Archives December 2018

Seven iron-clad methods to drive traffic to your website

You’ve written and published an awesome blog post, and now you’re waiting for that website traffic to start pouring in?

Well, I hope you’re comfortable because it’s going to be quite a wait.

While the benefits of content marketing are well-known, they are well-known to everyone. Blog posts, case studies, and white papers are published left and right (four million pieces each and every day, actually) so getting through the clutter can be difficult.

How do you get noticed in such an oversaturated environment? You master these two important skills:

  • Writing educational, engaging, and timely content, and
  • By working hard on driving traffic to your website.

I’ll assume that you know how to write engaging content (if you don’t, this article could help you) and focus here on seven methods of driving traffic to your website.

Some are conventional (like social media and email) but it’s the unconventional ones that I hope you will put to good use. Ultimately, it’s a mix of both that will help you generate a steady stream of website traffic, and I hope that you’ll find some of the ideas here inspirational enough to try them out.

Conventional methods to drive website traffic

1. Organic Traffic (SEO)

Organic search engine traffic is the Holy Grail of website traffic.

Most authority sites in your niche get the bulk of their visits from organic Google searches but this is an important traffic channel for every type of website (see screenshot below – 12% traffic from organic is nothing to be scoffed at for an ecommerce store).

Here are a couple of evergreen tips for you to keep in mind when writing content and doing SEO for your website:

  • Keyword research – Spend some time learning how people search for content in your niche. Identify keywords that you have a chance to rank for (long-tail keywords with low competition, for example), and write content around them.
  • On-page and technical SEO – Work on your headings, keyword density, meta descriptions, load times, and similar. Most importantly, make your content engaging, informative, and fun to read. For more on on-page SEO, check out this guide that we published recently.
  • Backlinks – Backlinks are the votes that other websites cast that tell Google that your content is worthy of that top spot in the search engine results pages (SERPs). They can occur naturally but you don’t want to depend on it – make sure you have a couple of backlinking strategies up your sleeve whenever you publish a really good piece of content.

2. Promotion on social media platforms

Social media is dominating the web, and if you’re not there promoting your content and your website, you’re missing out on a very important source of website traffic.

Depending on your niche, you’ll want to consider (at least) making an appearance on the following social media platforms:

  • Facebook – Set up your Facebook business page as soon as possible, and start working on growing your base of followers. Regularly publish your content here but make sure to cross-post to other relevant groups and pages on Facebook. Check out this post for more tips on how to get the most out of your Facebook business page.
  • Instagram – To interest your Instagram audience, you will need to become a visual storyteller (think infographics and beautifully designed images). Since Instagram doesn’t allow links, get creative and use your bio section, Instagram Stories, and IGTV video descriptions to drive traffic to your website (for more details, read this Instagram traffic generation guide from Tailwind).
  • Twitter – This is a very cluttered and noisy social platform but it’s still great for sharing bite-sized pieces of your content. Use a post scheduler like Buffer, TweetDeck, Hootsuite or others to get several tweets out automatically during the day. On Twitter, it pays to be provocative, funny, and on time (think about hijacking trending topics and hashtags) if you want people to click on the links you share.

When using social media to drive website traffic, the most important thing is to make sure that you’re on all of the platforms where your target audience(s) tend to hang out.

3. Email marketing

Marketing your content and your offers to a curated list of people who have already expressed an interest in what you have to say is a no-brainer, right?

To drive traffic to your website using your email list, consider the following:

  • Send out a newsletter regularly, highlighting your recently published blog posts, unique tips and tricks, or special offers.
  • Segment your list and send special reminders to different subsections when you publish something that might be of particular interest to that group.
  • Add social media buttons to your email blasts so that your subscribers are reminded to follow you on your preferred networks. Encourage them to share your newsletters with friends either via social networks or by forwarding the emails.

Unconventional methods to drive traffic to your website

4. Slack communities

Slack is a tool that teams use to communicate but it’s also home to Slack Communities where like-minded people hang out. Even if a group has only 1000 members, a lot of them will be active at any given time, which means that your potential audience will have a chance to see and interact with your link in real-time.

How to do it

First, find Slack communities that fit your niche.

Note that you will quickly get a feeling whether or not Slack is the right traffic channel for you – communities mostly revolve around marketing, tech, business, SEO, and similar digital topics (check out this list of great SEO Slack communities from Ahrefs).

Don’t get discouraged if you’re not in marketing: photography, writing, design, web dev, community management – if you publish content in any of these niches, you’re golden.

When you find a community that interests you, send a request to join.

Here’s some advice on how to use Slack to drive traffic to your website (without getting booted out of a community on day one):

  • Introduce yourself and let people know what it is that you do, and what you expect from joining the community.
  • Don’t just spam your links everywhere – answer questions in full, and only add a link to your content if it adds context and details to your answer.
  • If a question has a weird angle (not exactly something you talk about in your content) but it’s related to a piece of content you’ve written, consider updating the post and then answering the question and adding your link.

Slack communities are searchable. If your comments are particularly valuable, you can expect other users to share them with newcomers from time to time. Because of this, even older comments can yield a small trickle of website traffic from time to time.

5. Blog and forum comments

Blog comments may not be a very reliable SEO link building technique, but they still work for traffic generation.

How to do it

First, look for blog posts related to your content. Pull up recent articles by clicking on the “tools” box on the search result page.

Copy the URL of interesting posts to a spreadsheet (do the same with interesting forum topics). Keeping these links in one place helps you build a database of sites in your niche for future reference.

The key is to make thoughtful comments and only link to your content when it’s actually relevant. Try to add real value to the blog post with every comment that you make.

Each blog comment may only drive a few visitors to your site. But, if the post goes viral or sits on Google’s page one for a long time, that’s enough to get a steady stream of visitors to your website every month.

6. Appear as a guest on popular podcasts

Podcasts are huge – around 51% of the US population has listened to one or more in the last few months. Somewhere around 35% of them listen to the entire episode once they start it.

This means that podcasts are a great opportunity for savvy marketers.

And, what’s best, you don’t even have to record one, you can simply pitch your ideas to hosts of existing podcasts to try to secure an invite to a future episode.

How to do it

  • Do a quick Google search – just type in “top [your niche] podcasts” and go through the list while recording URLs (and requirements to guest star) in a spreadsheet.

  • Craft an interesting (and personalized) pitch, and send it to the host, outlining why you should be invited to star in one of their future episodes.
  • When appearing, be informative, interesting, and educational. But, above all else, be shameless when promoting your content and your website. Answer questions thoroughly but don’t be shy about adding “By the way, you can read all of this on my blog, which you can access if you visit [your website]”.
  • Ensure that the episode description mentions your name clearly, as well as links to your website and some of the more interesting pieces that can be found there.

7. Use QR Codes to drive traffic to your website

QR codes (or quick response codes) are another great, but a severely underutilized way to drive traffic to your website.

By placing a QR code on business cards, flyers, and posters (and even your Facebook and LinkedIn pages), you give people a quick way to access your website. All they have to do is scan it and their phone will open up any URL associated with the code.

How to do it

Use a free QR code generator to create a unique code that people can scan. Add a general code that leads to your website to your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

If you’re visiting a conference or a meet-up, consider adding content-specific codes (meaning, the ones that link to a piece of content on a specific topic) so that people scanning them land on something that will feel a bit more personalized and tailored to them.

Closing note

Driving traffic to your website is an 80/20 game  – 80% of your traffic comes from 20% of your actions. Once you have enough data to determine where that 80% of traffic is coming from, it will be easy to ramp up your efforts in that area. But, to get there you will have to experiment with both conventional and unconventional methods of driving website traffic. Try some of the ones listed here and then comment here to let me know what worked best for you.

The post Seven iron-clad methods to drive traffic to your website appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


December 2019 Winners and Losers: Black Friday Victors – Tyson Stockton // Searchmetrics

Episode Overview: Retail giants swept the field once again on Black Friday 2019, with Amazon expanding its online dominion and Best Buy experiencing visibility gains in mobile and desktop. Meanwhile, home furniture companies Wayfair and Overstock along with staple retail giants like Nordstrom and Kohl’s found themselves at the mercy of the Big 10. Join Ben and Searchmetrics’ Director of Services Tyson Stockton as they review who emerged victorious and who fell during the battle of Black Friday 2019.

Summary:

  • Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy conquered Black Friday 2019, with Amazon owning 49% of the U.S. e-commerce market share and a significant portion of SEO market share visibility.
  • Big box enterprise e-commerce sites experienced significant gains in mobile views, whereas Best Buy was the sole exception, experiencing gains in mobile and desktop.
  • Best Buy won Black Friday 2019 with its strong supply of popular electronics and technology products. Overstock and Wayfair’s month-after-month of continued losses in visibility gained the least during Black Friday.

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Ben:                 Welcome to our December 2019 edition of Winners and Losers on the Voices of Search Podcast. Today, we’re going to take a look back at the month and talk about some of the trends behind the biggest movers, shakers, and slackers in the SEO community. Joining us again for Winners and Losers is Tyson Stockton who is Searchmetrics’ Director of Services. Tyson manages our SEO, content and client success organizations. Outside of shepherding Searchmetrics’ largest and most strategic clients to SEO success, he’s dug through the Searchmetrics Suite to help you understand who’s making moves in the SEO community. But before we hear from Tyson, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics.

Ben:                 We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses, monitor their online presence, and make data driven decisions. To support you, our loyal podcast listeners, we’re offering a free trial of Searchmetrics’ Suite. You can test out Searchmetrics’ Suite and the content experience platform to help optimize both your SEO strategies and your content. To start your free no credit card required trial, go to searchmetrics.com/trial. Okay, here’s our monthly sit down with Searchmetrics’ Director of Services, Tyson Stockton. Tyson, Happy belated Thanksgiving and welcome to the Voices of Search Podcast.

Tyson:              Happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully you’re recovering well from the turkey day hangover.

Ben:                 I’m never going to be the same. Traveling with a young child is always an exciting time, but by the time everybody hears this, they’re probably pretty far past Thanksgiving. We should talk a little bit about some of the other holidays that are happening. Do you have big Kwanzaa plans?

Tyson:              I’m still up in the air. Last minute shopping is a good deal. Maybe I’ll get some extra, some fun plans for the last stretch of the year.

Ben:                 Well, today’s the day. We’re recording this on Cyber Monday, but we’ve dug through the Searchmetrics Suite and have an update that actually was completed yesterday. We have a pretty good view of who’s winning the holidays so far. Tyson, let’s talk a little bit about e-commerce today. Tell me what have you seen, how was Black Friday, what do we think is happening on Cyber Monday. Give me the lay of the land for the e-commerce winners and losers for this month.

Tyson:              Yeah, and this is kind of in the e-commerce world. I mean, one, it said it’s a category or like a segment of business that I think is near dear to both of us, but especially this time of year and I felt like when the data came out on Sunday for our U.S. market and the Searchmetrics Suite, I kind of felt like a kid like sitting there with popcorn, watching the success stories and carnage of some of these big players kind of duking it out at their peak time.

Ben:                 It’s like an SEO boxing match washing Amazon and Walmart take over the world. Tell me a little bit about who you saw. Am I right? Is it the big boys that are taking all of the market share? Did we see some of the little players claw some market share back? Give me some data.

Tyson:              Yeah. I mean, that was my kind of assumption or hypothesis going into it and just how some of the bigger players had been fairing and really just kind of hearing over the course of the years some consistent woes in the e-commerce crowd of the mid or smaller players really having a tough time with the big brands as well as like the shifting landscape. We had this kind of assumption or gut feeling kind of also just looking at how the data was going the last couple months or so going into this date. Really I think the overarching story is, yeah, like the biggest winners were the big players. You know, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, they’re among the brands I would say had strong performance and continue to get stronger through this time.

Tyson:              We did see some significant players that had a softening, which obviously it’s a key time so that’s kind of tough for them, but I think like across the board, kind of like the macro story through this is the bigger players are attacking that market share and really continuing to press on that dominance in the industry. I think we’re seeing more and more … The rate of e-commerce is still growing faster than retail, but we’re still seeing more and more of that market share gobbled up by Amazon and these other top 10 or big five players. That’s really what we’re seeing take the lion’s share this holiday season.

Ben:                 When I sat down with Jordan to talk about some of the data that he received from Google, we talked about what the top searched products are and a lot of them were well-branded products. It was the Nike’s. It was the iPhones. Really well-branded products. Tiffany’s, Tumi, things like that.

Tyson:              Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:                 To me, I think of what’s happening in retail specifically as there being a lot of micro brands that are coming up that are making it harder for sort of the traditional big box retailers to compete. But on the flip side, we’re seeing that the search terms are all for these well-branded products. Is it the case that people are searching for products and Amazon is just showing up everywhere because they have more of an assortment, or are people looking for the big brands and going to the end retailers?

Tyson:              I think it’s actually a kind of a mixture of both. I think in looking at what market share different e-commerce websites are capturing right now. I think one helpful piece is to take Amazon as one conversation in itself because when you throw Amazon into comparisons to these other sites, even though you know Walmart, Best Buy, like these are substantial players, there’s still a fraction of Amazon. Amazon’s sitting at owning and the last number I saw was 49% of the e-commerce US market share. They’re gobbling up most of this growth. I think, one, when we look at them in terms of SEO market share visibility, to give some perspective, they’re sitting just over 10 million.

Tyson:              Then when you look at the kind of what’s called the big five players, which is going to be Walmart, Best Buy, Target, eBay, those are all going to be sitting kind of between that 1.8 to one million mark. Amazon is about 10 times the SEO presence or market share leader compared to those other brands. When we look at Amazon, the first thing to know is yes, based on the volume of their … Like the size of the website, number of skews that they have, their rankings, they are I’d say, one, taking the most traffic from these terms. But then if we also look at what’s going on with their website, I mean, especially in this last week’s update, which was published on the Sunday right before Cyber Monday, we saw roughly a 1% increase on their desktop.

Tyson:              Then really interesting is if you look at their mobile visibility over the course of the last let’s call it a few months and with some of these algorithm updates and some of these other changes that have been happening in the landscape, we’re really seeing this significantly like widening discrepancy from their mobile and desktop performance. Although their desktops been a little bit flatter and they only showed a modest 0.7% increase this last week in desktop, we’re seeing a 2.8% increase in mobile. Over the course of the last three months, this kind of large widening gap between their mobile performance. I’d say the biggest thing for Amazon is the protected market share made some small wins and then further increased their advantage or their lead on the mobile front as well.

Ben:                 Why is Amazon 10 times the size in terms of visibility of the other side? Is it that they have a larger product assortment or are they just that much better at SEO, or is it domain authority that is, you know, people are just looking for things on Amazon?

Tyson:              I mean, honestly it’s going to be a little bit in all of those. I wouldn’t say it’s just, oh, well, their website is just perfect for SEO purposes. Because of their size and their dominance in the industry, they’re going to get away with some stuff that probably smaller websites wouldn’t be able to get away with because of that strong domain authority and just the overall like volume of products and assortments. Pretty much any product query you’re going to find in Amazon or a foreseeable like ranking you are on Amazon that could rank for that term. It’s like they have the breadth, they have the domain authority, they have some strong SEO factors, things like site speed.

Tyson:              All in all, it’s like, yeah, it’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room and I think anyone in e-commerce feels that in some capacity.

Ben:                 You mentioned before that mobile visibility was increasing for Amazon. Is that a trend that you’re seeing just for Amazon or is that something that’s happening with the other big five or e-commerce broadly?

Tyson:              Yeah, it is something that we’ve been seeing across all the larger players. This is not specific to this month. I would say this goes back. I think we briefly touched on it in maybe the last month’s Winners and Losers as well. This is something that we discussed seeing it on Amazon. They did take a little bit of a hit or they came back down on I would say about mid-November and then the last two weeks they’ve been trending back increases with let’s call it less than 5% increases week over week. That same period of time also corresponds with similar trends that we’re seeing in Walmart, Best Buy, Target, so a lot of these big box enterprise e-commerce site.

Tyson:              We’ve seen that strength in mobile performance. Then in particular in a lot of them we saw at the beginning of November a sharp increase. Some of these websites, it was up to 20% of their overall visibility. Then most of them kind of a recalibration or coming back down a little bit around mid-November, but then seeing some further strengthening or some further improvements over the last couple of weeks. I’d say across these large e-commerce sites, that is a trend that we’re seeing and we do see it across multiple domains.

Ben:                 I think that that’s one of my biggest takeaways from having looked at e-commerce this month and last month getting ready for the holidays and also going through update season was the difference and disparity and visibility for mobile versus desktop where we’re seeing some pretty significant shifts for the e-commerce companies where everybody’s sites for desktop is staying relatively flat. Where we’re seeing the real drastic fluctuations is their mobile experience. If you’re working in e-commerce and you’re not addressing what your mobile SEO and what your mobile usability looks like, it’s something that you probably want to consider even more than you had been before.

Tyson:              Yeah. I think this is something that’s interesting because before I feel like you found more instances or cases where there’ll be a website with a significantly worse mobile performing site. It’d usually be some sort of cue of their mobile experience not being up to par. But this is kind of the first time I can think of where I’ve seen almost consistently across all the major league players in the space having increases in their mobile. We looked into finding some spaces or some areas where we’ve seen losses in it. However, this is something that I would say like we’re not finding like a glaring like, “Oh, well, this was a big box website that just took a tumble over the last three months because the other ones were winning.”

Tyson:              We found one-offs, individual websites that maybe they had like m-dot or like a separate mobile site versus their desktop and they didn’t have the proper signals or the alternate tags pointing to them. Then you saw all of a sudden Google not respecting the mobile site and their mobile visibility fluctuate a bunch. But I’d say I still haven’t came across kind of like the blanket, like, “Oh, this is absolutely the case in all situations.” It’s been spotty kind of one-offs that if you add together lots of those, you could explain this larger macro trend.

Tyson:              But I would still say there’s some … In full transparency, there’s still some uncertainty as far as where these are coming from because it’s not just one website that just took a hit and all the big ones are acquiring their market share.

Ben:                 At the end of the day, SEO is a zero sum game. When someone gains a position, somebody else is losing. If we can’t pick out one big player that we’ve noticed that had a drop, which enabled everyone else to have an increase, my assumption is that it’s lots of small players. We’re seeing people searching for the big branded terms and they’re looking for buying experiences that are familiar and consistent and fast and well-structured. Those are the big companies that are able to find that edge. We’re probably just seeing smaller companies losing out on that visibility. Tyson, you mentioned the big five, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Target and Etsy. We’ve talked a lot about Amazon. What did you see from the other members of the big five?

Tyson:              Yeah. In addition to Amazon and to me Amazon being termed as kind of a winner this month or more targeted this holiday kind of Black Friday, Cyber Monday season is Amazon from a defensive perspective. I would say the other two websites that I would also have in this like winner’s category for the month and also this season is going to be Walmart and Best Buy. Walmart, a little softening on the desktop, big increases on mobile, and then a strong last two weeks on both. Best Buy I would say is probably the one that I’ve seen the most gains across mobile and desktop. They’re seeing the increased performance on mobile, but also increasing the desktop. That would be a winner as well. From the loser’s side, two kind of separate industries and a mixture of kind of size companies.

Tyson:              The first one is actually two larger players. One of them that’s in the top 10 largest e-commerce sites and another one that’s just been around for a while, but both Wayfair and Overstock in kind of that home furnishing. Wayfair, we’ve seen actually some growth in the last month. When you look at the website in the lens of the last 12 months or even the last six months, Wayfair’s had this kind of roller coaster through these recent waves of algorithm updates where there’ll be on the loser side and next one they’ll be on the winner’s side. Then the last kind of I’d say six months they’ve been down from the previous update and overall they’re still at a weaker kind of market share than they were mid-summer. They would be one that I would have in the loser category.

Tyson:              The other one, Overstock. That was another website that if you look in the five year lens, really having some significant struggles few years back. The last 12 months they’ve been having a really positive trend. However, end of September we saw them take a hit and then they’ve kind of been trickling downhill since. This is one that was going the right direction. There’s several articles coming out showing their focus on content, user experience and all those kind of positive things that we all strive for in SEO, but then I’d say in the last few months, seeing them kind of come back down and having a little bit of a softening going into this holiday season.

Ben:                 It’s interesting that you bring up Wayfair and Overstock. I think of those as home furnishing goods. To me, when I think of what people are going to buy on Black Friday, it’s essentially the mall experience that is being replicated online. Whatever happened to like going to the mall, the Nordstrom’s, the Macy’s of the world, or even getting down to the like department stores, Kohl’s for example? How are those companies trending?

Tyson:              Yeah. I think there’s a handful that are kind of treading water, keeping some growth. It’s like you can find some positive stories with Target, Macy’s. But two that I’d also have in the kind of loser category, similar conversations to Wayfair and Overstock would be Nordstrom and Kohl’s. The first one, Nordstrom, this website, it’s right there. It kind of sits around 500K for SEO visibility. They’re about halfway between what Macy’s and Kohl’s is. But when you look at where they’re at the beginning or 12 months back, they’ve had definitely some ups and downs, but overall they’re almost 150,000 SEO visibility points below where they were last time at this year.

Tyson:              They’re one that have probably about two months decline in SEO performance, but in the 12 month lens, you see a softening from where they were. Then the other one I would say is Kohl’s, which had some more significant declines if you went into like a wider lens. They had a couple moments kind of in the last year where they had some wins, but in the last kind of three months or so, they’ve been one that have had a softening or losing a little bit of market share from some of the competitors in their space.

Ben:                 Is the trend that you’re seeing that companies that replicate the mall experience going in shopping, whether it be at Nordstrom’s of the world or a Macy’s or Kohl’s? Is that type of business seeing softness in SEO visibility? Are they just getting their lunch eaten by Amazon, or are those just a couple of companies that are struggling?

Tyson:              I would say it’s more in the couple of companies being struggled. When you look at overall in e-commerce, who’s winning, I would still say that more of those brands or a larger portion of those brands are the big 10, or I think like we said in the beginning of the episode a lot of ways it feels like the rich getting richer here where it’s like the big brands are expanding their market share. In Amazon’s case, they’re protecting that 49%. You do see some of these larger ones that have had some softenings that we reviewed, but I’d say like when you look at it, you have a mix bag of websites that cover essentially all categories like the Amazons, the Walmarts where it’s not just electronics or fashion or whatever.

Tyson:              They have a little bit of everything, and they’re still able to put together strong performances and grow their overall visibility. Then you have other ones that may be more niche into one specific category or even kind of smaller subset of like a supportive specialty or like a specialty type shot that’s winning. I think again, like Best Buy is a great example. It was like they’re more niche than someone like Walmart, but they’ve shown tremendous progress and improvements from their overall SEO performance. Really I’d say in a lot of ways, Best Buy would probably be my overall winner from an SEO standpoint going into this holiday season.

Ben:                 Tyson, let’s wrap up this holiday season or the winners and losers for at least Black Friday. Who’s your winner for the month and who are your losers?

Tyson:              Yeah, so like I said, my overall winner for the month is going to be Best Buy. I think electronics historically has been a very popular category during Black Friday, Cyber Monday time. Certainly having the increases and the wins they needed over the last couple of weeks are going to help them in their numbers for the season. I’d say Best Buy would be my overall winner. Then as for overall losers, probably be a mix of Wayfair and Overstock actually. Wayfair just in the sense of what they’ve lost from mid-summer or going into summertime around the let’s call it like end of May time period.

Tyson:              Then Overstock in the sense that they had a really strong last nine months, incremental growth consistently throughout those nine months, but then in the course of the last couple months seen kind of a regression, a little bit of a softening of it. They’re still up year over a year, but if you look at kind of where they’re at even four months back, I would say they’re down.

Ben:                 I’m going to go with Amazon for the winner. They are the biggest e-commerce company. They have 10 times the volume of the other individual big five companies, and we’re seeing them gain market share specifically by focusing on their mobile experience. I’m going to go chalk here and just pick the biggest, baddest e-commerce player on the block. In terms of losers, I’m going to say that Nordstrom’s and I think that there’s something to be said for the e-commerce brands that are replicating the mall experience having some struggles. They’re going to be my loser for the month. Tyson, any last words before we let you go related to the holiday season?

Tyson:              No, I mean, it’ll be interesting to see. The season’s not over yet, so there’s certainly room for some of these websites to kind of respond. However, with a lot going in code freeze, it’s going to be kind of tough to overly swing where the lines are right now, but it’ll be interesting to see over the next couple of weeks who’s able to get some kind of last minute wins in for the last rush.

Ben:                 Tyson, I was waiting for you to say, “Ho ho, ho, SEOs.”

Tyson:              Oh, it’s too early. Too early. We got to save that for the end of December.

Ben:                 All right. Well, Tyson, happy holidays to you in advance and everybody. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and you’re enjoying your holiday season. Don’t get too wrapped up in Black Friday. Keep the money in your pocket. That wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search Podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ director of services. If you’d like to learn more about Tyson, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can send him a tweet where his handle is Tyson_Stockton.

Ben:                 If you have general marketing questions or if you’d like to talk to me about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes, or you could send me a tweet @BenJShap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic, online visibility, or to gain competitive insights, head over to searchmetrics.com/freetrial for a complimentary trial of the Searchmetrics Software and Content Experience Suite. If you like this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back in your feed soon. All right. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.


Yoast SEO 12.7: Cleaning up and fixing bugs + sale!

Yoast SEO 12.7 is out today — signalling the last release of 2019. This release is all about cleaning up and fixing bugs. Since we have a two-week release schedule, we can quickly respond to any bug we might find. In this post, you’ll find out more about this release. Plus, you can get Yoast SEO Premium for cheap in our Holiday Calendar sale: today only!

On the importance of bug fixing

We’ve always prided ourselves in releasing a product of high quality. Unfortunately, issues do pop up and we do our best to solve these depending on the severity of the issue. This is one of the reasons we have a two-week release schedule. For some, it might feel we release way too often, but for us, this is a great way to get fixes out as quickly as possible, without having to resort to patch releases. Having a good system in place for handling and resolving bugs is one of the pillars of coding awesome, stable software.

Every release, we fix a number of bugs from our backlog, plus a selection of new ones that need attention. In Yoast SEO 12.7, we also fixed a couple bugs with the input of Saša Todorović. These concerned a bug where sub-sitemaps were rendered for non-public custom post types, plus a bug where nested gallery images were not included in the image count in the sitemap. In addition to the bug fixes, we improved the security of the plugin by adding output escaping.

Save 25% on Yoast SEO Premium: today only!

This holiday season, we’re counting down to the new year with an awesome holiday calendar. Each day, you get a nice surprise — ranging from free webinars to discount on Yoast products. December 10 — which is today! —, you’ll get a whopping 25% discount on Yoast SEO Premium. Now is the time to get acquainted with features that’ll help save time and improve your work, such as:

Of course, with Yoast SEO Premium you’ll also get access to our awesome support team.

Check out our holiday calendar! We have awesome treats for you

Update now to Yoast SEO 12.7

That’s it for this release of Yoast SEO. We’ve fixed a number of bugs and cleaned up the code to make Yoast SEO perform even better. Don’t forget to take advantage of today’s discount on Yoast SEO Premium! It’ll surely help you kick-start your new year! 

The post Yoast SEO 12.7: Cleaning up and fixing bugs + sale! appeared first on Yoast.


Open Sourcing 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors Data

I just got back from #TechSEOBoost and spent a lot of time engaged in amazing conversations about data analysis, math and very importantly sharing data. So, after thinking about it, I decided I’m going to open source the data we used for the 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors.

This data is pretty interesting, and honestly would be pretty expensive. It’s ~150k rows of data (each row representing a different business listing on Google My Business). That data was scraped by Places Scout and joined with a bunch of their own data, as well as link API data from AHREFs and Majestic. All in all there are ~150 data points per listings/business, and you can find out more about them here in this data dictionary.

For those curious what we did with the data, we employed two statistical methods. First Kendell’s Tau-b was used to analyze ordinal variables (continuous or integer independent variables) while the Kruskal-Wallis test was used for categorical independent variables. These tests were before we started doing more complicated linear regressions and other modeling, so I’m kinda excited to see what people will do with the data

So, why am I doing this? Well, first as someone who is a constant critic of the way other people conduct research I felt it was time to put up instead of shutting up (as people who know me, know I’m not very good at that.) Also, I just spent a lot of time getting help from amazing members of the community. I have also had the benefit of having people like Andrew, who constantly gave me free help for basically no reason, long before we started working together. There are some amazing parts of this community to counteract the ones that aren’t so great, and I’m gonna start contributing more there.

The data is the hyperlink below, in a Google Cloud bucket:

2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors Data

Also, I have data and analysis for the 2019 Local SEO Ranking Factors, which will be going live later this week! So much data!

via GIPHY


112: Martin Splitt On Rendering, Crawl Budget, JS SEO, Treeshaking & More

In this episode:

  • Does Google fetch all the scripts on a page?
  • “Treeshaking” and how it can help your page’s performance
  • Queuing time vs rendering time for Google
  • When to use JS Frameworks or not
  • Exactly how and when rendering counts against “crawl budget”
  • Is “crawl budget” a problem and something that should be optimized for?
  • Why content can sometimes take a long time to be de-indexed
  • The “Shadow DOM”
  • What Martin wishes SEOs would do more of
  • LOTS of your Twitter questions answered

This interview was recorded on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 live on location at Tech SEO Boost in Boston.

The occasional rumbling sound you may hear is the subway, which runs right below the room we were recording in.

We spend the first 10 mins or so chatting about his role at Google, and then get into all the technical stuff 🙂

Listen Now!

Related Episodes You Might Like

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  • Coming soon!

Tools Mentioned

  • Coming soon!

Articles, Resources, and Links Mentioned

Find Martin Online

The post 112: Martin Splitt On Rendering, Crawl Budget, JS SEO, Treeshaking & More appeared first on Evolving SEO.


11 Proven PPC strategies for your ecommerce site

This article is very critical if you have an ecommerce store. Ecommerce marketing, if not done properly, can lead to complications because there are just so many different things that you can do. The increasing competition makes it essential that you use advanced or latest strategies to stand out from your competitors.

Stat on ecommerce retail

Source: Statista

In this article, I’m going to discuss 11 PPC strategies which, if executed well, can surely boost your PPC campaigns.

1. Greet your customer

Send your customer a nice package that has a handwritten note. It has a coupon in it for a future purchase. It may have a referral card in there they can give to a friend, this is going to be a nice experience for the customer, and it is really going to give them a good sense of feeling towards your brand, and probably get them again for you.

If you are seeling on other channels like Amazon or Flipkart, you send those products with a care package, the coupon, and whatnot should recommend they come back to your branded website to make future purchases.

This will increase your profitability and also increases revenue and get your brand going on your own website, which is what you want to do. So take advantage of these care packages.

2. Optimize your product pages

Spend a considerable amount of time in optimizing your product pages. Optimizing your product pages also helps in SEO. Write a good product title. Add the keywords in the title tag that people are searching online.

Search the keywords that are relevant to your products, and add them in your description as well. Write good, unique, and relevant descriptions of your products. If you are not comfortable with SEO work, then you can contact a professional and reliable SEO services company to get your work done.

3. Update your product pages

Your product page should never look outdated. It works through the weekends and the holidays. Every time when someone visits your product page, they want your perfect sales pitch, so put some time into that.

Good product photography is also very important, ensure that the images of your product should be very clear, clean, and well optimized. Adding a product video can be very helpful, it not only increases the chances of sales but also adds value.

You should highlight the main benefits like fast shipping, free shipping, cash on delivery, and other such options. Also, get reviews of your products. Studies have shown that having a review section on your product page increases the conversion rate by 400%. Make sure that you have a review section on your page.

4. Optimize your product feed

You can optimize your product feed using the Google merchant center. You can use the Google merchant center to run Google shopping ads.

Make sure that you have good information in there with regards to your product title, description, keywords, those sort of things so that you are showing up when people are searching on Google shopping when you are running your ads. You don’t want to be not in the game when somebody is looking for your product because your product feed in not very well optimized.

5. Use a good shopping cart

There are mainly three types of shopping carts you should check these out if you are not already in these carts. Shopify, woo commerce, and big commerce. These three carts are really good for the SEO, design, and for paid search as well.

It has everything that you need to scale your business. It also has a support team to back you up when you need help. So make sure that you check out one of those carts if you don’t already have them.

6. Run Google shopping ads

It’s very popular people go to Google they’ll search something like black shoes, they’ll click the shopping tab, those are all ads, they’ll click the shopping tab, those are all ads. So if you want to be in that shopping tab, make sure that you are running Google shopping ads. So, invest in running product ads.

Optimize your product ads based on results. Use an ecommerce tracking set up, and you can see the revenue generated from each product, you can see your ROI – per product, and on your product ads. Turn off the ads that aren’t doing as well, the products that aren’t doing as well, and increases the budget on the products that are doing well.

7. Run dynamic targeting campaigns

A dynamic campaign feature is a new option for the multiple campaigns feature. With this, you can run different campaigns on the same website. The dynamic ad automatically organizes your website into groups that are customized to your products and services like “sports shoes”, “phones”, and “computers”. Select the category or groups that are relevant to your website.

So, if someone comes to your website and they look around, and they don’t do anything that night when they are on Facebook kind of looking through their feed all of a sudden, they will see an ad of your brand. This way retargeting dynamically can bring a lot more sales back to your business.

8. Optimize your shopping ads

You should optimize your shopping ads. Differentiate the types of ads you are using for ecommerce. Add negative keywords – this will be a list of keywords that are not relevant to your add.

9. Run PPC ads on Facebook and Instagram

Social media has huge channels today and they have a chunk of audience.

Stat on social media ad spending for PPC strategy success

Source: Invespcro.com

People are on Facebook all the time so if you target people on Facebook and targeting is so intense that you can get right in front of a person that would be perfect for your product.

You could use custom audiences, life events targeting, lookalike audience, and other such techniques. Check out this article to get a better idea of Facebook ad targeting.

10. Schema markup on your product pages

When someone searches on Google, right there on the Google search page before they even go to your website, they are going to see what Google calls product rich cards, which is going to show your product image and some information right there on the search page. This is going to give you an advantage over your competitors and make you a little more visible organically to people as they are searching for things like Google.

Use the schema markup testing tool. Search “schema markup tool” in Google and you’ll land on the site. Just enter your product page URL in there, and it’ll tell you if you have the proper schema markup or not. If not, it will show you some of the warnings and tips to improve the on how to make sure you add that.

The big carts like Shopify, Big-commerce, and Woo-commerce already provide a good schema markup.

11. Automate email marketing

It is very important, many ecommerce stores fall short because they spend a lot of money to get that customer to make the first purchase, but they don’t remarket people via email marketing and other channels to get them to come back and make future purchases. So with email marketing, it allows us an automated way to make that happen. Set an automated campaign for holidays. By this, you can also build product review content in an automated way.

Using automated email marketing can help to scale your business as well.

As mentioned, these are some great ways to get your PPC strategies to succeed provided you implement them correctly.

Feel free to share your PPC campaign experiences and tips in the comments.

The post 11 Proven PPC strategies for your ecommerce site appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


What is an XML sitemap and why should you have one?

A good XML sitemap acts as a roadmap of your website that leads Google to all your important pages. XML sitemaps can be good for SEO, as they allow Google to quickly find your essential website pages, even if your internal linking isn’t perfect. This post explains what they are and how they help you rank better.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading #5 of our best-read posts this year! Find out all about XML sitemaps and why it’s important that you have one. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another holiday countdown surprise!

What are XML sitemaps?

You want Google to crawl every important page of your website, but sometimes, pages end up without any internal links pointing to them, making them hard to find. An XML sitemap lists a website’s important pages, making sure Google can find and crawl them all, also helping it understand your website structure:

XML sitemap Yoast
Yoast.com’s XML sitemap

Above is Yoast.com’s XML sitemap, created by the Yoast SEO plugin and later on we’ll explain how our plugin helps you create the best XML sitemaps. If you don’t use our plugin, your sitemap may look a little different but will work the same way.

As you can see, the Yoast.com XML sitemap shows several ‘index’ sitemaps: post-sitemap.xml, page-sitemap.xml, video-sitemap.xml etc. This categorization makes a site’s structure as clear as possible, so if you click on one of the index sitemaps, you’ll see all URLs in that particular sitemap. For example, if you click on post-sitemap.xml you’ll see all Yoast.com’s post URLs (click on the image to enlarge):

XML Post Sitemap Yoast
Yoast.com’s post XML sitemap

You’ll notice a date at the end of each line. This tells Google when each post was last updated and helps with SEO because you want Google to crawl your updated content as soon as possible. When a date changes in the XML sitemap, Google knows there is new content to crawl and index.

If you have a very large website, sometimes it’s necessary to split an index sitemap. A single XML sitemap is limited to 50,000 URLs, so if your website has more than 50,000 posts, for example, you’ll need two separate ones for the post URLs, effectively adding a second index sitemap. The Yoast SEO plugin sets the limit even lower – at 1.000 URLs – to keep your sitemap loading as fast as possible

What websites need an XML sitemap?

Google’s documentation says XML sitemaps are beneficial for “really large websites”, for “websites with large archives”, for “new websites with just a few external links to it” and for “websites which use rich media content”.

While we agree that these kinds of websites will definitely benefit the most from having one, at Yoast, we think XML sitemaps are beneficial for every website. Every single website needs Google to be able to easily find the most important pages and to know when they were last updated, which is why this feature is included in the Yoast SEO plugin.

Which pages should be in your XML sitemap?

How do you decide which pages to include in your XML sitemap? Always start by thinking of the relevance of a URL: when a visitor lands on a particular URL, is it a good result? Do you want visitors to land on that URL? If not, it probably shouldn’t be in it. However, if you really don’t want that URL to show up in the search results you’ll need to add a ‘noindex, follow’ tag. Leaving it out of your XML sitemap doesn’t mean Google won’t index the URL. If Google can find it by following links, Google can index the URL.

Example 1: A new blog

Say, for example, you are starting a new blog. You will want Google to find new posts quickly to make sure your target audience can find your blog in the search results, so it’s a good idea to create an XML sitemap right from the start. You might create a handful of first posts and categories for them as well as some tags to start with. But there won’t be enough content yet to fill the tag overview pages, making them “thin content” that’s not valuable to visitors – yet. In this case, you should leave the tag’s URLs out of the sitemap for now. Set the tag pages to ‘noindex, follow’ because you don’t want people to find them in search results.

Example 2: Media and images

The ‘media’ or ‘image’ XML sitemap is also unnecessary for most websites. This is because your images are probably used within your pages and posts, so will already be included in your ‘post’ or ‘page’ sitemap. So having a separate ‘media’ or ‘image’ sitemap would be pointless and we recommend leaving it out. The only exception to this is if images are your main business. Photographers, for example, will probably want to show a separate ‘media’ or ‘image’ XML sitemap to Google.

How to make Google find your sitemap

If you want Google to find your XML sitemap quicker, you’ll need to add it to your Google Search Console account. In the ‘Sitemaps’ section, you’ll immediately see if your XML sitemap is already added. If not, you can add your sitemap at top of the page:

Add sitemap index to Search Console
Yoast.com’s XML sitemap added to Google Search Console

As you can see in the image, adding your XML sitemap can be helpful to check whether all pages in your sitemap really have been indexed by Google. If there is a big difference in the ‘submitted’ and ‘indexed’ number on a particular sitemap, we recommend looking into this further. There could be an error preventing some pages from being indexed or maybe you need more content or links pointing to the content that’s not been indexed yet.

Yoast SEO and XML sitemaps

Because they are so important for your SEO, we’ve added the ability to create your own XML sitemaps in our Yoast SEO plugin. They are available in both the free and premium versions of the plugin.

Yoast SEO creates an XML sitemap for your website automatically. Click on ‘SEO’ in the sidebar of your WordPress install and then select the ‘Features’ tab:

XML sitemaps in Yoast SEO
XML Sitemaps

In this screen, you can enable or disable the different XML sitemaps for your website. Also, you can click on the question mark to expand the information and see more possibilities, like checking your sitemap in your browser:

You can exclude content types from your XML sitemap in the ‘Search Appearance’ tab. If you select ‘no’ as an answer to ‘show X in the search results?’ then this type of content won’t be included in it.

Read more about excluding content types here.

Check your own XML sitemap!

Now, you know how important it is to have an XML sitemap because having one can really help your site’s SEO. Google can easily access your most important pages and posts if you add the right URLs to it. Google will also be able to find updated content easily, so they know when a URL needs to be crawled again. Lastly, adding your XML sitemap to Google Search Console helps Google find your sitemap fast and it allows you to check for sitemap errors.

Now go check your own XML sitemap and make sure you’re doing it right!

The post What is an XML sitemap and why should you have one? appeared first on Yoast.


How to Find Internal Linking Opportunities at Scale

I recently found myself in a situation that required me to find internal linking opportunities for two separate clients. For me, finding internal links typically takes a lot of time and is a very tedious (and boring) task. For that reason, I think internal linking opportunities are often missed. Now that I needed to find internal links, I wanted to find a way to identify opportunities in a faster, more efficient manner. So my colleague on the Technical SEO team, Allison Hanh, and I got together and created a tool in Power BI to help us do just that.

How We Built An Internal Linking Tool

Step 1: Gather Your Data

  • Keyword Rankings (from your tool of choice)
  • Ahrefs Best by Links
  • Ahrefs Internal backlinks
  • Screaming Frog All Outlinks Bulk Export
  • Screaming Frog Crawl of your entire site with page copy
  • Google Analytics Organic Landings Pages Export (optional)

Step 2: Join Data in Power BI

If you don’t know how to do this, check out the Seer YouTube Channel or some of our blog posts about Power BI.

Step 3: Create a Custom Metric to Score Your Existing Content (URLs)

  • Allison and I used a script for RStudio based on internal and external backlinks to score each URL of the sites we were working with
    • Not familiar with RStudio? Check out this gnarly piece of content from Search Engine Land to help you get started
  • You can also create your own custom metric by creating a custom column in the Power BI query editor and creating your own formula that weighs different metrics
  • how to find internal linking opportunities

Step 4: Find Opportunities & Get Them Implemented!

It probably sounds too easy!

How To Find Internal Linking Opportunities Across An Entire Domain

This process is much easier and less time-consuming if you take the time to follow the steps above and get everything into Power BI. However, if you don’t use Power BI, you can still find strong internal linking opportunities by tweaking what I’m about to outline below.

Find Strong Anchor Text

Anchor text is an important part of linking. You need to make sure that the text you use to link to your target page is relevant. This is where the keyword rankings come into play.

How to Complete This With Power BI

  • Use a slicer to choose the URL you’d like to link to
  • Use a slicer to narrow your keywords down to only keywords that fall within striking distance
  • Choose the best set of words that fit the category of your page
  • BOOM – there is your anchor text

how to find internal linking opportunities

How to Complete This Without Power BI

  • In either a Google Sheet or Excel file, add filters to your columns
  • Use the filtering option to choose the URL you’d like to link to
  • Use the filtering option to choose keywords in striking distance

how to find internal linking opportunities

Now that you’ve found your anchor text, what’s next?

Finding Pages to Internally Link From

This is where Power BI really comes in handy. Now that you’ve identified the anchor text you’d like to use, you need to find where that text lives on the site so that you can use the anchor text to add a link to your target page. When you were reviewing the data sources used for this, you probably noticed “Screaming Frog Crawl of your entire site with page copy.”

We used a custom extraction in Screaming Frog with XPATH to capture all of the copy that lives on each URL on the site. When we loaded this into Power BI we quickly merged all of the page copy columns together, cleaned the data, and got to work. This is still doable in Google Sheets or Excel, but not as easy and/or quick. The alternative is to not use the Screaming Frog crawl, and just perform a “site:” search in Google or your preferred search engine.

At this point, you can also use your custom metric that you used to score pages to see which pages need some links and which pages have a little love to give.

Now it’s time to find where your anchor text lives on your site.

How to Complete This With Power BI

  • Use a search filter for your page copy and search for your anchor text
  • In the ‘Filters” pane to the right, add a filter to exclude pages that are already linking to your target page (we did this by using the Ahrefs Internal backlinks data)
  • Now you should have every single URL that contains your anchor text without an internal link to your target page!

how to find internal linking opportunities

How to Complete This Without Power BI

Option 1: Google Sheets or Excel

  • Merge all columns containing page copy into one column
  • Add the column filtering option to the columns
  • Use the filters to search for “text containing” and include your anchor text
  • Open the URLs and do a control search (“Ctrl + F”)
  • Make sure there isn’t already an internal link to your target page
  • Add recommendation

Option 2: “site:” Search in Google (or another Search Engine)

  • Perform your search for your domain
    • (example search query – site:seerinteractive.com )
  • Add your anchor text in parentheses
  • Open the results (preferably in another tab) and do a control search (“Ctrl + F”)
  • Make sure there isn’t already an internal link to your target page
  • Add recommendation

As you can see, these methods can be time-consuming because the search results are still going to show pages that are already linking to my target URL. So this method takes more time and is very tedious (and super boring).

Final Thoughts

By utilizing Power BI, we can identify opportunities for internal links much quicker than traditional methods, giving us more time to spend on strategy and solving other problems. Whether you are adding internal links from a purely tactical standpoint or adding internal links as a larger strategy, saving time and being more efficient should entice you to get rocking with Power BI and make the most of your time and your client’s money.

If you found this helpful, check out what else we have to say. Already knocking things like this out of the park and looking for a new challenge? Well, we’d love to meet ya, so check out our open positions!

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