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What Links to Target with Google's Disavow Tool - Whiteboard Friday
Posted by Cyrus-ShepardDo you need to disavow links in the modern age of Google? Is it safe? If so, which links should you disavow? In this Whiteboard Friday, Cyrus Shepard answers all these questions and more. While he makes it clear that the majority of sites shouldn't have to use Google's Disavow Tool, he provides his personal strategies for those times when using the tool makes sense.How do you decide when to disavow? We'd love to hear your process in the comments below!






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Video Transcription
Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I'm Cyrus Shepard. Today we're going to be talking about a big topic — Google's Disavow Tool. We're going to be discussing when you should use it and what links you should target.
Now, this is kind of a scary topic to a lot of SEOs and webmasters. They're kind of scared of the Disavow Tool. They think, "It's not necessary. It can be dangerous. You shouldn't use it." But it's a real tool. It exists for a reason, and Google maintains it for exactly for webmasters to use it. So today we're going to be covering the scenarios which you might consider using it and what links you should target.
Disclaimer! The vast majority of sites don't need to disavow *anything*
Now I want to start out with a big disclaimer. I want this to be approved by the Google spokespeople. So the big disclaimer is the vast majority of sites don't need to disavow anything. Google has made tremendous progress over the last few years of determining what links to simply ignore. In fact, that was one of the big points of the last Penguin 4.0 algorithm update.
Before Penguin, you had to disavow links all the time. But after Penguin 4.0, Google simply ignored most bad links, emphasis on the word "most." It's not a perfect system. They don't ignore all bad links. We'll come back to that point in a minute. There is a danger in using the Disavow Tool of disavowing good links.
That's the biggest problem I see with people who use the disavow is it's really hard to determine what Google counts as a bad link or a harmful link and what they count as a good link. So a lot of people over-disavow and disavow too many things. So that's something you need to look out for. My final point in the disclaimer is large, healthy sites with good link profiles are more...
Research Study: Significant Increase in Google Images Within SERPs


With three confirmed algorithm updates this year alone, a recent, sizable deindexing bug, and numerous small tremors in the SERPs, there is never a dull moment for SEOs.
Yet, beyond these updates, actual SEO performance may be determined by the presence of another, hidden competitor – one that most SEOs still haven’t paid as much attention to as they should.
Restaurant Local SEO: The Google Characteristics of America’s Top-Ranked Eateries
Posted by MiriamEllis“A good chef has to be a manager, a businessman and a great cook. To marry all three together is sometimes difficult.” - Wolfgang Puck
I like this quote. It makes me hear phones ringing at your local search marketing agency, with aspiring chefs and restaurateurs on the other end of the line, ready to bring experts aboard in the “sometimes difficult” quest for online visibility.
Is your team ready for these clients? How comfortable do you feel talking restaurant Local SEO when such calls come in? When was the last time you took a broad survey of what’s really ranking in this specialized industry?
Allow me to be your prep cook today, and I’ll dice up “best restaurant” local packs for major cities in all 50 US states. We’ll julienne Google Posts usage, rough chop DA, make chiffonade of reviews, owner responses, categories, and a host of other ingredients to determine which characteristics are shared by establishments winning this most superlative of local search phrases.
The finished dish should make us conversant with what it takes these days to be deemed “best” by diners and by Google, empowering your agency to answer those phones with all the breezy confidence of Julia Child.
Methodology
I looked at the 3 businesses in the local pack for “best restaurants (city)” in a major city in each of the 50 states, examining 11 elements for each entry, yielding 4,950 data points. I set aside the food processor for this one and did everything manually. I wanted to avoid the influence of proximity, so I didn’t search for any city in which I was physically located. The results, then, are what a traveler would see when searching for top restaurants in destination cities.
Restaurant results
Now, let’s look at each of the 11 data points together and see what we learn. Take a seat at the table!
Categories prove no barrier to entry
Which restaurant categories make up the dominant percentage of local pack entries for our search?

You might think that a business trying to rank locally for “best restaurants” would want to choose just “restaurant” as their primary Google category as a close match. Or, you might think that since we’re looking at best restaurants, something like “fine dining restaurants” or the historically popular “French restaurants” might top the charts.
Instead, what we’ve discovered is that restaurants of every category can make it...
We Surveyed 1,400 Searchers About Google - Here's What We Learned
Posted by LilyRayNYCGoogle’s search results have seen a whirlwind of major changes in the past two years. Nearly every type of modern-day search queries produce a combination of rich results beyond the standard blue links — Featured Snippets, People Also Ask boxes, Knowledge Panels, maps, images, or other enhancements. It is now even possible to browse flights, hotels, jobs, events, and other searches that were previously only available via external websites, directly on Google.
As search marketers, we are keenly aware that both Google’s evolving landscape and the rise in new, rich results impact our bottom-line — more SERP enhancements and growth in “position 0” means less organic traffic for everyone else. Last year, Rand Fishkin posted a remarkable Whiteboard Friday pointing out the unsettling trend that has emerged from the updates to Google’s interface: there are fewer organic links to external websites as traffic flows to Google-owned assets within the SERP.
We often hear about how the digital marketing community feels about changes to Google’s interface, but it is less common to hear the opinions of the average searcher who is less technically-savvy. At Path Interactive, we conducted a survey of 1,400 respondents to better understand how they search, how they feel about Google’s search results, and the quality of information the search engine provides.
A note about our respondents
72 percent of respondents were based in the U.S., 8 percent in India, and 10 percent in Europe or the U.K. 67.8 percent considered themselves somewhat technically-savvy or not technically-savvy at all. 71.3 percent were under the age of 40.
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How Often Do Searchers Use Google to Find Things?
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the vast majority of respondents — 77 percent — use Google 3+ times a day to search for things online. The frequency of Google usage is also inversely correlated with age; 80 percent of 13–21-year-olds use Google more than three times per day, while only 60 percent of respondents over 60 searches with the same frequency.
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How often do searchers click ads vs. organic results?
As many previous studies have shown, the vast majority of searchers prefer clicking on organic results to clicking on advertisements. 72 percent of respondents...
The One-Hour Guide to SEO: Link Building - Whiteboard Friday
Posted by randfishThe final episode in our six-part One-Hour Guide to SEO series deals with a topic that's a perennial favorite among SEOs: link building. Today, learn why links are important to both SEO and to Google, how Google likely measures the value of links, and a few key ways to begin earning your own.






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Video Transcription
Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. We are back with our final part in the One-Hour Guide to SEO, and this week talking about why links matter to search engines, how you can earn links, and things to consider when doing link building.
Why are links important to SEO?
So we've discussed sort of how search engines rank pages based on the value they provide to users. We've talked about how they consider keyword use and relevant topics and content on the page. But search engines also have this tool of being able to look at all of the links across the web and how they link to other pages, how they point between pages.

So it turns out that Google had this insight early on that what other people say about you is more important, at least to them, than what you say about yourself. So you may say, "I am the best resource on the web for learning about web marketing." But it turns out Google is not going to believe you unless many other sources, that they also trust, say the same thing. Google's big innovation, back in 1997 and 1998, when Sergey Brin and Larry Page came out with their search engine, Google, was PageRank, this idea that by looking at all the links that point to all the pages on the internet and then sort of doing this recursive process of seeing which are the most important and most linked to pages, they could give each page on the web a weight, an amount of PageRank.
Then those pages that had a lot of PageRank, because many people linked to them or many powerful people linked to them, would then pass more weight on when they linked. That understanding of the web is still in place today. It's still a way that Google thinks about links. They've almost certainly moved on from the very simplistic PageRank formula that came out in the late '90s, but that thinking underlies everything they're doing.
How does Google measure the value of links?
Today, Google measures the value of links in many very...
Goodbye Keyword Tracking, Hello Semantic Indexing
If you work with an SEO strategist and want to have some fun with them, ask them to report on keyword metrics. It’s a question that’s likely to raise their blood pressure, because it provides a stilted view of the organic data on their end. On your end, it can create an obsession with individual keywords that can tie your campaign to the time-absorbing process of “boosting” a fallen keyword instead of to high-level SEO strategies.
Given that keyword research and selection is still an underpinning of almost every well-executed SEO strategy, it can be difficult to explain why individual keywords are hugely important from a process standpoint, but not from a measurement standpoint. I’m going to attempt it in this blog post. Here we go!
On-Page Optimization: Where Your Keyword Strategy Begins
Whether you work with a strategist or perform SEO yourself, your on-page optimization strategy likely begins with keyword mapping. This is the process of performing keyword research to find the 3-5 keywords per page that are an optimal combination of search volume (high), competition/difficulty (low), and relevance (high). Once the keyword research is performed for your priority pages, you should have a “map” of keywords that will provide you with insight into the architecture of your site and the way your content is (or will be) structured. This will help you fill in content gaps, reduce duplications, and decide if you need to split certain landing pages into distinct topics.

We’re not expecting a page to rank for 3-5 keywords alone.

We use keyword research to set healthy targets and give us a framework for optimization that has the highest possible likelihood of paying off, but here’s the fun part: we’re not expecting the page to rank for those 3-5 keywords alone. Instead, you can think of each keyword as a bucket that holds up to thousands of related keywords, questions and long-tail search queries. Aside from the obvious (paid vs unpaid), this “bucket” phenomenon, called Latent Semantic Indexing, is perhaps the biggest difference between SEO and PPC, and it’s why PPC is more well-suited to measuring keyword performance - for now. So if you’re used to tracking PPC campaigns, you’re going to have to throw a lot of your logic out the window to understand organic performance.
What is Latent Semantic Indexing?
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a document retrieval...
4 Unconventional Ways to Become a Better SEO
Posted by meagar8Let’s get real for a moment: As much as we hear about positive team cultures and healthy work environments in the digital marketing space, many of us encounter workplace scenarios that are far from the ideal. Some of us might even be part of a team where we feel discouraged to share new ideas or alternative solutions because we know it will be shot down without discussion. Even worse, there are some who feel afraid to ask questions or seek help because their workplace culture doesn’t provide a safe place for learning.
These types of situations, and many others like it, are present in far too many work environments. But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? 
Over the last ten years as a team manager at various agencies, I’ve been working hard to foster a work environment where my employees feel empowered to share their thoughts and can safely learn from their mistakes. Through my experiences, I have found a few strategies to combat negative culture and replace it with a culture of vulnerability and creativity.
Below, I offer four simple steps you can follow that will transform your work environment into one that encourages new ideas, allows for feedback and positive change, and ultimately makes you and your team better digital marketers.
Vulnerability leads to creativity
I first learned about the impact of vulnerability after watching a viral TED talk by Dr. Brene Brown. She defined vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She also described vulnerability as “the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.” From this, I learned that to create a culture of vulnerability is to create a culture of creativity. And isn’t creativity at the heart of what we SEOs do?
A culture of vulnerability encourages us to take risks, learn from mistakes, share insights, and deliver top results to our clients. In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, we simply cannot achieve top results with the tactics of yesterday. We also can’t sit around and wait for the next Moz Blog or marketing conference, either. Our best course of action is to take risks, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and share insights with others. We have to learn from those with more experience than us and share what we know to those with less experience. In other words, we have to be vulnerable.
Below is a list of four...
Conversion Rate Optimization: The Definitive Guide

This is a complete guide to conversion rate optimization (CRO).
In today’s guide you’ll learn:

How to run A/B tests
How to optimize landing pages
How to convert first-time visitors into customers
Dozens of CRO best practices

In short: if you want to get more leads, sales, and signups, you’ll love this new guide.

The post Conversion Rate Optimization: The Definitive Guide appeared first on Backlinko.

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