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2020

The 4 Best Technical SEO Companies of 2020

This may be of some interest.

No matter how great the content on your website is, your hard work could amount to nothing without proper technical SEO. 

Technical SEO gives your site structure, makes it super easy for search engine bots to crawl and index, and helps Google understand what each page is about. 

URL structuring, robots.txt, redirect codes, canonical tags, .htaccess files, load time, and many others. It all matters.

Do all those things sound unfamiliar to you? No? 

Well, you don’t need to.

Tons of companies already know this stuff and it’s really easy to work with them.

That’s where this guide comes in. 

Our team at Neil Patel Digital researched, reviewed, and listed the top technical SEO companies on four criteria: 

  • Outstanding customer reviews.
  • Awards, impressive clientele, and a long history of delivering stellar technical SEO work.
  • Thought-leadership—consistently publishing of insightful articles and trends on the topic.
  • A strong reputation amongst other SEO professionals.

From these criteria, we found technical SEO companies you can trust and what they’re good for:

The 4 Top Technical SEO Companies in The World

  1. Neil Patel Digital – Best for Technical Content Structuring
  2. Webris – Best for Technical SEO Audits
  3. Salt.agency  – Best for Enterprise Technical SEO
  4. Orainti – Best for Ecommerce Brands

Without further ado, let’s dive into what makes us trust and bet our reputation on these companies. 

1. Neil Patel Digital – Best For Technical Content Structuring

It’s been touted over and again that content is king. While there’s truth in this, what most people never take into consideration is content structuring. 

Neil Patel Digital is the go-to SEO company for excellent content structuring.

Well, don’t take my word for it. Let me show you why. 

From our years of extensive search engine optimization experience, we found that for content marketing to work and power long-term SEO strategy, it must have the right structure. 

This is a key piece of our comprehensive SEO program.

And what have we to show for doing this, you ask? 

The result of doing this speaks for itself: 

Over 3 million visitors per month on this blog. All built from scratch.

Content was a huge part of this but the site wouldn’t be nearly as large without the right structure and technical SEO.

You can get access to this vast technical SEO expertise by working with the Neil Patel Digital team.

Today, we’ve developed a content marketing program with content structuring (in the form of content clusters) to help clients get technical SEO right from day one.

2. Webris – Best for Technical SEO Audits

Almost all great endeavors begin with taking in-depth audits of what’s already existing. 

Technical SEO is no exception. 

You won’t achieve much in your effort to optimize your site for search engine bots’ crawling and indexing without first doing a proper audit of your site’s structure. 

And Webris is the company we recommend for technical SEO audits.

If you a do quick Google search for “technical SEO audit,” you’ll find this excellent content piece by Webris:

Ranking on Google’s top spot for this search term is another way of saying that earned its stripes on this list. 

No company can earn that by accident. 

This proves that Webris walks the talk when it comes to technical SEO audits and is a reliable option if you’re just getting started. 

Founded by Ryan Stewart, the core strengths of Webris is technical SEO audits and conversion-focused UX. This company boasts of an incredibly talented team of advanced technical SEO consultants. 

Major brands like Shopify and Accenture trust Webris and have worked with them.

3. Salt.agency – Best for Enterprise Technical SEO

Salt.agency prides itself on “Technical Excellence” and that’s for a good reason. This company breathes technical SEO before anything else:

Massive enterprise sites can have all sort of crazy technical problems.

If you’re running one of these sites, you need a team that’s worked with that type of complexity before.

In this case, Salt.agency is the best option.

With offices in Boston, Leeds, and London, Salt.agency’s clients include Cloudflare, Hartley Botanic, Brex, Travel Supermarket, and many others.

4. Orainti – Best for Ecommerce Brands

Orainti specializes in providing technical and strategic SEO services for brands in competitive industries. 

This company approaches digital marketing and search engine optimization with a technical mindset, which justifies its inclusion in this highly-vetted list. 

And they work mostly with ecommerce brands selling internationally. 

International ecommerce businesses  have tons of unique challenges like dealing with multilingual sites, getting product and category pages ranked properly, and avoiding duplicate content. 

Orainti comes highly recommended for this.

Aleyda Solis is the Founder of Orainti. She is a veteran SEO practitioner, speaker, and author who has earned recognition and awards for her technical SEO expertise by organizations such as Forbes and European Search Awards. 

Orainti boasts an impressive portfolio of top brands, including Zillow, Under Armour, Sage, Eventbrite, and others.

5 Characteristics That Make a Great Technical SEO Company

What separates the good technical SEO shops from the great ones? What would you specifically look for when choosing someone to work with? 

Here’s what I look for.

1. A Complete Implementation Process that Includes Technical SEO

Technical SEO brings structure to your site. It helps search engine bots crawl, index, and rank your website correctly, which is essential for driving traffic. 

Also, it helps to boost your site’s load time. 

However, this doesn’t mean that once you have an excellent technical SEO, everything search engine optimization will fall in place automatically. 

The best technical SEO companies have a complete SEO program including manual site review, technical SEO implementation, content strategy, and others.

If you’re really good at SEO already and just need a quick SEO audit to double check everything, you could get value at working with a specialist. But for everyone else, I recommend working with someone that understands the complete SEO strategy. It’s the only way to build a site with tons of traffic.

2. Thought leadership

It takes lots of experimentation to implement technical SEO strategies that move the needle. Companies that embark on this kind of excruciating work always like to document their experience and findings.

Working with SEO thought leaders increases the odds of a successful project.

After all, if someone can successfully teach technical SEO, they can also help your business directly.

Publishing cutting-edge content about technical SEO is a great sign that they’ll deliver amazing results. 

3. An Impressive Client Portfolio

An excellent way to see if the expertise and processes used by a technical SEO company works is by looking at its client portfolio.

There is nuance here.

Having a ton of major brands is great. But that doesn’t mean that you can get help with your exact situation.

Ideally, the technical SEO company has worked with similar companies like your own.

4. Real Life Results

The nice thing about technical SEO is that it’s extremely practical. Technical problems come up that tanks traffic. Then technical SEO experts fix those problems.

It’s cut and dry.

Any great technical SEO company should have plenty of case studies where they turned around a site after it got hit. The more obscure the technical problem, the more likely they’ll be able to find weird problems on your own site.

Sometimes, these case studies are published on their site. But a lot of companies don’t like sharing the best stories. So ask their team as you talk to them. They should be able to give you plenty of examples during a call.

5. A Diversified Team

Covering every last technical SEO requirement is way too big of a task for a single person. You’ll need a fully-staffed team to do it all. Especially on major sites.

Go through the company’s team pages and LinkedIn employees, then look for lots of depth and expertise across the entire team.

What to Expect from a Great Technical SEO Company 

If you’re like most people who only realize the need for technical SEO late on, you’ll probably be wondering what you should expect from one. 

The most significant things to expect are what follows. 

1. A discovery session

After you reach out to a technical SEO company, they’ll want to get on a call to understand what you’re looking for. 

It’s the only way to understand the goals that you have for your site.

If a technical SEO company wants to jump straight into an audit without even getting on the phone, it’s a sign they’re running an “audit mill” and aren’t going to spend much time on your project.

Find a company that wants to go really deep and understand the full picture.

2. A one-time audit proposal

Most technically SEO companies will perform a one-time audit for a flat fee. 

Since this is a standard part of their practice, they can usually jump into this right away.

Assuming their fee works with your budget, you could have someone get started within a week. That’s how easy it is to get going.

Before starting the audit, ask them for everything that they’ll check. It should include everything like canonical problems, indexing issues, duplicate content, other Google Search Console errors, everything.

If the list doesn’t feel extremely comprehensive, get a few quotes from other companies.

3. Completing the audit

Once you’ve agreed to move forward with an audit, the company will get started.

These usually take a few weeks to complete, depending on the size of your site.

Of course, you’ll need to give them access to your Google Analytics, Google Search Console, WordPress account, and possibly your web host.

During the audit, there shouldn’t be much work for you or your team. The company performing the audit may have questions but they can do the vast majority of the work on their own.

4. Implementation proposal

Most technical SEO audits only include the discovery of site issues. The project doesn’t usually include the work that’s required to fix any problems.

This is because most problems don’t have easy fixes.

For example, if your site has terrible site speed that’s impacting your rankings, you’ll need to do a ton of front-end work in order to fix it. That will also involve your marketing team and possibly other agencies.

So once the audit is complete, expect to see a proposal that includes implementing any solutions.

Something to watch for here: a great technical SEO company will know the limits of it’s expertise. When they find problems outside their capabilities, they’ll tell you and advise you to work with someone else on fixing them. Site rebuilds and content marketing are good examples of this.

If a technical SEO agency tells you that it can fix every single problem, double check and make sure they truly have real expertise in those areas.

Should I take Technical SEO Seriously?

Yes!

Technical SEO is like the frame of your house. Only with good bones can your content and marketing drive traffic to your site. 

But, as things add up, and you have hundreds or thousands of pages on your site, something is going to break. 

Search engines have a harder time crawling your site, content isn’t indexed, and your site speed slows way down.

Even if you start with a great foundation, you need a healthy rebuild every few years.

If you haven’t done a deep technical SEO audit recently, now’s the time.

The post The 4 Best Technical SEO Companies of 2020 appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO in 2020

This may be of some interest.

So, you’ve read dozens — if not hundreds — of SEO articles online. You’ve digested countless tips and tricks for improving your website’s SEO. You’ve even (over)paid that self-proclaimed “expert” to help you develop an SEO strategy that aligns with your business goals.

But after all of the reading and learning and strategizing, it dawns on you: You haven’t actually done anything yet. Perhaps you’re intimidated. Maybe you’re crunched for time.

Regardless, when it comes to on-page SEO, there’s no excuse for dragging your feet. On-page SEO has the power to bring countless new visitors — and customers — right to your website.

On-page SEO is also completely up to you: You get to establish what the topic and/or goal of each page will be. You get to decide on the target audience for that page. And you get to choose the target keywords and phrases you want to focus on.

All you have to do is get started, and we built this guide to help you.

Google’s algorithm ranks your website on three main factors: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO:

Note: This SEO “trilogy” isn’t always divided into three clean sections; some of these SEO elements will overlap. You’ll see how and why throughout this piece.

Why is on-page SEO important?

On-page SEO is important because it tells Google all about your website and how you provide value to visitors and customers. It helps your site be optimized for both human eyes and search engine bots.

Merely creating and publishing your website isn’t enough — you must optimize it for Google and other search engines in order to rank and attract new traffic.

On-page SEO is called “on-page” because the tweaks and changes you make to optimize your website can be seen by visitors on your page (whereas off-page and technical SEO elements aren’t always visible).

Every part of on-page SEO is completely up to you; that’s why it’s critical that you do it correctly. Now, let’s discuss the elements of on-page SEO.

All on-page SEO elements fall into three main categories:

You’ll see these elements divided into sections below.

Content Elements

Content elements refer to the elements within your site copy and content. In this section, we’ll focus mostly on crafting high-quality page content that benefits your visitors and tells Google that your website provides value.

High-Quality Page Content

Page content is the heart of on-page SEO. It tells both search engines and readers what your website and business are all about.

The first step to creating high-quality content is choosing relevant keywords and topics. Conduct keyword research by searching Google for terms and seeing what surfaces for competitors and other websites. You can also use tools like Ahrefs, AnswerthePublic, and UberSuggest.

Also, read our Beginner’s Guide on How to Do Keyword Research for SEO.

Next, consider how your page content falls into the buyer’s journey and visitors’ search intent. These will impact how you will use your keywords and what types of content you will create:

Stage in the Buyer’s Journey Suggested Content/Website Pages
Awareness

Blog posts, videos
homepage

Consideration

Buyer’s guides, case studies
about page

Decision

Product demos, comparison tools
product or pricing pages, contact page

Now, it’s time to write your page content or clean it up if you’re currently auditing your on-page SEO.

Here are a few best practices for writing high-quality page content (we’ll touch on some of these in more detail below, in our Checklist):

  • Incorporate short and long-tail keywords naturally.
  • Add engaging and relevant visual content.
  • Write for your specific buyer persona(s).
  • Actively solve your audience’s problem.
  • Develop content people will share and want to link to.
  • Optimize for conversions with CTAs to offers and product pages.

Page content is your opportunity to communicate value to Google and your site visitors; it’s the heart of the on-page SEO process. All other on-page SEO elements stem from high-quality page content, so invest ample resources to develop and optimize it.

HTML Elements

HTML elements refer to the elements in your source code.

Note: To see the source code for any page in your browser, click View > Developer > View Source in the top menu.

Page Titles

Your website page titles (also known as title tags) are one of the most important SEO elements.

on page seo page title tag

Titles tell both visitors and search engines what they can find on the corresponding pages.

To ensure your site pages rank for the proper intent, be sure to include the focus keyword for each page in the title. Incorporate your keyword as naturally as possible.

Here are some best practices for when developing a page title:

  • Keep it under 70 characters (per Google’s update) … any longer and your title will be cut off in search results. Mobile search results show up to 78 characters.
  • Don’t stuff the title with keywords. Not only does keyword-stuffing present a spammy and tacky reading experience, but modern search engines are smarter than ever — they’ve been designed to specifically monitor for (and penalize!) content that’s unnaturally stuffed with keywords.
  • Make it relevant to the page.
  • Don’t use all caps.
  • Include your brand in the title, i.e. “The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO in 2019 — HubSpot Blog“.

Check out our free data-driven guide to writing effective page titles.

Headers

Headers, also known as body tags, refer to the HTML element <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, and so on.

on page seo headers

These tags help organize your content for readers and help search engines distinguish what part of your content is most important and relevant, depending on search intent.

Incorporate important keywords in your
headers, but choose different ones than what’s in your page title. Put your most important keywords in your <h1> and <h2> headers.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are the short page descriptions that appear under the title in search results. Although it’s not an official ranking factor for search engines, it can influence whether or not your page is clicked on — therefore, it’s just as important when doing on-page SEO.

on page seo meta descriptions

Meta descriptions can also be copied over to social media when your content is shared (by using structured markup, which we talk about below), so it can encourage click-throughs from there, too.

Here’s what makes for a good meta description:

  • Keep it under 160 characters, although Google has been known to allow longer meta descriptions — up to 220 characters. (Note: Mobile devices cut off meta descriptions at 120 characters.)
  • Include your entire keyword or keyword phrase.
  • Use a complete, compelling sentence (or two).
  • Avoid alphanumeric characters like —, &, or +.

Image Alt-text

Image alt-text is like SEO for your images. It tells Google and other search engines what your images are about … which is important because Google now delivers almost as many image-based results as they do text-based results.

That means consumers may be discovering your site through your images. In order for them to do this, though, you have to add alt-text to your images.

Here’s what to keep in mind when adding image alt-text:

  • Make it descriptive and specific.
  • Make it contextually relevant to the broader page content.
  • Keep it shorter than 125 characters.
  • Use keywords sparingly, and don’t keyword stuff.

Structured Markup

Structured markup, or structured data, is the process of “marking up” your website source code to make it easier for Google to find and understand different elements of your content.

Structured markup is the key behind those featured snippets, knowledge panels, and other content features you see when you search for something on Google. It’s also how your specific page information shows up so neatly when someone shares your content on social media.

Note: Structured data is considered technical SEO, but I’m including it here because optimizing it creates a better on-page experience for visitors.

on page seo structured markup

Site Architecture Elements

Site architecture elements refer to the elements that make up your website and site pages. How you structure your website can help Google and other search engines easily crawl the pages and page content.

Page URLs

Your page URLs should be simple to digest for both readers and search engines. They are also important when keeping your site hierarchy consistent as you create subpages, blog posts, and other types of internal pages.

on page seo page url

For example, in the above URL, “blog” is the sub-domain, “hubspot.com” is the domain, “sales” is the directory for the HubSpot Sales Blog, and “startups” indicates the specific path to that blog post.

Here are a few tips on how to write SEO-friendly URLs:

  • Remove the extra, unnecessary words.
  • Use only one or two keywords.
  • Use HTTPS if possible, as Google now uses that as a positive ranking factor.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is the process of hyperlinking to other helpful pages on your website. (See how the words “internal linking” are linked to another HubSpot blog post in the sentence above? That’s an example.)

Internal linking is important for on-page SEO because internal links send readers to other pages on your website, keeping them around longer and thus telling Google your site is valuable and helpful.

Also, the longer visitors are on your website, the more time Google has to crawl and index your site pages. This ultimately helps Google absorb more information about your website and potentially rank it higher on the search engine results pages.

Download our free guide to Internal Linking for SEO.

Mobile Responsiveness

Google started favoring sites that are optimized for faster mobile speeds — even for desktop searches.

Mobile responsiveness matters.

It’s critical to choose a website hosting service, site design and theme, and content layout that’s readable and navigable on mobile devices. If you’re not sure about your own site’s mobile readiness, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

on page seo mobile responsiveness

Site Speed

Whether being viewed on a mobile device or desktop, your site must be able to load quickly. When it comes to on-page SEO, page speed counts big-time.

Google cares about user experience first and foremost. If your site loads slowly or haphazardly, it’s likely your visitors aren’t going to stick around — and Google knows that. Moreover, site speed can impact conversions and ROI.

Check your website’s speed anytime using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. If your website is movin’ slow, check out 5 Easy Ways to Help Reduce Your Website’s Page Loading Speed.

Note: Mobile responsiveness and site speed are considered technical SEO, but I’m including them here because optimizing them creates a better on-page experience for visitors.

on page seo site speed

Now that you understand the different on-page SEO elements, let’s talk through the steps of auditing and improving your on-page SEO.

If you’ve been in search of a solution for organizing and tracking the various on-page SEO elements, you’re in luck. The HubSpot marketing team released an updated version of our On-Page SEO Template, an Excel document that allows you to coordinate pages and keywords — and track changes — all in one place.

In this section, we’ll be using this template as a guide as we walk you through a checklist for your on-page SEO management, step by step. Download the template now and follow along.

Note: The fictional website “http://www.quantify.ly” will be used as an example throughout this post. It’s simply meant to help you imagine how your own website will fit into the template.

1. Crawl your website.

Get an overview of all of your website pages that search engines have indexed. For HubSpot customers, our Page Performance tool (under Reports) will allow you to do this. If you’re not using HubSpot, you can try using a free tool like Xenu’s link crawler.

After crawling your site and exporting the results into an Excel (or .csv) file, there will be three key columns of data that you should focus on:

  1. The web address (a.k.a. URL)
  2. The page title
  3. The page meta description

Copy and paste these three columns into your template.

The URL should be pasted into column B, the page title into column C, and the description into column E.

on-page seo checklist crawl your website

2. Conduct an SEO audit and define your site architecture.

Now that you have a basic index of your site in the template, you’ll want to organize and prioritize your web pages. Start by defining where within your site architecture your existing pages currently sit.

Do this in column A. Note whether a page is your homepage (ideally you’ll only have one of those), a page in your primary (or secondary) navigation menu, an internal page, and so on.

on-page seo checklist conduct an seo audit

3. Update URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions.

Review your current URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions to see if they need updating.

(This is the beauty of using a template to organize your SEO: You get a broad overview of the type of content you have on your website.)

on page seo checklist meta descriptions

Notice how column D and column F automatically calculate the length of each element. The recommended length for page titles is anything under 60 characters. (And, actually, a quick and easy optimization project is to update all page titles that are longer than 60 characters.)

The recommended length for page meta descriptions is 155-160 characters. This is the perfect length to ensure none of the description is cut off by the ellipses. Make sure you’re not too repetitive with keywords in this space. Writing a good meta description isn’t tough, but it deserves just as much consideration as the page content itself.

(Note: For some sites, you may also have to update the URLs, but that’s not always the case and thus was not included as part of this optimization template.)

4. Make sure your keyword is in your URL.

As we mentioned above, add your keyword to your URL. For example, image you own a hot yoga studio called ADYoga. You have a web page that includes videos of your classes. The keyword for this page is “hot yoga online classes” — so, you’d want to include that keyword in your URL. The URL for this web page may look like this: www.ADyoga.com/hot-yoga-online-classes.

5. Include your keyword throughout your web page.

In addition to your URL, you’ll want to add your keyword throughout your web page(s). This includes your title and headers. Sprinkle your keyword throughout your content as well where it fits naturally.

6. Track keywords and topics for each page.

Think of your target keyword as the designated topic for a particular page. If you’re using the HubSpot template, In column O, define just one topic per page.

on-page seo checklist track keywords and topics for your web pages

By doing this, you’ll be able to go more in-depth and provide more detailed information about that topic. This also means that you are only optimizing for one keyword per page, meaning you have a greater chance to rank for that keyword.

There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule. Your homepage is a classic example. The goal of your homepage is to explain what your entire website is about, and thus you’ll need a few keywords to do that. Another exception is overview pages like services and product pages, which outline what all of your products and services may be.

7. Don’t keyword stuff.

We just covered many examples in which keywords are both helpful and necessary for SEO purposes. However, one mistake many first-timers make when improving their on-page SEO is “keyword stuff”.

Keyword stuffing can be detrimental to your website and web page’s SEO and it can feel spammy to readers/ visitors.

8. Establish value propositions for each page.

A very important next step, which is often overlooked, is establishing a value proposition for each page of your website. Each page should have a goal aside from just ranking for a particular term.

If you’re using the template, you’ll do this in column G.

on-page seo checklist establish value propositions

9. Define your target audience.

Define your target audience — do you have a single buyer persona or multiple personas? Keep this persona in mind as you optimize your site’s pages. (Remember, you are optimizing for humans, too — not just search engine robots.)

In column H of our template, you’ll have the opportunity to define your page’s target audience.

on-page seo checklist define your target audience

10. Plan new page titles.

Now that you’ve documented your existing page titles and have established value propositions and target audiences for each of your pages, write new page titles (if necessary) to reflect your findings.

You can do this in column K of the template — and double check each title length in column L.

on-page seo checklist plan new page titles

People usually follow the formula of “Keyword Phrase | Context.” The goal of the page title is to lay out the purpose of the page without being redundant. You should also keep the additional recommendations we made above related to titles.

11. Add new meta descriptions.

As we covered above, meta descriptions should be a short, declarative sentence that incorporates the same keyword as your page’s title.

It should not reflect the content verbatim as it appears on the page. Get as close as you can to the 150-character limit to maximize space and tell visitors as much as possible about your page.

If you need to create new meta descriptions, do so in column M of the template.

on-page seo checklist add meta descriptions

12. Review and edit page content as needed.

Good copy needs to be thorough, clear, and provide solutions … so, be compelling! Write for your target audience and about how you can help them. Compelling content is also error-free, so double check your spelling and grammar.

Aim to have at least 500 words per page, and format content to make it easier to read and digest with the use of headers and subheaders.

Columns P through R can be used to keep track of changes that you’ve made to your content or to note where changes need to be implemented.

on-page seo checklist review and edit content on your web page

13. Incorporate visual content.

Content can be more than just text, so consider what kind of visual content you can incorporate into each page (if it adds value and serves a purpose, of course). Columns S and T allow you to note which visual elements need to be added. When adding an image to a page, be sure to include a descriptive file name and image alt-text.

on-page seo checklist incorporate visual content

14. Optimize your visual content.

We talked earlier about image alt text. You’ll want to optimize your visual content this way — and be sure to include your keyword in your image alt text. It’ll help with the page’s SEO as well as offer the potential to rank in image search (e.g. on a search engine image results page or image carousel).

15. Add internal links.

As stated earlier, incorporating links throughout your pages is a must, but it’s often something that’s easily overlooked.

Make sure that your anchor text includes more than just your keywords. The goal isn’t to stuff in as many keywords as possible, but to make it easy for people to navigate your site.

Use columns U through W to plan for these elements if you don’t already have them, or to document how you’ll improve them.

on-page seo checklist add internal links

16. Include external links.

It may seem counterintuitive to include external links throughout your page considering we just covered multiple reasons why internal linking is so important for on-page SEO. However, external links are also important.

By externally linking, to credible and trustworthy sites, Google will know your page is also credible and trustworthy. Not only does Google want to know your site is well-referenced, but your visitors do, too.

17. Optimize for conversions.

If you’re also not optimizing your site to increase the number of leads, subscribers, and/or customers you’re attracting … you’re doing it wrong.

Remember that each page of your website presents a conversion opportunity. That means every page of your website should include at least one call-to-action (CTA), though many pages may have multiple CTAs.

Columns X through AF allow you to plan for conversions.

Be sure that your site has a mix of CTAs for different stages of the flywheel.

(Note: The On-Page SEO Template refers to the stages of the buying funnel — top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel. If you are a HubSpot customer, you can even use Smart Content to display these specific CTAs only to people in a specific part of the funnel.)

Also, as you add, edit, or update CTAs, be sure to note conversion rate changes in columns Z, AC, and AF.

on-page seo checklist optimize your page for conversions

Put Your On-Page SEO to Work

Once you finalize your SEO plans, implement these changes on your website or pass them along to someone to implement for you. This will take time to complete, so aim to work on 5 to 10 pages per week.

Remember: SEO is not a one-and-done deal. It’s something you should continually improve upon. You should treat this On-Page SEO Template as a living, breathing document that will help guide your SEO strategy for months (or years) to come.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Thank you for reading.

The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics in 2020

This may be of some interest.

Are you confused — even intimidated — by Google Analytics? Good news: you’re not alone. GA is notoriously complicated.

In fact, when I first started to delve into GA’s waters, I wondered if I’d ever truly get it. There were so many concepts to learn and reports to run. How did people ever conquer this thing?!?!

Lots and lots of reading plus some trial and error, it turns out.

I’m not saying I’ve reached total mastery — there’s always something new to pick up — but I’m vastly more comfortable.

And I want you to be, too. So, here’s the cheat sheet to everything I’ve learned over the years. This guide might be long, but it’ll take you from zero to hero in ~6,000 words. And if you still have questions, let me know! I’m @ajavuu on Twitter.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics, or GA, is an analytics tool that gives you an extremely in-depth look at your website and/or app performance. It integrates with Google’s marketing and advertising platforms and products (including Google Ads, Search Console, and Data Studio) making it a popular choice for anyone using multiple Google tools.

What other types of people is GA popular among?

Other marketing analytics options, such as HubSpot, can give you all the data you need with much less work. Oh, and here’s another aspect of GA you’ll want to take into consideration:

Is Google Analytics free?

There’s a free and a paid version of GA (the latter is called Analytics 360). Small and medium-sized businesses will likely get all the features you need from the free version. Enterprise businesses need to upgrade if you want:

  • Advanced funnel reporting and attribution modeling
  • Roll-up reporting
  • More views, dimensions, and metrics per property
  • Unlimited and unsampled data

Paying for 360 also gives you access to dedicated support, including your own account manager. This alone can make the subscription fee worth it.

And about that subscription fee? It’s not cheap. Analytics 360 begins at $150,000 per year (invoiced monthly) and increases after your site receives more than one billion monthly hits.

360’s cost will price out many businesses. However, if you have the budget for both the service and an agency or in-house analyst to manage your analytics operations, consider investing.

Now, what steps will you need to follow when setting up GA? Good question.

How to Set Up Google Analytics

Before you start using Google Analytics, you’ll have to set up a Google account. This means you must have a registered Google Account email address and password.

Once you’ve created a Google account, that doesn’t mean you automatically have access to GA — rather, you have to register for Analytics (which we’ll review how to do in the next section). But the important thing to note as you go to set up GA is that you can only access the tool by using a valid Google account.

Additionally, to set up GA properly, you’ll want to understand the various layers of the tool — specifically, the hierarchy.

Google Analytics Hierarchy

Here’s a look at the GA hierarchy:

google analytics hierarchy

Let’s dive into each of the sections within the hierarchy.

1. Organization

The organization is the highest level. It represents a company. For example, our organization is HubSpot, Inc. One organization can encompass multiple GA accounts.

Organizations are recommended for larger businesses, but not mandatory.

2.Account(s)

Accounts are not optional. Using Google Analytics requires at least one (sometimes several) accounts.

An account doesn’t mean a user account. I can log into the HubSpot Google Analytics accounts using my Google email ID. HubSpot’s head of technical SEO can also log into the same account using his Google email ID. Our historical optimization specialist can also log into the same account using his Google email ID.

Important details:

  • You can assign one property to each account or multiple properties to one account. Every account can hold up to 50 properties.
  • You can give user permissions for an entire Analytics account, a property in an account, or a view in a property.

You might be wondering, “What’s better: creating a new account for every property or adding every account to the same property?”

It depends on your use case and goals.

For example, suppose you have one website — the Stark Industries corporate site — and five subdirectories, including the Stark Industries blog, careers section, media resources, case studies, and investor relations information.

You want to create separate properties for each subdirectory so the people on each team can look at how their portion of the site is performing, as well as the larger site.

But maybe you have another site that discusses Tony Stark’s work with S.H.I.E.L.D. You want the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to see data for this subdirectory, but you don’t want them to see data for the rest of the website. You create a new account and property for the S.H.I.E.L.D. site.

Property

A property is a website or app. Each property can support up to 25 views.

View

At the minimum, you need two views per property:

  • One with zero configuration — essentially the “raw” version of the view
  • One with filters set up to exclude any traffic from within your company (i.e. a filter for your IP address) as well as bots and spam traffic

A view only captures the information after your filters and configured settings have been applied. And once you delete a view, that data is gone forever. For those reasons, it’s critical to keep an unfiltered view of your data.

Now that you have completed the basis for how how to set up GA, here are the steps involved in using the tool.

Here are the steps involved in using your GA account.

1. Create a Google Analytics account.

First, you’ll have to create a Google Analytics account. Or, sign in to your current account.

2. Add the name, URL, and industry of the website you want to track.

Choose which account you want to add the property to. You should create and name your Property at this point and enter the website’s URL as well as industry and reporting time zone. Then you’ll be able to Create and Finish this step of the process.

3. Add a view to your property.

Go to the account and property you want to add a view to — use the menu to Create a View, name your view, select the type of view (web or app), and answer a few other questions. Remember, you can add up to 25 views to a property in GA.

4. Add your tracking code directly after the <head> tag of your site.

When you create a property, you’ll have access to a unique ID for tracking and a global site tag (code you need to add to each site page you want to measure). This is how you’ll be able to collect data in your property.

Then, paste your global site tag right after the opening <head> tag on each site page you plan on measuring.

You’ll be asked to choose your type of site (static, dynamic, web hosting, Google Tag Manager) so that you can set up the data collection accurately.

(For more, read our guide to installing the Google Analytics tracking code on your site.)

5. Visit your GA portal and verify the code is working.

Lastly, verify your code is working. You can do this by looking at the Real-Time reports section while clicking around on your site in a different tab or on your phone. The report should show at least one visitor to the site (that’s you!)

And that’s pretty much it! After that review, you may be wondering the following:

Do you need to add the GA code to every page of your site?

That’s a lot of manual work — especially if your website has more than 50 pages. Plus, what happens when you create new pages? Do you need to add the tag every time?!

Relax, because the short answer is: no.

The longer answer: you only need to add the tag to every page template. So, if you have one page type on your site (meaning every individual page uses the same header module), you only need to add it to that module — and it’ll be applied to every page.

If you have two page types, you’d need to paste the code into the two separate header modules. Three page types? Three header modules.

And if you use a CMS like HubSpot, this task is even easier. These tools come with a separate field where you paste your tracking code just once. HubSpot users can follow these simple instructions for adding GA.

Additionally, to use GA successfully, you need to understand dimensions versus metrics.

Google Analytics Dimensions and Metrics

I’ve found the easiest way to think about it is:

  • Dimensions = categorical variables. Simple examples include names, colors, and places.
  • Metrics = quantitative variables. Basic examples include age, temperature, and population.

Or as my Data Analytics professor put it, “Metrics are what you can do math on.” Not the most eloquent phrasing, but it works.

Dimension Examples
  1. Browser
  2. Location
  3. Landing page
  4. Device
  5. Customer type
Metric Examples
  1. Sessions
  2. Pageviews
  3. Conversions
  4. Bounce rate
  5. Session duration

In any GA report, your dimensions are your rows and your metrics are your columns.

google analytics metrics

Custom Dimensions and Metrics

GA lets you create custom dimensions and metrics from Analytics data plus non-Analytics data. To give you an idea, suppose you track the membership type of customers who have created an account in your CRM. You could combine this information with page views to see page views by member type.

Or maybe you run a blog. If you want to understand how audience engagement impacts other metrics (like conversions, pages per session, etc.), you could create three custom dimensions for each type of reader:

  1. Advocate: user who shared one-plus posts on social media
  2. Subscriber: user who signed up for your email list
  3. Customer: user who purchased premium access

Using these dimensions will give you invaluable information.

What’s a Google Analytics audience?

An audience is a group of users that have something in common. That commonality could be anything: maybe you’re targeting consumers in Australia, so you have an “Australian audience,” or you want to sell to millennials, so you have a “25-34 audience.”

GA comes with several built-in audiences (including the two I just mentioned, location and age). You don’t need to do a thing to set these up — once you have the tracking code installed, GA will automatically break down your visitor data into these audience reports.

However, you can also create custom audiences. Perhaps you’re only interested in “Australian millennials”; you’d need to make a custom audience that only includes visitors who are A) in Australia and B) between the ages of 25 and 34.

Creating an audience is fairly easy. Honestly, the hardest part is figuring out what you’re trying to accomplish and then identifying the user characteristics that’ll help you do that.

Once you’ve done that, follow these instructions to create a new audience segment. From there you can import a segment to use as the basis for your Audience Report.

That brings us to the next question:

What’s a Google Analytics segment?

A segment is a subset of your data. I like to picture an entire pizza made up of all different slices — one slice has pesto and mozzarella, another has sausages and spicy peppers, another has ham and pineapple, and so on. Metaphorically speaking, each slice is a segment.

You can create segments based on:

  • Users (e.g. users who have bought something on your site before, users who have signed up for a consultation, etc.)
  • Sessions (e.g. all sessions that were generated from a specific marketing campaign, all sessions where a pricing page was viewed)
  • Hits (e.g. all hits where the purchase exceeded $85, all hits where a specific product was added to the cart)

Like audiences, GA provides you with several segments. I wouldn’t stop there: you can get incredibly granular with your segments.

To give you some inspiration, here are a few of HubSpot’s segments:

  • Users who viewed a specific product page and watched the demo video
  • Users who viewed the same product page and didn’t watch the demo video
  • Users who view a specific Academy course page
  • Users who view a specific Academy lesson page
  • Users who view a blog post and a product page

The sky is your limit — well, that, and GA’s segment cap.

Alright, now let’s look at GA Reports. Remember, you can apply up to four segments at a time to any report.

Google Analytics Reports

GA’s left-hand sidebar can be a bit overwhelming. You’ve got six reporting options (all with confusing, vague names), and clicking on any of those only gives you more options.

Let’s walk through each report together.

google analytics reports

Google Analytics Real-Time Report

As the name suggests, the Real-Time report gives you insight into what’s happening on your site at this very moment. You can see how many visitors are on your site, which pages they’re visiting, which social platforms they’re coming from, where they’re located, and more.

While this report is fun to look at occasionally, it’s probably the least valuable. Here are some ways to use Real-Time:

  • See how much traffic you’re getting from a new social or blog post
  • Know immediately if a one-day sale or event is driving views and/or conversions
  • Make sure tracking URLs and custom events that you’ve just set up are working as they should

These are useful, but as you’ll see, the other reports pack a far greater punch.

Google Analytics Audience Report

The GA Audience report gives you a high-level overview for the property you’re currently looking at. Check this report once a day to get a sense of how you’re trending overall.

Underneath “Overview,” you’ll see “Audiences,” as well as expandable menus for “Demographics,” “Interests,” “Geo,” “Behavior,” “Technology,” “Mobile,” “Cross-Device,” “Custom,” and “Benchmarking.”

google analytics audience report

Explore each of these sections to get a sense of what they can tell you about your visitors.

Every section describes an audience.

Active Users

Whoever named this report belongs in the same group as the person who named guinea pigs: “active users” doesn’t refer to users currently on your site — that’s the Real-Time report — and guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from Guinea.

The Active Users report shows you the number of users who visited in the last day (1-day active users), week (7-day active users), two weeks (14-day active users), and four weeks (28-day active users.)

google analytics active users report

What’s the value of this report, you ask?

If you have more one-day users than longer-term ones, you’re struggling with retention. People aren’t coming back to your site or app — you need to figure out why.

I’d also recommend looking at this report with various segments; for instance, perhaps you see that users in a certain age bracket have much better retention than the average.

Lifetime Value

First things first: do you need a refresher on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and how to calculate it? We’ve got you.

The Lifetime Value report gives you a sense of how valuable users are to your company. You can see lifetime value for, say, the users you generated from email marketing versus the ones you acquired from organic search. Armed with this information, you can decide which channel to invest more in.

A few notes: Lifetime Value is capped at 90 days. The Acquisition date range, however — which you can adjust — reflects all the users you acquired in that time frame.

Imagine you’re interested in looking at transactions per user for users you acquired in the week before Black Friday. You’d adjust the date range to that week specifically. Then you’d see the average transactions per user for that cohort over the following 90 days.

Because HubSpot is a SaaS company, not an ecommerce business, I look at goal completions per user, page views per user, and sessions per user by Acquisition Channel.

If my team has recently wrapped up a marketing campaign, I’ll look at the same metrics by Acquisition Campaign.

But if you are in ecommerce and want to see transaction and revenue data, you’ll need to have ecommerce tracking set up.

(By the way, here’s how to track revenue in HubSpot.)

Cohort Analysis

Some people have gone so far as to call Cohort Analysis “the single most powerful report in GA.”

So, how does it work? This report groups users by one characteristic — so far, “Acquisition Date” is the only “Cohort Type” you can use. By the way, Acquisition Date is the day a user first visited your website.

You have several options from there.

  1. First, pick your cohort size: day, week, or month.
  2. Next, pick your metric, or what you want to explore for this cohort. It can be further broken down into Per user, Retention, and Total.
    • Per user means the total count of that metric divided by the cohort size. So if you choose Transactions per user, for example, you’ll see the average number of transactions per user for that cohort.
    • Retention is simple: user retention, or the number of users who returned that day, week or month (determined by the cohort size you selected) divided by the total number of users in that cohort.
    • Total: the total number of sessions, transactions, etc. that occurred for that cohort size.
  3. Choose your date range. GA lets you see up to three months of data.

Now let’s dive into reading the report, because it’s not obvious.

google analytics cohort report

The left-hand column shows you the Cohort Type you picked — Acquisition date, by default — broken down by Cohort Size (day, week, or month).

The first row shows you the totals for all the users in that cohort. Each row underneath that represents the activity in that day, week, or month (in this example, we’re looking at month.)

The row outlined in light blue reflects the Cohort Size you’ve chosen. Remember that data only goes back three months at the max.

The row outlined in yellow shows you the values for the metric you chose (in this case, Goal Completions per User). In the eternal words of Calvin Harris: baby, this what you came for.

Look at the first row. This tells you the average goal completions for the entire cohort in the first month after they were acquired was 1.09. Average goal completions for the entire cohort in the second month after they acquired dropped to 0.09. By the last month, it’s 0.02.

Now look at the next three rows. It looks like average goal completions per user in the first month after they were acquired increased slightly from December to January and again from January to February.

This is pretty usual behavior. Let’s imagine that instead, this report tells us average goal completions per user for February 1-28, 2019 (the last row) was 4.07. Woah! That’s nearly four times as high as December and January.

We’d definitely want to investigate further. And to do so, all we have to do is right-click on the cohort we’re interested in.

Make sure you click on the column if you want the entire day, week, or month analyzed. Click on a cell if you want to analyze only the users who, for example, completed a goal three days after they were acquired on February 27, 2019.

google analytics cohort report

When you right-click, this box will pop up:

google analytics cohort segment

Give this cohort a descriptive name. Change the views to “Any View” if you want to use this segment across your entire property (which I usually recommend), then click “Create.”

Voila — now you can compare this cohort to any other segment in any report you choose.

Google Analytics Acquisition Reports

The Acquisition report breaks down your traffic by source: organic, direct, referral, email, social, paid search, display, affiliate, and (Other). (GA uses the (Other) category when it doesn’t know how to categorize a subset of traffic.)

google analytics acquisition report

From All Traffic, you can click into Channels.

google analytics acquisition by channel

Click on any category to explore each source in detail.

Depending on the category, you’ll see landing pages (which URLs your visitors entered the site on), source (which website brought them to yours), or keyword (which query took them to your site.)

google analytics acquisition report

To see this information presented visually, click on All Traffic > Treemaps. This post walks you through how to read and adjust the Treemaps report.

The next report, Source/Medium, breaks down the general category of traffic (which you saw in “Channels”) into the search engine or domain.

It’s useful if you want to get more granular insight into the ways people are coming to your site. For example, you might notice that a whopping 70% of your referral traffic is coming from LinkedIn, while just 5% is coming from Pinterest. Depending on your marketing team’s priorities it may be time to shift focus.

The last report, Referrals, reveals the specific URLs that sent people to your site, e.g. your referral traffic.

google analytics acquisition by landing page

I like to add “Landing page” as a secondary dimension so you can see which pages on your site are receiving the referral traffic.

Google Analytics Behavior Reports

Out of all the reports in GA, I use the Behavior ones the most.

Site Content

This report gives you a review all of the blog posts, landing pages, web pages on your site.

All Pages

Let’s start with Site Content > All Pages. This shows the top-trafficked pages for your current view and/or segment. It’s useful in and of itself — you should always keep a careful eye on your most viewed URLs — but I especially like it when I’m analyzing traffic growth or declines.

To give you an idea, maybe total traffic to my website has dropped 10% month over month. I’d navigate to Site Content > All Pages and change the date range to this month compared to the last month (making sure the days of the week match up).

google analytics site content

Then I can see the differences in page views by URL:

google analytics page views

This helps me identify which pages received less traffic and contributed to that decline.

Helpful tip: I like to change the “Sort Type” from “Default” to “Absolute Change” so I see the results sorted by the greatest differences in percentage rather than total views.

google analytics

I also add Page Title as a secondary dimension so I can see the name of each page alongside its URL.

Content Drilldown

This report breaks down the structure of your site by subdomain and then subfolder. To give you an idea, for HubSpot we can see data for each of our subdomains, including:

  • blog.hubspot.com
  • developers.hubspot.com
  • community.hubspot.com

And so on. If I clicked into blog.hubspot.com, I could then see aggregated data for:

  • blog.hubspot.com/sales
  • blog.hubspot.com/marketing
  • blog.hubspot.com/service

You get the drift. This report is probably most valuable for those managing highly complex properties.

Landing Pages

Landing pages is another one of my favorite reports. GA defines a landing page as the first page in a session — in other words, the visitor’s first interaction with your website.

There are a few ways to slice and dice this report.

First, if you’re interested in the sources (organic, paid social, direct, etc.) driving users to the landing page, you can add Source/Medium as a secondary dimension.

This is basically the opposite version of the report we added earlier.

Second, if you only want to see which landing pages users visited from a specific source, on a specific platform, or within a specific category, you can add the appropriate system segment:

google analytics landing pages

Maybe you’re most interested in the landing pages that mobile and tablet users see — so you choose the Mobile and Tablet Traffic.

Or perhaps you’re curious about users who ended up buying something, so you choose the “Made a Purchase” segment. There are lots of possibilities here.

Exit Pages

This report shows the last pages users visited in their sessions before they left your site.

That’s a little confusing, so let’s use an example.

I want to find a place to grab dinner with my friends so I search, “Mediterranean restaurants near me.” A place that looks good pops up, so I click on it. First, I check out the menu. They have a hummus sampler — yum. Then I click on their press page. It links to a recent article on Eater, so I leave the site to read it. The reviewer loved the food. I’m sold.

The Press page would be my exit page.

You may hear that you should analyze your exit pages to understand why users are leaving your site — I think this example reveals why that strategy doesn’t always make sense. Just because someone has left doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the content.

Check this report out but take the data with a grain of salt.

Site Speed

This report is pretty self-explanatory: it tells you how quickly your site is loading for users. Obviously, the faster the better — not only do faster pages correlate with higher revenue, but Google’s algorithm takes page load time into account.

google analytics site speed

Site Speed Page Timings

This report delves into the average page load times for each URL. I use it to identify the slowest-loading pages on HubSpot’s site with the ultimate goal of figuring out why they’re taking their sweet, sweet time and how to speed them up.

google analytics site speed

The default metrics are page views and average page load time, but I also recommend looking at:

  • Avg. page load time and bounce rate
    • Change the Sort Type to “Weighted” so you see the blog posts with the highest page views first
  • Avg. page load time and page value

Site Search

First things first: if users can search your website, make sure you’ve set up Site Search in GA. You must enable it for every view separately (here are the step-by-step instructions).

Usage

I typically start with the “Usage” report, which tells me how many sessions occurred with and without one-plus searches. In other words, I learn how frequently people used site search for the view and time period I specified.

Search Terms

Here’s where you learn what people are searching for. Look for themes: if you see the same search terms coming up multiple times, there are a few conclusions you could draw.

Either you need to create new content that gives users the information they’re looking for, and/or you need to better surface existing content so it’s easier to find.

Pay attention to the “% Search Exits” column, as this tells you how many users clicked away from the search results page rather than choosing a result. You can usually infer there wasn’t a good answer for their question (or it wasn’t appropriately titled.)

google analytics search terms

Search Pages

This report displays which pages users are starting searches from. It’s important to think about this contextually. Maybe people are commonly beginning searches from your 404 page — that makes sense and isn’t anything to be alarmed about.

If, on the other hand, they’re starting searches from a product landing page, something’s wrong. The content clearly isn’t living up to the expectations they had when they clicked the ad link.

Loves Data provides a solid overview of GA’s Site Search reports if you want to explore them even further.

Events

A user clicks a button. Then they download a file. Next they watch a video.

No, this isn’t the world’s most boring bedtime story — it’s an example of a GA event. Three events, to be specific.

GA defines events as, “user interactions with content that can be measured independently from a web page or a screen load.”

Those user interactions are up to you; you’ll need to add special code to your site or app that tracks the specific actions you’re interested in. Here are the instructions.

If you’re not excited about events tracking already, I want you to get excited. There are infinite possibilities here: if you have an event set up for watching a product demo, and another for clicking a link to an external review of your tool, you can measure how many times each event happened.

Maybe you discover your video isn’t getting many plays. It’s probably time to optimize the current video, make it easier to find on your site, or create a new one. Or perhaps you see that way more users than you expected are checking out the third-party review of your product.

That tells you users want more social proof and testimonials. Since the review is favorable, you might want to put it front and center on your site.

Top Events

This report tracks the events taking place most frequently — pretty straightforward. You’ll see total events (e.g. how many times that event happened) and unique events (how many sessions included one or more occurrences of that event).

If you’ve set values for your events, this report also shows you how the total value of each event and its average value (or the total value divided by the frequency.)

Pages

In this report, you can see which pages generate the most actions. I typically add “Event Category” as the secondary dimension, then filter for the event I’m most interested in.

To give you an idea, my team tracks “Blog CTA.” This event fires whenever a user clicks a CTA embedded in a blog post. To get to the report below, I added “Event Category” as the second dimension, then filtered for “Page begins with blog.hubspot.com” (so I’d only see URLs on the blog) and “Event Category equals Blog CTA.”

Now I can see which posts generate the most CTA clicks. Hopefully you’re starting to see the power of event tracking!

google analytics page

Events Flow

The Events Flow report tracks the order in which events take place on your site. It can tell you:

A) Whether particular events tend to happen first — and if they trigger other events

To give you an idea, maybe users frequently watch your demo video, then click the CTA to schedule a call with a salesperson.

B) Whether certain event categories are more common than others

Imagine you see that videos are played far more often than PDFs are downloaded.

C) Whether users act differently based on segment

For example, perhaps people coming in via organic scroll to the bottom of your pricing page far more than people coming in via social media.

Note: This report is very subject to sampling. (Read more about GA’s data sampling practices here.) Sampled data is usually pretty accurate, but it means the more important the conclusion you’re drawing, the less uncertainty you’ll be able to tolerate.

To reduce the level of sampling, make the date range smaller.

Publisher

If you monetize your website with Google AdSense or Ad Exchange, you can use the Ad Manager and Google Analytics integration to bring information on how your ad units are performing into GA.

I won’t go into any more detail here, but I recommend reading the following resources if you want to know more:

Google Analytics Conversion Reports

If you have a website, you have an objective — probably several — for the people who visit your site.

Ecommerce store owners want their visitors to subscribe to their mailing list, make a user account, add something to their cart, and/or complete the order confirmation process.

Media companies want their visitors to stay on their site for as long as possible and/or view a certain number of pages (all the better to maximize their ad revenue.)

B2B businesses want their visitors to download an ebook, sign up for a webinar, or book a call with a sales rep.

Google Analytics makes it possible to measure all of these things — plus many more.

A goal is essentially a conversion that you’ve defined (which is why this info shows up under the Conversion section.)

There are four main types of goals:

  • Destination: This goal is completed when a user reaches a specific page, like a product page, order confirmation page, or thank you page
  • Event: This goal is completed when a predefined event fires (like the Events you can set up as, well, Events — think watching a video or sharing something to social media)
  • Duration: This goal is completed when a user’s session lasts longer than a pre-set time
  • Pages/screens per session: This goal is completed when a user views a specific number of pages (or screens for an app) per session

The first two are insanely useful. The last two are pretty useless. (If you have an interesting use case for Duration or Pages/screens per session, let me know on Twitter @ajavuu. I’d love to be proven wrong.)

Once you’ve identified your goals, take a look at these instructions for creating, editing, and sharing them. This guide on choosing goal values is also quite helpful.

Overview

Head here to learn how you’re doing goal-wise across the board. I get the most from this report when I compare date ranges and/or look at goal completions by segment.

For example, quickly looking at goal completions by device reveals mobile visitors sign up for the blog newsletter much less frequently than desktop and tablet visitors. That could be because it’s hard to sign up for the newsletter on a phone — or it could be mobile users are looking for one thing and ending their session as soon as they’ve found it. I should dig in more to decide which case it is.

Goal URLs

Knowing a goal was completed isn’t helpful in and of itself; you also need to know where it happened. Suppose you’ve embedded the same form in three separate pages on your site.

It’s great that Daenerys Stark from Dragonstone, Blackwater Bay just filled out your form to get in touch with a consultant, but which page did she fill it out on?

The Goal URLs report shows you. It breaks down conversions by “Goal Completion URL” (read: where it went down.)

google analytics goals

Reverse Goal Path

Reverse Goal Path is the unsung hero of the Conversion section. Well, I’m singing its praises now. This report allows you to see the last three pages a user visited before completing the goal.

It’s useful for goals that aren’t sequential. Maybe you have a contact form that appears in multiple places on your site, or there are two different paths that lead users into buying your ebook. Thanks to this report, you can understand the various ways people arrive at the end destination — and there’s no need to set up a funnel.

I usually filter down to a specific goal completion location or goal previous step 1, 2, or 3.

For example, since I’m interested in seeing which blog posts generated leads from content downloads, I added “Goal Previous Step – 1 containing blog.hubspot.com” to the filter.

google analytics reverse goal path

Here’s what I got:

google analytics reverse goal path

“(Entrance)” means the user came to the site on that step; “(not set)” means the user didn’t complete any steps prior to that one — because they weren’t on the website yet.

For a comprehensive exploration of Reverse Goal Path, take a look at OnlineMetrics’s guide.

Funnel Visualization

For sequential goals, Funnel Visualization is your go-to report.

Going back to the ecommerce example, the last goal would be “Arrived at the order confirmation page.” The goal before that, or goal #3, would be “Clicked checkout.” The goal before that, goal #2, would be “Added something to cart.” And the goal before that, goal #1, would be “Looked at product listing page.”

At each stage, you can see user drop-off. That lets you identify areas where you can improve conversion rates; for example, maybe you lose a lot of users during the checkout process. You change the flow so they can check out as a guest (versus needing to create an account), which dramatically reduces checkout abandonment.

To see this level of detail, you’ll need to map out your goals as a series. If all of your goals are simply the end objective, like “Arrived at the order confirmation page,” you won’t be able to reverse-engineer how users progress.

The Funnel Visualization report also requires you to mark the first step in the goal path as required or not. If you tell GA that yes, the first goal needs to be completed, Funnel Visualization will only show you the sessions where the user first finished goal #1. If a user skips goal #1 and goes straight to goal #2, their session won’t be represented here.

Goal Flow

If Funnel Visualization is the uptight relative who always made you take your elbows off the table and wash your hands before you ate, Goal Flow is the laid-back, fun relative who’d randomly take you out of school to go to the zoo.

All that to say: Goal Flow gives you a lot more freedom than Funnel Visualization. Unlike the latter, Goal Flow shows you all sessions that led to the completed end goal — regardless of whether the user completed the required goal #1 or not.

Another difference from Funnel Visualization: Goal Flow also shows you loopbacks — i.e. when a user goes back to a previous page or refreshes their current one.

If the user skips a step, Funnel Visualization “backfils” it. Goal Flow doesn’t.

If you edit an existing funnel or create a new one, Funnel Visualization will show you all your data from that moment onward. Goal Flow, on the other hand, can show you data from the past.

You can also toggle the Dimension and Level of detail of the report, as well as the segment, to get even more granular.

I recommend looking at various segments to see which convert at the highest and lowest rates — plus where they commonly drop out.

google analytics goal flow

Note: This report is subject to sampling. (Read more about GA’s data sampling practices here.) Sampled data is usually pretty accurate, but it means the more important the conclusion you’re drawing, the less uncertainty you’ll be able to tolerate.

To reduce the level of sampling, make the date range smaller.

Smart Goals

This report is helpful if you’re A) using Google Ads and B) not measuring conversions. Basically, Google uses machine learning to identify your “best” sessions — or those likeliest to generate conversions — and then translates those themes into Smart Goals.

Once you have Smart Goals, you can use them in Google Ads to optimize your ads performance.

Smart Goals are controversial within the marketing community because the data is minimal and businesses will be far better served by setting up their own conversion tracking. Keep that in mind if you decide to use them.

Now You’re Ready to Track

Google Analytics is a highly valuable tool for any business as it gives you tangible data that you can apply to grow your business. Bookmark this guide and come back to it as your data tracking becomes more sophisticated.

Good luck on your Google Analytics journey.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August, 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Thank you for reading.

17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond

This may be of some interest.

Smiling Woman at Computer Image

Smiling Woman at Computer Image

Virtual marketing conferences offer a wealth of benefits to marketers looking to learn and increase brand awareness, and in the current crisis they represent the only event opportunities for marketers.

How do you go about finding events that match your business and B2B marketing needs, however?

With in-person marketing events not likely until well into 2021, more virtual events than ever taking place, making it harder than ever to find the ones that can best help build your business, expand your communication opportunities, and offer the most relevant new industry education from top marketing industry experts.

MarTech Today Chart

Marketers are getting more out of virtual events, too — with 75 percent in a recent survey saying they were satisfied with their virtual event experiences. Online events also hold their own unique advantages.

“Bringing events online has its downsides, naturally — there’s no substitute for personally meeting and interacting with all the valuable contacts attending a conference — but there are some key advantages,” Amanda Bulat, senior content marketing manager at LinkedIn Sales & Marketing Solutions recently observed.

“Virtual events are easier for people to attend (with no geographic restrictions), less resource-intensive to host, and can make it easier to capture lead gen info,” she added.

Expanding on our previous listing of “8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers,” for summer 2020 and beyond we’ve gathered together a collection of some of the top virtual marketing events, and we’re happy to present the list here, in chronological order.

Virtual Marketing Conferences For Summer 2020 & Beyond

Adobe Experience Makers Live — #ExperienceMakersLive
When: July 22-23, 2020
Theme: Digital Experiences
About: Adobe* Experience Makers Live is focused on creating long-term business success through inclusive digital experiences, featuring speakers including author Dr. Brené Brown, Microsoft’s Shelley Bransten, Forrester’s Joana de Quintanilha, and Adobe’s Marissa Dacay.

ContentTECH Summit — #ContentTECH
When: August 10-12, 2020
Theme: Content Marketing
About: ContentTECH Summit explores the ever-increasing importance of content marketing to create, manage, deliver and scale enterprise content and provide customers with better digital experiences, and features top speakers such as Mastercard Worldwide’s Wendy Richardson, author Alan Zweibel, and our own CEO Lee Odden.

Digital Summit At Home — #DSatHome
When: August 11-13, 2020
Theme: Digital Marketing
About: Digital Summit At Home examines digital marketing in over 30 virtual sessions, and features top speakers such as author Seth Godin, LinkedIn’s* Ty Heath, and our own senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman.

IABC MN Convergence Summit — #IABCMN
When: August 12-13, 2020
Theme: Business Communications
About: IABC MN Convergence Summit weaves together business and academic experts to learn how to overcome today’s business communication challenges and explore how to build reputation, connect with audiences, and influence stakeholders, and features speakers such as Best Buy’s Andy Gorski, Deluxe Corporation’s Devon Block, along with our CEO Lee Odden who will present “In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience.”

INBOUND 2020 — #INBOUND2020
When: September 22-23, 2020
Theme: Marketing & Sales
About: INBOUND 2020 presents some of the biggest names and brightest minds in sales and marketing and other industries, and offers speakers from firms including Intuit, HubSpot and others.

AI Summit Silicon Valley — #AISummit
When: September 30-October 1, 2020
Theme: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
About: The Virtual AI Summit Silicon Valley 2020 presents all things artificial intelligence for business marketers, and includes leading speakers from Google, Lyft, Boeing, Lenovo and more.

2020 B2B Next Conference & Exhibition — #B2BNext
When: September 29-30, 2020
Theme: Marketing & Sales
About: The 2020 B2B Next Conference & Exhibition explores the digital-first B2B economy with a focus on collaboration in eCommerce, and features top speakers including Grainger CEO D.G. Macpherson, Graybar CEO Kathy Mazzarella, RBC Capital Markets’ Marketing Manager Mark Mahaney and others.

Advertising Week Virtual — #AW2020
When: September 29-October 8, 2020
Theme: Marketing & Sales
About: Advertising Week Virtual serves as a worldwide gathering of marketing, advertising, technology and brand professionals, offering major speakers including Google VP of Marketing, EMEA Yonca Dervisoglu, SNAP VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Baroness Oona King, Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth and others, for eight days and six global markets filled with unlimited ideas.

Fast Co. Innovation Festival — #FCFestival
When: October 5-9, 2020
Theme: Innovation
About: The Fast Co. Innovation Festival offers business inspiration by leaders making a difference through technology and creativity, with a powerful slate of global speakers to be announced.

MarTech — #MarTechConf
When: October 6-8, 2020
Theme: MarTech
About: Martech Conference focuses on actionable tactics in marketing technology for solving marketing problems, with top speakers to be announced.

Content Marketing World — #CMWorld
When: October 13-16, 2020
Theme: Content Marketing
About: Content Marketing World conference and expo explores the best in content marketing to grow your business and inspire your audience, featuring top speakers including Beverly Jackson of Activision Blizzard, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, MJ DePalma of Microsoft Advertising, and others.

ANA 2020 Masters of Marketing Conference — #ANA
When: October 21-23, 2020
Theme: B2B Marketing
The Association of National Advertisers’s 2020 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference is set to examine brand marketing practices related to digital and social, and to help brands and businesses navigate these difficult times and drive sustained success, with a lineup of speakers to be announced.

B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange — #B2BSMX
When: October 26-28, 2020
Theme: Marketing & Sales
About: B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange Online Experience brings together thought leaders in ABM, revenue marketing and demand generation, including top speakers to be announced.

Sitecore Symposium 2020 — #SitecoreSYM
When: October 26-28, 2020
Theme: Marketing Automation
About: B2B marketers looking to explore the marketing automation landscape can attend Sitecore Symposium 2020 and learn the next generation of strategies and tactics, with a lineup of major speakers to be announced.

Brand ManageCamp — #BMC2020
When: October 27-29, 2020
Theme: Brand Management
About: Brand ManageCamp’s conference explores the insights, tools, strategy and leadership inspiration to drive new brand growth, featuring a lineup a speakers including Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, author Shep Hyken, author Carla Johnson, and others.

MarketingProfs B2B Forum — #MPB2B
When:November 3-6, 2020
Theme: B2B Marketing
About: At MarketingProfs B2B Forum top leaders, innovators, and people who make things happen gather to share their secrets to success, with a stellar lineup of speakers to be including keynotes by author David Meerman Scott, author April Dunford, and writer and comedian Sarah Cooper.

Dreamforce 2020 — #DF20
When: November 9-12, 2020
Theme: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
About: Dreamforce brings together the Salesforce community of thought leaders and industry pioneers for education and inspiration, and with over 2,700 sessions its one of the latest business conferences. Look for speakers to be announced in the lead-up to the event, and also check out Dreamforce’s virtual Leading Through Change series.

Gear Up Your 2020 Virtual Marketing Events

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found a number of new and exciting virtual events to attend on our list to make the most of the rest of 2020, and that the learning you’ll experience from either these virtual conferences or the many others available will help you achieve new levels of B2B marketing success this year and beyond.

If you’re also considering hosting a virtual event of your own, check out “Boost Your Virtual Event By Taking These Actions Before, During, and After,” by Kylee Lessard, associate product marketing manager of LinkedIn Pages & Elevate at LinkedIn.

At TopRank Marketing we’ve explored the power of events both virtual and in-person for B2B marketers, especially those who incorporate influencer marketing, in a number of articles, and here are five to help you get the most from your virtual 2020 marketing events:

* Adobe and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

MozCon Virtual 2020: Top Takeaways from Day One

This may be of some interest.

Posted by cheryldraper

Today marked day one of the first-ever MozCon Virtual! Even though we weren’t together in person, it was so exciting to get the best people in the industry together again.

So much of the day was different from what we expected six months ago, but the one thing we can always count on from our speakers is a MASSIVE amount of value. We’re talking insights, game plans, cheat codes — you name it, we’ve got it — and this year was no different.

Let’s get to it.

Sarah Bird — Welcome & State of the Industry

It’s always inspiring to hear from our fearless leader. Sarah hit on some of the changes that we’ve seen this year and how they’ve affected both us as people and us as an industry.

Sarah also laid out her thoughts on major SEO trends for 2020.

In closing, Sarah reminded us that we rise and fall collectively and that in the end, the world is our work. In difficult times we must all come together.

We’re all so happy to be able to create this virtual experience and allow for everyone to have something (somewhat) predictable to look forward to for two days.

Andy Crestodina — Thought Leadership and SEO: The 3 Key Elements and Search Ranking Strategies

Andy started off by walking us through the three key aspects of thought leadership: personal brand, taking a stand, and proving expert insights.

Then, very kindly, Andy laid out exactly what to do to fulfill each aspect.

Expert Insights

  • Create original research
  • Write books
  • Share novel ideas

Take a stand

  • Have a strong opinion
  • Don’t shy away from controversy
  • Inspire others

Build a personal brand

  • Have a social following
  • Be cited by others
  • Be influential

This presentation was 163 slides of actionable insights. It’s definitely one that we’ll have to watch a few times over!

Shannon McGirk — Great Expectations: The Truth About Digital PR Campaigns

Shannon came to set us straight: we aren’t showing the full picture when it comes to Digital PR, and it’s quite toxic.

She started out by showing a few of her own tweets and pointing out that she rarely, if ever, shares anything about campaigns that don’t “go viral”.

Shannon explained that we talk about Digital PR campaigns as if the majority of them are “huge wins”. The reality, however, is that most of our campaigns will be steady performers and the huge wins are actually just anomalies.

How we talk about campaigns:

How campaigns actually perform:



Aira put out a state of digital PR study and found that most campaigns only got between one and 20 links. When Shannon broke down the numbers for Aira, they were consistent: about 17 links were gained per campaign!

What do we do about this? Shannon challenged us to take as much time looking into what didn’t work as we do looking into what did work.

Using a custom made success matrix, Shannon and her team were able to spot the trends for both “successful” and “not successful” campaigns and implement plans accordingly.

Her parting strategy:

  1. Take off the pressure of “virality” and focus on steady performers and fails.
  2. Realize that steady performers can consistently impact weighty SEO KPIs.
  3. Use the success matrix to review campaigns and catch trends early.

Robin Lord — Whatever You Do, Put Billboards in Seattle: Getting Brand Awareness Data from Google

Wow! Our minds are still blown from this presentation. Robin took us through some extremely valuable workflows for collecting and analyzing data.

When it comes to determining the success of your “brand,” the numbers aren’t straightforward. There are a lot of data points to take into consideration. In fact, Robin started off by asking us if we used multiple datasets, collected data on our competitors, and got granular. Needless to say, many of us knew we were in for a ride.

Honestly, this presentation was so jam-packed with information that we had a hard time keeping up! Thankfully, at the end of his presentation, Robin laid out step-by-step instructions on how he collected, compiled, and analyzed all of this data.

Alexis Sanders — The Science of Seeking Your Customer

Determining your audience is about more than demographics and affinity data; it’s about truly understanding your audience as people.

Alexis took us through four questions we should try to answer when defining our audience:

  1. What’s the key information?
  2. What are they like at their core?
  3. How do they choose products?
  4. What’s their relationship with technology?

She even provided a list of free and paid resources that anyone can use to collect this information.

Alexis also explained that audience research is not something that happens only once (at the beginning of a campaign), but instead should inform the entire customer journey.

Her parting words encouraged us to learn fast and become in-tune with the constant change, instead of always trying to guess correctly!

Phillip Nottingham — How to Build a Global Brand Without a Global Budget

The marketing funnel is broken, we all know that. But if we aren’t focusing on getting people to work down a funnel, what are we working towards? Building our brand. Right. Well, how do we go about doing that?

Phil blew our minds with insights on how he helped Wistia change their mindset when it came to creating “brand awareness.” The first step was to stop calling it brand awareness and instead call it brand affinity.

Building an affinity to a brand means spending time with a brand. A KPI that usually gets lost in the mix of impressions, clicks, etc.

In his presentation, Phil breaks down the exact method he used with Wistia to get people to spend as much time on the site watching four videos as they did reading all 1,170 blogs.

Greg Gifford shared a great summary slide here:

Dr. Pete — Moving Targets: Keywords in Crisis

We were so thrilled to have Dr. Pete back to speak at his NINTH MozCon this year. While this year’s conference was unlike any other, his presentation was just as insightful.

Dr. Pete talked all about spotting trends. Nothing about this year could have been predicted. There was no way that hair salons could have predicted that “how to cut hair” was going to be an opportunity keyword.

However, there is still a way to capitalize on these opportunities as we spot them.

Dr. Pete showed us exactly how we can use tools that we’re familiar with, and a few that we might not be familiar with, to spot trends and turn them into opportunities including Google Trends, Pinterest, Twitter search, and even Boing Boing Store.

There were some real gems in this presentation!

Needless to say, Dr. Pete has officially gone nine straight years impressing MozCon.

Francine Rodriguez — Let It Go: How to Embrace Automation and Get Way More Done

2020 has really come out swinging. Francine voiced exactly what we were all thinking: “that’s enough!”

We have enough to worry about, do we really need to keep adding to the list?

When it comes to search engine marketing, there are a lot of moving parts and it can be excruciating to try and keep up with it all. There is a solution though: ROBOTS! (Someone call Roger!)

Google is constantly learning, so why not let them leverage their new knowledge?

Francine walked us through the different areas of PPC automation:

  • Bidding
  • Ad copy
  • Smart campaigns
  • Keyword matching

If you’re looking for a great example of letting go and embracing automation, Microsoft Ads is a good place to go. They allow you to import all of your Google Ads right into Microsoft ads so they can start running right away.

Rob Ousbey — A Novel Approach to Scraping Websites

What do we even say about this presentation? Rob is one of a kind.

If you take a look at the #MozCon feed on Twitter, you’ll notice far fewer people live-tweeting — that’s because they were busy taking notes!

Rob showed us how he scrapes websites (including the big G) in seconds using a few lines of code. He walked us through every piece of code needed to scrape G2, Google, and even Google’s Lighthouse tool.

He wrapped it all up by showing off exactly what he did to integrate Lighthouse data into Moz Pro’s SERP analysis.

Again, this is going to be one of those presentations that you have to rewatch multiple times. Or maybe even at half-speed!

Ross Simmonds — Designing a Content Engine: Going from Ideation to Creation to Distribution

We closed out day one with the Coolest of Cool.

Ross came in hot with some Disney references to make us think.

Disney movies — where do the storylines usually come from? Other stories!

In recent years we’ve seen Disney “revise” their previous movies to make them fit today’s world. And actually, some of the original Disney movies were “remixes” of Shakespeare’s plays.

Ross loves his four Rs (revise, remix, remove, redirect), and this year he gave us even more actionable plans.

This closing session really encouraged us to put on our “Sherlock Homeboy” hat and get curious about what others are doing, and how we can do it better.

A few places to find inspiration for innovation that Ross mentioned:

  • Your favorite website’s site map
  • Wayback machine for industry leaders’ sites
  • Wikipedia

There’s so much to do

For now, we’re calling it a day and getting some rest because we get to do it all again tomorrow!

If you want to access the speaker slides, you can sign in with your Moz Community credentials and download them on this page.

If you did join us today, what was your favorite session? Your biggest takeaway? We can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Thank you for reading.

How to Get Backlinks in 2020 [Series] – Whiteboard Friday

This may be of some interest.

Posted by BritneyMuller

Link building is never-ending in SEO, but a little creativity and smart tactics can help you ferret out great link opportunities from their hiding spots. In this episode of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller kicks off a series on modern link building (including the sage advice: let people choose their own anchor text!)

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are going to be looking at the easiest ways for you to get backlinks to your website. None of these involve content creation whatsoever.

Really excited to dive into this. It will be part of a larger “Link Building in 2020 Series and Beyond.” So really excited to dive into some of the easiest things that you can do today to enhance your backlink profile. Let’s take a look.

No-brainer link building

☑ Unlinked brand, product, name, etc. mentions

This is simply just going to Google, doing a search for these things within quotes, and looking at the first several pages of results to ensure that all of those results are linking back to your site.

They likely are not, so those will be your opportunities to send a message or an email asking for the webmaster or the writer to provide a link back to your site with your mention. It’s one of the easiest things to do. So is unlinked images. 

☑ Unlinked images

This is a gold mine if you’re working with a website that has a lot of proprietary images or really great graphic design, maybe you have infographics or some things that are special to the brand or the domain. Use Google reverse image search and put in the images that you think might have been taken or used on other websites.

You will immediately see what those websites are and whether or not they link back to your site. So again, very similar to this first one. You’re basically just asking for them to credit the website and link back accordingly. 

☑ Redirect your 404 pages with backlinks

This is completely within your control. No outreach required. In fact, Moz Link Explorer provides this really, really easily within Moz Pro. You basically take a look at all of your pages that have backlinks, and you can filter by status code.

You just change that to 400s, 404s, and you can see all of the pages to your website that currently have backlinks but the page is no longer there. All you want to do with that is just simply 301 redirect that old broken page to a new relevant page, and you’re kind of saving that authority that is being sent to your site.

So, so easy. A lot of people forget about that one. It’s great. 

☑ Keep an eye on recently lost links

The keyword here is “recently.” If you can engage with another website that has recently either by accident or changed things around on purpose on the page, you are more likely to reclaim your lost link.

It’s also just important to really understand why. 

  • Is that website going through a redesign? 
  • Have they gotten rid of pages? 
  • Did a competitor come in and provide a better resource than what you currently had? 

There are all sorts of reasons why you really want to identify what’s going on.

☑ Move backlink targets

This is a new tactic that was recently brought to my attention by the brilliant Sarah Hollenbeck at Siege Media. They have a brilliant team. I highly recommend you checking out this article that’s basically all about moving backlink targets, which has never really occurred to me, where you basically have backlinks to older resources or older content or products that you want restructured to newer or more important pages on your website. 

Sarah goes into great detail about this and can help explain just how you can do this successfully and what that means for your site. So really, really neat. I highly suggest that. 

☑ Sites that list competitors, but not you

Check out sites that list competitors but not you. These might be resource pages or roundups of information of sorts.

You can play around with this in Google as well by providing competitors within quotes and then minus your company or the website you’re working on. 

It really starts to give you an idea of what websites might be great opportunities for a backlink, because you fit within that vein. It makes sense. 

☑  Sites that provide topic/industry + geo information

Similarly sites that provide topic or industry plus geo information, so again finding those resource pages, those roundups. Oftentimes you will see these on lots of .edu sites or even .gov. So you can do some different searches around, if you were Columbia, outdoor clothing in Minnesota.

Play around with this a bit. This could be in the Midwest, in the United States. You can change these words around and really start to identify some higher-quality link prospects. 

☑ Build relationships

Lastly, build relationships. I cannot speak more highly about this.

Just for your own career longevity and what you do in SEO and marketing in general, it is so important to develop genuine, real relationships with individuals that work in the industry, whether that be at other websites or just in the same vein of things.

Not only can you bounce ideas off of these people and really get help with different things, but you get to help support the incredible things that they’re working on. It’s just an all-around, feel-good, help each other out situation. So if you’re not already reaching out and building relationships, I highly suggest you do that.

It’s a lot of fun, and I can’t stress enough there are so, so many good people within our industry it’s incredible. 

☑ BONUS: Let people choose anchor text!

Lastly, we really want to take a modern look at link building practices in 2020 and beyond, and a big part of that goes around things like let people choose the anchor text for your backlink.

Five or 10 years ago it was standard to request very specific anchor text for the keyword you wanted to rank for. It’s not really the case anymore. Especially with the addition of BERT, Google has gotten so much more sophisticated in understanding text and language and websites that it’s really unnecessary and might even cause problems to ask for those specific anchor link texts.

Definitely take a look at this article we’ll link to down below by David Farkas here, who wrote about link building lies. It’s a really great article. We’ll continue to build upon this series to provide you with some fresher information around link building today. I really look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions down below.

Feel free to let us know what you liked about this, what you didn’t like. If you have any great ideas, please let us know down in the comments, and I look forward to seeing you all next time. Thanks so much. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


Scoop up more SEO insights at MozCon Virtual this July

Don’t miss exclusive data, tips, workflows, and advice from Britney and our other fantastic speakers at this year’s MozCon Virtual! Chock full of the SEO industry’s top thought leadership, for the first time ever MozCon will be completely remote-friendly. It’s like 20+ of your favorite Whiteboard Fridays on vitamins and doubled in size, plus interactive Q&A, virtual networking, and full access to the video bundle:

Save my spot at MozCon Virtual!

We can’t wait to see you there!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Thank you for reading.

The MozCon Virtual 2020 Final Agenda

This may be of some interest.

Posted by cheryldraper

We’re just about a month out from this year’s MozCon and we couldn’t be more excited! If you’ve never considered it before, it’s high time you became acquainted with the idea of a “couchference” — a full-fledged conference held from the comfort of your home office space, real office space (depending on your local quarantine phase), or even your sofa.

On July 14th & 15th, we’ll be charting brand-new territory with MozCon Virtual: with a choose-your-own-adventure two-stream show, robust opportunities for online networking, and some of the industry’s top speakers, you’re in for all the turbo-charged SEO education and peer interaction of in-person MozCon with none of the troubles of travel. Plus, at $129 per ticket (including full access to the professionally produced video bundle, a $350 value!) you’ll access incredible marketing thought leadership at an unheard-of price:

Nab my ticket and video bundle for $129

And remember, this is a great opportunity for our friends around the world and those who aren’t able to travel to experience the MozCon magic live! If this will be your first time attending, we’d love to hear what talk you’re most excited for in the comments(All talk times are in Pacific, so keep that in mind when planning your day! We promise we won’t judge if you’re watching in your jammies.)

Read on to see what your favorite industry leaders are speaking on this year!


Tuesday, July 14th


8:30am – Networking

Open time for attendees to connect with other attendees and MozCon partners.

9:00am – Keynote – Welcome to MozCon Virtual 2020 + State of the Industry

Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz

Sarah has a storied history of kicking MozCon off with a bright, sparkly bang. The fearless leader of Moz will be welcoming each and every one of us to this year’s virtual event, laying out all the pertinent details of the conference, and setting the tone for two jam-packed days of learning with a look at the State of the Industry.

9:25am – Keynote – Thought Leadership and SEO: The 3 Key Elements and Search Ranking Strategies

Andy Crestodina, Co-founder and CMO, Orbit Media

Everyone wants to do it, but no one really knows what it is. So what is thought leadership? What isn’t it? And how does it affect search rankings?

This presentation is a data-rich perspective on the oh-so-popular topic of thought leadership, filled with practical takeaways for becoming an authority. And it’s all about the relationship between thought leadership and SEO. We’ll see how the research answers the questions and informs the tactics: Can brands be thought leaders? Can it be outsourced? Do you need to publish research? Or strong opinion? And how does it attract links and authority, rankings, and qualified visitors? Learn how a personal brand combines with content to drive big wins in SEO.

10:20am – Stream 1 – Great Expectations: The Truth About Digital PR Campaigns

Shannon McGuirk, Head of PR & Content, Aira

In her talk, Shannon will challenge the desire for virality over consistency when it comes to digital PR and link building campaigns, while exploring the impact on the industry, team morale, and client expectations. By honestly sharing her own shortcomings, she’ll push you to learn from your own campaign failures using tried and tested frameworks that’ll mean you can face any creative campaign or outreach struggle head-on.

10:20am – Stream 2 – Whatever You Do, Put Billboards in Seattle – Getting Brand Awareness Data from Google

Robin Lord, Consultant, Distilled

How can you harness the vast power of Google data to gain special insight into city- and product-level brand awareness? Robin will lead us on a journey through his Google Trends methodology to use Adwords search volume data for better brand intelligence.

11:15am – Stream 1 – How to Build a Global Brand Without a Global Budget

Phil Nottingham, Brand and Video Marketing Strategist, Phil Nottingham Ltd.

As funnel-based marketing becomes less effective and harder to measure, “building a brand” is frequently touted as the panacea for all marketer’s woes. But it’s unclear how this can be achieved scalably and with a limited budget. Large enterprises resort to huge creative advertising campaigns that get their names out there by force of spend alone — but this isn’t realistic for the smaller companies and the number of impressions is not the number of people impressed. In this session, Phil explains how modern brands are built through advocacy more than awareness alone, offering a deliverable method of brand marketing to radically shake up your content strategy.

11:15am – Stream 2 – The Science of Seeking Your Customer

Alexis Sanders, Senior SEO Account Manager, Merkle

Users are at the core of everything we do in modern SEO. However, finding and understanding audiences can be daunting. Alexis will cover how to find your audience, share tools that are available for all price points, and show ways in which she’s found audience research to be useful as an SEO.

12:10pm – Birds of a Feather discussion groups

Connect and chat with like-minded marketers on a wide range of digital marketing topics!

12:55pm – Keynote – Moving Targets: Keywords in Crisis

Dr. Peter J. Meyers, Marketing Scientist, Moz

Too often, we take a once-and-done approach to keyword research, but Google changes at the pace of information, and that pace speeds up even more during a crisis. How do we do keyword research in fast-paced industries and during world-changing moments? Dr. Pete provides concrete tactics for adaptive keyword research and spotting trends as they happen.

1:45pm – Stream 1 – A Novel Approach to Scraping SEO Data

Rob Ousbey, VP Product, Moz

Throughout a decade in SEO consulting, Rob needed to extract data from websites on many an occasion. Often this was at scale from sites that didn’t have an API or export feature, or on sites that required some kind of authentication. While this was primarily a way to collect & combine data from different SEO tools, the use-cases were endless.

He found a technique that helped immensely, particularly when traditional tools couldn’t do the job — but hadn’t seen anyone using the same approach. In this very tactical session, Rob will walk through the steps he’s used to extract data from all sorts of sites, from small fry to the giants, and give you the tools and knowledge to do the same.

1:45pm – Stream 2 – Let It Go: How to Embrace Automation and Get Way More Done

Francine Rodriguez, Manager of Customer Success, WordStream

Let the robot uprising begin! We’ve all heard horror stories about the dangers of automating your tasks, but now is not the time to deny yourself extra help. Robots never sleep. They don’t get tired or overwhelmed by their to-do lists, and they’re ready to work round-the-clock to accomplish whatever task we set before them. In this talk, you’ll explore all the areas were automation is kicking butt in PPC — and how you can harness the power of robots to make more time for other efforts.

2:35pm – Keynote – Designing a Content Engine: Going from Ideation to Creation to Distribution

Ross Simmonds, CEO, Foundation

What does it take to develop a content engine that drives results? In this presentation, Ross will share data around the power of having a content engine, tools & strategies for content ideation, tools and tactics for content creation, and frameworks that brands can use to ensure that their content is distributed effectively after hitting publish. This presentation will help you not only uncover content-market fit, but also capitalize on it.

3:30pm – Networking

Open time for attendees to connect with other attendees and MozCon partners.

4:30pm — Day One is in the books!


Wednesday, July 15th


8:30am – Networking

Open time for attendees to connect with other attendees and MozCon partners.

9:00am – Welcome to Day Two!

Cyrus Shepard, emcee

9:10am – Keynote – Accessible Machine Learning Workflows for SEOs

Britney Muller, Senior SEO Scientist, Moz

“Machine learning” and “automation” aren’t words SEOs need to fear. Machine learning enthusiast and ambassador of technical SEO Britney Muller shares a series of workflows intended for any SEO to access and use in their everyday work — no intimidation required.

9:55am – Stream 1 – How to Be Ahead of the (CTR) Curve

Izzi Smith, Technical SEO Analyst, Ryte

Let’s face it: Carrying out SEO magic is all in vain when you’re forgetting about how your brand and products are being surfaced in the SERPs. By not properly analyzing or enhancing our organic CTR, we’re greatly limiting our potential. Izzi will help you create the perfect SERP engagement strategy by covering practical ways to uplift your significant CTR, such as remedying your critical keyword rankings that could soon be lost, leveraging brand-empowering entity features (and assessing the risks of doing so), more intelligent testing of rich & featured snippet optimizations, and a whole lot more. CTR-you-ready?? You better be!

9:55am – Stream 2 – How to Go Beyond Marketing for Clients: The Value of a Thriving Brand Ecosystem

Flavilla Fongang, Brand Strategist, 3 Colours Rule

Too many marketers serve their clients the bare minimum of what’s expected from an agency. To stand out among the crowd, cultivate real loyalty, and maximize the lifetime value of your clients, you have to go beyond mere marketing — developing a thriving brand ecosystem that aligns with the brand’s ultimate goals. Flavilla Fongang shares her tried-and-true framework for optimizing the customer journey, improving acquisition and retention, and going beyond what’s expected to serve your clients well.

10:50am – Stream 1 – How to Promote Your Content Like a Boss

Brian Dean, Founder, Backlinko

Creating content is easy. But getting people to see your content? That’s a different story. Brian Dean shares over a dozen practical strategies that you can use to spread the word about your latest blog post, podcast episode, or YouTube video.

10:50am – Stream 2 – Google My Business: Battling Bad Info & Safeguarding Your Search Strategy

Joy Hawkins, Owner, Sterling Sky Inc.

What’s the harm in a little misinformation here and there? In the realm of local SEO, Joy Hawkins is here to outline exactly that. When it comes to local search and Google My Business, bad info can be make or break for your campaigns. Follow real data from a recent case study that illustrates why strategic decisions should be based on accurate information — and what can happen when that info is bad, wrong, or just plain incomplete.

11:45am – Birds of a Feather discussion groups

Connect and chat with like-minded marketers on a wide range of digital marketing topics!

12:10pm – Keynote – Runtime: The 3-Ring Circus of Technical SEO

Michael King, Managing Director, iPullRank

Mike redefined technical SEO and its importance in our industry back in 2016. In 2018, he taught us everything we didn’t know about SEO. This year, he’s back to share the hottest technical tactics to up-level your efforts, plus the case studies and data that should be guiding your decisions.

1:25pm – Stream 1 – Everyday Automation for Marketers

David Sottimano, Independent Marketing Consultant, Opensource.org

As a general rule, we shouldn’t be doing things that a computer can do better. However, a lot of automation is achieved through programming expertise — and that expertise isn’t usually a marketer’s forte. In this session, you’ll learn how to gather data, use machine learning, and automate everyday tasks for marketers using low-code or no-code solutions.

1:25pm – Stream 2 – Red Flags: Use a Discovery Process to Go from Red Flags to Green Lights

Dana DiTomaso, President and Partner, Kick Point

Ever get a few months into working with a new client and you’re thinking “if only we’d known…”? Or how about when you start that new job, except you can’t seem to make any forward progress because you’re always mopping up prior mistakes? Running a discovery process at the start of a project — or even as its own project — will help you turn those red flags into green lights.

2:20pm – Stream 1 – Competitive Advantage in a Commoditized Industry

Heather Physioc, Group Connections Director, Discoverability, VMLY&R

SEO isn’t dead — it’s commoditized. In a world where search companies are a dime a dozen and brands tout bland “unique selling propositions” that aren’t unique at all, how can you avoid drowning in the sea of sameness? What are you doing that’s any different from every other SEO firm? In this talk, you’ll learn how to find, activate, and articulate your competitive advantage. Learn how to identify unique strengths and innovative offerings that equate to competitive advantage through these real, working examples so you can bring them to life in search. You’ll leave with actionable tips and homework to help your search business stand out — and that you can use with clients to help them find their competitive edge, too.

2:20pm – Stream 1 – I Wanna Be Rich: Making Your Consultancy Profitable

Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist, Moz

How will your company weather the next update? How will you avoid layoffs and salary cuts? Being a master of SEO doesn’t guarantee that your consultancy will succeed. After a decade and a half of experience, Russ Jones will outline the techniques that will keep your clients happy and your bottom line healthy.

3:10pm – Keynote – The CMO Role Has Been Disrupted: Are You Ready for Your New Boss?

Will Reynolds, Founder & Vice President of Innovation, Seer Interactive

CMOs have the shortest tenure in the c-suite, and the CMO role has been eliminated at some of the largest brands. CEOs are now asking tougher and tougher questions about the value of marketing — and oftentimes marketers are not prepared.

Connecting your data and building your data flywheel is one way to support the swift answers CEOs expect from their CMOs. We need to get stronger at bridging our day-to-day work to the value it drives. And more than ever, “brand lift” isn’t enough to satisfy CEOs.

This presentation will start at the top. How businesses are run, how CEOs talk, and how we as search marketers can use the data we have access to everyday in new ways to answer the questions of the c-suite and raise our visibility and value in organizations.

4:15pm – Networking

Open time for attendees to connect with other attendees and MozCon partners.

5:15pm – That’s a wrap for MozCon Virtual 2020!


See you there?

Chatting with speakers via Q&A, connecting with peers and potential partners over Birds of a Feather groups, absorbing all the knowledge for another fruitful year of marketing… we can’t wait to share it with you! 

Yep, I’m going to MozCon Virtual!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Thank you for reading.

2020 Social Media Marketing Industry Report

This may be of some interest.

Wondering how fellow marketers are using social media? Want to know what marketers plan to do with organic social activities, video marketing, and social ads? In our 12th annual social media study, we surveyed more than 5,200 marketers who reveal details you won’t find anywhere else. How Are Marketers Using Social Media? To understand how […]

The post 2020 Social Media Marketing Industry Report appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Thank you for reading.

How to Create an SEO Strategy for 2020 [Template Included]

This may be of some interest.

Here’s a cliche among digital marketers: Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t what it used to be.

Here’s a true statement you don’t hear as often: Your SEO strategy for 2019 shouldn’t focus on keywords.

These days, most businesses understand the basic concepts of SEO and why it’s important.

However, when it comes to developing and executing a sound SEO strategy for your business, just creating content for the keywords your customers are searching for is both arduous and, well, wrong.

What is an SEO?

Search engine optimizers (SEOs) are people who optimize websites to help them show up higher on search engines and gain more “organic traffic.” In essence, an SEO is a highly specialized content strategist, and helps a business discover opportunities to answer questions people have about the industry via search engines.

Here are three types of SEO that an SEO strategist can focus on:

  • On-page SEO: This SEO focuses on the content that’s “on the page,” and how to optimize that content to help boost the website’s ranking for specific keywords.
  • Off-page SEO: This SEO focuses on the links that are directing to the website from elsewhere on the internet. The number of “backlinks,” and the publishers carrying those links, that link to your website help you build trust in the eyes of a search engine. This causes your website to rank higher as a result.
  • Technical SEO: This SEO focuses on a website’s architecture, examining the backend of that website to see how each webpage is “technically” set up. Google cares as much about the code of a website as it does its content, making this speciality quite important to a website’s search engine ranking.

Bear in mind that not every business can optimize their website for search the same way, and therefore not every SEO will have the same optimization process. It’s an SEO’s job to examine his or her industry, find out what’s important to their audience, and develop an SEO strategy that puts the right content in front of that audience.

With that in mind, here are nine steps you can take to make sure all of your SEO bases are covered in 2019. Then, at the bottom of this blog post, you can grab your free planning template to master on-page SEO.

1. Make a list of topics.

Keywords are at the heart of SEO, but they’re actually not your first step to an organic growth play anymore. Your first step is to make a list of topics you’d like to cover from one month to the next.

To start, compile a list of about 10 short words and terms associated with your product or service. Use Google’s Keyword Tool to identify their search volume and come up with variations that make sense for your business.

You are associating these topics with popular short-tail keywords, as you can tell, but you’re not dedicating individual blog posts to these keywords. These keywords are simply too competitive to rank highly for on Google if you’re just starting to optimize your website for search. We’ll go over how to use these topics in just a minute.

google adwords keyword tool screenshot resized 600

Using search volume and competition as your measure, narrow down your list to 10-15 short-tail keywords that are important to you, and that people within your audience are searching for. Then rank this list in order of priority, based on its monthly search volume and its relevance to your business.

For example, if a swimming pool business is trying to rank for “fiberglass pools” — which is receiving 110,000 searches per month — this short-tail keyword can be the one that represents the overarching topic on which they want to create content. The business would then identify a series of long-tail keywords that relate to this short-tail keyword, have reasonable monthly search volume, and help to elaborate on the topic of fiberglass pools. We’ll talk more about these long-tails in the next step of this process.

Each of these keywords is called a “pillar,” and it serves as the primary support for a larger “cluster” of long-tail keywords, which is what brings us to our next Step …

2. Make a list of long-tail keywords based on these topics.

Here’s where you’ll start optimizing your pages for specific keywords. For each pillar you’ve identified, use your keyword tool to identify five to 10 long-tail keywords that dig deeper into the original topic keyword.

For example, we regularly create content on the topic of “SEO,” but it’s still very difficult to rank well on Google for such a popular topic on this acronym alone. We also risk competing with our own content by creating multiple pages that are all targeting the exact same keyword — and potentially the same search engine results page (SERP). Therefore, we also create content on conducting keyword research, optimizing images for search engines, creating an SEO strategy (which you’re reading right now), and other subtopics within SEO.

This allows a business to attract people who have varying interests in and concerns about owning their product — and ultimately create more entry points for people who are interested in buying something.

Use subtopics to come up with blog post or webpage ideas that explain a specific concept within each larger topic you identified in Step 1. Plug these subtopics into your keyword research tool to identify long-tail keywords on which to base each blog post.

Together, these subtopics create a cluster. So, if you have 10 pillar topics, they should each be prepared to support one cluster of five to 10 subtopics. This SEO model is called a “topic cluster,” and modern search engine algorithms depend on them to connect users with the information they’re looking for.

Here’s a short video on this concept:

Think of it this way: The more specific your content, the more specific the needs of your audience are — and the more likely you’ll convert this traffic into leads. This is how Google finds value in the websites it crawls; the pages that dig into the interworkings of a general topic are seen as the best answer to a person’s query, and will rank higher.

3. Build pages for each topic.

When it comes to websites and ranking in search engines, trying to get one page to rank for a handful of keywords can be next to impossible. But here’s where the rubber meets the road:

Take the 10 pillar topics you came up with in Step 1 and create a web page for each one that outlines the topic at a high level — using the long-tail keywords you came up with for each cluster in Step 2. A pillar page on SEO, for example, can describe SEO in brief sections that introduce keyword research, image optimization, SEO strategy, and other subtopics as they are identified. Think of each pillar page as a table of contents, where you’re briefing your readers on subtopics you’ll elaborate on in blog posts.

Use your keyword list to determine how many different pillar pages you should create. Ultimately, the number of topics for which you create pillar pages should coincide with how many different products, offerings, and locations your business has. This will make it much easier for your prospects and customers to find you in search engines no matter what keywords they use.

Each web page needs to include relevant content for your prospects and customers and should include pictures and links to pages on your site to enhance the user experience. We’ll talk about those links in Step 4.

4. Set up a blog.

Blogging can be an incredible way to rank for keywords and engage your website’s users. After all, every blog post is a new web page that gives you another chance to rank in search engines. If your business does not already have a blog, set one up. This is where you’ll elaborate on each subtopic and actually start showing up on Google.

As you write each blog post and fill up your clusters, you should do three things:

  1. First, don’t include your long-tail keyword more than three or four times throughout the page. Google doesn’t consider exact keyword matches as often as it used to. In fact, too many instances of your keyword can be a red flag to search engines that you’re “keyword stuffing.” This can penalize your website and drop your rank.
  2. Second, link out to the pillar page you created on this topic. You can do this in the form of tags in your content management system (CMS), or as basic anchor text in the body of the article.
  3. Once you publish each blog post, link into it from the pillar page that supports this subtopic. Find the point in your pillar page that introduces this blog’s subtopic, and link it here.

By connecting both the pillar and the cluster in this way, you’re telling Google there’s a relationship between the long-tail keyword and the overarching topic you’re trying to rank for.

5. Blog every week to develop page authority.

Not every blog post or web page you write needs to belong to a topic cluster. There’s also value in writing about tangential topics your customers care about in order to give your website authority in the eyes of Google. This will cue Google to pay extra attention your domain as you add content to your primary topics.

With that in mind, make a point to blog at least once a week. Remember, you are blogging primarily for your audience, not the search engines. Write about things your audience and/or prospects are interested in, make sure you’re including relevant keywords where appropriate, and your audience will slowly start to notice and click.

Keep in mind that each topic won’t be equal in importance, and as your clusters get off the ground, you’ll need to prioritize based on your company’s needs. So, create a list of all the different web pages you would like to create and rank them. Then, develop a schedule and devise a plan of attack to get those pages built.

Keep your list updated and prioritized by what web pages will help you to best achieve your business goals.

6. Create a link-building plan.

The topic cluster model is your way forward in SEO this year, but it’s not the only way to get your website content to rank higher once it’s been created.

Our first five steps were dedicated to on-page SEO tactics. Link-building is the primary objective of off-page SEO, and is also a huge factor in how search engines rank your web pages. What is link-building? Glad you asked.

Link-building is the process of attracting inbound links (also called “backlinks”) to your website from elsewhere on the web. As a general rule, the more page authority the origin website has, the bigger affect it will have on the rank of the web page to which it is linking.

Dedicate some time to brainstorm all the different ways you can attract inbound links to your website. Start small –- maybe share your links with other local businesses in exchange for links to their sites. Write a few blog posts and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Consider approaching other bloggers for guest blogging opportunities through which you can link back to your website.

Another great way to attract inbound links is to use your blog to post articles related to current events or news. That way, you have shot of getting linked to from an industry influencer or other bloggers in your industry.

7. Compress all media before putting it on your website.

This is a small but important step in the SEO process. As your blog or website grows, you’ll undoubtedly have more images, videos, and related media to host there. These visual assets can help retain your visitors’ attention, but it’s easy to forget these assets are still technically computer files — and computer files have file sizes.

As a general rule, the bigger the file size, the harder it is for an internet browser to render your website. And it just so happens that page speed is one of the most important ranking factors when search engines decide where to place your content in its index.

So, the smaller the file size, the faster your website will load, and the higher you can rank on Google as a result. But how do you shrink a file size once it’s on your computer?

If you’re looking to upload an image to a blog post, for example, examine the file for its file size first. If it’s anywhere in megabyte (MB) territory, even just 1 MB, it’s a good idea to use an image compression tool to reduce the file size before uploading it to your blog. Sites like TinyPNG make it easy to compress images in bulk, while Google’s very own Squoosh has been known to shrink image file sizes to microscopic levels.

Ultimately, keeping your files in the kilobytes (KB) can sufficiently protect your website’s page speed.

Be careful when compressing your images, and check the file’s actual size once you export it back to your computer. While some tools might not be true to the size it shows you, others can sacrifice some image quality when compressing the artwork.

8. Stay current on SEO news & practices.

Like the overall marketing landscape, the search engine space is ever-evolving. Staying on top of current trends and best practices is a difficult task, but there are multiple online resources that can make it easy for you to stay on top of SEO news and changes that may impact your website and your SEO strategy.

Here are a few resources to check out:

  1. SEOmoz
  2. SEOBook
  3. Search Engine Roundtable
  4. Search Engine Land
  5. Diggity Marketing
  6. This Blog!

9. Measure and track your content’s success.

SEO can take a lot of time and effort. What good is spending all this time and effort if you can’t see the fruits of your labor? There are many metrics you can track on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to keep your SEO plan on track and measure your success.

Because the metric you care about is organic traffic (traffic that comes from a given search engine), seek out a tool that allows you to track both your overall organic traffic number and how your pages are ranking under each long-tail keyword your pages are targeting. SEMrush is a great reporting tool for just this purpose.

Create a monthly dashboard using Excel, Google Sheets, or a web analytics package so you can monitor how much traffic comes to your website from organic search.

Also, tracking indexed pages, leads, ROI, inbound links, keywords, and your actual ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages) can help you recognize your success as well as identify areas of opportunity.

SEO Process

Once you create your monthly SEO plan, you should also build a process to continue to optimizing it to fit new intent and keywords. Here are a few steps you can take. 

1. Historically optimize your content. 

Devote some time each month to updating old blog posts with new and up to date information so it continues to rank in SERPs. You can also use this time to add any SEO optimization that wasn’t in the original post, such as missing alt text.

2. Look out for changing keywords and new search intent.

After a few months, track where your blog posts are ranking and which keywords they’re ranking for. This can help you adjust subheads or text to leverage that new keyword ranking.

3. Add more editorial value to your old content.

Sometimes, you’ll find that a post is completely out of date. In this scenario, you should go beyond the average SEO update and give it a full refresher. You can do this by updating out of date information or stats, adding new sections that add depth to the post, or adding quotes or original data that can make the post gain more referral traffic.

4. Note new content and updates aimed at SEO in a monthly content plan.

To keep up with your SEO strategy, it can be helpful to create and refine a monthly content strategy. Then put your content plan into a spreadsheet or document that your team can monitor and track easily.

Below is an example of a content monthly content planning process that takes the steps above into account. 

With a monthly SEO plan like the one above, plus a tracking document like a search insights report, you can build out and execute on an efficient SEO strategy. You can also identify and leverage low-hanging-fruit topics to discuss related to your industry.

To learn more about SEO, check out our Ultimate Guide to SEO

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in April 2019 but was updated in March 2020 for consistency and freshness.

Thank you for reading.