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.”
Whether you should go after long tail keywords, which are specific and consist of multiple words, or after head terms largely depends on your competition. If the competition in your niche is high, you’ll have a hard time ranking on competitive head terms. If you have little competition, you’ll even be able to rank for head terms. So how do you determine your competition? What should you be looking for? There are two strategies:
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.
Alternatively, you can attack the problem by propagating trust from a seed set of trustworthy sites (e.g., cnn.com, mit.edu, etc.). This approach is called TrustRank, and it has been implemented by SEOmoz in the form of their mozTrust metric. Sites with a higher mozTrust value are located closer to trustworthy sites in the link graph and therefore considered more trusted.

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:


Read Joe Pulizzi's excellent book Epic Content Marketing. I started reading it after I wrote this post and it confirmed and expanded what I already knew about content marketing, with much more detail than I could ever go into here. Something Pulizzi emphasizes which I originally left out was the importance of focusing on producing mobile-friendly content, since smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which most of our customers access content. Also read Michael Hyatt's Platform, mentioned above. Frequent websites like those of Content Marketing Institute, Ragan, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, and Gary Vaynerchuk and sign up for their email newsletters. It won't take you long to become not just familiar with content marketing, but an expert.
I mentioned earlier that I recently performed a competitive analysis for a collaborative meeting note-taking feature, to be introduced in the app that I was developing for a client. The goals for my research were very general because innumerable apps all provide this type of functionality, and the product I was working on was in the very early stages of development.

DeepCrawl is undeniably the best technical crawler I’ve used. There’s a level of detail available in exports and through the interface that – while they may be available in other crawlers – aren’t anywhere near as easy to access, use, and share. DeepCrawl doesn’t just find the issues, it helps us also share insights with relevant team members.ScreamingFrog is one of the standard tools for any SEO’s arsenal. There’s a lot of guides available to showcase how to use its advanced features, which can uncover incredible opportunities.Sitebulb is newer, and I haven’t had a chance to dive in as much as I’d like, but it’s worth a mention. The Crawl Map feature is VERY interesting.Google Search Console – annoying in its limitations and restrictions, but difficult to turn away information from the primary traffic driver.


For one thing, without content, SEOs would have nothing to optimize for search engines. The metadata they add to posts is an attempt to help robots like Google and Facebook wrap their digital heads around the complexities of the content they're indexing. Every link earned by every marketer points to a piece of content, and the keywords that people type into search engines are an attempt to find—yep—content.


Our company offers audits that are explicitly priced for smaller businesses.  For smaller sites (i.e., those with around 5-10 unique page types), we typically charge $1,500-$2,500.  For slightly larger sites, the audits are around $3,500.  Then, for much larger sites, the price just depends on the site's size (obviously, we also do audits for smaller subsets of large sites using the smaller site prices).
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:
I completely agree with you about HTTP canonicalization and internationalization.  I touched on the former a little in previous comments (and Dr. Pete covers it really well in his duplicate content post that I linked to).  As for the latter, if you're working with a site that targets multilingual visitors, international SEO considerations must be included in the audit.
Once you’ve established some broad categories you should now look at direct competitors to your product. These include any company that sells a very similar or identical product or service in the same footprint as your organisation. For example; if your company sells Cable TV service, you would only list your competitors as those offering a similar service that your customers can also purchase. If the competitor’s service does not extend to your company’s geographical footprint, there may be no point including this competitor in your analysis. Their product offering however may be interesting and you may include it in a Product Comparison paper.
Information from an analysis of the competitor's objectives, assumptions, strategy, and capabilities can be compiled into a response profile of possible moves that might be made by the competitor. This profile includes both potential offensive and defensive moves. The specific moves and their expected strength can be estimated using information gleaned from the analysis.

The relevant keywords that you target with your ads will bring the right audience to your website. Showing your ads to people that type relevant keywords will result in higher click-through rate (CTR), lower cost-per-click (CPC) and higher conversion rates for your business. As a result, you will spend less money on advertising and generate a better return on investment.


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.
Feedly – There is no shortage of news aggregator sites available. Feedly allows you to customize the sites you are following, so you can segment by general industry trends, clients, competitors. A browser extension exists to quickly add sites to your feed. A Pro account is $5.41 a month, but the free version will keep you up to date with content without any fuss.
One of the reasons some companies have hesitated to allocate resources to content marketing is that it can be difficult to really understand the benefits of content marketing. Getting people to think more highly of your business certainly sounds great, but the results are quite nebulous. In this case, it helps to begin thinking about just how many benefits content marketing can bring. Let's start with the ones that are more intangible (though no less important):

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.
It goes hand in hand with content sharing, social content marketing, social media, copywriting, visual content, you name it. Storytelling is also closely related with word-of-mouth, recommendations and the simple act of sharing and connecting, since long before digital marketing, let alone content marketing even existed. We know why: storytelling is one of the most human ways of passing along knowledge and traditions, mesmerizing audiences and, in fact, human nature as such. What does storytelling mean in a content marketing context? Below are a few resources on storytelling and content marketing.

We need a metric to compare our specific level of authority (and likelihood of ranking) to other websites. Google’s own metric is called PageRank, named after Google founder Larry Page. Way back in the day, you could look up the PageRank for any website. It was shown on a scale of one-to-ten right there in a Google toolbar that many of us added to our browsers.
Titles. Google displays the first 50-60 characters of your title. After that, it truncates the title with an ellipsis. Not only can this cause vital keywords to be omitted from being crawled, but it just flat out looks bad in the SERP. Keep your titles under 60 characters, and 90% of them will avoid truncation. This useful, free tool from Moz helps with title creation. Your target keyword should exist in totality in your title. Keeping the brand name in the title also allows you to piggyback off its authority. As such, an SEO best practice title tag looks like this: Target Keyword | Brand Name. So: “How to Choose the Right Running Shoes | Nike.”
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.
Knowledge of a competitor's objectives facilitates a better prediction of the competitor's reaction to different competitive moves. For example, a competitor that is focused on reaching short-term financial goals might not be willing to spend much money responding to a competitive attack. Rather, such a competitor might favor focusing on the products that hold positions that better can be defended. On the other hand, a company that has no short term profitability objectives might be willing to participate in destructive price competition in which neither firm earns a profit.
'When it comes to business blogging, there’s no doubt that consistency is important,' says Vaughan. 'Just consider the fact that companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads. That being said, consistency must also be applied to the quality of your content, not just the quantity. If you pay any attention to the increased emphasis Google is placing on quality content, this comes as no surprise. Because marketers must also make a commitment to quality in all the content they create, increasing frequency alone won't get you very far. Quality and quantity must go hand in hand, and this will become even more important in 2013 and beyond.'
By implementing these top lessons and seeking the expertise of financial and legal professionals, you can successfully navigate the cannabis industry. To run a sustainable business that will achieve long-term growth your venture will need to jump the cannabis industry’s unique hurdles, maintain compliance and avoid costly and often business-ending fines.
If your competitors tend to blog three times a week compared to your one article every two weeks, it will be beneficial for your company to start generating more traffic to your site by blogging more frequently about relevant topics. Don't just blog because you want to add more content, it won't generate more traffic if the content your adding isn't remarkable.
These are usually single-word keywords with insane amounts of search volume and competition (for example, “insurance” or “vitamins”). Because searcher intent is all over the place (someone searching for “insurance” might be looking for a car insurance quote, a list of life insurance companies or a definition of the word), Head Terms usually don’t convert very well.
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.
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:

SEOptimer is a free SEO Audit Tool that will perform a detailed SEO Analysis across 100 website data points, and provide clear and actionable recommendations for steps you can take to improve your online presence and ultimately rank better in Search Engine Results. SEOptimer is ideal for website owners, website designers and digital agencies who want to improve their own sites or theirs of their clients.
The index count is significantly smaller than the actual count - this scenario indicates that the search engines are not indexing many of your site's pages. Hopefully, you already identified the source of this problem while investigating the site's accessibility. If not, you might need to check if the site's being penalized by the search engines (more on this in a moment).
Feedly – There is no shortage of news aggregator sites available. Feedly allows you to customize the sites you are following, so you can segment by general industry trends, clients, competitors. A browser extension exists to quickly add sites to your feed. A Pro account is $5.41 a month, but the free version will keep you up to date with content without any fuss.
Nope. Many keyword research articles recommend a whole list of tools, but in my opinion you can start and end with the Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool. In the U.S., the majority of traffic comes from Google, and the proportion of PPC traffic is even higher, so you might as well get your words – and your traffic estimates – from the authority. A few tips for how to use it:
With that in mind, I absolutely believe "cross domain duplicate content" effects things.  But quantifying its exact influence is incredibly difficult since it is only one of the undisclosed number of signals that appear in these Panda Updates.  To your point, I'm sure plenty of scraper sites are still doing well in the SERPs, but that's not because Google endorses those sites - it's because Google is still searching for the "perfect" algorithm (pun intended :-P).
Sometimes a marketing department decides to give their products a certain name. That can be a smart marketing decision. It can be a way to make people remember your product. For example, you don’t rent out vacation homes, but ‘vacation cottages’. Be aware that very few people search for ‘vacation cottages’ though. If you optimize your text for these terms, you’ll probably rank well on these specific terms. However, you won’t generate a lot of traffic with these terms and you’ll miss a large part of your potential audience.
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.
John Boyd, a famous military strategist, thought a lot about how competitors change the way that we strive for our own goals. The concept he popularized around the OODA loop talked about making decisions faster than your competition as a way to win. It was also key to understanding what your competitor values so you can find other ways than fighting directly.
A competitor's capabilities can be analyzed according to its strengths and weaknesses in various functional areas, as is done in a SWOT analysis. The competitor's strengths define its capabilities. The analysis can be taken further to evaluate the competitor's ability to increase its capabilities in certain areas. A financial analysis can be performed to reveal its sustainable growth rate.
By defining questions like this, you are able to uncover information about your potential customers that will simplify the way in which you go about creating content for them. Specifics like these seek to improve your targeting efforts by supplying you with enough information to personalize content and move personas closer to a positive purchasing decision.
Your website content should serve to fulfill the needs of your audience. By regularly assessing the ways in which people search and by identifying not just the most popular searches but also the specific and ever-changing ways that people search for content within your niche of the internet, you can continue to create content your audience will enjoy and share.
That top-of-funnel position doesn't mean it's impossible to demonstrate the value of content. It just means you need to build a more complex model to understand and show how content really contributes to your conversions. These models can provide a good estimate of the value of your content, but they are, at best, an estimate, so keep that in mind before you tell the boss that if you can get the funds for one blog post it'll bring in exactly $1200 worth of leads.
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