Month: December 2017

SEO Hacker Year-end Round-up

SEO Hacker Year end Round-up

As the year is about to end, all I can say is that 2017 is one of the most important years of SEO Hacker. As we are about to end our seventh year, we have had some posts that can be considered to be our most popular for the year. Each of these months have given us an article that SEO professional and beginners alike have found very informative and insightful.

With the new year about to arrive in a few days, let’s take a look back at some of the best articles for each month of 2017. Some of these include SEO tool reviews, Google tutorials, and even Google news and updates. This is also a great reading list before the year ends, and helps you prepare for 2018, which would be another big year for SEO.

January

Google’s Mobile Interstitials Penalty has Begun

(https://seo-hacker.com/googles-mobile-interstitials-penalty-begun/)

Google’s emphasis on mobile website use and accessibility has been running during most of the year, with updates and announcements that ensure that mobile websites, function properly for the benefit of users. This article talks about how Google penalizes intersitials, which hamper the user experience, and make it difficult for a lot of people to access mobile home pages.

February

AMP Content Links Spread Outside of Search Results

(https://seo-hacker.com/amp-content-links-spread-search-results/)

Accelerated Mobile Pages have become the main platform for more websites, as it helps these websites load faster, and become more accessible on mobile devices. This article is about how AMP sites help create a better user experience, along with the use of Accelerated Mobile Links, which helps access other AMP sites better.

March

What We Think Link Building Will Be Like in 2018

(https://seo-hacker.com/link-building-2018)

Link building strategies have changed and evolved over the past few years, but it remains an essential element in the SEO process. This article look at how link building could possibly look like by the time 2018 rolls in.

April

How HTTPS Affects SEO and Why You Should Make the Move

(https://seo-hacker.com/https-affects-seo-move/)

HTTPS sites have been on the rise in the past year, and more sites have moved to it to improve their performance. This article proves that the number of search results from websites that use HTTPS have been increasing.

May

Advanced SEO Techniques to Improve Your Site Traffic

(https://seo-hacker.com/advanced-seo-techniques-improve-site-traffic/)

Increasing site traffic is one of the main goals in SEO, and there are many ways to accomplish this. This article is about the use of advanced SEO practices on how to improve your site traffic.

June

Bad SEO: Never Do This with Your Internal Link Structure

(https://seo-hacker.com/vital-internal-linking/)

Bad SEO practices are often the ones that can get you penalized by Google,  or the ones that would not be able to generate the results that you want. Here is an article about what are the things that you should not do with your internal link structure.

July

5 CRO Mistakes That Need to Be Fixed!

(https://seo-hacker.com/fix-cro-mistakes)

Conversion rate optimization is a key element in good SEO, as it helps a business generate possible sales. However, there are many mistakes and missteps that one can do when it comes to CRO, and here is the article that would help you know more about them.

August

Google Search Console Tutorial: Crawl

(https://seo-hacker.com/google-search-console-crawl/)

As a part of the Google Search Console tutorial series, this article talks about crawl, and how does it help make SEO work. Crawl rate is one of the things that help get your web pages more traction, and this tutorial shows you how to do it.

September

How to Determine Low-Quality Pages on Your Site

(https://seo-hacker.com/determine-low-quality-pages/)

Good SEO means creating or optimizing webpages that are high quality, which helps generate more internet traffic and improves the user experience. This article shows you how to look out for low quality pages on your website, and how to improve them.

October

How to Prevent and Protect yourself from Negative SEO

(https://seo-hacker.com/negative-seo/)

Negative SEO is still one of the biggest  industry concerns, as there are many websites that use negative SEO practices. This article will provide you some steps and procedures on how to prevent it, and protect your website.

November

Google Vince and Venice: How These Two Updates Changed the SEO Landscape

(https://seo-hacker.com/google-vince-google-venice/)

Google updates their search engine on a regular basis, some of which can be small fixes, while some bring about massive changes. These two updates have changed how SEO works for both local and corporate sectors.

December

Good Content Marketing Means Avoiding These Types of Content

(https://seo-hacker.com/good-content-marketing-means-avoiding-types-content/)

Content marketing is an SEO essential, as website content is one way to generate more search and internet traffic. There are types of content that bring about the best results, and help your website get up in the search rankings. This article talks about what kind of content to avoid in order to create a better content marketing strategy.

SEO Hacker Year-end Round-up was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Merry Christmas from SEO Hacker!

Merry Christmas SEO HackersIn spirit of the wonderful holidays, SEO Hacker wishes you a Merry Christmas! The holidays are the best season to spend some quality time with your friends and family, and is also a great time to take a good break and enjoy some great food and presents. Along with the wonderful gifts and food, it is also a great time to look back at all of the work that you have done during the rest of the year and see how far you have come.

For us at SEO Hacker, 2017 was truly a year where we experienced a good amount of growth, along with some challenges that helped us reach heights that we have not experienced before. This helped set us up for a 2018 that will definitely big and eventful. While you’re taking a break and looking back at all of the SEO work that you have done, here is a holiday reading list of some of our most viewed posts.

SEO Holiday Checklist: Things You Need to do Before the Year Ends

(https://seo-hacker.com/seo-holiday-checklist/)

Got your all of your SEO tasks ready for the holiday season? Here’s an article that will help you track down all of the things that you need to do to have your webpages prepared for the holiday season, along with other tasks that keep your SEO running until the end of the year.

Old Is Not Always Gold: Outdated SEO Strategies You Should No Longer Use

(https://seo-hacker.com/outdated-seo-strategies/)

With 2018 rolling around a few days from now, expect some of the newest SEO strategies to arrive once more. While preparing for that, here are some old SEO strategies that you should no longer use moving forward. Also in this article are new strategies that you should be using for your SEO.

SEO Summit 2017: A Recap

(https://seo-hacker.com/seo-summit-2017-recap/)

The 2017 SEO Summit was perhaps the largest SEO Summit to date, with some of the best SEO professionals present, along with an eager anticipating crowd excited to know more about SEO strategies, tips, and insights from them. This article shows some of the highlights of the event, along with some of the most important topics that were discussed.

Why You Need SEO: Value, Growth, and Strategy

(https://seo-hacker.com/seo-business-importance/)

As SEO continues to grow during each passing year, more and more business and websites would be able to make use of it to improve their rankings and visibility on the internet. Here is an article about why you would need SEO for your website and business, and what advantages and benefits that you would be able to gain from doing so. If you know SEO and what it can do, this is one article that will convince you even further.

How to Determine Low-Quality Pages on Your Site

(https://seo-hacker.com/determine-low-quality-pages/)

Google has set a standard in which all pages in the internet will be assessed, which determines the website’s ranking and relevance. This article shows how you can assess page quality, and see what to do and what not to do to make your SEO strategies work.

5 Pieces of SEO Advice You Should Ignore Immediately

(https://seo-hacker.com/5-pieces-seo-advice-ignore-immediately/)

SEO is diverse and has a lot of techniques and strategies that help make it work well. There are many pieces of advice that you can take to help bring you success when it comes to rankings, and this article is about advice that you should avoid in order to have good SEO.

Top 5 Strategies that Will Boost Your Website’s Conversion Rates

(https://seo-hacker.com/top-5-strategies-boost-websites-conversion-rates/)

Conversion rate is one of the most important SEO metrics that would help you assess the success of your website. This article shows you the best strategies you can use to boost your conversion rates and have successful webpages.

These articles would definitely make you have a productive and enjoyable holiday while you assess all of the things you did for SEO.

Merry Christmas from SEO Hacker! was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Smart Image Link Building Tips To Give You an Edge Over Your Competition

Smart Image Link Building Tips To Give You an Edge Over Your Competition

Link building is one of the fundamental SEO strategies that professionals use to improve webpage visibility and increase web traffic. The strategies and techniques that make link building effective have been refined over the past few years, and despite some talks that it would not be as relevant as it was back then, it is still one element of SEO that keeps things running well.

While most people already know about the essential link building strategies, which we have discussed before, one aspect of link building that feels underutilized at times is image link building. This poses a different kind of challenge, as you would need different tools and techniques to make it all work. Here are some smart tips that you can use to get an advantage over the competition.

Using Infographics

Using Infographics

The use of infographics in certain posts on a webpage has been proven to be very effective as users see it as a more dynamic way of viewing the content of a web page. Different kinds data and information that users look for tend to look less attractive when posted on plain text, but with the help of infographics, you are guaranteed to boost up your page views and traffic.

The best way to take advantage of this is by capturing the interest of the user first through interesting and eye-catching topics. Research is the key to a great infographic, as your users would want reliable information, as a lot of infographics tend to be poorly researched. When people are looking for infographics, they are expecting statistics, important tips and advice, and even steps or instructions on how to do a certain activity or action.

Good design is also the key to a great infographic, as it will make your written content look better. It is best to use applications such as Adobe Photoshop to create the best results. Finally, make sure you promote your post, along with the right embed code and links. Attractive visuals help get more users, and infographics are no exception.

Social Media is your Friend

Social media has become one of the best ways to promote different kinds of content, from videos, web pages, and different kinds of images. Being visible on Google is already one important element, but being visible on social media is another. With millions of users in different social media sites, it is best to spread your coverage and reach the right people.

If you have a social media team, you can use social media tools such as Yoast SEO, which helps you share your posts in different social media platforms with a few clicks. You can also do some advanced scheduling on your posts, which allows you to post your images and content on time and on point.

It has been proven that more people tend to look at posts that have images or videos on social media, which is why image link building would be very effective on these platforms. While social media does not count in your SEO metrics, their influence helps more people look for you through constant sharing and reposting.

Take Advantage of Reverse Image Search

Take Advantage of Reverse Image Search

One of the best ways to look for the image source is by using Google’s reverse image search feature, as it helps track users to the link that it came from. Using reverse image is very simple, as you would only need to right-click on the image, and select the “Search Google for Image” option when you are using Google as your primary search engine.

Doing reverse image search will also help you see where the images of your competition are being posted, and see the other websites that post them as well. This would help you expand your link building campaign by looking for more prospects, and be able to look for the sites that already use your images. This will help you establish a solid link building relationship that would benefit both parties.

Optimize Your Image

All of the promotion and link building would not be able to work properly without proper image optimization. It would all start with the right file name, which means you have to insert the right keyword, along with the subject of the image.

The next step is to adjust the image size, as page loading times are a crucial factor in the overall user experience. There are many tools that can reduce image size while retaining the quality, and it is best to use it to your advantage. You can also make use of the source net attribute of the image, which will allow you to control the image size when being viewed on different devices. This can optimize both mobile and browser viewing, which helps the user experience. Through image optimization, you would be able to generate better image link building.

Use Memes

While it might be an uncanny strategy for some people, memes have become very marketable and helps websites and pages go viral for a good amount of time. There are many ways to create and edit your own meme, which includes Photoshop and Meme Generator. The best way to spread your memes is through social media, which would help you reach your target audience faster, and would help the image go viral.

Memes help generate links through constant sharing, reposting, and image hosting. This would help your website gain links around the internet, and be able to generate more traffic and visibility when they go viral.

Key Takeaway

Link building remains to play an important part in SEO, as it helps generate more leads and increase web traffic. Through the use of image link building, you would be guaranteed that you will be able to get better results, and have an edge against your competition.

If you have questions about link building and SEO, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Smart Image Link Building Tips To Give You an Edge Over Your Competition was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Creative Inspiration: Content We Enjoyed this Autumn

The internet is bored of graphs. Let’s show them what else we’ve got. 

Following on from our post this summer, where we talked through a range of exciting new content, from peace tributes to social adverts, we now turn to what has got eyeballs on a brand this Autumn.

There’s lots of talk in the industry right now about off-site ranking factors beyond links, and especially those related to brand. Take this post from Sistrix, this deck from Malcom Slade, or this post on Moz from our very own Tom Capper. At Distilled, we feel a combination of link building and social activity is what gives a brand its best chance online, and that’s reflected in the pieces I’ve selected below.

In addition, I’ve tried to look beyond the tried and tested format of interactive data vis, to some of the more exciting formats that SEO and marketing teams at successful brands are exploring right now.

Here are some exciting finds I stumbled across:

1. Can you spot the hidden egg? – Bloom and Wild

Source: Bloom & Wild


There seems to have been an influx of a particular type of picture quiz. Companies by the dozen getting mainstream press and social attention with a simple static image. No interactivity, no data, no research, no complex build, just one illustration. Work with an illustrator with a distinctive style (like in this Lens Store example), to create a memorable picture puzzle for your client.

2. Mo Farah, SmileNike

Source: Nike

It is great to see a poetry trend taking place in advertising. The rhythm and story that binds the concept together in this ad that came out at the end of the summer for Nike. Mo Farah stating that ‘Just because he smiles, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.’ The video starts with candid footage as though shot by Mo Farah himself, this instantly grabs an audience’s attention, we feel like we are viewing an Instagram story perhaps, it makes us inquisitive what glimpse will we get into this hero’s life. The stripped back shot depicting him up close and personal, joking around, this pulls us in. I have also seen poetry used for campaigning and more hard-hitting topics here with spoken word artist Hollie McNish, the rhythm and pace helping hold my attention for the full 04:40.

3. Lateness excuse generatorDave TV

Source: Dave

When you’re crushed up against another commuter on the arduous journey to work, anything that even slightly entertains you or helps you escape the reality of the daily grind sticks in your mind. Recently Dave’s lolz ads have been tickling me. Dave does a great job of understanding that what they sell is “being amused”, not TV shows.

4. Branded in memorySigns

Source: Signs

Banner printing company signs.com, have studied how logos we see everyday are remembered, by asking people to draw them. Over 150 people drew logos like Apple, Adidas and Burger King. The hand-drawn logos were then plotted on a scale from most to least accurate. It turned out that IKEA was the easiest to remember and Starbucks the hardest.

5. The Uber GameThe Financial Times

Source: Financial Times

The Financial Times created a walk through multiple choice game to test how you will fare in the gig economy. An isometric illustration style was used to create wonderful city scenes. You are given choices such as which type of car you will buy, what sort of phone plan you sign up to, with the decisions affecting how much money you are able to make.

6. You are what you listen toNicc Johnson

Source: Nicc Johnson

Medium launched this long format piece that looks at how the music you listen to can match certain personality types. This is a detailed study, with quite a lot of information to consume before you reach the reward.  I am a dance music fan, which apparently means – I am creative and outgoing but not gentle! Yikes! I feel the depth of research here helps to make the conclusions much more believable.

7. Beautiful goalposts from around the UKMichael Kirkham

Source: Michael Kirkman

Posted in the ‘sport’ and ‘football’ categories on the BBC, this photo series of goalposts around the UK, conjures up memories of simpler times. Sometimes white painted lines on cracked brick walls, or flimsy frames with scuffed holes dug into public parks, where the goalie has skidded over and over again.

8. This is a generic Millennial ad – Dissolve

Source: Dissolve

Sometimes advertising trends are so overused they become a cliche. Stock footage site Dissolve, has poked fun at clips of millennials riding bikes together into sunsets, Instagramming their food, and having rainbow coloured hair; whilst simultaneously demonstrating the wealth of on-trend imagery they have. Or perhaps challenging their clients to think outside the box with their ad narratives in the future.

9. Default ManGrayson Perry

Source: Penguin

To help advertise his new book ‘The Descent of Man’, publishers Penguin have created a game that highlights some of the books themes: that men are often so busy trying to achieve that they believe to be masculine success they often forget the important things e.g. friendship, love and compromise. The game is just the right length, and is easy enough to complete. It borrows well-known mechanics from Super Mario, means it is easy to pick up and navigate straight away.

Santa brand bookQuiet Room

Source: Quiet Room

As we head towards Christmas I’m always reminded of this piece from 2013 by branding / tone of voice agency Quiet Room. This tongue and cheek set of brand guidelines for ‘Santa’ mocks how pernickety and overwhelming brand guidelines can sometimes be. A great piece of content marketing for themselves.

What content have you enjoyed lately? Let us know in the comments.

Creative Inspiration: Content We Enjoyed this Autumn was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Effective SEO Team Management Tips That You Should Try Out

Effective SEO Team Management Tips That You Should Try Out

The most important element of good SEO is having well-managed team that works together smoothly and effectively. Having a great and well-managed SEO team will ensure that you have an SEO company that is able to strive for success, and be able to grow even bigger.

At SEO Hacker, we have a company creed called GRIBEE (Grit, Respect for Work, Integrity, Beyond Technology, Empathy, and Experimentation) that embodies our principles, and guides us to everything that we do every single day. Managing an SEO team is no easy feat, as being able to work closely requires a great amount of team work and hard work. With that in mind, here are some effective SEO tips on how to manage your team well.

Attend Conferences and Seminars

Working in SEO means having to keep improving, and learning new skills and techniques that would make your job more effective and efficient. One of the best ways to learn new skills, techniques, and tools would be to attend various SEO and digital marketing conferences and seminars.

These events are attended by some of the best and established SEO professionals and companies, which means you are getting the best tips and advice available. For my team, we organize and attend different kinds of seminars and workshops that allow us to expand our skillset and knowledge base. We also organize the annual SEO Summit, as event, where SEO professionals discuss various SEO-related topics that help fellow professionals know more about the updates and trends about the industry.

Delegate Your Tasks and Promote Independence

Delegate Your Tasks and Promote Independence

Being an effective SEO team means being able to do a variety of tasks with a good degree of independence. One of the worst practices that some leaders can do would be to micromanage everything, which can cause a negative impact within the workplace and can cause distractions and tension.

Instead, encourage your team members to be independent and delegate their tasks accordingly. Being an SEO professional means being able to work with minimal supervision, which helps one develop new skills and techniques on how to approach SEO.

Keep Everyone In the Know

One of the key elements in establishing a good office environment is by being transparent with every member of your team. Every important piece of information and detail about the progress of their work must be properly conveyed to every member, whether it be good news or bad. Unless it is about private employee matters, make sure that you would be able keep everyone in the know within your team, as this would foster a better relationship between everyone.

Treat Your Team Like A Family

Treat Your Team Like A Family

With my team, we just don’t see ourselves as that, as we see ourselves as a large family that support each other through thick and thin. Every member of your team matters, and forming a strong bond between them would ensure that you have a very effective team that is able to perform at their best, and grow into the best version of themselves. Working in SEO is not just about the results, but it is also about the growth and development of each individual.

Always Strive For More

While it might be easy to stay put after experiencing some good results in your SEO campaign, striving for more is the way to go to get you to the next level. This mindset will help you and your team achieve greater heights than before, and help your company achieve more growth and development. It might be good to be content with good results, but as long as there is the potential to create great results, there is no better way to go than up.

Key Takeaway

Working in SEO means being a leader and a team player at the same time, and good team management would help you achieve the best results you can get. With these handy SEO tips about team management, you are guaranteed that you will be able to help you and your team form a stronger bond, and create a positive working environment that strives for success.

If you have any questions and inquiries about SEO, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Effective SEO Team Management Tips That You Should Try Out was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google Giving Less Weight to Reviews of Places You Stop Visiting?

Google-Timeline-Reviews

I don’t consider myself paranoid, but after reading a lot of Google patents, I’ve been thinking of my phone as my Android tracking device. It’s looking like Google thinks of phones similarly; paying a lot of attention to things such as a person’s location history. After reading a recent patent, I’m fine with Google continuing to look at my location history, and reviews that I might write, even though there may not be any financial benefit to me. When I write a review of a business at Google, it’s normally because I’ve either really liked that place or disliked it, and wanted to share my thoughts about it with others.

A Google patent application filed and published by the search engine, but not yet granted is about reviews of businesses.

It tells us about how reviews can benefit businesses:

Furthermore, once a review platform has accumulated a significant number of reviews it can be a useful resource for users to identify new entities or locales to visit or experience. For example, a user can visit the review platform to search for a restaurant at which to eat, a store at which to shop, or a place to have drinks with friends. The review platform can provide search results based on location, quality according to the reviews, pricing, and/or keywords included in textual reviews.

But, there are problems with reviews that this patent sets out to address and assist with:

However, one problem associated with review platforms is collecting a significant number of reviews. For example, a large majority of people do not take the time to visit the review platform and contribute a review for each point of interest they visit throughout a day.

Furthermore, even after a review is contributed by a user, the user’s opinion of the point of interest may change, rendering the contributed review outdated and inaccurate. For example, a restaurant for which the user previously provided a positive review may come under new ownership or experience a change in kitchen staff that causes the quality of the restaurant to decrease. As such, the user may cease visiting the restaurant or otherwise decrease a frequency of visits. However, the user may not take the time to return to the review platform and update their review.

The patent does have a solution to reviews that don’t get made or updated – if a person stops going to a place that they have reviewed in the past, the review that they submitted may be treated as a diminished review:

Thus, a location history associated with a user can provide one or more signals that indicate an implied review of points of interest. Therefore, systems and methods for using user location information to provide reviews are needed. In particular, systems and methods for providing a diminished review for a point of interest when a frequency of visits by one or more users to the point of interest decreases are desirable.

The pending patent application is at:

User Location History Implies Diminished Review
Inventors: Daniel Victor Klein and Dean Kenneth Jackson
US Patent Application 20170358015
Published: December 14, 2017
Filed: April 7, 2014

Abstract

Systems and methods for providing reviews are provided. One example system includes one or more computing devices. The system includes one or more non-transitory computer-readable media storing instructions that, when executed by the one or more computing devices, cause the one or more computing devices to perform operations. The operations include identifying, based on a location history associated with a user, a first signal. The first signal comprises a frequency of visits by the user to a first point of interest over a first time period. The operations include identifying, based on the location history associated with the user, a change in the first signal after the first time period. The operations include providing a diminished review for the user with respect to the first point of interest when the identified change comprises a decrease in the frequency of visits by the user to the first point of interest.

Some highlights from the patent description:

1. Location updates can be received from more than one mobile devices associated with a user, to create a location history over time.

2. Points of interest can be tracked and cover a really wide range of place types; or a point of interest such as a shopping mall may be treated as a single point of interest.

3. A person may control what information is collected about their location, and may be given a chance to modify or update that information.

4. Not visiting a particular place may lead to an assumption that a “user’s opinion of the point of interest has diminished or otherwise changed.”

5. A Diminished review might be a negative review or a lowering of a review score.

6. A reviewer may also be asked to “confirm or edit/elaborate on the previously contributed review,” if they don’t return to a place they have reviewed in a while.

7. User Contributed Reviews could be said to have a decay period, in which, their influence on search or rating systems wanes.”

8. Other factors besides a change of opinion about a place may be considered, such as a change of residence or workplace to a new location, or an overall change in visitation patterns for all points of interest. These types of changes may not lead to a diminished review.

9. Aggregated frequencies of visits from many people may be considered, and if many still continue to visit a place, then a change by one people may not be used to reduce an overall score for a place. If visits by many people show a decrease than an assumption that something has changed with the point of interest could affect the overall score.


Copyright © 2017 SEO by the Sea ⚓. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at may be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact SEO by the Sea, so we can take appropriate action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Google Giving Less Weight to Reviews of Places You Stop Visiting? was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Effecting Change: Discovering the Technical Problem

Distilled’s Seattle office once engaged with an enterprise software company, who intended to merge their web properties onto a single domain. Leadership suspected gathering them together would be better for branding. But it turned out to be no small task — more than eighty different sites housed bits of their content!

As we talked with their team, we saw why the sites had proliferated. The company’s web team coded their brand site by hand. As a result, marketing teams couldn’t upload or change their own content. Marketers felt disenfranchised, so savvy employees gave themselves a voice. They made their own platforms.

As outside observers, we saw that this consolidation would be a temporary fix. The client needed to simplify content creation. Otherwise, they’d wind up playing whack-a-mole with their own teams. Painting a clear picture of these management issues is an important part of what we do. Effecting change is an important part of Distilled’s core values. Often the way a client manages a problem is more impactful than the problem itself!

Still, the technical problem is real. The technical problem is the thing that takes expertise to resolve. And to have a voice in the conversation about content creation, we needed to first support the client with their site consolidation. We had to show our expertise and prove ourselves trustworthy partners.

To build that trust we needed an efficient and effective approach to solving technical problems. The method I’m outlining in this post is how I resolve difficult technical problems because it lets me focus my effort on what matters most. The approach respects the importance of the technical problem and acknowledges that there is more to the whole story.

SEE THE EXAMPLE SPREADSHEET

How the spreadsheet looks.

Start with MECE

Have you ever seen (or delivered) a 60-page technical audit? How much did the client do (or even read)? Consultants write these documents when they try to tackle a big problem head-on. When the scope of the problem is unclear, when do you stop working?

Big problems can be complicated, or they can be complex. Complicated problems are challenging, but solvable if you find the right approach. Technical problems are usually complicated. Complex issues have too many — or poorly understood — variables. They resist formulaic approaches. The way a client manages their problems is complex.

When you look at a technical problem and feel paralyzed, you’re recognizing how complicated it is. But complicated problems are vulnerable to structured approaches. By breaking that problem down into several smaller problems, the solution is known.

In this post, we’ll break a big problem down with the MECE principle. This process helps expose the substructure of the problem. It’s easier to explain by example — if you’ve seen the Technical Audit Checklist for Human Beings, that spreadsheet is MECE.

MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive, Comprehensively Exhaustive. Here’s what that means:

  • Mutually exclusive. All the subproblems we identify are different — they don’t overlap.

  • Comprehensively exhaustive. The subproblems cover all possibilities.

Breaking down the problem with MECE principles lets you feel confident that you’ve inspected all relevant angles. Let’s look at how this concept works in the rest of this article.

Three steps to technical discovery

We want to understand the technical challenge quickly, confidently, and in a replicable way. These are the three steps to follow:

  1. Familiarize yourself with available data.

  2. Form a hypothesis about what to do.

  3. Validate the solution under the context in which you’re working.

It’s an intuitive process — not controversial. The difference is applying a principle like MECE at each step to focus your attention.

First, familiarize yourself with available data

Check out the first page of the example Sheet to follow along.

Imagine a client has come to you saying, “I need to increase my organic traffic.” For Distilled, that’s a surprisingly common scenario — and a difficult demand to fulfill! Where do you start with an open-ended problem like that? Applying the MECE principle will give us a direction to go in.

Let’s give it a try, starting from the top. More organic traffic is the goal. What are all the possible ways you could achieve that goal? These are the top-level possibilities I came up with:

Need more organic traffic

  • Maybe add more content to the site

  • Maybe improve existing content

  • Maybe increase authority of content

Applying MECE is recursive. You don’t just break the big problem into subproblems, you also break down each subproblem in turn. This continues until you can clearly take physical action to solve the subproblems. Here’s a visual representation of the process:

For example, we could increase traffic to the site by adding more content that targets high-volume search terms. That’s a more focused problem than “increase organic traffic”. But it’s still a bit paralyzing. So let’s break the problem down further:

How can we increase traffic by adding content?

  • Maybe create more content targeting competitive head terms

  • Maybe create lots of content targeting long-tail terms

We’re getting warmer, but we’re not quite there. Let’s do one more try, focusing on the possibility of adding long-tail content:

How can we increase traffic with long-tail content?

  • Could we automate content creation with proprietary client data?

  • Can we design a content calendar the client could use to produce targeted content?

The process stops here because the problems are specific enough to generate next physical actions. We could break the points down further, but that wouldn’t change the actions we’d take to research them.

This process is fully fleshed out in the spreadsheet. In the end, we come up with things like “If we cast a wider net, are there head terms in markets we aren’t considering?” These are all questions that will drive action and give us confidence.

In fact, we wind up with some fairly common actions. We need to do a tech audit. We need to brainstorm campaign ideas. The difference is that we now know exactly why we’re doing them — and therefore how to invest in each.

Next, form a hypothesis

In the first step, you exposed the possible solutions. By doing that research, you’ll have formed an opinion about what the answer is. If not, collecting everything in one place should bring out some contenders.

Now it’s time to form a hypothesis based on your research and professional intuition. Looking at the example spreadsheet, I’m starting to suspect that creating long-tail content will be the best way for the client to increase their organic visibility.

That’s my informed opinion — I might be wrong. The hypothesis doesn’t have to turn out correct. That’s why you need to validate it.

Finally, validate your recommendations

Check out the second page of the example Sheet to follow along.

This step is often skipped when tackling complicated problems without a formal process. It’s natural to form an opinion about what to do while you’re researching. It may even seem obvious that you have the right answer, and you might!

Imagine going to the client at this point with your opinion. You’d say, “I did a bunch of research and it pointed toward this recommendation.” While that’s a better approach than going to the client with a massive audit, there’s still room for the client to doubt. It’s time to shift focus.

In step one, we analyzed every relevant facet of the “get more traffic” problem. Now we’ve got a hypothesis. We need to inspect this hypothesis from all angles. Let’s look at our example hypothesis:

We should invest in creating content for long-tail keywords

  • Improving rankings of existing content isn’t practical.

  • We can capture new long-tail traffic.

  • Capturing long-tail traffic has a positive ROI.

As with the first step, we continue this process until each subproblem can be given a concrete answer. Check out the spreadsheet for inspiration.

We’re taking it from “the evidence points in this direction” to “we’ve looked at this from all relevant angles, and are confident we can support it”. This is the most important supporting evidence to present.

A little thinking goes a long way

David Allen says in GTD, “You have to think about your stuff more than you realize, but not as much as you’re afraid you might.” That’s as true for big technical problems as it is for your own to-do system.

The art is breaking down the big problem into a set of sub-problems. That isn’t easy — but it’s more effective than trying to do a bunch of audits and hoping they’ll coalesce into meaningful insight.

Once you’ve mastered this skill, the three-step outline is simple:

  1. Expose possibilities

  2. Choose the most promising

  3. Validate the chosen possibility

Confidently executing this process efficiently exposes technical solutions. Solving this complicated problem gives you more opportunity to collaborate with the client on complex problems, like the impact of their management practices.

SEE THE EXAMPLE SPREADSHEET

Engaging with these ideas

Here are two books that have introduced me to these methods. If you’re interested in this approach to problem solving, I recommend them!

  • Flawless Consulting by Peter Block. This is a book with great ideas in it, but it takes some effort to parse. I’ve created an internal training course for our team to share its principles in a more structured way. For those who are willing to invest in its ideas, there is the potential for a huge payoff.

  • The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel. There are plenty of books on McKinsey and MECE. I happened to get my introduction to the concept here.

Effecting Change: Discovering the Technical Problem was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Most Popular Marketing Experiments Conversion Optimization, A/B testing and Value Proposition Content in 2017

This was a big year for MarketingExperiments. In 2017, our website got a major facelift. Certainly, a much different look than when we first started publishing in 2000.

More importantly, we hope 2017 was a big year for you. And to help you have an even better year in 2018, here is the MarketingExperiments content that was most popular with your peers this past year.

Quick Win Clinics

New in 2017, we launched the Quick Win Clinic video series to help marketers with problems that are easy to solve, but difficult to detect. In every episode, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingExperiments), provides conversion optimization suggests on audience-submitted homepages, landing pages, emails, display ads, etc.

Watch one of the Quick Win Clinics to get ideas for improving your marketing messaging.

Or give us the URL of the marketing collateral you would like to have optimized in the series. If yours is chosen, you’ll get specific advice to help improve conversion based on our patented methodology built from what we’ve discovered by testing more than 20,000 sales and marketing paths.

 Specific examples of great value propositions

MarketingExperiments email newsletter subscriber Jennifer wrote to us and said “I’m a big fan of MECLABS and your value proposition work. I’d love to see a story with specific examples of five great value propositions.”

So we published some good …

As well as bad examples …

Get some ideas for creating a powerful value proposition for your brand, products and marketing pieces from the article 6 Good (And 2 Bad) B2B And B2C Value Proposition Examples.

The Prospect’s Perception Gap

Flint McGlaughlin was a featured speaker at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 (MarketingExperiments’ sister publishing brand).

We shared a free video replay of his full session. Watch now to learn how to bridge the dangerous gap between the results you want and the results you have.

Absolute Difference Versus Relative Difference

A perennial favorite, we published this article back in 2013 but it is still one of our top-trafficked pages, so marketers continue to see value in learning how to understand and communicate their results.

As an example, Kyle Foster used a simple A/B split test for a hypothetical landing page test with some dummy data to interpret.

Read the article about interpreting results to get a basic understanding of how you should report on your A/B tests.

Learn how to become a better, more efficient digital marketer

Lastly, another perennial favorite, the landing page for MECLABS online learning. With our curriculum of online certification courses — value proposition development, landing page optimization, online testing and email messaging — you can learn a patented methodology to increase customer response.

You might also like…

A/B Testing Archives

Value Proposition Archives

Testing And Optimization: 4 inspirational examples of experimentation and success

Most Popular Marketing Experiments Conversion Optimization, A/B testing and Value Proposition Content in 2017 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

TechSEO360: The SEO Hacker Review

TechSEO360 Review

We have had a good number of SEO tool reviews done this past 2017. We’ve had versatile tools such as SERPED.net, website auditing tools like SEOmator, conversion rate tools like Omniconvert, keyboard tracking software like AccuRanker, and versatile language processing tools like Wordlift. These excellent and dynamic tools have become important parts of our expanding SEO toolbox, and have made SEO in 2017 a better experience for us.

Another SEO tool that has been introduced to our team is TechSEO360, which is another versatile tool provides you with features such as keyword optimization, sitemap creation, link analysis, and fast site crawling. With all of this features in one single tool, this is a tool definitely worth a review to see how it holds up with the rest of our arsenal. Before we begin with the review, I would like to invite you to try out TechSEO360 for yourself by going to their main page, and downloading the tool itself. You will be able to access all of the features for free for a 30-day period, which is enough time to see how it holds up on your end. Without further ado, here is our review.

Website Scan

Website Scan

The first feature that you’ll be seeing after logging into the tool is the website scan. The scanning is simple, as all you need is to type in your domain address and start scanning. You can also navigate between crawler options and various filters to be able to scan more specific details for your website. This wide variety of crawling options help you get all the necessary data that you need to see how your website is doing.

Website Scan Progress

After having our website scanned for 10 minutes, I was able to get a sizeable amount of data with regards to the amount of external and sitemap URLs, and jobs that are present in the crawler engine. The longer you would scan your website, the more crawl data you would be able to obtain, which can help you monitor your leads, traffic, and other information related to your website. After scanning, you can analyze your data further using the analysis tool.

Analyze Website Data

Analyze Web Data

This is the section that allows you to look at all of the links and pages within your website. You can also view your website through the tool itself, acting like a mini-browser that let’s you navigate through the internal and external links.

Website Extended Data

If you want to take a closer look at the links themselves, you can click the extended data section and get a closer look. You would be able to see all of the links and their anchors, and even know if they are follow or nofollow links. This feature helps you check if all of your links are working, and makes looking for broken links much easier than before.

On-Page Keyword Analysis

Analyze On Page Keyword Analysis

Along with website and link analysis, TechSEO360 also allows you to analyze al of the keywords present within your website. It would track how many of these keywords are present, their weight, and the overall keyword density. This would help you see how well are your keywords performing, and if the density is too high or too low for certain keywords.

Keywords and Lists

Keywords and Lists

Another important keyword research feature is the keywords and lists section. This allows you to create and combine your own keyword lists. This allows you to focus on the keywords that you are using and help you get a better picture on how to get them to rank higher. For our clients with a specific keyword list, this comes in really handy as you would be able to monitor all the right keywords, without having to manually browse through anything.

Online Tools

The online tools section will check if your website currently has some active tools present. This can be evident when you use a WordPress website, as they would be able to detect various tools that are being used. This would let you know if the tools that you are using are active and working on your site.

Create Sitemap

Sitemap

Site mapping is an essential SEO practice, as you are able to help create listings for web crawlers, which you can then send to search engines to improve your craw rate. Once you have gotten your website scanned, you will be able to create multiple file paths for different site types. Like the previous parts of the tool, you can adjust and filter your settings to your own preferences. This allows you to create a customized setting for each of your client’s websites

Create Robots

Create Robots

If your site does not have crawlers, which affect the visibility of your website, this tool allows you to create robots for your website to increase the number of crawlers. Creating robots using TechSEO360 is simple and quick, only needing you to create a .txt file, and click one or two of the available options. After creating robots in your site, you can use a Ping Sitemap to monitor your progress.

Verdict

Sitemapping and web crawling is one of the most important elements of SEO, and TechSEO360 is a tool that allows you to make this process much more efficient. Along with improving your website’s crawl rate, you would also be able to audit your website, and see if all your internal and external links are working fine. If you are in a need of a website analysis tool, then TechSEO360 is a must have in your SEO arsenal.

Key Takeaway

2017 is a strong year for SEO tools, as we have seen some of the best and most efficient tools available. TechSEO360 is no exception, as it is another tool that SEO specialists would use to their advantage.

If you have questions and inquiries about SEO tools, and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

TechSEO360: The SEO Hacker Review was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

wordpress How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

For the last several years, SEMrush has conducted studies around the most common technical SEO mistakes that appear on websites. This year, SEMrush collected data on 100K websites and 450 million pages to determine the most common mistakes and issues.

Knowing that WordPress is the most popular CMS platform on the web, and using the SEMrush study, we wanted to show how you to fix those pesky technical SEO issues on your WordPress sites.

Following the same methodology set out by SEMrush, we have divided the fixes into three big groups:

  • Crawlability
  • Technical SEO
  • On-Page SEO

Crawlability

  • WWW Domain Configured Incorrectly

    • What is it?

If you can access your website by going to the WWW version and the non WWW version and both resolve to that address, you have a problem. This is considered a duplicate content concern since essentially there are 2 ways to access the same content.

    • How to fix it

First determine whether the WWW version or the non WWW is your preferred version. The nice thing about WordPress is that whichever one you enter in the general settings, it will automatically set it up properly assuming you have both version pointed to the same IP address. Meaning if you try to access the website using the other version it should already redirect you to the correct version.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

  • Redirect Chains & Loops

    • What is it?

A redirect chain happens with there is more than one redirect occurring between the first URL and the final URL. When a URL is redirected it should be done so pointing directly to its final destination. This can be problematic for SEO because of decreased link equity being passed through.

    • How to fix it

Once you know where your chains are happening, you simply need to update the link to point to the final destination instead of allowing it to flow through multiple redirects.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

  • Broken Internal Links

    • What is it?

Links pointing to other internal pages of your website. A broken link not only provides a bad user experience, it affects how Google assesses your sites quality. The more broken links you have, can cause Google to have a reduced crawl rate, and not effectively distribute link equity.

    • How to fix it

Although there are a couple ways this can be done, for simplicity I recommend using the Broken Link Checker plugin. Upon activating the plugin, you will need to visit the Settings >>Link Checker page. The plugin will automatically start scanning the website for any broken links. Obviously the larger the site the long it will take to finish the scan. Once completed, you should see a link displaying the number of broken links found. Here is a screenshot:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

By clicking on the link shown above, you will be taken to a results page of the individual links:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

The great thing about this plugin is that you can update the URL right from this view by either changing the URL or unlinking it altogether.

**Note: This is a very resource heavy plugin so it is recommended to deactivate the plugin after use and just reactivate every month or 2 to ensure your website is in good standing.

  • Missing XML Sitemap

    • What is it?

A file that lists all of the important pages of your website. It acts as a roadmap for Google. The purpose is that even though your website’s internal linking architecture might not be perfect, the XML sitemap tells Google what all of your URL’s are so they can appropriately crawl and index them.

    • How to fix it

You want a dynamic xml sitemap so that every time a new page is created on your website the URL gets automatically added to the file. There are many plugins you can use to create an XML sitemap in WordPress but my favorite is to use the Yoast SEO plugin.

Once you activate the plugin, you simply click on XML Sitemaps in the plugin menu:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

Once clicked, you can enable or disable XML sitemaps. Once you click the button to enable, the plugin automatically generates the file for you.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

Once you have completed this, you simply take the url of the file and submit that to your Google Search Console account.

  • Missing Robots.TXT

    • What is it?

The robots.txt file is essentially a set of instructions for the web robots. In this file you can determine which pages or areas of the website you do or don’t want the robots to crawl and access.

    • How to fix it

Using the multi-dimensional Yoast SEO plugin as mentioned earlier, you can edit the robots.txt file. Make sure you have the advanced features enabled, and when so, click on Tools in the Menu:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

Your next step will be to click on File editor. From there you will be able to make changes to your robots.txt file. If you don’t already have one, you can create simply click the button to create and save:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

  • Non SEO-Friendly URL Structure

    • What is it?

When checking the SEO friendliness of your URL structure you are essentially looking for a clear, easy to read setup. The shorter the better. If possible, you want to try to avoid dynamic URLs or URLs with long strings of numbers in them.

    • How to fix it

Luckily WordPress makes this easy. If you click on Settings>Permalinks, you are taken to a page that looks like this:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

The ideal setup in most cases would be to use a custom structure and append the following in the text box: /%postname%/

The above will solve any issues with non-friendly URLs. For URLs that are flagged as being too long, simply go to the page/post, and edit the permalink underneath the Title as shown:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

*Note: Any time you change a URL, you should redirect that URL.

On-Page Optimization

  • Duplicate Content & Thin Content

    • What is it?

Duplicate content occurs when substantial blocks of the same copy is being used on more than 1 page throughout the website. This is frowned upon because it degrades the value of your page because there is nothing of unique substance for Google to reward your page. Ideally every page of your website will have unique copy.

Thin Content occurs when you have a page with very little to no copy. This too is not ideal because there is nothing of unique substance for Google to reward that page either.

    • How to fix it

You can simply fix both by ensuring there is enough copy on the page to accurately represent the theme of that page and that the copy on each page is completely unique.

  • Duplicate & Missing Meta Descriptions

    • What is it?

Every page on your website should have a meta description and they should all be unique. The purpose of the meta description is to briefly describe what the contents of this page is about.

    • How to fix it

Using the Yoast plugin, when editing, toward the bottom of each page/post there will be an area that will look like the below. You simply enter the meta description in the box.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

  • Missing, Duplicate, & Too Long Title Tags

    • What is it?

Every page on your website should also have a Title Tag and they should all be unique. The purpose of the Title Tag is to Title what the contents of this page is about. The Title tag being properly optimized with keywords is an important facet of SEO.

    • How to fix it

In the same image shown above with the Meta description, you will see the SEO title. Filling the information in this box will automatically create your Title Tag. Just go through all the pages that have duplication and update them to be different.

Title tags have character limits before Google starts truncating them (typically 60 characters and above). In the case where the Title Tag is too long, you will simply need to edit the Title to be under the 60 character limit.

  • Missing & Multiple H1 Tags

    • What is it?

H1 tags are essentially a type of HTML heading. It is widely believed that H1 tags carry more weight than other headings on a page. Following best practices, each page should have an H1 tag but only 1.

    • How to fix it

To add an H1 tag to a page, simply go to the page editor in WordPress and highlight the copy that you want to be in an H1. Once highlighted, select the H1 heading from the dropdown menu in the WYSIWYG editor as shown:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

If you have more than 1 H1 tag on a page, you will need to find where they are marked up, and follow the same instructions as above except select a different heading type. You can have as many H2’s, H3’s, etc as you would like.

  • Broken Images & Missing Alt Attributes

    • What is it?

A broken image is exactly what it sounds like. An image that isn’t rendering on the website.

An alt attribute is a tag applied to images that provide a text alternative to the image. An alt tag should describe what the picture is. It’s purpose is for screen readers for those that are visually impaired. Every image should have one.

    • How to fix it

You can fix broken images by simply updating the image on a post/page, or by removing it altogether.

To add alt text to an image, simply select it in the Media Library of WordPress and you should see a box with Image Details appear as shown below where you can enter in your alt text.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

Technical SEO

  • Slow Page Speeds

    • What is it?

Page speed is an extremely important facet to SEO and user experience. The slower a page loads, the less likely someone will want to stick around for it.

    • How to fix it

There are many plugin options that help improve Page Speed for a website. There are 3 core ones that we typically like to use that should have a big impact on improving your page speed.

      • W3 Total Cache: This will help solve any browser caching issues that show up in Google Pagespeed Insights and assist with page compression.
      • Autoptimize: This will handle the minification of CSS, HTML & JavaScript files and improve the render-blocking scripts
      • EWWW Image Optimization: This is our preferred method of optimizing images. Although I will admit, the paid version produces better results.

*Note: One of the most common issues that occurs is the reduction in server response time. Unfortunately there is no plugin to fix this. Usually you would need to upgrade your hosting plan to accommodate for newer software & higher resources.

  • Non Mobile Friendly

    • What is it?

By now most should have a mobile website, yet we still see some that don’t everyday. Google has already started launching their mobile first index which means if you don’t have a mobile website than you will soon be left behind.

    • How to fix it

The recommended way to solve this would be to make your website responsive. If it is not already, then you will need to hire a developer. The reason we recommend responsive is that you only have 1 website to maintain and it automatically conforms to the size of the screen a visitor is using.

The second option is to have a separate mobile website. Although not my favorite option it is better than not having a mobile website. In this case, I would recommend using WPtouch as a short term solution until you invest in going responsive. Once activated, you can setup your mobile website in a matter of minutes.

How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing