Category: Search Marketing Column

Supercharging your SEO with AI: Insights, automation and personalization

Supercharging your SEO with AI: Insights, automation and personalization

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Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting at SMX London on Supercharging your SEO with AI and thought I would share some of the insights with Search Engine Land readers. Google made global headlines with the demonstration of its new Duplex at this year’s I/O developers conference. This artificial intelligence (AI) system can “converse” in […]

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Priorities for diagnosing JavaScript-powered websites

Priorities for diagnosing JavaScript-powered websites

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In the last 20 years, Google’s search engine has changed a lot. If we take a look at technology and web development as a whole, we can see the pace of change is pretty spectacular. This website from 1998 was informative, but not very attractive or easy to use: Modern websites not only look much […]

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How to understand searcher intent and use it to boost SEO rankings

How to understand searcher intent and use it to boost SEO rankings

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Search engines exist to provide users with results that are relevant to the search query. Smart SEO campaigns are built on an understanding of how your audience searches around your industry, products and services. A key point here is understanding the intent behind a given keyword search. A user wants to find specific information, and […]

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How to forecast the revenue opportunity for the coveted 'position 0'

How to forecast the revenue opportunity for the coveted ‘position 0’

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Today’s article is a continuation of “Want to target position 0? Here’s what you need to make that happen.” There are two primary reasons for targeting the coveted position zero (0), also known as the featured snippet: To sit at the top of the search engine results page. To capture queries within voice-based search results. […]

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Ask the #SMXperts: Going All-In On AMP

Ask the #SMXperts: Going All-In On AMP

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The Ask the SMXpert series continues the question and answer (Q&A) segment held during sessions at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West 2018. Today’s Q&A is from the Going All-In On AMP session with Benu Aggarwal, Eric Enge and Paul Shapiro, with an introduction from moderator Michelle Robbins. Michelle Robbins Google announced it’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project 2 […]

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What negative SEO is and is not

What negative SEO is and is not

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Today we are starting a six-part series on Negative SEO. The series will be broken into three areas and will show how negative search engine optimization (SEO) has an effect on links, content and user signals. Definitions Positive SEO under this broader view would be any tactic performed with the intent to positively impact rankings […]

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Ask the SMXperts: The latest in advanced technical SEO

Ask the SMXperts: The latest in advanced technical SEO

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The Ask the SMXpert series continues the question and answer (Q&A) segment held during sessions at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West 2018. Today’s Q&A is from the Latest in Advanced Technical SEO session with Dawn Anderson, Bastian Grimm and Brian Weiss, with an introduction from moderator Michelle Robbins. Michelle Robbins Technical SEO is the foundation […]

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Common mistakes and quick fixes to improve poky page speed

Common mistakes and quick fixes to improve poky page speed

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There are multiple reasons to improve how quickly your web pages load. One of them is page abandonment. If your pages load slowly and customers leave before seeing your services, how will you grow a business and be successful? A recent Google study shows that 53 percent of mobile site visitors will abandon a website […]

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Beyond keywords: What really matters in SEO content

Beyond keywords: What really matters in SEO content

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Just when we thought the saying “Content is king” was gone for good, there it goes showing its sneaky little face again in the search engine optimization (SEO) world. Bearing in mind also that “Content is queen,” it appears that content is, in fact, pretty danged important — so important that a new sub-industry has […]

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Already doing SEO? Add these two things to optimize for voice search

Already doing SEO? Add these two things to optimize for voice search

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How do you optimize content for voice search in 2018? That’s a popular search engine optimization (SEO) question these days as everyone looks to take advantage of the surge in spoken queries. Take a look at recent trends: The answer to the popular question, “How do you optimize for voice search?” is this: Do what […]

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SEO Ranking factors panel: SMX West session recap

SEO Ranking factors panel: SMX West session recap

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I attended the SEO Ranking Factors session at this year’s SMX West and enjoyed listening to the panelists present their opinions, experiences and ideas. Any discussion of ranking factors raises a lot of emotions and controversy, and this was no exception. It is important to understand how to use information from these types of sessions: None […]

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5 easy but smart SEO wins to boost content and link-building efforts

5 easy but smart SEO wins to boost content and link-building efforts

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Are you looking for some smart and easy SEO wins in 2018? Who isn’t? This is a great time to knock down the cobwebs in your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts with some good old-fashioned spring cleaning. Sure, producing great content can be loads of fun, and link building can deliver powerful results, but sometimes you […]

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7 marketing and promotion tactics to get your content discovered

7 marketing and promotion tactics to get your content discovered

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It’s no secret a well-executed content marketing campaign can deliver a solid return on investment. According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times more leads than most outbound marketing strategies at 62 percent less cost. As marketers pad their budgets with more money to invest in content marketing this year, one strategy that often […]

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A checklist for moving from one site to another

A checklist for moving from one site to another

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Whether it is a website rebranding, a consolidation of different web properties or an HTTP to HTTPs migration, when you are implementing a structural web change, it is critical to monitor the crawling, indexing, rankings, traffic and organic search conversions on both the old and new web locations. Careful tracking will enable you to fix […]

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Four new search trends in mobile app discovery

Four new search trends in mobile app discovery

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Recently, Google reported 80 percent of users churn within three months of downloading an app. Meanwhile, over on TechCrunch, a study showed people only interact with a total of 30 apps per month. Those numbers are fairly significant, but not surprising considering the large number of apps available. Not every app downloaded will resonate with […]

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What you learn from talking with Google’s largest advertisers all day, every day

What’s going on with Google brand CPC?

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In Q1 and Q2 of 2017, Merkle (my employer) reported on a positive trend for advertisers that showed a decline in brand cost per click (CPC) year over year. The CPC of brand terms is often determined by Google’s algorithm as opposed to the competitive landscape, so brands are often left to Google’s mercy in […]

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Channel your inner explorer to find link-building prospects

Channel your inner explorer to find link-building prospects

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Every time I conduct an in-house survey and ask my linking team, “What do you think is the hardest part of your job,” they answer, “The discovery process!” Just to clarify, when they say “discovery,” they are referring to the process of finding new sites to contact for a link. They are right; it is […]

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5 New Year's resolutions for your PPC campaigns

5 New Year’s resolutions for your PPC campaigns

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It’s never too late for New Year’s resolutions, so why not give your PPC campaigns a little New Year’s love? In this article, I’ll provide suggestions to tune up your campaigns in 2018 and get them firing on all cylinders. 1. Review your ad copy Upgrading decent ad copy into fantastic ad copy almost always […]

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How AI can uncover new insights and drive SEO performance

How AI can uncover new insights and drive SEO performance

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In 2015, Google announced that it had added RankBrain to its algorithm, cementing the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in search. Fast-forward to 2018, and search marketers are starting to use AI, machine learning and deep learning systems to uncover new insights, automate labor-intensive tasks and provide a whole new level of personalization to guide website visitors […]

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Will AMP improve your rankings? How to set up an AMP test

Will AMP improve your rankings? How to set up an AMP test

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Though Google has repeatedly stated that Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are not a ranking factor, many have speculated that they may soon become one. AMP pages are built for speed — so when you consider Google’s recent announcement that page speed will become a mobile ranking factor later this year, right around the same time the […]

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3 SEO tasks to start 2018 off with a bang

3 SEO tasks to start 2018 off with a bang

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We’re just about three weeks into the new year, and the momentum you establish now can easily set the pace for the rest of your year. I’d like to help you start 2018 off with a bang by earning three simple wins that will set the stage for further success and growth, not just for […]

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A key element for SEO success

A key element for SEO success

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Google processes trillions of searches per year, which equates to billions of searches each day. How do they decide what is the most promising result for every single one of that staggering volume of questions? Experience shows that you don’t have to be a huge website for a major brand to rank in the top […]

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What's next for technical SEO?

What’s next for technical SEO?

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It seems as though technical SEO is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. In 2016, Mike King believed that we were on the cusp of a technical SEO renaissance due to the rapid advancement of web technologies. And in 2017, interest continued to boom. Needless to say, spirits are high going into 2018 with a renewed passion for learning and […]

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4 reports you can pull from Ahrefs that you didn’t know existed

4 reports you can pull from Ahrefs that you didn’t know existed

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Author’s note: Besides being a customer of Ahrefs, I have no affiliation with the tool, and this is not a paid article. Ahrefs is a robust SEO toolset that is popular among search professionals — yet many are not using it to its fullest potential. There are so many nooks and crannies in Ahrefs that […]

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SEO trends and Google changes to expect in 2018

SEO trends and Google changes to expect in 2018

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We’re already over a week into 2018, and the start of a new year is a great time to check in and see where we stand as an industry — and how things might change this year. Prepare for fake news algorithm updates Back in 2010, Google was getting beaten up in the media for […]

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How independent retailers can thrive in a volatile market

How independent retailers can thrive in a volatile market

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Recent retail news headlines have been focusing on two major areas: the apparent death-knell of traditional retail stores and the market shift of customers to major brands such as Amazon and Walmart. But these market conditions — including reduced brick-and-mortar overhead, low-cost technology integrations and shifting customer demand — provide an opportunity for independent brands […]

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Best practices for qualifying your link opportunities

Best practices for qualifying your link opportunities

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Links are an essential part of the internet. In the early days of the web, links were not seen as “ranking signals” but as relevant connections and partnerships between sites. As links have become a dominant part of the search ranking algorithms, many have turned their focus to acquiring as many links as possible. But […]

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18 link resolutions for 2018

18 link resolutions for 2018

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Oh, the resolutions keep coming! Based on last year’s 17 link resolutions for 2017, I give you my 18 link resolutions for the new year. Here’s to a great start for all your marketing efforts! 1. Educate yourself more about link metrics I’ve seen so many people referencing link metrics, such as Moz’s Domain Authority or […]

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SMART goals for SEO

SMART goals for SEO

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As 2017 comes to a close, many SEOs will be looking forward and setting some goals for their campaigns in 2018. In this post, I am going to take a look at the SMART goals methodology that can help you set and achieve aggressive, yet realistic goals. SMART goals SMART goals set out a series […]

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The enterprise business of SEO: Communicating to the C-suite

The enterprise business of SEO: Communicating to the C-suite

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Today, I want to focus on and provide insights into a common SEO challenge that is vitally important to personal and professional success: how SEOs can communicate the performance of the organic channel more effectively across their organization and in the boardroom. As competition for digital marketing budgets intensifies in 2018, it is essential that success […]

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4 things SEO professionals should do consistently

4 things SEO professionals should do consistently

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As SEO professionals, we’re expected to have a solid understanding of our trade and to be able to communicate our knowledge clearly and professionally with our clients. But I think our expectations should be set a bit higher, similar to the fiduciary responsibility that certain financial professionals are held to. This would go a long […]

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SEO in 2018: Optimizing for voice search

SEO in 2018: Optimizing for voice search

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Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller recently asked for feedback on why webmasters are looking for Google to separate voice search queries in Search Console. If you, like me, want to see voice searches in Google Search Console, definitely submit your feedback on Twitter as John requested. I hear folks asking about voice search data […]

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Visualizing your site structure in advance of a major change

Visualizing your site structure in advance of a major change

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In our last article, we looked at some interesting ways to visualize your website structure to illuminate how external links and PageRank flow through it. This time, we’re going to use the same tools, but we’re going to look instead at how a major site structure change might impact your site. Search engine crawlers can […]

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A balanced approach to data-driven SEO

A balanced approach to data-driven SEO

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We have nearly unlimited access to information and data. For search marketers, this can be a blessing or a curse. It’s very easy to get sucked into the never-ending pool of data — but this rarely, if ever, benefits our work. So how do we protect ourselves from information overload? Futurologist Alvin Toffler predicted in […]

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Google’s new custom intent audiences and you

Google’s new custom intent audiences and you

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In mid-November, pre-empting the hellish holiday shopping season, Google unveiled a slew of new features designed to help advertisers maximize their AdWords budgets. While promotion extensions and ad variations are neat and all, the thing I’m most stoked about is the new custom intent audiences feature on Google Display Network (GDN). If you haven’t checked […]

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Is holiday paid search more competitive in 2017 than 2016?

Is holiday paid search more competitive in 2017 than 2016?

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The busy 2017 holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and we’ve already witnessed impressive Y/Y sales growth on key shopping days. As advertisers dig into their own performance, many are taking stock of the competition to get a sense for what other brands are doing. This was a key topic for a #ppcchat […]

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My 12 most important SEO metrics to monitor

My 12 most important SEO metrics to monitor

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As a digital marketer, you can measure the success of your work in several ways. One of those ways is by examining key SEO metrics. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that provide you with easy-to-read reports so you can check those metrics. Two of the best utilities, Google Search Console and Google Analytics, are not […]

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Looking to get out of the SEO business? Good!

Looking to get out of the SEO business? Good!

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It’s not your imagination — there’s no denying that SEO has become increasingly difficult over the last few years. A recent thread on WebmasterWorld highlighted this fact when a poster lamented the challenges he has faced adapting to changes in the SEO industry, and he said that he was considering leaving the industry entirely. This […]

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Google’s all-new, quite counterintuitive guide to ad testing

Google’s all-new, quite counterintuitive guide to ad testing

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Over 2 1/2 years ago, I wrote about how ad rotation works in AdWords. Since then, a whole lot has changed. Most recently, we’ve simplified the options for ad rotation. Let’s take a closer look at how ad rotation works now and what that means for ad testing. How AdWords picks which ads to show […]

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When SEO isn't your SEO problem

When SEO isn’t your SEO problem

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If you’ve been doing SEO for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly experienced your fair share of failures. And in many cases, frustratingly, the SEO program itself was not the issue. While I’ve discussed meta topics such as management challenges, getting executive buy-in, and the need for flexibility in the past, I haven’t directly addressed the question, […]

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