Thank you for the great checklist. It is really useful and gave us a couple of new hints on optimization process. We’ve been using WebSite Auditor and found it exremely helpful in site’s structure and content analysis, bringing all the statistical information on the validation errors, social mentions, duplicate stuff, etc. under one roof. Still there is so many different SEO information you sometimes cannot understand what to start with. Fortunately you answered this question. Thank you again!
Our Yoast SEO Premium plugin allows you to optimize your content for synonyms and related keywords – up to five per article in fact. This is a functionality we’re developing and extending currently, to make our content analysis just as smart as Google. Marieke has written a roadmap for this here. We’ve also written a post about why you shouldn’t use your focus keyword more than once.
At my own company we’ve used content marketing to grow more than 1,000% over the past year. Potential clients find our content, find value in it, and by the time they contact us they’re already convinced they want to work with us. We don’t have to engage in any high pressure sales tactics, it’s merely a matter of working out details, signing an agreement, and getting started. The trust that usually needs to be built up during an extensive sales cycle has already been created before we know the potential client exists.
Customer preference of products is only part of the analysis. There are internal operational factors which can provide a competitive edge as well. Your competitors' products may not have the high quality of yours, but they might offer free delivery; or their employees might be extremely motivated and committed to gaining market share. You need to learn how they are doing on the inside. Some factors to consider:
When I was working on my own startup, Complete Seating, we did this for OpenTable. I spent at least a night a week working as a host. What was most interesting was all of the other tools that they needed to get their job done: hardwired phone, discussions with waiters, discussions with the kitchen, POS access, and more. We saw some key differentiation with automating the communication through SMS and phone before a guest got to the restaurant. They were really powerful in showing how OpenTable was just a digitization of the maitre d book.
We know how important is to look professional and cutting edge when you are closing the sale of technology-stuffer services. Our designers spent months to find the best possible layout for the reports. They made a bunch of A/B tests with the SEO agency's potential clients. That is why we are happy to represent brand new, updated, white-label/embedded audit report.

Use the Keyword Planner to flag any terms on your list that have way too little (or way too much) search volume, and don't help you maintain a healthy mix like we talked about above. But before you delete anything, check out their trend history and projections in Google Trends. You can see whether, say, some low-volume terms might actually be something you should invest in now -- and reap the benefits for later.
Understanding the balance of terms that might be a little more difficult due to competition, versus those terms that are a little more realistic, will help you maintain a similar balance that the mix of long-tail and head terms allows. Remember, the goal is to end up with a list of keywords that provide some quick wins but also helps you make progress toward bigger, more challenging SEO goals.
It is used across the customer journey and customer life cycle but doesn’t start nor end with the customer in the strict sense. Internal customers are crucial in an integrated approach as well. Content marketing further serves several business functions in a consistent, integrated and continuous way. It looks at the customer from a connected and customer-centric perspective and takes into account the content requirements of anyone serving and engaging prospects and customers.
Steve, great post and I refer back to it often. I've been doing SEO audits for quite some town, but I am always trying to beef mine up - especially on the technical side of the audit which I feel is my weakest area where I need to provide more value to my clients. Geoff and Dave's technical audit posts are also great choices to link to for that side of things - really thorough. Appreciate your hard work putting this together. Did you ever end up putting the "world's greatest SEO audit report" post together?
When launching, adjusting or creating search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, you work with a ton of keywords (words you choose and want to rank well in search engine results). In the SEO/SEM world, keywords can be a marketer’s best friend, if chosen wisely! The keywords you choose for your Pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising campaigns can ultimately determine the success or failure of your campaign. In order to succeed, you need to find a good mix of different keywords, from branded to non-branded, to competitors terms, as well as generic and long-tail terms. There are plenty of excellent paid or free trial PPC keyword research tools out there to choose from. However, you can create a really extensive keyword list with tools that are 100% free  – Sweet!
This makes Google Suggest a relevant source for keyword research, it contains a large amount of organic keywords very closely related to a full or partial keyword and can be used to find additional most searched appending keywords that make the whole keyword less competitive. Google Suggest can be researched through the Google Search website or through a compatible browser for a small amount of keywords but also in large scale using free scraper tools.
Most marketers spend more time creating content than actually getting the word out by promoting it. When it comes to promoting content, you should spend about 40% of your time creating it and 60% of your time promoting it. In this lesson, you'll learn how to promote content through your distribution channels, like email and social media. We'll also show you specific tactics on how to promote your content to make sure you're effective in approach.
To make sure content (yep, even that top-of-funnel stuff) gets the credit it deserves, use multichannel tracking (also called attribution modeling). That's a way to set up your analytics platform so it allocates a part of each conversion to each of the channels touched by the customer on their happy path to conversion. For example, at Moz, we find the average relationship has seven to eight customer touchpoints before conversion.

And so on and so on. The point of this step isn't to come up with your final list of keyword phrases -- you just want to end up with a brain dump of phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic bucket. We'll narrow the lists down later in the process so you don't have something too unwieldy.
Steve, great post and I refer back to it often. I've been doing SEO audits for quite some town, but I am always trying to beef mine up - especially on the technical side of the audit which I feel is my weakest area where I need to provide more value to my clients. Geoff and Dave's technical audit posts are also great choices to link to for that side of things - really thorough. Appreciate your hard work putting this together. Did you ever end up putting the "world's greatest SEO audit report" post together?
In the digital world of inbound, the first impression of your business comes through your writing. You can have the best company, the best products, or the best services, but if you're not able to communicate that to your audience, then you risk losing them. In this lesson, you'll learn how we get ideas out of our head and format them into an effective piece of content. Additionally, you'll learn some grammatical pitfalls to avoid. Sometimes a simple wrong use of it's vs. its can deter your audience.
Do I Need to Analyze All of My Competitors? There are several markets where it is relatively easy to name every competitor. These are concentrated markets where only a handful of competitors exist. If this is the scenario for your product or service, you will need to develop an analysis for each competitor. The steel industry and automobile industry are examples of these types of markets. If you are selling in a market with many competitors, your job of analyzing the competition becomes a little more difficult. Since it is unrealistic to collect and maintain information on dozens of competitors, you will be able to save yourself valuable time, without sacrificing the integrity of your competitive analysis, by using the old 80/20 rule. In fragmented markets with many competitors, it is most probable that 80% of the total market revenues are accounted for by 20% of the competition. It's the 20% you would examine most closely. For instance, in the computer industry, the personal computer market, is represented by hundreds of clone manufacturers with the majority of the market being captured by a handful of manufacturers such as Compaq, IBM, and Apple. When using this approach it is important to keep abreast of your market for new and upcoming players who through some variable, whether it be new technology or an aggressive advertising campaign, may become a dominant player. What Means are Available to Limit and Control the Competition? Marketers of different brands of products will often pursue a particular market segment. Market Segmentation, which is the means of breaking down larger markets into smaller ones requiring different marketing mixes, is a means for strengthening and focusing your attempt to limit and control the competition. There are however, a broad range of strategies a business can employ in a competitive environment — from price changing and new packaging to improving customer service and new product development. CONDUCTING AND PREPARING YOUR COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS [top] Conducting and preparing your competitive analysis will follow these steps:

Seed terms don't just lead to metrics like search volume; they also open the door to the bounty of related keyword suggestions that you may not have thought of yet. You can see how a simple seed word you picked up through a Facebook group or from a conversation with a customer can grow into a useful tree of keywords brimming with ideas for your pages or next blog post.

Extract knowledge from your subject matter expert. Put together a list of questions for your SME to answer to painlessly extract his or her knowledge. It’s completely OK if your SME isn’t a natural writer; that’s what your content marketing team members are there for. What’s most important is that you communicate his or her expertise, and that’s where this process comes in handy. Your questions should be highly specific to get the right information from your SME’s brain and create unique, high-quality expert content using those insights.
Competitor analysis is an essential component of corporate strategy.[3] It is argued that most firms do not conduct this type of analysis systematically enough[4]. Instead, many enterprises operate on what is called "informal impressions, conjectures, and intuition gained through the tidbits of information about competitors every manager continually receives." As a result, traditional environmental scanning places many firms at risk of dangerous competitive blindspots due to a lack of robust competitor analysis.[5]
All keyword research starts with a topic, idea, or head keyword, also called a "seed." This seed can come from your industry knowledge, from being an active member in related online forums and groups, or from the products and services you provide. Make sure you have a spreadsheet or notepad where you can jot these terms down as you journey through the labyrinth of websites and social networks to discover variations on those keywords.
A FINAL WORD [top] Schedule a competitive analysis on a regular basis, as you do for inventory and other business functions. Depending on what market you're operating in it could be every two months or once a year. Consider employing a college student for the summer or create student internship positions to fulfill the task. You must remember that your competitive research and analysis is never finished. This is on-going, rather than a one-time process. Your competition can change quickly, new players can emerge tomorrow, the economy may upswing or downswing at any moment. It's only when you clearly understand your competition that you can evaluate your own market position. Only then can you exploit their weaknesses to your competitive advantage and seek to improve your own marketing efforts. CHECKLIST [top] ___ Have you identified your direct and indirect competitors? ___ Do you know how the customers in your target market rate your product in comparison with your cometitors'? ___ Have you compiled the intelligence you have gathered on each competitor in a format that fosters comparison of features and market postions? ___ Do you have strategies for building on your strengths and minimizing your vulnerability where you have weakenesses? Do you have strategies for minimizing the value of your competitors' strengths and taking advantage of their weaknesses? ___ Have you communicated the competitor information and your strategies to every worker who needs to know? In research and development? In production? In marketing and sales? ___ Have you established procedures for keeping your industry and competitor profiles current? RESOURCES [top] Books Competitive Intelligence for the Competitive Edge, by Alan Dutka. (NTC Business Books, 1999). Brief discussions of competitive intelligence activities are followed by extensive real-life case-study examples. Web Sites "Do You REALLY Know What The Competition Is Doing?" by Darrell S. Mockus. Journal of Business Strategy 24:1 (January-February, 2003), 8-10. "Spies Like Us," by Carole Ashkinaze. Business Week (July 12, 2000), F4+. "Face-to-Face: Spies Like Us," by Stephanie L. Gruner. Inc. 20:11 (August 1998), 45 (7). "Spy Away," by Mark Henricks. Entrepreneur 28:3 (March 2000), 98. Fuld and Company. What Is CI?. Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals. "Competitive Intelligence vs. Espionage," by Fred White. ThomasNet Industrial Newsroom, May 22, 2007. Writer: Susan MaGee All rights reserved. The text of this publication, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher.  
“Thin” content is content that fails to meet user needs. A 300-word blog post explaining a complex concept would be considered thin. That said, it’s not realistic to put 1000-2000 words on every page of your site. Pages closer to your homepage are going to be dominated by design work—hero images, icons, etc.—call-to-action buttons, and product-centric copy. So, what content should you be looking at?
Gather Competitive Information Secondary sources of information are recommended as an excellent starting point for developing a competitive and industry analysis. Secondary sources include information developed for a specific purpose but subsequently made available for public access and thus alternative uses. For example, books are secondary sources of information as are articles published in journals. Marketing reports offered for sale to the general public also are considered secondary sources. Although, they have been created for a purpose other than your current need, they are still excellent sources of information and data. With the ever increasing speed of document identification and retrieval through electronic means, secondary sources are not only an inexpensive source of information but are readily available soon after publication. Sources of information include:
The next step towards a long-term keyword strategy is to create awesome landing pages. In the past, every one of the keywords you want to be found for got its own landing page. Today, however, search engines are so smart that they mostly use search intent to give searchers the best answer to their questions. The page that answers those questions best will rank on top. Search engines also understand subtle differences between keywords so you don’t have to create landing pages for all subtle variations of a keyword.  You can just optimize a page for multiple keywords.
Once you've got a good list, you'll want to determine how popular each keyword is and how difficult it would be to rank for them on search engine results pages (SERPs). This is where a keyword tool comes in handy. Start by entering a seed into a research tool like Keyword Explorer. You'll be presented with details on how popular the search is and how difficult it is to rank well for that keyword.
If you don't know the difference between head terms and long-tail keywords, let me explain. Head terms are keywords phrases that are generally shorter and more generic -- they're typically just one to three words in length, depending on who you talk to. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words.
While doing the marketing competitor analysis you have to consider everything in SWOT. For that, you need to assess the external factors. This is where the PEST analysis comes into play. By doing the PEST analysis, you are getting to know how your competitors will react when there is a change. Will they consider that change an opportunity to do better or see it as a threat? This will give you an idea as to how your rivals operate. You can even base your marketing strategy on their ideas. Supposing there is a social change and your competitors cannot deal with it. However, your firm can. So you will try to strategize to take full opportunity of that social change so that you come out better than your opposition.
Industry Forums: Posting content on respected industry forums adds a level of authority and brand reach your company may not have had before. Sites like Business Insider or Forbes are ideal for a more general business management audience, but niche publications that are exclusive to your industry can be even better channels through which to target your core audience.
If you want to create effective content that converts visitors into leads and eventually customers, you need to create a helpful, positive user experience that solves for both the searcher and the search engine, not just one or the other. Here's how your content can solve for both: Create targeted clusters of relevant content that each cover a specific core topic in depth. These targeted clusters then need to lead to a centralized hub, known as a content pillar.

The second step of keyword research is creating a list of your keywords. With your mission in mind, try to get into the heads of your potential buyers. What will these people be looking for? What kind of search terms could they be using while looking for your amazing service or product? Ask yourself these questions and write down as many answers as possible.

In this example, competitor #1 is rated higher than competitor #2 on product innovation ability (7 out of 10, compared to 4 out of 10) and distribution networks (6 out of 10), but competitor #2 is rated higher on customer focus (5 out of 10). Overall, competitor #1 is rated slightly higher than competitor #2 (20 out of 40 compared to 15 out of 40). When the success factors are weighted according to their importance, competitor #1 gets a far better rating (4.9 compared to 3.7).
When I was working with BLADE, an Uber-like helicopter service, we wanted to know why people would pay $600 for a 5-minute long helicopter ride from Manhattan to the airport, but not the other way. In this particular case, our competitor was sitting alone in a black car in traffic back to the city. The benefit was that they weren’t really in a rush and they could catch up on things. It was the only time they could be alone with their thoughts.
The objective of keyword research is to generate, with good precision and recall, large number of terms that are highly relevant yet non-obvious to the given input keyword.[2] Process of keyword research involves brainstorming and the use of keyword research tools. To achieve the best SEO results, it is important to optimize a website as well as backlinks for the most relevant keywords. It is good practice to search for related keywords that have low competition and still a high number of searches. This makes it easier to achieve a higher rank in search engines which usually results in higher web traffic. The downside of this practice is that the website is optimized for alternative keywords instead of the main keyword; main keywords might be very difficult to rank for due to high competition.[3] There are three essential concepts to consider when conducting keyword research. Good keywords are closely related to the subject of the website. Most search engines use an internal quality system to check website relevance related to possible keywords, a non relevant keyword is unlikely to rank well for a website.[4][5] Good Keyword that are highly competitive are less likely to rank in the top. Keywords that have no monthly searches generate no traffic and therefore are useless for SEO. Keyword stuffing in a web page should be avoided.

When I was working with BLADE, an Uber-like helicopter service, we wanted to know why people would pay $600 for a 5-minute long helicopter ride from Manhattan to the airport, but not the other way. In this particular case, our competitor was sitting alone in a black car in traffic back to the city. The benefit was that they weren’t really in a rush and they could catch up on things. It was the only time they could be alone with their thoughts.


There are as many types of content marketing as there are types of content--far too many to cover here. My intent is to give you an introduction to content marketing and get you thinking like a content marketer so you’ll see the opportunities all around you. Soon you’ll be coming up with 50 content marketing ideas every day. You won’t be able to stop seeing opportunities to create content. Here are five examples to help your mind start percolating.
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