Monthly Archives: February 2016

Are long Tail Keywords still important in 2016?

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Long tail keywords have been lauded by experts over the last couple of years, as being higher-quality queries from searchers who are closer to taking action on procuring the product or service they seek. But is this still true in 2016? According to a recent article in Search Engine Watch the answer is no. Here are a few excerpts from that post:

 

As the use of search has evolved and has become commonplace, businesses have succeeded in increasing their visibility in search results and made adjustments to be most visible for those queries they care most about.

 

A search engine user looking for information now often uses one of these two methods to arrive at the search results they need:

  1. They start with a broad search and continue to refine that search until they get to appropriately relevant results.
  2. They mentally refine their search, knowing the broad results will not bring what they want. So they begin with a more specific search and refine fewer times.

 

Now that searchers are finding it necessary to further and further refine their queries to get to the precise results that they want, I suggest that what we once called long-tail queries are now simply queries. The keywords that users now commonly rely upon are becoming so lengthy and diffuse that the distinction is lapsing into serving little function.

 

Thus, the term ‘long-tail’, to me, no longer exists. The once novel concept of paying attention to long-tail keyword queries is now so commonplace that it can go without being said. Long-tail keywords are now just the queries we all use to actually find what we need. Our ability to identify specific combinations of words that lead to our desired results will continue to evolve.

If we, as marketers, ditch our focus on query length and instead drive the focus toward the theme of the content, we can then start to adjust that content to make sure that what we are truly providing is the search destination that our potential clients and customers have in mind.

You can read the full article over at Search Engine Watch

So what do you think? Are long tail Keywords still relevant in 2016?

 

Crafting a simple content marketing strategy

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Creating a content strategy doesn’t have to be a frighteningly massive affair. You can create your first draft in less than a day, just by answering a few questions.

  1. Who are your users?
  2. Who are your competitors?
  3. What do you bring to the table?
  4. What do you hear?
  5. What content do you already have?
  6. What is the purpose of your content?
  7. How often should you publish content?
  8. How will you distribute your content?
  9. Who is in charge of your content?
  10. Who will produce your content?
  11. Who is going to maintain the content?
  12. Who is responsible for the results?
  13. What’s your destination (core strategy)?

To do your content marketing strategy well, it is really important you know exactly who your customers are, after all the content you are going to create is for them, not for or other search engines benefit.

You should be able to identify and specifically describe the members of your customers

For example:

  • She is a working mother who would like to feed her family a healthy meal three times a day.
  • He is an African American who wants to become a lawyer so he can give back to his community.
  • She is retired, without any concerns for money, but simply wants to be productive and not bored.

As mentioned above, you may be speaking to more than one target audience. Define all of them.

Once you thoroughly understand who your customer is, you will be well on your way to developing a content  marketing strategy that is designed around the people who really matter: Your customers.

 

 

 

Long Tail Keywords. Why You Need Them

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We all know keywords are important, and long tail keywords are perhaps most important of all. Here’s why:

 Cheaper Rankings

Long tail Keywords tend to be a lot easier to rank for than more specific single or double keyword phrases.  Try and rank for the keyword Travel for example, you would find that the first page on is taken up by big companies like Wikipedia and the BBC. It would be very difficult for any small businesses to appear on the first page of Google’s results for this keyword. If however you tried to rank for outdoor holidays Wales there is a very good chance that a small company would be able to reach the top of Google’s search results for that term.

Long tail keywords are also more affordable in a Google AdWords campaign. The term Travel would likely be prohibitively expensive for a small company, whereas outdoor Holidays Wales would be affordable.

Higher Sales Conversions

Long tail keywords are words which are very specific to what you are selling. When a potential customer uses the phrase outdoor Holidays Wales there is a good chance that they are planning on spending money on precisely that. Someone searching only for Travel is much less likely to be a potential customer. Long Tail Keywords are far more likely to convert to sales than general generic searches

More Content

Around seventy percent of page views are the direct result of long-tailed keywords, so it makes sense to target dozens or even hundreds of easy-to-rank-for long tail keywords. Creating pages on your website that target these long tail keywords is a good idea. You’ll likely be creating more pages and Google likes sites that have lots of content, It makes your site look more substantial and more helpful.

How To Find The Best Long Tail Keywords

The Google Adwords keyword tool is a good place to start. It not only suggests keywords and provides estimated search volume, but also predicts the cost of running paid campaigns for these terms.

The long tail keywords you choose should be relevant to your website’s content. Try to think what potential customers are likely to type into google’s search engine. Check out the competition, look at other adword campaigns. When you think you have the right combination of words you could buy a sample campaign from Google AdWords to get an idea of how effective your long tail keyword will be.

5 SEO TRAPS TO AVOID IN 2016

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In the past four years, the strategies used to rank better have evolved drastically.The Penguin update will come into full effect by the end of 2015 and this time it is going to be in real-time. With this update, plenty of changes are forecasted in the world.

Here is a list of the top 5 mistakes to avoid in 2016

1. Link building

Back in February 2015, Google said that webmasters should avoid link building because it’s unnatural. However, Google has recently clarified that buying, selling, or asking for is alright as long as you don’t violate its Google Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, it would be best to review your current link building approach to ensure that you’re not violating the rules.

2. Anchor texts

Since the first Penguin update in 2012, it’s become much riskier to use exact match anchor texts in . Abusing (whether unintentional or otherwise) anchor text can get you penalized for over-optimization in SEO 2016.

3. Targeting single or specific pages

A better link profile can boost your SEO 2016 efforts. It’s a much better approach than targeting single or specific pages to rank on Google. A good link profile is one of the most important SEO ranking factors, according to Neil Patel and other experts. I advise that you start building your link profile by performing a link evaluation through your Google Webmasters account.

4. Unfriendly mobile design

The mobile-friendliness of a website is now among Google’s top SEO 2016 ranking factors. This means that well-designed mobile-friendly websites perform better than those that aren’t optimized for mobile users. Certain factors, such as too small texts and close together links, may result in a website being rated non-mobile-friendly.

5. Low site user engagement

It’s a huge challenge to engage visitors on your website. This can pose a significant threat to your SEO 2016 success. Low user engagement is one of the leading contributors to a lower search engine ranking. However, you could improve user engagement by gaining insight into the preferences and behavior of your targeted audience.

 

This blog post is a shortened version of a great blogpost called !0 SEO traps to avoid Google Downranking in 2016 which you can find over at the SEMRush blog

 

Six techniques to save you money with AdWords

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Everyone wants to get the best possible value out of their AdWords campaigns, stretching the budget as much as possible. Here are some great tips from the team over at Search Engine Watch:

IP exclusions

How many times would you say you look at your own ads? 10-20 times a month?Unwillingly you are increasing impressions, which can decrease your click-through rate and have a negative knock-on effect on your quality scores.

Ultimately, your cost-per-click could increase due to general maintenance on your account.

Therefore, as part of the set up,  ensure that your IP address and clients IP addresses are excluded. Use the Ad Preview Tool .

 

Google Search Partners

Search partners extend the reach of search ads to hundreds of non-Google websites, as well as Google Maps, YouTube and other Google sites. This is great in some cases; however, you may find that it ends up being a costly avenue and a waste of budget.

Note: Your ads are set to show on the Google Search Partners network as default.To find out how Google Search Partner traffic is affecting your campaign simply find the Segment drop down tab and select Network (with Search Partners).

This will divide your traffic into Google only and Search Partners, so you can see if it is profitable to you.To stop showing yours ads to this traffic simply un-tick the option within the campaign settings.

Location reports

You will be amazed at the difference in click costs on a city by city basis. City centres are generally more expensive than towns and rural areas. London, of course, lives up to its reputation as normally the most expensive city to target in the UK.

Paying continual attention to your location reports can save you a lot of money in click costs. For each Campaign, within the Settings tab, you can break down the United Kingdom (or any country)

in to a range of geographic criteria.County, City and Postal Code are the criteria that I use the most and each can be used to breakdown the prior further i.e. if a certain city is performing well, I will then break the city into postcodes.

city drop down menu

I can then see if there are any that have a good cost-per-conversion or see if they are draining my budget, in which case they will then be excluded.

However, most of the time, I will set a Bid Adjustment before excluding a location as this will allow me to see if I can generate a good cost-per-conversion at a lower cost-per-click before completely disregarding that location.Likewise, if I think I have room to up spend in a location to gain a better ad position and more conversions then I will increase the bid adjustment on that location.

Ad scheduling

AdWords allows you to schedule your ad to run at specific times and on specific days. This provides the opportunity to save budget by stopping your ads from showing at times when customers are not likely to convert. This is normally in the early hours of the morning or for most B2B businesses at the weekend.

Google Analytics provides an entire section allowing you to find out what the most popular times are for your customers to convert through AdWords.

Within the Acquisition tab, under AdWords there is a section titled Hour of Day which allows you to see important statistics on clicks, conversions and conversion rate for Day of Week and Hour of Day. From this you can start to restrict the times you want your ads to show and begin to optimise your spend.

 

Check out the full article over at Search Engine Watch

Top 10 SEO Blogs You Should be Reading in 2016

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is constantly changing. There have been recent Panda and Penguin updates, new features available in AdWords, updates to + and much more. So where should you go to find the latest news and articles? Here is the list of the top 10 must read SEO blogs for 2016:

The Google Blog

This blog is purely for the latest news from Google. It is still very important because all the latest news on googles Panda and Penguin updates and Google+ will be posted here first.

Search Engine Land

One of the most popular SEO blogs around. It is always the first to break news, and you’ll find that they have more than one article on the important subjects, so all of your questions can be answered in this one this blog.

Search Engine Watch

This is another of the main blogs on the web for SEO.  While Search Engine Land is typically the first to break news and get it out there, Search Engine Watch still covers the news and always seems to add just a little bit more information.

Search Engine Journal

like the other two main websites, search Engine Journal still covers all the important news, but with the added benefit of loads of great videos, great comments, and some of the most detailed content around.

Moz

Moz has been around since 2004, publishing some of the best guides available for beginners. They don’t report SEO news quite as much as the others, but they delve into popular topics frequently.

KISSmetrics

This  blog  puts a focus on data and metrics and is incredibly thorough. If you’re looking for content that is detailed and covers every angle of a topic, this is your blog.

HigherVisibility

This  SEO blog doesn’t just tell you the news and what it might mean, but it actually gives you steps and tools to put something in place to take action on your website.  It’s one of the best out there if you’re looking for useful advice about improving your SEO.

SEMRush

SEMRush  offer one of the best SEO site audit tools on the market so they really know their stuff. You’ll see guest authors on this blog occasionally and it’s always updated with the latest information.

Content Marketing Institute

This blog  puts a focus on content. It offers great information and advice that you can easily apply to better SEO practices. Now that content is so crucial for SEO success, this blog will be one not to miss.

HubSpot

The articles in this blog have a conversational tone and have done a good job “humanizing” the content to make it easy to understand.  You’re going to find great SEO advice, but HubSpot also has blogs covering other topics  that are worth checking out.

 

 

Optimize Images for SEO

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We all know that we should put images in our blog posts, Facebook pages, Tweets and so on. People like content with pictures in. But what about ? People often forget that images need to be optimized for SEO too. Here are some tips and tricks for making sure your images are fully optimized for search engines from the people over at Search Engine Watch.

Image size

You’ll definitely want to resize your photo so it’s not such a massive file. It’s very easy to overlook the fact that most iPhone photos can be in excess of 3,000 pixels wide (which can be 2,500 pixels bigger than you really need).

Huge image files can drag the page-load time of your site down and directly affect your rankings on search engines, so be sure to resize them before you upload.

If you’re using a Mac, it’s easy to resize, just open the picture, navigate to Tools then select Adjust Size.

 

File/Title name

Before you upload the image to your site, make sure you give it an accurate file name.

Again to use the iPhone photo example, these tend to be called something generic like IMG_6056.

So do yourself a favour and rename it, this won’t necessarily help your SEO, but it will help if you ever need to search for it in the back-end of your site.

In WordPress and other sites, the image’s file name will automatically be used as its title.

 

Alt-text

Most important of all is how you describe your image in the Alt section (can be known as Alt-tags or Alt-text). can’t ‘see’ your images, but it can ‘read’ them and what it reads is what you write in the alt-attribute.

Alt-text should be clear, descriptive, concise and not stuffed with keywords. Alt-text is also what’s used by screen reader software to describe images to people with visual impairments.

In fact the one rule I always use when it comes to alt-text is write as if you’re describing it to a person with a visual impairment. So the above example I would write ‘black and white cat asleep on a purple pillow’

.The alt-text is also what shows up in the text box that appears when you hover over an image.

Description & Caption

In WordPress you will also see fields for Description and Caption. These don’t necessarily add any SEO value to your images, but they can be useful for other reasons.

The Description can be used to add a lot more extra detail, such as how the picture was taken, when it was taken and any other interesting elements.

The Caption will show up underneath the image on the live article. It’s up to you whether you use one or not. It can be helpful to describe or comment on the image.

 

Now there is no excuse for leaving your images out of your SEO efforts! Check out the full article from Search Engine Watch

 

 

Use Linkedin to help with Competitor Analysis

Analyzing your competitors can be very useful to your efforts.

You can find out what keywords they are competing for, Take a look at their with a tool such as Majestic SEO to find out where they are getting their from, and see what sort of content they are posting. But how do you know exactly who your competitors are?

You can of course enter your keywords into a search engine like and see who comes top of the page, but the more keywords you add, the more your list grows.

Most of the time, at least for popular keywords, the companies at the top of the SERP’s you cannot compete with anaway. You are never going to compete with amazon.com for the keyword online shopping or black friday deals e.t.c.

But there is a quick and easy way to find competitors who are near to you in terms of size and internet authority. Linkedin.

you can simply use the “people also viewed” box provided on your linked in page.

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This is a quick and easy way to find some of your closest competitors. Now you get to work finding out all their SEO secrets!

Essential Features in any Rank Checking Tool

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Finding a tool that can check your ranking in a particular search engine accurately and easily across multiple platforms is not as easy as it sounds. So what should you look for when choosing a tool? Here are some pf the features you should not do without. I found this great list of essential features over at -Haker.com:

1) Cloud Based Auto Checker

Busy people can’t afford to waste time opening a desktop rank tracking app to check rankings manually. Don’t get me wrong, there are great rank tracking apps out there that run on desktop.

Having a could based auto checking rank tracker gives you the ability of historical data comparison. Yes you can have that with a desktop app but if you miss one week then your historical data gets skewed or incomplete.

2) Accuracy

Some rank trackers  miss the spot. 1 or 2 inaccurate rankings muddy the pool – you feel like you just can’t trust that rank tracker anymore. You feel like you need to go ahead and check the rankings manually using ’s incognito browser – which is a bad idea.

Local results shouldn’t skew the data as well. Some rank trackers take local data into organic rankings and just skews everything. Local results should be an option that’s separately tracked by the rank tracker.

3) Ability to Check Local Results

A good local result check would separate the local listing data from the organic results listing. That way, you know if you’re ranking well organically on Google’s top 10 and if you’re ranking well on local search.

4) Speed

When I manually pull my data, I don’t want the rank checker to tell me that I have to wait hours or days for my data to refresh. I just can’t wait for that and I just can’t hold the thought in my mind that I need to check back. I forget to check back. And chances are, you forget too.

When I hit the check button, I want the rankings to refresh in a matter of seconds. That’s important for me because I can make decisions and pivots in our strategy in a moment’s notice.

5) Reports

Email is my number one signal. As such, I want the rankings of my clients to be sent to me via email – every week. Just a summary of what’s happening. This also reminds me to check back in our rank tracking tool more often.

6) Monitor my Competitors

A study of what my competitors are and are not doing and seeing the results in their rankings is worth its weight in gold. I check in often to competitor’s websites so I get to see the minute details and changes they do. The only way to know if it’s really taking effect on their rankings is to load them up on my weekly rank checker on the cloud.

 

To get the full list check out the original article over at SEO-Hacker.com

To Follow or not to Follow. That is the question.

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These days, more and more publishers are  applying rel=”nofollow” on their outbound , meaning that they do not pass on value to the sites that they are linking to. So should you follow or not?

rel=”nofollow” was introduced  ten years ago as a measure  to counteract link spam. It is mostly used in places where people can easily add links themselves, such as via blog comments, forum threads, social media sites  e.t.c.

’s own dedicated page on the subject gives three main examples for the use of nofollow:

  1. Untrusted content – giving blog comment spam as an example
  2. Paid links – such as on adverts
  3. Crawl prioritisation – giving ‘register here’ or ‘sign in’ type links as examples

So why are webmasters applying it today to the outbound links on their respective sites that don’t fit that criteria?

Beyond  Googles examples of nofollow use – which coincide with what Google themselves believe to be the ‘true’ and intended use of nofollow – it’s difficult to give a real reason why you should nofollow other types of outbound links.

But here are some good reasons why you should allow follow links:

Webmasters are having content produced for them by other people for free, which they in turn profit from through advertising as well as through their training courses, events, etc. The least that they could do is to fairly credit their contributors with a bit of an SEO boost.

People may not want to help you again. If someone has responded to your content or even created some content for you they are very unlikely to help you again if you keep non-following them.

If everyone does it search engines will find it difficult to know what is good content and what is not, making the web less enjoyable for everyone.

So don’t be a no-follow Junkie, give people who deserve it the SEO boost they deserve, after all they probably earned it.