Compelling Meta Descriptions That Will Boost Your Google Ranking (for Webmasters only) 2018

soe online marketing tips for websites and blogs

SEO (and especially Meta Descriptions) is a tricky subject. One minute you think you have it nailed and the next everything has changed. And when you consider the fact that Google reportedly changes its algorithm 500 to 600 times per year, you start to see the problem. The only constant in SEO is change. This creates a never-ending pursuit of the coveted number one ranking. But thankfully, there are elements that aren’t likely to become entirely irrelevant, which means you can focus on doing them well in the long term. One such area is the meta description on your website or blog. From the start, meta descriptions have been an essential part of a search engine results page and that isn’t likely to change.

So to help you capitalize on this important aspect of your SEO, I want to teach you how to write one that’s compelling and helps you boost your ranking.

But before we get started, let’s talk a bit more about how powerful these meta descriptions really are.

The power of a meta description

In general, meta descriptions have one very important function on a search engine.

That is, they provide a succinct description of the content of your webpage in conjunction with the rest of the metadata in your site’s HTML code.

And even if you don’t set one up yourself, most content sharing systems will automatically generate a meta description for you.

But that’s definitely not what you want, because it almost certainly won’t be as good as the one you create.

Before we go any further though, if you’re still unsure of what it looks a meta description looks like, here’s the one on my site to help clear up any confusion:

As you can see, it’s just a short and simple blurb on the content I offer to my site’s visitors.

And if you look further at the HTML on my site, you’ll notice that it’s there with all of the other metadata to help show Google what the site is actually about.

Every single page of every single website has the ability to contain and share metadata, including the title, URL, and descriptions.

If they’re optimized correctly, they can be used to help Google rank pages.

And while this is just one element to highlight with your SEO, it’s important to understand why your meta description, in particular, makes a difference.

That means knowing how it affects your SEO and what elements are the most important to consider.

To help answer that question, you should start by knowing that not all elements of your metadata actually affect SEO.

Namely, Google has long held that the meta keywords tag doesn’t factor into SERPs.

These tags are embedded in the HTML of your site like everything else, and once upon a time, they factored greatly into SEO.

meta keywords example

But the practice of keyword stuffing from previous decades killed this trend long ago.

But everything else, including the URL, title, and especially the description can affect your page’s on-site SEO.

And surprisingly, the reason for that isn’t incredibly technical.

Because while Google does take into account your portrayal of your site’s pages, the real marker they look for is user behavior.

You see, they don’t just want to know what’s on your website.

They want to know if people are actually using it.

And since user behavior is affected by user experience, you start to see why meta descriptions actually matter for SEO.

Because of all of the elements of your metadata and the search engine results page, the meta description is the most potential-filled part of how you can start optimizing user experience while users are still off-site.

And with Google going into mobile-first mode, optimizing the user experience is more important than ever.

google mobile ranking factors

They want you to be able to provide turnkey moments that deliver on needs by educating, instructing, or showing off what you can do.

And even though it might be easy to miss, your meta descriptions are the frontline of that effort for organic search.

It’s a small part of your website that acts as a first impression, and that means everything when you’re talking about SEO.

Forge and Smith prove this with some fairly impressive results in an SEO case study of their client Sweet Georgia Yarns.

UX seo

By helping craft different elements of their SEO like meta descriptions, they’ve provided a 215% year over year increase in value.

All with just some words inside a line of code.

Think about what that could mean for your site, too.

And according to Google, this trend toward meta descriptions is only logical:

The general assumption under such an approach is that searching users are often the best judges of relevance, so that if they select a particular search result, it is likely to be relevant, or at least more relevant than the presented alternatives.

Google really wants to know what actions people are taking and why they are taking them.

Because they believe that users are the best measure when finding content that’s actually useful and relevant.

And it seems like they’ve found their answer in meta descriptions.

So you can rely on whatever content publisher you’re using to generate it, but that will only create gibberish.

Here’s an example that a marketer caught of an early iteration of Pepsi’s UK homepage:

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As I said, this was a very early iteration of this site, and it’s since been fixed:

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But how much more interested and educated are you by the second as opposed to the first?

The second description gives clarity about what’s on the page and even provides helpful links to popular pages on the site.

And if Pepsi can go back and change its meta description, so can you.

You can also start writing good ones as you go, which will only make your site that much better.

As long as your focus is on making your meta description appealing so that users will want to click, you can’t go wrong.


Your goal should be to master this art so that you can do it quickly.

That’s why I’ve compiled a very short checklist for you with only four steps.

I believe that if you follow these guidelines, you can start creating the kind of meta descriptions that will help boost your rankings in the long run.

And to start things off, I want to talk about how long your description should actually be.

Step #1: Stop focusing so much on character count

Google recently updated their character limitations.

And if you didn’t know any better, you would have thought they set the world on fire.

Article after article has been published since then to analyze and break down what these changes mean for SEOs and businesses.

But in my opinion, focusing on character count alone completely negates the point of SEO.

Again, this is about human behavior, not just an authoritative word count.

So if you only focus on creating an optimal character count, you might see good results.

But I believe you’re better off focusing on the content itself, and there’s recent evidence to back this up.

SEMRush conducted an experiment to test this principle and found the variation of the meta tag they used that exceeded the 320 character count performed better and ranked higher.

meta description dynamic brodie clark

As you can see, the iteration of the description that performed better stopped mid-sentence.

This goes against the conventional wisdom that you must stay within the limits of your character count to perform better.

And while the psychology of this isn’t necessarily clear right now, it does lead to some interesting ideas that SEOs need to start considering.

More importantly, it reemphasizes Google’s vision that user experience in any form is the benchmark we need to consider first.

The statistics SEMRush shared only serve to reinforce that idea, too.

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The longer description that continued above the character count limit saw an impressive 36% improvement in overall click-through rate from its shorter competitor.

So the results aren’t exactly a minor difference here.

And the implication is incredibly clear.

Focus on experience first.

And if you must focus on character count, shoot for around 300-350, as that’s where the majority of high-performing posts fall.

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But as you can also see, some of these pages ranked with as few as 150 characters.

And while the graph stops at 375, I’m sure you could find a meta description with more characters in just a few Google searches.

My ultimate takeaway here is that word count isn’t necessarily the best bar to consider when it comes to creating the perfect meta description.

Some pages will naturally be shorter or longer than others, and that’s okay.

As long as you’re accurately portraying the content on your page, you’ll be on the right track.

And even though Google will likely change things up again, I think the advice to focus on user experience is the only route that will truly stand the test of time.

Now that we’ve turned you away from your word count woes, let’s talk about the second simple way you can start expanding your description’s SEO.

Step #2: Be unique and interesting

If your descriptions are just so-so, they won’t be helping you get clicks or move up in the rankings.

And with user experience still acting as our litmus test for quality, not getting clicks is exactly what you don’t want.

So how do you innovate and find ways to get people to click?

Well, the ultimate application is up to you.

But there are certain practices you can implement in your writing that will help you be more compelling and get more clicks.

Let’s take a look at a few.

First and foremost, there’s a consensus that you should do your best not to be boring.

While that may sound tongue-in-cheek, I can guarantee you it’s not.

And when it comes to your writing, the best way to not be boring is to use the active voice.

active voice

As you can see in this example above, it has a very active voice that provides a momentous push for the reader.

You’re told what you can expect but without any unnecessary details that might bore the reader or turn them off.

If you’re looking for a simple way to help your SEO, you would most likely click on this link after you read it.

You’ll also notice that the example above is very specific and doesn’t contain any fluff.

This is especially important if you want to rank high in the SERPs.

And more importantly, you want to make sure that the description actually matches the content of the page.

For example, this meta description promises that I can find a wide variety of ways to help organize my home or workspace:


What do I find when I click through?

Tons of options that promise a more organized life.


That’s one of the reasons this page is ranked so highly for the simple, one-word search of “organizer.”

It matches my perceived needs closely and it follows through on the promise made in the meta description.

Do you see how this is still about the quality of your site’s user experience?

Another way you can add to this approach is by furthering your promise with a compelling call to action.

You can achieve this by simply giving your reader a straight shot:


Or, you can still provide a more thorough description with a call to action at the end to invite your reader to learn more:

end cta

As long as you talk to your audience and don’t just ramble on about yourself, you’ll find yourself in a sweet spot when it comes to meta descriptions.

For example, I like to give previews of the actual content on the page that I think will pique the interest of a more casual reader.


Notice that this description has nothing to do with me, my brand, or what I sell.

It’s just a compelling excerpt from the blog article.

My ultimate goal is to signal value and further your interest, not necessarily get you to buy something.

So whatever you do, find a way to be unique and engaging to your audience.

If you simply provide technical details or go straight for a sale, you probably won’t be all that interesting.

And if you’re not interesting, you won’t climb in the rankings.

Step #3: Please use your keywords

You spend a lot of time generating keywords for your digital campaigns.

You put them in your blog posts, landing pages, and even in your product pages.

So why on earth would you not include them in your meta description?

Because nothing signals to Google sooner than your metadata what your page is about.

Not including a keyword in the meta description could be a fatal mistake.

Here’s a look at what including a good keyword might look like:

yoast meta

This is a top-ranked search for meta descriptions I found while researching this post.

As you can see, Google has highlighted every instance when the words “meta description” appear in the description.

Since they were part of my search term, this provides an early signal that the page can be useful in my research.

The keyword is used naturally and in a way that educates the reader about the page’s content.

The result is fairly clear since this was on the first page of results.

You can still use keywords to emphasize to Google what your post is about.

One of the best and easiest ways to do this for your own site is with the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress.

focus keyword

By allowing you to set a focus keyword for every page and blog post, this tool makes the keyword implementation process simple.

The only other step you have to take is to make sure that you also use the keyword naturally in the copy and alt tags of your actual page.

This helps create continuity throughout Google’s crawling and subsequent ranking of the page.

And with the Yoast Plugin, you’ll also get a reminder if you forget to establish a focus keyword in the copy or meta description:


With a checking system like this, you’ll never neglect another keyword in your meta description.

As long as you conduct robust keyword research and try to rank for words that are appropriate to your brand, adding them to your meta descriptions appropriately is just the next logical step.

If you do it properly, you can be one step ahead of your competition and one step closer to the front page.

Step #4: Use more than just your copy

For newcomers to metadata, it can be easy to think that your Title, URL, and description end and begin with the default Google listing.

But this couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Google also allows you to implement structured data that lets you “beautify” your description on the search engine results page.

To give you an example, I want to show you a different version of the highly ranked Yoast page from the previous point:

yoast meta 2

When I made a more relevant search for this page, it looked different.

The data is still the same but now an image is included and the description is above the title and URL.

What changed? The structured data.

Any page that’s highly ranked gets to take advantage of this unique function.

But the catch is that you have to start using this approach before you get to the front page.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can start implementing structured data.

One of the most popular ways you may have seen is when websites implement reviews in their meta description:


This provides an immediate signal to your viewer that they can find something of value on the site.

Since social proof is such a powerful way to sell and grow your brand, this is a fairly easy hack that lets you start capitalizing on user behavior with ease.

Another good idea is to set up structured data for your branded website as a whole with your logo and company info:

structured data

This increases the chance that someone searching for your brand will actually find you and receive helpful information without having to click the top few results pages.

Since this appears in the sidebar of the results page, you also achieve a bit of a “two for one” deal with this type of structured data.

A user can find your brand, see what your URL is, and then filter their results so that they only see the pages you have to offer.

This helps your SEO, as Google takes these actions as a positive signal toward your brand in the long run.

And if you think you’ll have a hard time ranking for this tactic, you’ll be surprised to learn that 57% of major companies don’t have structured data set up for their site.

Which means you have an opportunity to get ahead of your competitors and boost your SEO that much more.

The easiest way to start is by using plugins like Schema to help you learn the basics.

screenshot 4

This will allow you to edit, test, and improve the structured data on your site without the hassle of digging into your code.

With some simple optimization, you can be on your way to the front page in your industry as your brand grows.


Meta descriptions aren’t going away anytime soon.

The sooner you learn to craft a good description, the sooner you can start boosting your rankings and helping your overall SEO efforts.

Since meta descriptions are a part of the overall user experience of your site, Google takes them very seriously when it comes to your SEO.

And surprisingly, one of the most outstanding ways you can start improving your approach is to just forget about elements like character count.

Instead, try to be unique and interesting.

Engage with your potential visitor and show them what you have to offer.

If you create the right approach and implement solid keywords, you’ll start to see more organic traffic over time.

And if you use structured data elements to position your brand strategically, you’ll stand out even more to both Google and its users.

With time, diligence, and a lot of patience, you’ll start to see the results you really want.

What tactics have you used to improve your meta descriptions through the years?


Hack Your Way to 10,000+ Podcast Downloads with These 15 Tips (2018)

download podcasts

Today I am here to show you you the most incredible tips and tricks to boost your podcast downloads and skyrocket your traffic. Podcasters like Jeremy Ryan Slate are reaching 10,000 podcast downloads in a little over a month. Sound too good to be true? This guide will show you 15 simple hacks to grow your podcast to 10,000+ downloads or more. So whether you are just getting started pushing your podcast downloads or an old pro looking for some fuel, these tips will help you ignite the fire and get your voice into ears around the world.

Podcasts are starting to generate big bucks

Podcasts are going mainstream.

Big investments are starting to flow into podcasts, podcast networks, and studios over the last few years.

Gimlet Media has now raised $27M for its network with popular podcasts like Startup and Reply All.

If you don’t feel like podcasting has truly gone mainstream just yet, then you probably haven’t heard about the Gimlet Media story becoming a TV sitcom on ABC starring Zach Braff.

alex inc

Research estimates that there are between 250K and 425K podcasts available to listeners today.

It will continue to get harder and harder to get discovered in this medium when you compete against media and publishing powerhouses who are now investing significantly in podcasting.

You need an edge to be successful.

How you get that edge could make or break your podcast.

Audiences have more options than ever before. It’s your job to make them pick your podcast.

The problem is simple.

Many new podcasters don’t know how to use podcasting hacks to grow audiences and downloads.

You can’t turn off the mic, hit publish, and wait for the downloads to come streaming in–even if you have audiences on other platforms as I did.

Marketing School was able to get over a million downloads in just four months.

This is how we did it:

Where you are in your podcast journey will make a significant difference in the approaches you take to hack your way to more podcast downloads.

As I see it, there a three major phases of every podcast.

  • Pre-launch
  • Launch: The first eight weeks
  • Life after launch

Where are you in your podcasting journey?

With all the big bucks flowing into podcasting, it’s time to start hacking and start seeing downloads.

1. Begin with value before you ever launch

A few months before his death, Albert Einstein said this:

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”

Mr. Einstein may not have been talking about content marketing. But his advice rings true for marketers.

The most successful podcasts deliver consistent value.

Take TedTalks, for example. They offer over 2,700 podcasts, all designed with an educational slant.

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The TED Radio Hour podcast is one of the top most-downloaded shows available today.

Consistently create and deliver valuable content listeners can count on from both your programming and your guests (if interviews are part of your podcast format).

Your audiences will show up if you do.

There are literally hundreds of other things that you can do to make your podcast a success.

Start by sketching out a list of potentially valuable interviews or episode themes.

Q&A sessions do well for episode topics in any area.

Find topics in your niche on or Quora that you or your guests can answer on your podcast.

Quora has over 190 million monthly users. That’s a deep research pool!

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2. Produce quality audio without the cost 

When it comes to audio and production quality, you have to sound like a professional every time.

The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to produce a high-quality podcast, thanks to the multitude of cost-effective equipment options available to podcasters.


Five years ago you probably could have gotten away with using the speaker on your phone or recording your guest interviews on a cell phone.

Not today. Consumers will just find another podcast that sounds like it was created in a studio.

Many podcasters offer up lists for their favorite podcasting equipment and the best microphones.

Check out what some of your favorite podcasters are using and create your own wish list.

For example, Seth Feingersh, the audio engineer for Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcasts shares a running list of the equipment he prefers.

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It is much easier to deliver professional content when you’re working with professional tools.

3. Find the “super listeners”

96% of the most dedicated podcast fans recommend content to their friends and consume twice the content of the average listener.

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We call these people “super listeners.”

On average, they listen to about 13 podcasts per week and are generally “podcast loyalists”–subscribing rather than downloading individual episodes.

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So how do you attract them?

First, make it easy for them to subscribe to your content in a couple of clicks.

Second, offer in-depth content and consider building on it from episode to episode to keep them coming back.

And finally, create enough content to satiate their appetites for it.

4. Find guests that fit your niche

Securing guests can seem like a catch 22 in the beginning.

You can’t interview top-notch guests without an audience and you can’t build an audience without guests, right?

After all, size matters to big-name personalities who have a lot of requests for their time.

Thankfully, there are ways to get guests to commit, even before you’ve built up a big following.


Look for the right people in the right places.

One way is to look for authors and experts with upcoming book releases or publications. There is nothing an author loves more than a podium to talk about their work.

Just make sure their subject matter aligns with yours.

If your community is their community, then you’ve already won half the battle in booking a guest for a podcast episode.

Amazon is an easy tool to help you find authors who may want to pitch their book.

Simply filter your book search by “coming soon” to see what topics are coming down the pike that fit your podcast.

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Tradeshows and conferences are another great recruiting venue. Take a look at the agenda and exhibitor list of experts that fit your niche.

As you secure guests, don’t forget to ask them for referrals to gain access to future speakers.

It only takes a few high-caliber guests to create a snowball effect.

Take author and entrepreneur James Altucher’s podcast, for example.

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His interviews are personable and offbeat, but more than anything, James makes it worthwhile for his guests to invest their time with him by giving them center stage.

As a result, guests are lining up to be on his show.

When I agree to appear as a guest on a program, I always make sure the podcast complements my own message and content before I say yes.

When Nathan Chan, the CEO of Foundr, asked me to be a guest on his podcast, I knew it was a good fit.

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Foundr is geared toward entrepreneurs and marketing professionals.

I was confident that I would add value as a guest of the show and that it would help me gain new followers in return.

It’s worth repeating: Podcast success always comes back to delivering specific value–to both your audience and the guests on your podcast.

Know who you should target for your guest list and then go after them without apology.

5. Brand with clarity

It’s better to be clear than clever with your podcast branding.

Your audience should be able to tell what your podcast is about by just looking at the cover art.

What do you notice about the featured list of podcasts from NPR?

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Simple descriptive titles?

Clear categories?

No crazy spellings of common English words?

All of the above.

Podcasting expert Jeff Haden offers this advice:

Definitely take the time to do the brand work. You need creative, well-executed cover art for your podcast because people scan the Apple podcast app to determine what they want to listen to next. Your goal is to stand out, so put real effort into the artwork that accompanies your content.

Don’t overthink your podcast branding. Help your audience find you quickly or they’ll give up and listen to what someone else has to say.

6. Be everywhere your audience downloads content

Before cable and streaming video services of your favorite television programming, if you produced a program, you sold it to one of the three broadcasting channels.

Today, you can syndicate your podcast on all of them at the same time.

Why would you want to do that?

We’ve already discussed that podcasting is growing.

You need your podcast to be front and center on every channel your audience uses to stream podcasts.

In the car, where many of us consume audio, AM/FM radio and personal media collections (primarily CDs) are giving up ground to media streamed through our smartphones.

Edison research data shows this rise in podcasting:


At the same exact time traditional radio is dying:


As consumers, we want what we want, and we want it right now.

No more suffering through annoying radio spots to get back to the programming we tuned in to hear.

We are slowly tuning out of radio and turning on our smartphones to deliver the content we want.

Podcasting is simply audio-on-demand.

Consumers demand choices, and among those choices are the major syndicates for media.

The large media and publishing companies that have dominated the airwaves for years are starting to embrace the podcasting trend.

They are shifting their programming and advertising spending to podcasting in an effort to not lose ground to the upstarts.

If you are going to win against big media and all of the other creators trying to get an edge, it starts with getting discovered.

If listeners can’t find you, then you don’t exist.

Start by leveraging visibility in the podcast directories for iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and Google Play to get more downloads.


The way to get discovered in directories is to know how to play the discovery game.

You need listeners that care.

Kevin Kelly’s assertion that you only need 1,000 true fans to make a decent living as a creator is up for debate for podcasters using the popular crowdfunding support service Patreon.

The top twenty podcasters using the platform have built a large following of supporters and are successfully supporting their podcasts.

Podcasting can be another piece of your evergreen content marketing strategy. You don’t need an immediate ROI, but you do want to reach your ideal audience.

So, if you’re pre-launch or way past launch you will need a strategy to get listeners to become subscribers who will rate your podcast well and then review it.

I will discuss that in more detail later in this post.

First, have you heard of the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform?

If your campaign doesn’t get fully funded, you get nothing from those the people who pledged to back you as a creator.

It seems harsh, right?

It forces creators into a sense of urgency. Since your campaign has an end-date, you want to ensure that everyone discovers you and supports you during your brief campaign.

But only 36% of projects get backed.

So what does crowdfunding projects have to do podcasting?

Podcasts fail for the same reasons that Kickstarter campaigns don’t get funded.

They did not get enough people to care.

Publishing your podcast on a syndication platform won’t get you noticed. You have to do something notable first to get discovered.


Don’t just submit to the syndication platforms and wait to be noticed. Be worth noticing.

7. Hack to the top of Apple’s “New & Noteworthy”

As a new podcast, you have eight weeks to make the Apple New & Noteworthy list.

To get featured in time, you’ll need a podcast launch plan.

The algorithm Apple uses for the list is still relatively unclear, but the metrics that matter are around the velocity of subscriber growth, 5-star ratings, and reviews.

So how do you get more people to subscribe, rate, and review your podcast during those crucial first eight weeks?

First, don’t forget to email your subscriber list and invite them to listen.

Secondly, reach out to influencers and journalists in your niche and pitch the value of your podcast.

Ask if you can cross-promote with other podcasters.

Finally, create shareable snippets to get the word out on your social media channels.

Wavve does an excellent job of creating buzz in their social networks about their upcoming podcast episodes.

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8. Friend of a friend

Don’t forget to leverage the audiences of your guests.

It’s free marketing.

To take advantage of it, podcasters need to make it easy for guests to share episodes with their email lists and social networks.

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Getting introduced to their networks opens up your podcast to new listeners and potential new subscribers.

If you’re attracting audiences that fit your niche, it stands to reason that their audiences will also enjoy your content.

Grant, from Millennial Money Minutes, knows how to leverage guest networks. His advice:

We’ve tried to interview guests who have their own networks in our niche, so when the episode goes live, they share us within their network – so since we are all in the personal finance space, it gives us very targeted exposure. It’s not a random guest – we always interview guests who always have a following that will align with ours.

Sharing is caring, friends.

It shows that you are interested in helping your guest grow their personal brand as well as your own.

9. Contribute to the tribe

Being a valuable contributor to online communities will expand the reach of your potential podcast audience.

How do you find the right ones?

Communities like Facebook and LinkedIn groups, online forums, and other digital congregations are great places to find an audience.


Spend some time observing to see what group members are talking about.

Can you contribute to the discussion? Great!

Jump in with both feet.

There are even communities just for podcasters to gain insight on how to better interact with their peer groups and audiences.

10. Leverage your social network

Promoting your podcast through social channels like Twitter is a valuable way to traffic back to your podcast, website, or syndication application.

We promote our daily Marketing School podcast on Twitter.

And don’t forget about that “friends of friends” hack.

Influencers will also promote relevant content through their social feeds for you if you ask (and offer a promotion in return).

11. Inspire your audience to take action

I talked earlier about the importance of helping your audience subscribe, rate, and review your podcast.

Apple makes it simple for your audiences to do all three through simple, timely popups.


Leaving a rating separates the good content from the great content quickly and with an easy visual (stars).

Don’t be bashful about asking your audience members to leave a 5-star rating.

It will help your podcast with that coveted “new and noteworthy” ranking.

Get creative when you ask for reviews.

Offer swag giveaways or run contests as an incentive for your audience to spend their time on a review for you.

12. Show up again and again and again

People expect you to produce new valuable podcast content consistently.

If you call your show a “daily podcast,” then produce every day.

We always produce new episodes well ahead of the daily commitment that we have made to our audience to keep the content well from running dry.

If you turned on the TV for the big game and the players just decided not to show up to play, what would you think?

Don’t leave your audience hanging.

Commit to a schedule and keep your content delivery promises.

13. Improve your interviewing skills with practice

First of all, know that it takes a lot of experience to be a better interviewer.

It doesn’t happen overnight.

You have to interview people to gain experience and get better at the process.

Pat Flynn has been interviewing guests on his podcast since 2010.

Needless to say, he has a ton of practice interviewing guests of all kinds.


Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your early interviews to podcasters who have more experience than you do, but watch experienced interviewers and learn from them.

14. Interview swap

Booking guests can be a chore.

Just like any other chore, there are services you can enlist to alleviate the burden.

Companies like Interview Valet and Interview Connections can help make the process a little easier to find and book guests for a podcast.


Some companies, like Interview Valet, connect potential guests with podcast hosts for a fee, but it is a worthwhile investment if you want to keep your focus on content instead of administrative tasks.

15. Get ranked in search

Every podcast needs a home base.

It’s a separate site outside of the syndication platforms where you can grow your audience engagement.

Ranking for SEO with your podcast follows the same principles as ranking for your blog or web pages–it comes down to good writing to engage readers and following search engine best practices.

Creating thoughtful show notes is just one of the ways to improve your SEO for podcast content.

As a bonus, it will also help your guest’s SEO ranking after their interview with you.


Just like with your podcast branding, be descriptive and straightforward in your notes so your audiences can easily find you.


Hanging out your shingle in the podcast directories and chanting “Produce it and they will come!” is not going to cut it in an ultra-competitive market.

Take blogging for example.

You know you have stiff competition in the blogosphere, right?

It hasn’t stopped you from consistently writing blogs even though there are millions of unique voices typing away right now.

Your podcast is your chance to be heard.

Literally heard.

Make it count.

It takes work–especially if you want to produce quality content for your audience. There is a reason that so many podcasts fail so quickly.

Be the exception.

If you want more downloads and subscriber engagement, you need to do more than turn on the mic and start talking.

The majority will give up too soon.

They will skip a few steps, cut a few corners, and ignore those who have found success before them.

I built an audience of true fans who showed up via a million downloads in four months at the Marketing School podcast.

Now it’s your turn to put the 15 hacks above into action.

What strategies have helped you improve your podcast downloads and grow your audience?



16 Entrepreneur Strategies to Keep Your Small Business Organized in 2018 / 2019 and Beyond


Entrepreneurs often face difficulties starting their Business the organized way. If you’re looking to grow your business in 2018 and beyond, you need to get started in the right way. To get the massive growth you’re hoping for the coming years, you should make sure your business is organized. This is easier for a large business and a huge budget — and hundreds (or thousands) of employees — plus plenty of time to dedicate to staying organized. But how can you make sure your small business is in order when you’re strapped for cash and you only have a few employees?

Well, I’ve been there before.

I know the pain of fighting desperately against the disorganization that affects every small business.

And I know that even if you’re using the best tools to grow your business, success can lag if you aren’t putting the right things in place to make sure you’re growing.

Here’s how to stay organized in 2018 and beyond.

1. Manage your office space and storage

To get started, you need to make sure your physical surroundings are neat and organized.

This ensures that you’re able to perform at your highest level. In many ways, the organization of your entire company is determined by how organized your desk is.

To start with, make sure everything has a specific place, even if that place is in a pile of papers on your desk.

To make the best use of this space, Bellevue Business Journal recommends using vertical storage opportunities to improve your workflow and efficiency.

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Since paperwork tends to consume a lot of the time and resources of most modern office workers, you should consider storing this offsite.

This means you’ll spend less time managing your documents, and you can be sure they’re safe and protected better than you could do yourself.

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If this isn’t exactly your style of working, however, I’ll show you another method that can help reduce your paper workload in a minute.

2. Keep track of customer support

Your loyal customers are the heart of your business.

While they take up a lot of your time and resources, it’s time well spent to keep them happy and pleased with the services you have to offer.

To make sure you’re reaching them effectively, consider using a program like Groove that allows you to manage your customer tickets effectively.

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This allows you to spend less time managing customers and more time improving your product and business systems.

It’s important to automate your system, but it’s a bad idea to automate your relationships with customers.

Use software like Groove that allows your employees to strengthen your relationship with your customers, but don’t try to automate the process.

This will only leave you feeling frustrated when customers leave you behind for competitors that treat them better.

Instead, make it easy to treat your customers with world-class service and they’ll reward you with continual business and referrals.

3. Plan your social media campaigns in advance

If you’re running a social media marketing campaign on a budget, you need to reduce the time you’re spending keeping things online.

Instead of wasting time publishing posts every few hours, you should schedule things beforehand.

This simple organization technique will save you countless hours and help you improve your efficiency and productivity.

There’s also another technique that can take things to the next level. Instead of just writing social media posts for the next few days, why not let a tool publish them for you?

Meet Edgar is a great way to manage your content beforehand, allowing you to write social media updates once, and then have them sent out multiple times afterward.

Edgar s Social Media Scheduling Features MeetEdgar

This is a great way to keep things organized without repeating yourself by constantly updating your social feeds.

4. Manage your expense receipts

If you’ve been running your small business for any length of time, you know how frustrating it can be to manage all your expense reports.

They’re a hassle to track and record, but they need to be managed so you can stay up to date with taxes and ensure your finances are in order.

You can’t just put them off when more important work comes up, though. You should track each purchase and transaction weekly.

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The solution?

Use software like Expensify that does all the work, keeping your expenses organized and recorded so you can focus on the things that really matter.

Expensify Expense reports that don t suck

And speaking of letting software handle your paperwork, you can extend this to other areas of your business for stellar results.

5. Go paperless

If you want to reduce the clutter and management that are associated with all the papers you need to keep up with, it might be time to go paperless.

This means that, instead of keeping track of dozens of files and folders all the time, you just reduce everything to digital scans of the most important documents.

If you’re going to try this, you need a way to quickly scan documents on the fly so you don’t struggle to keep up with the workload.

CamScanner is a great app for scanning your bills and other papers quickly and easily.

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CamScanner allows you to keep the files in the app, but you can also transfer them to your computer.

If you need to share these files with a team of individuals, I recommend keeping your archived files in a program like Dropbox.

Dropbox Business

This ensures that everyone in your small business is up to date with the most recent documents, but you don’t have to worry about extensive file management offline.

6. Organize your passwords

If you’re like most people, you have one of two systems for managing your passwords.

Either you use the same password all the time for different websites, or you constantly forget the passwords you’ve set for each site.

Instead of either of these, I recommend a third system: letting an app handle your passwords for you.

Yes, you can do this automatically in a browser like Chrome. But unfortunately, this isn’t completely safe, as anyone who has access to your computer can use them.

Instead, I recommend using 1Password to manage your passwords. This is a program that stores your passwords together in the mobile and desktop app.

1Password 1

Unlike Chrome’s autofill feature, however, you must enter a single password to access the other passwords.

This is a series of a few words, which is easy to remember, but nearly impossible to hack.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you need to log in to your account on Stripe. You would go to the Stripe login page.

Stripe Login 2

You can either click the 1Password icon in Chrome, or you can enter the keyboard shortcut Command + \.

This brings up the 1Password form, where you’ll enter the word-based password that gives you access to other passwords.

Stripe Login

1Password then auto-fills Stripe with your login information and saved passwords. It also logs you in automatically, so it’s one less click you need to make.

Stripe Login 1

1Password will store information for a variety of accounts.

The best part is that every site can have a complex, unique password, but you can access them all with your single phrase.

In fact, 1Password will even generate a random, high-security password if you want it to.


This means less of your memory is dedicated to passwords, and you can get more done by working efficiently and keeping your logins organized.

7. Improve your workspace for increased productivity

If you’re going to make progress with your business, you need to create an environment that supports that vision.

There are a few proven techniques that can help you get more out of your workspace.

Believe it or not, by adding a few plants around your office, you can increase productivity by 15% through improved concentration.

You’ll also get a boost by using a standing desk and cleaning up your cables.

These techniques help you stay energized and focused without the distractions that come from a cluttered workplace.

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They may only take a few minutes, but even small changes that improve your productivity can make a huge difference in how organized and productive your small business is.

8. Keep track of notes in the cloud

If you write notes, to-do items, ideas, and contact information on scraps of paper or whatever’s closest, it’s time to get more organized.

While you probably already know that Evernote is a great way to do this, you should start implementing it immediately.

Get organized Work smarter Remember everything Evernote

To make Evernote work best, you need to decide which philosophy you’ll apply.

Will you record everything there, and then use the search feature to find your notes later?

Or will you carefully place your notes in folders and use tags and headings to make sure you know what’s in the program?

Either of these is a valid option. The key is to create a system that works for you and then keep using it.

9. Keep your computer’s desktop organized

Just like your physical desk should be clean and in order to help you stay organized and get work done, your digital desktop should be clean and organized, too.

A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see your desktop background, you should work to reduce and remove the items cluttering your computer.

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Once you’ve cleaned up your main screen, consider eliminating your downloaded files and removing any links or other files you aren’t using.

If you like, you can even clean out your trash and save some hard drive space.

This is a great way to provide a refreshing look at your work processes that will help you stay organized.

10. Improve your scheduling system

If you have frequent meetings, video chats, or windows for others to schedule times to work with you, you need a way to manage those time blocks effectively.

Most people tend to use back-and-forth emailing and calendar invites to schedule events like this.

But the continuous adjustment of schedules can be taxing and a waste of time. Instead, find a perfect time to meet using a program like Calendly.

Calendly lets others schedule a time to work with you, so you don’t need to message back and forth at all.

Calendly Scheduling appointments and meetings is super easy with Calendly

It’s a simple way to stay in contact with others without the confusion that usually accompanies scheduling hassles.

11. Track your time effectively

If you’re a freelancer, you know the importance of tracking your billable hours.

But even if you don’t need to track hours to ensure you get paid, it’s a good idea to start using a program like Toggl.

Toggl is a quick and easy way to track your time, which can be helpful for any small business owner.

Toggl Features calculate work hours billable hours employee timesheets

By creating separate projects and tasks in Toggl, you can easily keep track of the hours you’re putting in to reach your most important goals.

Instead of wondering why you haven’t met the benchmarks you set earlier, you can use Toggl to stay organized and track how you’re spending your most valuable resource — your time.

12. Keep track of invoices and payments

Every small business needs to manage payments, invoicing, and billing. This is a critical set of tasks that keeps the business alive, but it can be a struggle to keep everything organized.

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Instead of constantly working to make sure this is effective for you, consider using a program like FreshBooks to handle your invoices.

Invoice and Accounting Software for Small Businesses FreshBooks

Remember, the vast majority of the payment information you need to manage doesn’t directly affect the quality of your work or appeal to your core competencies.

For any of these types of administrative tasks, direct them to software to save time for yourself.

The fewer tasks you need to complete in a day, the more you can focus on the areas that really appeal to you and help you to accomplish what you need.

13. Plan ahead for quarterly taxes

If your business is based in the United States, you’ll need to make sure you pay the quarterly taxes that are due every few months.

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Even if you’re not based in the U.S., however, you need to stay updated on the tax policies for your country and region.

This isn’t just something you should think about organizing.

If you aren’t in compliance with the tax regulations where you live, you could end up paying fines or even being shut down.

To make sure you’re staying up with the taxes and paying the amounts that are due at different times, look into a service like inDinero.

Learn How inDinero Can Work as Your New Back Office

It will guide you to ensure you’re keeping up with your taxes without spending too much time staying organized with the requirements for your locality.

14. Tame your email inbox

If your inbox is overflowing with unread emails, it can be frustrating and it might consume far too much of your time.

You’ll be more successful with your small business if you reduce this to a low number of important emails and clean out your inbox regularly.

Productivity expert Brian Tracy recommends keeping a clean email inbox, deleting your junk emails, and only saving the ones you’ll need again.

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If you struggle to manage your inbox effectively, you can try Inbox by Gmail. This app bundles different types of emails together.

That means you can quickly see your social updates, purchase receipts, or trip itineraries without sifting through important personal and work emails.

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By skimming the less important emails, you can work through your inbox even more quickly.

This is one of a lot of different tools that can help reduce the time you spend sending and receiving emails, and it will save you plenty of hours while keeping you more organized.


15. Clean up your reading list

If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you’re constantly finding articles you know will help you grow your business and increase your revenue and conversions.

If you don’t have the time to read the article, however, you probably store it somewhere else, like as a bookmark in your browser or by emailing it to yourself.

If that’s the case, you’ll want to change this unwieldy list of articles into something you can easily manage.

I recommend Pocket, which helps you keep track of articles and videos you want to read or watch later. It’s a simple system that keeps interesting articles you save.

Pocket My List

To use it, you’ll want to first find an article that looks interesting. If you install the Pocket Chrome extension, you’ll need to click it in the browser window.

In the drop-down menu that appears, you can add a tag and see related articles that others have saved to read later.

Instantly, the new article you save will appear in your main list of pieces to read on Pocket.

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Even better, the articles you save on Pocket are available to read on all your devices. This makes it easy to keep reading on your phone when you’re traveling.

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Having a reading list of articles on Pocket allows you to quickly save interesting pieces without creating a messy list somewhere on your computer.

If you do a lot of reading online, it’s a great way to organize your reading material and keep it available to access on all your devices.

16. Reduce your physical paper storage

I mentioned earlier that paperwork is a huge frustration for many small business owners.

You can reduce the amount of time you spend managing paperwork by first creating an organization system for your workplace.

If you like, you can take your paper management from an in-house task to something another company does for you.

If neither of those sounds like an appealing option   , all hope isn’t lost. Start by organizing your stored documents in a logical order.

Be sure to keep your most important papers close by for easy access.

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For any papers you don’t need anymore, you should get rid of them. The more papers you get rid of, the less space you’ll need to worry about.

This is the single most effective way to keep your papers organized without extensive management systems. Simply throw away what isn’t needed.

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If you keep important files and documents that can’t be thrown away, consider using a service like Shred-It to destroy your documents.

This is a great way to stay secure and reduce the workload and hassle associated with the papers you need to manage on a daily basis.

Paper Shredding Document Destruction Services Shred it

The fewer pieces you need to worry about in your small business’s organizational system, the more you’ll be able to focus on what matters most to your business.


If you’re looking to grow your business in 2018 and beyond, you need to make sure you’re organized to handle the inevitable growth you should expect to see.

In order to do that, you need to make sure your finances are in order. Be sure to track your expense receipts and transactions.

Ensure you’re ready for any taxes that need to be paid during the course of the year.

If your finances are organized, you need to make sure your office space is organized, too. Use some proven methods for boosting productivity by organizing your storage space.

And while it might not be a solution for everyone, considering going paperless. Store all your documents in the cloud, and shred the extra papers cluttering your workspace.

Your time is one of your most precious commodities as a small business owner, so make sure it’s organized with time tracking and scheduling.

Look to reduce your tasks by improving your email workflow, managing your reading list, and keeping your notes, passwords, and desktop organized.

Finally, automate your marketing campaigns and keep a process in place to handle customer relations and support.

What strategies will you use to keep your small business organized?



10 Foolproof Strategies for Choosing an E-commerce Niche (for Beginners only) 2018

One of the questions I often get asked on social media revolves around e-commerce — specifically, e-commerce niches. How do you choose the e-commerce niche that’s right for you? That’s a tough question for me to answer because I’m not you. My experiences, goals, and knowledge base aren’t the same as yours. Everyone has to choose the e-commerce niche that’s right for them. If you don’t, you’ll likely fail.

Many people ask me about popular, expensive products. Doesn’t everyone want a new 60-inch television? Or the latest iPhone? So that’s the best place to start in e-commerce, right? People see dollar signs. But that’s the wrong place to start.

Just because everyone wants a new iPhone doesn’t mean you should sell iPhones. In fact, that’s a good reason to avoid the niche. There’s a ton of competition. Instead, I urge you to follow these 10 foolproof strategies for choosing an e-commerce niche that’s right for you.

First, though, let’s define the term “niche” and figure out why you need one.

What’s an e-commerce niche?

Your e-commerce niche represents the narrow category into which your products fall. For instance, fashion is a fairly broad niche. High-heeled shoes are much narrower.

When you choose an e-commerce niche, your brand will revolve around it.

You’ll build a target audience based on the niche’s qualities and the pain points your product solves.

Don’t be afraid to narrow down your niche.

Sure, you might eliminate a few potential customers, but you’ll also create more demand among people who really want what you sell.

In fact, micro-niche marketing has become extremely popular. It’s finding the narrowest possible niche while still enjoying a sufficiently large audience.

When you choose a micro-niche, you can rank your content for related keywords more easily. Plus, you have less competition and a more targeted audience.

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Even if your niche is broad, though, you need to select one that will permit years of commercial success.

That’s not something you accomplish in an afternoon.
Why do you need an e-commerce niche?

Some companies are able to sell everything — and do it well. They’re the exception, though, instead of the rule.

Amazon, for instance, has departments and categories for just about anything you might want.

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Check the Amazon Categories first. Try now. Click here.

The same goes for eBay. In other countries, huge marketplaces like Alibaba have enjoyed tremendous success.

These companies shouldn’t provide inspiration, though, unless you’re looking at specific categories.

Small business owners can find tons more success by starting with one, highly sought-after product.

You can add more later if you want, such as upsells and downsells. But don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Why should you start with a niche instead of a product?

I talk to a lot of startup entrepreneurs who don’t really know what they want to do.

I’ll say, “What is your goal?”

The answer might look something like this: “I want to start a really big e-commerce business.

Unfortunately, that’s not specific enough. Not even close.

If you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see that e-commerce spend continues to grow year after year.

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By 2021, Shopify estimates that total e-commerce spend will climb to $4.5 billion. That’s a ton of cash.

While many e-commerce dollars go to those big marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, a lot of them also get spent in smaller, niche-oriented online stores.

Additionally, the market itself is global.

When your target audience can be found in every country around the globe, lots of opportunities present themselves.

2018 04 08 17 50 05 Global Ecommerce Statistics and Growth Trends Infographic

To capitalize on these trends, though, you have to get very specific.

Build your brand around what you’re passionate about and what you can do well.

Me? I’m a marketing guy.

That’s what I do. And I’ve built my entire brand around it.






If you’re interested in e-commerce, you need to figure out what you do best.

Then, once you’ve selected a product to sell, make your brand the most attractive option for your target audience.

First, of course, you need to settle on a niche.

Sometimes, it’s harder than it looks, but I’ve come up with 10 foolproof strategies to help you find your personal niche for the e-commerce market.

1. Follow your passion

It sounds really simple, right? It’s also essential.

If you’re not passionate about your e-commerce niche, you’ll likely fail.

Entrepreneurship means devoting significant time, resources, and energy to the business.

When you have no passion for the product you’re selling, your motivation goes straight out the window.

Conversely, when you feel a strong sense of passion and purpose, you get fulfilled by your work.

2018 04 08 15 23 17 Passionality Blogcasts Passionality

I’m a prime example of how starting a business without passion can cause an entrepreneur to crash and burn.

Back in the old days, I started a knock-off called Advice Monkey. It never gained traction.

Why? Because I lacked the two primary qualifications for starting a business:

1. Knowledge
2. Passion

If you have those two, you invariably find success. They’re all pieces of the same pie.

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I didn’t know how to spread the word about my site, so I failed to attract potential revenue.

And I didn’t have a passion for job search, so the project never really got off the ground.

I don’t want that to happen to your e-commerce business.

Brainstorm a list of things you’re passionate about. That list will help you throughout the rest of the process.

2. Conduct some keyword research

You’ve made your “passion list,” right?

Now it’s time to dig into some data.

Passion alone can fuel an e-commerce business. If nobody wants what you’re selling, you won’t drive revenue.

Start with a free keyword research tool.


That’s great, but we’re looking at a very broad category.

The keyword “dogs” could relate to dog training, dog breeding, or something else entirely.

Since we’re talking about e-commerce, let’s try the keyword “dog supplies:”

Now the data looks a bit more realistic.

We have a search volume of 12,100 and a competition of 1.0.

This tells us that “dog supplies” is fairly competitive but has good volume.

From there, you can continue searching for narrower keywords until you find something useful.

Scroll down on the page to find a list of keyword suggestions, filtering options, and more data.

Keep track of the data you collect in a spreadsheet.

That way, you can refer to it often and find intersecting lines between different search terms.

Plus, when you start selling your e-commerce product, this keyword research will come in handy for content marketing.

3. Check out the competition

Before you decide on an e-commerce niche, look closely at your potential competitors.

If several sites already dominate the space, you might not want to take them on.

Should you decide to move forward, you’ll know what hurdles you face to gain market share.

Maybe you’ve decided you want to focus on dog food.

That could be a great niche if you’re passionate about helping pet owners feed their dogs a healthy diet.

Start by searching for “dog food” on SEMrush.

2018 04 08 15 38 38 SEMrush service for competitors research shows organic and Ads keywords for a

Click “Start now” to generate some data about your search term.

You’ll get tons of fascinating data, including stats related to both organic and paid traffic.

Scroll down to the section labeled “Organic search results.”

This is where you’ll find your biggest competitors.

2018 04 08 15 40 13 dog food SEMrush overview for keyword

From there, you can decide whether you’ll be able to compete.

Search for different keywords with good balances of search volume and competition.

4. Look for high-dollar options

Many e-commerce entrepreneurs want to sell dozens — or even hundreds — of low-priced items.

They figure they’ll get over the price-objection hurdle faster.

That’s not the best way to get started as an e-commerce entrepreneur. Instead, target high-dollar products.

It’s true that you have to conduct more customer education when you’re selling high-ticket items.

If you’re collecting email addresses, speaking to prospects on the phone, and building your brand, you stand to earn a lot more money.

Think of it this way: If you want to earn $5,000 per month, you could sell 1,000 $5 products or just 5 $1,000 products.

5. Assess your resources and assets

I like to start businesses with assets and resources already in place.

That way, I can beat the competition even before I start marketing.

Let’s say that you want to sell custom dog costumes. Yes, it’s a thing.

2018 04 08 15 47 29 Rubies Costume Company Dog Cat White Bunny Ears Small Medium

You can charge more for a custom product, which makes it more lucrative than a one-size-fits-all option.

Now, if you already have an industrial sewing machine in your living room and endless yards of fabric with which to create dog clothes, you’re already ahead of the game.

The same goes for any e-commerce niche or category.

Let’s say you want to sell a gadget. If you have a patent already, you’re better equipped to hit the ground running.

6. Look beyond category

It’s easy to get blinded by category when choosing an e-commerce niche.

However, one thing doesn’t always serve just one purpose.

When you think of virtual reality, for example, you probably picture over-eye headsets that allow you to see virtually.

One company expanded on VR to produce audio immersion.

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The headset might look like your average headphones, but this gadget produces “3D audio.”

It adapts to the user’s physical anatomy and position when creating sound effects.

If you take a step, you can hear your own footfalls through the headphones.

That’s pretty impressive.

The Ossic X promises to replicate sounds in a three-dimensional environment.

What if you could find a new use for something people use every day?

The Ossic X creators combined headphones and VR to trump huge competitors.

That’s why innovation matters. If you can come up with a new use for something old, you’ll have a built-in market.

7. Start with a problem

We know that friction often results in fewer e-commerce purchases.

Consumers want perks like free shipping, flexible payment channels, and opportunities to share feedback.

2018 04 08 17 19 00 Infographic Three Ways to Reduce Friction in Payments

However, you can’t start with the point-of-sale pain point. You need to dig deeper.

Go back to the “passion list” I advised you to create earlier.

For each item on the list, come up with three or four pain points you could help people solve.

For instance, if you’re going to sell dog food, what pain points might people have?

Maybe they forget to go to the pet store or hate lugging 50-pound bags home in their trunks.

You could solve both pain points by selling dog food that you ship on a regular schedule based on each consumer’s needs.

8. Walk the neighborhood

You never know when inspiration might strike.

E-commerce as a service has become extremely popular, so take a walk (or drive) around your community.

Pay close attention to the most popular businesses.

What’s working for them? How can you turn their success into an e-commerce store?

This is how brands like Warby Parker have grown out of seemingly nowhere.

They resolve a pain point and turn a frustrating experience into one that offers less hassle to the consumer.

2018 04 08 17 27 03 Home Try On Warby Parker

You might also see a niche that’s working well in brick and mortar, but that might translate well into e-commerce.

9. Track the trends

You can’t always rely on trends to choose an e-commerce niche.

Many fads and products rise and fall in popularity without warning.

That’s why you want to go with a niche that shows a consistent upward trend.

Jump on Google Trends to research your options.

Type your keyword into the “Explore topics” bar.

2018 04 08 17 32 05 Google Trends

If we search “dog food,” we see a pretty healthy graph.

2018 04 08 17 33 08 dog food Explore Google Trends

You can narrow down or expand your data based on what information you’re looking for.

Let’s look at the keyword “artificial intelligence.”

If we expand the search data to incorporate five years’ worth of searches, we see a pretty steady climb.

2018 04 08 18 11 27 artificial intelligence Explore Google Trends

You can also choose what parts of the world you want to include.

If you’re only going to sell your products to people in the United States, for example, you can limit the data to the U.S.

Just click on the drop-down box where it says “Worldwide” (the default setting).

Type in the country for which you want to include data.

2018 04 08 18 12 58 artificial intelligence Explore Google Trends

Don’t forget to look at the other data, too.

Google Trends provides a handy map to showcase the interest from different parts of the world.

2018 04 08 18 15 00 dog food Explore Google Trends

Additionally, the related topics and related queries sections can help you with your keyword research.

2018 04 08 18 15 24 dog food Explore Google Trends

A holistic view of data will give you the best information with which to make decisions on your e-commerce niche.

10. Define Your USP

Sometimes, a niche grows out of the USP you use to distinguish your business.

An easy way to define the unique selling proposition, or USP, is the intersection between passion, strength, and market needs.

2018 04 08 18 02 49 Unique selling proposition 3 Circle Venn Diagram Templates by Canva

You need a passion for the product you’re selling as well as for the market you’ll serve. Otherwise, you’ll burn out pretty quickly.

You need a strength that sets you apart from your competitors.

What do you do better than everyone else? How does your product outperform the competition?

And finally, you need to meet market needs.

There has to be a demand for your specific product and its unique qualities.

Let’s go back to the dog food example.

Maybe you sell organic dog food with a scientifically-backed healthy formula.

You’re passionate about keeping dogs healthy, your strength lies in your scientific research, and the market needs access to high-quality, healthy dog food.

That’s a great USP.

You could add that the product itself is green, which helps further set apart your product.

Ideally, your USP should put you in a very small pool of e-commerce sellers.

Your e-commerce niche will define your business.

That’s why you need to understand what it is and how to select one.

A niche is a narrow category in which you sell your products.

If you sell dog food, you’re in the pets niche — or, more specifically, the pet food niche.

You can get even deeper with micro-niches. For instance, you might sell organic, grain-free dog food.

Choosing an e-commerce niche shouldn’t revolve around whatever’s hot, expensive, or otherwise appealing at a given time.

You need passion for the project.

Similarly, you need an audience. If nobody’s shopping for your product, you’ll never get any sales.

Start by brainstorming your passions and conducting some research into keywords, the competition, and potential high-ticket items.

Consider choosing a niche in which you already have assets and resources.

You might also consider approaching from an innovative standpoint.

Look beyond category and focus on solving your potential customers’ pain points.

Don’t forget to glance around the neighborhood and track recent and long-term trends.

What e-commerce niche most appeals to you?


Recommended Articles:

SEMrush vs. MOZ – Choose the best tool

How to find low competition keywords

How to Find Low Competition Keywords with High Traffic Tutorial (only for Webmasters) 2018

To rank on the topmost page of search engines, it is necessary to find low competition keywords with high traffic. As these keywords are not covered by most of the websites So, it’s a great opportunity for you to rank on keywords having low competition. These are the best source to increase your website’s organic traffic.

When I started my blogging journey, I was not much aware of the keyword analysis and that was the only reason I failed to get even a 50 organic visitors a day. But, as soon as I started learning, I get to know how important the keyword research for a blog.


A blog having proper keyword optimization can rank easily on top search pages without any link building.

If you have started a blog and want to rank with your targeted keyword to increase your online presence, you must consider these five important factors.

  1. Keyword Difficulty
  2. Use of Long Tail Keywords
  3. Content type
  4. On-page SEO
  5. Blog Post Promotion

By implementing all the above-mentioned strategies, you not only improve your organic traffic but you can also attract a few authoritative and natural backlinks too.

In this guide, I’m going to show how to find low competition keywords with high traffic and easy to rank on them.

You’re going to learn following things here:

  • How to find profitable low competition keywords
  • How to use tools to find keywords with low competition
  • How to write a successful blog post that people want to read

How to Find Low Competition Keywords with High Traffic Volume

Sometimes, searching for profitable keywords with low competition becomes difficult when you analyze some specific keywords because many high authoritative sites are already ranking for those keywords.

So, what you have to do for your keyword research? Well, you don’t need to worry about here I have discussed some important techniques to find and optimize your website for ‘Low competition keywords’.

What are the low competition keywords?

Low competition keywords are those keywords that have an average amount of search volume with low competition.

A good searches volume depend on the type of your niche. For some niches, even 40 to 50 average monthly searches are sufficient to rank well in search engine. In other niches, average monthly search volume between 1,000 to 3000 is good.

High Search Volume + High Competition = SEO Failure

A Good Search Volume + Low Competition = SEO Success

Here are some steps to need to follow to find profitable low competition keywords.

Step 1: Do a Proper Keyword Research

This is the very first and important step to succeed in your goal. There are various tools (free as well as paid) available to find keywords with low competition and high search volumes.

You can use these tools to find your keywords have low competition. I’ll show you how to use them to identify profitable keywords.

a. Google Search

Type your main keyword in Google and make a note of the results appear there. For example, I search for a keyword “best keyboard for typing” and note the total returned results in a spreadsheet.

Keyword research analysis for low competition

If the search results return less than or nearby 1,000,000 pages, then there are good chances for ranking on the 1st Page.

The next step is to perform the following search on Google.

  • allinurl: best keyboard for typing’, note the number of results containing ‘best keyboard for typing’ in URL. It shows all results with keyword appearing in URL. If the results are less than or nearby 1000 then you have high chances of ranking on the 1st page with a high-quality content.

Low competition keyword analysis for allinurl

  • allintitle: best keyboard for typing, note the number of results containing ‘best keyboard for typing’ in the title. It shows all results with keyword appearing in the title. A result of under 1,000 or nearby is good and you have high chances of ranking on the 1st page with a high-quality content.

Low competition keyword analysis for allintitle

  • allintext: best keyboard for typing, note the number of results containing ‘best keyboard for typing’ inside the article. It shows all results with keyword appearing in the article. Don’t try for a keyword where ‘Results with allintext’ is 50% more than the ‘Total Results’. In our case, the percentage is very different, so it’s not good to work on this keyword.

Low competition keyword analysis for allintext

b. Find the long tail keywords

Now, you have analyzed the competition of your main keyword so it’s time to find some long tail keywords that match with your main keyword.

Long tail keywords are the best way to get more organic visitors, more leads and more affiliate sales.

They are less competitive as compared to your main keyword and get some decent amount of traffic too from google search.

These are the kind of keyword that appears when a user types into the Google search for what he is looking for. For example, a keyword “start a blog” can have a long tail keyword like “start a blog on WordPress’.

There are various tools to find long tail keywords such as:

Google Auto Suggest

You may have noticed sometime when you type something on Google, it shows you some suggested keywords that are completing the search term.

But why Google does it?

Google is able to display all those keywords because people search them often. It means they are in high demand but you don’t need to jump up on them yet. You’ll have to do more work before choosing them.

Use Google Auto Suggest

 Google Searches Related Terms

This is another great way to find long tail keywords. Unlike Google auto-suggest, these keywords are also often searched by people.

When you search for a keyword on Google and scroll down the end of the page, you’ll see some related terms of what you have typed.

Google search related terms

These are the golden keywords that can help to rank your article on top pages of search engines.

# Use

Best keyword tools is one of the best free tools to find long tail keywords for a long time. This is also the best alternative to Google Keyword Planner and other keyword research tools.

To find long tail keywords you have to enter a keyword and select which country to target e.g. (US), (India) etc.

With the free version, you can generate up to 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions for every search term.

# Use SEMrush Tool

To analyze the keywords, I recommend you to use SEMrush which is my favorite SEO tool. SEMrush is a professional SEO tool for digital marketers and for bloggers. With the help of SEMrush, you can find Keyword Difficulty, Keyword Research, Competitors Analysis and Backlink Opportunities.

You can use SEMrush free trial for your keyword research.

Just go to SEMrush, enter your keyword in the search box under Keyword Analytics section and you will see a brief keyword overview for your entered keyword something like this:

semrush keyword overview

Here, you will find the phrase match keywords and Related Keywords around a Targeted Keyword. Click on “View full report” button to expand the list.

phrase match keywords semrush

After expanding the list, you’ll see the entire list of keywords around “Adsense alternatives” as shown below.

Phrase match keywords list

Now, from this list, choose the keywords having following metrics

  • Keyword Difficulty less than 60.
  • Number of Words more than 3
  • Volume more than 200

You can also select some related keywords by expanding related keyword list. These keywords are semantically related to your main keyword. From select keywords, you can keep up to 25 keywords that are relevant, less competitive and have high search volume and remove the rest from the list.


Step 3. Analyze top 10 websites for your keyword

Just because you have done keyword research and have optimized your content for the right keywords doesn’t mean you will automatically get ranks. You will have to work

After finding the long tail keywords with good search volume, the next step is to analyze the strength of top 10 websites for your keyword.

The strength means you need to find information about the Domain authority, Page authority, number of high authority backlinks, their top ranking keywords and number of social shares etc. To check these metrics, I’d suggest you use the Chrome Extensions called as SEOQuake or MozBar.

To rank in the top position of the search engine, it is necessary to analyze what strategy your competitors are using and you can use the same strategy (here I’m not telling you to steal their content) or even better than them to place yourself on top ranking.

Check Competitors strength For Specific Keywords

1. To analyze your competitors and to find low competition keywords, just go to SEMrush dashboard and from the left menu select SEO Toolkit >> Domain Overview >> Enter your website URL >> Monitor your website performance.

competitors analysis with SEMRush

Note: You can also use the SEMrush navigation system to find other SEO tools.

2. On the same page, you’ll find the competitor’s analysis section where you’ll see your main organic competitors and competitive positioning map that showing their strength and weakness in SERP ranking.

SEMrush competitiors analyses report

3. Click on the competitor’s website to find their traffic reports. Here I’m looking to check traffic report of a great SEO blog “”

Domain overview semrush

With SEMrush, you can check competitors keywords, their site search traffic, backlinks and top anchor texts as seen below:

Competitor analysis report

By monitoring your competitor’s strategy, you can easily find out the profitable keywords and backlinks to generate more traffic from search engines.

As I already mentioned in this post, do not copy the exact keywords of your competitors, because their targeted audience may be different from your audience. So, it is better to be smart and select the relevant and profitable low competition keywords with high traffic for your website or blog.

Step 4. Write a content that search engines (and people) will love

Now you have collected your low competition keywords list and organic competitor’s details. After analyzing this information, you will be able to come to a conclusion as to what needs to be done so that you can rank in top pages of search engine for your desired keyword.

The next step is to write an engaging content for your readers using this information. You should write a content that can give the satisfactory answer to a reader’s query for what he is searching.

Here are some important points you should remember while creating your content:

  • Try to create a long-term content having more than 2000 words. A long-term content with high-quality rank high than the short-term content. Include relevant images, screenshots or infographics rather than the just heavy block of text.
  • Keep your paragraphs short and use numbers or bullets to increase reader’s attention on your article.
  • Use attractive headings and subheadings to grab the reader’s attention on the page.
  • Write unique content that means do not copy from other sites. A site having plagiarised content have more chances of being penalized by Google. You can use these free plagiarism checker tools to check your content.
  • Keep your content grammatical error free. A content with poor grammar can have a negative impression on readers and it directly affects your ranking. (I’m personally using Grammarly to correct my online grammatical mistakes which is the best tool).

Make sure you have written SEO optimized content

To rank on the top page of search engines, you must have to perform proper On-page SEO for your content. This step is something you can never rank without it.

Having On-page SEO means you need to include your targeted keywords in title tag, meta-description, h2 tag, image alt tag and in between your content.

You can use SEMrush’s “SEO Content Template tool” to get ideas to write a winning optimized content.

SEO content template SEMrush

All you have to do is just enter keywords that you want to target with your content within a specified country and hit on “Create SEO Template button” to get SEO-friendly content ideas such as backlink sources, semantically related keywords (for page title, meta description, H1, text), readability and much more.

In the screenshot below, I have entered some keywords to get my SEO content template ideas.

Semrush SEO template

SEMrush provides you some keywords recommendations and basic recommendations (based on your Google top 10 rivals). It also shows you how your competitors use your target keywords. You can save this result template as a doc file. These ideas help to create a well-optimized SEO content for your website.

competitors analysis SEMrush

You can’t create more than one SEO Content Template with SEMrush free plan. So, I would recommend you to upgrade it to one of their premium plans. And believe me, you will not regret later.

After creating a well-optimized content, make sure you reviewed your content several times (check grammatical mistakes etc.) before hitting the publish button.

Lastly, promote your blog post to all popular social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, Slideshare and with your email subscribers too.


Final Words…

Ranking in the search engine is not a difficult work if you how to do keyword research effectively.

You can rank easily ahead of your competitors if you find the right keywords with low competition and high search volume.

Did you like this post on how to find low competition keywords with high traffic? Do you have any questions?

What tools are you using for keyword research?

Leave a comment below and I will be happy to answer your doubts.

5 Reasons Affiliate Marketers Need SEMrush (for Webmasters only) 2018

Affiliate Marketing is expected to be a $6.8 billion industry by the year 2020, according to reports.  This lucrative type of marketing connects customers through a bridge of bloggers and website owners who either by influence or sheer educational tactics convince a visitor to either purchase a product from a third party vendor, fill out a lead form, or take another type of action such as make a phone call requesting more information.  The best affiliate marketers in the world have a grasp on many facets of online marketing, but perhaps none more important than the almighty search engine positioning.

Recommended Article: How to crush your competitors using SEMrush (read now)




As a pioneer in the search engine optimization space and a mentor to many aspiring affiliate marketers across the globe at Affiliate University, my educational course that teaches affiliate marketing tactics, I’m well versed in all of the components that marketers need to succeed in this growingly competitive space.  

For my money, there is no more important tool to have in your arsenal of internet marketing tools than SEMrush.  It’s the quintessential swiss army knife of research and development for affiliate marketers, and today I’m going to show you the top five uses for SEMrush in regards to making money with affiliate programs. 

#1:  Keyword Research Allows You to Hone in on Potential Customers

With people browsing search engines every day in hopes of finding information about their favorite products, there are an almost infinite number of ways people can type in similar search phrases and come to the same conclusion – landing on your website.  

SEMrush allows you to type in a keyword and not only see the estimated search volume on a monthly basis, but it will also suggest related keywords that are very near the seed search term.  

This allows you to know the type of content you need on your website and when optimized properly, it gives you a puncher’s chance at having those potential customers land on your website.  

#2:  Find Out Where Your Vendors Are Spending Advertising Dollars

This is one of my favorite features of SEMrush.  Using the “Ads History” function, you can essentially plug in the landing page of any e-commerce website and find out which keywords they are targeting in their Google PPC campaigns.  

If you are an affiliate marketer, what better information could you arm yourself with other than having the exact blueprint of which keywords are potentially relevant to the company whose product you are trying to earn commissions selling?  To me, this is one of the most powerful components of SEMrush.  

Recommended Article: 12 Reasons how to supercharge your content using SEMrush (read now)

#3:  Finding Keyword Value

This builds onto what I stated earlier in #2.  You can use the Ads History tool to not only find which keywords are being targeted by any vendor using PPC campaigns, but you can also find the respective value of the keywords they are bidding on.  

When you see a higher value assigned to a keyword or set of keywords, you know that term has a great potential to convert into sales.  Attack it with a vengeance!  

#4:  Find Patterns In Your Niche

This is a very underutilized tactic that can be one of the best ways to find out the hottest trends in your niche.  My five step process shows you how to identify trending keywords in your niche.  

Step 1:  Identify the top five players in the niche you are in.  Let’s just say we are in the weight loss space for examples sake.  

Step 2:  Enter the URL of the landing page used for each offer (company).  

Step 3:  Once you determine which companies are running PPC advertisements, and have a view of their respective ads, simply export their keywords into a .csv file.  (SEMrush allows you to do this with one click.)  

Step 4:  Enter the data of all companies who are running PPC ads into columns.  Do this side by side so you can view a) the depth of the number of keywords used and b) eyeball the list for similarities.  

Step 5:  Make a list of the keywords that are being used by more than one company.  These keywords should be of utmost importance when you create site content and optimize your site for search engines.  



#5:  View the Top Performing Keywords and Pages

SEMrush automatically spiders any keywords that appear in the top ten pages of Google.  This data is simply incredible for numerous reasons.  

First off, you can attack a long tail keyword on a brand new page, perform some SEO (or not), and by simply inputting your URL into SEMrush, you can find out if any of the targeted keywords are showing up in the top ten pages of Google.  

I chart my progress on a monthly basis by running my domain name through SEMrush and seeing how many keywords are showing up in the top 100 results.  I make note of this number, add content, and check back each month.  When you see this number increase every month, you know that your efforts aren’t going unseen.  Continue to do this and over time, you’ll have a lot of targeted traffic coming to your site that should result in some affiliate commissions.  

Additionally, you can also do this for any competitor or vendor of yours.  It’s up to you to decide if you do this every month and chart progress for their campaigns or not, but if you decide to go the extra mile and do this (I suggest outsourcing it) you could find out which competitors of yours are putting forth a solid effort in your niche.  

Finally, you can also use the information from any competing domain name (or vendor) to see what type of new content they are putting out each month.  The best way to do this is to make note of which URL’s are showing up every month.  

When you see a new URL show up in SEMrush, make notes on which keywords are ranking for that URL and if you deem it pertinent to your niche, go out there and make a similar piece of content on your site.

Not a day goes by where I don’t use SEMrush.  It’s helped me become one of the top affiliate marketers and SEO strategists in the world.  Using these five tips will certainly help any struggling affiliate marketer get a better grip on their business and at the same time push any advanced marketer to new heights.  




Top 12+ SEO Tools you need for Website Analysis (2018)

Webmaster Knowledge SEO Analyzer Tool

There’s nothing quite like a sudden Google algorithm update to leave marketers feeling equal parts confused and concerned. It seems like they wait for you to get all of your ducks in a row and then unleash an update that makes your efforts instantly obsolete. Sure, they’re pretty open about that fact that they’re doing this for everyone’s own good — each algorithm tweak brings us one step closer to more relevant search results, after all. However, there is still some secrecy behind exactly how Google evaluates a website and ultimately determines which sites to show for which search queries.

That said, there are a number of tools out there — some free, some paid — that help you to look at your own site the way that Google sees it.

Stop wasting time on SEO strategies that don’t work with the help of this free PDF guide >>

These tools are critical to your organic search strategy because they allow you to focus on the elements of your site that Google deems important. In this post, we’ll walk through 10 such tools that all help you run a site analysis like a marketer … and a Google bot!

You may also check our own free
Webmaster Knowledge SEO Analyzer Tool.
No registration is needed. Put in your URL and go.

Webmaster Knowledge SEO Analyzer Tool


12 SEO Monitoring and Keyword Tools for 2018

1. Google’s Webmaster Tools

Cost: Free

Purpose: Site Analysis

Perhaps the best way to understand the way Google sees your site is to ask Google. Google’s Webmaster Tools are novice-friendly resources that explain the fundamentals of Google search.

For example, Google’s Fetch as Google tool allows you to see a particular URL as Google sees it, which is critical when troubleshooting for poor SEO performance. The information returned can help you modify the page in question for better results, and can even help you isolate problematic code when you believe your site’s been hacked.

Fetch as Google, one of Google's Webmaster Tools for SEO analysis

Another great feature of Google Webmaster Tools is PageSpeed Insights. This SEO tool measures the performance of both your desktop and mobile site in terms of speed. With mobile search queries surpassing desktop searches, page speed is becoming increasingly important to businesses that want to hold on to their visitors.

“PageSpeed Insights evaluates how well a page follows common performance best practices and computes a score from 1-100 that estimates its performance headroom,” according to Google Developers. That score can be Good, as in 80 or above; Medium, as in 60 to 79; or Low, as in 0 to 59.

2. SEMrush

Cost: Free

Purpose: Keyword Research

SEMrush is a super elaborate dashboard that reports on the performance of domains as a whole and their specific pages. The website offers numerous toolkits, one of which is an SEO toolkit.

Below is one of the toolkit’s flagship features, allowing you to plug in a website page to see for what keywords it’s ranking, what the page’s rank is for that keyword, the keyword’s monthly search volume, and more.

Keyword research report by SEMrush

The rest of the SEO toolkit allows you to compare your page performance to competition, analyze backlinks from other websites to your site (also known as link building), research appropriate keywords, and take advantage of similar on-page SEO opportunities.

3. HubSpot’s Website Grader

Cost: Free

Purpose: Site Analysis

Back in 2007, HubSpot released a tool called Website Grader that helped businesses uncover search engine optimization opportunities. Because a lot has changed since then, the company has released a new and improved version of the tool.

HubSpot's Website Grader, a basic SEO tool for site analysis

Website Grader is an online tool that generates personalized reports based on the following key metrics:

  • Performance. The tool will analyze your site’s page size, requests, speed, and similar key SEO metrics.
  • Mobile Readiness. The tool will see if your website is mobile-friendly in terms of responsiveness and viewport settings.
  • SEO. The tool will determine if your website is easy to find — both by humans and bots. This determination will take factors like page titles and meta descriptions into consideration.
  • Security. The tool will look for things like an SSL certificate. This serves as a way to prove to visitors that your site is both authentic and safe for contact information submissions.

All you need is your website URL and an email address to get started. Simply plug in your information and you can expect a score (1-100) as well as a detailed report in a matter of seconds.

Aside from Website Grader, HubSpot also has a handful of paid SEO tools to help you better direct your efforts.

For example, within the HubSpot Blogging App, users will find as-you-type SEO suggestions. This helpful inclusion serves as a checklist for content creators of all skill levels. HubSpot customers also have access to the Page Performance App, Sources Report, and the Keyword App. The HubSpot Marketing Platform will provide you with the tools you need to research keywords, monitor their performance, track organic search growth, and diagnose pages that may not be fully optimized.

4. Check My Links

Cost: Free

Purpose: Link Optimization

To ensure that your links on a webpage — whether external or internal — actually work, consider Check My Links.

This broken-link checker makes it easy for a publisher or editor to make corrections before a page is live. Think about a site like Wikipedia, for example. The Wikipedia page for the term “marketing” contains a whopping 711 links. Not only was Check My Links able to detect this number in a matter of seconds, but it also found (and highlighted) seven broken links.

Check My Links, an SEO tool for fixing broken links

The tool highlights all the good links in green, and those that are broken in red, making it easy to spot the ones that don’t work or are no longer active.

5. BuzzStream

Cost: Free 14-day trial, then paid plans from $24/mo

Purpose: Link Building

BuzzStream might be the most inexpensive way to manage your outreach to the people who can provide inbound links to your website.

Although backlinks to your website are critical to ranking well on Google, the outreach you do while link building can feel a lot like cold calling. BuzzStream makes it easy to research the appropriate people, come up with effective email messages, and track who’s accepted each link request. Your link building queue looks like this:

BuzzStream, a link building and outreach manager
Image via BuzzStream

BuzzStream helps you identify candidates for outreach based on their industry and how engaged they are across various social networks — so you know who will be most receptive to your backlink request and boost your ranking on Google.

6. Moz’s Pro Tools

Cost: Free 30-day trial, then paid plans from $99/mo

Purpose: Site Analysis

The Moz Pro subscription serves as an all-in-one tool for increasing your business’ search ranking. Moz’s collection of research tools provides subscribers with the resources they need to identify SEO opportunities, track growth, build reports, and optimize their overall efforts. 

For example, the Crawl Test tool employs Moz’s own web crawler, RogerBot, to analyze up to 3,000 links on a given URL. Once completed, users then receive an email report that details the data for each page the site links to.

Moz's Crawl Test tool for analyzing website linksImage via Moz

This is super helpful if you’re looking to identify “crawlability” factors, such as duplicate content and redirects that could be influencing your SEO performance.

7. UpCity’s SEO Report Card

Cost: Free

Purpose: Share of Voice

SEO Report Card by UpCity lets you analyze your website to determine how it stacks up against your competitors.

UpCity's SEO Report Card dashboard

In exchange for a bit of your contact information, SEO Report Card will serve up a report that covers the following:

  • Rank Analysis. A snapshot of where your website ranks on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Your ranking is based on the main keyword you select when putting information in to build the report.
  • Link Building. A detailed account of the number of websites that link back to your site.
  • On-Site Analysis. A look at how successful you were in incorporating your main keyword throughout your site.
  • Website Accessibility. A section focused on your site’s load time and ease of accessibility for crawlers.
  • Trust Metrics. An overview of your site’s level of trust or authority.
  • Current Indexing. An indication of how many of your site pages have been indexed.

8. Woorank

Cost: Free 14-day trial, then $49/mo for a Pro Plan or $149/mo for a Premium Plan

Purpose: Site Analysis

Woorank‘s in-depth site analysis helps marketers reveal opportunities for optimization and improvement. This analysis takes into account the performance of existing SEO initiatives, social media, usability, and more.

Woorank's homepage for auditing a website's SEO

Each report is divided into eight sections:

  • Marketing Checklist
  • SEO
  • Mobile
  • Usability
  • Technologies
  • Social
  • Local
  • Visitors

Spanning across 70+ metrics, it would be hard — if not impossible — to not uncover opportunities for improvement.

As a bonus, Woorank makes it easy for users to download their reviews as branded PDFs. This makes company-wide distribution and presentation more streamlined than ever.

9. Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider

Cost: The LITE version is free (with limitations*), and the paid plan is $160/year

Purpose: Site Analysis

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a search marketer’s best friend.

Designed specifically for the SEO-minded, this program crawls the websites you specify, examining the URLs for common SEO issues. This program simplifies and expedites an otherwise time-consuming process — especially for larger websites. It could take hours or days to manually evaluate the same URLs.

Take a closer look at how it works:

The Java program is fairly intuitive, with easy-to-navigate tabs. Additionally, you can export any or all of the data into Excel for further analysis. So say you’re using Optify, Moz, or RavenSEO to monitor your links or rankings for specific keywords — you could simply create a .csv file from your spreadsheet, make a few adjustments for the proper formatting, and upload it to those tools.

*Pricing limitations include: You can only scan 500 URLs per website, and you don’t have full access to configuration options and source code features. To remove these limitations, users can purchase a 12-month license for around $160/year.

10. Found’s SEO Audit Tool

Cost: Free

Purpose: Site Analysis

Want to rise above your competitors on search engine results pages?

(Who doesn’t?)

The SEO Audit Tool by Found is an easy-to-use tool for marketers looking to identify (and solve) common SEO errors on a website.

Found's SEO Audit tool

Simply enter your URL and receive an instant automated SEO audit of your site. Found’s SEO Audit Tool is broken down into three main parts:

  • Technical issues. This reports on factors like domain canonicalization and XML sitemaps.
  • Content issues. This focuses on influential factors like keywords and meta data.
  • External link analysis. This aims to evaluate the quantity and quality of external links.

Similar to Woorank, once you run a report, the tool makes it easy for you to download the results as a PDF to be easily shared within your organization.

11. Remove’em

Cost: $249 per domain or a subscription option starting at $99/mo

Purpose: Link Building

Have you ever purchased links? Spammed the comments section on a string of blogs using the same message and link? If so, we’ll forgive your bad judgment just this once … but Google won’t.

Artificial or unnatural links have the potential to seriously hurt your search ranking. To clean them up, check out Remove’em:

This helpful tool scans your backlink profile and turns up a list of contact information for the links and domains you’ll need to reach out to for removal. Alternatively, the tool also allows you to export the list if you wish to disavow them using Google’s tool. (Essentially, this tool tells Google not to take these links into account when crawling your site.)

12. Varvy’s SEO Overview Tool

Cost: Free

Purpose: Site Analysis

This SEO auditing tool provides users with information regarding their domain strength, links, image SEO, social counts and mentions, page/technical SEO, page speed, and more.

The comprehensive report is prepared in less than a minute, and dives deep into different aspects of your website’s performance. You’ll notice that the tool employs green checks, red Xs, and yellow exclamation points to denote the severity of the issue.

One the our favorite features is the detailed image overview:

This section of the report focuses on the strength of the images your website employs by analyzing the alt text. If you’re using too many words, missing alt text, or the alt text appears weak, the tool will notify you so that you can make any necessary changes.

Getting Started

You’ll never get a look behind the Google curtain to learn everything they know (or don’t know) about your site. But by leveraging SEO best practices and getting the most out of tools like those listed here, you can greatly increase the chances that your website will show up in response to the right search queries.

You may also check our own free
Webmaster Knowledge SEO Analyzer Tool.
No registration is needed. Put in your URL and go.

Webmaster Knowledge SEO Analyzer Tool


WordPress Theme und Plugin Scanner (Plugin for WordPress 2018)

wordpress theme and plugin scanner


Download it now right here

Easy to install:


It will look just like that:

Give it a try and enter a URL.


How to find out what Themes and Plugins a WordPress Website uses (2018)

wordpress theme and plugin scanner

Have you ever wanted to find out which WordPress theme or Plugin a website is using? Often I get emails from readers asking us for help in finding the exact theme that a certain website is using. In this article, we will show you how to easily find out which WordPress theme a specific website is using.

When you are starting a new website, choosing the right theme is a very important decision.

Often you have ideas and inspirations that you have seen on other websites. In some cases, you may want your website to have almost the same layout and features as another website that you saw on the internet.

This could be possible specially if that website is using one of the thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available in the market.

And thankfully, it’s quite easy to find out which WordPress theme a website is using.

Method #1: WP SCANNER

One of the easiest way to detect WordPress theme used by a website is using our very own WordPress Scanner. It is an online tool that allows you to look up plugins and themes used by a WordPress website.

First, you need to visit WordPress Scanner website and enter the URL of a website you want to check.

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wordpress theme and plugin scanner

WordPress Scanner will first check if the website is using WordPress. If it is a WordPress powered website, then it will check which WordPress theme the website is using. It will also try to detect WordPress plugins used by the website.

After that, it will show you the results with more details about the plugins and theme used by the website.

Method #2: Manually find out

Sometimes website owners change the WordPress theme name. This stop tools like WordPress Scanner to detect which WordPress theme they are using.

However, there still might be plenty of clues hidden in the code that you can detect and find the WordPress theme they are using.

Let’s get started.

Each WordPress theme is required to have a style.css file. This file contains theme header which tells WordPress the name of the theme, theme author, URI, version, etc. It also contains CSS styles used by the theme.

To locate this file, first you need to visit the website. Right click anywhere on the screen and select ‘View Page Source’ from the menu.

View page source of a WordPress website

This will open the source code of the page you are viewing in a new browser tab. Now you need to find a line in the source code that looks something like this:

<link rel='stylesheet' id='themename_style-css'  href='' type='text/css' media='all' />

You can click on the URL in this line to open the style.css file.

On top of the style.css file, you will see the theme header block which contains information about the theme used by the website. Typically, it would look something like this:

Theme Name:     Theme Name
Theme URI:
Author:         ThemeAuthorName
Author URI:
Description:    My Theme is a flexible WordPress theme designed for portfolio websites
Version:        1.1.47
License:        GNU General Public License v2 or later
License URI:
Text Domain:    hestia
Tags: blog, custom-logo, portfolio, e-commerce, rtl-language-support, post-formats, grid-layout, one-column, two-columns, custom-background, custom-colors, custom-header, custom-menu, featured-image-header, featured-images, flexible-header, full-width-template, sticky-post, theme-options, threaded-comments, translation-ready

You may be able to find the Theme’s URL or Theme Author’s URL here which will lead you to the theme used by the website.

Finding The Parent Theme

Many WordPress websites use child themes to customize their websites. In that case, their theme header will contain information about the parent theme they are using.

Theme Name:   My Child Theme
Description:  Just a child theme
Author:       Peter Smith
Author URL:   Write here the author's blog or website url
Template:     hestia
Version:      1.0
License:      GNU General Public License v2 or later
License URI:
Text Domain:  my-child-theme

In the above example, this header block has an extra ‘Template’ parameter in the theme header block. This template is the parent theme used by this website.

You can also find out the parent theme by looking at the website’s source code. There you will find another style.css file loaded from another theme. This other style.css file is the parent theme’s stylesheet and clicking on it will tell you which parent theme a site is using.

That’s all for now, we hope this article helped you learn how to find which WordPress theme a site is using. You may also want to see our ultimate list of the most wanted WordPress tips, tricks, and hacks.


6 Month SEO Link Building Plan for Established Websites (2018)

link building plan for established websites 2018

You’ve probably seen the extremely comprehensive noob guide to online marketing by Oli Gardner, or the companion noob guide to link building from Mike King, you’ve also likely seen one of the many posts or presentations on SEO for startups (here, here and here) – suffice to say there is plenty of reading material for building new web properties but what about link building for an established website? If you have an already established website or blog and need a good SEO Link Building Plan keep reading.

There are an abundance of link opportunities (and challenges) that are pretty unique to an established website.

I decided to compile a public Trello board which is based on some of our internal boards for clients to help you to visualise the process I am about to run through.

Please bear in mind that this is not a six-month SEO plan so we won’t be covering site audits or keyword research for example (although you should read this post if you are planning to conduct an SEO audit), I will be focusing on the acquisition and optimisation of links and content for links.

This is how we approach established websites where we are given a full link building brief. I welcome any feedback and additions to this plan. In any case, this is simply the “ideal” scenario, so we don’t do ALL of this with every single client because each situation is different and because realistically we might not have the budget or even the project scope to implement all this. That being said I do hope that this post will give you some avenues to explore. The idea behind the Trello board was that so anyone could copy it and then edit as they see fit, dragging and dropping the various elements and scaling up or contracting the task list as appropriate. I have divided the elements into the following four areas:

  • Content Tasks
  • Research Tasks
  • Link Tasks
  • Other Tasks

On the Trello board, I have put them into our recommended order but as I say, the reason for doing this as a public board is so that you can move elements around as you see fit.

Remember to copy the board before you can start making it your own!

Month 1

Link Profile Audit

The ideal way to start any link building campaign for an established website is to take stock of the existing link profile.

At this point, we’re not even drawing comparisons between competitor link profiles and our own but merely understanding what we have and how closely that aligns with A) the clients goals and B) recommended best practices. I’m not going to get into a white hat/grey hat debate here, when I say best practices, I am talking about what is generally accepted within an educated audience as ‘sensible’.

A blissfully unaware client, and a website with a closet full of forum profile spam for example is something that you need to be aware of (and make the client aware of) before any further work can be carried out. You are not nit-picking at the work of the previous agency but from here on out you are likely to be responsible for the performance of that website in the search engines (and links making up a big part of that performance) and it would be pretty hard to explain to a client with any amount of credibility why their website has dropped off the face of the planet three months into your engagement if you didn’t bring issues like this to their attention. It may well have been links acquired in days gone by, but the client is probably going to blame you to a certain extent.

What to look for?

  • Type of link
  • Anchor text
  • Clusters of similar IPs
  • Link position on the page
  • Quality (defensibility) of the site link originates from
  • Is the page where the link originates actually indexed?
  • Asses internal link structure as well

Some of the above can be automated and that should help you to reduce the number of links that you need to audit by hand.

Action steps:

  • Talk to the client – get previous reports, lists of links developed and understand what has been done up until now
  • Listen to the client – to understand their goals and their current appetite for risk
  • Fire up your favourite link analysis tool

Some recommended tools for the job

Recommended reading

Market Landscape Analysis

This is far less “corporate” than the name suggests. Essentially there are two elements:

  • Competitor Link Profile Analysis
  • Opportunity Mapping (link opportunities and topic areas)

Competitor Link Profile Analysis

You should follow near enough the same process for analysing your key competitors’ link profiles as you did for your own. Not because you want to help them identify their bad links but rather because it enables you to spot their weaknesses, steal anything they have been doing well and frankly, see who is probably swimming naked when the tide goes out.

If a competitor ranks above you but their link profile turns up something which is considered less than ‘best practice’ by all means take this into account but don’t take it as gospel that it will work for the website you are working on.

The key to using your competitor link research to identify opportunity is to think in terms of direct and indirect opportunity. For example, if you spot a strong link that you’re competitor has acquired that you could potentially also earn then this would be a direct opportunity. If, for example, you identify one or a set of links from a particular type of site or niche then this could be considered an indirect link because it might open your eyes to other potential link opportunities from corners of the web you and the client have never been before.

Sometimes though, analysing a competitor’s link profile brings up next to nothing useful that’s fine, just demonstrates that you have the opportunity to stand out in the market long term by doing things the right way.

Opportunity Mapping

Work ‘outwards’ from core customer groups to try to identify key opportunities and niches to target both with the content that you are going to be producing as well as the outreach and promotion you have planned. Communication with the client is key at this stage because it can help you to really understand their various customer segments and branch out from there.

You are aiming to:

  1. Find link opportunities/identify the niches
  2. Discover topic areas

My favourite tool for this is Mindmeister which is a nice, easy-to-use, web-based mind-mapping software. The reason we prefer mind-mapping to say a spreadsheet is because it allows us to visualise the client and then explore different branches, connect niches and even help them to identify new market segments.

Action steps

  • Understand who your competitors really are (not necessarily the businesses your client thinks they compete against).
  • Analyse competitor link profiles – using the methodology described in the previous exercise
  • Benchmark your link profile versus competitors – does your profile stand out in comparison to average figures based on competitors?
  • Identify key opportunities based on competitor link profiles (direct and indirect)

Strategy Development

This is where you turn the MLA into something actionable. Set the course of the rest of the campaign with a clear and focused link building strategy which takes into account your identified weaknesses (i.e. closing the natural search gap) and exploits the obvious opportunities both internal and external. I’m not one (in fact we’re not a company for…) 500 page strategy documents.

A concise set of actions and time-frames that fit onto one A4 sheet of paper is generally how we work.

Never base your strategy entirely on competitor actions; 1) It just isn’t good business sense to be clinging to the tailcoat of the competition because usually that’s where you’ll remain and 2) Just because it worked for them, does not mean it is going to be effective for you.

That’s it for month 1 – it might seem like an awful lot of planning and not much doing but remember that PPPPPP so it will be time well invested. If you have additional time and budget of course you could always bring some activities, scheduled for month 2, forward.

Month 2

Link Removals & Updates

There are two schools of thought here; some say that although certain links might be harming your website you can outweigh the negative impact by focusing on developing good quality ones.

The other school of thought says that you should focus on getting rid of your bad links before you even contemplate acquiring new ones.

Whichever side of the fence you sit on comes down to your opinions and experiences but I personally feel that in a number of situations, a round of link removals and profile pruning is a wise way to spend your time because there is little doubt that some links and in particular those really artificial and spammy links may well be holding a website back – with no amount of good karma going to shift those misdemeanours of the past.

If you are going to embark on a spot of profile pruning and/or link un-building then luckily there are quite a few tools out there to help you. What kinds of things are you going to want to change or update? The anchor text is a common one but consider also URL destination (is there a more natural page that this could link to?). If however you feel the link just doesn’t align with your strategy moving forward then a removal may be a more suitable option.

Tools for the job

  • Link Management Tool from The Link Auditors – free software, makes it really easy to manage your progress, automatically checks the status of links so no need to send a chaser email to see if a link has been removed. All round fantastic tool and my favourite.
  • SEOgadget – Data Gathering Tool
  • Remove’em – self-service link removal
  • rmoov – the backlink removal tool

Content Asset Identification

New websites require new content but the beauty of established websites is that very often they have a catalogue of content assets at your disposal. With a bit of tweaking, repurposing or even just using as they are, the existing content assets can be put to work attracting links naturally (and almost passively) over time and as a reason for proactively contacting webmasters, bloggers and journalists. What kinds of things are you looking for?

  • Whitepapers
  • Long-form blog posts
  • Mobile Apps & tools
  • Free resources & downloads
  • Guides

Think about the customer groups and refer back to your opportunity map. If it is a very large website it can sometimes be worth using Google to perform a site search in order to find an asset which perhaps even the client themselves has forgotten they produced (we’ve done this a few times and turned up something which the client would then say “Oh yeah that old thing…”).

This is a largely manual process but we’ve found Social Crawlytics to be quite useful at identifying content assets which perhaps got ‘a bit of love’ but not really the amount the content deserved. These would be prime examples of assets in need of a facelift or just an update because they are outdated. In essence you are looking for content assets to use ‘as they are’, as well as assets that just need a bit of improvement to get them up to scratch. Identifying content assets rather than just creating new ones obviously saves you some time and the client some budget (since you are optimising what they have) which means other activities can be carried out.

Action steps

  • Talk to the client to understand any content production they have done in the past
  • Dig through the archives of the site (use site: search in Google)
  • Look for pages on the site which have a fair number of links (and ask if it could perform better after a bit of TLC?)
  • Try Social Crawlytics to uncover hidden assets

Gap Analysis of Content Assets

This is one of the simplest analysis methods at your disposal (read how to perform a Gap Analysis) but it is also very effective in forcing you to consider where the asset currently is, what you want to achieve and the specific way you are going to get it there.

For example, you may have uncovered a guide to ‘growing an email newsletter database’ for your email marketing software client. The guide is about 1000 words long and includes some fairly generic tips. They created it because their previous agency told them they needed “great content” on their website, the problem is that “great” means much more than just spelled correctly.

Anyway, the bigger issue is that it doesn’t align with the client’s brand of being a market leader in the space and a competitor has produced a far more comprehensive guide, not amazing but still leading the way currently. Your content asset needs a reason for existence; if you’re not aiming to make the content asset the category killer then you may as well not bother. Go big or go home I’m afraid.

So we now have “the future state” and “the current state” – how do we fill in the gap? We identify all the ways we could lead the market with the asset e.g. enhancing our guide to make it more detailed, paginated for better user experience, add videos, action steps, screenshots and templates that clients can use.

You’re not aiming to match your competitor’s content assets, you need to surpass them. I’m not so naive to believe that you can create this “awesome content” and then Google will rank it where you’d like but having a solid reason to rank is definitely a required starting point. It will also help you answer the question “why would someone link to this?” – it’s pretty hard to answer that when you have the second or third best resource in the market…

Internal Link Optimisation

Arguably this would come under the remit of whoever is performing the site audit but more often than not we will discover opportunities to optimise internal links simply by performing a link profile audit. It could be that every page has a link to itself within the body copy using the keywords the page is trying to target.

From our experience, the SEO benefit of including a keyword link from the page right back at the page is almost non-existent and in most cases it can harm the user experience as a visitor lands on that page looking for something around that keyword phrase, they will likely click on a highlighted link containing the keywords only to find themselves confused when the same page reloads.

In fact you could even argue that stuffing keywords into internal links is going to harm your search engine performance.

Update old guest posts

Only applicable if your client has previously embarked on guest blogging. Identify any guest posts that currently drive referral traffic then look at whether these could do with updating or enhancing.

Remember that if a guest post worked well for the client the first time it was published, there is a strong chance it will be well-received by the audience a second time, particularly if the post is quite old or outdated. It is a good idea to include old guest posts in your plan because updating these can help to preserve your brand reputation should a prospective customer find your website via this post – you don’t want them to think your ideas and expertise are outdated (even if there is a date on the blog post!).

Pro tip – look at ways to promote old guest posts that perform well. See here for more on second tier link building.

Link reclamation

The theory here is that over the years as domains change, staff come and go, site structure evolves, there are very often hundreds if not thousands of pages that get left behind without a redirect.

Many of these have links pointing at them which now that your page 404s are likely to be doing very little for your website. Link reclamation involves you taking back that link equity, no real extra effort required, you are just making the most of what you already (in theory) have. Still don’t believe me that established websites offer incredible link opportunities?

Garrett French covers this process spectacularly in his 7 ways to find your long lost links.

As Eric Ward rightly points out, the bigger and older the site, the more opportunities for link reclamation there are likely to be.

Month 3

At the half-way point in the plan, now it’s time to get on to the really fun stuff. It is going to be a busy four weeks…

Take control of social

This may not be a possibility with some larger clients as many will have either a dedicated agency or in-house department that looks after social but link building and social media are becoming more and more intertwined so the need to have access to a usable social media account is essential.

In some situations we are able to utilise the main social media account of the client, and where this isn’t possible, we’ll establish a sub-account usually based around an individual within the business who we are working closely with – they’re going to become the public face of the business for the campaign.

It is important to have access to some form of social presence (ideally Twitter) because it enables authentic communication with the higher-value link prospects that might need warming up before the email outreach. It also gives a further avenue to push out blog content and promote guest posts so that as time goes by you have an extra carrot to dangle in front of link prospects in the form of social traffic to their website.

Taking control of social is never easy, we have had situations where we couldn’t tweet a guest post because it was on a site that wasn’t owned by the client!

Improve the content assets

Back in month 2 we conducted a gap analysis to identify any content assets in need of some attention and more specifically what it is that we needed to do to bring them up to scratch.

Here we are in month 3 and it is time to get to work. When it comes to improving the content, consider whether what you are doing is going to benefit your prospective customers, or whether you are just padding out an already mediocre piece of content.

I am a big fan of creating content that helps to attract links and simultaneously helps to support the sales process in some way either through attracting attention and bringing targeted visitors into the top of your funnel, or helping a user in a buying state of mind choose between which printer they need.

Don’t add bulk to your assets just for the sake of it. Align closely with your Gap analysis to ensure your asset is going to be the indisputable top dog in the space.

Link Repossession

This element can be broken down into three areas:

  • Images
  • Words
  • Mentions

The overall aim is that we are trying to get the links that are ‘rightfully’ yours because someone is either ‘borrowing’ your content, using images without attribution or mentioning your website or brand without linking to you (potential missed opportunity).


Using Google’s Similar Image Search or the seriously cool TinEye you can quickly find other places around the web that use your images. These may be corporate photography that you paid to be produced or it could be charts and graphs. Basically another website publisher is using your image (knowingly or not) and you rightfully deserve an attributing link. You can work your way through the image collection on the website (ignoring stock photography that you don’t own the rights to…obviously) and building a list of webmasters that you need to be contacting. TinEye also offer a number of products and services for doing this on a larger scale.

We have experienced a fair response rate to our emails simply by being friendly and explaining that we’re glad they’ve chosen to use our image but that it would be really great if they could just include a link back to our website so that people know where it came from. Nothing heavy or involving legal action…most seem amazed that they have either been caught out or that this kind of thing is even monitored and in their state of shock are more than willing to include an attribution link (hint: don’t go for keyword rich anchor text).


You can also employ a similar tactic with all the words on the website, by using Copyscape you can quickly identify text from your website that has been “borrowed” by others. A big, established website with oodles of content perhaps as a knowledgebase or a series of blog posts will find that a lot of content has been pinched by others without attribution.

Let me be perfectly clear here, many websites who pinch content are just doing it to essentially steal your work for their own purposes. A polite email is unlikely to score an attributing link from them but there are a small sub-set of content copy and pasters who overlooked copyright issues and were simply referencing your work to support something they have written. These are the ones that will likely result in a link.

To try and prevent this in future consider deploying Tynt which allows you to automatically add attribution to any chunk of text that is copied from your site and pasted elsewhere.


If you are working on the website of a large established brand then there are likely to be an abundance of opportunities on almost a daily basis to seek a link when nothing more than the brand name or URL is mentioned – bloggers and journalists do this all the time.

It’s not a guaranteed link of course because some purposefully haven’t included a link and don’t forget to be polite because the mere fact they have mentioned the brand or website is worthy of a thank you 🙂 Getting a link in this way can help improve user experience because if the reader wants to find out more then they would have to Google it or manually type in the URL – you get the link, the reader gets a better experience.

To try and prevent this in the future consider setting up Google Alerts for key brand mentions so that you can strike the prospect whilst they are warmed up and ask for that link.

Get blogging

This is a link building plan right?! What’s blogging got to do with building links? We see blogging as central to a link building strategy because from the blog so many opportunities can come:

  • Directly earn links with solid content
  • Establishes credibility to help with outreach
  • Gives you a platform to get the attention of link prospects

When it comes to this particular link building plan, it is a good idea to co-ordinate your content calendar with your guest blogging targets for the month ahead. This allows you to include links to any websites that you might be targeting and also gives you a highly-relevant post that you can showcase to link prospects if they are unsure of the calibre of your work. I have produced a fairly comprehensive and regularly updated guide to blogging for your business and I would encourage you to have a read of this for more detailed thoughts and advice on corporate blogging.

Acquire direct competitor link opportunities

Back in month 1 you researched and analysed the link profiles of competitors and now it is time to put into action some of that research. Any opportunities that were labelled “direct” e.g. worthy of you also acquiring should be acquired at this point in the campaign. There are all sorts of justifiable business reasons to go after links that your competitors have, not just because it is a case of “they have it, we want it” but rather because you don’t want to be missing out on referral and even sales opportunities when your competitors are clearly taking advantage of them.

Recommended tool: SEMrush

Use your best judgement when it comes to acquiring competitor links because replicating their link profile is unlikely to be a good idea and more importantly you want to make sure that any links you are developing are going to align with your current strategy and help to support the achievement of your goals rather than hold back the site.

Month 4

As we pass the halfway point for this plan, month 4 involves fewer activities but they are often more involved and require more resources.

Guest blogging

In month 3 the blog published content that was tailored towards a specific niche (tied back to our opportunity map in month 1) ideally linking to a few prospects. Now we are looking to push out some guest posts to bring in some fresh links and boost referral traffic. I have published quite a few posts and guides around the topic of guest blogging and so I won’t go into too much detail here but essentially you can break the process down as follows:

  1. Identifying link opportunities (use your opportunity map)
  2. Sifting and evaluating opportunities
  3. Researching prospects
  4. Contacting prospects
  5. Writing content
  6. Facilitating publication

Reading to consider

Yes, these were all written by me (hence why I said “reading to consider” rather than “recommending reading” – I don’t have that big an ego) and whilst there is other content out there on the topic, most describe “how to do guest blogging” in a different way and I prefer to only talk about what I know. Guest blogging makes up quite a large part of the plan for Month 4 so ideally you will pick your largest and most opportune topic area from your opportunity map.

Keep blogging

Very simply this is a reminder to keep your blog on the map. Tailor this month’s content calendar to the guest blogging campaign a month ahead. This will give you the same advantages as before when it comes to targeting a new topic area in month 5.

Blogger outreach to content asset 1

In month 3 we improved a content asset and with the best will in the world this takes time so it is only really likely at the start of month 4 that you will be able to start putting the asset to work in the form of promotion. We typically separate outreach and promotion to bloggers (and journalists where applicable) and webmasters. We target the former first as many prefer to talk about fresh topics whereas a webmaster including a link to your guide will still likely do so as the guide becomes more established.

Telling a blogger that you launched something three months ago is unlikely to evoke a feeling that they are important to you. Reaching out to a blogger to promote a content asset is different to the pitch you make to secure a guest post spot and in many ways it can be more challenging. We recommend a two-pronged approach to blogger outreach

  • Social outreach – taking control of the client’s social account suddenly seems like a good move 🙂
  • Sending emails

It need not be any more complicated than that. The devil is in the detail though because it is how you do these things which affect the results that you see.

I think Mike Essex‘s contribution to this post (see the section on ‘push content’) is a really solid example of a good outreach email for this kind of thing. Your social efforts should follow suit in the sense that it needs to be specific and targeted towards what the individual is likely to be interested in and how it helps them. I would add to this that the success comes in selecting your prospects and developing a relationship over time.

Perhaps connecting the practices of guest blogging and blogger outreach to make the most of your connections and be specific in all communication, call to actions are essential if you want to get things done. Don’t leave them wondering why you emailed or what they need to do.

Additionally, the campaign is made or broken by the targeting, if you have for example 3 clear niches to approach it encourages the systematic acquisition of all available links, thinking that your content appeals to “everyone” is going to result in you poorly targeting everybody.

Month 5

Webmaster promotion to content asset 1

In month 4 we promoted the content asset to bloggers (and potentially journalists), now we are going to be pushing the asset to other webmasters with the view to securing permanent links on resource pages and the like to really cement the asset as an authority resource and ensure the long-term visibility of it (in the search results) after the initial buzz and social traffic subsides.

How to find opportunities

Link prospector from Citation Labs

One of our favourite internal tools for identifying link prospects for further qualification. This tool has a “links pages” report type which allows you to discover authentic resource pages within your market.

Competitor analysis

Your asset may well be the market leader now but before it came to existence there was a competitor earning all those links. Using your favourite link research tool, you need to track down all the links and look for direct opportunities as well as the indirect opportunities such as “this type of website linked to the resource, let’s look for more of this type of website”. A key reason we divide outreach rather than do it all in one sprint is because it allows us to tailor our approach based on what is working rather than exhaust our prospects right off the bat.

Guest blogging

As before, but targeting a new segment from your opportunity map.


As before, but focusing on the area you intend to target for month 6 with your guest blogging.

Add a new content asset

There are several approaches you can take when it comes to creating a new content asset and the reason I wanted to include within this link building plan was because in reality even established websites won’t necessarily have usable content assets at your disposal when you walk in the door. There are multiple ways to approach this and here are a few of our preferred methods:

  • Publish content they already have – large established websites usually have established businesses behind them and frequently established businesses have mountains of content that they aren’t really putting to good use. In your quest to create linkable assets, you might decide to repurpose something that they already have – (think optimising what they already have).
  • Look for opportunities in your market centred around customer questions – if you really are working from scratch then it is advisable to return to your opportunity map from month 1 and explore each of the market segments in detail to help build a picture of the type and theme of your content. (Read HubSpot’s excellent guide to creating content centred around buyer personas).
  • Find content assets of competitors that you could really do better – identify opportunities in your market by looking through the content your competitors have created, chances are they haven’t done it as well as it could be done then do it better.
  • Look for pages in your competitor’s site that 404s but has link equity (from external links) – this is a long shot and to tell you the truth we have only managed to do this once. Essentially you perform link reclamation on your competitor’s website but rather than help them with their redirects, you create your own amazing version of the page that 404s on their site and reach out to all the webmasters that link to it. It isn’t that this can’t work, it is that the opportunities are rare but I felt it still merited a mention.
  • Outsource something – a content asset could be more of a linkable asset for example a mobile app, a bit of free software or a handy tool, if these things fall outside of your expertise then you may consider hiring someone to take care of it.

Month 6

You made it, six months of link acquisition and link optimisation. By now you should be really seeing the fruits of your labour paying off. Just one more month of activity then time to benchmark performance…

Influencer outreach for new content asset

Based on all your activities in the market over the previous half a year, you should have developed some relationships with influencers such as bloggers, curators, editors and maybe even journalists. Both they and the market as a whole should now have a feel for what you or your client is about and have some sense of goodwill towards you.

This activity is about enhancing this goodwill but also leveraging it because you will be seeking the help of the influencers you are now acquainted with to help you launch the shit out of this new content asset.

There’s no template outreach email for this one…subtly interweave some egobait into the asset and just ask for people’s help. Most (because they now know you) will probably help spread the word with links, tweets, +1s etc.

Repeat activities

  • Webmaster Promotion to the new content asset
  • Guest Blogging (to the new content asset) – target a portion of your guest blogging efforts towards building links and raising awareness for your new content asset. You can even rework some of the content and tailor to specific blogs to save time when it comes to writing the guest posts.
  • Guest Blogging – as before, this time targeting a new niche from your opportunities map.
  • Blogging – once again think ahead in terms of the content you produce, align with any plans you have on the horizon.

What do you think to the plan? Obviously one-size-does-not-fit-all when it comes to link building but this is just designed to be a loose template to give you an idea of how we work and also some food for thought. How would you improve it?

8 Simple Tips to Increase Your Adsense CTR (Click Through Rate) and CPC (Cost Per Click) (2018)

howto build a website / homepage

The biggest mistake I see with people using Adsense as their monetization strategy, is they forget that Adsense is a CPC based network. You get paid per click, not by impression. Yet over and over again I see people not laying out their ads on their sites to maximize their income potential. Forget traffic for right now. I’m going to show you 8 effective Adsense tips on how you can double your income from your existing traffic with a few optimization tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

The following CTR/CPC advises can of course also be used with Google Adsense Alternatives. Checkout my article about Google Adsense Alternatives. For more ways to monetize your website also read this article.

1. Use all your ad blocks, and make them big

Starting off simple.

Use all your ad blocks. In addition to increasing your chances for a click, this increases the ad spaces on your site advertisers can bid on and gives you a better overall RPM. You’re allowed to use 3 ad blocks and 3 link units for each page of your site. While I don’t normally use link units at all, I do use 3 ad blocks no matter how short my content is.

Forget all the other size options that Adsense gives you. Bigger is better. Forget trying to blend it into your content, just make them visible so people can’t miss it. I’ve done extensive testing colours and came to one conclusion: blending is not always the answer. As long as people can see them, they’ll click on it if it’s something they’re interested in.

2. Place at least 2 ads within the post content

I know, it’s ugly to have ads mixed into your content, but it’s where your ads can get the most exposure. I like to place at least 2 ad blocks within the content itself: 1 at the top and 1 at the bottom.

What works best for me is to put the first ad right below the first paragraph, and the second one right after the content.

3. Use Red Instead of Blue

For the longest time, I had the same colour scheme to my site: black text and blue links. It worked.

But I noticed that using red links throughout my site instead of blue worked so much better. Maybe it has something to do with people’s natural blindness to blue link ads, but red far outperforms blue.

red links

Try making all the links on your site red, and then use the same red colour for your Adsense ads. Don’t use a bright red, but more of a maroon colour so your site doesn’t look like it was built in 1999.

4. Use a Scrolling Ad Block

Google does list this as not-allowed in their policies. However, I’ve been using it for years and have even passed a manual review on my site. Use this at your own risk. It may be a case-by-case basis. If they see you are using it to manipulate clicks, you are putting your account as risk.

Ever visit a website and see the ad follow you down the page as you scrolled down? Implementing that into my websites dramatically improved my CTR and overall RPM.

sticky sidebar adsense ad

Even if you do get permission to use it, it’s only against the policy if you hover it over your content. For example, if you had an ad block above your post title and it covered your content as you scrolled down, that would be against the rules.

If you have it in the sidebar, away from any content on the site, you’re allowed to use the feature.

For this, I like to use the Q2W3 plugin, which is free for WordPress users. Just activate the plugin, and you’ll see an option in your widgets to make them sticky.

Sidebar ads really suck for Adsense. But with this scrolling plugin, I improved my sidebar-ad CTR by over 150%.

The best ad unit for this? The giant 300 x 600 large skyscraper ads.

5. Use Text & Image Based Ad

With Adsense, you’re allowed to choose whether your ad unit is image based or text based. Unless you’re seriously in love with one type of ad, try using Text & Image based.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 1.28.01 AM

Using both text and image options allows more advertisers to bid on it (text ad bids and image ad bids) and increases your overall Cost Per Click.

Don’t expect to see an instant jump in CPC. From my experience, it’s not a huge increase, but over time, it does pay more per click than an only text or only image ad.

Increase your CTR instantly by using the Newspaper WP Theme, the highest converting Adsense WP theme I’ve ever used.

6. Create a Shortcode

For WordPress users.

This involves editing some PHP files, but don’t freak out if you can’t code. This is really simple stuff.

What it does is it allows you to create a simple shortcode that allows you to add in ads wherever you please.

So while you’re writing an article, all you have to do is type in [ads] wherever you want the ad to be, and it will place it there. This is useful if you want to control your ad positions on shorter and longer posts, or for different kind of posts such as a video or image heavy posts.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Go into your WordPress editor and open the functions.php file.

2. Paste in this code:

Don’t forget to delete the line that says ERASE-THIS-PART-AND-PASTE-IN-YOUR-ADSENSE-CODE-HERE and paste in your Adsense code.

You can put in styling along with your Adsense code to center them, float them, place 2 ads side by side, etc.

It’s awesome.

Now, when you’re writing or editing your posts, wherever you type in [ads], it will show the Adsense code and whatever styling you applied to it.

7. My Favourite Ad Position: Under 1st Paragraph

My best performing ad position is usually the large rectangle or regular 300×250 ad block placed right under the first paragraph of the post or page.

From my own testing, these performed better than floating it to the right of the first paragraph or having it right under the title.

Here’s a simple function you can add to your functions.php file. It will add in your Adsense code right after “x” amount of paragraphs. For me, I choose 1 to put it right after the first paragraph, but you can choose any number you want.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Go into your WordPress editor and open the functions.php file.

2. Copy and paste this in:

Don’t forget to delete the line that says ERASE-THIS-PART-AND-PASTE-IN-YOUR-ADSENSE-CODE-HERE and paste in your Adsense code.

Just like the first one, you can also apply any styling you want to it.

8. Control Your Sidebar Ads Depending on What Page You’re On

Maybe a sidebar ad performs well on the homepage and archive pages, but not in your individual posts. Well, this can easily be fixed with a free plugin called Display Widgets.

display widgets

I use it for almost all of my Adsense sites because sidebar ads don’t perform the same on every page of the site.

Simply install and activate the plugin. After that, just go into the WordPress Widgets section of your admin and you can control each individual widget and on which pages it’s hidden and which pages it’s shown.

Note: If you select “Show on Selected Pages” it will hide it on every page BUT the ones you select. If you select “Hide on Selected Pages” it will show it on every page BUT hide it from the ones you select. You don’t have to configure this for every single one of your widgets, only the ones you want to control. If you don’t touch it, it will just go with your theme’s default settings.


As you learned from these Adsense tips, there are a lot of things you can do to increase revenue off of your existing traffic.

If you’re serious about your site (i.e. it’s making you a lot of money and you want to squeeze every penny out of it) then a one-position-fits-all ad layout isn’t the best option. You may be leaving a lot of money on the table by just installing a plugin that lays out the ads at the top and bottom of every post.

While a lot of things with Adsense are out of your control, you can use these Adsense optimization tips to experiment with your own site.

SEO Tools: The Complete List 2018 / 2019 For More Traffic

seo tools complete list 2018 2019

If you want to see the best SEO tools in one place, then you’ll LOVE this SEO Tools guide. I personally tested and reviewed 188 free and paid tools. I want SEO tools that help with:

  1. Link Building
  2. Technical SEO
  3. Keyword Research
  4. Rank Tracking
  5. Content Optimization
  6. Backlink analysis
  7. Video SEO


Link BuildingPaid

AuthoritySpy is designed to help you find the top influencers in your space. It discovers these movers and shakers by searching in places like AllTop, Twitter and Followerwonk.

authority spy screenshot 2

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Link BuildingPaidYes

If you do outreach at scale or with a team, you NEED a tool like Buzzstream. Why? Buzzstream makes the messy job of email outreach and link building streamlined and organized. Make sure to check out their new prospecting and email-finding features.

buzzstream screenshot

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Check My Links

Link BuildingFree

If you do Broken Link Building, then you’ll love Check My Links. With a click of a button, this Chrome extension quickly checks any webpage for broken links.

check my links chrome extension

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Citation Labs’ Broken Link Finder

Link BuildingPaid

Instead of hunting for broken links page-by-page, The Broken Link Finder proactively searches the web for them. Just search for a keyword and the tool will scour the internet for broken links…and hand them to you on a silver platter. Then you can hit up the Wayback Machine to see what the content was (and create something similar/better).

Cool feature: You can sort your results by how many people link to the broken link.

citation labs broken link finder

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Citation Labs’ Link Prospector

Link BuildingPaid

A industrial-level link opportunity finder. Link Prospector scans the web for link building opportunities like resource pages, guest posts, blogs, news sites and more.

link prospector tool

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Link BuildingFree, NewYes

Detailed is like fantasy football for websites. It gives you updated rankings of websites in your niche (sorted by links and Twitter mentions).
You also get a report that tells you who shared or linked to each site in their database… which can be a goldmine for link building and content promotion.


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Link BuildingPaid

DIBZ is a cool link prospecting tool. Just enter the type of links you want to build (for example, resource page backlinks) and it’ll get to work finding link opportunities.

dibz link building tool

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Link BuildingFree turns your list of spammy URLs into a Google-ready disavow file. Good stuff.

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Domain Hunter Plus

Link BuildingFree

Domain Hunter Plus is similar to Check My Links. But this tool also checks to see if the broken link’s domain is available for registration. Cool feature in theory…but I rarely find any free domain names with this tool. That’s because authoritative domains tend to get scooped up pretty quickly. Still a helpful tool for broken link building or The Moving Man Method though.

domain hunter plus

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Free Broken Link Checker

Link BuildingFreemium

This tool checks a website for broken links. Helpful for broken link building.
Free Broken Link Checker

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Link BuildingPaid

GroupHigh is advanced blogger outreach software.

Despite the laundry list of features, it’s pretty darn easy to use. Just enter a few keywords to find blogs in your industry. Then filter by Domain Authority and last post date to whittle down the list to bloggers that are worth reaching out to. You can also reach out to them (and track your results) within the platform.

grouphigh screenshot

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GuestPost Tracker

Link BuildingPaid

GuestPost Tracker is a giant database of 1000 websites that accept guest posts. The tool also allows you to track sites that you’ve submitted to. Their sales copy emphasizes that the sites on their list are not part of a PBN. I took a look at a few of the sites in their database and they looked legit.

guest post tracker

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HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

Link BuildingFreemiumYes

Want to get backlinks from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal? You can hire a pricey PR firm…or you can use HARO. HARO is a “dating service” that connects journalists with sources. If you hook a journalist up with a nice quote or stat, they’ll reward you up with a mention or link. Takes a bit of grinding to get a single mention, but the links you get can be solid gold.

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Link BuildingFreemiumYes

Want to get links from news sites like the New York Times and WSJ? The first step is to find the right journalist to reach out to. And JustReachOut makes this process MUCH easier than doing it manually. Just search for a keyword and the tool will generate a list of journalists that cover that topic. You can also pitch journalists from within the platform.


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Link Building, Backlink analysisPaid

LinkBird is a keyword research/rank tracking/backlink analysis/link building hybrid tool. Fires off email alerts when it finds a new backlink pointing to your site.


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Link BuildingFreeYes

Check My Links on steroids. Like many tools, LinkMiner check for broken links on a page. But this free Chrome extension also shows you how many links the broken link has pointing to it. Uber helpful for broken link building.

Cool Feature: LinkMiner shows you how many outbound links a page has…on a Google SERP. That way you can zero-in on pages with lots of outbound links (and therefore, broken link building opportunities).

linkminer serp feature

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Link Building, Backlink analysisPaid

Linkody lets you know you when you get (or lose) a backlink. It also provides info on your new backlinks (like Mozrank and anchor text). Cool Feature: Linkody emails you when a competitor gets a new backlink. That way you can swoop in and try to get the same one for yourself.

linkody screenshot 2

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Link BuildingPaid

Linkstant you an email alert every time you get a new link. Why is this helpful?

Well you can turn that one link into multiple links (and a relationship) with a quick “hey, thanks for linking to me” email. It also helps you identify reputation management issues quickly so you can nip them in the bud before they blow up.

linkstant alert

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Link BuildingPaid, New

An excellent tool that focuses on cold outreach. Cool Feature: MailShake provides email templates you can use for outreach. They have templates for guest post requests, LinkedIn outreach and more.

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Marie Haynes’ Disavow Blacklist

Link BuildingFree

Wondering if a link is helping or hurting your SEO efforts? Then upload the URL of the page to Marie Haynes’ blacklist tool. It will let you know if the domain is on Marie’s comprehensive list of spammy websites. If it is, you may want to add it to a disavow file. Helpful.

disavow tool

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Muck Rack

Link BuildingPaidYes

If you want to get mentions (and backlinks) from sites like The New York Times and Forbes, you need to start rubbing elbows with journalists. And Muck Rack is an impressive PR tool that helps you quickly find journalists that cover your site’s industry.

Cool Feature: The “Journalist Directory” is a hand-curated list of journalists at over 500 media outlets. Includes their latest tweets, columns and up-to-date contact information.

muckrack screenshot 2

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Ninja Outreach

Link BuildingPaid

Ninja Outreach is an impressive new blogger outreach tool. Search for influential peeps and reach out to them…all from within the tool. Includes outreach templates.


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Link BuildingFreemium

If you eat, sleep and breathe link building, then Ontolo is a tool I recommend checking out. It’s designed to do one thing: show you lots of link opportunities. Just enter a few keywords, tell Ontolo what types of links you want to get (for example:”links from guest posts”), and Ontolo will hand you a list of opportunities.

new ontolo

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Link BuildingPaidYes

PitchBox is an all-in-one link prospecting and outreach tool.

Unlike many outreach platforms that are clunky and confusing, PitchBox is a breeze to use. Just enter a few keywords and the tool scans the web for people to promote to (and automatically grabs their contact info). Then reach out to them and track your results.

pitchbox screenshot 2

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Link BuildingPaid

Remove’em is a pro-level link removal tool. This comes in hand if you got hit by Google Penguin or a Manual “Unnatural Links” penalty.

Cool Feature: “R-Score” evaluates all of your backlinks to let you know which ones are harmful. This makes sorting through thousands of links 10x easier.

removem screenshot

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Link BuildingFreemiumYes

Rmoov is one of the best link removal tools on the market. It comes packed with helpful features (like finding a site owner’s contact info and auto-generated link removal templates).
rmoov tool

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Link Building, Keyword Research, Backlink analysisPaid

ScrapeBox is the self-proclaimed “Swiss army knife of SEO”. Even though this tool was built for black hat SEO, you can use ScrapeBox for white hat link building tasks (like link prospecting, finding contact information and even keyword research).

scrapebox screenshot

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Siege Media Embed Code Generator

Link BuildingFreeYes

My favorite infographic embed code generator. I really like how you can specify the dimensions of the embed code box.

siege media embed code generator

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Link BuildingFreemium

This is a brand new outreach software program that comes bundled with pre-built campaigns. Promising.


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Technical SEO tools

All in One SEO Pack

Technical SEOFreemium

An alternative to the Yoast SEO plugin.

The All In One SEO Pack has a few unique features that make it different than yoast, like auto-generated description tags, canonical tag support and a “bad bot” blocker.

all in one seo pack

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Bing Webmaster Tools

Technical SEO, Keyword ResearchFree

As you might expect from Bing, Bing Webmaster Tools is good…but not nearly as good as Google Search Console.

But if Bing is important to you, this tool tells you everything you need to know about your site’s visibility in Bing. Cool Feature: Bing has a surprisingly good keyword research tool (see image below). And it can hand you keywords that the GKP will NEVER reveal.

bing webmaster tools screenshot

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Technical SEOPaid

A clean and straightforward site auditing tool. Provides info on site loading speed, HTML errors, and click depth.


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Bright Local

Technical SEO, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaid

Bright Local is an excellent tool that does insanely comprehensive local SEO site audits.

Cool Feature: Find duplicate or incorrect citations that are floating around online. Helpful if you recently changed address or just want to make sure your NAP citations are consistent around the web.

Bright Local

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Technical SEOFree

A nifty tool that reveals how a search engines spider sees your site. If you check out the screenshot below you’ll notice that search engine spiders get a very different view of our websites than us humans do.


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Technical SEOPaid

A bit clunky to use, but Clusteric provides a ton of features like site audits, competitor analysis, search visiblity and more.


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Technical SEOFreemium

Dareboost is a robust website performance testing tool. Not only does the tool size up your site’s loading speed, but it tells you EXACTLY how you can fix issues that are slowing things down.

dareboost site performance tool

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Technical SEOPaid

Deep Crawl lives up to its name. It scans every page on your site and gives you a comprehensive report that lists out you how many H1 tags you have on each page, noindexed pages, broken internal links, broken external links etc. Heck, it even tells you if your Twitter Card descriptions are too long. deep crawl seo tool report

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Technical SEOPaid

EasyRidir makes redirecting traffic between different domains super easy. Just enter the URLs you want to send people from (and to), and the tool gives you DNS info that you can use to manage 100% of the redirects.

easy redirect

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Technical SEOPaid

Forecheck crawls your site to uncover issues that may be holding you back from Google’s first page. It also color codes its reports so you know which issues to tackle first.


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Google Analytics

Technical SEOFreeYes

If you’re serious about SEO, you need to use Google Analytics. Enough said.

Cool Feature: Go to “Acquisition” –>”Search Console”–> Landing Pages. This will bring up the pages on your site that get the most impressions and clicks from Google. Look at the CTR field to see your pages that get the best click-through-rate. Finally, apply elements from those title and description tags to pages that get a bad CTR. And watch your organic traffic move on up 🙂

google analytics search engine optimization

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Google Analytics Referrer Spam Killer

Technical SEOFree

When you link your Google Analytics to this free spam killer tool, it will add filters to your account that remove over 100 know spammy referrer websites from your list of referring domains. That way your GA data will be squeaky clean.

google analytics referrer spam killer

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Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Technical SEOFree

Google recently started to downrank sites that aren’t mobile friendly.

But how do you know if a page on your site is up to snuff? Just enter the URL into the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool…and you’ll get a simple “yes/no” answer from Big G.

Google Mobile-Friendly Test

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Google PageSpeed Insights

Technical SEOFree

You know Google uses your site’s loading speed as a ranking factor.

Well Google PageSpeed insights tells you whether or not Google sees your site as lightning-fast or snail-slow. It also hands you actionable suggestions that you (or your web developer) can use to speed things up.

PageSpeed Insights

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Google Search Console

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingFreeYes

Google Search Console is a suite of helpful tools straight from Google. You can see if you have duplicate meta data, how many pages you have indexed, security issues and more.

Cool feature: Go to “Search Traffic”—>”Search Analytics” to get a list of keywords that you currently rank for. Sort by “Position” so that your #1 rankings are at the top. Then scroll down until you find where you rank #10-#25 in Google’s search results. These are pages that you can sometimes push to page 1 with some extra SEO love (for example, pointing a few internal links to that page).

google search console

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Google XML Sitemaps

Technical SEOFreemium

A WordPress plugin that creates an SEO-friendly sitemap of your site automatically. However, if you already use the Yoast SEO Plugin, you don’t need this as Yoast does the same exact thing.
google xml sitemaps plugin

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Technical SEOFree

Google Page Speed Insights checks your site’s code. GTmetrix actually loads your site.

When I want to judge my site’s real loading speed, I always defer to GTmetrix. It also gives you recommendations for getting your site up to speed (literally).

gtmetrix screenshot

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Technical SEOFreemium

Want to know if your 301 redirects are set up correctly? Or how about canonical URLs? Or maybe you’re not sure if your robots.txt files are blocking Google from indexing your pages. HeadMasterSEO lets you check these potential issues on huge lists of URLs with ease.

HeadMaster SEO

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Hreflang Tags Generator Tool

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeYes

Want to create Hreflang tags with ease? Aleyda’s excellent tool does the job right.

Hreflang Tags Generator Tool

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Kill Duplicate

Technical SEOPaid

Do evil people steal your content? It’s possible for them to outrank you. To proactively prevent this, Kill Duplicate scans the web for content thieves. Cool tool but needs some UX work (confusing UX and some of the copy is in French).

Kull duplicate

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Technical SEOPaid

LinkPatrol is an interesting WordPress plugin that shows you all of your site’s external links.

Cool Feature: If you need to remove or nofollow a bunch of links on your site, LinkPatrol makes it easy. Just choose a domain you want to remove or nofollow, and LinkPatrol will take care of them.

linkpatrol screenshot

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Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemium

Lipperhey analyzes your site for technical SEO issues and provides a basic SEO content analysis.

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Map Broker XML Sitemap Validator

Technical SEOFree

A helpful (free) tool that makes sure you have a valid sitemap. The XML Sitemap Validator also double checks that the links in your sitemap work.

xml sitemap validator

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Microdata Generator

Technical SEOFree

The Microdata Generator makes creating local SEO schema markup a breeze. This is perfect if you’re a local business (or have local SEO clients).

Just enter your basic biz info (like address, phone number, opening hours etc.) and you’re set.

Microdata Generator

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Technical SEOPaid

OnCrawl is a solid site auditing tool. Like most others, this software gives you info on HTML issues…but also duplicate content, page depth and site performance.


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Open SEO Stats

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFree

A nifty Chrome extension that gives you fistfuls of helpful info with the push of a button. You can see a site’s Alexa ranking, indexed pages, page speed, whois, on page SEO…the list goes on and on. open seo stats

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Panguin Tool

Technical SEOFreeYes

Wondering if your site got dinged by Panda, Penguin or another Google penalty? The outstanding Panguin Tool will help you get to the bottom of it. Just link up Panguin with your Google Analytics and the tool will show if your organic traffic dip happened at the same time as a major Google update.


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Plugin SEO

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFree

A fast and free on-page SEO analysis tool. Provides recommendations to patch up any issues your page has.

Plugin SEO

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Raven Tools

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaid

A pro-level tools suite designed for digital marketing agencies. Raven Tools probably has the best site auditor tool I’ve ever used. And unlike most site audit tools, Raven shows you EXACTLY what you need to do to fix any SEO issues that your site has.

Cool Feature: “Thin content” reveals content that might put you at risk for a Google Panda penalty.

Raven Tools

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Referral Ghost Spam Removal Tool

Technical SEOFree

Is referral “ghost spam” messing up your Google Analytics data? Well this free tool quickly filters out spam bots by creating a segment in GA that ignores traffic from spammy websites.

loganix ghost spam filter

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Rel Nofollow Checkbox

Technical SEOFree

This WordPress plugin lets you easily set links on your site as “nofollow”.

rel nofollow checkbox

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Screaming Frog SEO Log File Analyser

Technical SEOFreemium

Most technical SEO tools scan a list of URLs and tell you about errors and opportunities that it found. What makes the new Screaming Frog SEO Log File Analyser different is that it analyzes your log files. That way you can see how search engine bots from Google and Bing interact with your site (and how often). Helpful if you run a huge site with tens of thousands (or millions) of pages.

logfile analyzer

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Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Technical SEOFreemium

Screaming Frog is the first technical SEO tool that I ever used. And it still holds up today. Great for quickly identifying technical issues that’s holding your site back from the first page. Free version works well. But to get really down-and-dirty, you definitely want to splurge for the full paid version.

screaming frog screenshot

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Search Analytics for Sheets

Technical SEOFreeYes

Ever wish that you could see Google Search Console data from more than 90 days ago? Well you can’t. That is, unless you use the awesome Search Analytics for Sheets addon. Simple add to Google Sheets, authorize with GSC, and you’re good to go.

Search analytics for sheets

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SEO & Website Analysis (WooRank)

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeYes

This free Chrome extension gives you important SEO info from within your browser.

Just click a button and the SEO & Website Analysis by WooRank analyzes your page’s basic SEO metrics (like title tags that are too long). But the tool also hooks you up with other helpful info (like whether your site is mobile optimized and how fast it loads).

Yes, you can use this extension for your own site. But in experience this tool is even better for competitor analysis because it shows you the site’s Facebook and Twitter pages, what technology they’re using on their site, and traffic estimates…all from within your browser.

woorank SEO & Website Analysis

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SEO Monitor

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingPaidYes

SEO Monitor is a one-stop dashboard for your SEO performance.

Cool Feature: SEO Monitor takes Google Analytic’s data, mashes it together with your rankings, and helps solve the “(not provided)” issue. This is SUPER helpful for discovering keywords that convert well for you. That way you can put more SEO muscle behind those keywords.

seomonitor screenshot

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SEO Site Checkup

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaid

A very easy-to-use SEO audit tool. Also includes backlink analysis data, uptime reports and site speed recommendations. The white label reports for digital marketing agencies look really sharp.

seo site checkup 2

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Technical SEOFreemium

Simple tool for seeing your site from the eyes of a search engine spider.

seo browser screenshot

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Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumYes

SEObility is a robust (yet user-friendly) site auditor.

Cool Feature: “Page Levels” reveals pages that are deep down in your site’s architecture (jn other words, several clicks away from your homepage). Pages that are lots of clicks from your homepage are sometimes hard to get indexed. So this helpful feature can help you find these pages…and bring these pages closer to your homepage.


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Technical SEOPaid

SEOmator is an extremely solid SEO audit software suite that gives you boatloads of information on your site’s SEO health.

Seomator tool

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Technical SEOPaid

SERPmetrics answers the question: “Has everybody’s rankings changed…or is it just me?”. Just head over to this tool to see how volatile Google has been over the last 30 days.

serpmetrics flux screenshot

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Simple Htaccess Redirects & Rewrite Generator

Technical SEOFree

Let’s face it: technical SEO can be a confusing nightmare…especially when it comes to redirects. Fortunately, Aleyda Solis’s tool makes sure your redirects are setup correctly before you roll em’ out.

htaccess tool

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Site Analyzer

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaid

Site Analyzer a high-quality site audit tool. Yes, $10 for a 100 page scan is a little steep. But the tool hooks you up with a lot of helpful information, especially when it comes to page optimization.

site analyzer screenshot

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Site Condor

Technical SEOPaid

A VERY in-depth site audit tool. If there’s a potential SEO issue with your site (like a broken link or a title tag that’s too long), Site Condor will identify it. Even I was a bit overwhelmed with the issues it found at first. Fortunately, the tool comes packed with a “View Recommendations” button that tells you how to fix any problems that it finds.

Cool Feature: “Site Graph” visualizes your site’s link structure. This is perfect for seeing how  authority (aka PageRank) flows through your site.

site condor site graph

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Technical SEOFreemium

Siteliner is a lightning-fast technical SEO scanner. It’s especially helpful for identifying duplicate content issues on your site.


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Technical SEOFreemium

Topvisor can be helpful if you’re in charge of technical SEO for several different websites. With a few clicks you can identify issues and opportunites across 10 different domains. The major downside is that it has a very steep learning curve due to the confusing UI.


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Varvy SEO Tool

Technical SEOFree

A clean and easy-to-use site audit tool. You just need to a URL and Varvy spits out a bunch of helpful info in seconds. Specifically, you’ll see your site’s technical SEO issues, social shares, recent Twitter and Facebook mentions, external links and more.

Varvy SEO Tool

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Website Penalty Indicator

Technical SEOFreeYes

Wondering whether or not you got slapped by a Google Penalty? Well Website Penalty Indicator can give you some much-needed insight. The tool lines up your organic traffic with dates of Google penalties…like “Mobilegeddon” and the Phantom update.

website penalty indicator

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Link Building, Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidYes

If you do local SEO for clients, you need to have Whitespark in your arsenal. You can easily find hundreds of NAP citations with a few clicks…and reverse engineer your competitor’s citations with ease.

Cool Feature: Offline Tracking turns “how did you hear about us?” into online data you can use to double down on what works. Integrates with Google Analytics.

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Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaid

Top-notch website analysis tool that tells you everything you need to know about your website’s SEO health.

woorank screenshot

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Yoast SEO Plugin

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumYes

Yoast is the #1 SEO WordPress plugin for one simple reason: it works. It’s also the SEO plugin that we use here at Backlinko.

Cool Feature: “Bulk Editor” lets you edit dozens of pages with a click. Uber helpful if you ever have duplicate content issues on your site.

Yoast SEO

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Zadroweb SEO Auditor

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFree

A free SEO auditor that provides a high-level SEO overview of your site.

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Keyword Research tools

AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator

Keyword ResearchFree

If you’re looking for a way to discover new keywords, try mashing a bunch of words together and see what happens.

(I’m not kidding)

Creating keyword permutations is a classic Adwords tactic that few people in SEO use. And the Dan Zambonini permutation tool is one of the best keyword combo tools that I’ve tried.

keyword permutation tool

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Answer The Public

Keyword ResearchFree

Answer The Public combines Google Autosuggest scraping with a question scraper.

So if you want to know what questions your target audience types into Google, just pop the keyword into Answer The Public and you’ll get a hefty list.

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Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaid, New

ClearScope helps you easily create optimized content for today’s Hummingbird and RankBrain-powered Google. Type in your target keyword and ClearScope gives you a list of terms that you should include in your content (and how many times you should use those terms).

Overall: super helpful and insanely easy to use.

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Keyword ResearchFree

FAQfox is a question scraper tool. I like how you can choose the websites that FAQfox scrapes. So if there’s a particular site that your target audience hands out on (for example, Reddit) you can ask the tool to only search that site.


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Google Correlate

Keyword ResearchFree

An underrated keyword research tool that comes straight from Google.

Google Correlate is really simple:

It shows you keywords that tend to get searched for together. For example, let’s say you pop “gluten free” into the tool. Google Correlate tells you that people searching for “gluten free” also search for “cheese gluten free” and “flour gluten free”. Very cool.

Google Correlate

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Google Keyword Planner

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

The Google Keyword Planner is the only keyword tool that gives you data straight from the horse’s mouth.

Cool feature: The GKP tells you how likely someone searching for that keyword will buy something from you. How? Look at the “competition” and “top of page bid” columns. If the “competition” and “estimated bid” are high, you probably have a keyword that converts well. I put more weight on this than straight-up search volume. After all, who wants a bunch of tire kickers coming to their site?

google keyword planner screenshot

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Google Location Changer (SERPs)

Keyword ResearchFree

This handy little tool shows you the SERPs for a specific local area (like Boston)…even if you don’t happen to live there. Helpful for sizing up the first page for local SEO campaigns.

google location changer tool

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Google Trends

Keyword ResearchFree

I ALWAYS check Google Trends before pulling the trigger on a keyword. Why?

Because I want to know whether or not my keyword is getting more (or less) popular. If you skip this step you risk optimizing your page around a dying keyword.

Cool Feature: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out “Queries”. These are related keywords that you can pop into the GKP to see if they’re a good fit.

Google Trends

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Keyword ResearchPaid, New

Gookey positions itself as a “keyword research tool for bloggers”. So it strips out complicated SEO data in favor of a dead simple UI.

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Keyword ResearchPaid

A solid, reasonably priced keyword research tool with an excellent question scraper.

Cool Feature: “Divergent” shows you what time of the year certain keywords tend to spike. For example, if you want to see which gift card keywords tend to perk up around Christmas, GrepWords will show it to you. Ditto with Halloween and keywords related to “costumes”.

grepwords keyword research tool 3

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Keyword ResearchPaid

HitTail does two things very well:

1. It shows you which keywords tend to bring in the most traffic for you (this helps get around the “not provided” problem.

2. Shows you keyword suggestions. I was impressed by their keyword suggestions because they showed me keywords that I didn’t see other tools.

hittail screenshot 2

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Keyword ResearchFree

If you do SEO work for local clients (like plumbers and electricians), this tool can help you find local keywords that potential customers search for. For example, if you tell the tool that your client is a plumber in Boston, it will hand you 40-ish keywords that customers might use in Google.

local seo bulk keyword tool

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Keyword ResearchFreemium

ISpionage is a keyword research tool that’s similar to SEMRush. Yes it has some SEO-focused features. But it’s definitely geared towards PPC peeps.

Cool Feature: “Share of Voice” tells you the potential organic traffic a page gets across Google, Yahoo and Bing.


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Keyword ResearchFreemium

Jaaxy is an easy-to-use keyword research tool that specializes in spitting out lots of closely-related keywords. Nice tool.

jaaxy keyword research tool

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Keyword Eye

Keyword ResearchFreemium

A unique keyword research tool that shows you keyword suggestions as a word cloud. Bigger keywords=more search volume. It also color codes keywords based on Adwords competition (which is a good sign of a keyword’s profitability).
keyword eye 2

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Keyword Revealer

Keyword ResearchFreemium

Keyword Revealer is a standard keyword research tool with a cool “Keyword Tree” feature. The keyword treee shows you keyword ideas as a tree. And when you click on a “branch” in the tree, a new set of branches appears. Helpful.

Keyword Revealer

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Keyword Snatcher

Keyword ResearchPaid

This tool probably gives you more keyword ideas than any other tool on the market. Why? Because it finds keywords from a bunch of different places, like Ebay, Amazon and even Yahoo. In fact, the last seed keyword I put into it (“paleo diet”) generated 15,000 keywords!

The one downside to this tool is that it doesn’t show you how many people search for the keywords that it spits out. So you need to manually upload the keyword list into the GKP to get search volume info.

keyword snatcher list

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Keyword Tool & Content Assistant

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemium, New

A solid keyword research tool with the features you’d expect. But what makes it unique is the “Content Assistant”. This feature gives you a massive list of LSI keywords that you can use to beef up your content.

Keyword Tool & Content Assistant

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Keyword Tool Dominator

Keyword ResearchPaid

A keyword tool that scrapes autocomplete suggestions from sites like Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing and Etsy.

keyword tool dominator

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Keyword ResearchFreeYes

One of my favorite new keyword research tools. Why? Because it can bring up terms that you’d be hard-pressed to find with any other tool. Instead of seed keywords, Keyworddit scrapes Reddit for the most common keywords people use in a certain subreddit.


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Keyword ResearchFree

KeywordIn mashes up seed keywords to create hundreds of new keywords. You can pop these terms into the Google Keyword Planner to see if people actually search for them.

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Keywords Everywhere

Keyword ResearchFree

A Chrome extension (also available for Firefox) that dynamically inserts keyword research info into the sites you visit most. For example, Keywords Everywhere will insert monthly search volume CPC info into your Google Search Console reports.

keywords everywhere

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Keyword ResearchFreemium

A decent keyword research tool. While Keyword Spy is a bit dated (the copy still says “track your rankings in MSN”), it still works OK. The tool works just like SEMRush: enter a domain name into the tool and it will show you a list of keywords that the site ranks for. However, SEMRush is far and away the superior tool.

keyword spy screenshot

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Keyword ResearchFreemium

An excellent keyword research tool that scrapes Google Autocomplete results.

Although Google said they would be “restricting” access to Autocomplete, seems to have found a way around it. I just tested the tool and it brought back a bunch of excellent keyword suggestions just like it always does.

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Keyword ResearchFree

Even though Kombinator is designed for Adwords, it’s also great for finding keywords that you can use for organic SEO campaigns. Just pop in a bunch of different keywords and the tool will mash them all together. Then upload them to the GKP to check their search volume. Helpful.


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Keyword ResearchFreemium

An insanely easy to use alternative to the Google Keyword Planner. Just pop a keyword into it and you get search volume, estimated bid and first page competition data within seconds.

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Long Tail Pro

Keyword ResearchPaid

A very easy-to-use keyword research tool. Enter a keyword and get suggestions. Simple and effective.

Cool feature: Only want to see keywords that have a search volume between 1500-2100? How about keywords with an estimated bid of at least $2.50? Long Tail Pro’s filtering feature makes it easy to see ONLY keywords that you actually want.

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Power Suggest Pro

Keyword ResearchPaid

Power Suggest Pro is a desktop-based keyword research tool. Enter a keyword and it spits out ideas from a number of different search engines (like Google and Wikipedia). Cool Feature: “Ideas!” give you a list of common terms people use in search engines (like “best X” and “how to fix Y”). Helpful for coming up with new keyword ideas.

power suggest pro screenshot

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Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaid, New

SanityCheck makes Google Search Console data MUCH more actionable.

Cool Feature: Striking Distance Keywords shows you keywords that are ranking on the 2nd or 3rd page of Google. This can be a pain to find in the GSC, but this feature reveals the same info with a single click. Nice.

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Keyword ResearchPaidYes

SECockpit is probably most advanced keyword research tool on the market. Yes, you enter a seed keyword and get suggestions like any other tool. But SECockpit can do so much more than list out a list of related keywords.

It can spit out low competition keywords. It can show you keywords that get a minimum CPC in Adwords. It can even show you keywords that have YouTube, Ebay or Amazon results on the first page.

Cool Feature: SECockpit scrapes the “Searches similar to…” from the bottom of Google’s search results. This can often unearth keywords that you’d otherwise miss.

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Seed Keywords

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

Let’s face it:

Most people enter seed keywords into the Google Keyword Planner that they pluck out of thin air. But with this free SEO tool you can find out what people actually type into search boxes.

How? Just create a scenario and ask people what they would search for in that situation.

For example, I created a scenario “How would you search for a hotel in Paris?”. You can see the results in the screenshot below. You can even export the list as a CSV file.

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Technical SEO, Keyword ResearchFreemiumYes

SEMRush is one of the few SEO tools that I couldn’t live without. Unlike most keyword research tools, SEMRush works by showing  you your competitor’s top keywords. So rather than grinding away in the Google Keyword Planner, just pop a competitor URL into SEMRush and you’ll see every single keyword that they rank for. #solidgold

Cool Feature: “Pages” reveal the pages on your competitor’s site that generate the most organic search engine traffic. This feature is insanely helpful for executing step #1 of The Skyscraper Technique.

semrush screenshot

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SEO Book’s Free SEO Tools

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFree

SEO Book has a set of helpful SEO software tools that focus on technical SEO and keyword research.

I especially like their “Keyword Suggestion” gadget. Super easy to use and gives you all the info you need quickly (like monthly search volume, suggested bid etc.).

seobook keyword tool

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Keyword ResearchFreemium

This tool just had a major overhaul. SerpStat remains an excellent keyword brainstorming tool. It generates lots of keyword ideas like before. But this updated version now provides helpful data like search volume, competition and more.

Cool Feature: “Search Questions” gives you questions that people tend to ask around your topic. Very cool.


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Keyword ResearchFreemium

SimilarWeb gives you a bird’s eye view of your competitor’s traffic figures, organic keywords, engagement metrics and more.

Cool Feature: “Similar Sites” show you websites that are closely-related to you or a competitor. Helpful for finding new outreach opportunities.


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Keyword ResearchFree

Soolve is a free tool that pulls autocomplete suggestions from a handful of different sources like Google, YouTube, Amazon, and Wikipedia.

soolve screenshot

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Keyword ResearchFreemiumYes

I hadn’t used SpyFu in over 3 years. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the classic PPC tool has been upgraded with a ton of new SEO-focused features. In fact they’re keyword competition feature was one of the best that I came across.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Kombat” uncover keywords that a few of your competitor’s rank for. If those sites have similar authority to you, then it stands to reason that you can leapfrog all of them with some amazing content and link building.

And yes, that name reminds me of Mortal Kombat too 🙂

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Keyword ResearchFreemium

StoryBase is a long tail keyword research MACHINE. Just enter a keyword and get hundreds of questions and phrases that people use to describe that topic online. Cool.

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Suggestion Keyword Finder

Keyword ResearchFree

A suprisingly helpful free keyword brainstorming tool. I’m not 100% sure how it works, but it spit out quite a few unique keywords when I tested it.

Make sure to check “Level 3” so that you get access to the largest list of keywords.

suggestion keyword finder

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Keyword ResearchPaid

TermExplorer provides you with thousands of keyword ideas and thorough organic competition info. Solid tool.

term explorer screenshot

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Keyword ResearchFreeYes

This was the first tool that scraped Google Autocomplete data. And it’s recently been upgraded with LOTS of new features (including keyword suggestions from YouTube, competition, and filtering).


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Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemium

Webtexttool is a hybrid keyword research and content optimization tool. Cool Feature: “Overall” lets you know which keywords have the best ratio of search volume and competition.


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Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tools

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

Even though Wordstream’s free keyword tools are made for Adwords, their set of free tools are helpful for uncovering keywords for your SEO campaigns.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Niche Finder” mashes a bunch of keywords together. When I tested this feature I noticed a handful of keywords that weren’t in any of the other keyword research tools I tried.

wordstream keyword research tools

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Keyword ResearchPaid

WordTracker has its own internal index of keywords. Why is this important? Well it means you can come across long tail keywords that the GKP simply won’t show you. WordTracker also provides organic first page competition data.

Cool Feature: “Search for this Keyword” uncovers long tail variations of a given keyword. Repeat until you’ve found the long tail keyword you want.


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Wordtracker Scout

Keyword ResearchFree

Wordtracker scout is a very cool (free) Chrome extension that finds keywords within a piece of content.You simply need to head over to an article, click the “W” button and the tool will scan the page for keyword ideas.

wordtracker scout

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Rank Tracking tools

Advanced Web Ranking

Rank TrackingPaid

A rank tracking and keyword research tool hybrid. AWR takes some of the features of tools like SEMRush and Authority Labs and puts them under one roof. It also rocks a a solid site audit tool.

advanced web ranking report

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Agency Analytics

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidYes

A kick-butt reporting tool designed for digital marketing agencies. Helps your clients quickly understand what’s going on with SEO and social media. Integrates with Google Analytics, YouTube, Twitter and more.

agency analytics

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AMZ Tracker

Rank Tracking, Content OptimizationPaidYes

If you sell products on Amazon, AMZ Tracker is a must-have tool. Tracks your rankings on AND international Amazon websites (like

Cool Feature: “On Page Analyzer” evaluates your Amazon product page for important Amazon SEO metrics like positive reviews and high-res images.

amztracker screenshot

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Authority Labs

Rank TrackingPaidYes

A reliable and easy-to-use rank tracking tool. The cheapest plan tracks 250 keywords, which is more than enough for most businesses. And for those of you that do Local SEO, Authority Labs tracks Google Local results too.

authority labs screenshot

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Rank TrackingFreemium

GeoRanker is an advanced local SEO (Google Maps) rank tracking tool. As you know, if you track local keywords (like “Boston tacos”), you can’t use most rank tracking tools. You need to see what people in Boston see. Well GeoRanker does exactly that. Choose your keywords and locations and get a report back that shows you your Google organic and Google local results.

georanker report screenshot

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Microsite Masters

Rank TrackingFreemium

Microsite Masters is a very solid rank tracking tool.

Cool Feature: “Scoreboard” shows you the keywords that had the most movement (positive and negative). Great for zeroing in on pages that might need attention.

micrositemasters screenshot

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Rank TrackingPaid, New

NightWatch is an advanced SEO dashboard with a futuruistic UI. At a glance you can see your current rankings, traffic, keyword distribution, and more.

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Pro Rank Tracker

Rank TrackingFreemium

Pro Rank Tracker is a quality rank tracking tool with a great user interface. If you’re tracking hundreds (or thousands) of keywords, you can group keywords into categories to keep things organized.
pro rank tracker

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Rank Ranger

Rank TrackingPaid

Rank Ranger is a reliable rank tracker that comes bundles with a handful of extra features like on-page audits, keyword research, and competitor analysis. Nice tool.

rank ranger screenshot

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Rival IQ

Rank Tracking, Content OptimizationPaid

Rival IQ pits your social media and SEO presence against your competitors. It your chief competitor getting more Twitter mentions than you? Are they ranking for a new keyword? This excellent tool will let you know. Had a lot of fun playing around with this one.

rivaliq dashboard

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Search Latte

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingFree

Want to see the search results for, or any of the other 150 international Googles? Look no further than Search Latte. Just enter your keyword, pick an international version of Google, and you’ll see that country’s search results. No proxies or VPNs needed. search latte

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SEO Rank Monitor

Rank TrackingPaid

SEO Rank Monitor tracks your keywords against your competitors. Also does YouTube Rank checking.

seo rank monitor

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Rank TrackingPaid

SERanking is a quality rank tracking tool that comes bundled with some bonus features like keyword suggestions and site auditing.

seranking screenshot

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Rank TrackingFreemium

SERPFox is a no-fuss rank tracking tool that just works. A great value.

serpfox screenshot

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Keyword Research, Rank TrackingPaid is an enterprise-level rank tracking product with a built-in keyword research tool.

Cool Feature: “Tests” let you test how on page-SEO changes affect your rankings. For example, you can change your title tag, wait a week, and will tell you if that change had an impact. screenshot

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Rank TrackingFreemium

A very in-depth rank tracking tool. Show you not only where a page ranks, but how rankings have changed over time. Cool Feature: “Volatility” tells you if a given SERP is stable…or tends to shuffle around.


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Keyword Research, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaid

Sistrix is an enterprise-level SEO platform that shows you your site’s rankings, social signals, backlinks, anchor text distribution and more. Unlike many SEO tools with a million features, Sistrix is so easy my mom could use it.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Opportunities” show you a list of keywords that your competitors rank for…but you don’t.

sistrix seo platform screenshot 2

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Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Rank TrackingPaidYes

WebCEO is a world-class SEO platform that gives you access to a bunch of quality tools to boost your SEO, from keyword research to technical SEO to rank tracking and even mobile optimization.

Cool Feature: “DIY SEO Guide” gives SEO beginners explicit steps to improve their site’s SEO.


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Rank TrackingFreemium

If you’re on a tight budget, Wincher is the one rank tracking tool that you should add to your arsenal. The free version is pretty nice with weekly updates and 7 tracked keywords. But when you upgrade to the $8/month paid plan you get many of the same features as the big boys (like email alerts) for pennies on the dollar.

wincher rank tracking tool 2

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Rank TrackingPaid

Wordtail is a nice rank tracking tool that has the features you’d expect from dedicated rank tracking software (like grouping keywords, in-depth reports and competitor tracking).

wordtail screenshot

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Content Optimization tools


Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemiumYes

BuzzSumo went from “new kid on the block” to “must-have tool” in the blink of an eye.

And it’s no wonder. BuzzSumo makes finding winning content (for example, if you want to execute The Skyscraper Technique) a walk in the park.

Cool Feature: “View Sharers” shows you who shared a piece of content on Twitter, which is outreach solid gold bullion. “BuzzSumo Alerts” tells you whenever a keyword or phrase (like a competitor’s brand name) gets mentioned around the web.

buzzsumo content tool screenshot

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Can I Rank

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemium

This tool answers the question we’ve all had when evaluating a keyword: “Can I rank?”. provides a nice breakdown of how your page compares to the first page competition (inducing domain authority, page authority and on-page SEO metrics).

canirank screenshot

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Link BuildingPaid

EpicBeat analyzes successful content in your industry and tells you what tends to work well. For example, the software told me that popular content around the topic of “link building” tended to be video or infographic based. And list posts also tended to do well. Pretty cool.

epic beats

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Google SERP Preview Tool

Content OptimizationFree, New

This gives you a preview of how your site will appear in Google’s search results (using Google’s updated title and description length limits).

Google SERP Preview Tool

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Content OptimizationFreeYes

As you know, adding LSI keywords to your content can boost your rankings. The question is: how do you know which LSI keywords to add? Well this free tool does the job for you. And unlike most “keyword suggestion” tools that give you variations of the keyword you put into it, Keys4Up actually understands that meaning behind the word. For example, look at the screenshot to see the related words the tool found around the keyword “paleo diet”.

keys4up lsi keyword tool

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Content OptimizationFree

LSI Graph is a handy LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keyword generator. Enter a keyword and get a list of terms that you can sprinkle into your content.


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Content OptimizationPaid

Market Muse scans your content and compares it to similar content on the web. If it finds that other people cover topics that you don’t, it tells you about this “content gap”.

For example, let’s say you have a piece of content about low carb dessert recipes. If MarketMuse finds that your competitors use cover topics “Stevia” and “Agave Nector” — but you don’t — it will suggest that you write about these topics in your content.

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Content OptimizationFreemium

nTopic is a “content relevancy” tool. In other words, it scans your content and gives you suggestions to make your post more SEO-friendly. Comes with a WordPress plugin that’s helpful for quickly analyzing and updating your content to boost its on-page SEO.

ntopic wordpress plugin screenshot 2

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Technical SEO, Rank Tracking, Content OptimizationPaid

A rank tracking tool that also does page-by-page SEO analysis.


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Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemium

A top-notch technical and on-page SEO tool built with German engineering.

Cool feature: My favorite feature of Ryte is their TD*IDF analysis. TD*IDF identifies keywords that pages ranking for your target keyword tend to use. These terms are excellent LSI keywords that you can sprinkle into your content to bump up your on-page SEO.


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Schema App

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaid

Let’s face it: adding Schema markup to your site can be a confusing pain in the butt. This tool helps you ensure that your Schema is setup correctly from the get-go.

Schema App

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SEO Plugin By Squirrly

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemium

Ever write a post and wonder: “Is this post SEO friendly enough?”. Then you should give Squirrly a shot. It’s a WordPress plugin that automatically analyzes your content for SEO and human readability.

Cool Feature: Squirrly comes packed with a nice keyword research tool that works within the WordPress editor. In addition to the usual metrics (like search volume), it also shows you if that keyword is a hot topic of conversion online. The tool also shows you the stability of that keyword’s search volume over time.

squirrly seo plugin

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Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFree

If you want a quick-and-dirty look at your content’s on-page SEO, give SEOptimer a try.

This free tool quickly analyzes your page and lets you know if there are any issues (like missing image alt text and broken links) that might be holding you back from page 1.


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Solo SEO

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaid

A worthwhile site audit tool that also does keyword research and on page SEO/content analysis.

solo seo screenshot

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Structured Data Markup Helper

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeYes

Let’s face it: implementing structured data markup correctly ain’t easy. So why not let Google’s tool lend a hand? Google’s free tool helps you build proper schema markup quickly and without any fuss.

structured data helper

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Text Tools

Content OptimizationPaid

Text Tools is an advanced LSI keyword tool. It scans the top 10 results for a given keyword and shows you which terms they tend to use. If you sprinkle these same terms into your content, it can boost your content’s relevancy in the eyes of Google. You can also compare your content to the top 10 to uncover LSI keywords that your content might be missing.

text tools screenshot

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Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaid

TrendSpottr shows you content that’s trending on Twitter. So if you want to do some newsjacking or get your hands a hot topic, this tool can help you do it.


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Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content Optimization, Backlink analysisPaidYes

Upcity is one part SEO tool and one part online marketing course.

This means that instead of getting a list of fancy charts and error messages, the tool tells you how to get on the right track. This is perfect for small business owners that do DIY SEO.

Cool Feature: “Curriculum” walks you through the basic steps you need to have an SEO-friendly website in 2015. Tailored to local businesses and people new to digital marketing. You get checklists and video game-style points for completing the important tasks (like creating a Facebook page or setting up an editorial calendar).

upcity screenshot 2

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Content OptimizationPaidYes

YoRocket optimizes your title and description tags to boost your organic CTR. I originally developed YoRocket for internal use at Backlinko. And it worked so well that I decided to release it to the public.

Cool Feature: “Title Tag Testing” allows you to test two titles against one another…and use the one that brings you the most traffic.

yorocket testing

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Link Building, Keyword Research, Backlink analysisPaidYes

The best link analysis tool on the market…by a mile.

Ahrefs has a massive index (over a trillion links) that’s updated at least once a day. It’s also super duper simply to use. Because of its excellent user interface and index, Ahrefs is one of the few SEO tools that I use every day.


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Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaid

An SEO tools suite that focuses on link analysis. Also has a helpful “Unnatural Link Detection” feature that identifies risky backlinks that might have caused a penalty (or can cause a penalty down the road). Solid tool.cognitive SEO screenshot

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Rank Tracking, Content Optimization, Backlink analysisPaid

Kerboo is an SEO tools suite for search engine marketing pros. Includes backlink analysis, link prospecting, on-site SEO audits and rank tracking. Cool Feature: “LinkRisk” analyzes your link profile and identifies spammy/dangerous backlinks.

kerboo screenshot

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Link Research Tools

Link Building, Backlink analysisPaid

A solid link analysis tool with some link building features built into it (like link prospecting and outreach).

But LRT’s cool feature is its “Link Detox” tool. This tool automatically scans your backlinks and shows you which links put you at risk of a Google penalty (or links that already caused a penalty). In other words, it makes identifying spammy links super easy. When I ran a test of Link Detox it was almost 100% accurate at differentiating between good and bad links.

link research tools link detox

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Majestic SEO

Backlink analysisFreemium

With a huge, updated index Majestic is one of the top link analysis tools on the market. The tool also has a few helpful propriety metrics like “TrustFlow” and “CitationFLow” that tell you whether or not that site you want to get a link from is authoritative or spammy.

Cool Feature: “Clique Hunter” shows you sites that tend to link to your competitors (but not you). Just pop in a few sites and Majestic shows you the various “cliques” that they belong to. This is a great way to new discover link building opportunities.

majestic clique hunter

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Monitor Backlinks

Link Building, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaid

A comprehensive SEO platform that gives you info on newly acquired backlinks, keyword rankings and site speed. It even sends you alerts whenever one of your competitors gets a new link. I especially love the dashboard because its clean and gives you ONLY the essential info you need.
monitor backlinks dashboard

official website:

Moz Pro

Keyword Research, Rank Tracking, Content Optimization, Backlink analysisPaid

Moz Pro is a software suite that contains quality tools for link analysis (Open Site Explorer), on-page optimization, and keyword research.

Cool Feature: Moz’s Keyword Explorer is one of the best keyword research tools on the market. Why? It provides super-helpful info on SERP features that appear in the search results for a given keyword (like the number of Adwords ads, Google News results, and more).

moz pro keyword explorer

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Backlink analysisFreemium

Nifty toolbar for Chrome and Firefox that shows you the Page Authority and Domain Authority of the page you’re on.

But the toolbar also shows you the DA/PA of Google search results (this feature only works for Moz Pro subscribers). This is an awesome way to size up the first page competition.


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Open Link Profiler

Backlink analysisFreemium

A solid link analysis and reverse engineering tool.

Yes, Open Link Profiler’s index isn’t as massive as the big tools (like Ahrefs and Majestic). But its paid version has some cool features (like on-page analysis and site audits) that can make the monthly payment worthwhile. Also, the free version is the best free backlink analysis tool I’ve ever used. So if you’re balling on a budget and want to see your competitor’s backlinks for free, give OpenLinkProfiler a shot.

Cool Feature: “Hub Finder” is very similar to Majestic’s “Clique Hunter”. Enter a few competitors into the tool and see who links to them (but not you).

open link profiler hub finder results

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SEO PowerSuite

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisFreemium

A suite of quality desktop-based SEO tools that include a rank checker, backlink analysis tool, site auditor, and keyword research tool.

seo powersuite

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SEO Tools for Excel

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisFreemiumYes

The best “SEO tool for excel” that I’ve used so far. Easily check a site’s backlinks (via ahrefs or Majestic API), social shares, HTTP status, word count, external links and more. All from within Excel.

SEO Tools for Excel

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SEO Weather’s Bulk Metrics Checker

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisFree

How’d you like to see the PA and DA for a big ol’ list of URLs? Pop the list into the Bulk Metrics Checker, hit “go fetch” and you’ll get a handy list.

bulk metrics checker

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SEOGadget for Excel

Backlink analysisFree

If you want to pull data from Moz and Majestic into an Excel spreadsheet, the SEOGadget for Excel tool makes it easy.

seo gadget for excel screenshot

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Keyword Research, Backlink analysisPaid

ShareMetric gives you a lightning-fast screenshot of an page’s social shares, links and Google keyword rankings. Especially helpful if you want to see what keyword a page ranks for in seconds. You’ll need an SEMRush or Moz API to get backlink and keyword info. Nice tool.

ShareMetric chrome extension

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URL Profiler

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisPaid

If you want to check info on a huge list of URLs (like Domain Authority, number of backlinks, whois information, social shares and readability), URL Profiler is the best tool on the market to get the job done.

urlprofiler in action

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WebMeUp Backlink Tool

Backlink analysisFreemium

WebMeUp is a quality link analysis tool with a HUGE index of “897,704,758,673” backlinks. I’d love to see the tool use some sort of authority metric (like Ahref’s Domain Rank). Otherwise it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff in your link profile.

webmeup screenshot 2

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Video SEO tools


Video SEOPaid, New

Morningfame gives you insanely actionable insights on your YouTube channel.

Cool Feature: “Growth Opportunities” tells you which videos performed best… and which videos bombed. That way, you can double down on what’s working.

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Social Blade

Video SEOFree, New

A great way to spy on your YouTube competitors. On one screen you can see a channel’s monthly views, subscribers and earnings.

Social Blade

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Video SEOFreemium, NewYes

A kick butt tool for getting the most out of your YouTube channel.

Cool Feature: Brand Alerts lets you know where people are talking about you on YouTube. Most other “brand monitoring” tools ignore YouTube. So this feature fills in that gap.


official website:


Video SEOFreemium, NewYes

VidIQ is a professional video SEO software suite. Includes tools for video keyword research, analytics, and video optimization.

Cool Feature: “Boost”. You can Boost a video to get awesome keyword suggestions for your video’s title, description and tags.


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Content OptimizationPaid, New

WordLift helps you identify entities that you’re writing about… and make those entities clear for search engines. A bit tricky to use, but I see some potential here.


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Video SEOPaid, New

YTCockpit is one of the few tools out there dedicated exclusively to video keyword research. And it does a nice job. Along with keyword suggestions, you also get a slew of data on the videos ranking on YouTube’s first page (including HD vs. SD, number of subscribers and average views).


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So…What Do You Think?

Now I want to hear from you. What do you think of this list? Like it. Share it.

Or maybe I missed a high-quality SEO tool. Either way, leave a comment below right now to let me know.


20+ Unknown SEO Secrets that Most of You Don’t Know 2018 / 2019

unknown seo secrets

These 21unknown SEO secrets will blow your mind. Read this post carefully.  Modern SEO is somewhat similar  to sailing a ship in high tides of the ocean. Here ship is our business, high tides are search engine updates and competitors. Do you also think so? Anyways, Today I am going to reveal here 21 extraordinary SEO secrets that most of you don’ t know. Most of you will think: Which are those SEO secrets that we don’t know? Who is he to challenge us? My dear friends or all SEO geeks here I am going to describe 21 extraordinary SEO secrets which helped the great SEO’s toachieve their online goals. Before beginning the secrets, I just want to aware you that modern SEO is not only focused on advanced user experience but also on user intent.

So, let’s start the extraordinary secrets of SEO.

#1 Extraordinary Keyword Research

Keyword research is the base of effective search engine optimization. If your keywords are right and effective then it will not only save your money but also lots of energy which you will waste on overthinking, resources, and expert suggestions. How to choose effective keywords?

There are 4 type of keywords these are

  • Informative
  • Commercial
  • Navigational
  • Conversational

If I am not wrong, we all don’t consider these keyword types before beginning the research. For example, if you have 3 months old website and you are trying to get top ranking for short keywords then you will burn your calories in frustration, tension, and anger.
According to me, you should initially start with long tail keywords which are navigational types.

#2 User-Friendly Website and its Architecture

A silo and great website architecture not only help the bots to collect information from your website but it also helps the user to understand your website for learning or shopping.
More you have the average session duration more you will get conversions.

#3 More High Authority Internal Linking

Most of us try to build more and more inbound links but we underestimate the power of internal linking.
Do you know if you link your new webpage with old and established webpage you will get a ranking boost?
Never ever left your any page without an internal link. Avoid orphan pages who has no caretaker.

#4 Avoid Unlinked Web pages

Take an audit an check that all your pages are interlinked if not then do it now. Because you are wasting your effort on writing a great content on a webpage. Avoid unlinked webpages and make every web page interlinked with high authoritative pages. You can check the authority of your various pages with the help of best SEO tools.

#5 Schema Markup Optimization

You know about Schema, but have you ever wondered why Google loves pages with schema coding?
Schema codes are specially designed markups to instruct the bots about the webpage. You have seen rich snippets results like this. This is due to Schema markup optimization.

#6 Create AMP Pages

AMP stands for accelerated mobile pages. These are special pages which open faster on mobile with fewer images. AMP pages are more indexed in mobile SERP. Don’t forget to add AMP page today.

#7 Regular Website Health Checkup

We human being, go for regular health checkup but we most of us don’t check the website health after a month or a year. This is crucial for SEO. Check these elements

  • Page Speed
  • Mobile Friendly Pages
  • Website Security
  • 404 Pages or not found pages
  • Crawlability of website
  • Indexation of website
  • and of course, Links

#8 Enhance Click Through Rate

CTR or click through rate is the ranking signal. Start working on your CTR today. Create a number of meta tags for the similar page and test their click-through rate. Set the higher CTR meta tags.

#9 Add Unique and Long Content

Content is king in SEO…..Blah blah blah…
Content is king but we don’t research for it more. We don’t consider the length of content. Length of content is ranking signal. So, write more and better research unique and long content. Promote it so much that it reaches your right audience. Use SEMrush Tool for best results.

#10 Don’t Forget Web Content Creating Audience

You want the link but why anybody likes to give you a link.
The answer is you have to add and share some incentive content which is required by web content creating audiences like bloggers, writers, and news agencies. This will boost your ranking and traffic.

#11 Upgrade Old Web pages

You have added so many web pages on the internet out of these only few are ranking on the first and second page.
What about other pages?
My answer is – upgrade those pages ASAP.
Old pages are an online hidden asset. Upgrade those old pages with latest information, stories, and data. This will boost your web page appearance.

#12 Leverage Question-Based Queries

Most of you have seen something like that.

google humming bird update example by anandkjha

This is due to Google Hummingbird Update. Your page will rank at 0 positions if your webpage has detailed answer to any question. So focus more on question-based queries in your online marketing strategy.

#13 More GiveAways

Everyone like free materials. So share more giveaways. You can share giveaways like ebooks, course, tools etc.. In return for this, you will get links and traffic.

#14 Use Best SEO Tools

We all are doing SEO from last 2, 3 4, 5……. years and so on. Some SEO’s are at the top but some are still struggling. This is due to lack of best SEO tools. Some SEO experts are using best SEO tools like Ahrefs, MOZ Explorer, SEMrush and more… These SEO tools help in competitor analysis, content research, keyword research and more. You can check their features on their official pages. These SEO tools provide 1 month free trials also.

#15 Add FAQ Pages

FAQ is frequently asked question pages. These pages are very important if you are selling products online. When your brand gets popular then people start asking questions related to your services on the internet. If you are new on the internet then creating FAQ pages will help you in delighting your audiences in future.

#16 Use All Features of SERP

Do you know about all the features of Google SERP?
No, then it’s ok
Check the all features of SERP here these are

audi example search results by anand kjha

  • Paid Results
  • Local Packs
  • Images Results
  • Videos Results
  • Organic Results
  • Rich Snippet
  • Google answers

#17 Beware of Search Engine Algorithm Updates

Be updated in all minor and major search engine updates. Make an eagle eye on all the algorithm updates. Create Google alert and be updated. Make your new SEO strategy according to the new update.

#18 Infographics Works

Infographics are one of the most trending content types on the search engine. Create and share more and more infographics. Infographic must have following elements

  • Data with graph
  • Survey reports
  • Catchy graphics
  • Source link
  • Brand Name

#19 Local Search Results

You have seen from some months, Google showing more local results on various queries. Add more landing pages based on local queries and stories. Verify your business on Google and Bing.

local packs results by anand kjha

#20 Guest Posting

One of the most effective strategy in SEO. Guest posting is the boon for high authority links and website traffic. Start posting on another website for more high-quality backlinks and conversions.

#21 Influencer Marketing

Last but not the least. Create a great content and reach your targeted audience influencer. If they liked your content then they will give you mention or link back. These influencer links can give you tons of traffic. Reach out and make relations with influencers.

I hope you all learned some new SEO tips. These 21 extraordinary SEO secrets are collected from my SEO experience and interviews of SEO experts in the world.

If you like this article please share it. Thx.

If you are interested in the history of SEO I recommend reading this article: Seolium Seo Facts