What Are Personalized Results?

Search engines tailor search results and content according to your search history, browser history, and clicks just like the social networks do with your content feed. Google records your past search history if you're authenticated as a Google user. Chrome records the clicks you do while searching for answers and the content you view. Now that you're aware of the data they collect for each user, you can create content grouped by target-audiences, get quality traffic, and optimize conversions. The bottom line is you have more traffic channels to exploit and more opportunities to surface your content.

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How to Combine SEO with PPC?

Running ads is not productive as you may have noticed already. Why is that? Because ads are being ignored by people (almost 90%) when they use Google to run queries. People's behavior towards ads is like a blocker that hides the organic results achieved with SEO, which people have associated with solutions to their problem. Your prospects don't have much time to spend on the search engine. They will take the sites ranking on the first page as the leaders in the niche and pick one of them to hire services. That is why your page should be on the first page.

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Does Content Help SEO?

Content is paramount to ranking in Google. It has been like that for years, but today if you know what to tweak on-page, you can rank it with no backlinks for medium to low competition keywords! The statement above works only for text content, as there are more forms, i.e., image, video, online documents, podcasts, etc. That said, it is also possible to rank videos on YouTube and images, again tweaking their parameters. With images, you will not get considerable traffic, but with text and video content, you will. The techniques have to do with making the content relevant for a given query to matches the query’s intent. In simple words, it is about offering the best answer to a given query regardless of the content type. Those who say that there are no strict rules on how long the content should be, keyword density, headings optimization, clearly they have worked so little in optimizing and ranking pages. There are hundreds of ranking signals, but content relevancy to search query, and time on page (reader engagement) are the two most important in my opinion.


How to Improve Reader Engagement?

Topic clusters can improve reader engagement. You build a page (AKA pillar page) containing in-depth information on a topic, a very long page, and you link it to relevant internal pages. The technique works great with readers and traffic. The search engines will find the page as highly useful to readers and promote it in their ranking systems. Google favors topic-clustered pages with its proprietary algorithm. In simple words, topic clusters create the much-needed authority, which in turn benefits your site with higher rankings.

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How does Google Rank Pages?

Google uses RankBrain to rank pages in search results and predict answers to users' questions. RankBrain is designed to improve its ranking system and learn through observations always. An example could be that RankBrain has measured that a page currently ranking in the second page of search results offers a more relevant and accurate answer to a query. It then goes ahead and moves the most relevant page to page one so that users can get correct and satisfactory solutions. As a consequence, Rankbrain will demote a page that ranked in the Top 10 but now considered less relevant because of the newcomer. It is a significant change in SEO as webmasters and marketers need to understand and even predict user needs and offer them helpful and engaging content with the best user experience (remember time-on-page is a ranking signal).

Google looks out for in-depth and useful content written by experts. The policy prevents people from creating content on topics outside their area of expertise, as it could be traffic manipulation or cause problems for people looking for answers and help. With topic clusters (that show content depth), the content creators present their expertise on the topic. The coverage of content reassures the search engines that the writer knows very well the subject. It's a misrepresentation at times because even experts make mistakes, and quantity does not equal quality. Plus, the search engines would need an expert on every topic to assess what the website expert says, which is not practical.

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What Is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is an action taken from an individual (competitor, freelancer paid by a competitor, hacker) with the intent to demote your search engine rankings. The most common practice is building backlinks from spam websites or spam topics. Google has some ways to track and downgrade spam backlinks, but if they are en mass or if the negative SEO campaign is advanced, the damage could be considerable. Google has no resources to spare to save each victim of negative SEO. If the automated algorithms catch the spammy actions, the damage will be lessened, but in most cases, it doesn't work in favor of the victims.


What Are the Signs of Negative SEO?

✓ A spike in backlinks numbers could be caused by a new referral source that you need to investigate. The other reason is that someone builds backlinks behind your back. Abrupt changes in numbers can trigger automated or manual penalties, demotion, loss of traffic. It will help if you use backlink monitoring tools in place that alert when the backlink profile changes or in case of spikes within a short timeframe, which are always harmful and suspicious. The monitoring tools don't catch every backlink. There are many cases when they miss considerable numbers for various reasons (crawling budget, blocked by .htaccess). The tools also have flaws e.g., Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, Link Research Tools. Most of the tools report a spam score, which is seldom accurate and, most of the time, computed out of averages. Google Search Console has a backlink reporting tool, but it's not useful as it lags in reporting recent changes and doesn't catch everything. The suggested fix here is to manually clean the site profile from unnatural, unwanted, low-quality backlinks that come in large quantities. Sending removal requests to referral websites will be ignored in most cases. There is a Google tool that disavows backlinks; I suggest you use that.

✓ Websites use your content without permission and affect your rankings negatively. If Google finds the same content on different websites, it has a duplicate content problem. Google needs to decide which content is the original, and importunately it doesn't always use the publishing date. Websites that are stronger than yours may present themselves (in technical terms) as creators of the content they stole from you (Content scraping) if they don't provide a backlink to your page.

✓ A sudden drop in overall organic traffic that does not come as a result of changes that you did on the page/site. Changes in organic traffic stem either from modifications done by the webmaster, changes in the Google classification system, or an external actor. A breach of Google guidelines causes automated or manual action (penalty). If a manual action is taken, you will receive a message in Search Console with little help of what the cause is. The only time they send a clear message is when your site is hacked. In any case, if you didn't do anything, it is a clear indication that something influenced your traffic negatively and you need to fix it.

✓ A sudden drop in specific keyword rankings. If it doesn't come as a result of your changes, there is either a change in the algorithm or if the content in the affected pages is of the same quality, there is an external action.

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How to Do Keyword Research?

There are many ways to perform keyword research and a variety of tools to use to gather the data you need. In Google Keyword Planner you can filter the keywords by monthly searches. You can also see search volume is trending with a visual graph. It also depends on how specific the search query is in your industry. Google Ads has a column in keyword planner called Competition, and is ranked High, Medium, or Low. Competition is particularly useful for PPC data, but you can check this out for SEO to see how competitive your area of business is in general, so this can drive overall strategy. If you are a smaller business, aim for medium and low competition keywords.

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Is User Engagement a Ranking Signal?

User engagement is the way to measure how a visitor coming from organic or paid search takes actions on the site. It factors data like clicks from search results to visiting pages; the amount of time spent on the page(s); the drop-offs after visiting only one page (bounce rate); the page relevancy to the query (if they quickly returned to search to visit another result); the actions they took on page (buttons clicked, subscriptions, add to cart, etc.). Now, Google has ways to collect the above data via Google Analytics, Chrome Browser, cookies, etc. Still, they don't explicitly say that engagement metrics are ranking signals, though they have admitted to using click data to modify SERPs for particular queries. Experimentation, though, has shown that pages who score well in these metrics influence their ranking. For example, a lower bounce rate has a positive effect, or clicks coming en mass during a short period can push higher a page only to drop it when the trend washes out. On click data, the Google team acknowledges that upon measuring clicks in the SERPs, they would demote pages with less engagement in favor of others that get more clicks, albeit ranking lower. We have to consider that click data is used on all Google products, so Google Maps with business listings, Google images, and YouTube videos fall into the soup. The fun part is that engagement metrics affect rankings leaving out the old-school hunt for more backlinks. That's why many professionals used to count on backlinks are left empty-handed.

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What is SEO?

SEO is the strategy of optimizing a web page for search queries. Search engines discover content on the Internet and then rank it by relevancy to topics. When somebody searches for an answer, the results he finds in the engine are called organic, and if he clicks and visits a page, this traffic is called organic, natural or free. Today, depending on the search query, you may encounter different results formats like videos, image carousels, video carousels, local pack (map), Ask boxes. Many pages are in the Top 10 results because they have worked one way (SEO) or the other (rankings manipulation). Note that organic traffic exceeds all other traffic channels like social media, paid ads, yet it costs less money than those, has lasted effects over time (retention) and attracts more clicks (paid ads in the USA attract less than 3%).

SEO is a marketing approach that focuses on improving online visibility. While the term is widely used, it is also commonly misunderstood. One of the most significant trends for organic SEO is the importance of advanced links. Advanced link-building strategies can increase your website’s Domain Authority (the score given to your site between 0 and 100) and thereby improve your overall visibility online. Advanced link-building goes beyond establishing generic directories, guest blogs, paid links, and web 2.0 blogs. Each of these strategies involves placing content on third-party sites with backlinks to your website, but some of them generate spam links. The more websites that point to yours with a substantial DA, the more visible your site will become.

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What Are the Best SEO Tactics?

✓ Secure your website with HTTPS (Google ranking factor). HTTPS encrypts information sent between the visitor and server (the green lock icon on the address bar). You will need to install an SSL certificate on your server (the hosting can help you with SSL installation).

✓ Build a fast loading website under 2 seconds (Google ranking factor). Google nowadays uses the mobile index, so the speed is paramount for the best user experience and low bounce rates. Content Delivery Networks (CDN), server cache modules, image compression, lazy-loading page elements, responsive templates, and cache plugins can boost the speed.

✓ Find low-competition keywords that match user intent. You need traffic today, and going for the high-competition keywords will take months or years. If you match the search intent by providing answers to less competitive queries, you will earn traffic in a relatively short time. Create content round-ups, lists, any content that offers well-researched information on a topic. Write naturally thinking what the reader wants not what the search engine needs.

✓ Create short descriptive URLs, offer content length above 1,000 words, optimize your post titles and descriptions to earn clicks. Study your analytics, understand how people come and go, what works best, and stick to it. Plug a responsive theme and optimize your images to load fast on all device screens. Interlink your posts/pages without over-optimizing the link anchors.

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What is Local SEO?

Local, or map search, SEO has emerged as a distinct form of SEO over the last few years. On average 4 customers out of ten find local companies through maps. As such, strong map visibility is crucial. Instead of a website, local SEO requires that you optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile with relevant text and links. Strategies for improving local SEO include NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency, link-building, image geotagging, and more features. Ensuring consistency and giving the appropriate time and energy to local listings is a critical factor to getting free traffic.

Local communities help a lot with local SEO. I will list some here; Chamber of Commerce, local consultants, cultural groups, local events (sponsors), networking with locals businesses, and local news. Note that the practice of trading links is a type of search engine manipulation (spam). Local news is an excellent source of backlinks for local SEO. You provide useful content, earn local exposure, and a link for your website that benefits local rankings.

Do you know that 46% of all searches in Google are with local intent? "Near Me” searches show 150% growth compared to traditional local-based searches; 74% of local searchers walk into the physical store on the same day of their search. Build some NAP citations, those online listings that offer fields with Name, Address, and Phone Number. Local directories are the best places to get NAP citations. Google My Business (GMB) is an excellent place to list your business as Google can verify your physical address.

Search engine results are based on personalization that also includes the user's location down to the street level. A host of services are pulling the user location from all devices to personalize the content and ads they offer. It makes sense for a business that services customers in one or more areas to build relevant content (landing pages) embedding location factors like business details, opening hours, addresses, and maps of the physical store.

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How to Redesign a Website without Losing Traffic?

Redesigning a site has a lot of challenges for keeping the earned organic traffic. A faulty redesign or migration will no doubt result in loss of traffic and rankings. The right steps to take are: Audit the old website in regards to content, structure, performance. It would be best if you found out what works well, which pages to keep, how much material is required, and in what topics, how to structure the content. Then it passes to doing the redirects (no more than a chain of 2), inserting the tracking pixels, setting goals in analytics, taking extra care not to create duplicate content issues, etc.

There should be no interruption in website operation for both visitors and search engines. Ideally, you work on the redesign/migration project offline and, when ready, switch to the new setup in less than an hour. The migration should happen in the less busy visiting hour of the day. It is best to put notification for visitors that you're changing the looks of the site and share the news with your subscribers.

The biggest problems I've seen with website migrations are 301 redirects, content missing, tracking pixels lost. 301 redirects are paramount to keeping some of the old rankings (not all link juice passes to the new site) and traffic (due to their past positions about to be changed when Google reads the new pages).

Additionally, you could better the site performance if you apply a responsive template to ease people browsing from mobile devices, and help with the rankings in Google's established mobile index. Speed is also a ranking factor so a responsive modern design with not many SEO blockers will help a lot.

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First things first: there are no White-hat backlinks. If you try to manipulate your rankings, you have already left the white space. I would suggest going for brand mentions, showcase your business, differentiate your content (content type variety), provide a lot of useful information. Use a variety of content types to present your business, i.e., articles, press releases, videos, infographics, images, slides, PDFs. Introduce your brand and what you do better compared to your competitors. If it's an article or blog post, make sure you put your contact details and homepage at the end of the piece or in the designated author box. Offer value to the readers utilizing extra information, case studies, research data, facts and figures, opinions, lists, roundups, something they can't find commonly online. Try to get a reporter, blogger or influencer to interview you and profit from the extra visibility by adding your link. Videos are a great way to showcase your services/products and have your landing page link in the description.

Ranking well today is not about having the maximum number of backlinks, but having high-quality links still helps a lot in Google. Getting free links is not as easy as in the past, and many from the old tactics are now obsolete or spam (blog comments, bookmarks, forum profiles, etc.). But you can still earn links with content marketing, and it's my opinion that this method will stick to building safe backlinks for years. You still need a marketing budget to create and distribute content, but that's not changed a lot as old methods (and their damage) costed money too.

Earning links with content is not an easy task. The content needs to be top class, very interesting, and shared a lot before turning eyes and earning links. It is somewhat a similar tactic to ranking a website. For the content to rank, it needs to have qualities that make it stand out from the fold. It works pretty much the same way with a landing page; if your on/off-page SEO is outstanding, it will rank well. Outreach plays a pivotal role in promoting content and can turn the game, but not any outreach method produces excellent results. We want links from established websites in the same niche as the receiver. A handful of such links will have more impact than large quantities of unrelated backlinks.

I get daily requests to link to content that supposedly offers value to my readers (an in-depth article or an infographic), or it adds a resource that the creator thinks my website is currently lacking thereof. Do I link to them? I don't. I prefer to give a backlink or publish well-researched content that offers full coverage of the topic and remains close to the original creator, meaning somebody took from his/her time to create an outstanding informative piece. I am talking here about the outreach that needs to offer an excellent product and reach the right people. In the above examples, they have contacted me (the right guy to publish their content), but their content wasn't good enough for publishing (failed outreach).

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How to Do Corporate SEO?

Enterprises often run marketing in a way that throttles SEO operations and suppresses organic growth. The SEO strategy needs to be shared and adopted across departments like web engineering, PR, and marketing team in all activities and content production. To align all stakeholders on the same page, you need data and results. It is a fact that only a few marketing managers have a basic understanding of SEO, as you go up, it is a desert field. Talking to the management in SEO KPI terms makes sense because they are easily measurable (keyword rankings, organic traffic, visits, and conversions). It is worth doing some research to understand how the internal teams view SEO and how they work in-house or with external agencies.


What Are the SEO Challenges in Big Corporations?

Big corporations tend to have many corporate domains, and the web engineers have little interest and in many aspects lack of skills in detecting and fixing issues. Here is a list of issues that we discover all the time: 500 errors, chain of redirects, redirect loops, soft 404s, AMP issues, structured markup issues, crawl rate, missing tracking pixels and false statistics reported, spam backlinks, page highjacking, canonical issues, missing internal linking, missing meta tags, duplicate content, non-compliant URL structure, conversion issues, lagging page speed, non-optimized images, outdated mobile versions, extensive use of javascript, thin page content, non-optimized AMP (if available), lack of SEO outreach and producing quality content.

Organizational issues: lack of SEO understanding, low SEO budgets while outrageous spending in more costly channels, understaffed and under-experienced SEO teams (if any), external agencies spamming the corporate website and false reporting, lack or delay of adopting modern SEO trends, failure to do competition research, confusing SEO with other channels, missing audience segments, low-quality SEO reporting, failure to set and understand SEO KPIs.

Before any upcoming technical changes, the engineering team must get feedback from the SEO team when making site changes, plan to migrate a site, or launch a new project. When I was working as an in-house SEO Manager for a large corporation, I had to do damage control daily. The engineering teams were such knuckleheads that not only ignored the repercussions to SEO performance and marketing in general, but they wouldn't even bother to communicate them to the other teams working on the same websites. The damage control involved tracking issues when the tracking pixels were disappearing, duplicate pages found in search results that required weeks of work to clean them, lack of proper redirection of old pages to new pages, etc. Some issues could be fixed and prioritized; others remained unsolved for months as they had full website control; overall, they created a mess. These fools considered themselves the upper caste (probably pulling from their ethnic origin) in the website pyramid and were dumb enough to go down that road. There was an asymmetrical relationship, which was primarily the fault of the management who didn't contain the wild animals ravaging the crops. Even simple testing like A/B testing took weeks of discussions to run. Despite the endorsements and, at times, direct orders from the management, the engineers continued destroying our work.

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What Is White-hat SEO?

In principle (the way Google defines it), if you try to better the rankings of a website doing anything more than optimizing on-page content, then you are manipulating the search engine results. White-hat is more of a marketing term used by grey/black-hat SEOs or salespeople. There are SEOs that are 100% white-hat but not efficient, meaning their rankings suck. If you run link-building campaigns, content marketing targeting more inbound links, even if you are optimizing too much the page copy, you are at least grey-hat. So, again, in principle, every SEO out there is manipulating the rankings. The thing is what method you use that can produce results today without getting a penalty, as there are so many factors at play and changes which likely will override in the future your current method. It would be best to stay sharp, adjust your plan following the changes, and always produce results, that's my approach.

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What Works Today in Search?

Videos will continue to appear in the search results and drive more traffic. It's time to formulate a video SEO strategy while YouTube remains still free and is owned by Google; hence its videos show up in search results. To choose the topic or type of video does not require much effort and directly depends on your niche and your offer. Many niches on YouTube are not saturated yet, so there's plenty of room to exploit this free traffic source and the second largest search engine. Rich snippets are also a thing together with voice search, so a modern business should research and optimize the various schema types.

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Should I Hire an All-in-one Marketing Agency?

Marketing agencies that offer all types of digital marketing will not be able to help a business with its SEO. They don't have specialization in SEO and rely on Paid search, Display Marketing, Content marketing, and other channels. I had to deal with this issue when I was working as an in-house SEO, and I was overseeing the services provided by external 'big' agencies. One so-called head of SEO was only proficient in paid search, the other head was a spammer, and it goes like this. SEO is an animal species on its own. It requires hard work, someone dedicated with lots of experience, experimentation, and a working method, three virtues very rare to find.

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Is Website Speed a Ranking Factor?

Website speed is one of the most critical aspects of SEO performance. If your website is just too slow, you probably won't be ranking well because people abandon it quickly (high bounce rate). With page speed being a ranking signal, you need to speed up your site by optimizing your images, merging and minifying JS and CSS, removing unnecessary plugins, enabling browser caching, etc. A website that loads below 4 seconds, ideally at two seconds, is the best user-experience. On mobile devices, you have more room to optimize as pages require fewer elements, and there's also the AMP feature, but people are less tolerant of delays. Page speed affects crawling times and indexing quantities. On a slow website, you'll find fewer pages getting indexed, thus fewer rankings and traffic.

Website speed plays a role as it shapes user-experience. Google would like to see the desktop and mobile versions of websites load at about 2 seconds and users not dropping off for any reason. If speed is a reason visitors abandon the site, then the site will lose its first page rankings or will never reach the first page. Remember, the first page is only for the best. Website speed has been a ranking factor in Google since 2018.

So, a high bounce rate caused by lagging websites will have negative effects. Plus, Google may filter out the sites that lag in speed by not entering the first page. Not optimized images (size, compression), scripts that burden the page, different files that get pulled by the page, and are not merged into one, external fonts, old templates, many redirects, slow CDNs, coding formatting and comments, all these affect website speed. The issue is even more crucial on mobile devices. Remember, Google runs the mobile index as primary. If the mobile version is slow, good rankings are over. My take is user experience is more important than Google. If you lose visitors at the entrance, nothing can be done even if you're on the first page. Google recommends offering an AMP version of your pages and using Google PageSpeed Insights as a tool to optimize your speed.

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Does Embedding YouTube Videos Increase Rankings?

It will help by increasing the time-on-page, provided the videos have some value for the visitor. It could work with any video hosted on your site, embedded from YouTube or other video sites. Directly affecting page rankings, no, it won't help. So you have to factor in, if it is worth your time insert and maintain those videos, as some tend to drop from YT (getting deleted or changed to unlisted/private) and weigh in if you can achieve a better UX in other ways. It's not a given that visitors will click to watch the videos just because they are on the page.

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Is it Bad to Duplicate Content in All Posts?

It will affect in a small percentage the quality of all pages sharing the same chunk of text. It won’t matter for a couple of pages, but if you replicate it on all existing posts or will do that in the near future, the minor issue will grow. I’d suggest you devise ways that relate to the crawlability of the disclaimer, e.g. insert it as an image or render it with a script (but images don’t require technical skills or plugins).

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How to Get Backlinks from Local Contacts?

Sharing experiences and content online is a new trend in generating traffic. Best results you get when local celebrities, influencers, or news reporters mention your business. As to the type of content shared, it could be a blog post, a video, a review, a Facebook or Instagram post, and more. Strictly Google-guidelines speaking, it is manipulation when the celebrity or influencer asks for money or any other compensation as it involves an incentive to leave a positive review (nobody would want a negative review anyway) or endorse your business. So, technically you will be manipulating your traffic, rankings, backlinks, but who cares what Google says. It makes sense to use traditional marketing methods with a modern twist into online marketing.

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How to Get Traffic and Links from Sponsorships?

Events are always seeking sponsors, and here's an opportunity to draw more visibility and backlinks. Most of the time, local events are announced through their web page, and they dedicate a prominent section to their sponsors. The event page draws attention and backlinks from local media (social networks, newspapers, bloggers), so it will be a somewhat strong backlink. Secure that the backlink (image or a text link) is a clean one, meaning not hiding in javascript, has nofollow tag, or is placed in a noindex, nofollow page. You may target events in other locations if you offer services to many areas by entering in Google something like sponsor/s + city name.

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Say no to unnatural links and yes to link-worthy content. One technique is to create detailed guides and tutorials. I'm talking about long tutorials over 2000 words. Tutorials are so many in some niches and only a few in others; now there's the opportunity. Long guides give readers everything they need to know about the subject, and Google finds that the content is so useful that it has no other option but to rank it above the fold. Bloggers may link to your tutorials because it of high-value or reference it as a source to visit and read more about the topic. It is the same way I used to get a link from Wikipedia without doing any outreach.

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Should I Build Follow or Nofollow links?

It doesn't matter what type of backlinks you build. Both types pass link juice, and it's good to have a mix. Google takes into account both types and gives extra credit, of course, to follow links. You don't want to forget, though, that nofollow links are still a great source of referral traffic. You can find nofollow links everywhere: in blog comments, sidebar links, footer links, forum profiles and signature links, social bookmarks. Google suggests webmasters add nofollow or sponsored tags to all paid links.

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What Are Internal and External Links?

It's good to have a mix. You build internal links when you connect pages from the same website together (interlinking). It is always best practice when you interlink pages that talk about the same topic.

When you give a link to a page outside your website for any reason, this is an external link. Usually, blogs give external backlinks to other sites from their sidebar and their footer sections (these are sitewide links and search engines don't give them much credit). When you insert links in the body of an article, this is an editorial link and passes the most link juice because the writer considered it of high-value to the readers.

Take care with external links; the quantity matters so much; if you give more than 20 from a page that has only a few paragraphs, Google sees it as a low-quality page. If you extend the practice to other pages of your site, again from pages with poor content, Google might think you are building a link farm (spam).

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Is WordPress Good for SEO?

Wordpress is the best CMS for SEO. It combines SEO-friendly features, modern coding, plugins, super user-experience, and speed. A large community of programmers secures its development, and webmasters seem to like it a lot with millions of installs. After plain HTML, I put it second best in SEO performance. It is fit for professionals and amateurs can host blogs, small e-shops, affiliate landing pages, and more. Let's look at its SEO features now:

Permalinks make the URLs SEO-friendly allowing the insertion of keywords. Metadata and images are easy to handle right from the first minutes of installation or allow more room for tweaking with the help of plugins like Yoast SEO. Cache plugins make WP load like a breeze lowering time to load, so fundamental for better Google rankings. A host of mobile-friendly themes help WP rank in the established Google Mobile Index. WordPress pings the search engines each time you publish new content. WP is easy to integrate with a host of analytic tools. Lastly, you can raise the level of security with its powerful plugins avoiding DDOS attacks, unauthorized logins, code insertion, and more.

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Do I Need Long-tail Keywords?

LTK is a group of three or four words making a phrase, very targeted to the user/buyer intent. We use to call them transactional because they are on the spot of the buyer intent, used by searchers who know what they're looking for and are ready to make a transaction. Generally, they are low competition keywords and pretty easy to rank for. Mind you, the search volume that the tools show is not accurate; usually, it is below the actual hits you get in the visits stats. The tools often research and come up with a list of long-tail keywords. You can also look at the footer of the search results page in Google, a small list of suggested long-tail keys shows up there. Additionally, you can look up for threads in communities like Quora, Reddit, and the search function of YouTube.

A fundamental part of your SEO strategy should be around long-tail keywords. Don't mind the low search volume that different tools give you. The benefit of incorporating long-tail keywords into your landing pages is that they target prospects who know what they're looking for and are ready to buy; these keywords are transactional. Another benefit is that only a few competitors will ever optimize for long-tail, and most of them will do it the wrong way too! You need more targeted traffic and respond to people's answers even in complex searches as people don't use simple phrases only when they run a search.

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What is Content Relevance in SEO?

Google tries to understand the page content and natural language better. The goal is to offer the best answers to people using the engine and benefit its paid program (Google Ads). The BERT algorithm focuses on content relevance via assessing the context of words in searches and matching those queries with HQ results. BERT is a natural language processing NLP framework trained on Wikipedia and tweaked with questions and answers datasets. BERT changes the way Google interprets queries because people are using longer, natural, and complex questioning queries. It will benefit international SEO when the datasets are ready to run in the algorithm. We are way past the artificial copy used in SEO to game the rankings. To recap, creating content in natural language, not focusing on keywords in a text that doesn't make sense, and writing in the current language of the targeted country, are best practices.

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What is Keyword Difficulty?

Keyword Difficulty is a metric that shows how much competition a keyword has. The quantitative signal is relative to the niche state, and you can find it in various SEO research tools, like Ahrefs or Ubersuggest. To note that modern SEO works with topics and not exact keywords like in the old days, still, a lot of professionals use it, and clients wrap their minds around it so that I will say a couple of words. If you accept the logic of the metric system, you can expect that elevated keyword difficulty, makes the keyword more competitive and harder to rank for. For a domain with no strong background in SEO, professionals tend to start with the medium to low competition keywords, or even long-tail to exploit hidden opportunities. My approach is different. I like targeting topics that will bring the most traffic and not just keywords. So, I write about a theme and provide as much information I can about it; not the other way around, taking a keyword and try to make the text around it make sense.

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How to Optimize Metadata?

I recommend inserting your main keyword in the title, the Meta Description, and the H1 heading. The other headings below h1 can use a variation of the keyword in a way that makes sense for the reader. Click-through rate (CTR) is a significant signal to Google. All the metadata above should use natural language with the intent to attract clicks, not manipulate the search rankings. If you don't have the best title and description, nobody will visit your page regardless of its rank. And even if you're #1, but your page copy reads as unnatural, you won't be for long as you'll have many drop-offs, high bounce rate, and Google will demote your page. So, CTR plays a significant role in ranking a page. If you are on the first page, it is possible to take the place of the first website just because people prefer your page (given that they bounce from your competitors and stay longer on your page as more relevant to their search queries). I recommend you optimize your titles and descriptions; the latter should show up entirely on the search page and not cut off. Experiment with different sets of titles and descriptions to see what works best.

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Is My Site Penalized?

There are two types of Google penalties, automatic and manual action. If the webmasters are amateurs in SEO (a fact in the majority of cases), they will never have a clue and may never recover from an automatic penalty. That said, the hit came because the webmaster did not comply with the Google guidelines. In the case of the manual action, the webmaster gets a message in Google Search Console that he has violated Google’s Terms of Service. This time the webmaster has done something intentionally, and has a hint of what to fix as the message doesn't give any instructions. The cause of the manual action could be a redirect that went wrong, schema portraying false data about the page, i.e., showing fake five stars reviews, buying/selling/exchanging links (link schemes), doorway pages, malicious behavior (active or passive, i.e., hacked site), thin content, keyword stuffing, hiding text, etc.

First do your research. Do you find any pages losing rankings abruptly or disappearing from the index without you changing anything? Have you checked the Search Console for any messages indicating a manual action taken from Google? Have you bought any SEO gigs recently? Backlinks, blog comments, forum profiles, bookmarks, guest posts, exchanged any links? All the above in large quantities can trigger an automatic penalty. Have you changed your website content or sold any links from your articles? If none of the above, then something's changed in the engine, and you've been affected. The best thing to do is go through the recent Google updates for any hints or seek professional help. It's not a matter to neglect as it may never go away and you can't afford losing business.

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Dangerous enough to get you a penalty. Amateur webmasters like to think of themselves as experts in SEO, so instead of hiring an expert, they prefer to save the money and throw some backlinks that they find very cheap online from third-world countries mostly. Bookmarks, forum profiles, blog comments, web 2.0 sites, link directories, article marketing, guest posting, any gig goes as long as the price is right, and if it doesn't work, no worries mate. Well, I see the practice going on for years, and it has serious consequences. Despite the information that Google discloses, the warnings, the increasing number of penalties, the AI, the innovations that create new highways in search, despite our efforts to change the mindset, people still get hit by penalties every day. There are fantastic gigs out there, but when it comes to backlinks or SEO, gigs with backlinks blasts, comment blasts, web 2.0 sites, forum profiles, will get you in trouble.

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What is SEO Content?

SEO content can be any digital material that operates within a content marketing umbrella and serves the scope of SEO. I like to shift the focus from the way they created content in the past, which was focused on one keyword with an optimized anchor text. Today the scope can be served with different content formats and not always optimized to have a nice, natural content soup. Let's take Press Releases (PR) for a moment. The traffic source of PR ended up abused by people looking for fast gains. I remember the numerous gigs and landing pages built around PR that could get you to the #1 spot within two weeks, for example. The catch was the ranking boost, plus the quantity, plus the dream that the PR could be picked up from a big news network. For some people in low competition niches, it worked as a good backlink source for some time and offered some traffic, albeit for a short period. The presence of enough content plus the established PR sites gave a ranking boost in non-saturated niches. Then Google decided to crack down on the PR sites, and most of the hundreds became obsolete. Today if you use PR for SEO purposes instead of business exposure, and without paying much attention to the PR copy and the publishers, you will have negative results.

People love case studies, facts, charts, research data. If you have worked in any field, it's easy for you as for me to gather some data and prepare a presentation of some sort. You may reuse the data creating different content types, i.e., PDFs, slides, charts, lists, blog posts, videos, infographics, etc. Don't forget to provide genuine and abundant information, mention your sources, if they are many put a bibliography section, give dates, offer verification for your facts, include stats.

Another example is expert interviews. Experts like to give short interviews and share the page where their name can be seen among their peers; Make sure to make it easy for them to answer your questions via phone or email, within a deadline and give them a citation. Pages with interviews like those above tend to become viral, attract links, and we are talking about very relevant content, the type you're looking to have on your blog. If the content is interesting and you share it on the major networks, you will have evergreen traffic plus backlinks.


What type of content is best?

Each type serves a particular scope. Prepare articles/blog posts on recent trends in your industry, create facts roundups and infographics for people who like visuals. Collect statistics from different sources, and give your interpretation. The key is to be useful to the readers, easy to digest, and make sense. Don't rely on just one source, and don't copy content from your sources without giving your take on the data. If you need to include the original piece of information, use a quote, and mention the source. If you create content with the above guidelines in mind, you will see other bloggers interested in linking to your content. It's an excellent, white-hat way to increase traffic and get quality links with no outreach.

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Do Reviews Help SEO?

My take is that they don't help and never have. Initially, people expected that review snippets were ranking signals. It proved that it wasn't, and I also doubt if people see the stars and click on the search results with five stars. Of course it attracts the eye but other than that, I believe only the titles and description can influence the click-through rate. Reviews offered a helping hand to legitimate businesses and ended up abused and rigged. Trustpilot built a whole business around it, and it costs a lot of money to get in without any tangible benefit. For the rest, people started building fake star reviews (schema spam), and most reviews from real people are, in large part, incentivized. For all the above reasons, I'm sure Google will take them down sooner or later. I don't see any point a business should work hard on getting reviews. If the customers like to leave an honest review, they are free to visit the GMB page and leave it there for as good as it is. Don't sweat on getting reviews; it's not worth it.

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What Type of Content Generates Clicks?

How-to guides are a good source of traffic and backlinks. It could be a long article or a short one with detailed steps easy to follow. Depending on the topic, a video might work better. If the topic is programming, for example, the article works best as it gives the opportunity to pause and copy the code, rethink, and digest the steps. If it's about software or handwork, the video is more suitable, showing every step to follow. Both content types generate traffic and can be combined; Embed the video into the article, or offer a transcription of the video to the readers with hearing disabilities and the engines looking for written content.

You can boost your traffic further by organizing the guides into content stacks. The idea is to group related content into article categories and offer a table of contents interlinking all the relevant articles. With video, create a channel on the topic and interlink the videos. Google will like the content stack and surface your articles; YouTube will suggest them to viewers even when they watch a competing video.

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What Are SEO Mistakes?

Duplicate content is a significant problem. There's a penalty named Google Panda that penalizes sites with content quality problems. Among the causes could be poor or scraped web page copy, thin content, duplicate titles, meta descriptions, headings. I've handled cases like the one when I was working a landing page with the owner having built unbeknownst to me 2,000+ pages with similar content, titles, descriptions to my target page.

Duplicate content is an SEO trap; throttles organic performance; reduces page indexation; demotes the duplicate pages or the whole site if it's a widespread problem like the one above. Canonical tags and backlinks can't save the day. I was creating content, building backlinks only to discover an enemy within. The fix is a technical SEO audit, difficult and costly. The owner wouldn't consider spending money on doing a professional job, so he tried to correct things by himself. I gave him a couple of guidelines, but the audit needs to be thorough and run with an expert eye. Needless to say, after weeks of him changing pages there was no progress.

Automatically generated content when you copy and paste content found on the internet without curating it, or you have a software that generates articles that you upload on your page. Another case is when you have an auto-translation widget on your site that translates content from your original, natural language to whatever the result in the target language.

✓ Participating in link schemes when you buy or sell links. You could be exchanging links with other pages, building a private blog network (PBN), selling links from within your articles (contextual), or sitewide (sidebar, footer). The same stands when buying links from external web pages (everywhere an incentive is found).

✓ When you create thin content; pages that have no value and no reason to rank, or you wish they would rank but don't invest time to put some quality on them.

✓ When you misrepresent your business information, create fake addresses, PO boxes; You abuse the positive reviews on and off-site like the Google My Business listing, Amazon reviews, Trustpilot, Android Store, etc.; you buy links to raise the authority of your pages, and even worse you use online forums, i.e.,,,,, etc., that sell cheap backlinks not fit to your website needs.

✓ When you build a page for each location (wishful thinking) even though you don't have the right amount of original content that meets the local needs; you are not optimizing for your local area first which would make sense given the fact that you are on a budget; you target with a separate page every keyword phrase you find in online tools.

✓ When you are trying to compete with a slow website, especially on mobile devices, that creates bad user experience; you serve pages on insecure HTTP protocol regardless of the Google guidelines to offer HTTPS, so you are missing a slight ranking boost and never make it to the first page; you build your URLs with dynamic parameters that search engines cannot follow and create duplicate content issues; you build a page for each keyword phrase that looks shiny in online research tools.

✓ When you abuse your link profile trying to inflate the number of backlinks. Google can take out your pages from its index.

✓ Here are a few grave mistakes you can intentionally make: Showing different content to search engines than your visitors to game your rankings (that's cloaking, a black-hat tactic). Related to cloaking is when you hide text and links again for higher ranking purposes, for example, you color the text with the same background color and you hide the links behind images or other elements. Another black-hat scheme is the doorway pages, which aim to occupy high positions but then redirect the visitors to the content they would not expect to find when they run the search. It is a common scheme mainly for unethical advertising purposes.

✓ Here are some intentional but not so grave mistakes: Creating bigger titles and descriptions than the average competitor has and stuffing keywords in them; Manipulating traffic by buying social signals (likes, tweets, shares, comments); Over-optimizing page content, schema markup, and image alt tags; Manipulating schema markup to show features you don't have, i.e., five-star ratings; creating thin content only for affiliate purposes; redirecting visitors to other properties or redirecting old domains with irrelevant content to your pages.

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How to Rank my Site in Google?

When you don't see all your product pages in the Google index or the new pages you have built, then you have indexation issues. Dynamic content or site search results don't work. Problematic navigation and many filters that confuse search engine crawlers. You might have an infinite loop, pages directing to a series of other pages without end. Suggestion: Trim as much as you can the parameters (session ID, filters, etc.) in the URLs as they generate issues for the search engines. Block them via robots.txt. Restrict product filters to an absolute minimum. Avoid using query parameters or use the Google Search Console to filter them out. Use canonical tags for each page. I avoid working with a website that appends parameters in the URLs because search engines will have to deal with an infinite number of copies of the page I try to rank. The developers didn't think there will be ever a need to do SEO when they designed the shop. Inert internal links, broken links as we call them. You might have changed something, or a middle page got deleted or unpublished for some reason. Suggestion: Run an audit. There are desktop programs like Xenu (free software) that scan your website and identify broken links. You might as well try to use one of the numerous online tools to look for broken links.

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What is Keyword Cannibalization?

It happens when more than one landing page targets the same keyword or topic. Once a client had the urge to build one page for every keyword phrase with a decent volume pulled from the Google Keyword Planner (Adwords). The result was 2,000+ pages cannibalizing the one page I was working on. Do you want the best part? He didn't care enough to share it with me. Not all those 2,000+ pages were competing with my page, but they were impeding its success. I have also seen cases where the keyword cannibalization is live on Google. Two or more pages were competing for the same query if you run repeated queries. The best practice before getting into damage control is professional keyword mapping. If you're in between the mess then the keyword map can serve as a guide to which pages you need to eliminate, merge, redirect, so you end up with a solid plan that breaks into topics and not keywords (that's old school SEO today highly problematic).

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Are Backlinks Enough to Rank a Page?

No, you can have as many backlinks as you want but still, be ranking lower than your competitors. Funny isn't it? That fact right there, tells you very clearly that backlinks are not the main factor when it comes to ranking pages. Take a look at websites currently ranking on the first page. How many backlinks do they have? Are backlinks the only factor for their prominent positions? How do they present their content? What page elements, metadata, and structured data markup do they have? Does Google prefer a content format that's different from your page? Are there any featured snippets or knowledge panels on the first page? If you could you imitate the format and present your version, do you think that you'd had a better chance?

Do your keyword research and then find out the best format currently used for the queries. See if you can offer something elevated to the current state of the query, i.e., a FAQ page, current facts with references, stats and case studies, video content, etc. The intent would be to help Google present a better version of answering the search query. If you can help Google by providing a quick and easy answer, it will reciprocate.

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Always provide the user with their location on the site (breadcrumbs, page titles) and give them exit links to the homepage or the sitemap. Clean your navigation links from any Javascript that impedes search engine crawlers. Interlink your most important pages (revenue) and trim navigation bulk menus that confuse users. Build the navigation links for your visitors and not over-optimize them for Google.

Stop for a couple of hours and think about what you can do better with your content. Build a keyword map with the pages and maybe design a visual wireframe of the structure; it will help identify your main landing pages, your traffic hubs. You might need to merge pages on the same topic because your stats don't show they have much traction. Make sure you redirect old to new pages to keep traffic and link juice flowing. If you need to build supplementary pages (stats, information, blog posts, guides, etc.) with lots of content, do it without linking to them from the homepage, but inversely, link those pages to the main topic page, interlink them, and focus conversions on your main cluster page.

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How to Build Traffic to a New Website or Startup?

Work on preparing posts on trending topics. If you have a brand new website, you can't beat other people's evergreen content. For new websites, it is the best opportunity to rank fast because the topic is not saturated. Google has an algorithm on content that's fresh (trending) that "...impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date, relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness." Fresh content doesn't mean new but trending and relevant to the search query.

Don't change your content to make it fresh. You can update it if it makes sense (correcting facts, adopting a modern approach), but changing it for the sake of rankings, won't give it a boost, rather the opposite. Make it relevant or build more content that's relevant to what people seek today. Trending content is a reliable traffic source to make an entrance, but you will also need evergreen content to keep the visitors coming back.

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What Content Works for e-Commerce SEO?

I don't believe that e-shops have a lot of opportunities to gain backlinks with their default setup. For e-commerce, I would build an information cluster relevant to what the shop sells. Plus, e-shops have a lot of issues with technical blockers to SEO like crawling, indexation, speed, and content not organized correctly. For the technical issues, I would start with a technical audit and fix the issues. In regards to the content, I would prepare a bulk of informative pages and organize them (interlink) into topic clusters. Every page would play a role and support the main topic page (landing page), where we would expect the sales to happen. I would also merge or remove not effective content to raise quality. Only then it makes sense going out and start building backlinks.

With supportive informational pages, you can also expect some link gains. People like linking to more information regardless of the destination site. Do you know your sector well enough? What secrets can you share? How useful can you be to your customers? How much information do you keep in your drawers and in your head that could fill in pages with posts? What is the best advice you can give to customers about what to buy and what to avoid? What information can you share that's different from your competitors?

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What Are the Most Common SEO Services?

Technical SEO deals with all setup and performance matters from website coding to crawling, indexing, website speed, content auditing, fixing issues. Technical SEO is crucial for the performance of the organic channel. A website that's lagging has redirect issues, or poor content and navigation structure will have many drop-offs (high bounce rate) and never get significant traffic.

On-Page SEO is about optimizing metadata from titles and descriptions to images and internal links. It all starts with competition and keyword research, then passes to mapping keywords to landing pages, and lastly, optimizes on-page content. On-site SEO is also about performance, so it measures traffic and conversions from organic traffic. Researching and creating content that responds to search queries is crucial to getting more traffic.

Off-Page SEO seeks to lead generation better and achieve higher rankings in the search results. It's about creating content published off-site, increasing brand awareness (mentions), and advertising the website offers. Of course, link building is fundamental to off-page efforts and intrinsic is the need to monitoring the quality of backlinks to avoid search spam and negative SEO (spammers, competitors trying to destroy SEO performance).

Local SEO is about optimizing brand listings in local search results (Google Maps, mobile devices, 'Near me' results). Professionals give extra attention to customers finding them online around their area. Research shows that 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles. I do the same, and I bet most of you are reading this do the same.

Video SEO is about optimizing videos for YouTube search results. Video SEO is not saturated as Google SEO is, and there are many opportunities to rank videos in national or local results. I offer this service with a brilliant method that delivers awesome results to my clients.

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What Is a Good Backlink?

Nothing to do with PageRank as we know it. It has to do with the real PageRank, which has just one secret. Pages that show up in Google's first results have the biggest PageRank, and those are the best backlink sources. Simple, isn't it? But hard to get a backlink from such pages, still the principle stands. The best source of backlinks for your target search query is one of the ten pages that rank well. All the rest about Domain/Page Authority, outgoing links, dofollow/nofollow tags, don't matter so much, but I will get into those. A good backlink is every backlink you gain naturally; I got a good backlink from Wikipedia because my article is relevant to the topic.

So there are plenty of tools showing you metrics and promise to help you rank your pages. Opensiteexplorer, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Majestic, Link Research, Monitorbacklinks, Ubersuggest, all are paid (important because they keep you on a subscription) tools that promise to automate your work (note that all-in-one solutions never work without an expert eye). Domain/Page Authority/Rating doesn't matter so much; it's just a metric. I prefer a tool showing me how relevant a page is to my topic, not even a keyword. The spam score doesn't matter if the page ranks well. If it's good for Google, then the spam score is not a reliable metric. Outgoing/Incoming links again the same as above, Trust Flow same as above; if Google likes the page, I do too. Page traffic would be a good metric if the tools had a reliable way to measure it, which they don't have. Bottom line: start with pages that rank well or the websites that show up in search. If you manage that there's no tool to do it better for you.

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What Are the Key SEO Metrics?

The old PageRank, Trust flow, Domain authority, Citation flow don't mean so much. Why? Because they don't put a page on the Top 10. What does? Clicks and low bounce rates, which mean that the page has interesting content and people stop to read it. Even sharing interesting content doesn't mean much to me apart from traffic. Take a page that has new content and gets a lot of shares. It will see a traffic spike, and Google will probably rank it higher for a couple of weeks if the page story is good enough. That's trending content. What happens next? The page will compete with those pages that have evergreen content and use to occupy high positions in search. Then the page will tank like the rest of them. Bottom line: don't look at the metrics. See if you can create evergreen content and the metrics will come in their own time.

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Are SEO Gigs any Good?

Here is an example. Fiverr gig costs $5 offering Page Trust Flow 10+, Page Citation Flow 10+, Domain Authority 20+. Unlimited URLs and KEYWORDS accepted. All links 100% Dofollow. High Trust Flow and Citation Flow. All comments stay on actual page. Manually submission. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. I will deliver my service as promised. Delivery Always On Time. Plus 24/7 Support. Detailed Excel Report.

Here is my take. It says all comments stay on the page that means he's doing blog comments. I doubt the 300 links are all dofollow since they come from blogs. Domain authority 10+ despite saying below that he offers high trust flow; that's very bad. Such low authority creates spammy backlinks. Citation flow 10+ despite saying below he's offering high citation flow. If he knew what he's talking about, he should put emphasis on the low citation that means the sources have low backlinks, but he doesn't know the sport that's why he's stressing the high citation metric. I also doubt the manual submission, there are 300 backlinks promised and he would need more than a week to deliver. One week working for five bucks doesn't worth the manual work in any depreciated location on earth. So, he's using automated software to blast the blog comments. Lastly, 24/7 support is a joke. The gig is spam, will get you into trouble. Blasting low quality backlinks you can't expect your pages going up; the contrary will happen.

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How to Do SEO for Large Enterprises?

Setting the correct KPIs is a key step that you will find in all future interactions with the company stakeholders. Management and digital marketers are not experts in SEO, so you need to break it down to them and make sense of it all. After all, you need these people to approve your budget and act on your suggestions if they don't adopt the organic channel every action you take will fail. Who are the stakeholders? Digital marketers who own the landing pages, web engineers, the management, possibly one or more external agencies. Different groups with low to zero understanding how SEO works and what it can bring; always focused on revenue, and easy solutions like paid advertising which costs them a fortune to run compared to organic.

Set reasonable goals for the KPIs, expect all kinds of issues ahead that will delay or block organic performance and hope for the best. If you manage external agencies, you need to be the corporation rottweiler, so they don't spam the company website, and they provide some growth for the huge amount of money you spend. With web engineers, make sure they understand that there are no second thoughts or alternatives to what you need and no time to lose. Otherwise, they will bring up all kinds of excuses why this won't work or why they can't do it now or in one year. Also, make sure they understand the need to keep you in the loop for upcoming changes, releases, domain transitions, and other ingenious stuff they devise to keep their salaries running.

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What Are SEO KPIs?

Sessions (visits), page sessions, impressions, keyword positions on the first page, CTR based on estimated position, revenue (current revenue per visit), campaign outreach referrals, conversions, direct traffic (SEO contributes at it over time with brand mentions).

Opportunities: discovery optimization (anticipating user intent), answer box positions, embed Google Ads best-performing keywords into organic campaigns, optimizing Google Ads against click fraud.

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What Are SEO Blockers?

You may have crawling and indexation issues. Google sends its bot to read your pages and then computes several factors, including technical parameters on the server and website, metadata, page content, relevancy to the topic, etc. If you have a problem, you can visit Google Search Console and check any error messages in the tab Sitemaps or if there are any pages with errors in the tab Coverage. You may block crawling the page in your robots.txt file, or you have a Noindex tag to the page. Remove the Noindex tag from the page and its reference from your robots.txt file. You may let Googlebot repass on the page or submit the change to the tab URL Inspection. Check also if the crawler can find your page or reports a DNS or 404 error. If you still don't see the page indexed, then you need an expert to run an audit and identify the issues. Problems like those won't ever go away, and you will be losing business not fixing them. I see business owners still struggling because they wanted to same money and didn't follow my suggestion of fixing the issues.

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Why Can't My Pages Rank?

You may have a slow website, so Google sees that you don't pass this ranking requirement. Websites, regardless of their setup, desktop or mobile, should load in two seconds else the user experience is bad. Mobile speed optimization is a must as Google focuses on mobile devices. What that means is that they will probably bounce, and you've lost them forever. Google has the Chrome browser and Google analytics installed, plus other services to see whether you can attract clicks and keep the visitors engaged with a fast loading website and interesting content. If you don't there's no point in ranking high, is there? Google has introduced the AMP feature to help webmasters build faster websites, plus it provides a speed measuring tool with its tool PageSpeed Insights.

Slower pages are all about bad user experience, meaning if visitors stay, they don't convert well, they don't buy, don't subscribe, don't revisit. On the technical side, they are not friendly to search engine crawlers, which might report errors and not index slow pages. Start with the PageSpeed Insights and work your way into optimizing both website versions.

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How to do SEO on Wordpress?

Wordpress in one of the best when it comes to being SEO-friendly. Start with Wordpress security. Install an SSL Certificate, which gives a slight boost to SEO. You need to have a safe website, and Google likes to list secure websites in its search results. Hosting companies offer free SSL for the first year, or you may use the Free SSL service, Let's Encrypt.

Then you need to make sure you have SEO-friendly URLs. You can make the change to 'Post name' from the Settings / Permalinks WP page. There are more steps to follow and require an amount of work, but there is a plugin that can save you some time. Go ahead and install the Yoast SEO Plugin that allows connecting your WP with Google Search Console. Yoast is a must SEO plugin. It prepares automated sitemaps, offers title and meta fields to optimize for each post/page, gives you recommendations when problems occur, manages taxonomies, etc. Now that we have covered the basics, you can publish your posts, keep the titles relatively short, fill in all meta fields, and do not forget to optimize your images with ALT tags.

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How to Do In-house SEO?

First, you need to make sure your site is accessible to search engines. I mean from the technical side all content, pages, metadata can be crawled and indexed from the search bots. Then you need enough high-quality content that can answer the niche search queries adequately and even predict user intent. The next step is to optimize the content to surface on the search engine's first page and is good enough to attract clicks. Here I should mention the need to embed schema markup that will enhance the relevancy of the page. Don't forget to optimize the user experience during their visit with a fast loading website suitable for all devices and great design with strategically placed conversion elements.

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What Does Google Want to See on a Page?

Google has some rules (webmaster guidelines) that would like everyone to abide by. They have help forums and host live office hour hangouts for webmasters. Google guidelines are relatively easy to follow. You design pages and create content for the visitors; you follow a set of rules published on Google help forums, and ideally, you have no problems. In reality, you bump into a lot of issues unbeknownst to you as you start with good intentions, but pretty soon you discover that things don't work as Google says they do. So, you don't see your content getting any first page positions or clicks, your website gets unnecessary visits and bots, the money you spent building it, bring you zero return. I am sure you have understood that there are limitations to what you can do, and the cheap services you buy are worth nothing. You need an expert to start things rolling.

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Do I Get Any Results with Cheap SEO Services?

Of course, you do. You get all sorts of negative results that tank your traffic, maybe forever. It's strange to spend money destroying your business page, but most people do. People like to save money, don't they? Why pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to people with 10+ years in SEO when you can do it for a couple of dozen bucks buying a gig? After all, everybody says they are experts and all promise to get you to the first page. Buying cheap SEO services is the most common theme in our industry, and it's been going on for years. Business owners get burned every day, chasing the first-page dream. Scammers have no moral boundaries. They promise to get them on the first page with unlimited keywords in 30 days for all-in-all $200 with white-hat SEO. Makes sense, right? So, what have they got to lose besides a couple of hundred bucks? Well, they will lose their organic traffic with no fixing, is that a small loss?

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Are Redirects Safe for SEO?

The only SEO-friendly redirect is the 301 (permanent) redirect, and webmasters should implement the 301 redirects on any page that is not under development. Old content should be redirected to the updated version if it sits, points to a sitemap page with navigation links, or to the homepage. As a last resort, it should point to a 404 page (Google does not like 404 errors). Note that with a 301 redirect, you can retain the link equity (transfer page authority) to the new destination. If there is no redirect, the link equity is gone, and eventually, the page drops from the Google index. The 301 redirects should be done from page A to page B. Redirect chains of more than two pages (A to B to C) are bad for SEO as it looks like a spammer hides the real content and misleads visitors and search engines. 302 redirects are only viewed as a temporary solution when in development and not designed for content that needs to rank (bad for SEO).

Domain 301 redirects sit in the grey-hat SEO area. They may be beneficial for a while, but in the long-term, they will lose the link equity they pass and even harm the receiving domain or page. If the old domain has different content than the receiving page, it will have the above negative effects for both. Do not waste money in buying expensive, high-authority domains only to redirect them.

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Does the Sitemap Help with SEO?

Googlebot uses the sitemap files (page sitemap and sitemap.xml) to discover content. The pages discovered go into the ranking algorithm and then got their positions in the search results. It is fundamental to offer at least the XML file as a map to content discovery. Google Search Console has a tab where you can submit it, and Googlebot will prioritize the crawling of pages. In the sitemap file, you get to include only those pages you want to show up in search, and you may add more information like alternate URLs for the languages present on site. When Googlebot crawls a list of prioritized URLs on a site (because it runs on limited resources), it may encounter errors. Sometimes, there are also old URLs in the Sitemap that don't exist anymore. Bad navigation, lack of interlinking, server errors, sitemap false page reporting, all those things may confuse Googlebot and assign a low crawling priority to the site. There are online tools that help with each error from lost links, missing pages, excessive redirect chains or loops, and of course, Google offers the Search Console with some reports that help webmasters identify the mishaps.

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Google has four ways to discover your content. i) Crawling with their bots, ii) the Sitemap file, iii) direct submissions you do through URL Inspection in Search Console, and iv) users visiting pages through the Chrome browser. There are more ways we suspect they use, but that is not the scope of the paragraph. When a bot crawls the site, navigation and links are the ones to indicate there is more content to discover. They show the path guiding the Googlebot from page to page. Pages not linked in any way may never be found, this I call buried content. It is a white-hat way to hide your content from the search engines ;) Common mistakes are: Menus realized in Javascript that hides navigation links, different menus in mobile and desktop, serving personalized navigation to users, lack of navigation hierarchy that bots can follow; lack of a sitemap page (different from the XML file).

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How to Block Pages from Search Results?

You have three options: 1. You could block the page from being crawled in Robots.txt with a 'disallow' command to Googlebot and other bots (User-agent: name-of-bot Disallow: private-URL). It does not mean that all bots will follow the instruction, Googlebot will do though, but most of the others they will ignore it. Since everyone is using Google to search, it will work. Some bots target specifically hidden or private content, so putting the command in Robots.txt gives them a hint of where to find your private pages. The file is also available to anyone typing its path ( so take note before disclosing private content there.

2. You can insert a noindex tag in the page header. If you don't want to give the bots a hint where to find your content, use the noindex tag only, don't put anything into robots.txt. No guarantees that your content will remain private though, except for Google which is the thing most people care about.

3. If the page is already indexed, you can submit a request to Google to 'temporarily' hide the page from the results (Google Search Console / Removals), and it will work immediately. No worries about the 'temporarily' property, it will remain hidden from Google if you use the robots.txt command or a noindex tag.

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How Much Time for a High Competition Niche Top 10?

Given that the niche is top competitive and not considering articles but money keywords, an average domain will require at least three years. During this time, it should be able to present top metrics in user engagement, quality traffic, content relevance, metadata optimized, etc. With articles, it can take 1 to 6 months, showing some (not all) of the above quality metrics. But to maintain the top 10 positions will eventually have to meet all quality criteria too.

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Read more

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