As with beefing up thin content, there are certain pages on your site where it’s not going to be feasible to fully optimize for target and ancillary keywords. Say you are an employee scheduling software company. You’ve squeezed “employee scheduling software” onto your homepage in multiple places. The highest volume, lowest competition keyword related to “employee scheduling software” is “best employee scheduling software.” While you’d like to rank for that keyword, it’s probably not a prudent move to say “we’re the best” on your homepage. That’s a keyword best reserved for a blog post.
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.
Repeat this exercise for as many topic buckets as you have. And remember, if you're having trouble coming up with relevant search terms, you can always head on over to your employees on the front lines -- like Sales or Services -- and ask them what types of terms their prospects and customers use, or common questions they have. Those are often great starting points for keyword research.
I have been in SEO for 7 months now, came in completely green and it has been a hell of a roller coaster so far! I have been searching for something like this since starting really and, although I have found some other good guides out there, this is by far the most thorough and useful! Thanks for sharing this with everyone Steve, I've bookmarked it and have a feeling I will be referring to it frequently going forward!
If you're a regular blogger, these are probably the topics you blog about most frequently. Or perhaps they're the topics that come up the most in sales conversations. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas -- what types of topics would your target audience search that you'd want your business to get found for? If you were a company like HubSpot, for example -- selling marketing software (which happens to have some awesome SEO tools ... but I digress ;-) -- you might have general topic buckets like "inbound marketing," "blogging," "email marketing," "lead generation," "SEO," "social media," "marketing analytics," and "marketing automation."
I actually see a surprising amount of variety in the observations for each individual client.  There are obviously a few big things that a lot of clients consistently overlook (e.g., correctly handling WWW vs. non-WWW canonicalization), but for the most part, I always tend to find at least a few issues that make me say, "Whoa... I can't say that I've seen that before" (for better or worse :-P).
Searchmetrics – This is an incredibly powerful suite of tools. There’s a number of paid options (some of which will only be affordable for big agencies), but you can get a free taster. As part of this you can get a Searchmetrics SEO visibility score which shows how well a domain is ranking. You can then chuck in some competitors to see how they’re performing too.

Earning links from a diverse set of authoritative domains is the essence of increasing Domain Authority. One straightforward way to build external links is to search for resource lists that could realistically feature your content and link to you. So, if you’re running an SEO audit for a private school in Massachusetts, and you want to make recommendations for external link building:


He goes on to share some examples: “Most commonly, I hear answers like the following: Our educational system is broken and urgently needs to be fixed; America is exceptional; there is no God. These are bad answers. The first and the second statements might be true, but many people already agree with them. The third statement simply takes one side in a familiar debate. A good answer takes the following form: ‘Most people believe in x, but the truth is the opposite of x.'”

This isn’t the only tool that mines Google Autocomplete. There’s also KeywordTool.io, but this tool restricts results to ~700 keywords (more are available for “pro” members). Infinite Suggest is another alternative, but despite the name, I’ve found that it still doesn’t find anywhere near the number of keywords that Keyword Shitter finds. And there are tons of other Google Autocomplete miners too. Just Google “google auto suggest tool” for more. There’s also this tool from SEOChat which mines autocomplete suggestions from Google, Bing, Amazon, and YouTube.


Your ideal keyword should be somewhere in the middle, with medium difficulty and medium volume. However, if you wish to beat your competition and continue increasing your traffic, it is necessary to find keywords that are performing above the average (for example, keywords with medium difficulty and high traffic or keywords with low difficulty and medium traffic).
If your like most business owners you don't have the time to audit your SEO or therefore audit the company or person conducting the SEO. This requires businesses owners to choose a parter they trust, like SEOmoz or www.KeywordSearchPros.com. Which ever route you take make sure the underpinnings of a great business relationship have been established. 
Newspaper and Magazine ArticlesArticles in newspapers and magazines are a source of information you can use to get an idea of what your competitor is planning for the future, how their organization is run, and what new product information or innovations they have. Journalists may also uncover and reveal unflattering information about your competitor that may prove valuable to you. Be on the lookout for product reviews in magazines; they will reveal a competing product's strengths and weaknesses. Visit a college or public library. The reference librarian will show you how to find pertinent articles online much more quickly and easily than you'll find them by browsing.  
Ever spend precious time creating a piece of content, only to realize that it didn’t actually do what you wanted it to do? Yeah, we’ve been there, too. That’s why it’s so important to clearly and precisely outline your goal for each piece of content before you start anything. It gives you a road map to determine which main points to hit within the content, how to distribute it, and what metrics are needed to track success once it’s published.
If you’re writing something that doesn’t exactly fit your strategy, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make that content rank. You could still use it to rank for something related to the terms in the list of your keyword strategy. Use tools like Google Trends to choose which keyword you’d like to rank for. At least take some time to think about how to make your article or blog fit your strategy. After all, if you are writing valuable content, you might as well make it rank!

We wanted to give you the most extensive and detailed guide of advanced content marketing techniques available today. This resource is chock full of tactical, immediately actionable ideas that you can implement in your own business — to start building a community of fans and followers, to increase engagement and traffic to your website, and to drive sales.
How much do you think the "cross domain duplicate content" effects things, as I have heard straight from Matt that "Google expects some amount of duplicate content" and that a site should have added value in addition to the dup content  (I assume such as a way to interect with it in some manner, or other content that related to the content in a different manner) 
Internal links pass link equity within your own pages, and as such, are vital to forming authoritative hierarchies within your site. A straightforward and time-honored way to build internal links: when you create a new piece of content, do a site search for older, related content which, ideally, has built up some equity; then find anchor text within the old content to link to the new content. So, if you’ve created a new resource on Facebook ads:
What's the point of creating content if you don't know whether it's working or not. This lesson will help you understand various metrics and data points to track and measure to see whether or not your initiatives are successful. This way your business is constantly growing and learning as opposed to doing the same ole' thing because it's what you've always done. You'll also learn how to communicate the results of your content efforts with the rest of your team.

4. Semantic Grouping. As you go through your words, create a column to group them semantically. For example, words like “free website,” “free website creation,” and “free website tool” might be grouped under “free website.” These tightly-connected groups of words can be used later as your PPC ad groups. If you find a group with a large number of words, you might drop some of the ones with a lower search count.


Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights collaborated with HubSpot and several content marketers, including us, to make an infographic and paper, based on the strategic framework and research of Dave Chaffey. In a step-by-step article we introduce you to different success parameters of content marketing with additional tips, quotes from the participants, the infographic and much more. A great place, providing all you need to go from plan to execution and optimiziation. It also contains a framework for content planning. Check it out via the button below.
What would be the purpose of/reason for moving back to a different url? If its been a few years, I’d leave it alone unless you watched everything decline since moving to the main url. Moving the forum to a new url now would probably be a bit chaotic, not only for your main url but for the forum itself…. Only reason I could imagine myself moving the forum in this scenario would be if all those links were really awful and unrelated to the url it currently sits on…

Your conclusion should be presented to other business stakeholders especially when you’ve decided the next steps. For example, you may alter your Product Roadmap as a result of the competitor analysis. Sales and marketing teams may benefit from summaries that contrast your product with key competitors and emphasise your product’s strengths so that they can take this message to market.
Content marketing is a foundation upon which entire marketing campaigns can be built. Creating content gives you, friendly content marketer, a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with teams you might not talk to often enough. You can work with design/UX to create fantabulous illustrations. You can work with engineers to make sure your content shows up the way it should online. You can work with social and community teams to make sure that gorgeous content is effectively promoted, and that's just the beginning.
Applied Semantics created the technology that powered Google’s AdSense program, enabling Google to better match website content to keywords associated with advertising. This a kind of contextual analysis that was used as a foundation for the AdSense program, which has since added additional technologies such as placement targeting, interest-based targeting and language targeting to improve and expand the AdSense program.

One way to update pages is by adding new information and research. For example, if you have a blog post about Google algorithm updates, and a new algorithm update just came out, that post is ripe for an update. Keeping your content up to date will ensure that your organic visitors’ needs are being met, so they don’t bounce back to the SERP and click another result (which can ultimately harm your rankings). 
Terrific blog post. So much great stuff here. Just wondering about Step #16. When you promote your Skyscraper post across multiple social media channels (FB, LinkedIn, etc.) it looks like you are using the exact same introduction. Is that correct? For LinkedIn, do you create an ARTICLE or just a short newsfeed post with a URL link back to your website?
Steve, I'm one of those small business owners who wears a zillion different hats. And this summer, I need to review one of our old websites (that's still key to our business). I can't tell you how grateful I am this morning to find your audit post and links. It will really be a huge benefit to me in the upcoming weeks. Thanks very much for making it available.
I have been in SEO for 7 months now, came in completely green and it has been a hell of a roller coaster so far! I have been searching for something like this since starting really and, although I have found some other good guides out there, this is by far the most thorough and useful! Thanks for sharing this with everyone Steve, I've bookmarked it and have a feeling I will be referring to it frequently going forward!
Reliable lifts come from knowing your customer and tailoring the value proposition to match that customer’s motivations in a way that no other website will. You can enhance it with a bunch of human behavior principles (liking, scarcity, reciprocity, social proof, consistency etc.). But you have to have the foundation of what makes you unique, in order to get people return to you after they browse around.”
Evaluate your competitor's price. Just because you have the same products as other businesses, doesn't mean everyone has the same price. Your own production costs greatly impact your pricing. If your price for a similar product is higher than your competitor's, then your market position is weaker; and if it's lower, then your competitive position is better.A temporary price decrease by a competitor might indicate nothing more serious than a transient need to move excess inventory. However, a trend of lowered prices may indicate that your competition is doing it to gain market share and improve production costs. It could also mean your rival is in financial trouble and has been forced to lower prices. It's in this type of situation that rumors and gossip become helpful. If there are rumors that a company is in financial trouble and you discover price fluctuations, it's more likely that there are problems. Be sure your analysis includes product/service charges added to the purchase price, such as installation or additional equipment required.

Has anyone tried to use Changetower (https://changetower.com) to monitor for new competitive keyword changes? I can seem to figure out a way to monitor for specific keywords that my clients wants to get alerted for, just general changes or changes in a certain area of the page… If anyone knows anything about Changetower or another site to recommend for monitoring keywords? Thanks!
If a member of your target audience who is looking for your topic landed on these same search results, what would they do? Would they immediately try again and search for something else? In other words, are the high ranking pages relevant to you, your brand and your content? If not, you’re in the wrong neighborhood. Go back and consider different phrases.
Steve, I'm one of those small business owners who wears a zillion different hats. And this summer, I need to review one of our old websites (that's still key to our business). I can't tell you how grateful I am this morning to find your audit post and links. It will really be a huge benefit to me in the upcoming weeks. Thanks very much for making it available.
Wow, this post is stinking awesome! Everything in one place. My boss always wants to know exactly everything that SEO entails. Seeing as I do SEO AND Web Design, there is now no better reference to give him, since every single aspect of that checklist is my responsibility. I don't know if his attention span will last until the end, but he can stagger it. Nice pic of Matt Cutts on the jailer's body!
Applied Semantics created the technology that powered Google’s AdSense program, enabling Google to better match website content to keywords associated with advertising. This a kind of contextual analysis that was used as a foundation for the AdSense program, which has since added additional technologies such as placement targeting, interest-based targeting and language targeting to improve and expand the AdSense program.
Frank Strong, formerly at Vocus and now communications director with LexisNexis shares his views and experiences on the ways content marketing and PR work together. For Frank the conclusions are clear: PR should embrace content marketing. However, at the same time, much of what PR has always been about in Frank’s experience centered on content. Check it out.
Understanding which websites already rank for your keyword gives you valuable insight into the competition, and also how hard it will be to rank for the given term. Are there search advertisements running along the top and right-hand side of the organic results? Typically, many search ads means a high-value keyword, and multiple search ads above the organic results often means a highly lucrative and directly conversion-prone keyword.

WHAT TO EXPECTAn in-depth investigation and analysis of your competition is one of the most important components of a comprehensive market analysis. A competitive analysis allows you to assess your competitor's strengths and weaknesses in your marketplace and implement effective strategies to improve your competitive advantage. This Business Builder will take you through a step-by-step process of competitive analysis, helping you to identify your competition, determine and weigh their attributes, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and uncover their objectives and strategies in your market segment. WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GETTING STARTED [top] What Types of Organizations Should I Consider as Competitors? Any business marketing a product similar to, or as a substitute for, your own product in the same geographic area is a direct competitor. Firms offering dissimilar or substitute products in relation to your product or service are considered indirect competitors. Indirect competition would exist between the manufacturer of butter and a manufacturer of margarine selling to the same customers. Another example is the manufacturer of eyeglasses who competes indirectly with contact lens manufacturers. Stated in other terms, indirect competition will satisfy the customer's need with a particular product or service, although the product or service used may be different from yours. If a firm has similar products and distribution channels, but has chosen to operate in different market segments, they are not at this time your direct competitor. However, it's important to monitor the marketing activities of such firms because they may decide to move into your market segment, just as you may decide to move into theirs. Take a moment and identify your direct and indirect competitors: Why is a Comprehensive Competitive Analysis an Important Part of a Marketing Plan? To achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in reaching and selling to your target market, you must possess a thorough knowledge of your competition. An in-depth competitive analysis will provide you with the following:


This is a very thourough and intesive audit. I'm wondering what someone would charge to do this. It seems beyond the budget of many smaller sites, but then each site will need a different focus in terms of what needs to be checked. BUT, if someone were to do all of this, what would the price range be I wonder. We do extensive SEO Audits and our costs are usually around $5,000. Just wondering how this would compare.

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.
A wise marketer looks for efficiencies when it comes to content output. Repurposing content is a strong content creation method of recycling content into different formats, giving yourself the ability to produce more content at a quicker pace. In this lesson, you'll learn how to proactively identify repurposing opportunities before a piece of content is created, as well as how to repurpose and republish a successful piece of content after it's been created.
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.

It may be that the real struggle you face with your client or boss is that they're afraid their industry isn't sexy enough for content marketing. It's not true—anything is interesting if it's framed well and shown to the right people. Your challenge here is to find that perfect angle to pitch to show them just how interesting content marketing for boring industries can be.
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