Is Online Audience Optimization (OAO) Really the New SEO?

Is Online Audience Optimization (OAO) Really the New SEO?

In one of the numerous “SEO is dead” posts another new acronym popped up suggesting that it will replace SEO. The article was pretty successful so let’s take a look why.

Will “OAO” replace SEO?

No.

Audience building is already part of modern SEO. This post could end here.

I found it ironic though that the author of this OAO article failed at their own new discipline.

You see, in SEO optimization for the audience or rather different audiences is just one ingredient but still it seems that my audience is not 10, not 100 but more than 200 times bigger than that of the writer who came up with the acronym.

Plus as a proof of concept I’d like to rank #1 for the term Online Audience Optimization and ideally the acronym OAO with this article so that people do not get misguided by that nonsense. Support this article with your share or vote to help me achieve that!

Gatekeeper Google

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Why did yet another repetition of the 15 – year old “SEO is dead” meme gain significant attention in 2013? By now nobody from the SEO industry cares anymore. One or two years ago people still got angry and tried to explain things to Internet novices but these days nobody cares anymore.

In case you are not willing to learn about SEO another explanation won’t help either.

I didn’t care either but as I looked up my rankings for my “seo is dead” optimized article –  I’m in the top 30 now with Ahrefs – I noticed the OAO post.

At first I thought it must be a joke but it wasn’t. I looked up who shared it on Twitter and was surprised to find still some Internet-savvy individuals among them. Almost none of my thousands of online friends did share it this time so I found out about it like a month after publication.

In a separate world of SEO incompetency this OAO article has become popular without me noticing.

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There is a reason why these otherwise perfectly sane people want to pronounce SEO dead over and over. Nobody wants to optimize for Google anymore. Webmasters are tired of all the random updates, penalties and corporate speak Google unleashes on them. They do not want to write for Google. They want to write directly for their audiences.

I perfectly understand the need to cater to audiences directly and indeed I practice it myself as a proof of concept.

I ban Google search on my SEO 2.0 blog and get my visitors directly, from third party sites or not yet corrupted search engines. Sadly most people are not able to ban Google search. They are even unable to voice their gut feeling of “something is not right” so like the anti-Semites in the middle ages they are looking for a scapegoat. Someone must be guilty of their misery! Ah! It’s the SEOs who poison the well. So “death to SEO!” they shout.

Audience building

Around 2005, when the social news site Digg has become the poster child of the early Web 2.0 most progressive SEO practicioners attempted to link bait the Digg audience. This was a major turning point in SEO history. From caring about technical aspects of websites to actually attracting audiences. Of course some old school SEOs just tried to game the system by connecting with other Digg users and exchanging votes etc.

By and large the link baiters learned what the Digg audience of mostly white male teens and tweens loved most (gadgets, games, girls) and thus got tons of links from Digg throughout the years.

It’s not 2005 anymore and link baiting is so common by now that it isn’t even referred to by name a lot anymore. Everybody assumes that when we talk about link building we are referring to earning links by wowing linkerati to link to us. You probably don’t even know the term linkerati. It’s also part of the SEO history by now.

Modern SEO is about making different audiences happy all the time.

  • You want to provide great content for your potential clients.
  • You are after votes and shares from industry peers.
  • You try to get viral by appealing to mainstream audiences.

etc. etc. etc.

Acronyms

I have written a satirical post on how LOL could replace SEO some time ago andOAO which originally means “over and out” reminded me of that. Coming up with new acronyms to replace SEO is like fixing a hole in a pipe with a bigger hole.

Most people in the SEO industry agree that the SEO acronym fails at conveying the message to the overall population.

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Surveys prove that more than two thirds of respondents have no clue what SEO means. Government and educational sites call the artist formerly known as SEO simply findability so that you don’t have to Google it first. So why would you want to come up with another cryptic and in this case even idiotically sounding acronym?

Online Audience Optimization gone wrong

The “SEO is dead” meme is really boring by now but sometimes people add something new to it. So I look it up to make sure that I don’t err. So this time I looked up who was responsible for the OAO acronym.

I found the mastermind behind OAO: it’s Linda Ruth, formerly an author of SEO books ( I have never heard of before).

Indeed most articles about OAO are either hers, or based on her work. So I was astounded when I looked up the Google search results for [online audience optimization (oao)] and found this (I highlighted the intriguing parts):

Article_oao-gone-wrong

Apparently you don’t need a large audience when it is very well optimized. It seems

  • family
  • friends
  • coworkers

suffice judged from the numbers. I don’t say that quantity is more important than quality but when you coin a new discipline that allegedly has to replace an established one make sure to deliver.

When your audience is below 50 people do not pose as an audience optimization expert please.

My audience on Google+ is above 9k despite me being pretty outspoken about the negative aspects of Google. Also I didn’t have to artificially inflate it. These are legit followers I have there. I don’t claim that OAO is the next big thing so I don’t have show it off much either.

BTW.: When you search for solely [oao] you won’t find anything related to audience optimization at all on the first page as of now.

10 Business Books You Should Read in 2014 (and Hope Your Competition Doesn’t)

10 Business Books You Should Read in 2014 (and Hope Your Competition Doesn’t)

Competition.

It forces you to give your best. It sometimes drags you out of your comfort zone.

It pushes you over your limits.

But where do you get ideas, the fuel to get you through all this?

My answer has always been the same, books. Read even one book a month and in a few months you will see a difference in a way you perceive the world.

And, if you are wondering which book to choose, here’s a handy list of the best business books you should read in 2014 (and really hope your competitors doesn’t).

In no particular order then :

How To Write Short, by Roy Peter Clark

Regardless of whether you are a marketer, business owner, freelancer, who knows what else, you need to learn the short form of writing. The way we communicate has changed and it is quite rare that we have time to absorb longer copy (unfortunately).

Writing short however, isn’t easy (I can honestly attest for that). Well, at least there is a book that can show you how to do it.

The Business of Belief, by Tom Asacker

In todays world, getting people to pay attention to you doesn’t seem enough. To thrive, you need to get them to believe. You need them to choose you, support you and recommend you. And none of this is possible without belief.

“The Business of Belief” is not a long book. About 138 pages it’s not overwhelming to read it. It is long enough though to present enough great ideas on how to motivate yourself and others to believe.

Contagious, by Jonah Berger

Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing technique. Everyone strives for it. Yet, hardly anyone knows how it works and how to entice it.

That’s exactly what Contagious is all about. In his book Jonah Berger outlines why some ideas or products are more talked about than others, why do some videos go viral and well, why some ideas are … contagious.

Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Have you ever wondered why some ideas, from stories to newspaper articles to anything else you hear get stuck in our mind? Why do you remember them and go back to them? In their book Chip Heath and Dan Heath present the findings of their 10 year long study on the subject. The book is an easy read, filled with stories, anecdotes and case studies that will outline how to create ideas people believe in.

Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

If I was to tell you something about this book in just few words, it would be: just read it!

Blue ocean strategy is not a new book (like few other titles on this list). It is however a timeless canvas for creativity in business.

Every company has two options. Either to compete with other similar companies in the same market space or create their own market. Blue ocean strategy is about the latter. In their book W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne present a way to stop competing in existing markets and create your own one. Intrigued? Well, as I said, just read the book.

Lateral Thinking, by Edward de Bono

A classic and one of the books I strongly feel everyone should read. Edward de Bono teaches how to approach and solve problem through an indirect and creative approach using ideas you wouldn’t normally come up with using a more traditional step-by-step approach. As I said, a classic and must read.

The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson

This is a must-read book if you are selling or planning to sell online. Chris Anderson’s Long Tail concept isn’t new nor is the book (originally published in 2006, revised few times afterward). Yet what he says about our culture, the way we choose what we buy and how business can gain from this still holds true.

Get Content Get Customers, by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett

The old rules of marketing are gone. Customers no longer want to be interrupted with bold claims about products, they want information that will enrich their lives. And, they expect that from you too. Get content get customersexplains how to create a content in the content marketing times.

Launch, by Michael A. Stelzner

Another gem of content marketing. Michael Stelzner presents a new way to grow a business and gain new customers, through creating compelling content focusing on the needs of your customers.

Influence, by Robert B. Cialdini

Lastly, a book on persuasion. Find out why we say yes and how to use that knowledge to persuade others. An invaluable skill in business, if you ask me.

Beware Of Link Networks, Google Crushes Two Of Them In The Past Week

Beware Of Link Networks, Google Crushes Two Of Them In The Past Week

Building backlinks is a necessary part of effective SEO no matter what niche you’re in. However, no website owner should ever resort to buying backlinks in order to improve rankings.

Buying back links is against Google’s webmaster guidelines and any website owner who does it will eventually get caught.

There are some companies out there, called link networks, that have built businesses out of selling backlinks with the promise of getting their customers better rankings in Google.

It may have been a lucrative business model for a while, but Google is now starting to come down on them hard. Google has publicly outed and penalized two of these link networks, which means any sites that have bought links from them will be penalized as well.

Goodbye Anglo Rank and Backlinks.com

Last week Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, broke the news on Twitter that backlink network Anglo Rank had been penalized. To add insult in injury, Matt sent out a tweet mocking them by quoting a line from their marketing material.
Shortly after, Matt offered a word of warning to all website owners:
Anglo Rank isn’t alone in this attack. Matt suggested on Twitter that other link networks are being targeted in this attack. Well he was absolutely right about that.

News recently broke that Google slapped Backlinks.com with a spam penalty, as well as penalizing all of their customers along with it.

In similar fashion, Matt again mocked this link network on Twitter by quoting a line from their marketing material:
There may be even more penalties to come as there are certainly more link networks out there than just these two. In the meantime, stay far away from any company that is offering you back links in exchange for money. If you have been taken by one of these networks in the past it’s not too late to protect yourself.

How To Protect Yourself From Spammy Back Links

It’s not too late to protect yourself against spam penalties if you have patronized one of these link networks in the past, or your SEO company used one to build links for you, or whatever the case may be.

Spam penalties can destroy your rankings. It’s better to be proactive and remove all traces of link spam before Google takes a manual action against your site.

I wrote a post last week covering a video where Matt Cutts himself gives some advice on how to recover from bad back links. He suggests using Google’s disavow tool to mass disavow all back links coming from a specific domain.

Disavowing links from a link network is the best way to protect yourself from any penalties they have been hit with, or may be hit with in the future.

Building good quality back links takes honest, hard work. If anyone is offering you some quick links in exchange money, run as far as you can in the other direction. Links are never easy to get, and if they are they’re probably frowned upon by Google.

Creating a White Hat Tiered Link Building Plan

Creating a White Hat Tiered Link Building Plan

Tiered link building was once really popular to generate links for websites that are striving hard to rank in search. It was also a good strategy for websites to drive link juice coming in and manipulate their SERPs hoping to increase their CTR and organic visitors.

Tiered link building, however, is known as a black hat approach by many SEOs and could lead to unnatural and manipulative links. How do you make your tiered link building strategy remain white hat that won’t negatively affect your website? In this post, I’ll show you how you can do it in a right way without having to worry about your website being penalized. Let’s get cracking!

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Tier #1

Guest Contributed Content

Contributing content to different higher ranking websites in your industry is the most important way to build high quality link for a website. Since higher ranking websites tend to have higher domain authority level, they can help pass authority to your website giving your domain a ranking power to compete in search.

First and foremost, you need to create a list of websites with high ranking in your industry. You can consider using Ahrefs Site Explorer tool to determine ranking authority of a particular website before putting in that list. A website with a domain rank ranged between 71 to 100 is considered as very popular according to AhrefsRank (AR) algorithm. I, however, would suggest that you could expand your list a little bit by including all websites with minimum AR of 50.

Article_Tiered-Link-Building_2

Alternatively, you can also check domain authority of those websites by usingopensiteexplorer.org to identify the qualified and non-qualified websites that you have. Same recommendation, you only should include websites that have at least 50 of DA to limit the quality of websites you will contribute.

Article_Tiered-Link-Building_3

Once you have the list ready, the next step is to come up with a strategic plan allowing you to regularly contribute content to those shortlisted websites to show your strong relationship and commitment.

Assuming that you have your author profile on the websites that you’ve selected with your contributed content, create an author bio that connects all your author page section. You can create your author bio like this:

Joseph Gojo Cruz is the owner of Rankingelite.com, a blog about link building, content creation, social media and SEO strategies. He is also a contributor on Search Engine Journal, Ahrefs blog, Growmap, etc. You can connect with him on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

By having your author bio distributed to other websites with links linked to your websites and other author profiles, you can make sure that your site will receive link authority from those websites.

Tier #2

Comments and Forum links

Blog comments and forum links can be used as your second tier link. By using your guest contributed content on other websites, you can build links to it to benefit your website and keep passing authority to your blog for better search engine performance.

You can do this by looking for topics related to your post that you’re building links for using these search queries:

Inpost:”topic”+”industry”

Inurl:”topic”+”industry”

Keep in mind that you need to keep the relevancy of your post by linking only to pages that you are commenting to avoid having “irrelevant link issue” that might cause your website to face penalization issue in Google Webmaster Tools. Since we all want to obtain the white hat approach, it surely wouldn’t be a good idea to link to irrelevant website.

Creating profile links

Profiles are good way to help people discover your website. Profiles can also help you increase your online popularity through your name being linked everywhere online. By using your author section on the websites that you’ve contributed your content to, you can register to profile sites and increase the visibility of your author page section throughout the Internet.

Assuming that each of your author page section has a link that points back to your website, your website will benefit from the authority it will receive on the profile sites.

Sample of some profile sites:

About.me

Authorlink.com

Authorsden.com

For more profile creating websites, you can refer to this post.

Final thoughts

Tiered link building is simply building links to your backlinks by making your 1sttier links increase their page rank and page authority by applying the strategies above. And this link building technique can benefit your website in the long run. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to do this approach aggressively and manipulatively. Content quality & relevancy are still the most important keys that guarantee the highest rate of success for a website to rank on the SERP, not the links.

How to Identify If Your Site is Filtered or Penalized

How to Identify If Your Site is Filtered or Penalized

Filtered Water is good. I also like to have a filter in my coffee maker to make sure no grounds get in my coffee but, it’s definitely not something I’d like Google to do to my website. It’s not definitive but, based on hard research it’s pretty safe to say that Google’s Penguin update is a filter looking for manipulative “anchor text” practices within backlinks. Even worse is a Penalty. This is completely different from being filtered because, in this case you get a physical letter telling you specifically why. A good example of this we see every Sunday during football season. The ref brings out the flag personally delivers it to the ground and points the finger at the person who committed the penalty. So if you haven’t been delivered your flag yet, it’s a good chance to avoid the filters.

Monitoring the health of a websites backlink profile with detailed measuring tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer and Backlink Checker helps to determine if a site is about to be filtered or receive a penalty. Here at our firm, we specialize in e-Commerce PPC management and SEO for large e-Commerce websites so having an arsenal of robust marketing tools is an absolute must for us.

Understanding How Backlinks Are Looked At By Google

Keep in mind how Google works by going back to the SEO basics. Their mission statement that says:

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”

They will send out spiders to crawl the web and once they find content they will gather the information of that page, what the page is saying from the code, follow links, gather the information of the links pages and bring it back to Google’s servers.  From there the data gets evaluated, ranked and displayed or filtered. Links carry a lot of weight in determining whether or not you’ll be a valuable result to Google’s end user because, if the sites you are communicating with are already trustworthy websites it’s fair to assume your site is trustworthy as well.  Ahrefs tool allows the user to pull detailed reports about a website’s backinks measuring link velocity, anchor text density, referring link domains quality and more. It has everything you need to perform a comprehensive analysis on a back link profile.

In an attempt not to go over every aspect of the reporting within the tool we are going to feature the “Overall profile chart”, “Anchor’s reporting tab” and“link source or destination of the link” to measure where a website currently stands in regards to Google’s guidelines for backlinking and to avoid being filtered.

Let’s dive in.

For our example, we are going to be analyzing a company within the niche Insurance market dealing with customers age 50 or older.  I hear this story over and over again how they had been well represented in the search engines and during a certain period,  after using a SEO they saw their website drop significantly in the rankings for specific niche search queries.

Step 1 – Enter the URL of the website

Using the Ahrefs backlink checker is pretty straightforward.  Just go to websitewww.ahrefs.com and you’ll see an area to put in a url.

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Step 2 – Dashboard Overview

Right off the bat our display will give us the overall backlink profile with information such as Total Backlinks (shaded), referring domains and backlink history.

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For this customer we see that over the last calendar year they are experiencing a downward trend in link accumulation with a big influx in of links during one period of time in late April.

As a consultant, analyst, developer and marketer just this overall backlink profile chart tells me TWO alarming things:

  • The link velocity for that short period looks very unnatural/spammy to their overall linking history. Losing links is usually associated with poor link building techniques. Good links tend to stick around :).
  • The drop in overall links may be result of websites no longer being there, unindexed or being filtered.

The Backlinks navigation bar on the left navigation shows an area to identify what the Keywords are being used in the anchor text of the backlinks.

Step 3 – Checking Anchor Texts

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Understanding that Penguin is directly related with the anchor text within the backlinks, Ahrefs allows us to see what the websites anchors are.  Hitting the anchors button will display this page in the screenshot below.  This page show us % of referring pages with an anchor text in it and what that anchor text is.

We have some more telling evidence of why this site is a good candidate to be filtered and or even penalized.

62% of their referring domain links have a particular keyword within their anchor text. It’s possible that this website is encountering a filter from over optimizing the anchor texts in his or her back links. These types of techniques are basically screaming out and telling Google over and over again that they should be the best result for “Insurance for seniors” which is not best practice. If you want to show up on Google you must earn your way up there, not manipulate your way up there. Google Penguin looks for these types of practices and identifies this as a manipulative and spammy because only SEO’s are known for practicing these types of techniques and they are usually associated with black hat SEO or purchasing links to manipulate page rank.

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Step 4 – Checking Where Your Links Come From

Last but DEFINITELY not least, the tool allows us to see where these links are linked to.  In this particular case (below) you’ll notice a lot of the sites are low level directories that aren’t very specific to the “Insurance for Seniors” Industry.

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In summary

By utilizing the Ahrefs tools we can measure the health of our website’s backlink profile by identifying whom our site is communicating with.  Looking at your overall backlink profile, anchor text density and destination of the links gives a good indicator to see if your site been affected by the Google Penguin Algorithm update.  There are multiple features within the Ahrefs tool that allow us to monitor your backlink profile that I haven’t touched upon and we’ll be covering that in other posts but, remember:

  • Look into your entire backlink profile and ask yourself, am I over using exact match anchor texts? Does it look natural?
  • Make sure your anchor text density is diversified.  Don’t continually keep picking at the same area of the skin.  You’ll soon experience irritation and eventually have an open wound if you keep it up.
  • Understand what sites you are linking with.  It’s that age -old cliché that says you can tell a person by who they hang around with.

If you stick with using post penguin SEO techniques or hire a post Penguin SEO company, you will be in the clear, if you keep using archaic techniques, then a penalty or filter may be in your near future. Using Ahrefs is a great place to start becoming more familiar with your websites backlinks and will also help you have a better understanding of how SEO works.

SEO Techniques for Direct Traffic

SEO Techniques for Direct Traffic

Your most valuable visitors are almost invisible. They show up only as direct traffic. You don’t know where they come from or how they find you. That’s why they are the most important people to visit you. They know you already. They know exactly where you’re at and don’t need middlemen like Google or Facebook to show up.

Strangely enough there are whole marketing disciplines dealing with social media or search but you don’t hear about direct traffic marketing.

For lack of a better name I will refer to it as SEO for direct traffic. After all these people search for you, their engine is just the browser engine though. Their keyword is your name or URL.

Now that search traffic becomes increasingly difficult to get and tracking direct traffic becomes even more attractive to optimize for. What techniques are there to get more direct visitors?

Let’s start with the basics.

What is direct traffic?

Direct traffic are people coming straight to your site without using any other sites to get to you. Direct traffic can also be people coming to you from tools that don’t send so-called referral data.

Even sites that do send their referrer can show up as direct traffic because your analytics tool might not see the data.

I use an old hosted analytics software that can’t see t.co referrals anymore for example. Twitter’s URL shortener uses SSL so a site not using SSL (https) too can’t see them. In most other cases direct visitors are really the people who you want to keep close. They know you, they like you, and they know your address.

Some common kinds of good direct traffic are –

  • type in traffic : people who literally use the keyboard to enter your complete address.
  • bookmark clicks : most people use local bookmarks they store in their browsers. When they click on them they show up as direct traffic too.
  • software subscribers : popular tools like RSS Owl or even Thunderbird allow you to follow and click your feeds without telling site owners about it

Neutral direct traffic can be –

  • mail readers : people who click on links in mails don’t show up in your analytics unless they use webmail that sends referrers or click on your URLs that are specifically prepared to send data back to webmasters. So when someone recommends your site by copying and pasting your link into a mail and the other person clicks it in Thunderbird this visitor will show up as direct too.

Bad direct traffic is often –

  • hidden referrals : as noted above, some tools simply hide the referrer data and people are counted as direct by mistake. This direct traffic is the only one that is not really valuable.
  • typo traffic : people who mistyped an URL so they ended up on the wrong site.

 

So how to optimize for good and neutral direct traffic?

Keep it Simple, Be Memorable, Don’t Move

#1. Let people memorize you

  • by getting a memorable brand and short URL, ideally at the same time: moz.com and my new URL seo2.us are good examples of this: succinct but still different enough to memorize.
  • by securing so called typo domains and redirecting them to the main one
  • by not changing your name, brand, URL or whereabouts all the time.

#2. Make people return to you

version-4-traffic-travis

  • by creating “save for later” content (large resources) like lists, overviews, tutorials.
  • by notifying them when changes occur and updates get published. Software vendors do it often.
  • by letting them know when someone replies to their comments. WordPress plugins send a mail when someone does.

#3. Make people subscribe

series

by offering “more of the same but better” such as:

  • announcing article series (how to SEO for people, part 1 – 5)
  • publishing weekly columns (vegan recipe Friday)
  • republishing old post updates (fixing broken links, reviewing old advice, adding paragraphs on current developments)
  • writing follow ups (elaborating on successful postings from the recent past)
  • covering niche topics regularly (design for social causes instead of solely profit oriented one)

subscribe

by not sharing everything on social media.  Most people and companies just self-promote all their contents. Indeed they are the first (and often the only) one to share their fresh articles . Self-promotion backfires in many ways though. For example much more powerful social media users could discover your content instead of you. On the other hand,

there is no incentive to subscribe to your feed when you share everything on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ anyway.

At least there should be some kind of delay before you push your stuff on social sites. Personally I also tell my followers from time to time that they should subscribe to my blog instead of just  listening to me babble on Twitter or Google+.

#4.Make people share visibly

mailto

by adding an old school “send to friend” option. This is one of the oldest techniques to spread the word online that has been neglected a bit these days. Most sites have plenty (often too many) social buttons everywhere but do not simplify the process of sending an email to friends).

Some experts call it dark social: a huge number of shares is still or again done via mail message or instant messengers.

So copy and paste + email link is still a very helpful feature. On Ahrefs we simply use a “mailto” link with a little icon in the top right corner. So nothing fancy is needed  here.

Weekly SEO Roundup on Ahrefs Blog: Week of 20 Dec 2013

Weekly SEO Roundup on Ahrefs Blog: Week of 20 Dec 2013

10 Business Books You Should Read in 2014 (and Hope Your Competition Doesn’t)
No time to enjoy a good read being a busy marketer? Combine business with pleasure! In this post Pawel Grabowski offers a handy list of the best business books you should read in 2014. Hope, your competitors don’t read them, and you’ll manage to stay ahead!

Beware Of Link Networks, Google Crushes Two Of Them In The Past Week
It’s high time to protect yourself from bad back links, as Google keeps crushing link networks one after another! Matt Southern reports that in the past week we have bid farewell to Anglo Rank and Backlinks.com and, probably, should expect more, as Google is now starting to come down on link networks really hard.

SEO Techniques for Direct Traffic
Eager to get more direct visitors to your site? Let people memorize you, make them return to you, subscribe, and share visibly. According to blogger Tad Chef, those are the best SEO techniques you can use to optimize your site for good and neutral direct traffic.

SEO Research and Search Engine Trends

SEO Strategies for People that Hate SEO
Feeling like you hate SEO these days, with all those Google’s menacing updates and terrifying penalties? Well, but you still need to get search engine traffic somehow! Good news for you: in this post Brian Dean shares some simple but great SEO tips specifically designed for people that hate SEO.

Improving URL removals on third-party sites
John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, announced the launch of a new improved public URL removal tool in Google Webmaster Tools that should make it easier for webmasters to request updates based on changes on other people’s websites. That’s good to know.

Google: Your Various ccTLDs Will Probably Be Fine From The Same IP Address
Worried about having multiple ccTLD sites hosted from a single IP address? Chris Crum notes that in the recent Webmaster Help video Google’s Matt Cutts has made it clear that, though it would be great for each ccTLD to have an IP address based in the country of the ccTLD, “it’s definitely not the end of the world, if you put them all on one IP address.” So, relax!

Confirmed: Google Reduces Authorship Rich Snippets In Search Results
Did you expect the authorship reduction in Google? Well, you should have. In this post Barry Schwartz draws our attention to the fact that, as confirmed by Google’s Matt Cutts, the search giant has reduced by 15% the amount of rich snippets displayed in their search results to only show more authoritative authors.

Google Denies A Major Update On December 17th
Despite of the fact that all the tracking tools reported major changes in the Google search results on December 17th, Google’s head of search spam pointed out that they “try to minimize major updates right before the holidays.” Thus, there was no major update around this date, right?

Google Continues Work On Promoting Topic Authorities
Ready for a new Google’s the “good guy algorithm” or “author authority algorithm,” called to promote subject authorities in the search results? In this post Barry Schwartz reports that, according to Matt Cutts, this is something his team is currently working on.

Content Marketing

Google’s Matt Cutts: 25-30% Of The Web’s Content Is Duplicate Content & That’s Okay
Hard to imagine, but Barry Schwartz reports that, according to Google’s Matt Cutts, around 25-30% of all content on the web is duplicate content! Don’t worry: Google doesn’t treat it all as spam and won’t penalize you for duplicate content, unless you are using it excessively and in a manipulative manner.

11 Untapped Content Promotion Strategies
In this post Brian Dean makes a good point saying that if you want your content to get the traffic and inbound links that it deserves, you need to actively promote it. He shares eleven untapped strategies that will help you get better results from every piece of content that you publish.

The 11 Scientific Reasons Why We Share Things (& how to use in your marketing)
You surely want your beloved content to be shared. But mind, that it has to be a reason, why it actually gets shared. In this post the author reveals 11 scientific reasons people share things, content included. Use them to your advantage and create content that is visual, remarkable, exclusive, and what else? Read the post and find out!

How to Get People to Read Your Stuff: 8 Simple Copywriting Tips, Backed by Science
The secret of crafting the perfect blog post or copy is revealed! The author of this article shares 8 really simple copywriting tips with scientific back-up, that should help you create a piece of content that your readers will definitely enjoy.

Link Building

A Look Back On One Crazy Year Of Link Building
What was the year of 2013 in terms of link building? According to Erin Everhart, this year link building died first, then was resurrected by “content marketing,” and later was briefly renamed link earning; besides, public relations and media outreach were weaved in, and more tactics were claimed as link schemes. Quite a crazy year, don’t you think?

Social Media

Looking Back: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram’s 2013 Year In Review
The author of this article gives you an opportunity to go back in time and review this year’s trending stories, places and events on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check it out and make sure you didn’t miss anything worth your attention!

Holiday Social Media Marketing: Wonders & Blunders You Can Learn From
Are you having the right social media marketing campaign during the holiday season? Learn from both – the positive and negative experience of those brands that have gone before you. In this post the author shares this year’s Social Media Holiday Wonders & Blunders List comprising the do’s and don’ts of holiday internet marketing.

Local SEO

62% Of Marketers Say Local Search Is Getting Harder
Do you feel like local search marketing is getting harder? The author of this post points out that 62% of marketers participating in the recent InsideLocal webinar series claimed, they do. Check out more results of these polls and get some very interesting insights into what is happening in local search these days!

What Will 2014 Bring For Local Search? 6 Predictions
Here’s what the future has in store for local search, as predicted by Chris Marentis: a coordinated national to local strategy for more brands and local businesses, Hummingbird will continue to point the way, mobile optimized websites, Google focus on ratings & reviews, social media & SEO continue to converge, Facebook can’t be ignored.

Search in the News

Google Is Most Visited Site Of 2013, Despite Big Drops In Desktop Traffic [Nielsen]
Guess what: judging by the results of research of the top digital brands this year released by Nielsen, Google was the most popular web brand of 2013, with an average monthly audience of almost 165 million unique visitors. Surprised? Hardly.

Nelson Mandela Ranks #1 On Google’s Top Trending Searches For 2013
Wondering what are Google’s top ten global trending searches of 2013? The author of this article reports that they include a variety topics, from celebrities to tech gadgets and world affairs. Read the post and see for yourself!

Five Things Bing Does Better Than Google
According to the author of the post, these are some things that are “definitely better in Microsoft’s garden”: flight cost prediction, unique search operators, video search, search for online courses, easier photo license search, Bing rewards. Would you agree or, perhaps, add anything?

Infographics

The 2013 Bing Infographic In Text Format: Bing Indexes A Lot Of Social Content
Wrapping up the year and thanking their users, Bing offers an infographic that summarizes some key statistics they wanted to share with everyone. Interested? Check it out!

Predicting How Twitter Search Will Evolve

Predicting How Twitter Search Will Evolve

With about 52 million Twitter users in the U.S., we’re talking a lot of tweets. In order to make its site more user-friendly – and more useful – Twitter is constantly upgrading its search function.

Given that Twitter made its initial public offering on Nov. 15, investors will be keeping a close eye on growth. And that includes functionality as well as users.

In a most recent search development, on Nov. 19 Twitter announced on its blog that it updated its iOS and Android apps with new search filters that make searching easier by:

  • Giving an option to view all tweets by toggling between top tweets and all tweets
  • Including a trending timeline under the Discover section that displays trending TV shows if you’re in the U.S and nearby events from anywhere in the world.
  • Providing a photo search filter to see Tweets with photos in a grid or list layout
  • Refining filter results to only show Tweets from the people you follow
  • Adding functionality to filter for videos

Let’s take a look back at a few highlights of how Twitter search evolved, and where it’s headed.

Twitter was launched in 2006, but it wasn’t until a year later that its profile search feature went live. That allowed users to search usernames based on criteria such as location and name. Also in 2007 the defining hashtag came into play.

Real-time search became available in 2009. That meant every public update sent to Twitter could be instantly indexed and made discoverable.

In April 2011, Twitter made it easier to find and follow Twitter accounts based on a user’s interests. Searches by topic now could show accounts relevant to that particular subject. Previously, the results would have shown only accounts with the specific term in their name or username. A few months later, Twitter rolled out a completely new version of search in an effort to deliver more relevant search results (including photos and videos).

Also that year, Twitter launched Tweetdeck. In addition to basic monitoring of your home page, messages, interactions and activity, it has a search component.

In July 2012, Twitter introduced search autocomplete and “People you follow” search results. This came on the heels of improvements including related query suggestions, spelling corrections and more relevant search results.

Twitter provides guidance on how to get the most out of your searches. It offers an option, shown below, to save your search, conduct an advanced search or create a widget to embed the search. Saved searches, along with recent searches, will appear when you click in the search box.

Article_PredictingHowTwitterEvolve_1

The advanced search function gives you several options:

Twitter Advanced Search

Go to https://twitter.com/search-home, and you’ll see a tip on using operators for advanced search. They are:

Twitter Search Operators

And if you want to embed your search, it’s as easy as plugging a snippet of code in your site’s HTML, generated by this easy-to-use widget:

Twitter Search Widget

Outside firms, such as Topsy, have jumped on the Twitter search bandwagon. In September, the free service made public an archive of Twitter’s entire history – more than 425 billion tweets, videos, images, blog posts and location pins.

In fact, Twitter monitoring has led to a sort of cottage industry all its own. A few of the players include:

  • Backtweets – search for links on Twitter
  • Snapbird – searches beyond Twitter’s history
  • Twazzup – real-time monitoring and analytics
  • Tweetfind – Twitter directory
  • TwimeMachine – search your old tweets

If Twitter wants to keep users on its site as they search for content, it will need to continually refine its search processes. In the wake of its recent IPO, Twitter is looking for ways to monetize its site beyond just sponsored tweets. To be successful, Twitter will need to show prospective advertisers that its users are sticking around longer than the time it takes to read or write a handful of 140-character tweets.

[Roundup] 32 SEOs Share Their Top Wishes for 2014

[Roundup] 32 SEOs Share Their Top Wishes for 2014

Well, it’s that time of the year. We look back on what happened over the last 12 months and try to predict what the future holds for the industry. Half of the time, these are just pure guesses, some are based on probability or statistics. None of it is certain of course. But what about the stuff SEOs really would want to happen? Coupled with that though I set off to find out what would be the SEOs top 3 marketing / SEO related wishes for 2014. Here’s are their answers.

Who took part

( mouse over their photos to land on their wishes straight away ) 

  • Jason Acidre – Kaiserthesage
  • Bob Jones – Visible
  • Harsh Agarwal – ShoutMeLoud
  • Geoff Kenyon – Geoff Kenyon
  • Peter Attia – Cucumber Nebula
  • Jacob King – JacobKing.com
  • Tad Chef – SEO2.us
  • Samuel A King – SEOSamuel
  • Adam Connell – Blogging Wizard
  • Debra Mastaler – Alliance Ink
  • Mauro D’Andrea – Blog Growth
  • Matt McGee – Search Engine Land
  • Marcela de Vivo – Gryffin
  • Phil Nottingham – Distilled
  • Brian Dean – Backlinko
  • Sujan Patel – Single Grain
  • Amanda di Silvestro – Higher Visibility
  • Simon Penson – Zazzle Media
  • Chris Dyson – TripleSEO
  • Harris Schachter – Optimize Prime
  • Nick Eubanks – SEONick
  • Bill Sebald – Greenlane SEO
  • Matt Fielding – Custard
  • Dan Sharp – Screaming Frog
  • Gianluca Fiorelli – I Love SEO
  • Ann Smarty – SEO Smarty
  • Charles Floate – GodofSEO
  • Aleyda Solis – Aleydasolis.com
  • Dmitry Gerasimenko –Ahrefs.com
  • Dan Stelter – Dan Stelter
  • Ross Hudgens – SiegeMedia
  • Andrew Youderian – Ecommerce Fuel

And here are their wishes:

Jason Acidre

My first wish is for all the people who’ve been affected by Typhoon Haiyan here in the Philippines. For them to have more opportunities to rebuild the hopes and lives they’ve lost this year. I wish them a better 2014.

For our team/company to become a lot better and smarter next year, so we can help our clients’ businesses grow as well, and for us to be able to provide more opportunities to those who’re seeking for work – and lastly, to somehow help put our country in a better position in SEO’s international scene.

A better year for the industry as a whole – especially in getting more brands, small/medium-sized businesses and people to realize how valuable online marketing is.

Harsh Agarwal

A usable SEO tool for bloggers: Most of the SEO tools out there are build for SMB’s and Enterprise, but few are for bloggers. A usable SEO tool for WordPress blogs which will help us to quickly diagnose and fix SEO issues on our blog. Something that integrates with WordPress seamlessly, and makes work easier for millions of WordPress users out there. For example, you scan your blog using my dream SEO tool, and it will not only let you know what all are missing (Ex: Schema, Authorship), but also help bloggers to quickly integrate latest SEO techniques on their blog.

A New Blogging platform: WordPress is undoubtedly current winner of blogging platform, but it has evolved at a great speed, and no more just a simple blogging tool. Gho.st which comes out as a good initiative, will take years to work as a perfect blogging platform. How about a simple blogging tool, which anyone without technical knowledge can use. Since I promote professional blogging in my country, this one blogging platform will be very handy for any beginner. A platform, which not only provides the best place to blog, but also takes care of all SEO needs @backend. So that a blogger can focus on what he is best at i.e.: writing.

Simplified Google: Undoubtedly Google have made great change in their Algo, and now Search is cleaner and more useful, but it comes with a big price of many bloggers and freelancers getting out of business. With Google killing Keyword tool, “Not provided” data, and unclear or unset guidelines for SEO is stopping thousands of bright minds across the globe to come out from the closet. With Google approach of encouraging big brand, and leaving small or new players behind, is more upsetting than before. How about Google building an eco-system which provides enough information for small publishers to grow and shine.

Peter Attia

First and foremost, I hope companies start looking at SEO as more than just rankings and links. A lot of the “SEOs” are great marketers, period. It can be difficult to break out of the ranking world and into something else, because that’s what you end up being known for. However, most people in the search environment know and do a hell of a lot more than just “attain a link”. I hope this becomes more apparent with the changes happening to the digital marketing industry.

I hope more companies start revamping their traditional thoughts about office environments and culture. Take marketing agencies for example. for an office full of creative, right brained thinking people, they have some of the lamest offices and culture I’ve ever seen. It’s like an incredible painting in an ugly frame. I think employee happiness is severely underrated and every company should allot time every month to brainstorm on how to make internal structures better, more enjoyable, and more comfortable.

I hope there’s a drastic and unforeseeable shift in the marketing world. Something that would shake things up to an astonishing extent and revolutionize our industry. This would get rid of some of the less savvy businesses that repeat spammy tactics, but for the most part, I just think it would be fun. We’d all be forced into adaptation and learning something new, which would be exciting.

Tad Chef

Professional:

1. I wish you a happy new search engine in 2014! Blekko and DuckDuckGo haven’t delivered yet despite promising starts. Yandex.com was beta without saying so. So I wish everybody to see an overhauled search engine that will challenge Google for real!

2. I wish free Bitcoin for everybody! Let it rain money on bloggers, webmasters and publishers with tools like TidBit! Give us more of it!

3. I wish you that by the end of 2014 the “SEO is dead” meme finally gets replaced by something like Grumpy Cat.

Personal: 

1. Personally I want my Google back from 2005. Please show real search results above the fold again, remove the clutter and stop penalizing webmasters for Google optimization.

2. I wish people would stop telling me that SEO is just marketing. It isn’t!

3. Please tell Matt Cutts to change with the time and embrace new formats. Instead of doing videos he should do animated gifs. “Just create great content” would fit perfectly for example.

Adam Connell

Google to start delivering search results that make more sense (when I want to search for packaging, I don’t want to read an article on Guardian.com about mushrooms and plastic).

Google employee’s to get their stories straight. Either agree on a position or keep your mouths shut – when 3-4 people in key positions at Google contradict each other consistently, it gets pretty annoying.

All those people still operating ‘churn and burn’ SEO services and telling people that black/grey hat tactics still work to just stop. Seriously, stop it. Wikilinks aren’t cool ok.

Mauro D’Andrea

As a first wish, I’d take a nicer Google :) With my latest site it has been very stingy in terms of organic traffic…considering the magnitude of my work I was expecting something more.

My second wish is to find some good assistants. I have increased a lot the number of my online businesses, so it would be great to find someone who can help me to better manage my online stuff.

My third wish is about sending some love to all the people who contacted me for interviews, questions, partnerships, etc…I’d love to see them get an extra traffic boost!

Marcela de Vivo

KEYWORD: Provided!  I wish one of the SEO tool companies would create a system that would correlate keyword rankings, page traffic, and keyword traffic predictions to create a model similar to the data we used to have with Google Analytics.

A Content Marketing Dashboard:  An integrated dashboard where I can check my emails, social streams, tasks, and projects.  From this dashboard I can schedule messages, reply to people, and check for social media mentions and sentiment.

The end of Penguin Penalties:  A girl can dream, right :-)

Brian Dean

I wish to average over 30,000 unique visitors per month on my blog over the course of the year.

I wish to have a list of over 15,000 email subscribers by the end of 2014.

I wish that everyone in the SEO community keeps sharing their insights like they have been. I’ve learned SO MUCH over this last year from the great people that are heavily involved in the SEO community.

Amanda di Silvestro

I think authorship still needs some work. As someone who writes a lot of content on the web, I want to be able to click my name and be taken to a SERP that has nothing but my content. This would make it easy for people to find my other writings and be able to see them listed in a fashion that they’re comfortable with. Currently if you see my photo and name associated with an article, you click that photo or name and are taken to my Google+ profile. I do like this feature, but I wish we had the option of both features. Even if authors were somehow allowed to have a website with all of their content so that it’s all in one place (of course duplicate content is the issue here).

A personal rant: I’m tired of seeing pages on websites that say they allow guest posts, and then they completely don’t accept guest posts–at least not from someone they don’t know. I follow the directions and create great articles often for some really authoritative sites, but I’m 90% positive they’re not getting read and I’m not being taken seriously (I feel this way because I’m often ignored despite the “we’ll get back to you in 2 weeks” promise). As an editor I know how much spam these huge sites must get, but I think that people who really give it a great try and are not trying to spam deserve a response. Create some sort of process where everyone at least gets an email telling them why they were not accepted. Moral of this story: Give up-and-coming writers a chance. I shouldn’t have to think about paying $3000 to someone to get my content onto a news site using their name just because they know someone–I wrote it!

Companies still aren’t embracing local SEO. Hopefully in 2014 this will be the big thing. I think it makes it easier for consumers and helps keep the playing field fair when it comes to search.

Chris Dyson

Make it through to May without reading yet another crappy SEO is Dead article and therefore keeping my blood pressure in check.

Improve on my command of the English language and by that I mean stop swearing like a navvy.

Speak at at least one SEO/Internet Marketing related conference in 2014. I am used to presenting but have never really dived into the world of SEO conferences, mainly sticking to business events instead. So this year I’d love the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.

Nick Eubanks

Not provided dies a horrible painful death.

Google provided accurate, localized rank tracking in Webmaster Tools.

I had the option to fully disable personalized search – or a way of filtering search results to see SERP’s that are most common for the largest user audience.

Matt Fielding

For agencies to focus on better metrics – It astounds me that agencies still see keyword rankings as a measure of success. Even traffic has no impact on a business’ bottom line on its own. Instead, we should be measuring progress against the goals of a website such as sales, enquiries and downloads, looking at year-on-year data.

For clients become more involved – When you’re trying to add knowledge and expertise to a site to create linkable assets, access to your client’s time is obviously key. While some clients are excited about this, most would prefer to run their business with minimal involvement in SEO. This is really something for agencies to tackle through good account management – sell the idea in terms of the benefit to the business instead of talking about how much it will help SEO. No business owner will ignore a request if you tell them it will double turnover!

For Google to leave Analytics alone – I just don’t have the time to keep up with Google’s tinkering. I get that they’re improving the product, but in the real world clients want reports and when can’t provide them right away, it makes me look bad. It’s like when Tesco move the vegetables over where wines and spirits used to be, I just can’t keep up. Chill out on the changes in 2014, Google.

Gianluca Fiorelli

First wish:

That us SEOs don’t screw up things as many times we SEOs did in the past. Infographics, guest blogging but even the same press releases, all the tactics for promoting a site per se aren’t bad, but we SEOs –  the dwarves for the gold – can be greedy for “links”, hence we have ruined those tactics for the sake of the “give-me-the-links” objective. And it’s pharisaic to protest if Google then shuts down the link juice’s well. So, my first wish is that SEOs will start assuming their own faults and not just blame the evil Google :)

Second wish:

Please stop talking about great content, start creating great content. The 80% of the supposed great content actually it isn’t. If we want to create something meaningful for our audience, that our audience will love to share and link to, we must be serious and learn from our real competitors (the media agencies, not other SEOs) and start working with professionals who really know their stuff: journalists, video marketers, web designers, devs, real experts… and not trying to be all those figures and an SEO at the same time. My second wish is that so many great content ideas I saw in 2013 will not be ruined by their pitiful execution.

Third wish:

That SEO industry won’t be seen as the poor nerd sister of all the Digital Marketing disciplines and that the efforts of so many great SEO agencies and people working as independent consultants and in-house professionals. But for this – my fourth wish – we should start being the first denouncing the bad use of SEO and not staying silent for a myopic sense of corporatism.

Charles Floate

That Google will stop bullsh$%ing people, their webmaster videos, more specifically the Cutts videos don’t actually tell you anything and often completely lie about the effectiveness of strategies. An example would be that Cutts said press releases now don’t give any value, then I and others did case studies which proved the complete opposite.

People would stop being Mozombies, this just refers to people being so wrapped up in their own “content marketing” based strategies which often don’t work for agencies with 100s of $250/month clients and are completely pointless at times. If you’re providing an SEO service to a business for that $250 per month, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to garner but links with that kind of a budget using white hat methods.

At the same time though, I don’t want you going and spamming their link profiles with 10,000 comment links from Fiverr – Just be careful and use some of the grey hat techniques I’ve been talking about.

My final wish is that I wish SEO wouldn’t exist, I much prefer doing content marketing and writing about stuff I enjoy rather than buying some articles and a couple domains to build a private blog network, but unfortunately that’s the best way to actually do SEO right now… I’d much rather spend my time writing blog posts on some new creative methods to build up your business. Though SEO is my passion and I love it, I just wish it wouldn’t be so mixed up in the thinkings and that we could have 1 community, rather than all these split pockets of people claiming to be experts yet they’ve never ranked a site in their life.

Dmitry Gerasimenko

My first wish is about Search Engine. I hope AI ( Artificial Intelligence) will not be born in Google and we’ll be able to witness a battle between old school search engine and a newly emerging AI supported search engine. Everyone unhappy with Google’s algorithm updates will stop criticising them for their periodic whims and start creating alternative spotless search engines instead.

My 2nd wish is Bitcoin will become the world’s currency. The world will move to justice for deeds, not for needs. And everyone will be coping well with the rapid changes the world is facing.

And my 3rd wish goes to my team at Ahrefs and everyone who has supported us unconditionally in the past year. I wish my team members and everyone a fantastic 2014.

Ross Hudgens

That digital marketing teams across silos will come together and work synergistically better in 2014 than they did in 2013. 2013 was a step forward, but in 2014 there should be no excuses. Content marketers can get PR teams content to work with that help with SEO, content teams can help social media by providing content that performs well on their channels, and the PR/social teams can properly craft/work with those teams to best accelerate their success.

That the overall “SEO” talk will die down and we will see more specific digital marketing references in all that we do. That our conversations will evolve to cross-channel KPIs more often rather than SEO driven ones, so that (ironically) our SEO goals may better be obtained.

That there will be less drama and more action. Many people are doing a lot of negative talking through social media channels and not much doing – or at least that’s my outside perception. It’s distracting, it’s not positive, and it’s not a healthy way for us to be spending our days in any form.

Bob Jones

I would love for Google to bring back the keyword data. Obviously this isn’t going to happen and we can live without it, but it’s one of those things where you never knew what you were missing out on until it was gone.

I wish people would stop thinking about SEO as “shortcuts” to rank quicker. As most of us know there’s a lot of work involved in creating and executing an online marketing strategy and the general perception of “easy quick wins” doesn’t do our industry justice.

I wish Google would step up their game and stop making liars out of the good guys. Ancient spam tactics that still seem to work are making it hard for us to convince the client not to go down that path and it ends up being a vicious circle in which we’ll never be able to improve the web as a whole. And world peace!

Geoff Kenyon

Organic Keyword Data Come Back – I would love to get our organic keyword data back to be able to better understand what keywords are driving revenue and acquisition.

Shady Link Building Efforts Die Out – It is really frustrating to see people doing really bad link building; it hurts our industry as other marketers are evaluating us, as an industry, based on the lowest common denominator rather than some of the great campaigns that we are running.

Improved Tracking – I love analytics but many people that I work with rarely utilize it to its full extent. We need to go beyond the high level visits, visitors, and high level conversions and start tracking all the micro conversions and interactions that are taking place on our sites.

Jacob King

Wish #1 – Build Bad Ass Private Networks – Focus more on network building, the people with badass networks are winning the day and I don’t see it changing when executed correctly. The concept of network linking itself is almost impossible to defeat with a heavily link based algorithm, the process of creating one, managing, and utilizing it is where Google can attempt to algorithmically detect and devalue it. But if they can’t, rank rank all day baby.

Wish #2 – Resist the Infectious Propaganda – People should test more, myself included. Challenge the convention, it’s crazy how something could be debunked by the public but still be working when implemented correctly. Such as comment spam, it’s amazing how many SEOs will refer to comment spam as an outdated tactic, since really, they have no idea what they’re talking about and haven’t tested sh*t. Comment spamming when used correctly can be extremely effective  for grey hat linking, yet you’ll find it referred to almost daily as a silly thing to do. Never take advice from any SEO blog, mine, this one, or any without actually testing yourself.

Wish #3 – Implement More and Implement Less – Usually I have what seem to be several “good” ideas every day. They feel good, I get excited about them, but I can never do them all. Use more analysis and patience with big ventures and ALWAYS see them through, just like painting a house, I always leave parts unfinished, but I gotta close things out to achieve their true glory. At the same time if something is awesome and easy to implement, bang it out. If I get a cool idea for some sneaky redirects, I want to implement more and not overthink. So implement more and implement less, quite possibly the most confusing thing you’ve ever read, if you do understand it though, I commend you.

Samuel A King

Can I please have my keywords reporting back?

Truth be told, it will be a lot easier if we all had access to this data back. Yes, there are ways to segment reporting and track your conversions via landing pages, webmaster tools, funnel reporting etc but it will make my job a whole lot easier when I can run one simple report and pull out data that is needed in one place.

Some PR9 and PR10 instant links will be nice

I know many SEOs still turn up their noses when pagerank is mentioned but I firmly believe they still play a very important role in link building. This is obviously down to my own internal tests and some publicly available tests by other SEOs. Anyway, having this high PR ammunition at my disposal to launch will make me very happy next year.

An All in One SEO Tool bar for chrome browser.

The title says it all.

Debra Mastaler

I wish Google Plus would give you options to change the way your content is displayed.  Right now I find it cumbersome and overwhelming.  If you’re going to strong-arm me into using it, make it easy to use.

I wish another search engine would offer the freebies and options Google does so the public would embrace them as well.  Hey Microsoft, if you made Word, Excel and PP free to anyone who set-up a MSN  email account, you’d rock the search world. At the very least, rebrand Hotmail to Bing mail and help passively market your engine.

I wish people would get off their cell phones as they cross the street or walk in parking lots. Outside of having a death wish, it sets a bad example for our children.

Matt McGee

I want my keyword data back without having to buy AdWords. And I want Google to stop pretending that [not provided] has anything to do with protecting user privacy. We all know better.

I want blog comment spammers to try harder, because they haven’t come up with any new tricks in years. It’s boring having to deal with them.

I want more of the brilliant females in the internet marketing industry to step up and pitch to speak at our SMX conferences, and at other conferences, too. We need to get more new faces at the podium, particularly females since they’re often under-represented in the groups of pitches that I see before every show we do.

Phil Nottingham

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 11.02.58

Sujan Patel

More transparency from the search engines. There have are many changes happening in the search space in the last few years. Overall the changes are great as they’re improve the quality of the SERPs but as marketers we’re somewhat running blind. Google has gotten better but with communication and providing feedback through webmaster tools but I’d love to see much more transparency.

A solution for “Not Provided” I understand their reasoning but I want the keywords back!! It helps us as marketers understand what is and isn’t working.

Google Plus Adoption. This one is for us marketers and all gmail users. G+ isn’t going anywhere so let’s start using it.

Simon Penson

Google continues its ‘carrot approach’, rewarding the right kind of behaviours around investment in quality content and great website UX, as opposed to battering web masters with penalties. The best way of creating the right behaviours is more stuff like In Depth Articles as opposed to Penguin iterations.

Google comes out and is clear on the indisputable fact that social signals play a part in ranking, especially fresh content.

We stop talking about search as a silo and take a more integrated approach to driving targeted audiences to brands online.

Harris Schachter

I wish there were more talent in the SEO and inbound marketing industry. I hope it becomes easier to find and hire qualified individuals, with the experience and knowledge necessary for the role. The best strategy at the moment is to hire people who are intelligent, inquisitive, and willing to be trained. Unfortunately this training takes a TON of time. I hope to find some unemployed but experienced SEOs under the Xmas tree this year (like a puppy, but better).

I wish the snake-oil salesman of the industry would find something else to do. Although this has been a wish for many since the dawn of search engines, I am confident this year will be different. Algorithm updates and semantic search will make it difficult or impossible to game search engines, so practitioners our there who soil our names will either have to go legit or quit.

I wish I had keywords back. Sure, I could sit here and tell you I don’t need them, because indeed I don’t need them to be an effective organic search strategist. But hey, a guy can wish, right?

Bill Sebald

I wish Google would start providing useful webmaster notifications.  I’m happy they’re always expanding their form letters, but if they can now add manual editors and more human elements to the search results, I wish they’d do the same with their notifications.  Those things are as fuzzy as the webmaster guidelines!  Google, some of us SEOs want to help you make your results better too!

I wish Google would open up their social reach, even if it costs some money and pride.  The data mining and custom results they’re doing with Google+ is great in theory, but it’s too small a sample.

Put some natural search listings above the fold once in a while!

Dan Sharp

Our organic keyword data back? It won’t happen, so how about more than 90 days of search query data & a greater % of queries in Google WMT. A UI download option would also be nice, rather than the python script or saving it manually as well.

I wish Google just discounted links they don’t trust & removed the whole disavow process. As the above won’t happen, I’d like Google to provide the full list of links they deem as unnatural, rather than a miniscule sample. I can’t see this happening either, so as a minimum I’d like them to do a better job at providing ALL inbound links in Google WMT, whether they are followed and with anchor text. It can be really difficult nailing down every link, even when combining WMT link data with every external link provider.

Here are a few other quick fire wishes for 2014:

A real competitor to Google.

Someone (Google!) provide *accurate* and deeper keyword research data please.

Improvements in geo-targeting, perhaps with multiple selection of countries in WMT. rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” can be clunky. More granular location targeting (City etc) might be rather nice too.

Greater domain diversity. The balance still isn’t right yet, in my humble opinion.

The death of mobile sub domains.

Ann Smarty

I wish Google reps just stopped talking about SEO :) Ok, I may be ungrateful here but their “collaboration” with website owners seems to be more geared towards scaring and controlling rather than helping. For the majority of cases their advice is either (1) not helpful at all (“build content, don’t build links, etc”) or (2) which is worse, misinterpreted – which results in lots of FUD and the flood of yet another “Death of XXX” blog posts. Website owners are lost to the point that they are now afraid of linking to anyone!

I wish Google Authorship gets smarter. We’ve all been waiting for good authors to enjoy better search visibility but cases like this still leave me puzzled.

I wish Bing finally started making the difference! Google desperately needs a worthy competitor; we are all cheering up for Bing!

Aleyda Solis

Google rolls back “not provided” and give us the old Keyword Tool back, where we could segment keyword search volume for mobile and tablets.

A new disruptive search engine enters the market that will compete with Google and we won’t rely on only one main huge search engine to earn the desired organic search visibility for our Websites.

I can make all the SEO related wishes I want during the year and they’re going to be granted 😀

Dan Stelter

That the SEO/internet marketing community would understand the experience, skill, and hard work it takes to create engaging content/copy.

That I can be of greater service to others and people in general both personally and professionally.

I hope the Packers draft wisely, reload, and dominate next year after a disappointing season this year.

Andrew Youderian

I wish cost per click prices on AdWords and other advertising mediums were as cheap as they were back in the early 2000s!  It’s be a lot of fun (and very profitable) to be able to buy clicks for pennies on the dollar in today’s environment.

Filling the Gaps in Your Link Profile with Ahrefs Competitor Backlink Analysis

Filling the Gaps in Your Link Profile with Ahrefs Competitor Backlink Analysis

SEOs often argue that it’s very difficult to replicate your competitors’ backlinks, but this isn’t always the case. I’ve got many of the most powerful backlinks forTechTage using Ahrefs and my brain. And, sneaking into your competitors’ link profiles don’t only give you a nice list of sites that you can target for getting links from, it also introduces you to a lot of great sites in your niche that you might not have known about before.

The thing is, everyone doesn’t have the same level of expertise in any particular field of link building. A broken link buidling rockstar might suck at guest posting and vice versa. An infographic marketing genius may not be a crowd-sourcing wizard and vice versa. This definitely reflects on your site’s link profile especially if you’re a one-man army or have few people other than yourself working on your site.

But, you can’t let it go and let guest post links or infographic links make up 50% of your entire link profile either – because that’s a bad signal to Google! This is why a proper balance of different types of links in your site’s link profile is important.

When you’re out of ideas about leveraging a link building strategy that’s fairly new to you (for example, guest posting), a powerful link profile monitoring tool like Ahrefs can provide you with unlimited help, literally.

When I needed to know about some more solid places to get my guest posts published on, to both increase my personal visibility online, create more connections, and get some links built to TechTage in the process, I leveraged a fairly easy tactic using Ahrefs.

What I basically did was to take a few related sites that I really love and admire, and going deep into their link profiles using Ahrefs. As my site was related to SEO and Inbound Marketing in general, I chose highly-successful blogs in the industry such as Kaiser the Sage and Backlinko.

At first, I just normally put the URL of the site I want to monitor the link profile of in Ahrefs. Lucky for me, I already had and still have a paid subscription, so there were no practical limits as to how many links and referring domains I could find.

Article_Filling-the-Gaps-in-Your-Link-Profile_1

The next thing that I almost always did while looking into the link profile of a site for the first time is checking its anchor-text distribution, to get a glimpse of hownatural its link profile might be.

Anchor-text distribution

As you can see in the image above, Backlinko’s link profile looks fairly legitimate, with branded anchor-texts such as ‘backlinko’ and ‘backlinko.com’ making up more than 34% of its link profile. The anchor-text ‘brian dean’, which is the name of the webmaster, is making up 7% of its link profile, which could’ve been a bit higher but still looks natural enough. This is definitely a good signal to the search engines.

Then, I go directly to the ‘referring domains’ tab in Ahrefs, where at first the referring domains are shown in order of most to least backlinks from a domain to the target domain or URL. It looks like this:

Ahrefs > Site Explorer > Referring > Domains

As I was looking for mainly new (and awesome) guest posting targets, this screen by default was next to useless for me. Plus, I didn’t wanna replicate nofollow’ed links, which were also included in the results.

So, I filtered the results by choosing to show only dofollow’ed links (by clicking on the ‘dofollow’ box in the top portion of the image) and then I sorted the links by Ahrefs Domain Rank:

DoFollow filtering > Sorting by AR

There you go! Tons of high-authority domains pointing dofollow’ed links to the site we’re checking the backlinks of.

At first, you might not always find what you’re looking for, but you still find some really lucrative sites anyway. Let’s take WordPress.org for example. When I spotted it sitting at #1, I questioned myself, why would WordPress.org link (with a dofollow) to a blog about SEO? Little did I know that their codex, or the wiki about WordPress itself (the open-source web software) freely links out (with dofollow) to useful contents about itself hosted on external sites.

As Brian had a really nice guide, plus an infographic on on-page SEO, it was fairly easy for him to drop a link in the ‘more resources and tutorials’ section of theSEO for WordPress codex page. At that time I had a really comprehensive guide about WordPress SEO on my own site, so getting it included in the same list wasn’t much problem. And, the entire thing took around 15 minutes for me to implement. So, a great piece of content, and 15 minutes of time was all that was necessary for grabbing a nice dofollow’ed link from a PR5 page and a DA100 site! What’s more is that link consistently drives around 25 visitors per day to that post on TechTage, so you get a good amount of referral traffic as well.

Going further down the list, interesting domains start to appear slowly:

interesting domains start to appear slowly...

From the list above, so far I’ve been able to get my posts live on InkThemes (PR6, DA90), SearchEngineJournal (DA84, PR6), and Business2Community (DA83, PR6).

If you go further down, you’ll find even more interesting sites:

even more interesting sites when you go further down the list ...

WordTracker, ContentMarketingInstitute, SEMRush, Ahrefs Blog – excellent places to get your online marketing article live on. SearchEngineGuide – a PR7 blog about SEM.

Then, moving on to the next page:

more interesting sites appear...

Again, a host of high-quality sites! By the second page, I’ve already got to know around 12-15 high-quality, relevant sites that accept guest posts. I wouldn’t need more sites for the next two months. So, how much time does this take? Less than 15 minutes for me. Is it more time efficient than sneaking into people’s ‘contributor to’ sections of G+ profiles and using other time-consuming methods of finding guest post targets? Yeah. Can you exclusively choose to see the most high-authority sites with powerful link profiles first? Hell yeah.

To distinguish between guest post links and other types (like those .edu resource page links you can spot in the images above), all you need to do is to click just once on ‘backlinks’ on the right.

Hit " Backlinks" button next to the referring domains

Right below the result, you’ll see more details about the links from that domain as the row expands.

more details about the links from that domain as the row expands...

If you’re in doubt about the type of the link, just visit the source URL and check for yourself. Remember, category and archive pages are often updated frequently, so there’s a chance that you won’t find that particular post on those pages anymore. So, it’s better to directly identify the URL of the actual post and visit it.

Apart from helping me compile a nice list of high-authority guest posting targets, Ahrefs also made me realize how effective infographics are practically when it comes to acquiring links. Brian published two infographics on his site till now, and he leveraged them to get a TON of quality links.

I was fairly new to producing infographics to be honest. I designed on my own in the past, used Fiverr gigs, used design competition sites like 48HoursLogo, contacted design agencies etc.

But, I quickly realized that oDesk can be a quite good place for finding talented designers who wouldn’t charge an arm and a leg.

With the help of a very talented designer I found on oDesk, I was able to producethe first ever infographic for TechTage. Using the backlink data of Backlinko, I was able to get more than 30 domains to either share or link to the post containing the infographic within the first week or so with very little work.

Resource page links are a different story. You can either do your research using Google, ScrapeBox and lots of advanced search parameters, or you just steal the links from your competitors. The formula is basically:

  1. Find resource pages related to your content.
  2. Email the webmasters of those websites, praise the resource pages, and tell them why they should include your content too.
  3. Let the links roll in.

Conclusion

A balance of different types of links in your link profile is helpful in NOT sending search engines a bad message about your site. While using traditional link building skillset is often beneficial in acquiring quality links, it can’t really assure you about that balance.

This is where Ahrefs and its extensive competitor backlink analysis come into play. While choosing a more successful competitor site makes sense, the trick is using all the features and tools that Ahrefs gives you efficiently, to increase your success rate in (high-quality) backlink replication.