How to Find EASY Featured Snippet Opportunities

There are a lot of articles on featured snippets being published lately but they fail to explain how to easily identify featured snippet opportunities.

The most common methods are using keyword research tools to find common questions on your topic, or reviewing Search Console data to find questions that you are ranking on the first page for. There’s no doubt this will help you find opportunities, but it’s tedious and just because the search query is a question, there’s no guarantee that Google will be displaying a featured snippet for that query. There’s a lot of manual work involved.

And what about all those featured snippet opportunities that aren’t questions?

This article will go through the process of identifying your current featured snippets (if you have any) and performing keyword research to find terms that are known to display featured snippets. I will then show you how to identify some potential quick wins to help get you ranking in position 0 in no time.

How to find your Featured Snippets

The easiest way to find your current featured snippets is with SEMrush (affiliate). I’m using in my examples.

Step 1. In the menu on the left, go to Domain Analytics > Organic Research and enter your domain in the search box.

Step 2. On the right hand side of the dashboard, under ‘SERP Features‘, click ‘Featured snippet‘.

Step 3. What you are left with are keywords that your site has featured snippets for. Export your list of featured snippet keywords to Excel – we’ll use it later.

Finding NEW Featured Snippet opportunities for your site

SEO Keyword Magic (Beta) by SEMrush has one of my favorite keyword research features at the moment and I can’t recall seeing it mentioned anywhere.

SEO Keyword Magic performs all of the standard tasks you’d expect in any keyword tool, but the thing that sets SEO Keyword Magic apart from the rest in a big way is its ability to filter keywords by SERP features – more specifically, Featured Snippets.

In SEMrush, you will find SEO Keyword Magic under Keyword Analytics in the left-hand menu.

Once you’re at the SEO Keyword Magic page, enter your starting keyword. In this example for Moz I’ll start with ‘seo’.

Hit ‘Search’ and it will take you to the dashboard.

You’ll find everything you’d expect in a keyword research tool here, as well as a few unique features, but we’ll stick to featured snippets in this post.

In the ‘SERP Features’ drop down, check the ‘Featured Snippet’ box.

You are now left with a list of keywords that are known to display featured snippets!

This is a good start, but let’s build on it. Click the green ‘Export to submarine’ button and we’ll store those keywords for later (I don’t know why it’s called ‘submarine’).

Please note: if you are doing more general keyword research, eg. ‘cars’, you’ll be left with a list of featured snippet keywords that’s too big for the submarine – over 20,000 for ‘cars’. In that case, export your keyword list to Excel at this step.

Click the ‘+ New keyword’ button and we’ll go through the same process for another related keyword topic. I added ‘link building’ in this example.

Be aware that you need to select ‘Featured snippet’ for each new keyword you add.

In the ‘link building’ keyword example above, I’ve excluded featured snippet keywords containing ‘chain’ because there were a few relating to ‘how to build a chain link fence’. Export this list to your submarine.

Keep adding featured snippet keywords to your submarine until you think you have enough (the submarine can hold a maximum of 1000 keywords). In this example I continued to add ‘content marketing’ and ‘keywords’.

Go to your ‘submarine’ and export all your featured snippet keywords to a single spreadsheet.

Now you have two spreadsheets; one containing your existing featured snippets and one containing your SEO Keyword Magic featured snippet keywords known to display featured snippets.

This is great, but your site may already be getting featured snippets for some of these keywords so we’ll need to filter out those results so you can identify your new opportunities.

We’ll also go one step further and identify which keywords from the opportunities list you are already ranking in the top 10 for – this is your low-hanging featured snippet fruit.

Identifying your EASY Featured Snippet opportunities

Firstly, we need to get a list of keywords that the site is ranking in the top 10 for.

Step 1. Go to back SEMrush ‘Organic Research’, enter your domain, exclude branded keywords, and include only keywords in positions less than 10.

Export to Excel and open the spreadsheet. I’ll rename this first tab ‘Top 10’.

Step 2. Open the spreadsheet you exported earlier with all your existing Featured Snippets. Copy and paste this data into a new tab in your Top 10 spreadsheet. Let’s call this tab ‘My Snippets’.

Step 3. Open the spreadsheet you exported from SEO Keyword Magic. Copy and paste this data into another new tab in your Top 10 spreadsheet. Let’s call this tab ‘Opportunities’.

Now you have a single Excel workbook with three tabs; Top 10, My Snippets, and Opportunities.

Step 4. In the ‘My Snippets’ and ‘Opportunities’ tabs, insert a new column B and fill each cell in this row with ‘Yes’. These columns will be used in the VLOOKUP formula and will allow us to easily filter the ‘Top 10’ tab and find the new featured snippet opportunities we are looking for.

Step 5. In the ‘Top 10’ tab, insert a new column at B. This column will be used to check if we already have a featured snippet for the keywords that are already ranking on the first page. I labelled this column ‘Current Featured Snippet?’

Paste the following VLOOKUP into B2 and apply to all cells below:

=IFERROR(VLOOKUP(A2,'My Snippets'!A:B,2,FALSE),"No")

Step 6. In the ‘Top 10’ tab, insert a new column at C. This column will be used to check if we already have keywords from our ‘Opportunities’ tab that we are already ranking on the first page for. I labelled this column ‘Featured Snippet Opportunity’

Paste the following VLOOKUP into C2 and apply to all cells below:


Filter this column to only display cells containing ‘Yes’.

Filter column B to only display cells containing ‘No’.

What you are left with now is a list of keywords you are ranking on the first page for that are known to display featured snippets, but one of your competitors is getting those featured snippets.

In my example looking at the Moz website, this simple process uncovered 107 featured snippet opportunities in about 5 minutes.

What next?

Optimize your content and steal your competitors’ Featured Snippets

The basic process of stealing your competitors’ featured snippets is:

  1. Identify the type of featured snippet displaying for your keywords – paragraph, list, or table.
  2. Optimize and tweak your content to suit that type of featured snippet.
  3. Submit to index in Search Console to help speed up the changes.

I won’t go into more detail on the optimization process in this post because it has been covered many times before and it’s not what this post is about.

If you need more information on how to optimize your content for featured snippets, I recommend reading A.J. Ghergich’s recent Moz article titled What We Learned From Analyzing 1.4 Million Featured Snippets.

Another featured snippet resource I highly recommend is episode 039 of Dan Shure’s Experts on the Wire Podcast titled Seizing the Featured Snippet Gold Rush, with guest Rob Bucci from STAT (if you haven’t already, you should subscribe to this podcast).

Final thoughts and comments

I hope you find this process helpful in identifying new featured snippet opportunities for your website.

There is absolutely no doubt that we’ll continue to see keyword research tools evolve in 2017 and I’d love SEO Keyword Magic to automate the process outlined in this post. All the data is obviously there and it would be extremely beneficial if the dots were joined and users were able export a list of featured snippet keywords you are ranking on the first page for, but not getting the featured snippet for.

I’d also love it to go one step further and identify the type of featured snippet that is displaying for each keyword – that would be a real time saver.

Does Manipulating SERP CTR Influence Organic Rankings?

It has long been thought of that click-through-rate plays a part in Google’s organic ranking algorithm. Rich snippets were great for increasing SERP CTR, but with most rich snippets now gone (thanks to sneaky, manipulative SEOs misusing them) SEOs have been exploring other options.

Rand Fishkin from Moz has run a few tests to see how SERP CTR influences organic rankings. In these tests, Rand tweeted his followers and asked them to perform a specific Google search and told them which organic result to click on. Within a couple of hours the site he asked followers to click on had been boosted to position 1!

While its not possible to say with 100% certainty that the cause of the ranking increases were a result of the increased CTR for the specific search, it does give us a very strong indication that CTR played a significant part in these results.

So, it’s all well and good if you can achieve these results legitimately with real people, but can you achieve the same results by using bots? Or is Google smarter than that?

This post looks at a 6 week test I did on whether click bots can improve your organic performance. I won’t disclose the site I was testing the CTR bot on (yet) because I don’t need any external influences on it and I will be using this site (along with a few others) in a more in-depth follow-up test. The site used and exact processes will be revealed after the next test so you can investigate.

How Do Click Bots Work?

There are many click bots out there that are ready made and ready to use, or you can get someone on Freelancer to make you one with all the features you want. If you want to do a small test there are even a few Fiverr gigs where you can get someone to use their bot and perform searches for you.

The bot I used for this test does its best to mimic a human user – which is what you want, if you are going to use one!

Due to so many people asking for it, the name of the click bot I’m using is Serp-bot. I am not affiliated with Serp-bot in any way.

The main features of a good click bot (if there is such a thing) are:

  • It runs through a VPN and changes IP after each search. You can select which countries you want the searches to come from.
  • It changes user agents between searches to make it look like the searches are using different browsers, devices and screen resolutions.
  • It clears cache files between searches to leave no trace of the previous search.
  • When it performs a search you can set it to click on competitor sites and immediately bounce before clicking on your site.
  • You can set it to spend a certain amount of time on your site and browse through certain pages. It can also scroll up and down pages – just as a real person would.
  • When it’s finished browsing your site it closes the browser – ie. it doesn’t go back to the SERPs.
  • It waits a specified amount of time before beginning the next search.

So, as you can see, it is very good at imitating human search behaviour and covering its tracks! But does it actually work?

My Results from using a Click Bot

The site I was using for this test had been sitting idle for about 6 months. Main keyword rankings were floating around between positions 30-50+ in Google. It was fairly stagnant. I’m confident in saying that the results of this test are largely a result of the clickbot activity, although, there was a Google “Quality Update” two days into the test, as seen on Algoroo:

algoroo on ctr bot test dates

However, I don’t believe this update had any noticeable impact on this particular site.

How much traffic did I send through the click bot?

**Updated August 15**

Two days after I published this post, this article by Bartosz Góralewicz came out claiming that CTR is not a ranking factor.

Our tests were very different and I have no doubt that if I tried the same method that Bartosz used I would get the same results he had. Bartosz sent a massive, unnatural volume of organic clicks through to the test site and saw negative results. I think the huge volume of clicks is very easy for Google to identify as someone trying to manipulate rankings, somehow.

When setting up my clickbot, I checked average monthly search volumes for each keyword and sent only a small percentage of clicks per day for each keyword. To me, this is a more sensible and realistic approach to take when testing the impact of CTR, especially when the target pages are ranking on pages 3-5 of the SERPs.

Here is how I calculated exactly how much bot traffic I would send per day:

(Average monthly search volume  /10) / 30

This works out to be 0.34% of average monthly search volume per day.

Sending 10% of average search volume to an organic result on page 3-5 of the SERPs is still very high, but it is a lot more natural than if you were to increase average monthly search volume for a keyword by 3781%, as was the case in the Bartosz Góralewicz experiment!

I’m not saying my results are definitive, because they definitely are not! But Bartosz’s results certainly aren’t definitive either and there are flaws with both tests. The biggest flaw being we are using bot traffic instead of real people, like Rand used.

Okay, okay, just show me the results!

I was tracking 30 keywords for click bot test. The ranking distributions graph for the 6 week period can be seen below:

keyword ranking distribution ctr bot test

Changes began almost immediately for specific keywords that were targeted early on and it seemed to have a flow-on effect to other pages on the site at about the 2 week mark.

Overall keyword ranking improvements can be seen below:

ctr bot keyword ranking improvements

How did organic traffic perform?

I know exactly how many organic visits per day came from the bot, so I can subtract these visits from the total organic sessions being reported in Analytics to see the real organic traffic increase.

Comparing the first week of the test to the last week of the test, organic traffic increased just over 150%.

With no other activity going on in this time, I’ve seen enough proof in this test for me to perform another test. The follow-up test will have much stricter processes in place and I’ll be able to improve my reporting on the results.

Can Google Penalize This Type of Activity???

Being fairly confident that this works, it also raises a lot of questions.

Will SERP CTR manipulation one day be viewed on the same level as spammy backlinking and spun content?

It’s certainly a lot harder to detect and even harder to prove that this is happening, and how would Google penalize such activity? A timed manual penalty?

What if it was a competitor that artificially manipulated your SERP CTR? Would this become the new standard way to negative SEO?

Would Google discount CTR in their algorithm as a way of fighting the spammers?

If SERP CTR remains a part of Google’s algorithm you can be guaranteed that black hat SEOs will continue to look to manipulate it and give Google no option but to respond. How they respond will be interesting to see.

The Main Takeaway from this Post?

Your main takeaway from this post should not be that you should all go out and buy click bots and forget about good SEO! (although they are fun to play around with…) 

Your main takeaway should be that CTR is important and you should do everything you can to improve it, naturally.

How can you increase CTR without a click bot, you ask? Here are 3 ways:

  1. Make sure your title tags are well written to entice clicks
  2. Make sure your meta descriptions are well written to entice clicks
  3. Take advantage of any possible rich snippets markup available to you. Images or star ratings in SERPs are great for increasing CTR.

10 AdWords Extensions You Should be Using (But Probably Aren’t) 2018 for Online Marketing, Webmasters and Bloggers


So, you’re running a Google AdWords campaign. And your results are varied at best. One day, your PPC efforts might bring in a decent chunk of leads, but another day it falls dormant. What gives? Why is it working one day and not another? Well, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to your successful or flailing Google AdWords campaign. I want to talk about one of the ways that you can give your failing PPC budget a better chance. As you probably already know, search engines represent a wealth of lead-, traffic-, and revenue-generating potential.

And Google is the best of them.

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And you can only leverage that potential if you optimize your AdWords campaigns to rake in impressions, clicks, and leads.

Otherwise, you’re sending your budget to the trash can.

Luckily, there is a way you can increase the effectiveness of your PPC ads.

And it revolves around using the best AdWords extensions that Google has to offer.

What are AdWords extensions?

AdWords extensions are just a fancy way of saying, “The stuff that you can change, add, and alter about your AdWords campaigns.”

Different extensions do different things.

With some, you can add reviews or a call button.

With others, you can add a discount or brief testimonial.

That’s why, when you search on Google for something, you often see sponsored results that look different from each other.

You’ll see results like these.

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Or maybe you’ll get results like these.

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Can you see the differences?

The reason shy different results look different is that the marketers behind the scenes are leveraging different AdWords extensions.

Some of them are doing it well, while others aren’t doing it quite so well.

But how can you ensure that you’re in the former category rather than the latter?

You need to make sure that you use the right extensions for your business.

You want to use the ones that raise your click-through rate, lower your cost per click, and increase your ROI.

In case you’re still not convinced, here’s one more reason that you should consider using AdWords extensions, even if you’ve never done it before.

Why should you use them?

Budgets are tight.

All around the Internet, digital marketers are struggling to (1) get enough budget to do all the things they want to do, and (2) get the best ROI possible with their current budgets.

And it’s no surprise.

You, the marketer, know that you need to please your boss. But you also need to please and appeal to your target market.

Otherwise, you won’t bring in sales.

That’s a difficult spot to be in.

Just consider that 28% of marketers listed securing enough budget for their efforts among their top business challenges.

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In other words, you need to make the most of the budget you have.

That includes your SEO budget, your content marketing budget, and, for our purposes, your AdWords budget.

But you can only make the most of your AdWords budget if you’re at least somewhat familiar with all of the extensions they offer.

And that’s exactly why you’re here.

So without further ado, here are ten extensions that you should be using but probably aren’t.

1. Sitelink extensions

The first extension you should know about is the sitelink extension.

These little beauties are additional links that sit under your primary result link.

They go to other popular pages on your website — maybe your blog, special offers, menu, reviews, or pricing page.

Whatever the case, you can use these extensions to encourage users to choose where they’d like to go instead of having them visiting your homepage or landing page when they click on your result.

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These are particularly useful when someone searches for your brand name on Google.

Think about it.

When someone searches for “buy email automation software,” you already know what they’re looking to do, so you don’t need the additional links.

But when someone searches for your brand name, what are their intentions? There’s no way to know. Your guess is as good as mine.

So, having additional links in your AdWords result allows searchers to navigate your website quickly from the SERP.

When I searched for “Domino’s,” for instance, this came up:

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And when I searched for “MailChimp,” this was the first result:

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By using the sitelink extension, you allow users to quickly and easily get where they want to go on your website.

Because, when people type in your brand name, they want to go somewhere on your website.

It’s best to let them do that quickly.

2. Call extensions

Imagine that you’re waiting in the car with the baby while your spouse shops.

But you’re planning to get dinner at the local pizza joint afterward.

Now, you’re browsing on your phone in the car. You type your favorite pizza place into Google, and the first result is the one you want.

But there’s a problem. You don’t see a phone number.

So you go to their website and look around. But after a few long moments, you get sick of searching and decide to get pizza from somewhere else.

That pizza place just lost a sale. But they wouldn’t have if they had been using the call extension on their AdWords campaign.

It looks like this.

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And that call button isn’t just important for local food places.

It’s important for any business that offers customer support or sales via phone.

Which are most businesses.

Here’s what the extension looks like on a real estate advertisement.

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By adding that button, you tell customers that you’re just a phone call away, which builds trust and makes you feel more approachable.

Without it, you’re sure to frustrate certain prospects.

But you might do more than just frustrate them. You could even lose their attention altogether.

The point is, if you don’t have this extension, you run the risk of frustrating prospects and customers before they even contact you.

We’ve all gotten angry trying to find a hidden phone number.

But the call extension will avoid that by putting your phone number front-and-center.

3. App extensions

Do you offer an app for your business?

Today, having an app is practically a must for any serious SaaS or e-commerce company.

MailChimp, Shopify, and Amazon all have native applications for their services and products.

And the reason is that browsing on an app is often easier than browsing on a mobile website.

App designers create native applications so they’ll function smoothly on the device, instead of just fitting the device like mobile websites.

That’s a noteworthy difference.

Even mobile websites can sometimes get tricky to navigate.

But navigating a native application is almost always a breeze.

If you do have an app, you might want to consider using the AdWords app extension. It looks like this:

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Here’s another example:

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And the popularity of native applications isn’t just my opinion. The data backs it up.

51% of people buying products on their smartphone use an app rather than a website.

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It’s hard to blame them. Since the app is so much easier to use, buying on it is practically instinctual.

For that reason, you should consider using this extension if you have a dedicated application for smartphones.

Your visitors, leads, and customers will prefer using it.

4. Review extensions

Few things in the marketing world are as powerful as customer reviews.

When someone says they like your product or service, other people want to like it too.

It sort of says, “This product is amazing! Everyone loves it, and you will too!”

A review is a way of assuring the visitor that they’re going to love your product or service before they even buy it. And they’re important because everyone looks at reviews.

That isn’t just marketing speculation.

It’s science.

When consumers are looking to make a purchase, 64% of them seek out customer reviews to support their decision.

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And 77.3% of buyers in a study claimed that reviews impacted their decision.

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But how does all of that information apply to AdWords extensions?

Well, the review extension allows you to add a short testimonial to your AdWords advertisement. It gives searchers the review they’re craving upfront.

Review extensions look like this:

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You don’t have to wait until people click on your website to leverage the power of social proof.

You can exploit its power right in the search results.

That means that you’ll get more clicks, traffic, leads, and conversions.

5. Callout extensions

If you’re a marketer, then you’re probably familiar with the power of callouts in advertisements.

You know, the part where you say, “Calling all women frustrated with their makeup” or “Are you sick and tired of having to vacuum your carpet?”

I know. It sounds kind of like an infomercial.

And that’s because it is.

But infomercials and QVC have used this strategy for a long time for one reason and one reason only:

It works.

And you can leverage it with the callout Adwords extension.

The extension looks like this:

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Or it’ll look something like this:

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You can use the extension to say a variety of different things.

You can use it to describe the kinds of products you offer, promote a special deal you currently have going, or call out your specific target market.

In other words, who is your target market, and how can you grab their attention quickly?

If you tell them all that, you won’t just win their attention. You’ll win their click.

6. Structured snippets extensions

The structured snippet extension offers another opportunity for you to tell searchers what your business sells.

And the more chances you get to do that, the better.

The reality is that a lot of times when people see your result, they don’t know who you are, what you’re there for, and how you can help them.

A structured snippet can solve that problem if you use it correctly.

Here’s what it looks like in action:

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The purpose of this snippet is to explain to customers the kind of products, styles, or services you offer.

You can quickly list a few different options that visitors will have if they click through to your website.

Ask yourself this: what exactly is it that you offer? Is it email marketing software, clothing, sunglasses, or CRM software?

Whatever it is, include those details in your structured snippet.

That way, searchers will know who you are and what you offer before they even visit your website.

Here’s what a Walgreens advertisement looks like for example.

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After all, if people know who you are and what you offer, you won’t only get clicks. You’ll get the right clicks.

7. Location extensions

It’s probably pretty obvious to you what the AdWords location extension does.

Still, tons of businesses don’t use it.

A lot of online businesses and SaaS companies think that because they are online, they don’t need to provide their address.

But that’s not necessarily true.

After all, when you’re considering working with a new business, you want to know that they aren’t scamming you, right?

Including your address in your AdWords result is a great way to show the legitimacy of your business. That means that people are more likely to trust you and your company.

Your business turns from something ambiguous to something personal and tangible. And I don’t know about you, but I’m far more comfortable buying from a business that feels real.

It’s really simple to include your address on your result, and it’s well worth the trust that you’ll build with searchers.

Here’s what a desktop result looked liked like when I search for “verizon near seattle.”

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Here’s what a mobile result looks like for T-Mobile.

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Even if your business isn’t local, including your location on your AdWords result will likely increase the trust people have for you.

It’s a must for serious business owners and marketers.

8. Offer extensions

I’m willing to bet that you’ve experienced the power of discounts.

You’re familiar with how people flock to the clearance section of your digital store or how you get more conversions on days that your service is 20% off.

The truth is simple:

People love discounts.

They love the opportunity to save money on awesome products or services.

And who can blame them?

We all like to save money.

But what you might not have thought about is that offering discounts can make for a great AdWords strategy.

And you can use the offer extension to do so, just like this:

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But just in case you’re not convinced, consider that everyone from the ages of 18 to 64 who abandons their online shopping cart is more likely to buy those products if they receive a follow-up discount.

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People love saving money.

And, ironically, you can make money because of it by offering a discount on your PPC ad with the offer extension.

9. Social extensions

Few things in this life are for sure:

Death, taxes, and social media.

OK, I added the last one.

But with the rising power of social media, its influence isn’t something to take lightly.

Consumers and business people alike use, trust, and leverage social media for their own benefits.

But did you know you can use social media to enhance the effectiveness of your PPC ad?

In fact, the social extension allows you to do just that.

Unfortunately, you can only connect it to your Google+ account. But that’s better than nothing, right?

Here’s what it looks like.

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Here are a few more examples.

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If you have a particularly high number of followers or likes on your business’s Google+ account, then it would definitely be worth your time to include this extension.

It might just add the extra bit of incentive that browsers need to click on your ad.

After all, you’d hate to lose a click to competitors who are already doing this, right?

10. Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension

OK, you caught me. This extension isn’t technically an AdWords extension.

In fact, it’s actually a Chrome extension for AdWords.

But it’s well worth your time to hear about. It’s called Keywords Everywhere.

Here’s how it works.

Once you’ve installed the extension, whenever you type a search into Google and hit enter, you’ll see the average search volume for those exact keywords and the average cost per click for any AdWords campaigns surrounding those keywords.

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This is incredibly useful because, often, the most difficult part of choosing which keywords to target with your AdWords budget is determining the volume of the search and the average cost per click.

Keywords Everywhere immediately gives you both of those things.

With it, you can quickly find out which keywords will be most worthy of your time and budget rather than trying and failing to find which keywords are most effective.


Few things in your life are as frustrating as an unpredictable AdWords campaign.

One day, it brings in leads. Another day, it doesn’t.

But mostly, it doesn’t.

Luckily, your problem might require a simple solution:

Adding the right extensions to your advertisements.

In particular, you should consider adding the sitelink, call, app, review, callout, structured snippet, location, offer, and social extensions. Then, for your AdWords research, consider using the Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension.

Though the marketing world is often unpredictable, you don’t have to bow to that flailing campaign.

Instead, control what you can with the right AdWords extensions and drive clicks, leads, and conversions like never before.

Which AdWords extensions do you find the most useful for increasing your click-through rate?




The State of SEO: What the Latest Algorithm Updates and Reports Are Telling Us


Search engine optimization is a competitive, ever-changing landscape that requires marketers to adapt fast. Google changes its own algorithm up to 600 times every single year. And according to Google itself, it has confirmed this in tweets, “each day, Google usually releases one or more changes…” Keeping up with changes is extremely hard. But it’s also necessary if you want your organic traffic to be consistent and continue to improve. You can’t be doing what worked five years ago today and expect the results to last forever. With changes coming daily and significant updates in the works, SEO is, has and will keep changing as consumer behavior changes.

Google’s search engine is designed for the people, not for the marketers.

We can’t keyword stuff anymore and expect to rank number one.

Now meaningful experiences for users play a key role in success. Creating content that solves user problems faster and more efficiently.

As of late, Google has pumped out a few major changes to the way we conduct SEO practices in 2018 and beyond.


1. The mobile and page speed era is here

Just five years ago, mobile optimization was an afterthought.

You’d optimize your website with keyword-rich content, schema markup, and metadata.

Then, you’d dynamically update your mobile site to capture that bit of mobile traffic that needed it.

You know, the mobile-friendly crowd.

And, you’d simply repeat the process and watch the traffic flood in, mainly focusing analysis on desktop reports and rarely reviewing your mobile reports.

But times have changed.

In 2016, mobile traffic started to become a more substantial portion of the overall internet usage worldwide in comparison to desktop.

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With mobile traffic continuing to rise, it’s time to shift our perspectives from desktop first to mobile first.

And that’s exactly what Google is doing with the mobile-first index.

Zenith Media predicts that mobile traffic will account for 79% of all Internet traffic by the end of 2018.

Initially announcing the mobile-first index in November 2016, Google made it clear that mobile was dominating the search engine.

Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.

Let me summarize this for you in plain English:

Most people are using Google on a mobile device.

Conducting mobile searches is more common than ever. Yet Google was still ranking search results by desktop page content and experience.

The disconnect here is that most are on mobile yet website owners are designing for an audience viewing desktop.

This results in bad experiences for users on unoptimized mobile pages.

And Google is all about providing the best search engine to its user base. Which is the majority of the world:

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If Google didn’t make the change to rank mobile pages, there would likely be a drop in mobile users not searching with Google due to slow sites and unoptimized mobile pages.

So, they started testing the mobile-first index in 2016, where Google planned to shift its indexing to mobile pages before desktop, providing better browsing for the majority of users.

As you can imagine, this was a pretty significant shift. And, it left the industry with a lot of unanswered questions.

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If your website is not optimized for mobile, you could see a drop in traffic and rankings.

Just recently in March 2018, Google announced that it was “rolling out mobile-first indexing,” giving users messages in their search console to inform them:

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So, what implications does this have for you?

It means that you need to have a functioning mobile site with content that matches your desktop site.

This can be achieved with a responsive mobile site that dynamically updates content from desktop to mobile.

Or, if you’re using an m-dot site, you need to update content from your desktop to mobile manually.

If you’re using WordPress, I recommend using a plugin like WPtouch to move your site to responsive.

WPtouch allows you to transform your site into a responsive, mobile-friendly site with the click of a button:

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You can instantly edit your mobile site themes, and content will transfer dynamically as you make edits on the desktop version.

You can even create landing pages specifically for mobile within the plugin, making it great to prepare for mobile-first indexing.

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After you’ve got a responsive site setup, turn your focus to improving page speed and designing a better user experience for mobile users.

If people are bouncing from your site within seconds, Google knows that.

And trust me, it isn’t going to keep your page ranking first if the average time on site is five seconds.

That’s a clear signal that user’s problems aren’t being solved with your content or UX, making it irrelevant.

On top of that, 85% of online users won’t return to your site if they have a bad experience on mobile.

Poorly designed UX isn’t the only cause of that bad experience.

Mobile data collections show that mobile landing pages are dreadfully slow:

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In fact, they take on average 3x the best practice to load.

And these slow load times lead to hugely inflated bounce rates:

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You can’t risk a slow mobile site. Not when page speed is a mobile ranking factor now.

To keep up, eliminate heavy page elements and keep a simple design. I’ve been testing this on my mobile site with great success so far:

I have removed big elements and compressed images to create a simple, sleek design that is easy to read and use.

Try using plain white backgrounds with black text that is big enough for mobile.

Simplicity is key. Don’t use heavy CTAs and big images that slow your site down.

Simply put:

Mobile UX and speed are crucial to success in SEO right now.

Since that was a ton of information, let’s recap:

  • Mobile-first indexing is rolling out
  • Your content on desktop should match mobile
  • Focus on improving your site speed
  • Make sure that mobile pages are fast and simple in design

Follow these steps, and you will be prepared to take on the new mobile-first index. The state of SEO is changing, and mobile is becoming king.

2. Zero-result SERPs: SERPs are changing fast

With changes to Google’s algorithm, we’ve seen massive changes to the search results page over the last decade.

Back in 2010, our search results looked like this:

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These simple results are vastly different than a given search engine results page in 2018.

Even in 2013, SERPs underwent massive changes, including different snippets, demographic categories, and social mentions:

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But now, our SERPs contain tons of new elements, like answer boxes and frequently asked questions regarding the topic you search for:

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Or detailed knowledge graphs for specific companies, displaying very complex and detailed information directly on the SERP.

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For example, with the Evernote image above, you can find its social media profile, iTunes app, and Google Play link without ever clicking on its website.

You can even find a detailed product description, screenshots, and software compatibility data directly on the graph.

There is almost no need to click on actual search results anymore.

And, we see this because of the rise in voice search and artificial intelligence (AI).

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With voice search and AI, searchers can order goods, make suggestions, and talk about current events. Searchers are now presented with one answer.

This shift has been dramatic and often worries SEOs: will people even click on our links now?

More recently, in March 2018, Google tested zero-result SERPs, where only a single piece of information was displayed in the form of definitive answers or knowledge cards:

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To see any link-based results, you’d have to click “Show all results.”

If not, the entire Google SERP is taken up by this simple answer.

Meaning all of those standard results you’d expect when searching for the time…

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…don’t show up without the extra effort of clicking the results button.

While only limited to a select grouping of searches, it’s a telling sign that Google is consistently refining the search engine results to be less link-based and more results based.

It allows users to get answers faster than ever before without the need to read a 5,000-word article.

Instead, the most important bits of information are fetched from top content sites and utilized in the results:

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Data shows that while this test was being conducted, and many experienced the effects for a few days, most current results pages still display with the traditional ten links:

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The fact of the matter is:

SERPs are changing. Fast.

And we can’t sit back and watch our rankings dwindle down.

Instead, SEOs have to get ready for the future SERPs and how different they will likely be.

We need to start focusing on generating better content, even if it means answering the questions before users click.

Right now, try targeting keywords that don’t have rich results or knowledge cards/graphs.

Conduct simple searches on Google to see what the search results look like:

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If you notice standard results, this is a good sign that you can expect a ton of organic click traffic and these terms are likely great to target while you can.

SERPs will change over the next few years. Prepare for it while you can.

3. PageRank patent is a game changer for link building

Last month, Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea, published an article announcing that Google had made an update to its PageRank patent.

This update to its patent describes how Google’s algorithm will affect the way websites are ranked.

The patent goes on to explain how Google will calculate link distances between authoritative websites and spam sites using a web-link graph.

Essentially, Google is creating a map of your links. Something like this.

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And, within that map, Google is looking for the shortest path to seed spam-free websites.

So, you want your link map to consist of the most authoritative, trusted domains with the shortest way to get back to your website.

Nothing new, right?

Guess again.

This update gives smaller niche websites a chance to outrank more prominent websites.


Just because you have more links, doesn’t mean you have the high-quality links.

For example, if you’re a small website competing against a Buzzfeed or Amazon for a search query, you may outrank them if your link map consists of more niche, trusted sites.

The goal is to have a reduced link graph with niche, spam-free websites linking to one another.

This is only the starting point for ranking. Google uses over 200 different factors to rank your website.

The key to ranking with Google’s PageRank is to provide relevance in links and content.

4. March 7 algorithm update: “Brackets.”

On March 7th, 2018, rankings were shifting for tons of people in the SEO community.

Just a few days later, Google confirmed the updates as a “core update” to the algorithm.

Due to the update being live in March, G-Squared Interactive coined the core update as “brackets” to reflect March Madness:

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Over a few days that the update was pushed live, Glenn Gabe from GSQIS started to notice fluctuations in rankings, rich snippets, and more:

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This prompted tweets from Google’s Search Liaison account, confirming the updates:

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So, what exactly happened here?

Websites with little content relevance were primarily affected, sending rankings for companies to either jump high or fall heavily.

Many SEO marketers suspected this update was targeted at low-quality websites.

As Glenn speculates on the “brackets” update:

“This was one of the biggest updates I’ve seen in a while. It seems Google once again improved how it assesses quality, and with Google always looking to surface the highest quality content for users, that’s a really big deal.”

However, John Mueller cleared things up during a Google Webmaster Hangout on April 6th.

He went on to explain that if your site was affected by the March 7 update, it is not an indication of a low-quality site, but more about content relevance.

Meaning your website is attempting to rank for specific queries that might not be relevant to the user clicking through to read them.

Your content has to connect the dots to search queries. Bounce rates must be reduced. Anything and everything you write and publish should be relevant to the reader.

This update comes out just two months before Google Research’s release of  Ask The Right Questions: Active Question Reformulation with Reinforcement Learning (PDF).

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This paper explores the machine learning algorithm that uses the Reinforcement Learning approach.

Essentially, this algorithm decides what to display in the SERPs using machine learning structured around user intent.

And, we might see Google create its own content in the SERPs soon.

Content is still king. But content for the sake of creating more isn’t.

Improving content relevance bridges the gap to user intent.

With this new update, it’s time to focus on creating more content that is useful to your readers and improving your design.

Run a basic audit of your existing content to see where you can improve it.

For example, comb through your latest blog posts and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this provide value to the query?
  • Can I include more information that others are probably also searching for?
  • Does my content solve the problem with actionable, detailed steps and examples, or does it merely point out the problem and tell (instead of show) the fix?

If you are struggling with content ideas or ways to improve existing posts, use Google to your advantage.

Remember those question boxes I showed you earlier? These ones:

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Turn those questions into a long-form post about PPC. Take each question and use them as your H2 headers to structure an outline.

These topics are all interrelated. People want to find resources online, not a simple post that tells them how great SEO is without teaching them how to do it.

And, don’t be afraid to ask for input from your visitors. Get feedback from your visitors to gauge how they feel about your website and content.

Then, expand and improve your current content.

As for website design, you should always be assessing your landing page metrics in Google Analytics:

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Work to improve your time on site and reduce bounce rates by creating engaging content pieces.

Simplify your blog structure and website design to focus on content and usability.

And, conduct a quick SEO audit to make sure Google can crawl your content and that your content is being indexed correctly.

With this latest update, one thing is guaranteed:

Quality is more important than quantity.


The speed update isn’t the only update coming in July this year. Google announced that also in July all sites still using HTTP would be marked non-secure like this.

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And, now Google issues its final warning stating that by October 2018, all sites using HTTP will be marked with a strong red warning.

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It’s important to note that this will affect all websites that are opened using Chrome.

While this does not affect your rankings, this will eventually affect your bounce rate and the user experience.

Which, in turn, affects your rankings.

Adrienne Porter Felt, software engineer and manager on the Google Chrome Security Team, took to Twitter to share the importance of HTTPS.

She stated, “HTTPS is a foundational part of web security. It’s a grassroots effort that worked hard to get leadership support.”

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It’s important to note that it’s not just Google pushing for the move to HTTPS.

Mozilla, inventors of Firefox, are pushing for secure Internet.

However, Bing is not on board with this…yet.

But, it’s clear, that HTTPS does affect ranking.

SEMrush proves that in recent research. They discovered that the higher position in the SERPs, the more HTTPS sites existed.

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And, Searchmetrics discovered Google is already placing higher value on HTTPS sites for specific industries.

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Luckily, there’s still time for you to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS before the launch in July.

However, before migrating, you’ll want to make sure to take the right steps. Otherwise, your organic traffic could end up like this.

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To prevent a drop in traffic when switching from HTTP to HTTPS, review the following:

  • Make sure that all versions of your site redirect to the correct HTTPS version, including canonical tags.
  • Update all internal links pointing from HTTP to HTTPS.
  • Submit a new sitemap with the correct HTTPS link.

I’d recommend running a full SEO audit of your website before going live with HTTPS to ensure you’ve covered all your basics.

And, before you get started, get all hands on deck for any potential issues that may arise when you’re ready to go live.


SEO is a rewarding and frustrating marketing tactic.

When your efforts pay off, they can result in big wins for your traffic, sales and ultimately, your bottom line.

I’ve grown multiple businesses off SEO alone. But SEO is also frustrating.

With 600 algorithm changes every year, staying on top of the best practices is brutal.

What worked last year might be out of style the next.

And those tactics you just spent money investing in could be outdated by next quarter.

It’s a constant uphill battle, but staying on top of changes can produce a significant profit.

The latest updates and reports point toward a mobile shift:

The mobile-first index is rolling out, and while Google says it doesn’t directly impact rankings, we can assume that it’s highly likely to in the near future.

With zero result SERPs and voice search, we can gather that SERPs are changing fast and moving toward instant answers.

Social media is still a big player in SEO, but it’s becoming harder than ever before to stand out.

Lastly, with the latest core update, content relevance is becoming harder to make. Seek to improve your content every single day to benefit from better rankings and avoid potential drops.

SEO is changing. Keep up to date with these latest algorithm updates and reports and you will be on the right track for continued success.

What are some SEO predictions you have for the coming year?



How to Increase Website Traffic by 250,000+ Monthly Visits (For Webmasters / Blogger Only) 2018

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I have to admit the number of estimated website traffic to your website or blog was a lie. The number is actually larger… but I thought you wouldn’t believe me. The accurate, true-to-life title I should have used is “how to increase website traffic by 500,000 monthly visitors”… because that’s what we achieved.

And we did it for our clients not once…

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Not twice…

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but three times in the past 24-36 months.

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To be fair, by no means are we the only ones responsible for these lifts. Each of the above three are big, highly-visible companies with talented marketing teams.

But the numbers above directly represent the SEO increases in the past 24 to 36 months… numbers which we were specifically hired to help increase, and are strong contributors to.

And to be even fairer, since these numbers are only organic traffic, they also omit other impacts like social, referral and direct traffic, which we also helped increase.

As a team of ten that achieved that (now twelve), I’m pretty proud of those numbers. More importantly, I’m proud of the process behind them: a repeatable, achievable strategy that anybody can accomplish, even at a smaller scale.

As long as you implement the process appropriately and put in the work to get there, this kind of growth is achievable.

How to Replicate

So… how do you do it? What’s the process?

In summary, you can achieve this growth by repeatedly creating and promoting top or middle-funnel content that ranks for keywords with significant volume, that also tie back to bottom-funnel landing pages that are pushed up through the connective effects.

In this post, I’ll give you the step-by-step rubric we use to identify the right pieces to create, what to promote, what not to promote, and how to make sure your content will rank well every time.

We’ll lift the lid on the internal process on how to get more traffic we’ve been heads down creating, iterating on and implementing for our clients—which has already created massive impacts, but for you, can be used in its almost-perfected form.

All the techniques, all the strategies, all the lessons learned—all in one post. 

How to Increase Website Traffic

The Skyscraper Technique is a four-step process popularized by Brian Dean that unveils a clean, straightfoward path to building a massive audience. The steps are:

  • Step 1: Find link-worthy content around a topic with search volume
  • Step 2: Make something even better
  • Step 3: Reach out to the right people to generate the links needed to rank
  • Step 4: Repeat with a new topic

Brian uses the metaphor of a skyscraper for this technique to elicit the idea that to stand out in a city, you need to build the biggest skyscraper. Nobody cares about the 8th biggest skyscraper—they only care about the tallest.

So, in summary, your job as a content creator is to create the biggest, baddest content out there—and then tell people about it.

Misinterpretations of the Technique

I fully believe in Brian’s idea, and it’s an immensely effective method of building your business, and hitting that 250,000+ increase goal. However, the technique is not without its critics—and I believe this is due to how Brian simplified the concept.

In essence, if you read the post on the Skyscraper Technique, Dean essentially says that in creating the best thing for a given keyword, and then building a ton of links to the page based on that quality, you’ll have enough for that page to rank. This isn’t always true.


The element that’s left out is the need for domain authority. If you’re starting from scratch and going against CNN, The New York Times and Business Insider, 40 links to a single page won’t be enough. You’ll need more combined authority in order to outpace them, even if their pages don’t stack up to yours.

It’s possible to build best-in-class content for a keyword, generate 40 links, and then keep building similar content like it to eventually get that page ranking #1. But that’s not the fastest growth model—and most businesses would like to see the revenue and benefit from ranking other pages in the interim.

Enter Keyword Opposition to Benefit (KOB) Analysis.

KOB Analysis, combined with the Skyscraper Technique, is the completion of your business-building equation.

How to Use KOB Analysis

What a KOB analysis does that the Skyscraper Technique doesn’t, is also consider revenue potential in combination with competition.

By looking at competition early, we can understand in advance if we are capable of ranking, even if our domain authority is low.

By looking at revenue potential, we can understand in advance that if we do rank, we’ll actually generate some business benefit from the activity—and not just rank for something without any buying intent.

A smart content strategy starts with the highest benefit content you can actually rank for, first, and then builds from there.

And after enough time, effort, and subsequent rankings, you can then consider creating the Empire State Building.

The KOB Equation for Content

Originally popularized by Todd Malicoat, KOB analysis can have many different forms and levels of complexity. For the purposes of this analysis and your own implementation, we’ll keep it relatively simple.


Breaking it down, Traffic Cost is SEMRush’s way of showing the hypothetical value of a page. Traffic Cost estimates the traffic a page is getting by estimating clickthrough rate (CTR), and then multiplying it against all the positions it ranks for. From there, it looks at what others would be willing to pay for that same traffic using Google AdWords’ CPC.

This gives us an estimated Traffic Cost, which is a strong estimator of the real value of a page. We use page-level traffic cost, and think less about individual keywords, because keywords are becoming less relevant due to Google becoming increasing intelligent at determining topics because of their recent Hummingbird update.

Given that, what we really need to do is grab the page ranking #1 for the main keyword, dump it into SEMRush, and then see what other keywords that page ranks for—showing the true “topic value” of that keyword set.

If we only use a single keyword, we almost certainly sell ourselves short.

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Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool gives us a quick snapshot of the competition on a given keyword set, to allow us to determine Difficulty. Although we can’t really glean topic difficulty at this given time, grabbing the difficulty of one of the biggest keywords is a pretty good indicator of the entire topic set – so we’ll do that.

Although Traffic Cost is a great metric to start with, and scales well throughout a team of beginners, it is suggested you modify those numbers appropriate to your own business. Not every topic will be valuable to you, and it’s possible some topics will be even more valuable than the metric listed.

Proceed as appropriate.

KOB Analysis Example

To give an example of this process in action, let’s look at the keyword “content marketing.” Inputting it in Moz’s keyword difficulty tool, we get back the following data:


Editor’s note: Moz has shifted away from their previous difficulty score to a new tool, Keyword Explorer. It has its own difficulty metric that’s slightly different from what’s laid out here. AHREFs and SEMRush also have their own scores. Really, what tool you use is up to you/personal preference/assessment of accuracy, but there are several options for determining SERP difficulty.

At this surface level, it’s easy to see that yes, the keyword is extremely competitive, and also, that a lot of people search for this keyword each month.

But we’re missing some inputs—namely, what’s the potential value of each of those visits, and also, does this topic have lots of other long-tail that make it a much bigger keyword?

We uncover this using SEMRush and the search results. Go to Google, and grab the number one result—or whatever result you think you are capable of creating 10x content for. In this case, that result is the “What is Content Marketing?” page from CMI.

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We then input that URL into SEMRush to get the breadth of the opportunity available, and also, a guess about the value based on what other people are bidding on similar traffic.

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In this case, we see that the estimated traffic to the page is 13,300 visits a month, based on 1,100 keywords. That would have been a lot of missed long-tail if we had just settled on the singular keyword.

Using their estimated traffic*CPC equation, we see that the estimated value of ranking #1 for “content marketing” and other keywords in the topic area is $228,000 per month.

Once we have the traffic cost number, we divide it by the keyword difficulty, 76%, to get the KOB score. In this case, our KOB score is 300,000.

Out of context, that score means nothing. We need to do more research, and build a topic database we can utilize to appropriately prioritize the content we create.

Suffice to say, though, this keyword is an extremely valuable one. However, its difficulty means it’s not something most companies (including our own) can get even close to ranking for in the short-run.

We need to ladder up to taking a shot at it, even with amazing content—because we won’t be able to sniff page one without more domain authority. We’ll get to that soon in our upcoming section on choosing the right topic.

Scaling Keyword Research

Now that you know how to identify and properly value a topic, it’s time to aggregate as many topics as possible that make sense for your given vertical.

The SEO world has always been focused on keywords, so the idea of doing topic research is a somewhat novel concept. However, it can easily be done, it just takes a few extra steps. Here are a few hacks we’ve learned to quickly build a list of top-and-mid-funnel topics.

SEMRush’s Page Analysis

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SEMRush has a relatively new feature that allows you to quickly see the highest-trafficked pages for a given domain. It’s a bit buried, so can be easy to miss, but it’s a no-brainer shortcut to quickly unveil the topics with massive traffic. Unfortunately it doesn’t immediately give you traffic or traffic cost, but one extra step will solve that for you.

We like finding the big publishers in our clients’ verticals and then opening up this feature in SEMRush—it’s a quick way to uncover topics we think we can replicate—and improve—as a method of building valuable traffic.

Don’t limit it to publishers, though—you should actually do this for any competitor or business worth a salt in your space—it’ll open up a wealth of opportunity you might miss otherwise.

Keyword Planner’s Ad Group Ideas

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Although initially intended for bidding purposes, Google’s ad group ideas nicely mimic topics, and can give you a decent snapshot of the true potential of a given group. Don’t rely on the average monthly searches, though—use the same process mentioned above to build on Google’s initial research to get a more accurate snapshot.

A Video Walkthrough of the Process

If video is more your thing, I’ve created a tutorial walkthrough showing you some of the basics of the keyword research process.


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Building from There—Hard Work

In my experience, good keyword research, beyond the above quick hacks, basically comes down to hard work. Get creative, grab lots of different keyword variants, use phrase match to grab a massive list of relevant terms and crop from there, and etc.

That’s not to say there isn’t lots of more detailed, in-depth resources on the topic to help you build on your list. I can go on from there, but it’s slightly outside the scope of this post to do so. If a keyword research newbie, I recommend checking out some of the following articles, which go into more depth on the topic:

KOB Research Process Example

So, what does this process look like? What should your spreadsheet of research contain? To fast-track your learning, we’ve created a 100-topic research set for a hypothetical vertical—our own.

Click the below image and you’ll see a list of 100 topics, including traffic cost and traffic numbers, we built out for our own content marketing business. You can copy the spreadsheet and clear out the data to make it pertinent to your own business.


You might think I’m kinda crazy giving out that competitive research for free, but honestly, I don’t think it matters. Research is one thing, but past the research—as you’ll see in the 5,000+ other words in this guide, execution is everything.

With your research in hand, it’s time to start segmenting the content you need to create, and then prioritizing appropriately.

KOB is a great metric that helps nudge lower competition, high benefit terms higher on your list, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically pick the highest KOB topic. That would be “SEO” on ours, and with a difficulty of 86%, it’s not something we’ll be in a position to rank for even three years from now.

What you need to do from here is establish a baseline based on the authority of your domain, how good your content is going to be, and also, where in the funnel your content fits.

To give you an example, our domain authority is currently a mediocre 41 due to not putting a lot of emphasis on it in the past. For that reason, we want to (almost) automatically scratch off any keyword with a difficulty higher than 70%—we just can’t rank today. Even the 60% range as a starting point is gutsy, but it’s achievable if the content is good enough.


On the flipside, if your domain authority is in the 60s or 70s, your analysis isn’t about whether or not you can rank – you instead are trying to determine what keywords you can rank for without promotion, a nice luxury to have. In the 40s, you most likely don’t have that ability – every topic will require cold outreach in order to see the first page.

This baseline can vary on a few different variables, such as your topic authority. If you own and all your content and likes thus far have been about flowers, you can probably stretch for a higher difficulty term.

On the converse, if you’re a flower company trying to create more general lifestyle content, you might need to inflate the difficulty to make up for a lack of perceived authority.

Content Layering 101

Content layering is the most powerful part of this process, and one of the pieces of this strategy that many haven’t realized the power of.

If you can create content that generates links, ranks well, and layers directly on top of one of your landing pages, you’ll not only see the value of that additional traffic, there’s also a strong certainty you’ll push your more commercial landing page to #1 as well.

Confused? Let me show you an example.

Before buying a snowboard, you probably want to know what size makes sense for your frame. Therefore, you’d probably search for something like “snowboard sizing” or “snowboard sizing chart.” These two searches are right before the purchase—but not directly commercial.

As a snowboard provider, if you could get content in front of the end user in that position, there’s a stronger-than-normal chance they’d buy from you.

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Evo does exactly that. They have a nicely done guide that ranks for pretty much every keyword in this set.

But the value here doesn’t just lie in the normal marketing purchase funnel stuff you’ve probably read a million times before. The power lies in the additional SEO benefits that come from layering a page like this on top of their core landing page.

Creating this page does the following things to help Evo rank for “snowboards”:

  • When people then search “snowboards,” they are more likely to click Evo due to the brand awareness that was just generated. The CTR increase may lead to a later reranking based on perceived (and real) brand authority. You might not have a massive brand, but you can generate similar signals with layering.
  • Generating links to this page (that links to the landing page) may increase topic authority/funnel relevancy to the landing page. Nothing groundbreaking, but there’s no doubt that increasing your authority through links, and more content around the subject, may impact the bottom-stage ranking as well.
  • Enables them to get landing page links in the outreach process. Although this is something Evo didn’t actually do, it is possible to get landing page links in the outreach process due to the semantic closeness. We go more in-depth on this strategy on our post on how to get landing page links with blog content.

When these three things are combined—particularly part one, you can push many bottom-funnel landing pages higher. We’ve seen it happen—time and time again.

Imagine ranking for a snowboard sizing page that gets you 8,100 monthly searches, that then pushes you to one for terms that get you 38,000 – like in Evo’s case.

Imagine doing that for wakeboards as well, and seeing 1,900 searches from that mid-funnel set, which powers you to #1 for wakeboards and 13,200 more visits.

Imagine doing that for every product in your product line. One by one. Layer by layer.

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That’s how you see 500,000 increases in web traffic.

In simpler terms, Evo, and many businesses like them, benefit from many mid-funnel terms that exist in their space. If you can create middle-funnel content that ranks #1, it’s a strong lock you can level up your bottom-funnel to #1 as well.

Content Layering Alternatives

Unfortunately, not every business has topics that so easily layer on top of sales pages. Top of funnel is further out, more abstract, and a little less likely to have the CTR effect layering does.

For example, in a business like ours, it’s unlikely any term we could rank for would have a significant CTR impact on any agency or services related term. Therefore, it’s less likely we can create content that will have the multiplier effect that Evo is lucky enough to have.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t still pursue top-of-funnel content. But unlike Evo, it’s integral that you find ways to massage people through the funnel – such as email marketing, or latching them onto social accounts.

This isn’t anything new—what’s interesting and integral, though, is the how you pick those top-funnel terms.

The topic selection decision tree looks something like this:

Distilled, this means that we generally are searching for topics we think have an outreach market, especially at the top of the funnel. Links are still super important, not just in getting those pages to rank, but also to help boost the domain authority as a whole.

Since not every topic is inherently linkable, there’s some finesse to selecting the right concept. I get into more depth in the above post on outreach markets, but also walk you through some topic selection analysis in the video below.


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If we can generate links to something top-of-funnel, not only do we benefit in getting that page to rank, but we also boost the other bottom-funnel pages – creating a micro-effect comparable to what we saw Evo encounter above.

Therefore, if all else is equal in terms of time/effort/KOB, we want to select the content we can generate links to, as that’s the fastest path to the sharp incline Evo incurred – especially in overall revenue.

Of course, we are always thinking about cost/value/likelihood we can upgrade the best content in the vertical—it is almost always the case that the low competition content, although lower benefit, also doesn’t need the same content quality the high competition terms do, so we can sometimes capture more benefit at a faster velocity by hitting those terms earlier.

A Final Option: Keywordless Linkbait

If you don’t have much middle funnel, and you don’t have much top funnel, you might find yourself in the unfortunate bucket of folks that only have one area remaining – the bottom. For these people, searchless linkbait is what’s required to move the needle traffic wise.

By searchless linkbait, what I’m implying is that “linkbait” can be achieved – and should be aimed for, with topics that actually have search volume. I disdain keywordless linkbait. We still do it, but when we do, we’re almost always doing it with low cost, high reward pieces that are done with strong confidence in success.

The best, most powerful content in the world is keyword-driven linkbait. No, you probably can’t generate viral content from most search-driven pieces, but the value from those pieces will almost always be higher. And you can still generate 40-100 links for these, which will move the needle for your bottom funnel in the exact same way.

It is these keyword-driven linkbait pieces that will almost solely power massive traffic increases. Keywordless linkbait won’t do it. It has a place, and it has value for the right business, but it’s not what we put our heart behind.

The play by play on how to create linkbait is slightly beyond the scope of this article. I suggest the following pieces for more detail on linkbait best practices:

Hopefully you now have some comfort with researching and choosing topics that make sense for your business. Now comes the hard part—actually creating the content.

You see, not only do you have to create content around a topic, it’s also recommended that you create content that’s 10x better than the competition. Simply being two to three times better may not be enough to get yourself recognized.

You’d probably ignore a 1.25x better version of Facebook, right? You’d really need a 10x option to pull you away.

The same thought process applies to content, and also, appeasing the search engines. Don’t bet on your 1.25x piece winning the race—make it a no-brainer initiative that not even an imperfect search engine could mess up.

The following infographic summarizes all the best practice data that separates most 10x content from the 1x content. Combine it all, execute like hell, and you might even end up at #1.

Now that you’ve got your 10x content, it’s time to tell people about it. Without this piece of the process, it’s almost impossible to drive traffic to your website of any significant volume.

Outreach has a lot of depth and complexity—but to operate at 80% of operational efficiency—plenty if you’ve got amazing content, it comes down to finding the right targets, and sending the right emails… at a good speed.

These are all the tools you’ll need to get to that level:

  • Link Prospector – Identify targets who may link to you using advanced search queries at scale, which are combined to create a prospect list.
  • OpenSiteExplorer / Majestic / Ahrefs – Identify who is linking to other content like yours, and reach out to them.
  • Link Miner – Identify broken links on other people’s pages. By telling them the links are broken, you’ll add value/give them a reason to correct the page and add your link.
  • BuzzStream / Other CRM – Long term, you’ll want to collect information on your targets, develop relationships, and make sure bigger teams don’t reach out to the same prospects.
  • TextExpander – Allows you to quickly paste outreach templates using text shortcuts for quicker efficiency.
  • Voila Norbert – The most efficient method of finding emails on the market using only the prospect’s fire name, last name, and website address.

Once you’re all tooled out, you’ll need outreach templates. From there, you’ll really only need two templates to get started—one for cold suggestions and one for broken link building.

For any sites without an existing page your content fits into, the cold outreach template is best.

Cold Outreach Template



Thought you might might like this ASSET for WEBSITENAME BECAUSEREASON.

You can see it here: HTTP://WWW.URL.COM/ASSET

If you like it, would definitely appreciate if you considered sharing it. Cheers!

For companies with existing, evergreen link pages, you’ll want to use the broken link building template. It is not suggested you use this on old blog posts, only pages webmasters will still update.

Broken Link Building Template

SUBJECT: Broken links and suggestion for WEBSITENAME


I was checking out your PAGENAME page and noticed a few broken links, specifically LINK1 and LINK2. Thought you’d like to know! COMMENT ON PAGE

I also wanted to suggest a resource I think you might like. It’s ASSET DESCRIPTION.

You can see it here: HTTP://WWW.URL.COM/ASSET

If you like it, would definitely appreciate if you considered it for your page. Cheers!

If you’re new to outreach and the above recommendations don’t ring a bell, I’ve also recorded a video walking you through how to write pitch emails, email finding, and the tools as well.


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I’ve been doing link outreach for seven years. I think I’ve seen a lot.

I don’t do outreach as much anymore, but I still do on occasion just to stay in touch, and get a feel for how things are changing. Just recently I got my hands dirty, did some outreach, and thought of something new.

That’s why I was so excited by a new strategy that increased our output by 21%… almost overnight.

If you’ve ever needed to generate links to your content, you know the power of link roundups. Links of the week, “the best links of the day/month/etc,” are very powerful methods of getting links… because they’re so low friction for publishers.

There are a few tools that exist that allow you to find these posts. Link Prospector (a tool that uses several Google queries to uncover the most and creative Google queries) and the free-version, Google, are amongst the most powerful.

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One of their weaknesses, though, is that you still can’t be certain they will identify all of them. Some of these link roundup posts, unfortunately, have some really weird names. For example, “Friday Finds,” “What I’m Reading,” and “Positively Present Picks.”

What? How can we possibly identify names like these at scale?

The answer comes from leaning on the high authority publishers in your space. If you can find publishers who put out really high quality content with frequency, but not too much frequency (5x a week is the perfect amount), and have a strong domain authority (normally 70-90) you’ll have a goldmine of roundups at your fingertips.

To find these, I suggest putting the domain into BuzzSumo, and then sorting shares by the past month. You’ll get the most popular content, which definitely will correlate with the highest likelihood of being included in a link roundup.

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A good example of this is Moz, the blog of note in the SEO space. If I dump Moz into BuzzSumo, I’ll see Rand’s predictions for 2016 is the most shared post of the past month.

From there, you’ll want to get a glimpse of the most recent links to that post. Recent links are the most likely to be low friction roundups.

Take the URL found from your authority publisher and put it into your link tool of choice – my preference being Moz’s same tool, Just Discovered, because it’s most likely to get us links in the quickest fashion. Look at the links to that post, and that post only.

For these high authority sites, you’d get a lot of noise otherwise—so looking at recent posts, and recent posts only, is what’s most likely to give you good results.

If we do this for Rand’s post, we see the fruits of our labor—posts we would have likely never found otherwise.

… and more.

Imagine having a really good SEO post you recently published that doesn’t have quite the visibility Moz has. You can use this process for Moz, and other blogs like it, to uncover lots of these link roundups you never could have found otherwise.

You won’t just get four links to reach out to… you’ll likely have ten plus new ones… all of which will likely have a ~50% conversion rate, assuming your links are actually good enough to be included.

Do this for your search-driven content—especially the content likely to do worse from a links perspective—to create a well-rounded strategy that pushes most of your content above the fold on the first page of Google.

One issue with this process—and the numbers, is sustainability. There’s no lock that your rankings will hold. Your content could get outdated. Your rankings could fluctuate.

That’s true, but it’s possible to avoid it. This comes from content maintenance, an often overlooked, and also stupidly easy, part of the content marketing mix.

Publishing a blog post does not mean you are banned from ever updating it again.  

In 2013, there was a trend of fake-updating your post timestamps to create an artificial sense of freshness that would benefit you in the search results. Google got called out for this.

It seems like its been toned down slightly, but the effect is still there. People click more recent posts, more often. As they should. This in turn enables more recent posts to benefit from engagement, hypothetically helping them rank higher. Turnover-heavy SERPs are littered with fresh posts.

The wheel turns.

However, this doesn’t mean there’s a dichotomy between manipulation and really old posts. You can update your timestamp, tell users they didn’t come out yesterday, and not be a complete liar.

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Enter this example from Brian Dean. Brian keeps a lot of his posts updated, but he doesn’t fake that the posts came out last week. He includes “Last Updated,” which goes a long way towards communicating that the more-outdated parts of this post have been changed, and you can trust the rest.

This way, if you see a post published last week and it mentions something from 2014, you won’t be jarred. You won’t auto-bounce-back to Google and never trust that site again. You’ll see the difference, and not hate Brian—as long as he actually updates his content.

We’ve adopted this. On our small site, we increased website traffic by 79%. On Anthony Nelson’s test of a much larger one, he saw a 66% web traffic lift.


It’s a simple solution. You can do the same thing on your WordPress site by replacing a single code snippet in your theme’s template. If you’re comfortable modifying code, then this tutorial from is easy to follow.

Track your topics, update your content at a pace that makes sense for the idea, and you’ll see great growth over time. Maybe even 250,000+ monthly growth. Sustainably.

This is not easy. It was easy writing the title of this post. It was much, much harder grinding out the process over three years. But I’m glad I could finally write a post with a title that made it seem easy.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t work. Hell yes it works. But it’s tough. It’s a grind. And it’s a process of dedication and execution. You need talented people in many locations, as well as strategic oversight to glue it all together.

And do it again. And again. And again.

As should be no surprise, that’s what this kind of growth requires. But it’s possible. In my opinion, the strategy itself is not that complicated. It’s the execution—and the repetition of that execution—that will allow you to achieve the results.

If this all felt overwhelming, I created a presentation version of this post, which you can see below. I originally presented it at INBOUND in November 2016, and it contains some updated takes on this post.


How to Steal Your Competitor’s Featured Website Snippets For Better Google Rankings (for Webmasters only) 2018


You’ve probably worked pretty hard to boost rankings on search engine results pages. You’ve done all of the SEO you can imagine, and you’ve followed every tip that’s in the book to get you where you are today. On your site, you’ve done keyword research, written tons of blog posts, and even shared all of your content to your followers on social media for maximum exposure. But those high rankings don’t mean as much if another competitor owns a featured snippet for the same search queries you’re already targeting. All of your hard work will be overshadowed by the content that Google chooses to feature over everyone else ranking on page one. That’s why you need to steal your competition’s methods and beat them at their own game. Here’s how you can steal your competitor’s featured snippets to earn even better rankings.

Before we get to that, let’s talk about what a featured snippet is.

What is a featured snippet?

A featured snippet, sometimes called a rich answer, is a featured block of information that shows up on the first page of Google above all other results.

Like this.

featured snippet

These usually show up in searches that ask a question, such as who, what, where, when, why, or how.

It contains a summary of the content on the featured web page related to your search query, along with the page title, link, and featured image.

For example, when you search for something like “why do dogs yawn,” you’ll see a featured snippet like this that answers your questions without clicking through to the article.

featured snippet 1

Google pulls information included in the featured snippet from one of the organic listings that already appears for that query.

This gives searchers a quick answer to their question without needing to leave Google.

It makes searchers’ lives much easier because they don’t have to do a ton of clicking around to find what they’re looking for. It’s put right in front of them instead.

If you can land featured snippets, you should see huge results, since the position of featured snippets appears above the first placement.

featured snippet position zero

This ensures maximum visibility and exposure because your page will literally be at position zero.

To sweeten the pot, the area that featured snippets takes up is much larger than regular organic results, meaning that your content will truly be front and center.

And the majority of clicks will go to you, not your competitors, since you’re shown off by Google as the main attraction.

According to HubSpot, featured snippets yield a much higher click-through rate (CTR) than regular results do.

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For SERPs with featured snippets, 8.6% of all clicks go to the featured snippet, on average, according to research completed by Ahrefs.

featured snippets ctr study ahrefs

That means that featured snippets steal traffic from all of the organic results on the page. Even the number one result.

But you don’t have to already be at position one to earn a featured snippet. The same Ahrefs research shows that only 30.9% of all featured snippets are top ranking pages.

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That means that if you already rank number one, you can still gain a significant increase in clicks with a featured snippet.

And if you don’t rank number one, that number will be even higher.

To land a featured snippet, you’ll need to make sure that your content is formatted correctly and know what content is already ranking on page one.

But before we get into the specifics of how you can earn featured snippets by stealing them away from your competitors, you need to know what the different kinds are.

If you don’t know which kinds of featured snippets are out there, you won’t be able to optimize your content for them.


The first and most common kind of featured snippet is the paragraph featured snippet.

This snippet contains a short excerpt of text that is typically anywhere from 40 to 50 words in length and looks something like this:

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Usually, there is a thumbnail image that accompanies it.

These kinds of snippets come up in results pages when a user searches a question with a descriptive answer, such as “why is ice slippery?”

Google then takes a chunk of the featured site’s post that most actionably answers the question.


Snippets formatted as lists are usually taken from pages that list items or steps to a process.

They can be bulleted, like this:

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Or they might be numbered, like this:

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These kinds of snippets appear when searchers look for questions about how to complete a task or make something, like a recipe.

Bulleted lists are triggered when the list featured contains steps that can be completed in any order, while numbered lists appear when there are ordered steps that apply.


Tables come up in featured snippets with queries that request pricing or comparisons between several types of items that can be shown quickly via rows and columns.

A table usually looks something like this when it’s used in a featured snippet:

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This type of featured snippet is often less common than the others, since most sites don’t properly format tables on their web pages.

So if you’re going to add tables to your content, be sure to format them correctly.


A featured snippet containing a video player appears when searchers look for something related to a song or movie.

It can also appear when the answer to a question is contained in a video chosen as a featured snippet.

Take this example for the search query “fastest bike in the world vs fastest car,” for instance.

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The video is pulled with the paragraph snippet format, the video thumbnail, and the YouTube link. The paragraph is commonly pulled from the YouTube video description.

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Put the text that you want Google to consider for your snippet at the beginning of your video’s description for best results.

But this isn’t the only type of video snippet out there.

In some instances, Google will show a full-sized YouTube video player that takes up the entire featured snippet space.

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This is a newer kind of video snippet format that Google is using to promote YouTube.

More often than not, media clips or music videos that are featured contain the full-sized player within their snippet.

Now that you know what the different kinds of featured snippets are, you can move on to stealing them from your competitors.

There are several tools out there that can help you accomplish this, starting with SEMrush.

Use SEMrush to find your competitor’s featured snippets

SEMrush is commonly known for its ability to uncover information about site analytics.

But did you know that you can also use it to identify the featured snippets that are currently owned by your competitors?

You can also use the platform to find out which snippets, if any, you already own.

To check how many featured snippets are owned by any site, begin by entering the site URL into the SEMrush homepage.

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Click “Start now.” Then, complete an “Organic Research” search for that domain. To do this, click “Organic Research” and “Positions.”

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Then, locate the button that says “Featured Snippet” on the right-hand side of the page.

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Click that to view information about the keywords that your competitors are targeting that have earned them a featured snippet.

You can also filter keywords that are “snippable” by using the “Advanced Filters” option and selecting Include – SERP Features – Featured Snippets.

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When you’ve uncovered which snippets your competitors are ranking for, you can begin to optimize your own pages for those same terms.

You can find keywords that your competitors are ranking for in those featured snippets to alter your content.

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You can also take a look at the SERP source to see how the snippet appears on the results page by clicking on the blue number in the row and choosing the “View SERP” button.

And you can use the tool to find variations of related, relevant long-tail keywords that you could also target for the snippets that you already own.

Use Ahrefs to grab low hanging fruit

To come up with even more information about your competition, check out Ahrefs.

To get started, head to the Ahrefs Site Explorer and enter your website’s URL.

To find featured snippets, click on “Organic Keywords.” Head over to the top 10 filter and click SERP Features. From there, click “Featured Snippets” and “All Features.”

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This will reveal any and all queries that you currently rank for that are in the top 10 of all results that also have a featured snippet.

This doesn’t mean that you own every single featured snippet listed. Some of them are owned by your competitors.

Next, you need to filter out all of the snippets that you own so that you can only view the snippets that are owned by your competitors.

This kind of feature hasn’t yet been developed by Ahrefs, but you can use an automated spreadsheet to record the data yourself.

You can download it here.

To save it, hit “File” and “Make a copy.”

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Give your copy a customized name and select where you want to save it. Then once you’ve done that, hit the “OK” button.

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Now, you should have a copy of the file that you can edit and fill in with information that is specific to you and your company.

To do this, follow these steps:

  • Export the report that you just filtered in Ahrefs from “Organic keywords” as a CSV file.
  • Import the file into the Google spreadsheet that you just downloaded by clicking “File,” “Import,” “Upload,” and “Select a file.”
  • Change the “Import location” field to “replace data at selected cell.”
  • Head to the tab titled “featured snippets you don’t own.”

On that tab, you will be able to view a list of search queries found by Ahrefs that contain the featured snippets you don’t currently own.

Ahrefs also lets you change the search volume to find long-tail keyword opportunities.

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Google these queries yourself to find out who owns each of the snippets for those terms.

Analyze the content, because you’ll want to mimic it later.

Use Google to identify potential snippets

Google is another excellent tool for unmasking the snippets that your competitors have earned (and that you could earn in the future).

If you want to know which content you need to optimize for snippet opportunities first, then try to think like your audience.

Put yourself in their shoes. What kinds of questions do people in your industry have?

For instance, if you’re in the coffee industry, try and think up some common questions that your customers have, like, “What is cold brew iced coffee?”

Then, do a quick search for that question and find out who currently owns the featured snippet for it.

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Hopefully, the content is already yours. If it isn’t, make a note of your competition.

Look at their content and the type of featured snippet. In the example above, it’s clear Google is pulling a paragraph format for this featured snippet.

So, when formatting your content, you’ll want to write in 40-60 word paragraphs to have a chance at winning this featured snippet.

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Next, take a look at the “People also ask” section of the search results. This will suggest questions related to the one you originally searched.

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These are the similar questions that your audience is dying to know. Expand each question to find out who owns the featured content for each question listed.

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Just like before, click on each of these competitors and note the differences between their content covering the search query and yours.

If you don’t have any posts on your site that answer questions in the “people also ask” section, think about adding these questions as header tags.

If you include the H2 tag “Is cold brew and iced coffee the same thing?” you have a chance at beating Chowhound since they don’t incorporate any of the terms from “people also ask.”

The same goes for the “people also search for” section at the bottom of Google.

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Use this to outline your article and make sure you’re answering all of these questions or utilizing these as your keyword cluster for this particular article.

Now that you know who your competition is, try to steal their snippet by doing more research and writing even better content.

Once you know which snippets you don’t own, you can focus on stealing them.

How you can steal your competitor’s featured snippet

Now that you know which keywords and queries to target, it’s game time.

If you want to rank for featured snippets, you need to take the good, effective things that your competitors have done with their featured content, mimic it, and take it to the next level.

Start by learning what content is already ranking on page one.

Rank on the first page

While you don’t need to always rank on page one to gain a featured snippet, it does give you a higher probability that you’ll beat your competitors.

Glenn Gabe shared at the SMX East Conference in New York City last year that he found featured snippets that ranked on page two at position 16.

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But it is still considered a best practice to improve your organic ranking before attempting to steal a featured snippet.

Otherwise, the lower your position, the higher the potential for volatile fluctuations.

Rob Bucci displayed this chart at SearchLove San Diego this year to show just how volatile those lower rankings can be with featured snippets.

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All said and done, try to aim for keywords that already rank on page one.

Restructure your content

In some cases, your content may already contain everything that it needs to gain you a featured snippet, but your formatting might just be off.

To fix this issue, you’ll need to restructure your content on pages that already answer the same questions as competitors.

Did they use a bulleted list to answer the question? Use one, too.

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Did they answer the question with a video? Create one, too.

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Does their piece feature a table? Add one to your page as well.

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If your competition has earned a snippet without any type of structured markup on their page, you have the upper hand.

That means that all you have to do to earn a featured snippet is make your content easy to read by formatting it correctly.

To do this, format your page with basic HTML tags to make it more scannable.

Add header tags like <h2> or <h3>, subheaders, <p> paragraph tags, and more.

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This will break up the sections of your piece so that Google can easily understand it’s structure.

And, make sure to choose your schema markup wisely.

Alan Bleiweiss was able to beat big sites like Wikipedia and Psychology Today by formatting the featured snippet correctly.Screen Shot 2018 05 15 at 6.10.20 PM

Once you’ve restructured your piece, you need to go above and beyond what others in your space are doing.

Be even better than your competition

One of the easiest ways to elevate your content higher than your competition is to add images to it.

Most featured snippets have at least one image. You need to add several to your page for best results.

Pay special attention to the space directly after the content that you want to get featured. Add images there that relate to your table, list, or paragraph.

This technique is commonly used by sites like WikiHow. They demonstrate each step of an article with an image.

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You need to do the same.

In addition to adding images, you also need to add some alt images text.

But not just any text. It also needs to be SEO friendly.

Alt image text describes images on your website within the source code of your pages.

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This helps Google understand what the images explain.

To add SEO-friendly alt image tags, add relevant keywords to them, explain the image accurately within them, and keep it short.

It’s recommended for alt text not to exceed 125 characters, or the text may not be read completely.

While it’s great to target for keywords, you should also use keyword synonyms.

Add in synonyms of keywords

Using keywords that searchers are going to be looking for in their queries is important. This is what will ultimately lead them to your pages.

Google will even bold these words throughout results pages and featured snippets so that searchers can rest assured that the results match what they’re looking for.

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But you also need to include some synonyms of the keywords that you already want to rank for.

For example, if your keyword is “firework,” keyword synonyms might include:

  • Firecracker
  • Pyrotechnic
  • Low Explosive
  • TNT

People are searching for these terms, too. And you’re missing out on them.

To find them, enlist the help of an SEO keyword suggestion tool, like this one from SEO Review Tools.

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To use it, enter the keyword that you’re currently targeting and select “Perform check.”

Then, the tool will give you an entire list of related keyword synonyms. Add these to the content that you’re trying to earn featured snippets for.

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You’ve already worked hard to improve your SEO.

You’ve put in hours of keyword research, content planning, writing, and more.

But the high rankings you’ve worked so hard to earn won’t pay off as well as they could if another website owns a featured snippet for the exact same keywords you’ve targeted.

A featured snippet is a section of content from a web page selected by Google that gives a searcher all of the information they need in one block of text at the very top of the page.

This keeps searchers from having to click off to several pages before finding what they need. With a featured snippet, they’ll never have to leave Google.

But featured snippets rank even higher than number one. They’re located at position zero.

So you need to gain more snippets to see higher CTRs.

The good news is that you can do that by stealing the featured snippets that your competitors already own.

Different types of featured snippets include the paragraph, list, table, and video snippet.

Each of them is triggered for a different reason, and different search queries pull up different types of featured snippets.

To uncover all of the featured snippets that your competition is ranking for, you can use a tool like SEMrush.

You can also use Google to figure out which snippets might be worth fighting for (and which questions your customers are searching for the answers to).

Try out Ahrefs to figure out which featured snippets are owned by other brands on pages that you already rank high on.

Then, prepare to steal your competitor’s snippets away from them.

Restructure your content with headers and tags and take it to the next level. Add high-quality images that your competitors aren’t using.

Don’t forget to include alt image text for every image you add.

Finally, do some research on keyword synonyms that are related to keywords that are earning featured snippets.

Target those on your pages, too. Your customers are also searching for those words.

What tactics have you used to win featured snippets from your competitors?



Twitter Hacks to Skyrocket Your Search Engine Rankings (For Webmasters And Bloggers Only) 2018


Twitter is absolutely massive, making it a great platform for advertising products and services or sharing your content. If you aren’t using Twitter to boost your brand in 2017, you’re seriously missing out. According to Statista, Twitter has amassed 330 million active monthly users in just ten years. Start using Twitter. Here is how:

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But there’s a bigger value to building up your brand on Twitter besides the obvious capability to reach the large, diverse audiences that it provides.

Search engines actually use social signals from social media to rank your website. Likes, shares, and comments affect SEO in huge ways.

In fact, according to a study completed by cognitive SEO, the higher the average number of shares, comments, and likes a brand has, the higher their website rank actually is.

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That’s crazy, right?

If you use Twitter in the right way, you can boost your brand’s search engine rankings just by posting on the platform.

That’s because Twitter allows you to build a following and gain the attention you need to boost brand awareness. More brand awareness means more searches about your company.

But you might be wondering, “Where do I start?”

Exposure is key. For starters, you need to promote trends, your tweets, and your account to get your name out there to as many people as possible.

Promote, promote, promote

Twitter ads are a surefire way to gain tons of visibility, generate leads, and grow your audience. Therefore, promoting content on Twitter can help you rank higher.

The best part is that you can target specific, custom audiences.

One brand that is currently using an effective Twitter strategy is Rothy’s, a sustainable shoe company. Their Twitter content is on-brand, impactful, and engaging.

Rothy’s shoes are not only made from recycled materials, but they’re also machine washable. And the brand doesn’t let their Twitter followers forget it.

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One way to enjoy the same success as Rothy’s is to promote your own trends or “tags.”

Promote trends

On Twitter, trending or “viral” topics appear on the Discover tab, within the Twitter app, and on the left side of the page.

When you promote a trend, it will appear in those locations.

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The more people that use the tag, the more exposure you’ll gain.

Promoted tweets

Promoted tweets are just regular tweets that will appear for users who don’t follow you on Twitter.

The only difference is that Twitter will add a tag to these tweets that reads, “Promoted by (your brand’s name.)”

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Users can like or retweet them like any other tweet, but you have to pay to have them show up in a targeted audience’s timeline.

Promoted accounts

Promoted accounts put your entire Twitter account in front of users you’ve targeted so that you can gain an audience that is interested in you.

As many as 85% of people say that they find new businesses on Twitter through promoted accounts.

Promoted accounts appear within people’s timelines in the “Who to follow” section and in search results.

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A small tag will appear under your account name that says, “Promoted.”

You shouldn’t just be promoting your account, tweets, and tags to targeted audiences, though. Be sure to add targeted keywords so that Google will be more likely to recognize your tweets.

Utilize targeted keywords

You optimize your website with tons of keywords that you want to rank for.

Why not do the same with your Twitter account? Add keywords right in your Twitter bio, for example, so that Google will associate your account with relevant keywords.

Here’s how FitFluential does it:

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Use these same keywords within your tweets or as a caption alongside any images you might post.

Users on the platform who are searching for these terms on Twitter will then find your page. That means that your tweets will get more exposure, which will boost SEO.

The best part is that keyword searches on Twitter account for misspelling, synonyms, slang, and more, just like on Google.

If a user searches for “love pizza,” broad match results might include, “loving pizza” or, “I love pizza.”

You know which tweets, tags, accounts, and keywords you want to promote. But which audiences should you promote them to?

Select your audience

You can target Twitter ads to certain audiences so they appear in search and in their timeline.

You can select additional audience features and add keywords to any ad campaign. You can even import multiple keywords.

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Campaigns will show up in both search and timeline by default.

You can customize where tweets will appear if you prefer one over the other, though.

And adding the tailored audiences of your choice only takes a few clicks.

You can upload your own list or you can put a code on your website to collect visitors, purchasers, or downloaders.

It’s important to note that uploading your own list can take up to 3 hours.

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In addition to promoting your content, using targeted audiences, and selecting a custom audience, you should also be using hashtags that are relevant.

Use relevant hashtags

There are a few ways you can use relevant hashtags.

You can be on the lookout for trending topics that you can use to generate more attention.

With this one, just make sure that you research and understand what a tag means before you use it.

For instance, you might not want to use the tag “#WhyIStayed” to promote your pizza, seeing how that tag originated as a way for people to share stories about domestic violence.

You can also create a branded hashtag (that you can later promote) like Toyota has done with the tag “#LetsGoPlaces.”

It’s right in the company’s Twitter bio.

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By creating a branded tag, you’ll be encouraging other Twitter users to use the same hashtag on posts that they share featuring your brand.

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Rothy’s has accomplished the same kind of brand awareness with the tag “#LiveSeamlessly.”

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You can even find out which hashtags influencers are using with the help of a few tools.

Like Twitonomy, which will show you a list of the top ten hashtags for the industry influencers you search for.

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Finding trending hashtags in your industry at any given time is important, too.

Hashtagify is a great tool to try out since it will reveal the top 10 hashtags that are related to the keyword you search for.

For example, if you want to see the most popular tags that are related to the word “SEO,” just type it into the search bar.

The site will show you the tag’s recent popularity and trend information.

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From there, you can see a full list of related hashtags.

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You can even view a list of top influencers related to that specific tag.

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If that isn’t enough, look at Twitter’s tailored trends for more ideas.

Check out Twitter’s tailored trends

Tailored trends, which Twitter introduced in 2012, give you a list of topics that are based on your location and the users you follow.

It can be helpful to keep an eye on these lists and make sure that your selections are as close to the audiences you’ve been targeting as possible so that you see the best results.

To change your location, just click on the “Change” button.

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Then, enter the region/country and city that you want to see.

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That’s all there is to it!

Now, if you aren’t already adding images and video to your tweets, you should. They will give you more exposure than tweets without them, which is great for SEO.

Add images and video

According to WordStream, tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than tweets without them.

More clicks = better rankings.

Make sure that you only include images that are relevant, engaging, and high-quality.

Mr. Peanut’s account using this image is a great example:

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Video views can have the same effect as images.

According to Insivia, 82% of Twitter users watch video content on the platform.

Add a short video to your next tweet to promote your product, brand, or service, like this one from SMILF.

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Giveaways and polls are another great way to interact with followers, find new followers, and most important of all, gain attention.

Run giveaways and polls

One simple way to leverage Twitter to boost your search engine rankings is to run a giveaway based on retweets.

To enter, people can complete an action like retweeting one of your tweets.

You can include a link to your website or your most recent blog post in the tweet to boost the rankings for that page.

Or, just add a branded hashtag like the Pittsburgh Steelers did in their most recent Twitter giveaway.

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Be sure to offer the winner a prize and announce to your audience the date that you will be choosing the winner.

Running polls is just as easy as running a giveaway, if not easier.

BuzzFeed has even created an entire Twitter account dedicated to polls, which currently has 119,000 followers.

You can use polls to settle a debate or interact with your followers by asking questions, like Airbnb.

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The engagement you’ll gain from giveaways and polls will boost likes and retweets, improving your overall search rankings.

Remember how I said to include a link to your website when running giveaways? You should add those to regular tweets too, especially if you post blog content regularly.

Share links

The power of links on Twitter is huge, and sharing them can further maximize the reach of your content and web pages.

Since Google recognizes links, tweeting URLs is a quick way to use the power of Twitter to boost your rankings.

That’s one of the reasons I share links regularly to promote my new blog posts.

By sharing links, you’ll direct and drive traffic right to your site, which Google will love.

I like to use a URL shortener like Bitly to optimize my links before I share them so that my links don’t take up too much of my character count.

If you don’t have a blog, tweet out links to your products or web pages as often as possible, like Free Radicals does.

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It’s also important to be consistent so that you don’t scare followers off by posting too much or cause them to forget about you by posting too little.

Tweet consistently

You may think that the more tweets you post, the better your rankings on Google will be.

But Google might actually see that approach as spam.

Plus, you don’t want to post too many tweets in a row to your followers, or you might annoy them into clicking the “unfollow” button.

It’s important to stagger tweets throughout the day and during times when your followers are the most active.

One tool that makes scheduling tweets easy and efficient is TweetDeck.

To schedule tweets, just write them out and select the date and time that you want them to go live.

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Another great Twitter management tool is Hootsuite. You can integrate other social media accounts with this tool, too.

You should also use a tool like Tweriod to determine when most of your followers are online.

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Those are the best times for you to tweet because your tweets will get maximum exposure and attention.

Aside from following all the rules I’ve already named for boosting your rankings through Twitter, the most important one is to actually interact with your audience and reply to them.

Interact with followers

This tip might seem obvious, but people often overlook it.

Imagine if Wendy’s hadn’t replied to Carter Wilkerson? #NuggsForCarter would never have become a trending topic that brought Wendy’s tons of publicity.

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It can be hard to gain interactions on Twitter. Considering that users send over 350,000 tweets every minute, your tweets can easily get lost in the crowd.

That’s why you should engage with the people who are already talking to you to gain the attention of users who aren’t yet.


By creating personalized replies that relate to your specific industry and audience, you’ll build up tons of engagement for a boost on Google.

Encourage users to interact with you by posting relevant tweets, talking to industry-specific followers, mentioning other Twitter users, and responding to mentions quickly.

By interacting with followers, you’ll gain more retweets, mentions, and likes. And that means better rankings.

You should also reach out to influencers who can share your tweets, brand, and account with their audience.

Do influencer outreach

Since exposure on Twitter is the key to gaining likes and retweets, you should find some influencers who can give you exposure to their Twitter audience.

Twitter influencers can boost your credibility quickly because they’re already credible within your industry.

When an influencer talks about your brand, products, or services with their Twitter audience, their trusted followers will head to your page to check you out.

When trying to reach out to influencers, it can be helpful to:

  • Create meaningful content that is shareable and valuable to your industry
  • Develop long-term relationships with influencers rather than viewing them as people who can give you a quick, short-term boost
  • Retweet tweets from influencers with whom you want to engage
  • Collaborate with influencers by writing guest blog posts for them or allowing them to write guest posts on your blog

There are several tools that are helpful for finding influencers in your industry if you aren’t sure who to reach out to.

One of them is Klear.

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Just select the social network that you want to search through, the skill or keyword you’re interested in, and your location.

That’s it!

Another great tool for finding influencers in your industry is BuzzSumo.

Just search for a keyword and you’ll find influencers that relate to that topic.

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The tool will even show you the page authority, domain authority, number of followers, retweet ratio, reply ratio, and the average number of retweets for each influencer within the results.


Twitter is an absolutely massive social network.

But you should never think of social networks as being isolated from search engines. It’s actually quite the opposite.

Google pulls tons of information from social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The more exposure that your posts get (such as likes, comments, mentions, and retweets), the higher your search engine rankings will be.

That’s because Google uses social signs to recognize certain web pages and brands.

But you have to use Twitter in the right way to skyrocket your search engine rankings.

It’s all about gaining exposure and attention. Start out by promoting your account, your tweets, and your tags (sometimes known as trends).

Use targeted keywords on Twitter just like you do on your web pages and blog content. Google will recognize the keywords associated with your brand on Twitter, too.

Be sure to use relevant hashtags and research a trending tag before you tweet something that contains it.

Add images and video to your tweets to increase engagement, and be sure to share links back to your website to direct and drive traffic.

Tweet consistently and schedule out your tweets in advance to maintain a regular posting schedule. Post during times when your followers are most active.

Finally, don’t forget to engage with followers as often as possible and do some influencer outreach to get your name out there.

How do you use Twitter to boost your search engine rankings?




Improve Your Website / Blog SEO in 30 Minutes With Google Analytics Insights (2018)

Improve seo with google insights analytics

SEO is a vast topic. I’ve written countless articles about SEO over the years. In fact, if you search for “SEO tactics” on Google, you’ll get over 4 million results. Almost three out of every four searches start on Google. And the first five results that show up on Google get 67% of all clicks. So you can see why SEO is such an important topic. Thankfully, you don’t need to study the subject for years before you can excel at SEO. I’m going to show you four quick wins you can easily achieve to boost your SEO.

These won’t take you weeks or months of trial and error. You can uncover these wins in Google Analytics in less than 30 minutes.

But first, let’s make sure that you’ve set up your Google Analytics properly.

Make sure you have the basics of Google Analytics down

Google Analytics has no shortage of reports, tools, and data.

At times, it probably feels like there’s too much.

There are times when all of this data can be downright misleading.

Fortunately, I won’t worry about taking you into the advanced settings of Google Analytics right now.

Today, it’s all about finding those quick wins.

I’m going to give you the critical 20% of the work you can do to boost 80% of your results.

However, to get those quick wins, we first need to make sure that you’ve taken care of your Google Analytics and Google Search Console basic setup.

If you don’t have a GA account at all, you can check out a beginner’s guide on how to set it up.

Step 1: Check your XML Sitemap.

You should have your sitemap registered with Google Search Console to help Google properly analyze your site.

A standard sitemap looks like this:

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If you use WordPress, you can simply download the Google XML Sitemap plugin.

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However, just syncing your sitemap isn’t enough.

You need to make sure that Google is reading it properly and that you don’t have any errors.

Indexing errors will skew your Analytics report and make it more difficult for you to capture quick wins.

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Next, you need to find out if Google is actually using your sitemap.

Step 2: Make sure Google is crawling your site.

First, you need to log into your Search Console and click the site you want Google to crawl. Then, click “Fetch as Google” in the “Crawl” section.

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You can then enter the path to the page in the text box.

Select either “desktop” or “mobile” from the drop-down list and click “Fetch.” You should test for both desktop and mobile.

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Once it finishes testing, you can request indexing.

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This helps you make sure that Google is crawling it. You can also ask Google to crawl all of its direct links.

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Additionally, you should use Google’s robots.txt Tester tool to see if you’ve correctly set up your robots.txt file for all of the pages you want Googlebot to crawl (or not crawl).

You can even send your own crawler to your site to check it out.

And there are tools like Screaming Frog that can test for you to make sure that Google’s bots won’t run into any errors.

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Step 3: Check your indexing.

You can check your indexing in two ways.

Your first option is simply to go to Google and type “”


This will instantly tell you how many pages Google thinks your site has.

The second method is to go back to your Search Console and select “Index Status.”

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This will also show you the number of pages Google has indexed. (The number you see here should match the number you got from trying the first method.)

If Google is showing fewer pages than you actually have, it means that Google hasn’t yet indexed some of your content and you won’t be able to get any Analytics data on it.

If, on the other hand, Google is showing more pages than you actually have, it suggests that you might have a duplicate content problem.

You can use Screaming Frog or a tool like Copyscape to identify any duplicate content that Google believes you have.

Now that you know that Google is capturing your data correctly, there’s one more piece you should set up to maximize your Google Analytics data.

Step 4: Create some goals.

Google defines goals as measurements for how often people are taking the actions you want them to take.

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Setting up goals allows you to measure GA data alongside the specific outcomes that are important to you.

To get to the goals section, click the admin tab inside Google Analytics.

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Then, in the column furthest to the right, select “Goals.”

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Click the “+New Goal” button.

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Now, you can either select one of their templates to start from or choose the “custom” button at the bottom.

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I’ll walk you through a template for now, but Google offers further info on setting up custom goals if you’re interested.

Let’s choose the “Make a payment” template as an example.

Select that option and click “Continue.”

From here, you can name your goal and give it a type.

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I’ll choose “Destination” and click “Continue.”

Now, enter your checkout confirmation page URL into the bar and keep the “Equals to” option.

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You can leave the “Value” option off but turn the “Funnel” option on if you want your goal to track a specific journey to conversion.

For example, let’s say you only want to track buyers who go from your homepage to a product page, then from the product page to a checkout page, and finally go to a confirmation page.

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Be careful when you narrow down funnels, though.

Your funnels will make it so that only buyers who follow those exact steps will count toward this goal.

After you finish this section, click “Save.”

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Now that you have your goals all set up, let’s look at some quick ways that you can boost your SEO.

1. Find your best content

There will be some pieces of content on your site that naturally rank and convert better than others.

Using GA, you can quickly find which pages are performing well so that you can capitalize on them.

Let’s start by looking at how you can find your content that’s converting the best.

There are two ways to go about this.

First, you can look at your attribution path to conversion.

Google offers a number of attribution models so that you can see where your customers came from before converting.

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You have to keep in mind that GA’s default is “last touch attribution,” which tends to lie.

If you’re going to use attribution models to identify converting content, then make sure you’re aware of the buyer’s journey.

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As you can see, it’s rare that only one touchpoint is solely responsible for conversion. Buyers typically go through multiple stages.

With the buyer’s journey in mind, you can use the attribution model that will help you best interpret your data.

The second way to find your best-converting content is by looking up your Reverse Goal Path.

Log into GA and look under conversions in the left-hand menu.

You’ll see a “Goals” drop-down, and underneath that, you’ll see “Reverse Goal Path.”

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Simply select the goal you want to track. On the right-hand side, you’ll see the previous steps that happened right before someone converted.

It should look like this:

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Your confirmation or “Thank You” page is on the far left.

Next to that, you’ll see your purchase page or opt-in page.

Then, to the right of that, you’ll see the pages that brought your traffic to make the purchase.

These will often be landing pages. However, you may also see other pages or posts on your site that have strong calls-to-action.

You want to focus on funneling people to the pages in the right-hand column when they’re in the “ready to buy” portion of the sales funnel.

Now that you know that this content is helping conversions, you want to promote it to boost the traffic to those pages.

You can also create more internal links back to those pages to help direct your site visitors to that content.

This is a great approach to help you increase your conversions. But your best-converting content may not be your best-ranking content.

Here’s how you can quickly find your top-ranking content.

In the GA left-hand menu, select “Acquisition,” then “Search Console,” and finally “Queries.”

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This will show you all of the keywords that pages on your website currently rank for on Google.

You can see which pages correspond to which query or keyword and which page they currently rank on.

You should identify any pages showing up on page one and note which keywords they are ranking for.

This allows you to do two things.

  1. If the keywords and content complement one of your top-converting pages, make sure you provide a link and a CTA on the high-ranking page to help draw people over to convert.
  2. Add more internal links to your high-ranking pages to and from other content to help boost its rankings.

2. Help out your lower ranking content

The method I showed you above will help you identify your best content. Now, here’s some good news:

You can use this same method to help you find your second-best content, too.

Why would you want to do this?

Because updating and improving your old content to boost its rankings can be a quick way to improve your SEO.

Unbounce stopped publishing for two weeks in order to go back and update their old content.

Their efforts paid off with 275% more conversions from their 17 highest-traffic posts.

But, if you have a lot of content, how do you pick which posts to focus on?

That’s where Google Analytics comes in.

It can help you find your content with the best potential to perform considerably better with a relatively small amount of work.

You want to keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between page one and page two of the SERPs.

At the beginning of this post, I shared with you that the first five results get 67% of all clicks.

On the other hand, if you end up on the second page of Google, you’re going to get less than 6% of clicks.

So, what does this mean?

It means that the most worthwhile content to focus on is stuff that’s near the top of page two. If you can push it onto the first page, you can expect to see a big jump in traffic from it.

To pinpoint that content, go back to your query page in GA.

Then, click on the “advanced” option and set the “Average Position” to “Greater than 10.”

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Save the results, and you’ll see all of your content that’s currently hanging out beyond page one.

Now, if you have a lot of content sitting on page two, narrow it down to the ones with the most impressions.

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You can also pinpoint all of the potential long-tail search queries that might be sending traffic to the same page.

Now, what do you do about it?

First, refer back to the last strategy. If you have high-ranking content that naturally complements content on page two, then make sure you link the two pieces of content together.

You should also refresh the content and follow the right steps to optimize it, such as:

  • Make sure that you’ve optimized all of your content for mobile
  • Gain quality external backlinks
  • Boost engagement with social shares and comments
  • Improve your visuals

Make sure you’re targeting the top-ranking factors:

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If this looks overwhelming, don’t worry. Just focus on the basic, quick wins for SEO.


After all, you’re already on page two, not page ten. That means that you’re on the right track.

Just do a little extra to get your content out of the graveyard.

3. Reduce abandonment on high-traffic pages

Site-wide bounce rates are too broad to provide any use. They’re simply vanity metrics.

Bounce rate will vary according to industries, geographies, user demographics, devise usage, and many other factors.

Bounce rates for blogs tend to be higher than for e-commerce pages.

So, how do you figure out what’s causing abandonment?

Well, you first want to focus on fixing the pages with the most traffic since they’ll have the biggest impact.

Start by pinpointing your high-ranking pages that are bringing in lots of search traffic.

Then we can identify which of those valuable pages are failing to convert your visitors into your customers.

You can do this by looking in your GA account.

In the left-hand menu, under “Behavior,” click on “Site Content” and then “All Pages.”

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If you just want to look at landing pages, you can do that too. But right now, we’re going to stick with all pages.

Once you’re in there, click on the “advanced” option.

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Now make sure that your primary dimension is “Source” and then choose sources containing “Google / organic.”

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This will make it so that your results will only show the top-performing pages you have coming directly from organic Google search results.

It excludes all paid campaigns and any results that are getting big traffic due to social media efforts or other advertising efforts.

Now, when your results populate, you want to sort them so that the highest traffic pages are at the top.

Remember: these are the biggest and quickest wins, so they’re where we want to focus our attention first.

In the columns furthest to the right, you can see the “Bounce rate” and the “% Exit” for each of your highest traffic pages.

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The average bounce rate is just over 58%.

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If you’re seeing higher rates, don’t panic just yet.

Remember that a lot of things can impact bounce rate. The average varies across business type and industry.

If you’re a blogging management consultant site, you should expect a bounce rate that’s higher than the average.

On the other hand, a financial services e-commerce site should have a lower-than-average rate.

Rather than worry too much about your exact number, just focus on your highest rates.

Particularly, focus on pages that have both a high bounce rate and a high exit percent.

Those two metrics combined are a good signal that your page isn’t doing a great job of matching searcher intent.

Check the obvious problems first:

  • Is your content outdated?
  • Is it easy to read with lots of relevant visuals and white space?
  • Have you optimized it for mobile?
  • How long does the page take to load?
  • Is the page too brief to sufficiently answer the topic?

Also, consider the keywords your page is ranking for.

Do any of them have a double meaning?

If your page is ranking for a keyword that can mean more than one thing, this could create a high bounce rate.

If this is the case, make sure your meta tag is very clear about what your content is about.

There are lots of ways that you can use GA to slice and dice your bounce rate further to better understand what is causing it.

However, another quick method is to do some testing to see exactly why people are leaving these high traffic pages.

You can start by using a heatmap.

Heatmaps like those from Crazy Egg, allow you to see where visitors are clicking on your site.

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You can also use them to see which content your visitors have scrolled through.

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These can help you pinpoint what people are paying attention to and which content they touched right before they bounced.

Another way to lower your bounce rate is by A/B testing.

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Some things you may want to A/B test include:

  • Color of your CTA buttons
  • Position of your CTA buttons
  • Images
  • Headlines
  • Subheadings
  • Phrases on your navigation bar
  • Number of form fields required
  • Length of product trials
  • Time-sensitive bonus offers

4. Pinpoint and improve your mobile conversions

Google now uses mobile-first indexing.

Mobile is getting the priority on SERPs.

There’s no real wonder to this since the use of mobile is continuing to grow.

Check out device usage on a regular work day:

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Tablets and phones are dominating the traditional “out-of-office” hours.

But look at this concerning research from Monetate.

Smartphones are responsible for over 51% of website visits.

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But their conversion rate is less than half of the rate for desktop users.

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Most of your site visitors are mobile, but they’re less than half as likely to convert as your desktop users.

So, what can you do about it, and how can GA quickly help?

First, log into your GA account and look under the “Audience” section in the left-hand sidebar for mobile.

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Expand it and select “Overview.”

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This will give you some information on how your site is performing on mobile devices.

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On the far right-hand side, you can select a goal completion for GA displayed next to your mobile performance breakdown.

Then, you can see the difference in conversion rate and total goal completions during that period.

Now you can clearly see if there’s a quantifiable difference in how your mobile site performs versus your desktop site.

Chances are, based on the study above, you will see it converting less. On average, it will convert around 2% less if you exclude tablets and isolate smartphones.

What can you do about it?

You need to make sure that you optimize all of your content for mobile.


Focus on these 20+ ways to improve your SEO by improving the mobile experience:

  1. Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) markup
  2. Implement schema markup
  3. Choose a responsive web design
  4. Compress images
  5. Remove Flash
  6. Use a heatmap on the mobile version of your site to check for differences from desktop
  7. Check out Google’s repository of info for improving the mobile experience
  8. Make sure your mobile site is blazing fast
  9. Tag posts based on mobile searches
  10. Remove pop-ups from your mobile site

For quick wins, focus on improving the content that Google Analytics tells you is already getting mobile traffic.

In particular, focus your attention on those pages with high bounce rates on mobile devices.


Improving your SEO doesn’t have to consume all your time and energy. But too often, we make it more difficult than it needs to be.

We overcomplicate it or worry about things outside of our control instead of focusing on what’s actionable.

Focus on these quick and easy Google Analytics tips to pinpoint simple SEO fixes you can make right away to boost your performance today.

Optimize your best content.

Try to increase the rankings of page-two content to push it over onto page one.

Focus on decreasing your bounce rate on your high-traffic pages.

Finally, focus on mobile traffic and optimization.

What fast wins have you gotten out of Google Analytics?



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


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?

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

official website:


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

official website:

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

official website:

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

official website:

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

official website:


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.


official website:


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

official website:

Link BuildingFree turns your list of spammy URLs into a Google-ready disavow file. Good stuff.

official website:

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

official website:

Free Broken Link Checker

Link BuildingFreemium

This tool checks a website for broken links. Helpful for broken link building.
Free Broken Link Checker

official website:


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.

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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.

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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.

whitespark screenshot 3

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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.

zandro auditor

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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.

answer the public 2

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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.

keyword in

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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.

kwfinder screenshot 2

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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.

Long Tail Pro

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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.

Seed Keywords

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.


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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.