May 12, 2015 - 2 comments

How to Get Free SSL/HTTPS on a WordPress Site

By now, most people know that Google considers HTTPS as a ranking factor. With that said, not everyone knows that you can actually get this for free with Cloudflare and in a couple of minutes.

Find out how now:

This will be an ultra quick guide on how to set up an SSL certificate on WordPress, with Cloudflare already operating on your site.

Cute HTTPS Picture from vtualerts.com

WordPress Plugins Needed for SSL:

  1. https://wordpress.org/plugins/cloudflare/
  2. https://wordpress.org/plugins/cloudflare-flexible-ssl/

Here's a quick run-through:

First plugin allows you to change multiple Cloudflare settings directly within your WordPress installation/site.

Second one stops any redirects(back to http) that might occur.

Still with me? Hopefully.

Now go ahead and activate the plugins, go to settings, and fill in the details for the Cloudflare plugin.

Stuck already? Check out the (Get This?) links next to each section. Here is what I put for my settings:

Okay, now that you finished that, go to your WordPress Admin Dashboard and go to General under Settings.

Change your Address for WordPress(URL) and Site Address both to https.

It should now look like this:

Now here is what will happen - your WordPress site will now log you out and ask you to log back in with https.

However if you navigate to your WordPress site again, it doesn't automatically change to https, so that sucks.

Here's how you change that:

Go to cloudflare.com and navigate to Options > Cloudflare Settings. Find "Page Rules", use CTRL + F, don't waste your time.

I want all my pages to go to https, so I would use indexsy.com/* as a rule. The asterisk(*) is a wildcard, which means it is for any URL.

Now toggle 'Always Use Https' and confirm it with 'Add Rule'.

Here's what it should look like:

AND you're done! Your site should now force https beliefs on every single one of your visitors.

If the lock on the left side of the browser is still red, check this tool out:

https://www.whynopadlock.com/

 

Let me know if you guys have any questions!

 

April 22, 2015 - 1 comment.

15 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Consultant

Before you even consider outsourcing your SEO, you should familiarize yourself with modern SEO practices. There are lots of great digital marketing firms out there who can work wonders, delivering and communicating proper KPI's as well as providing your return on investment(ROI).

With that said, there are literally thousands that will not hesitate to do the opposite, thus putting SEO in the grey area of digital marketing.

seo consulting checklist

 

Here's a handy dandy list of questions to keep in mind while looking for an SEO consultant:

  1. Do they review your needs first, or do they jump to an immediate price quote?
  2. Did the SEO consultant do relevant industry research?
  3. Did they build a campaign around your goals and needs?
  4. Do they explore possible on-site SEO changes?
  5. Do they include the fore-mentioned 'on-site' changes in the campaign?
  6. Are they promising you everything?
  7. How short is their time frame?
  8. Do they have long-term business plans?
  9. How secretive are they about their campaigns and the actual work they do?
  10. Do they use 'buzz' words and 'waffle'?
  11. How 'legit' is their business? Are they registered or do they have an office?
  12. Do you like speaking with them?
  13. Did they write up a contract?
  14. Do they say no to unrealistic demands?
  15. Do they have realistic prices?

Here are some explanations to justify these questions, but most aspects are covered. If they missed something, or answered something a bit awkward, I'd say it is time to find another firm.

If they cover all the questions above, and explained it extensively, I can say with confidence, you have found the right company!

1. Do they review your needs first, or do they jump to an immediate price quote?

If any SEO consultants instantly quotes a price, you should be extremely alarmed if not already running. In the rare occasion that the firm recently finished a similar campaign, it might be a bit quicker, but not instantaneous.

A rough price figure is okay, but if they give you an exact price, flags should go up in your head. Market and niche research needs to be done, and this takes time.

2. Did the SEO consultant do relevant industry research?

market research seo

This is to add on to the first question, they should have conducted proper research before proposals of any kind. If no research is done, they won't know how much work is required for your campaign. This means the company you are speaking with are 'one size fits all' company...walk away, before you ruin your site.

3. Did they build a campaign around your goals and needs?

Okay, so now you know they researched your market, and they have the knowledge to rank a website or page - but do they understand your goals and interests?

The good marketing firms go the extra mile and research your product. They will find out what your service is, this way, they can effectively provide targeted organic traffic that will be better for conversion.

Even better marketing firms go as far as doing some quick calculations to see your ROI. There are many situations where it would not be worth it for you to run the campaign, are they transparent about this?

4. Do they explore possible on-site SEO changes?

Showcase-05

Are they only focused on 'off-page' SEO? Something is wrong here. Most of the time if you require an SEO consultant, there will be room for improving on-site SEO. These are SEO basics, if they miss any, find a new agency.

5. Do they include the fore-mentioned 'on-site' changes in the campaign?

Now that they pointed out the on-site SEO problems, will they fix it for you? The state of your on-site SEO is directly related to the success of the campaign, they should definitely offer to implement the changes for you.

6. Are they promising you everything?

You should be wary of any SEO consultants promising you the world. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Seems trivial, but I have come across enough horror stories to reiterate this.

7. How short is their time frame?

SEO time management

Again, if the time frame is too quick, alarm should sound. They are either automating some shady techniques, or they are just lying to you.

8. Do they have long-term business plans?

This is a good indicator of how they view you as a client; are they looking for a quick, churn and burn gig, or are they looking for a long term business relationship, keeping you at the top of Google for years to come.

Did they tell you what happens after they achieved your goal? SEO is continuous, not a one time deal. If they haven't mentioned this, they either don't want you as a long term client, or they weren't aware about this factor - either way, that's 2 reasons to walk away.

9. How transparent are they about their campaigns and what they actually do?

Digital marketing firms won't map out exactly what they will do, this is because you could be a competitor looking to steal extensively tested methods. With that said, they should be able to lay down what they will be doing, and happily outline the work involved and the high level process.

There should be a lot of back and forth while communicating, be careful when they start snapping at you if you ask questions. That is not only unprofessional but something iffy about their defensiveness.

10. Do they dismiss questions with 'buzz' words?

Watch out for companies who try and dismiss questions with filler 'buzz' words, a lot of companies can talk the talk, but only a small percentage of them can perform.

11. How 'legit' is their business?

If you own a legitimate brick-and-mortar business, you should probably work with another brick-and-mortar business. Do some research before meeting them; they may impress you to begin with, but after paying them they simply fall off the grid.

You can find out a lot about a company based on their receptionist. They should be professional and eager to answer your call; it should go without saying strictly instant messaging and/or emailing isn't enough as communication!

12. Do you like speaking with them?

communication seo

As mentioned previously, SEO is continuous - you will be working with the firm for a long time, you should be comfortable speaking with them for an extended amount of time. You shouldn't be deterred from calling them because it is an annoyance, they should be happy to speak with you as well. They don't have to be a riot, but enjoying each others company is important!

13. Did they write up a contract?

All legitimate companies will operate with a binding contract, this is for their safety and yours. Proceed with care if there is no contract, you have nothing protecting you from being scammed.

14. Do they say no to unrealistic demands?

A proper firm will not take money if what your asking is ridiculous. If you ask for lunch with Kanye West, a golden Prius and an unlimited amount of Gummy Bears, you should be rejected. An SEO consultant that smiles and agrees to every request is a consultant that is trying to get your money without any intention of your goals. Once you're on the border of too good to be true, you already know...

15. Do they have realistic prices?

WhiteHat SEO services should not be under $1000(USD), with very, very few exceptions. If you're getting a gig for under $500, start wondering how they can profit, they are definitely cutting corners.

 

Here is a piece of advice before you leave, not buying SEO is better than buying a bad SEO service! 

Feel free to contact me and good luck out there!

All Images are designed by Freepik.com

 

April 7, 2015 - No Comments!

5 Must-Haves in Your ‘About Us’ Page: Simple Content Marketing

Businesses and bloggers know that the About us page is one of the most popular pages - readers are always curious to see the face behind the screen. Nobody likes reading an ultra formal page written in third person.

This is your chance to show off your sass or drop that terrible one-liner.

When was the last time you went back and revised your About us/About me page? See this page as another search engine optimized post, you should be constantly going back and optimizing it. This is your chance to tell your story and sell yourself, a crucial content marketing opportunity. I highly prefer writing in first person, unless it is a corporate site.

Write to keep your users compelled, I'm an awful writer and definitely still learning. I like to dance back and forth from technical and creative writing. Draw them in and blast them with images.

I'm reading the above text and I'm already getting bored, so here's an image to keep you interested:

about me

Something About Audience Targeting via Quicksprout

As corny as it is, see this as an opportunity to connect with your readers emotionally. I rather write about what type of socks I like than writing how amazing pushing Excel sheets are at my last job.

Without further filler here are the 5 crucial aspects you should include in your about us page:

  1. Define Yourself: Who are you, why should they care, and how are you different from everyone else?
  2. Core Message: What question are you trying to answer, what should your readers take away from reading your content?
  3. Core Mission: Why did you start your blog/company?
  4. Obstacles: What conflicts or hurdles have you encountered so far?
  5. Successes: How have you overcome the fore-mentioned obstacles? Which aspects do you see as successful?

How These 'About Us' Pages Rocked my Socks(Click to Skip to Section):

[line]

Yellow Leaf Hammocks

Told a story, and told it well. It went into extensive detail on the birth of the big idea and his journey to Thailand. The writer used great imagery that kept readers enticed wrapped the writing with great relevant stock photos. Like I mentioned earlier, everyone has a story to tell, you just have to learn to tell it well.

Yellow Leaf Hammocks

[line]

überlin

The about us page for überlin is written by humans, for humans. I dislike pages that are way too formal, especially if they are in the creative industry. Formality is great and all, but it does not sound as genuine and fluffy as this one. The photo of the dog is great too, pretty much just gives the feeling of family.

[line]

I Shot Him

This page breaks down all contemporary expectations of about us pages, and it works. I Shot Him rocks their own brand and is consistent with their theme. This is also a reminder that your about page should work with the theme of your entire site.

I shot him

That's it! Share your favorite sites with me and let's discuss it!

March 30, 2015 - 1 comment.

Readability Score and SEO – Is Simpler Better?

Readability Score in SEO

There is a well known SEO fact that is related to your readability score - that by using short sentences you make your work accessible to everybody, and Google prefers this.

You should always write for your audience. Your target audience are the people who will share your work. If you don't write with them in mind you won't earn any links to your content, and you won't get precious shares and likes on social media. Your work just won't rank. This is the foundation of content creation.

Content marketing or creation and SEO are two very basic tenements of two interlinked jobs, the bread and butter. Write for your audience, and keep it simple. On paper, SEO and content marketing are quite similar. For content creation ensuring your work has “basic readability” is considered good SEO practice. So 1 + 1 is 2, what else is new? Actually I see it as a hidden paradox.

flesch reading ease

What if your target audience isn't looking for readability, what if they're looking for something technical and specific? What if your audience is made up of rocket scientists and nuclear physicists? Rocket scientists would hate to have their resources 'dumbed' down. Google aims to be as relevant as possible therefore either Google shouldn't – and probably doesn't - always use readability as a ranking factor.

My case study explores this paradox and explores the 'fact' that “basic readability ranks better" is flawed.

Readability Score - What is it?

Google is notorious for keeping their algorithm a secret. No one really can confirm what works and what doesn't. Readability score is quite commonly seen as a factor, but what is it? Your readability score are generally dependant on the following:

  • Average number of characters per word or sentence
  • Average words per sentence
  • Average syllables per word or sentence
  • Average punctuations used per sentence or paragraph
  • Average number of sentences per paragraph

If you use WordPress and have Yoast's SEO plugin installed, there is a traffic light system rating on your onsite SEO. Yoast's plug-in uses the Flesch–Kincaid test to define the readability of your text and score the SEO of your page.

Flesch–Kincaid is basically the average number of characters in your sentences throughout your whole webpage. If Google uses a readability test it is unlikely it uses one so simple, however they are known to use LSI.
Google is known to penalise websites where the text colour is the same as the background. This means color contrast may actually be a factor in the readability score.

While it is uncertain how much of an impact the readability score has on your SEO, or even how Google scores your pages readability.

The Study

Now for the fun part. I wanted to explore whether readability was actually a ranking factor and if it is, how Google measured this. With an algorithm as advanced as Google has I found it very hard to believe that they would be dazzled by short sentences and rank people higher for dumbing down their work. What I found didn't surprise me, but does go against what is generally thought of as best practice for SEO.

I performed 1000 searches for a variety of phrases such as “[...]education materials”, “ideas for [...] games” and so on, substituting the […] for children, kids and adults.

I originally planned on continuing the study to look at teens but the result so clearly debunked this traditional practice. I started looking at more general phrases such as “learn nuclear physics” and “how to play tic tac toe”.

Here is what I concluded about the readability score and SEO*:

  • Phrases containing 'kids': 89% of the top results had “basic readability”**
  • Phrases containing 'children': 82% of the top results had basic readability, while 27% were intermediate.***
  • Phrases containing 'adult': 81% of the results had intermediate readability.

* A total of 3850 searches were queried on Google.
** The remaining 11% were exclusively search terms such as “kids gun crimes” which are less likely to be searched by kids and more likely to be searched by adults.
*** There was some overlap between basic and intermediate readability with the first results.
With the remaining search terms such as “learn nuclear physics” and “how to play tic tac toe” I confirms what the readability scores of the top results were. This study shows that Google's algorithm is advanced enough to identify, and predict the target audience of the search query.  Try it yourself, the results are surprising if you have been reading what the so-called guru's claimed to be good SEO practices.

Practical Examples

Lets go back to the example I presented earlier. You can filter your searches by the level of readability assigned to websites by Google. To test the higher readability score(easier to understand), I used the phrase “how to build a nuclear reactor” as an example.

The first results were of “intermediate readability”. This is a good confirmation of what I have been trying to present. If you trust Yoast and other SEO guru's and simplify your writing, you risk alienating your audience. Simplify for the wrong audience and you will earn no links or shares.

While Google's Algorithm is a well kept secret, advanced readability in my study was found to be a bad thing – very few websites have advanced readability and in well over 1000 searches not one first result had an “advanced readability” rating. Google seem to rank very poor grammar and spelling rather than having advanced readability but this is rare.

Having intermediate readability isn't a bad thing. Google seems to be very good at identifying an audience based on their search terms. Surprisingly some websites can have all three levels of readability – how and why I can not exactly understand but I would expect Google uses several methods to rank readability.

I will not rule out the possibility that readability isn't a ranking factor. If Google uses audience engagement as a ranking factor and you write for your audience, then it is obvious you will rank higher than somebody who targeted improperly.

Conclusion - What This Means

It is safe to assume that you are much better off writing for your audience than dumbing down your text so it ranks better. Whether this is because people don't link or share dumbed down content is unconfirmed. I wouldn't be surprised if Google – the largest data mining company on the planet is now smart enough to know how advanced the results they return should be based on the profile of the average user making the search.

Regardless of the cause – be it that people prefer and engage better with pages written to the respective level of readability or Google has a very advanced readability algorithm. The results are the same. Identify your audience and always write for them, don't write for GoogleBot, it will not help you.

Guest post by David Arnold

March 23, 2015 - 10 comments

The Actionable Guide to SEO Without Backlinks

Ah building backlinks... Clients run away and employers fire you if you ever mention building links while doing SEO. If you're like me and are looking to do SEO without backlinks(the white hat way), then these steps will increase your chance of ranking websites without link building.

#1: Your Toolkit

Disregard all the company sponsored tools, here are the free tools I use and recommend. Anything extra I see as a luxury, not a necessity:

  • Google Webmaster Tools, Analytics, Keyword Planner and Trends
  • Moz Toolbar
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast (given that you're using WordPress)

#2: Keyword Research

Go ahead and open up the keyword planner and check your focus keywords. Your eyes should light up every time you see low/medium competition with over 500 monthly searches. As an example I will use the App Store Optimization post.

Take a look at the monthly searches and note the suggested bid:

google-keyword-planner

 

Now you're thinking, wow, seven dollars to rank for this keyword? Don't pull the trigger just yet, head over to Trends. You want a keyword that is on the rise:

google-trends

 

Okay, everything is looking great, you have one more step to go before choosing your keyword. You'll want to install the Moz bar and check out your competition:

keyword-research

 

You see this and you think, holy crap, up against Forbes?! But seeing a low-authority site (Apptamin) above them, you know you have a chance. Usually if you're starting off you want to aim to go against people with Page and Domain Authority under 50.

Please note that this process should take a long ass time. I can't stress enough the importance of keyword research. 

#3: Crafting The Perfect Title

By this step you have already aced the keyword, but you'll have to head back to Google search once again.

Remember, with your title wants to promote white hat backlinks, therefore it cannot be too click baity. Pay attention to the titles. You want a avoid similar title structures than those that are already highly ranked. You want to craft something that will draw attention and clicks.

As an example, take this very page you're reading. My chosen keyword is 'seo without backlinks' and here are the titles used:

  • SEO Without Backlinks (Mastering Over This Art From Basic)
  • How to be on first page of Google without backlinks...
  • Can SEO Without Backlinks Work? | @northcuttHQ

How can you stand out? Well, take note from Buzzfeed, the king of click-baiting, just don't overdo it. Instead of going with '10 SEO Tips without Backlinks, You Won't Believe #4!', I opted with my current one. Choosing a good title is somewhat subjective, but do some testing to see what works well for your niche.

#4: High Quality Content

Think Wikipedia-level content, think highest quality content on the internet. If you can't do it, hire someone to do it for you.

I'll try to keep this brief, there are tons of articles out there on content crafting. It's no lie that high-quality content ranks better and will get you into Google's good books. The average length of Google's first page of search results is over 2000 words. That said, one must understand that Google doesn't prefer longer articles or posts, it's just that such sites tend to get more backlinks. Your blog should have information that readers will refer back to, or even go as far as linking from their own sites.

You can find some things to note while writing SEO articles.

Once you're writing thorough and unique articles, look to increase the frequency of your posts. Remember, creating original and engaging content is possible, regardless of how niche or vague your field of focus may be.

#5: Tags and Categories

In WordPress, tags and categories have their own pages. I personally de-index them, but by default they are indexed. Go and write some content for the aforementioned pages. Readers will probably never click here, but it's just an extra page for Google to index.

#6: Onsite SEO

Ensuring that the site's technical SEO is on point is the foundation of building any strong blog. Note the following:

  • Your focus keyword should be included in the: post title, URL, first paragraph, first subheading, meta description, and image alt tags.
  • The body of the text should exceed 300 words; most successful B2B blog posts should be around the 1000-5000 word mark, and the keyword density should be anywhere from 0.5-2%.
  • The length of the post title should be in the 40-70 character range.
  • Site structure and navigability: GoogleBot should be able to crawl your site with ease.
  • The site should be mobile-friendly. It will rank better.
  • Don't forget to think about your site's speed. Use Google's PageSpeed Insights.
  • 100% unique content; if you are quoting a section, make use of the rel=canonical tag.

#7: Internal and Outbound Linking

Outbound links are important as it shows Google you have done your research. For this, just make sure it is relevant and the content is of the highest quality.

As for internal linking, it is often overlooked, but I cannot overemphasize its importance. Why? Not only does it keep your readers on your website but it also 'weaves' authority. I like to think 'authority' as water, you want it to flow through all your pages. With that said you would want one page (usually the sales page) to have more links than the others. You can call it the 'king page'.

Strong linking structure essentially helps the GoogleBot crawl and index your pages efficiently, but I just like using my analogy.

#8: Bit More on Keyword Density

Keywords aren't like before, we can no longer just stuff them and rank. A good rule of thumb is, if it seems like the keyword is too repetitive, it probably is.

I usually just write normally and keep the keyword in mind, I end up with around 0.5-3% keyword density.

This section is actually really important in doing SEO without backlinks. Disregard my cheeky attempt at keyword frequency.

#9: Going Back and Re-Optimizing

seo backlink

Random Stock Photo to Keep You Engaged

A lot of people see and treat SEO like a one time effort, optimize once and just leave it as is. With SEO there are various reasons why you would go back and re-optimize. Here are some of the cases where I went back and re-optimized for a different keyword:

  • Bad keyword was chosen, was not ranked well/no quality traffic.
  • Competitors with stronger domains decided to target the same keyword.
  • Searches are declining on Google Trends.

You can just optimize for a similar keyword and check back on rankings in a couple weeks. In the case where your keyword is not ranking bad, you can also go back and do some AB tests. Change a couple things, wait and see how the rankings differ.

#10: Keyword Cloaking

Keyword cloaking should be done as a safety measure to prevent competitors from targeting your keyword. This is often done with topics in highly competitive niches.

So how do you cloak your keyword? It is actually quite simple, just use another keyword with a similar keyword density as your focus keyword. That way if competitors use keyword analyzing tools, they will not find out your actual density.

This is just a small tip for people, but if they are referred to your site through search engines, there is not much you can do.

Conclusion - SEO without Backlinks

This guide outlines exactly what I did on my old blog - ranking pages on several low competition keywords until you build up overall domain authority. SEO without backlinks isn't hard. At that point I was able to rank for keywords with medium competition. The great thing with the fore-mentioned steps is that it is completely white hat, so you do not have to worry about doing the 'Google dance'.

You earn backlinks rather than build, and with that you will achieve high ranks for a longer time, especially if you keep going back to re-optimize.

March 5, 2015 - 11 comments

7 Things You Must Know When Writing SEO Articles in 2015

High Google ranking in 2015 will be increasingly dependent on content and the quality of it. Majority of people still don't know how to write content that engages readers. If you are looking to buy content, I will tell you now you will be paying around 10-15 dollars for 100 words of well-researched articles.

At this rate, you will be spending around 5k-10k filling your site and building authority. I just started off and if you're like me you definitely don't have that kind of cash lying around. I will show you how to motivate yourself to write search engine optimized content and build some domain authority.

Here are the 7 things to note when writing SEO articles:

  1. How to choose your topic
  2. Word flow and structure
  3. LSI friendly articles
  4. Topic research tactics
  5. Methods for no hands writing
  6. Reasons why people aren't reading your content
  7. Images
  8. How to BlackHat content for your websites(Bonus)

[line]

Choosing a Topic

When it comes down to it, being a superb content marketer and writer all roots from the chosen topic. Forget all about keyword and competition research while choosing your topic. The keywords and topics should fit nicely with a proper niche finding process.
Note the following points:

  • You shouldn't click bait when writing about your topic. You can in your Meta description but they are already on your site, so give them some damn good info to keep them coming back.
  • This might be weird but due to on-site SEO, you should use stop words as little as possible (a, it, the).

Word flow and Content Structure:

Remember the main goal of writing excellent articles is reader engagement. You killed it with the title and putting your link out there, but will they even read it? I personally skim through it quickly before I commit to the read. Here's how I personally structure articles and a bit of reasoning on why.

SEO article flow

Look how I try to keep readers engaged by introducing new and interesting topics consistently. Authority sites tend to have 1000 or more words on each page and you break it up into subsections to reduce bounce rate.  You should try adding a couple videos or pictures in between.

LSI(Latent Semantic Indexing) Friendly Content:

The method of 'keyword stuffing' no longer works and will get you a swift Google penalty. Nowadays Googlebot uses the Latent Semantic Indexing system; what this means is that they analyze your content by removing articles (the, but .. etc) to conclude what your article is about. Take a look below to see how keywords are becoming less significant and how the importance of LSI content is increasing.

seo articles lsi

 

From a quick skim you can tell this short paragraph is about cosmetics. What I did here was researched the topic thoroughly and presented the science of the product instead of keyword stuffing. This gives Google the impression that there is valuable information here and they will reward you for it.

Researching Topics with Ease:

Most the time I'm doing more research than actually writing. This is also the reason why I hate writing about topics I'm not passionate about. You must really love what you're going to write about to do such extensive research. I recommend having some nice snacks and John Mayer in the background (half joking). You want some reputable sources for your SEO articles so here are a couple sites I visit regularly:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/ - Damn good data with sources most of the time!

https://scholar.google.com - I use this while doing research for papers, why not now?

Too Lazy to Type? There's Something for That:

Are your fingers spraying blood from typing? I know that feel. You still don't have enough money to hire people to write for you so the tool Dragon by Nuance is ideal. Out of 800 words, you will probably have to fix 2-3 mistakes. This might be tough for non-native English speakers, but definitely try it out. If you don't want to pay for software, there are always other ways out there :-).

Flesch Reading Ease:

So you aced your title, killer topic and wrote some damn good content, but notice people still aren't finishing your article. You are probably getting impatient thinking you know how to write SEO articles yet your readers are still not engaged. This is most likely because the language you're using is too advanced. Remember a large majority of people online are still in school. They even came up with a formula to check the readability of a block of text.

flesch reading ease

 

 

Just because your score is low doesn't mean your content is bad, it just means you're targeting a smaller group of people. Essentially you are trying write simple enough for the majority while not questioning the intelligence of the smaller percentile. If you're buying your articles, good companies will allow you to specify the readability. A good tool to use can be found here.

Images and why

DeathtoStock_Objects9-compressed

Maybe I should've added this in the SEO content and structuring section, but add some pictures in your articles. Not just normal pictures but stock photos - they are compelling and engaging. Look, the photo above probably kept you reading.

Here are some sites that offer free stock photos:

Stocksnap

Death to the Stock Photo

Unsplash

Blackhat Content:

I am not responsible for any copyright infringement or lawsuits you might receive with this method - however if you are too lazy to write or English is a second language, this is a good method to get SEO articles. Please note, this method requires Dragon by Nuance.

After purchasing/downloading Dragon, search on Youtube informative videos in your niche. Use a mic, turn on Dragon and press play. Voila - unique, quality content. Go back and do a quick read through to catch any mistakes, and you're all set. It works well, and very fast!

Parting Words on SEO Articles

Stop spinning articles in 2015, seriously, just stop. I can't stress it enough, your money sites should have no spun articles. Wwith authority sites you're trying to build a loyal community of readers. Write your content with your audience as a priority.

Now get out there and write some damn good content!

 

February 26, 2015 - 16 comments

15 Companies Reveal Building Domain Authority with Just 3 Factors

Did you ever think that building a site with strong domain authority can only be done by the big shots? Hell no.

I went and bothered 15 of the industry's top companies with this simple question:

"How would your company rank the importance of the following in terms of building domain authority? Links(backlinks and internal links), Content and Social Signals."

I am an amateur when it comes to domain authority and have been bombarded with terrible sources that resulted in both time and money wasted. I wanted to cut the crap and find out what really works, so you don't have to. I will present the results for the impatient and leave the companies extended explanations for later:

3 Important Domain Authority Factors(Average Rank as voted):

1. Content

2. Links(Backlinks and Internal Links)

3. Social Signals


If interested, continue reading and discover how each company justifies their decision, as well as a definition of each factor. Click on your favorite companies to skip to them or ease into a relaxing read and scroll on my friend!

Buffer
Unbounce
WebpageFX
Boostability
Customer Magnetism
Digital Current
ThinkSEM
FeverBee
Sproutsocial
Sales Hub
AuthorityWebsiteIncome
Udemy Instructor - How I Hit #1 on Google: The 2015 Complete SEO Course
Kissmetrics/Quicksprout
Search Engine Land

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What is Domain Authority?

By definition, domain authority is a prediction on how well a domain will rank in search engines. It is determined by Moz using over 40 variables against Google's Algorithm to model how the results are derived.

Domain Authority Factor - Content

The agreement that content is the largest contributing factor to domain authority is not by accident. Building domain authority in 2015 no longer requires extensive link building, Google now sees quality content as king. They even provided a list of questions to ask yourself when building authority.
Here are 3 I believe are most important:

  1. Is your content original?
    None of that copied or poorly spun garbage. All the content on your authority site should be quality hand-written articles. Redundant and/or plagiarised content will destroy your Google rankings.
  2. Will your readers enjoy the content, or is it written for Google?
    My general rule of thumb is that your readers should happily refer back to the website and willing to repost, retweet or share your content with everyone. Honestly, Google will see if you're writing articles just so you can rank well - they read behaviour.
  3. Is your advice actionable or practical? 
    Tutorials and How-Tos are a fantastic way to build authority - especially if it is a specific solution to a specific problem.
    I recommend filling in the gaps found in the industry - take a popular post, find its flaws, fix it and post the revamped article.

With all this said, you have to make sure your on-site or technical SEO is done. You can find an article I previously wrote on how to write an SEO-friendly blog here.

Prior to some of Google's major updates, many would say that link building was one of the most important factors in SEO. There are two types of links, internal and off-site links(backlinks). With building off-site links we drift into the Blackhat realm, so build with caution...mentioning you build backlinks will get you fired or blacklisted. 

Building Off-site Links(Backlinks)

I am not going into detail about this, but Brian Dean has compiled the most extensive list of resources on the internet. You can find it here.

I will leave you with a closing statement on backlinks, stay relevant! Don't try to have a link on a tech site if you're in the art niche - it will do more damage then good!

Developing Internal Links

Domain authority means the whole site ranks high and across various pages - this is where the importance of linking to your own page comes in. I will give 3 of the most important factors or tips for building internal links.

  1. Create webs for each topic on your site
    By this, I mean linking pages based on different topics or niches. Marketing with marketing, SEO with SEO and so on. I cannot stress the importance of relevancy in 2015.
  2. Link one page more than the others
    This will establish a more dominant page, so you can link content that is a bit more off topic with it.
  3. Don't spam keywords
    Use keyword variations, spamming it will disable its strength.

Domain Authority Factor - Social Signals

When someone posts a link to your content on their profile, they send a 'social signal'. If you were to click like at the bottom of this post, then you have just sent me a social signal.

Is it actually all that important?

In short, yes - Google's very own Matt Cutts has already released a video confirming that it is a contributing factor in SEO. Through some tests, I have ranked social media sites in terms of signal strength:

  1. Google Plus
    This one should be obvious, why do you think webmasters even use G+?
  2. Youtube
    Tough to implement, but I have tried embedding unlisted Youtube videos with the 301+ method and it worked extremely well.
  3. Twitter
    Always great click through rates with Twitter.
  4. Facebook
    No longer the behemoth it once was, you can still get traffic just not traffic that sticks.

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buffer

Buffer is a social media management company, they do everything from scheduled postings to suggested articles. I love their #bufferchat and am quite the regular. They strive for strong community engagement and have a very loyal following on Twitter. I popped my question and they replied very swiftly as expected.

domain authority buffer

 

 

unbounce

Unbounce can help you build some damn good landing pages - without getting your hands dirty(from coding). Like Buffer, they build their brand around customer success. This model isn't the future if you aren't focussing on engagement and proper marketing you are already behind. 

Oh, by the way, update your company page Unbounce, Hayley isn't there!
domain authority unbounce 

 

 

WebpageFX,_logo,_February_2014

Online marketing company that does it all!

domain authority webpagefx

 

 

boostability

Purely SEO company, so I thought I'd ask. Some of their products look promising, check em out above!

domain-authority-boostability

 

 

customer-magnetism

An award winning digital marketing agency that actually replied, cool!

domain-authority-customer-magnetism

 

 

digital-current

An 11-year-old SEO company, like wine, authority comes with age.

domain-authority-digital-current

 

 

thinkSEM

ThinkSEM is an internet marketing agency based in Minneapolis with their primary focus on PPC. They're always on #bufferchat, super friendly marketing team! Check out there site here.

domain-authority-thinkSEM

 

 

feverbee

 

FeverBee was a foreign name to me prior to, once again the legendary #bufferchat. So glad they took the time to answer my questions. Check them out if you ever want to build an online community.

domain-authority-feverbee

 

 

SproutSocial

 

Sproutsocial is an easy-to-use social media management tool - they advertise business and online presence growth. I do love their #sproutchat, a bit closer to home than some of the topics at Buffer. Definitely check out their tool, beautiful UI and simple but effective concept(Oh and super friendly!).

domain-authority-sproutsocial

 

 

saleshub

Another Canadian company! They do internet marketing consultation, show em some love!

domain-authority-saleshub

 

 

Authority Website Income

 

John Haver from Authority Website Income was kind enough to write me a lengthy answer to my question:

"Hi Jacky

I am sure you will find that almost everyone agrees that #1 in terms of importance is Content. There are many witty sayings about content being important but for me I like to think about the basic objective of Google is to deliver the searcher the best article to answer their question. The best way to begin the process of ranking in Google is to have the best content for the searchers query.

Great content alone however is not enough so the second most important thing in my opinion is quality, relevant links. They get a bad wrap but getting quality links breathes life into great content.

Social signals would be a distant third in my books. "

 

 

Matt Jensen SEO

Udemy SEO Instructor, Matt Jensen

One of the most thorough SEO guides/courses I have ever read/completed. I owe a lot of what I know today to this man. He reached out to me on Udemy and I asked him the same question. What he responded was so much more than I expected:

"Hi Jacky,

I prefer to stick with something that's backed by the numbers. I've seen a lot of surveys and "expert roundups" of what people think is important for domain authority and a high Google ranking, but the Searchmetrics study I go through in the course is the closest thing to reality than anything else I've seen. You can't really argue with a year-long study of 10,000 keywords, 10+ billion links, 20+ billion social media signals and 100s of 1000s of on-page factors.

But just remember that Google is very holistic in what they put on the first page of the search results. You need a little bit of everything in there. I had a student reach out to me and wonder why he had 7,000 shares for a post but wasn't getting much search traffic. So I did a quick little audit and found out his page was loading extremely slow and had a number of other on-page factor problems. He needed about 1,000 more words of content and he had relatively few backlinks for a page with that many social media signals. So in essence he had one positive and three negatives. You really need three or four positives there unless you're talking about a very long-tail search term.

It's kind of why Buzzfeed gets thousands of shares for every post they put up - probably more than 50 a day - but you'd never see a Buzzfeed page at the top of the search results unless you searched for the title of it directly. Their posts rarely top 400 words and people don't link to them long-term because once they're done checking out the 36 Cutest Cats on the Planet, they're on to the 26 People That Need to be Banned from Society (actual posts on Buzzfeed 🙂

Hope that helps you out!

Best,
Matt"

 

search engine authority

 

Search Engine Land is the #1 place to get the most recent search engine news. Ultra high-quality content and my personal favorite morning read.

searchengineland-1

 

searchengineland-2

 

 

Last but certainly not least...

Neil Patel Domain Authority

His answer goes against every single company on this list, but he is arguably one of the most dominant forces in the industry. His short and cold answer will always be in the back of my mind:

"links

content
social signals"

 

And with that..concludes the largest and most in-depth post I have ever written, I must thank everyone who took the time to answer my question!

If you thought this post on domain  authority was informative, subscribe below - I will offer techniques that will not be shared on the website via email!

 

 

June 11, 2017 - No Comments!

5 Stupid Easy Ways to Real Estate Marketing

Now that you’ve gotten your real estate license, it’s time to get down to business! You go get your headshot at $75 a pop, get your tech savvy friend to design a website and good to go right? So, why are you getting any leads?

Chances are, when you received your license, so did a dozen of others in your class. Multiply that by a couple classes per semester and bam–hundreds of realtors are churned out every year.

Now don’t quote me on these alternative facts but I think you get the gist of it: the real estate market is highly competitive and it is crucial to be able to stand out.

Sure, you have your website and your Facebook page but how do you take it one step further? Try these tips to optimize your real estate marketing so you can stay on top of the competition.

Read more