll use “baseball”.

Look at the “Related” topics and add all of these to your list. Repeat this process with all your broad niche topics.

4. Find More Sub-Niches Using Answer the Public

The next method I love to use is Answer the Public. I’ll just enter “baseball” as the primary niche once again.

Within seconds, I’ve found all kinds of potential niche site ideas such as baseball cards, baseball cleats, baseball caps, baseball playoffs, and even baseball betting.

5. Find Even More Sub-Niches Using Keywords Everywhere

The final method is to install the Keywords Everywhere plugin and then open up Google.

Just enter one of your ideas and then click the spacebar.

Google suggested search feature will show all kinds of new topics and potential niches to enter.

Then you can:

  • look at the ideas that the Keyword Everywhere plugin gives you
  • scroll to the bottom
  • or deepen your search by adding another space, entered each letter of the alphabet, or even adding numbers.

The combinations are endless.

These methods I’ve show you will help you find hundreds of potential niche ideas.

Some other places to look for ideas include Offervault, Google’s Year in Search, social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc), Wikipedia, and even Buzzsumo.

Now that you have a nice list of niche ideas, let me show you…

How to Pick a Niche

Now I’m going to show you how to narrow your list down and then pick a niche to enter.

The most important question you have to ask about every niche idea you’ve found is:

Are people spending and making money in this market?

Let’s start with spending.

Use Google Ads Data

The first method is use Google Ads data to give us answers. You can either log into the Google Keyword Planner or search your idea in Google and use the Keyword Everywhere plugin to see the cost per click.

For example, the Cost Per Click (CPC) for “baseball cleats” is $1.22.

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The last thing you want to do is start a debate about the best CMS for SEO.

(Especially on Twitter)

That’s why I decided to look at the data instead.

In fact:

My team and I analyzed the top 10 ranking SERPs for 10,000 unique keywords to see what CMS is ACTUALLY the best for SEO.

Here’s what we discovered.

The Best CMS for SEO in 2019 is…

Not having a CMS at all!?

That’s right.

According to the data, 58% of the ranking results aren’t even using a Content Management System (CMS).

Even if the data isn’t 100% accurate, not having a CMS is still the overwhelming majority.

But if we remove sites that aren’t using a CMS, the results are far less surprising.

The best Content Management System for SEO is none other than… WordPress!

Anti-climatic, right?

Here’s a list of the top 21 CMS’s that are dominating Google’s SERPs:
  1. WordPress (45%)
  2. MediaWiki (9%)
  3. Drupal (8%)
  4. Adobe Experience Manager (4%)
  5. Ruby on Rails (4%)
  6. ATG Web Commerce (1%)
  7. SiteCore (< 1%)
  8. HubSpot (< 1%)
  9. Magento (< 1%)
  10. Squarespace (< 1%)
  11. Shopify (< 1%)
  12. Liferay (< 1%)
  13. Django Framework (< 1%)
  14. Joomla (< 1%)
  15. Laravel (< 1%)
  16. Brightspot (< 1%)
  17. Adobe Dreamweaver (< 1%)
  18. Salesforce Commerce Cloud (< 1%)
  19. Wix (< 1%)
  20. IBM Websphere Commerce (< 1%)
  21. Medium (< 1%)
How We Conducted the Study

Let me start by saying that this is by no means a comprehensive study, but there’s a big reason why we shut it down at 10,000 keywords.

Why did we only analyze 10,000 keywords?

We felt that anything more than 10,000 would be a waste of time because it wouldn’t dramatically change the results. We assumed WordPress would be the best for SEO because it’s the most widely used.

As we added more-and-more URLs, the results weren’t changing at that much.

It’s possible that a bigger dataset may alter these results. It’s just unlikely.

Where did you get the data from?

We create a list of seed keywords like “car”, “books”, and “travel”. Then we ran those keywords through Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer tool and focused on the “Phrase Match” option.

From there, we exported 50 keywords and the top 10 results for each.

We repeated this process page-by-page. After we gathered 100,000 URLs from 10,000 keywords, we tested the URLs using What CMS’s API.

Unfortunately, we could only copy and paste 1,000 URLs at a time, so it was quite time consuming.

Was there probably an easier or better way to gather this data? Definitely, but we’re just happy we got it done.

Why is this post so short?

Because there’s nothing left to say!

WordPress is the best CMS for SEO in 2019.

The bigger idea here is to make decisions based on real data. Not people’s opinions.

There is one other thing I’m going to prove with this post.

I’m going to prove that you don’t need to write “1,800” words to rank in Google.

You just need to satisfy search intent, create a super valuable piece of content and acquire quality backlinks. Notice how I didn’t say create a super long piece of content.

Length does NOT equal quality.

Watch this video (and subscribe to my channel) to master this concept:

How to Write SEO Content That Ranks in 2019! - YouTube
Your Turn

Do you agree or are you surprised by this data?

Let me know in the comment section. Also, if this was valuable please share it with a friend or colleague.

Thanks for reading!

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This article is NOT going to be about the latest link building strategy or fad for 2019.

You’re in the wrong place.

Or maybe not?

That really depends on what you think link building strategies are.

This article is about using strategy to build links.

Red pill or blue pill?

Keep reading to find out.

Here’s the deal:

My basic approach with link building has always been to just take existing pages, pick the first strategy that came to mind and execute.

I got some good, even great results from this, but as time went by I started to hit a ceiling.

So, a few months ago I was looking for feedback to refine my link building service and reached out to Nathan Gotch (of GotchSEO), here’s part of what he replied to me:

Aha! Moment.

I started researching the topic of creative, strategic link building, linkable assets etc. and I was hooked.

Strategic Link Building vs Tactical Link Building

As mentioned by Joshua Hardwick at Ahrefs in this article, a strategy is “an overall plan”, a tactic is “the actual means used to gain an objective”.

So, if we take that distinction into consideration, yeah, this article is about link building strategies.

The problem with most articles out there is that they define as strategies, what in reality are mostly “tactics”.

19 Link Building Techniques [That Work in 2019] - YouTube

Here are a few of them that you might have seen mentioned on and on again:

  • Broken link building
  • Guest posting
  • Replicating competitor backlinks
  • Resource pages link building
  • Roundups
  • Skyscraper link building
  • Infographics

And so forth…

I believe this is an important distinction to make because we, as SEOs and marketer, often focus on the surface of things (how to do “X” = tactics) instead of looking at the bigger picture (why should we do “X” or what’s the best way to do “X” = strategy).

This article was also mostly influenced by a great video I’ve seen a while back by Russ Hudgens of Siege Media where he talks about the difference between tactical and strategic link building.

Here’s the video:

Strategic vs Tactical Link Building - YouTube

In short:

Tactical link building: Focus on the specific tactic used (that mentioned above) and try to scale it no matter what content, page, business or company we are dealing with.

Strategic link building: Carefully analyze the target site/company/page to see what’s already working and/or what might work well for its particular industry/niche, THEN try to scale it.

In all honesty, I think strategic link building is the best approach for most companies out there, especially now in 2019.

It allows you to be authentic, original, leverage scale and lower the cost per link to get the best ROI at the same time.

Most of all, it’s fun!

Ok, that sounded very nerdy.

But, here’s what I liked most about what Russ says in that video:

ANYONE can learn a tactic and try to replicate it. Not anyone can find the right strategy. This virtually eliminates you competition and puts you ahead of the game.

It takes research, persistence and the willingness to experiment and take action. You need to do the hard work that nobody likes to do basically.

That’s what the “tactic articles” are for.

We are all looking for the shortcuts, the quick step by step, A to Z mega-guide.

Here’s where everything falls apart though:

  1. You still need to do the hard work after learning a tactic, and
  2. No single tactic works in EVERY situation.

Why not try and see your company or site as its unique situation with its own unique opportunities?

Why not invest a bit more time up front to get better returns in the long run?

For example, let’s say that you have a SaaS company, you did some research and found that your product is similar but better than competitors’.

You have a great feature that blows them out of the water and a great USP.

In a situation like this, going after and stealing your competitors’ links might work particularly well for your company.

How to Legally STEAL Your Competitor's Backlinks - YouTube

What better excuse than:

“Hey, check us out! we do this that they don’t and it works really well for people like you!”?

The decision to do your research beforehand instead of just trying to build some broken links (for example) saved you time and effort.

And you can keep doing this until you’ve gone after all your competitors’ links.

Now you’re asking:

“How do I figure out what the best strategy is for me?”

How To Find Strategic Link Opportunities and Ideas

To do this, fist try to look at your company site as a whole. Do you have anything unique that can be leveraged for this?

The first step is always to look at your competitors.

Plug them into Ahrefs Site Explorer and go to the “best by links” report.

This shows you all the best pages of that site ranked by the number of incoming links and you can filter them by a few different metrics.

I like to filter them by the number of referring domains (number of unique sites that link to each page).

See if you notice any interesting opportunities.

  1. Is there anything that stands out?
  2. Any weird-looking URL that is getting a ton of links?
  3. You can also use the status code filter to only look at 404 pages that are getting links and then replicate them (broken link building)
  4. Or filter by words that are included in the URL or title of the pages. For example filter for “tools” to only see pages that talk about tools.

For example, I noticed Hotjar is getting a ton of links to their feature page on “feedback polls” (3,549 dofollow links):

They even have 1 link from Harvard University just because they’re using the tool.

Now, if I were a SaaS providing a similar product, I would think of ways I could make this feedback poll better, more useful, add better features and pitch it to all those 3,549 sites.

The guys at Drift.com are doing a great job at getting backlinks (817 links) from their podcast “Seeking Wisdom” :

Do you have something unique to say? Have you ever considered running your own show? Having a podcast is a great way to build authority in your industry. Sure, it takes work but as you can see the results are totally worth it.

Another example is Dropbox.

Their unique approach to team culture has gotten them a TON of great links.

And to show you how these strategies are repeatable, here’s how Asana is doing the same thing and they both got a link from the same article on Tech Crunch:

The folks at You Need a Budget are doing great with their own proprietary method:

They have a dofollow link from the New York Times!

This strategy works great if you have a unique way of doing things. They’ve also written a book about it!

Are you using some innovative technology that is all the rage at the moment? The guys at Plum are spreading the word about their app by focusing on their strength, AI:

To give another step by step example of how I usually come up with this kind of stuff, Let’s take a look at another example, in the sports news niche.

The first step again is to go to Ahrefs site explorer tool, take some of the best sports news websites and put them in there.

I’ll take ESPN as an example.

Again:

  1. Go to the “best by links” report.
  2. Scan through the list to spot check interesting opportunities.

Right away with these few tips (and took me like 2 minutes), I found a bunch of different opportunities and ideas:

These work great in the sports news niche cause everybody on the internet who is talking about sports needs stats to make a point.

Here are some of their links:

To replicate this strategy, ask yourself:

  • Can I make these stats more up to date?
  • Use a different/better visualization?
  • Niche down the statistics? (maybe only do stats for a particular segment of players in a sport)

And this is an example of a link that’s not working/error page:
http://games.espn.com/s/fantasy/error.html

This page has 513 sites linking to it and it’s not even secure (https):

No idea of what fantasy games are?

You can put this page into Archive.org and see what it previously was to make sure it’s something you can replicate.

(note: not sure about this particular example but it’s the first that came out and it’s just to show you how to find stuff like this).

Now, these are just a few examples of using uniqueness to differentiate yourself from the pack and acquire backlinks at the same time.

Does it mean this only works for companies or websites that are as unique or as BIG?

Not necessarily.

If you’re not in a position where you can stand out from the competitors big time, or yuor not a huge player like the ones outlined above, you can still use the strategic approach by working on a page by page basis.

You can approach each page as a unique asset and look for opportunities there.

Case Study: How To Craft A Linkable Asset From Scratch

This is an example/case study from one of my clients Uplead.com a B2B prospecting software.

They came to me looking for my opinion on writing an article about b2b sales trends. The main problem with this, was that I knew there were a ton of BIG players already competing for this topic.

Such as this article by Hubspot.

No way we could compete with that…

To see what kind of articles were performing well, I did some quick research, looked at a few sales blogs’ “most popular articles” sections to see if I could find anything interesting.

These are a few of the topics that came out:

  • B2B Sales Trends to Watch in 2019
  • Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Increase Your Sales
  • Sales Follow-Up Strategies
  • Value Proposition Examples
  • Elevator Speech Examples
  • Famous sales/business people quotes (Example)
  • Sales Job description templates
  • Free Chrome Extensions for sales
  • SALES STACK 2019
  • Statistics Every B2B Company Should Know to Boost Sales and Get More Customers
  • HOW CAN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE HELP SCALE YOUR B2B SALES AND MARKETING?
  • [B2B Sales Humor] The Top 100 Overused Business Clichés

I don’t know about you but again, I’m seeing artificial intelligence popping out a lot, might be a cool angle!

What about a statistics piece on AI for b2b sales?

Well, look at this:

According to Google, there are almost 2 million results about b2b sales trends that contain the exact words “artificial intelligence”, like this one:

They already link out to another generic article on marketing trends (SmartInsight), we could pitch them our article which is specifically on AI stats and trends.

Do you think they would be happy to include a link? I think they would!

After I got the idea for the article approved, I created this short brief for Uplead’s content manager who then had the piece researched and written:

As soon as they started creating the article I did some pre-outreach to gauge interest and qualify my prospects. I reached out to people via email and Twitter.

This brought out a few people that told they would love to read the article once it came out:

Here’s my first email:

One of the replies:

Here’s the finished article, I really like how it came out.

Time to send it to qualified prospects:

And, their last reply:

Besides doing the pre-outreach I also reached out to people who were mentioning the topic in their articles and people who were linking to similar/worse/outdated articles.

Here’s some of the replies:

Pretty cool, right?

What About Building Strategic Links To Existing Pages?

Generally speaking, you can find ideas and opportunities even for existing pages using what I could call “one-offs”: single links that might spark ideas to then do the same thing at a much bigger scale.

For example, let’s say you sell beauty products.

You notice one of your competitors is getting just 1 link to it’s sunscreen product page from an article on “How to get ready for summer 2019”.

Why not reach out to all similar articles and ask them to include your own link?

Maybe add a new..

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There’s a website attack every 39 seconds, affecting one in three Americans every year.

But if you’re not protecting the information being passed through your website, you could be skyrocketing the chances of a cyber attack happening to your site, your website dropping down Google’s ranks—and sacrificing your customers’ data.

(Which, as you’ve probably guessed, is a huge GDPR issue.)

Preventing that security catastrophe starts with learning the difference between HTTP and HTTPS: A type of website certification that impacts how a website collects, stores and uses visitor data.

In this guide, we’re sharing the answer, and listing how you can use security certificates and encrypted connections to boost your SEO.

What is HTTP?

Simply put, HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is what makes the internet work.

A variation of the protocol is needed to access any website—hence why website URLs usually start with “http://www…”—and works by sending a command to a website server to fetch the webpage your URL corresponds to.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) works in the same way as standard HTTP.

The only difference? All of the data sent through a webpage using HTTPS has an additional layer of security. This is called a Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, and protects any third-parties from eavesdropping on any type of data being passed through the secure website.

HTTPS gives websites extra protection because the data being submitted to and from the server is encrypted—meaning nobody has the ability to steal, hack or view private data.

Plus, data being passed through HTTPS sites can’t be changed or corrupted.

You can check whether your website has HTTPS protection by viewing the URL in your browser. If there’s a green padlock before your domain name, your site is secure:

(Your customers check this, too: 28% of internet users look for the green address bar.)

In order to make your website run on HTTPS, you’ll need a Security Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. This certificate, originally developed by Netscape, is what encrypts the site’s data and proves to website visitors that you’re a secure website.

SSL as a Google ranking factor

WhyNoHTTPS found many of the top 100 websites still don’t load securely—including Baidu, ESPN, and MyShopify.

Does that make HTTPS completely irrelevant for SEO?

Not necessarily. In fact, those websites are an anomaly.

Google’s team have expressed the need for HTTPS time and time again. So much so, they’ve released an algorithm update based around it—causing sites without HTTPS security to struggle on their quest to rank highly in the SERPs.

Google’s statement read:

“Over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

It seems they’re taking their own advice. Over 90% of sites owned by Google—including Google News, YouTube, and content promoted through their Google Ads network—send encrypted traffic:

…But Google have said they’re working hard to make this figure closer to 100%.

4 Key SEO Benefits of Using HTTPS

These days, there’s more to SEO than HTTPS certificates.

It’s unlikely that a switch from HTTP to HTTPS will skyrocket your rankings to page one. It takes an entire strategy—including on-page SEO, acquiring backlinks, and creating SEO content —to see SEO success.

However, there’s no doubting that making the switch has SEO benefits. Those include:

1. It Gives Better User Experience

It’ll come as no surprise to hear that user experience (UX) is a huge part of SEO.

If people are landing on your website through organic search and you’re greeting them with flashing text, bouncing icons and countless pop-up ads, they aren’t going to stick around. Chances are, they’ll be mad that Google pointed them there.

Google don’t want that reputation, which is why UX forms a huge part of SEO strategies.

Unsecure sites without a HTTPS certificate don’t fit the “high-quality, trustworthy and reliable” criteria that Google set for sites to achieve high rankings.

In fact, Google are so against insecure sites that a recent Chrome latest update now tells users when they’re visiting a site without a HTTPS certificate, labelling the unencrypted website as “Not Secure”:

Source

Seeing that warning sign would give you a fright, right?

You’d think twice about continuing to the website after knowing your data is at-risk, which isn’t going to lead to great user experience—nor high rankings.

2. Secure Websites Can Increase Dwell Time

Dwell time is an important factor for SEO. It’s determined by the amount of time a searcher spends on your website before clicking back to the SERPs, which tells Google how accurate your result was for their query.

Websites without HTTPS could be sabotaging their own dwell time.

The content you’re sharing could be the perfect fit for your searcher. But if they’re being faced with an ugly “Not Secure” message, you won’t have the chance to show them your awesome content.

They’ll simply head back to their SERPs, and contribute to a low dwell time.

Google’s spiders will then view your site as low-quality, or totally irrelevant to that search term, and your URL will drop down the ranks—even if your content is top-notch.

3. Sites with HTTPS Load Faster

When you click a link and land on a website, how long do you wait for the content to load before your patience runs out?

Research by Incapsula found that 55% of people are willing to wait a maximum of five seconds. Combine that with the 7% of people who expect a page to load immediately, and you’ll see why site speed is a critical ranking factor.

(Remember: Google want to point searchers in the direction of sites that are fast, reliable, and trustworthy.)

There’s such a huge importance on site speed that Google rolled out a “speed update”, impacting how mobile SERPs would be produced. Their announcement said:

“People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”

Using HTTPS gives you an SEO advantage because websites using HTTP are 824% slower than HTTPS:

Granted, you can use techniques like compressing files, optimizing images, or reducing redirects to boost your website speed.

But using HTTPS is a quick win that could see huge returns from one change.

4. HTTPS Leads to Accurate SEO Reporting

You’ll need to regularly check-in and audit your SEO results to find out what’s helping your rankings, what isn’t, and tweak your strategy accordingly.

That’s the tried-and-tested process of any marketing campaign, right?

It’s not an easy task though; SEO is notoriously difficult to report on. But switching to HTTPS can help.

That’s because referral information is stripped when a site isn’t secure. Traffic sources aren’t named on sites with HTTP, meaning you’ll see a bunch of visitors who’ve come from “direct” source—when in reality, they’ve probably been referred from social media, organic search, or paid ads.

Secure websites using HTTPS, on the other hand, protect (and show) this referral information in your analytics dashboard. You’ll be able to clearly pinpoint the best sources of traffic to your website, making reporting more accurate.

You can therefore tweak your SEO strategy based on reliable referral traffic information.

How to Migrate to HTTPS Without Losing Your Traffic

Are you ready to take advantage of the SEO benefits that HTTPS provides?

Unfortunately, migrating from HTTP to HTTPS isn’t as simple as contacting your website host to change your URL. The switch means the links you’ve built to your old domain are no longer working—hence why many site owners worry about losing their organic traffic during the migration.

Here’s how you can make the switch without that happening.

1. Install an SSL certificate

Ready to start protecting the data being passed through your website, and experience the SEO benefits of HTTPS?

You’ll need to install an SSL certificate.

Platforms such as WP Engine have SSL certificates available as add-ons if you’re already using them for your website hosting. You might need to pay extra for this, but don’t treat SSL certificates as an unnecessary expense that you can avoid.

Google are actively rewarding secure websites with higher rankings, and 85% of internet users avoid shopping on unsecure websites—meaning the SEO benefits you’ll get in return will outweigh (small) cost of installation.

Alternatively, you could also use a free service like:

Once you’ve got the SSL certificate for your domain, you’ll need to install it on your website.

You can either use a WordPress plugin like Really Simple SSL to do this (which will automatically detect your new SSL certificate), or ask your hosting provider to activate the certificate on your website.

Once you’ve enabled the SSL certificate for your domain, it’s time to set the HTTPS version as the default URL for your website.

Sign into your WordPress dashboard, click Settings, and make sure your WordPress and Site URL include the HTTPS prefix:

(The Really Simple SSL plugin might do this for you automatically, but it’s worth double-checking.)

2. Automatically redirect HTTP to HTTPS

Your old HTTP URL is no longer in use, but people still might land on the unsecure version. So, as soon as you’ve changed your default URL, you’ll need to automatically 301 redirect people landing on the old URL to the new one.

For example: If someone visits http://gotchseo.com, a redirect would automatically send them to the secure version at https://gotchseo.com.

The hosting provider you’re using will likely make this redirect once they’ve installed your SSL certificate. But if you’re installing SSL manually, follow this guide to redirect HTTP to HTTPS, depending on your server.

3. Add the new URL to Search Console

You probably already know that Google Search Console is the primary way Google will communicate with you about your website. Not only that, but it contains tons of valuable data that SEOs can use to understand (and improve) their rankings.

That’s why when you’re migrating to HTTPS, you’ll need to add the new URL to Google Search Console as a new “property”:

When you get to this stage, take special care to include the URL exactly as you see it in your web browser—including the https://www. prefix.

You’ll then see two properties in your Google Search Console account: The HTTP and HTTPS versions of your website.

(Bare in mind it might take a while for Google to crawl the new version, but from now on, your website SEO data will be found in the HTTPS account.)

4. Find and replace external backlinks

You’ve automatically redirected your website from HTTP to HTTPS, and Google has started to crawl the new version of your website.

What happens next?

The answer lies within backlinks: Arguably the most important factor of any SEO strategy, because external links prove to Google that your website is trustworthy.

…But the backlinks you’ve previously built point to the unsecure version of your domain. And even if you’ve redirected your old URL to the new HTTPS domain, you’ll still need to check (and replace) external backlinks pointing to the HTTP version.

Use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to audit your backlink profile:

For every link you find on an external website, check to see whether you’re automatically redirected from the HTTP to HTTPS version of your website. If you’re not, don’t panic.

Simply install the Redirection plugin for WordPress and create the link yourself.

Redirecting these backlinks makes sure you’re not losing any link juice.

Since the backlink leads people to the secure version of your website instead of the unsecure HTTP version (or worse, a 404 error page), Google will crawl the backlinks—and take them into consideration when determining your rankings.

5. Scan for crawl errors

Now you’ve checked that your site’s external backlinks are in check, let’s confirm you’re not losing any SEO value with the internal links littered around your website.

Sign into your Google Search Console account and head to the Coverage report.

Here, you’ll find broken internal links that Google doesn’t recognize, and that you’ll need to redirect to the secure page:

Redirect broken internal links to the same page on the HTTPS version of your website.

This works similar to external links in the fact that Google can now crawl your site, and understand what it should rank for, without dead ends blocking their tracks.

Final Thoughts

Are you convinced to make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS?

Follow this guide and you’ll make the migration easy—without losing your organic traffic in the process.

Not only are you protecting your blog, business or entire website from a website attack, but installing SSL certificates and encrypting data is bound to support your SEO strategy.

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Wondering how to sell more stuff online?

Perfect because I’m going to show you how I sold $470,998 worth of backlinks and acquired 507 customers.

Get access to proven emails that drove $33,245 in revenue.

Let’s jump right in.

12 Easy Ways to Sell More Stuff Online 1. Position Your Service Differently

Back in 2016, there was still a lot of fear and negativity around the concept of “guest posting” because of Matt Cutts.

That’s why I knew I had to position my service differently. Plus, there were already tons of guest posting services.

So I decided to call my service a “Blogger Outreach Service”.

I didn’t magically come up with this idea either. I simply did some keyword research and found it. More on this in a second.

2. Map Out an SEO-Focused Content Marketing Funnel

Understanding and executing a proper content marketing funnel is the key to driving sales online.

Here’s what a traditional content marketing funnel looks like:

The key difference that I focus on is to create SEO-driven content at the top of the funnel. In other words, I create keyword-targeted content.

Create ToFu Content

I’m a strong believer of the concept of “results in advance”. I learned it from Frank Kern and it’s extremely simple (yet powerful).

Here’s how it works:
  • You show a prospect how to achieve a result (so they can get results in advance)
  • You then offer a product or service that helps them achieve that result easier, faster, etc.

It’s that simple.

How to Create Marketing Results - Dean Jackson - Ideas Worth Using: Creating Results in Advance - YouTube

That’s the exact approach I used on my Gotch SEO blog.

I created content targeting informational keywords like “backlinks“, “anchor text“, “PBNs“, and “buy backlinks“.

Then within the content and at the end, I would pitch my blogger outreach service.

Create MoFu Content

If I were to restart this service today, I would have created more middle of the funnel content like webinars or lead magnets.

The only MoFu action I pushed was for prospects to create a free account.

1,436 people created free accounts. This was big because I was able to push promotions to them.

Create BoFu Content

Bottom of the funnel content is anything that’s going to persuade a prospect to buy.

That’s when a sales page comes into play.

Here’s what I did:
  1. First, I identified transactional keywords related to my service.
  2. Secondly, I created a long-form sales page targeting “blogger outreach service” as my transactional phrase. This phrase gets around 150 searches per month.

Now before you roll your eyes at that search volume, you need to understand that all searches are not created equally.

If you were new to SEO, you would probably think it’s smarter to focus on “backlinks” (9,400 searches/mo) instead of “blogger outreach service” (150 searches/mo) because it gets over 6,000% more searches.

The truth is:

You should focus on keywords that have transactional intent because they drive direct sales.

They’re also easier to rank for.

Informational keywords are great for long-term sales, but they rarely drive direct sales. That’s because most people searching informational keywords are early in the buying cycle (“Awareness” stage).

You’ll need to spend time nurturing these people before they’re ready to buy.

That’s also why it’s critical to have a lead capture strategy. The best way to capture leads is to create a valuable lead magnet and then a high-converting squeeze page.

The other thing to consider is:

Search volume numbers aren’t always accurate.

Here are the organic search traffic numbers from my blogger outreach service page from October 2016 to February 2019:

That averages out to 935 pageviews per month. Or, 523% more organic search traffic than the search volume estimate of 150.

3. Emphasis the Key Benefit

Outsourcing your link building has several benefits, but the biggest is time savings. That’s why I emphasized how much goes into a proper link acquisition campaign:

I wanted to show the prospect how much time and effort they would be saving by using our service.

4. Call Out Your Target Market

Who is the absolute best person to use your product or service? Once you’ve figured out, make it clear:

No product or service is for everyone. That’s why you need to spend an enormous amount of time thinking about your perfect customer. It’s time well spent.

5. Establish Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

How is your product or service different than your competitors?

I spent a ton of time analyzing the feedback from customers who purchased services from link vendors on Black Hat World.

My goal was to see if there were common complaints or issues. That way I was creating a service based on real user feedback (instead of guessing).

Here are the common “problems” I tried to solve with my service:

6. Do Anything to Get Social Proof

Don’t even try to sell a product online without social proof. It’s fundamental.

In fact:

It’s so important that I offered huge discounts for customers that wrote testimonials for my service.

Discount your product or give it away for free to acquire more testimonials.

Do whatever it takes to get them because they’ll have a huge impact on sales.

7. Price Intelligently

Pricing is a topic within itself, but I’ve learned a few things over the years.

1. First, identify what the “competitive” prices are for your product or service.

Then, in most cases, make yours more “expensive”.

That means you’ll need to have some type advantage to demand higher prices. Sometimes that’s your brand’s equity. Other times it’s going to be additional features that are hard to replicate.

2. Secondly, use a price anchor.

A price anchor is a price-point that is substantially more expensive than the rest.

As a result, your mid-to-lower packages seem more affordable.

One other micro tactic that I learned from Priceless is to remove the dollar sign.

This could reduce buyer resistance even further.

How To Sell A Product Online: The #1 Reason Why People Don't Buy - YouTube
8. Add Value on Your Sales Page

This might be the most odd tip of all, but you should try to educate on your sales page (if it makes sense).

Not only does this increase your word count (which benefits SEO performance), but it can also act as a sales vehicle. You’re essentially giving results in advance on your sales page.

9. Be Liberal With CTAs

Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. I had 15 calls to action on my sales page.

Excessive? Maybe, but I would rather have too many, than too little.

10. Leverage Scarcity

People are way more motivated by the fear of loss than the possibility of gain. I leveraged this principle to drive sales in two ways.

First, I ran discount promotions about every quarter like this “Anniversary Sale” (from 5/14/2018 to 5/25/2018):

Secondly, I used Deadline Funnel to push first time visitors into action.

For example, if they visited my blogger outreach service page for the first time, they would see a special discount offer.

This worked well because a lot of the traffic going to that page was from organic search and through my blog.

The later was more effective because I built rapport through my blog content and warmed them up.

11. Sell to Existing Customers

Ever heard the statistic that “it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one”?

This needs to be permanently implanted into your mind.

Not only is it easier to sell to existing customers, but it’s more profitable (because you don’t have to spend money on advertising or invest time on nurturing them).

For example, I offered a lifetime 20% discount on all our link building services to existing Gotch SEO Academy members.

This discount code was used more than all the promotions I’ve ran throughout the years.

12. Don’t Do the Work

There’s no way I could have sold as much if I was doing the work.

You need to build systems and get help from other people. Identify what your core strength is (for me it’s SEO and marketing) and focus on that.

Everything else should be systemized and delegated.

What I Would Have Done Differently

Sometimes to have to walk away from a project to know what you would have done differently.

Want to know what I discovered after some reflection?

My marketing execution for these services was terrible!

That’s why I want to share two things I would have done differently if I were starting today (with what I know now)…

1. I Would Have Created a Lead Nurturing System

Taking the time to build out a lead nurturing..

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What if your squeeze pages converted at 74.5%?

Good news.

It’s possible because I’ve done it myself and I’ll be showing you how I did it right now.

But, first:

What is a Squeeze Page?

A squeeze page is designed to achieve one objective: get a prospect’s name and email address.

I believe that every business should be using squeeze pages to capture leads.

Why?

Because building your email list and then nurturing your leads is the single best way to grow any business online.

It doesn’t matter whether you sell your own products or services or you’re an affiliate. Email marketing is king because you own your list.

This is unlike Instagram or Facebook because those platforms not only own your content, but they also own the accounts of the people that follow you.

Don’t ignore these platforms, but growing your email list should be a primary goal in your business.

The best way to make that a reality to start building effective squeeze pages.

Now you’re probably wondering:

What’s a Good Squeeze Page Conversion Rate?

The annoying answer is that it depends.

According to Unbounce:

“a 12% conversion rate is pretty good for lead generation landing pages. And by “pretty good,” we mean you’ll be better than about 90% of your competitors.”

They analyzed over 64,000 squeeze pages across multiple industries to come to this conclusion.

That means that a 12% conversion rate for your squeeze page is a solid benchmark and target.

Now the question is:

How did I create a squeeze page that converts at 74.5%?

I’ll show you a second, but first…

Here’s the proof:

Don’t worry:

This isn’t a one-hit wonder.

Here’s another squeeze page that’s achieved insane conversion rates as well:

The most unbelievable thing about these pages is that they’re incredibly simple.

Let me show you what I mean:

9 Qualities of High-Converting Squeeze Pages

There are many ways to structure squeeze pages and all kinds of tactics you can use.

The following 9 methods work for me and in my industry. They may not work as well in yours.

That’s why it’s critical that you test.

More on this in a second, but let’s start with the #1 quality of successful squeeze pages.

1. They’re Only Visible to the RIGHT People

The success or failure of your squeeze page will depend on the quality of your traffic and your relationship with that audience.

Here’s an interesting fact about my strategy:

I rarely target cold audiences with lead magnets.

Instead, I promote content assets (like this one) to build rapport and trust, THEN I promote lead magnets (within the body of the content and through retargeting ads).

That means my squeeze pages are only visible to people that are already warming up to my brand.

Here’s a visual:

The takeaway here is to warm people up to your brand with Top of the Funnel (ToFu) content and then push them to a squeeze page.

2. They Offer a Lead Magnet

Offering a lead magnet on your squeeze page substantially outperforms a boring newsletter page.

Just compare these two conversion rates:

The first is for my general newsletter page and the second is for a page promoting a lead magnet.

Notice the difference?

Let’s move onto strategy #3.

3. They Are Simple

I’ve tried every type of squeeze page templates and strategy under the sun. I can tell you with great conviction that nothing beats a simple, highly-focused squeeze page like this:

It’s funny because almost every business challenge I’ve encountered has been overcome by simplifying.

I literally have the word “simplify” on a board in my office just to remind me.

This brings me to point #4…

4. They Use Benefit-Driven Headlines

This goes along with simplicity. You should only present one benefit that the prospect will receive if they subscribe.

In the example below, you’ll see that the “benefit” of signing up is that the prospect will get access to “untapped” link building techniques.

I also emphasis that these are “new” tactics because everyone desires to be on the cutting edge of things.

To get an idea of the power of a few words, just take “untapped” and the “new” portion out of the headline.

You’ll be left with “7 Link Building Techniques”.

That’s not exciting. That doesn’t create interest or desire.

Choose your words wisely!

5. They Have Zero Distractions

Notice that this page has one clear objective and there’s nothing taking away from that.

I don’t have menus, my logo isn’t clickable, and there are no distractions.

People are easily distracted and have limited attention spans. Don’t add anything to your squeeze that may distract from your primary objective (getting an email subscriber).

6. They Have Minimal Fields

Trust me… no one (including your most qualified prospects) enjoys:

  • A) wasting time filling in unnecessary fields
  • B) having to think about answers to your questions
  • C) sharing personal information with your company

Trying to extract as much information as you can from a squeeze page is stupid.

You will have so many other opportunities to learn more about your prospects once they’re on your list.

Here’s the key takeaway:

Let the prospect get what you’re offering without having to think. Having minimal fields is the key.

7. They Give Explicit Directions

Never assume that your prospects know what do. Tell them exactly what you want from them:

8. They Use Unique CTAs

“Subscribe” is boring and over-used. Think about how to be different or even abstract with your CTA copy.

I can’t explain it, but using word “Download” has always worked really well for me.

One other big part of effective CTAs is creating color contrast. Notice that my button’s color isn’t competing with any other colors on the page.

It has great contrast relative to all other elements. Always try to create contrast with your buttons.

9. They Have Trust Signals

Every squeeze page should make a prospect feel comfortable giving you an email address. If the thought crosses their mind that “this is sketchy”, you’re done for.

Notice that squeeze page has three distinct trust signals.

1. Recognizable Logo

Who are you? That should be established right away.

If you followed tip #1, this is just icing on the cake because the prospect should already “know” who you are.

2. GDPR Compliance

Some Internet marketers were freaking out when GDPR went into effect. I viewed it the opposite way. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate to prospects that you’re trustworthy.

You know how you feel when you land a website with an SSL certificate? That’s how you’ll feel one day when a squeeze page doesn’t have privacy policy.

The cool part about having the prospect “consent” is that you’re getting two micro commitments in one.

3. “Official” Business Stuff

Adding a copyright notice and the official legal entity name of the business is another way to add trust.

To see the power of adding a few easy trust signals, take a look at these two examples:

The example on the left is the original squeeze page. The one on the right is what it looks like without any trust signals. Much more sketchy!

Now that you know the characteristics of high-converting squeeze pages, how do you actually create one?

How to Create Squeeze Pages

There are two ways to create a squeeze page:

1. Hire a Web Designer and Developer

This is the most expensive option, but it’s the best option if A) you’re not technically savvy B) don’t want to mess around with page builders or C) don’t have the time to create these pages.

2. Use a Squeeze Page Builder

Page builders are perfect if you don’t want to or don’t have the ability to custom code pages. They’re also great if you don’t have the budget to hire a designer and developer.

I personal used Leadpages to create the squeeze page I’ve been talking about in this guide.

That’s All!

I hope this helped learn how to create high-converting squeeze pages.

If you liked it, please share this guide with a friend who’s trying to master digital marketing.

Thanks for reading!

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Wondering what a redirect chain is?

Good because I’ll show you exactly what they are, why they matter for SEO, and how to fix them.

Let’s jump right in.

What is a Redirect Chain?

A redirect chain occurs when a page on your site redirects to a page that’s already redirected.

Convoluted, right? Don’t worry.

Here’s a visual representation:

Now you might be wondering:

Why are redirect chains a problem?

3 Reasons to Eradicate Redirect Chains 1. They’ll Cause Crawling Issues

Anything that confuses Google’s crawlers is generally going to be a bad thing.

Redirect chains fall under the “bad things” category.

That’s because there’s a chance that Google’s crawlers will give up on trying to find the final page in a redirect chain.

The longer a chain goes, the worse it is for crawling and indexing for your site.

Don’t forget:

The later (indexing) is pre-requisite for ranking.

2. They’ll Hurt Your Website Loading Speed

Optimal website loading speed is fundamental to achieving great User Experience (UX).

Great UX leads to great SEO.

That means your goal should be eliminate anything that negatively impacts your site’s loading speed.

Redirect chains are one of those negative factors that you need to tackle.

In fact:

Pingdom emphasizes that redirects can have a huge impact on site loading speed.

To prove this point, I ran a small experiment that you can try yourself too.

Go to Pingdom and enter your root domain. That means in this first test I’ll use “gotchseo.com”.

Here is the benchmark loading speed for test #1:

By running the test with my root domain, I’m purposely causing multiple redirect chains such as:

  • gotchseo.com
  • www.gotchseo.com
  • gotchseo.com/
  • www.gotchseo.com/
  • http://www.gotchseo.com/
  • http://www.gotchseo.com

For the test #2, I simply used my final URL which is: https://www.gotchseo.com/.

Here are the results:

My page loading speed went from 1.02 seconds to 0.728 miliseconds.

That’s a 28.6% decrease in page loading speed just by avoiding redirect chains!

3. Lost Backlink Equity…?

There’s some debate on whether or not backlink equity (PageRank) passes 100% through redirects.

It doesn’t matter in my opinion because it’s common sense.

Why would you keep a redirect chain when it has no positive outcome for your SEO performance?

It’s much more likely that it hurts more than helps.

Now you know the three reasons why you need to tackle redirect chains, but how do you actually find them?

How to Find Redirect Chains

The best way to find redirect chains is to use Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

Open Screaming Frog and enter your domain:

Then click “Reports” and “Redirect Chains”.

You’ll then get access to a report that looks like this:

Right away you’ll know whether or not you have redirect chains.

If you don’t, then awesome job!

If you do, here’s what to do next.

How to Fix Redirect Chains

The good news is that fixing redirect chains is super easy.

Take a look at this example:

All that you need to do is eliminate the redirect between Page A and Page B. Then 301 redirect Page A to Page C.

The end result is that both Page A and Page B will be 301 redirecting the final page (Page C).

Just rinse and repeat this process for every redirect chain you have.

That’s a Wrap

There are countless SEO tasks you can do, but I put fixing redirect chains into the “quick wins” category.

That’s because it impacts so many different elements of SEO (crawling, indexing, page loading speed, and even site authority).

Plus, fixing this issue is super easy.

That’s all you need to know about finding and fixing redirect chains.

Was this guide helpful? Please share it with a friend!

Thanks for reading.

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What SEO mistakes do you need to avoid if you want to maximize your SEO performance in 2019?

Well, there are many moving parts in an SEO campaign and it’s easy to slip up.

That’s why I’m going to show you 47 of the biggest SEO mistakes you need to avoid.

Let’s jump right in.

47 Common SEO Mistakes (That Even Pros Make)

The first deadly SEO mistake is:

1. Not Tracking Your Performance

The best way to think about this is by memorizing what Peter Drucker said and that’s “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”.

You have to track your SEO performance if you want to improve it. Now the question is… what should you track?

Well that brings me to deadly SEO mistake #2 which is…

2. Not Tracking the Right SEO KPIs

The truth is that most SEO newbies focus on individual keyword rankings. While rankings are a valuable key performance indicator, the best SEO KPI is organic search traffic growth.

The goal of SEO is to get more traffic. Don’t ever lose sight of that.

3. Not Considering ROI

Most people haphazardly start SEO campaigns and rely on guesswork. This can work sometimes because you can take action, iterate, and pivot.

However, in most cases, you should consider the ROI of your actions BEFORE you take them.

So, what do I mean?

There are few a different ROI calculations to consider in an SEO campaign, but the most important is:

What will be the ROI of targeting a keyword you’re interested in?

In this case, a little preliminary work can go a long way and help you avoid going after keywords that aren’t truly worth it.

Here’s how to calculate the future ROI of a keyword target:


This training video is from Gotch SEO Academy.

4. Not Performing an SEO Audit…

…BEFORE you start trying to do SEO.

I truly believe the #1 one thing you need to do if you want better SEO results is to perform an SEO audit.

SEO audits are one of my favorite activities because it reveals all the issues holding your SEO performance back.

DOWNLOAD our advanced SEO audit checklist and SOP to discover what’s holding your SEO campaign back.

Plus, you’ll also get the intel you need to make better decisions.

By “better” decisions, I mean that you’ll be able to prioritize your actions based on what will have the highest impact.

5. Not Mapping Out Your Site Architecture

A well-designed site architecture can have a positive SEO impact for several reasons.

  • First, a strong site architecture helps Google crawl your website more efficiently, which as a result, helps Google index your pages faster.
  • Secondly, a strong site architecture will grow your site’s overall authority, which makes ranking much easier. In other words, you won’t need as many backlinks to rank.
  • Lastly, an effective site architecture can help drive more conversions because you direct users to your most important pages.

Watch this video to learn about my favorite site architecture strategy:

19 Link Building Techniques [That Work in 2019] - YouTube

Let’s move onto the sixth SEO mistake and that’s:

6. Not Prioritizing User Experience (UX)

One of the best ways to improve SEO performance is to optimize your site’s UX.

In fact:

Abobe discovered that:

“38 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if the content and layout is unattractive.” – Adobe

This alone should make you value UX/UI optimization more.

But how do you actually optimize UX?

There are obvious UX optimization actions like:

  • Increasing your website loading speed
  • Making your site mobile friendly
  • Not using aggressive interstitial pop-ups
  • And not using disruptive ad placements

But there is one UX optimization that matters for SEO more than anything else…

Optimizing for user intent.

What does that mean?

It means that your page should satisfy the intent of the keyword that’s being searched.

More on this in a second.

7. Targeting the WRONG Keywords

Some people jump into and try to conquer every keyword in their niche.

This is a really bad idea , especially if you don’t have the website authority to target keywords with mid to high level competition.

How to Find UNTAPPED Keywords - YouTube

If your website is new, accept that fact and focus on keywords that low competition, so you can get some easy wins out of the gate.

Then, once your site has built some authority, you can target higher-volume and higher competition keywords.

8. Not Creating SEO Goals

Developing SEO goals can feel like a double edged sword because you’re essentially trying to predict the future. On the other when you attack an SEO campaign without a goal, you’re operating without a vision.

You need to find the balance in this equation. Don’t try to create the perfect goal because campaigns rarely go according to plan.

I recommend creating a lag goal first such as:

“We’re going to increase our organic search traffic by 100% by December 31, 2020.”

Then create a lead goals to achieve your lag goal:

“We’re going to create 12 long-form keyword-target content assets and we’re going to acquire 100 quality links to these assets in the next 6 months.”

Don’t overthink it.

9. Not Deeply Analyzing the Competition

Your competition can give you clues about what’s working and what isn’t. I talk about this a lot inside Gotch SEO Academy, but you should always be looking for points of leverage when you’re going to target a keyword.

What are your competitors NOT doing right now, but they’re still ranking well?

10. Not Satisfying Search Intent

I won’t go too deep into this, but the best way to understand user intent is through categorization.

Memorize these four types of user intent:

Informational

If a user searches “how to build backlinks”, you serve them informational content because that’s the intent.

Comparison

If a user searches “Moz vs Ahrefs”, they’re looking to compare and contrast these two products (so they can make an educating buying decision). A page explaining the pros and cons of these products would satisfy the intent.

Transactional

If a user searches “buy Gotch SEO Academy”, they’re ready to transact.

Navigational

If a user searches “Gotch SEO Academy login”, you know exactly what they’re looking for. Give them a freakin’ login page. Simple.

Satisfying user intent is simple.

Try to get into the searcher’s mind every time you decide to target a keyword.

What do they actually want when they enter that search query?

It’s time well spent trying to figure it out.

Getting it right will improve your page’s UX.

That means users:

  • will stay on your page longer
  • won’t pogo-stick as much
  • may visit a second page on your site or…
  • may complete a goal (like subscribe, submit a lead form, or buy a product).

I recommend using a combination of Google Analytics and heat map technology (Sumo, Hotjar, or Optimizely) to test and optimize UX.

11. Not Creating Unique Value

If you take anything away from this video, it has to be this.

Whenever you target a keyword, you should always think about how you can add unique value.

Don’t try to emulate what’s already ranking. Think about how you can create something radically different and better.

“Different” can be using unique data, make your content more story-driven, using better multimedia, using better design, or even just having way better readability.

There are unlimited possibilities for making your SEO content different.

Trust me… if you focus on how to be different than the top competitors instead of trying to be “better” you’ll see monumental results.

12. Creating Thin Content

When most people think of “thin” content, they think about pages with low word counts.

While this is a good indicator of thin content, I actually think there’s another form of thin content that’s often overlooked.

It’s along the same vein as SEO mistake #11, but the biggest type of thin content you need to avoid is not adding any unique value. Or in other words, just regurgitating what other people have already produced.

If you want to truly succeed with SEO, you have to focus on adding unique value.

The thirteenth SEO mistake is thin content’s best friend and that’s…

13. Creating Duplicate Content

Duplicate content issues are most common with e-commerce websites, but they can occur on any site if you aren’t careful.

When it comes to e-com SEO, duplicate content is prevalent because these websites have an enormous amount of category and product pages.

I have to cover a lot more SEO mistakes to avoid, but the best way to combat duplicate content is make EVERYTHING unique on your site.

That means unique product descriptions, unique meta descriptions, and that means unique copy for every single page.

The fourteenth SEO mistake is:

14. Not Properly Optimizing Your Page

Some people think on-page SEO is just throwing some keywords on the page and you’re good to go. This is very far from the truth.

There are many points you have to cover to properly optimize a page for search. The good news is I created an 80-point on-page SEO checklist you can follow.

The fifteenth SEO mistake is:

15. Not Upgrading Old Content

Most people think about how they’re going to target new keywords and create new content.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but you can a huge return on your investment and time when you focus on improving existing content assets on your site.

How to Increase Website Traffic by 1,962% - YouTube

For example, I completely scraped my content that was targeting the keyword “on-page SEO” and replaced with updated information and new design.

Keep in mind, this page hasn’t ranked for “on-page SEO” EVER and it’s been up for years.

That said, I republished this post on November 7th 2018 and it reached the first page on March 10th 2019.

There are a lot of changes that I made to achieve this goal, but the biggest was simply upgrading the content and making it substantially better.

The sixteenth SEO mistake is:

16. Not Injecting Long-Tail Keywords

Although it’s important to target a primary keyword phrase, most of your traffic will come from long-tail keywords. That’s why you need to optimize your page accordingly.

For example, the “on-page SEO” blog post I published is obviously targeting the primary keyword phrase “on-page SEO”, but I’m also targeting many other long-tail variations.

Think about this way:

My primary phrase “on-page SEO” has only driven around 84 clicks.

Overall, that page has driven around 1,511 total clicks.

That means that 95% of the organic search traffic for this page comes from long-tail keywords.

Now this equation will flip once I’m ranking higher for the primary phrase, but it’s still a strong demonstration showing why you need to inject long-tail keywords on your pages.

The seventeenth SEO mistake is:

17. Not Optimizing for Organic CTR

Have you ever heard the statistic that only 20% of people read past a headline?

Whether this is still true, I don’t know, but you need to take it into account.

In other words, you need to create headlines that are going to drive clicks.

In fact:

One of the fastest ways to get more organic search traffic is improve the clickability of your page titles.

It’s simple… increase your CTR and get more traffic.

From a tactical perspective, analyze Google Ads for your target keywords.

What words are they using or not using to attract clicks?

Aside from that, study everything you can about creating great headlines because it’s fundamental to any content assets success.

The eighteenth SEO mistake is:

18. Not Internal Linking from Your Most Authoritative Pages

Whenever you publish a new SEO content asset, you should immediately for internal linking opportunities.

Not only will this help with indexability, but it will also drive link equity to your new page, which makes it easier to rank!

All you need to do is throw your domain into Ahrefs Site Explorer and click on Best by Links. Look for opportunities to play an internal link on your most linked pages.

The nineteenth SEO mistake is:

19. Not Building Relationships

Ever heard the quote: “Show me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are” – well it’s incredibly true and it applies to pretty every facet of business.

If you have relationships with key influencers, writers, or people who are capable of linking to you in your industry, you’re going to get links a lot easier.

If you’re friends with other bloggers, it’s more likely that you’ll be in their head when they’re thinking about a resource to link to.

Building relationships in your industry should be a priority from both a business and SEO perspective. Don’t take it lightly.

The twentieth SEO mistake is:

20. Not Building Backlinks

Backlinks are the fuel of every successful SEO campaign.

Don’t get fooled by ideas like “backlinks don’t matter” because they aren’t grounded by facts or data.

According to Brian’s massive ranking study:

“The number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.” – Backlinko

SEMRush had similar conclusions.

They found that:

“The higher the domain’s position on the SERP, the more referring domains it has.”

Backlinks matter and will continue to be critical to Google’s algorithm now and into the future.

The 21st SEO mistake is:

21. Thinking All Links Are Created Equally

You should be picky about the links you acquire.

Only target opportunities that:

  1. Are relevant
  2. Are authoritative
  3. Have good link quality
  4. Have traffic
  5. Have editorial standards

Point #1 is critical to understand because SEO mistake #22 is:

22. Getting Irrelevant Links

It’s best to focus on link opportunities that are most relevant to your business. The best way to think about this is through what I call the Relevancy Pyramid.

In short, you should focus your efforts on the most relevant opportunities first and then work your way down the pyramid.

23. Using Risky Link Building Tactics

Some tactics like PBNs and web 2.0s may still work, but they carry substantial risk.

In fact:

The risk vs. reward is practically non-existent at this point.

Meaning, that the risk far exceed the benefits of using such grey hat tactics.

24. Haphazardly Buying Links

Most people just throwing money at link vendors and expect floods of traffic. This is foolish.

Believe it or not, there is an art and science to buying backlinks.

Now, of course, buying links is against Google Webmaster Guidelines, but I like to reframe it.

I don’t view investing in outreach as “buying links”. I view it as buying a process.

25. Not Using Enough Branded Anchor Text

Over-optimizing anchor text is the most common SEO mistakes I find.

That’s because it’s really easy to do and it “seems” like the right thing to do.

It’s not.

The bulk of your anchor text profile should be branded and should rarely use your primary keyword.

26. Not Isolating Your Best Anchor Text on Your Best Opportunities

Since you shouldn’t use keyword-rich anchor text often, you should only use it on your best opportunities.

Don’t waste your best anchors on bad opportunities like directories, blog comments, etc.

27. Having Inconsistent NAP-W Information

Your company’s Name, Address, Phone, and Website (NAP-W) information should be consistent across the Internet.

The good news is that many companies have tackled this issue such as Yext, Moz, and Bright Local.

You don’t need much skill to avoid this SEO mistake.

Just run your company’s NAP-W information through these tools and start cleaning it up.

28. Not Having a Review Generation Strategy

I believe getting more quality Google reviews is fundamental to ranking well in the local pack.

The first thing you need to do is establish a review benchmark by taking your top three competitors in the local pack and averaging out their total reviews.

You should aim to match and then exceed the amount of reviews they have.

The only way that’s possible is through a review generation strategy.

29. Not Retargeting

Did you know that roughly 80% of visitors never come back to your website?

Or that 96% of website visitors aren’t even ready to buy?

Retargeting is the key to tackling both of these challenges.

With just Facebook and Google Ads alone, you’ll be able to retarget most of your website visitors.

30. Not Optimizing for Conversions

Getting more traffic is great, but it’s useless if it doesn’t convert.

How you convert organic search visitors will depend on the intent of the keywords you’re targeting.

For example, if you’re targeting informational keywords like “how to build backlinks”, it would make sense to offer a lead magnet in exchange for an email because the searcher likely isn’t ready to buy.

On the other hand, if someone is searching “buy Gotch SEO Academy”, I know they’re ready to invest. That means it makes sense to try transactional strategies like deadlines, free trials, etc.

31. Not Building Systems

Some people think you can’t build SEO systems because it changes too much.

Wrong.

Although SEO changes, there are many facets that stay the same.

For example, understanding how to create incredible SEO content won’t change.

That means you can systemize the process.

Also, the process of acquiring links won’t change either.

Sure, backlinks may become more ineffective over time, but the actual process is evergreen in nature.

32. Not Building a Team

No one has ever achieved anything substantial by themselves.

Sure, you can try to do every little SEO task yourself, but your business will suffer.

That means you either need to only focus on what has the biggest impact on your SEO performance to maximize your time or you need to hire help.

The cool part is that you can hire an entry level person, sign them up for Gotch SEO Academy, and they’ll become an SEO expert quickly.

And the best part? You won’t be doing the work.

33. Not Iterating

There is no perfect SEO strategy and there is no perfect execution of a strategy.

All you can do is use a proven framework, take action, and iterate based on the results.

You never learn until you get feedback.

In the SEO world, your feedback is rankings and traffic. So, if you’re not ranking and you’re not getting organic search traffic, then you need to make a change.

34. Not Doing SEO!

No brainer here. SEO is hands-down the best marketing channel online.

Is it the easiest?

Definitely not, but that’s what makes it valuable.

If you actually learn it and understand how to achieve consistent results,..

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Wondering how you can increase your website traffic in 2019?

In this video, I’ll show you how I used SEO to increase my traffic by 1,962%.

You’ll learn:

  1. Why you should NOT create any new content (if you want more traffic from Google
  2. Why short content sucks
  3. The only way to properly update content without being flagged as an algorithm spammer
  4. A simple technique for driving 10x more traffic to pages that are already doing well
  5. How to rank for keywords that your competitors don’t even know exist
  6. The “unfair advantage” that makes content promotion 10x easier
  7. Why more backlinks doesn’t = better results

…and so much more! Enjoy:

Enjoy the video? Please subscribe today.

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What is SEO?

I remember asking that question back in 2012 too.

That’s why today I’ll explain everything you’ve ever wanted to know about SEO in 2019.

Let me ask you:

Did you know that 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine?

That means that your target customers are searching for solutions to their problems. Fortunately, SEO gives you the opportunity to get in front of these potential customers.

In this guide, we’re going to outline the fundamentals of SEO, and the role it plays for your business.

Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of SEO (and why there’s more to it than Google)
  • Why SEO matters for you and your business
  • The SEO terminology you should know
  • How to start an SEO strategy
  • How long SEO takes to work
  • How to build a career in the SEO industry
  • Resources you can use to learn SEO

Are you ready to stop asking “what is SEO?”, and learn everything you’ll need to know about optimizing your website for search engines?

Let’s jump in.

There’s more to SEO than Google

Google is a huge player in the SEO world. Their search engine was ranked as the most visited multi-platform in the U.S., with almost 246 million unique visitors in 2018 alone.

…It’ll come as no surprise to learn they hold 92% of the search engine market share:

But while Google is a huge platform, SEO tactics can be applied on a number of different search engines-something Merriam Webster defines as:

“a site on the World Wide Web that uses such software to locate key words in other sites”.

Any website that allows users to type something into a box, and fetches a list of web pages the engine believes will be helpful to the user, is a search engine.

You probably use websites every day without realizing they’re a search engine, including:

  • YouTube
  • Amazon
  • Baidu
  • Yahoo
  • Bing
  • DuckDuckGo

In a nutshell:

The act of SEO is optimizing a website to rank higher in search-but that doesn’t always mean Google should be the only platform you think about.

Why is SEO important for businesses?

There are 40,000 search queries every second on Google alone. That equates to more than 3.5 billion every single day-and a strong chance your business’ ideal customers are using search engines to find products, services or information.

If you’re not using SEO techniques to reach the top of their results, you’re missing out on these three things:

1. More website traffic

A report by BrightEdge discovered over half of all website traffic comes from search engines. That’s impressive considering paid advertising accounts for 10%, and social media just 5%:

2. More revenue

81% of consumers, and 94% of B2B customers, perform online searches before making a purchase: The people you’re driving to your site through organic search could turn into paying customers. Yet to be one of the businesses who see 40% of their average revenue derive from search engines, you’ll need to have an SEO strategy in place.

3. More in-store visitors

Having a search engine presence can help to drive local customers to your store or business address. Smartphones give people the chance to browse the internet at their leisure–including the 82% of users who conduct “near me” searches when they’re looking for a service or product in their current location.

SEO terminology: 14 terms you’ll need to master

The world of SEO is littered with fancy abbreviations and acronyms. (Maybe that’s why it’s so tricky to learn.)

Before we go any further, here are 14 SEO terms you’ll need to add to your dictionary.:

Algorithm: The program used by search engines to determine where a page should rank. There are hundreds of factors that make up an algorithm-most of which aren’t public.

Backlink: A link pointing to your website. These can be internal (from one page on your site to another), or external (from another website linking to yours).

Black Hat SEO: A set of techniques known to be used by spammers. In the olden days of SEO, black hat techniques helped websites reach the first page of search results, but algorithms have gotten smarter. You could see a penalty by using this strategy.

Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who visit your website and leave instantly (or “bounce”). For example: If 100 people visit your website and 50 of them only read the homepage, your bounce rate would be 50%. You can find this in Google Analytics:

DA (Domain Authority): A metric created by Moz to determine the likelihood of a website ranking in Google. It’s scored out of 100, with the strongest websites scoring toward the higher end of the scale.

Google Penalty: A punishment given by Google that negatively impacts your chances of ranking in search. They can be given for black hat tactics, either manually or automatically.

Keyword: The words you’ll enter when looking for information in a search engine. For example: “What is SEO?” or “SEO for beginners”.

Impressions: The number of people who’ve seen your website on their search results page. You can find this in Google Search Console:

Meta Title and Description: The text you see when results are loaded in search. The meta title is the main, clickable link. The meta description is an editable 160-character field used to convince people to click your website.

Organic CTR (Click-through Rate): The percentage of people who’ve seen your page ranking in a search engine, and clicked the link. For example: If 100 people see your website and 2 people click, your organic CTR would be 2%.

Rankings: The position you’re ranking in a search engine for each URL.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page): The page containing the list of results for your keyword.

Search Intent: The intention of the person searching for a query. Are they looking to buy a product, find an answer to a simple question, or read a piece of educational content?

White Hat SEO: A set of ethical SEO tactics used to reach the top spots in Google. These strategies play by the book, and usually focus on user experience as opposed to direct rankings.

What’s included in an SEO strategy?

You’ve seen the opportunity in organic search, and decided to start optimizing your site.

But you might be left questioning which SEO techniques should you be using to reach the top of Google.

The answer isn’t a short one; over 200 different factors are known to impact how your website ranks in search engines, and each ranking factor can be built upon using several tactics.

If it sounds confusing, don’t panic.

Here are eight things you should include in an SEO strategy to start ranking in search:

1. Keyword research

When a user searches using words related to your business, you want to show up… Hence why keywords are the lifeblood of any SEO strategy.

You shouldn’t guess the keywords your audience are using, though.

Instead, investigate which search terms are being used by your customers, and target audience online, through doing keyword research. Then, when you’re using these on your website, Google can connect the dots. They understand the topic you’re talking about, and encourage users who’re searching for them to find your website.

That’s bound to equal more search traffic.

How to find keywords

There are various keyword research tools you can use to find the keywords your audience uses.

To get started, head over to Google and begin typing your topic. Don’t hit “enter”-just take note of the suggested searches that Google are recommending.

Chances are, these are keywords you could target on your website:

You could also use other keyword research tools, such as:

  • Ahrefs
  • Answer The Public
  • Keyword.io
  • Serpstat
  • SEMrush
  • Buzzsumo’s Question Analyzer

List the keywords you find that are relevant to your business. Your list should be a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords (3+ words in length).

Then, one you’ve nailed your list of phrases, head over to Ubersuggest to discover how easy it is to rank for a keyword, along with the volume of people searching for it each month:

Take special note of these two metrics:

1. Search Volume: How many people are searching for this keyword per month? SERPs for keywords with a high search volume might be dominated by big brands with huge budgets. Keywords with a low search volume, however, are usually easier to rank for.

2. SEO Difficulty: This score indicates the chances of you ranking on page one for that keyword. Phrases with a high score (like 80) will need some serious SEO juice to rank, but search terms with a low score of 12 probably don’t.

By this point, you should have a list of keywords you’d like to start ranking for.

Categorize similar keywords you’ve found (like “SEO techniques” and “SEO hacks”), and plan to target them on the same page. Google’s algorithm knows when different phrases mean the same thing, so grouping them together could help boost rankings further.

2. On-page SEO

You’ve found your keywords, and you want to start ranking for them.

But to reach the top of the SERPs, you don’t just sit back and pray; you need to take the findings from your keyword research and use them to optimize your page. This tells Google that your content is relevant to the phrases-and therefore, you should be ranking for it.

This form of SEO is called “on-page optimization”; a group of techniques used to maximize the chances of a single page reaching the top spots in Google.

Here’s an on-page SEO checklist you can use to optimize your page for SEO:

Meta tags: Meta tags are the first things a person sees when your page is shown in search engines. Encourage people to click through (organic CTR is a known ranking factor) by: including the page’s main keyword; using power words like “ultimate”; and explaining the value you’ll give if they click through. Tools like Yoast are on-hand to edit these tags.

URL: Avoid long and complicated URLs when publishing your content, and stick with your page’s main keyword. For example: Use /blog/what-is-SEO, rather than /SEO-b25-xbrg.html. Google consistently ranks pages with shorter, cleaner URLs higher in search because they look more trustworthy.

Page title: This field is similar to your meta title, but is visible to people when they click on the page, rather than view from SERPs. Again, you’ll want to convince people to click-through to read the content, and encourage people who have landed on the URL to read the content. This will boost time on site (also known as “dwell time”)–another ranking factor.

Heading tags: Each page on your website should follow heading hierarchy, with the page title being and subheadings using. These tell Google spiders what the page is discussing without reading the entire thing. Include your secondary keywords here to build relevance.

Body text: You should mention your page’s keyword naturally throughout the content. Various studies have proven that long-form content generates more backlinks (another ranking factor), but don’t sacrifice quantity for quantity. Always discover the search intent behind each keyword before committing to a 2,000-word article. A short, to-the-point piece of content might be more beneficial for your target audience.

Internal and external links: Adding links within your page’s content helps to improve the time people spend on your website. Plus, search engines view your website as contributing value if you’re associating it with others–hence why pages with internal links have been proven to rank higher than those without.

3. Technical SEO

Your website might be the prettiest thing in the world. But if it’s not built on good foundations, it ain’t gonna rank in search engines.

Technical SEO is the process of making sure:

  • Search engines can find (and understand) your website
  • Website visitors can get value from your website

Think about it: If you’re landing on a website that takes 15 seconds to load and is littered with glitchy GIFs, you won’t be impressed.

Google won’t rank you highly because of it either, purely because they want to make sure they’re referring people to websites that provide value. Otherwise, people would use a different search engine.

A technical SEO strategy covers many things, including:

Page loading speed

You open up a website and see the winding circle spinning in your browser tab. Seconds have passed and nothing loads. No content. No text. You wait and wait. And you wait some more. Then you leave because you’re fed up.

Make sure people aren’t having the same experience on your website. Not only is it massively frustrating for them, but page load speed is a ranking factor confirmed by Google themselves.

Start by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check how your load speed compares:

You can check the page speed time on the mobile version of your site here, too. A slow loading mobile page causes a 38% increase in heart rate. (That’s more stressful than watching a horror movie.)

If you’re worried your pages are slow to load, Google will recommend some tweaks. Your developer should be able to resolve these.

Mobile friendliness

Did you know that 52% of all web pages served were on a mobile device in 2018?

Search engines are changing to meet this demand, with many platforms taking a mobile-first approach. They’ll look at how your website performs on mobile and determine rankings from there, as opposed to traditional desktop performance.

It’s massively important that your site is mobile-friendly, and uses a responsive design–meaning your website adapts to suit the screen size of the device it’s being viewed on.

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test will show whether your website is..

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