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9 Important SEO Habits You Should Adopt Now

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Want to improve your SEO strategies and skills to move the needle even more for your organizations and clients?

Then it’s time to ditch the bad habits and start creating new habits – or enhancing existing ones.

Although we typically gravitate toward specific areas of SEO (technical, on-page, off-page), based on our interests or familiarity, usually we can’t focus on SEO 100 percent of the time.

Our focus is spread thin.

Here’s how you can build habits that help you broaden your scope of context- and content-driven SEO – without working twice as many hours!

1. Research Deeper

The word “research” means different things to different people.

In our industry, it often relates to keywords, competitors, and links.

As SEO focus continues to shift more to focus on the whole rather than the granular details, it is as important as ever to have good processes and habits for performing research.

While I have worked to pivot and use terms like “audience” rather than “keyword” when pertaining to my research processes on the front end of SEO campaigns, I find that some of the deep insights for terms and topics come from concentrated efforts to use tools and available data.

I’m using more tools, spending more time in the SERPs, and focusing on finding ways to understand the audience in greater detail than in the past, while not abandoning the principles of old-school keyword research as well.

We know we have to go deeper while also keeping in mind that mining for that one long-tail keyword is short-sighted in the context-based era of SEO that we’re in.

2. Measure More

I’m willing to bet that 9 out of 10 people in charge of SEO for their company or clients would admit that we spend less time in Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other analytics tools than we wish.

The time is now to find ways to get numbers coming to you or dedicating time nearly daily to jumping into the numbers.

The more time we spend in the data, the more we can measure, add custom dimensions, adjust attribution models, and find insights that we won’t get if we just drop in weekly or monthly to produce a report.

3. Learn Daily

We have great go-to sources like Search Engine Journal to use when we need to find an answer or learn about what is happening in the SEO world.

That isn’t enough!

With the speed of change in website technology, trends, and digital marketing, we have to find ways to learn daily.

A great way to build this habit is finding ways to follow favorite industry sources and have the news come to you.

I get my daily learning in through article feeds delivered by email and in social channels.

I have found that subscribing and following selectively in channels that aren’t as cluttered with noise helps me focus in on the articles I need to see without having to go out to each of the sites individually – which won’t happen organically my day goes too fast for that kind of free time.

4. Work Backwards

We’re getting better at this because we have to.

SEO is part of the digital marketing mix and has a seat at the table.

However, we’re competing against channels and noise about blockchain, AI, voice, chatbots, and more.

We have to stick to what our stakeholders care about – how search meets business goals.

To make sure we’re on point, we have to start with business goals and work backwards to our metrics.

When we start with our KPIs (e.g., rankings, average position, traffic) first, we lose the important message of sales, leads, revenue, and ROI that the C-suite and clients care most about and gain the opportunity to educate them along the way.

5. Truly Focus on Context

If you’ve been in the SEO world for a long time or if you’re only doing it part-time as part of a broader role, plus a host of other reasons, it is easy to focus on old tactics or small updates.

While I can speak to specific case studies of updates to a single tag and ranking improvements, they are rarer than in the past.

Getting context right and focusing on relevance and authority status for topics as a whole is critical to SEO success.

If you’re stuck on old tactics or just dropping in from time to time to make small updates, you’re going to fight an uphill battle.

Shifting to a context mindset is important and thinking with context first and keywords, technical, and links second will help drive the right priority in your SEO plan.

6. Stay Technically Sharp

Now that I have talked about context, I have to balance that out with making sure that we stay sharp on the technical aspects of SEO.

While it is possible to pump out a ton of content or build a lot of links and rank well, the nuances of technical SEO still play a factor.

Even if you’re more of a content and creative-minded SEO, there are aspects of technical SEO you can master.

Navigating issues with duplicate content, canonicals, indexing, disavowing bad links, page speed optimization, and other aspects of technical SEO are still important.

In fact, it seems that technical SEO skills are fading a bit.

7. Engage Stakeholders

Unless you’re a designer, writer, coder, and IT person in addition to your SEO role, you can’t do your job alone.

Bring others into your strategy and your circle. Engaging those you depend upon can help you get exactly what you need.

Additionally, find ways to involve product teams, marketers from other channels, sales people, research, PR, the C-suite, and actual customers to help you learn and evolve your strategy.

I’m not saying to give people control or say over how SEO is done, but you can:

  • Educate them.
  • Learn any insights they can provide on your competition and target audiences.
  • Know your customer’s journey.
  • Use that valuable information to shape your plan.

8. Integrate with Other Marketing Channels

We can learn a lot and leverage what is working in other areas of marketing and advertising. It is often easy to link up with paid search and share keyword data.

Push beyond your comfort zone and find ways to gain insight from traditional marketing, print, and offline experiences.

We can do a lot to support the other channels, which can help us with content, links, and other the external factors that we can’t normally influence to fuel our SEO.

9. Balance Your Focus Across SEO

We’re all admittedly strong in some areas and weaker in others. Or, maybe you’re a unicorn or rock star that is awesome at everything.

Even if that’s the case, there are aspects of SEO that we like more than others.

Regardless of whether we’re stronger on or prefer content over technical, technical over off-page, off-page over on-page, etc., we have to create habits that balance out our focus.

Yes, you can focus on one thing, do it really well, and produce results. However, that’s a risky strategy that can backfire when a major algorithm update comes out or when a competitor shifts focus or enters your industry and has a balanced approach that crushes you.

Make sure you’re focused on all aspects of SEO and make intentional choices on why you are focusing on certain aspects and in what priority order.

Build enough balance and redundancy in your strategy to mitigate risk.

Conclusion

Many elements go into SEO. While this is a simple statement, it’s also very true.

So start building new habits now. Fill in any gaps you have in your knowledge or routines.

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SEO

Google Search Console image search reporting bug June 5-7

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Google posted a notice that between the dates of June 5 through June 7, it was unable to capture data around image search traffic. This is just a reporting bug and did not impact actual search traffic, but the Search Console performance report may show drops in image search traffic in that date range.

The notice. The notice read, “June 5-7: Some image search statistics were not captured during this period due to an internal issue. Because of this, you may see a drop in your image search statistics during this period. The change did not affect user Search results, only the data reporting.”

How do I see this? If you login to Google Search Console, click into your performance report and then filter by clicking on the “search type” filter. You can then select image from the filters.

Here is a screen shot of this filter:

How To Filter By Image Traffic in Google Search Console

Why we should care. If your site gets a lot of Google Image search traffic, you may notice a dip in your traffic reporting within Google Search Console. You may have not noticed a similar dip in your other analytics tools. That being said, Google said this is only a reporting glitch within Google Search Console and did not impact your actual traffic to your web site.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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SEO

Facebook Changes Reach of Comments in News Feed

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Facebook announced a change to it’s algorithms that will affect the reach of comments on a post. Comments that have specific quality signals will  be highly ranked. Low quality comment practices may result in less reach.

Comment Ranking in News Feeds

Facebook noted that not only are posts ranked in news feeds but comments are also ranked as well.

Posts with comments that have positive quality signals will be seen by more people. Posts with low quality signals will have their news feed reach reduced.

Facebook Comment-Quality Signals

Facebook noted that their updated comment algorithm has four features:

  1. Integrity signals
  2. User indicated preferences
  3. User interaction signals
  4. Moderation signals

Integrity Signals

Integrity Signals are a measure of authenticity. Comments that violate community standards or fall into engagement-bait are negative signals. Violations of community standards are said to be removed.

Engagement Bait

Facebook engagement bait is a practice that has four features:

1. React Baiting

Encouraging users to react to your post

2. Follow and Share Baiting

This is described as telling visitors to like, share or subscribe.

3. Comment Baiting

Encouraging users to comment with a letter or number are given as examples.

. Monetization Baiting

This is described as asking for “stars” in exchange for something else, which could include something trivial like “doing push ups.”

User Indicated Preferences

This is a reference to user polls that Facebook conducts in order to understand what users say they wish to see in comments.

User Interaction Signals

These are signals related to whether users interact with a post.

Moderation Signals

This is a reference to how users hide or delete comments made in their posts.

Here is how Facebook describes it:

“People can moderate the comments on their post by hiding, deleting, or engaging with comments.

Ranking is on by default for Pages and people with a a lot of followers, but Pages and people with a lot of followers can choose to turn off comment ranking.

People who don’t have as many followers will not have comment ranking turned on automatically since there are less comments overall, but any person can decide to enable comment ranking by going to their settings. (See more details here.) “

Facebook Targeting Low Quality Comments

One of the stated goals of this update is to hide low quality posts from people’s Facebook feeds and to promote high quality posts by people you might know.

This is how Facebook described it:

“To improve relevance and quality, we’ll start showing comments on public posts more prominently when:

  • The comments have interactions from the Page or person who originally posted; or
  • The comments or reactions are from friends of the person who posted.”

Read Facebook’s announcement here: Making Public Comments More Meaningful

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author

 



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Build your PPC campaigns with this mini campaign builder script for Google Ads

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Need to quickly build a campaign or add keywords to an existing one? This script will do the work for you!

All you need to do is input a few keywords and headlines in a spreadsheet and BAM! You’ve got yourself the beginnings of a great campaign.

I’m a firm believer in Single Keyword per Ad Group (SKAG) structure – it increases ad/keyword relevance and therefore improves quality score, makes CPCs cheaper, gets you a higher ad rank and a better CTR.

Sadly, building out SKAG structures is a pretty time-consuming endeavor. You can’t implement millions of keywords and ads without PPC tech powering your builds.

But if a client just needs a couple of new keywords after updating their site with new content, this script is a quick and easy solution.

And that’s exactly what I love about PPC. There’s a special place in my heart for simple scripts anyone can use to achieve tasks that are otherwise repetitive or near-impossible.

What does the script do?

This tool will save a lot of time with small-scale builds where you know exactly which keywords and ad copy you need, for example when you’re adding a few keywords to an existing campaign.

You input your campaign name, keywords, headlines, descriptions, paths and final URL, and it will output three tabs for you: one with keyword combinations, one with negatives, and ads to upload to Google Ads Editor.

It creates one exact and one broad match modifier campaign and creates a list of keywords as exact negatives in the broad campaign to make sure that search terms that match exactly will go through the exact keyword.

I’m sure you’re dying to give it a whirl, so let’s get cracking!

How do you use it?

Make a copy of this spreadsheet (note: you’ll need to authorize the script to run). You’ll find all the instructions there as a future reminder.

Once you’ve got the spreadsheet ready, input the following:

  • The campaign name
  • The campaign name delimiter to distinguish between broad and exact campaigns
  • Headline 1 (if this cell is not specified, then it will be the same as the keyword)
  • Headline 2
  • Optionally, headline 3
  • Description 1
  • Optionally, description 2
  • Optionally, path 1 and path 2
  • The final URL
  • The keywords (you can keep going outside of the box with these!)

You’ll see a handy character counter which will go red if you exceed the character limit. Bear in mind that this tool will assume that you’re using it correctly and so you’ll need to make sure that you’re staying within the limit!

You can also optionally create a second ad variant by choosing the part of your text you want to vary (e.g., headline 2 or description 2) and inputting the copy. Otherwise, just select “None” from the dropdown menu.

Once you’re done, click the gigantic “Go!” Button, and wait for the magic to happen.

It will generate three tabs labelled “Keywords,” “Negatives” and “Ads.” If you want to run the script again with different keywords, make sure you save these tabs elsewhere or rename them to prevent the script from overriding them.

Finally, you can paste these tabs into Editor and update all the relevant settings and adjustments. Job done!

DOWNLOAD: You’ll need to authorize the script to run after you make a copy of this spreadsheet.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Daniel Gilbert is the CEO at Brainlabs, the best paid media agency in the world (self-declared). He has started and invested in a number of big data and technology startups since leaving Google in 2010.

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