How (And Why) to Measure Your SEO Success Quarterly
08/05/15 SEO

How (And Why) to Measure Your SEO Success Quarterly

What SEO metrics should you check? It could take hours if you want. Learn what to do in this post.

How often do you check your search success? Every day? Weekly? Never?

With organic search, you don’t need to check frequently. In fact, you’ll drive yourself insane if you do!

Quarterly review is often enough. Plus, you need to know a few things to check beyond your rankings.

  1. Rankings Aren’t Your Only Measure of Success

Rank’s important – no doubt. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you check. What if you rank in the top 5 for 10 keywords, but haven’t seen any profit growth?

While you should check it, rank doesn’t mean everything.

  1. Check Your Overall Traffic

Compare your total traffic to the previous quarter and the same quarter last year. You should notice decent growth over last year with an active SEO campaign (20% or so). You should be about the same or slightly better (0-10%) than the previous quarter.

In Google Analytics, click “Acquisition,” “All Traffic”, and then “Channels.” Then, in the upper right, change your date range so it’s like this:

Google Analytics Screenshot

Change “Previous year” to “Previous period” to check quarter-over-quarter growth.

If you see a boost in your rankings, you should see the same in your traffic too.

  1. Peek at Your Referral Traffic

“Referral” traffic comes from other websites. You’ll notice plenty of websites here that you’ve never heard of.

Don’t worry about those. Every website gets its share of junk traffic.

You will want to pay attention to traffic from local business review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Citysearch, and Google Maps.

  1. What’s Your Conversion Rate?

This is the most important goal of course! In Google Analytics, you can actually set up goals to track whatever you want as a conversion.

The best thing to do is to make your contact form’s “thank-you” page the conversion page. That way you know how many contacts you got.

If you don’t already track this, it’s easy to set up. Just go to “Admin” in Google Analytics’ top menu. Then press “Goals,” which is on the right.

You’ll see this (minus those helpful red circles):

Google Analytics Screenshot

You can set up “Goals” to track literally anything. If you’re a services-based business, you may want to set up goals to see how each service page converts.

Then, you can use the data later on to adjust the messaging on your services pages.

  1. What about Phone Calls?

This is the one aspect of SEO success that’s hard to track. How do you know how many people call you from your website, or because of a referral?

The answer’s simple: set up a phone number exclusively for your website. You can also use call tracking software to help with this.

That’s all you need to do to check your SEO success. When you have your system set up, it takes just a few minutes to review quarterly.

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How Much Do You Know About Local SEO? Take This Quiz!
27/03/15 SEO

How Much Do You Know About Local SEO? Take This Quiz!

If you own a local business, you should know at least a little about SEO. Take this quiz to learn the basics.

As a business owner, it’s helpful for you to know a little about local SEO. You can leave implementation to the pros, but having some knowledge reduces your stress and makes the process smoother.

So how much do you know?

Find out by taking this quiz – score yourself 1 point for each correct answer:

  1. What does “NAP” stand for?
  2. What is a citation?
  3. True or false: your citation must EXACTLY match the information on your Google+ Local account, not one letter, number, or space being different, to help your local search rankings?
  4. True or false: you can have a Google+ Local page for every city and suburb you service, even if you don’t have a physical location there?
  5. What’s the number one thing you can do to get and keep high search rankings?
  6. True or false: having a physical location close to your city’s center helps you rank better than businesses farther away from the center?
  7. If you service multiple cities in a locality, how should you communicate that on your website so it benefits your rankings and visitors?
  8. True or false: You should have a “meta keywords” tag on your website?
  9. True or false: SEO is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and eventually the profession will be “dead”?
  10. How should you optimize each page for a keyword?
  11. True or false: You can optimize a page for as many keywords as you want?


  1. Name, address, phone number
  2. It’s a mention of your NAP information on another website.
  3. True
  4. False
  5. Consistently write compelling content
  6. True
  7. Create a special item in your main navigation and write compelling content for each city you service.
  8. False – You should not because the “meta keywords” tag does not affect rankings and makes it easy for your competitors to see what you want to rank for!
  9. False – SEO, if anything, is more necessary than ever. However, the tactics you use to rank well have changed dramatically.
  10. It should be in your page’s SEO title, meta description, H1 tag, and 2-4 times in the body content (give yourself a point if you came close).
  11. Kind of a trick question here. You can optimize your web page for as many keywords as make sense when you read the content. Most pages can safely optimize for 1-3 key words. If you write a long page (1000 words +), you can optimize for 5-10. You can optimize for even more if you feel ambitious.

Give yourself a point if you gave any of these answers!

Number of answers you got right:

  • 1-3 – Let’s be positive here: learning is fun!
  • 4-5 – You’ve got a good conversational knowledge of SEO.
  • 6-7 – You’re on your way to being a SEO expert. Brush up on your skills a little and you could find yourself there soon.
  • 8-9 – Not bad. Not bad at all! You could do some of your SEO yourself, like content creation.
  • 10 -11 – If you have the time, maybe you should do your own SEO!

How’d you do?
What a fun way to rehash local SEO – I hope you enjoyed it!

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It’s Not Easy Picking a Focus Keyword – How Do You Do It?
27/02/15 SEO

It’s Not Easy Picking a Focus Keyword – How Do You Do It?

It’s pretty simple – Pick the right focus keyword for your page and:

  • It’s easy to sell
  • You don’t waste months of your time ranking for the wrong keywords

Pick the wrong focus keyword and:

  • You make no sales, or many fewer than you should
  • You waste months of time, and lots of money

It’s tough to choose keywords with “buying intent.”

And what do you do with those other keywords that don’t have buying intent?

Do they have any use?

They do – let me explain.

Which Keywords Have Buying Intent?

For starters, these keywords go on website pages aimed to sell. Those include all the pages in your main navigation. So, your home page, services pages, geo-targeted city pages, about, and contact pages should have these keywords and close variations.

Which ones should you use on those pages?

Generally, you should go with “[city name] + [your service].” That’s a start, anyway.

So for example, “Dallas criminal defense attorney” is a good start. But there’s one problem with it – it’s tough to rank for. If you go to the Google Adwords keyword planner, you’ll find there’s 210 monthly searches for this keyword. That means, for a small law firm or single lawyer anyway, it’s going to be expensive and time-consuming to rank for.

But if you keep checking out more variations, you eventually come across “Dallas criminal defense attorneys,” which has just 20 searches. Fewer searches, yes, but less competition in the ultra-competitive legal niche.

Another thing to do is to Google your chosen keyword. So if we Google “Dallas criminal defense attorneys,” this pops up:

focus keyword

Well, this is a pleasant and unexpected surprise!

Notice that not a single result uses “Dallas criminal defense attorneys.” They use close variations, but not the exact term. That’s a nice opportunity because if you optimize for a keyword exactly, you have a bit of an advantage over other websites that don’t.

FYI – if only 2-3 results optimize for a certain keyword, that still gives you good opportunity. If more than that do, you may want to pass on that keyword.

What about Those “Other Keywords?”

They go in your blog.

Yes, blog posts sell.

Unlike your web pages which aim to sell now, blog posts inform and educate with the idea of making the sale 6 months from now.

You don’t want to put “Dallas criminal defense attorneys” in your blog too often. That’s because it’s too hard to make that phrase sound natural.

If it doesn’t sound natural, that irritates Google and your readers. But you probably could make it sound natural in an occasional blog post.

The amount of keywords you can put in your blog is almost endless.

Here are some examples a criminal defense lawyer might use:

  • Texas DUI law/laws
  • DWI/DUI in Texas
  • Class B misdemeanor Texas
  • Alcohol laws in Texas
  • 2nd DWI in Texas

Again, all these keywords appear in Google Adwords. At this point, you know people searching for these terms have an interest in a criminal defense lawyer.

So that’s good. And then a portion of them will keep hanging around your blog until they’re convinced you’re the best lawyer to hire.

That’s keyword research 101. With these keywords, you get all relevant and appropriate traffic for your site that could eventually turn into business.

While the keywords change, the process works the same for every industry.

If it seems to hard or you don;t have time, hire a professional SEO to help.

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When is it Time to Hire an SEO Expert?
27/02/15 SEO

When is it Time to Hire an SEO Expert?

Isn’t SEO dead?

Doesn’t basically everyone know it?

Far from it!

The SEO of today is much different than in years past. It’s about a million times more complex – too much for one person to do.

And while everyone knows the basics, only a few know it to a truly deep level that consistently gets you amazing results. As a profession, SEO has only existed for 15 years or so, and 80% of its professionals have started within the last 2-8 years.

When are some specific times you should hire an SEO expert?

Here’s a few that come to mind:

  1. If You’ve Gotten Penalized

Using Google Disavow works to get rid of bad links, but it’s hardly a straightforward process. Google wants to see you’ve contacted the site’s owners a couple times before they consider removing those bad links (even if you didn’t post those links yourself).

Or maybe the issue is the links you do have are optimized to exactly match your keywords. Your content could also be too simplistic – basically stating the obvious.

What you did to rank well a year ago may now ruin your search rankings.

A penalty takes an awful lot of work to identify and get out of.

  1. When You Start a New Website or Redesign One

Web designers are great at what they do – designing your website. But remember, even though they may do SEO too, that doesn’t mean they’re as good as a specialist.

For example, they might change the categories in your WordPress blog. They might create new pages. They might use different URLs and not 301 redirect the old ones properly.

There are horror stories of websites losing a chunk of search traffic after redesigns.

  1. If You Don’t Understand Anything about Digital Marketing

Should you use paid ads or would you be better off trying to rank in organic search?

Do you need social media profiles? Which sites? There’s about 8-10 popular ones worth choosing from.

Who should host your website?

Should you use one of those template designs that let you click 3 times and go live?

If not, who should design your website?

Oh, and don’t forget you need a blog too.

Speaking of content, should you add a content marketing campaign and newsletter?

There’s a ton of moving parts in digital marketing.

A seasoned SEO pro understands them all and knows which you do and do not need.

Remember: You Get What You Pay For…

Keep in mind SEOs are contracted professionals. Some charge cheap rates, while others charge much more.

At the end of the day, you get what you’re willing to pay for. Experienced SEOs know their market value and charge accordingly.

So the ball’s in your court. Now you know some good times to ask for help, and why to hire the best SEO for the job.

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How to Get Links: What Makes People Link to Your Website?
07/01/15 SEO

How to Get Links: What Makes People Link to Your Website?

So let me be honest, there’s about a million reasons that affect why people want to link to your website.

But today, I’m going to show you the biggest reasons why people link to other websites.

Here they are, and what to do to make it easier for people to link to yours:

  1. Content Quality

This one’s far and away at the top. The second most important factor is a loooooong distance away. And I still might be understating how badly you need great quality content.

Now, creating “quality” content could fill volumes of books if you talked about every last aspect.

But to write awesome content that attracts links, basically you make sure you have the most in-depth post on the topic available on the entire internet. That’s because, as you may already know, if you Google any topic, you can find like 5,000 articles on the same thing that say basically the same stuff.

So let’s say for example that you’re an HVAC contractor. Instead of “10 Furnace Maintenance Tips,” you write “The Ultimate Guide to Furnace Maintenance” and give every last bit of information people need to maintain their furnaces.

Now, you have a unique piece of web content more worth linking to than any other. You could also make it a series of 10 blog posts or so.

Won’t you lose business because you tell people exactly what to do? Nope. You net more business because you educate people, and they know you’re an expert.

They don’t have the time or desire to do everything in your guide themselves. Or, they simply may not be able to do it.

  1. Sleek, Modern Design

Some websites drop $20,000 + on brand new designs. You don’t have to do that. But, you do have to make sure your site looks recent.

It’s sort of like buying a car. Say you’re looking at 2 cars from a distance. One has a beautiful paint job, and the other’s fairly rusty. Inside, however, they have the exact same engine and quality, long-lasting parts.

Which would you buy?

It works the same way with websites.

  1. Build Strong Relationships

Business is all about relationships – and so are links. But you may not be familiar with how you build relationships online.

Here are some easy ways to do that:

  1. Find a piece of content people like to link to using org. Write a more in-depth blog post. E-mail other websites, letting them know about your improved version. If they say, “Yes,” you’ve built a relationship and may be able to reach out for a link again in the future.
  2. Contact any businesses you pay money to and request a link – you already have relationships with them.
  3. Share other people’s content on social media and ask for a link.
  4. Comment on someone else’s blog posts on a regular basis.

If you’re wondering how to get links to your website, those are the best ways to do it. The links you get are 100% white-hat and natural, which means Google will never penalize you for them.

One caveat: only earn links from websites similar to yours in topic. If you have a high percentage (more than 10% or so) of links from sites with no topical relation to yours, that may get you in trouble with Google. A good SEO consultant can help if this all seems too complicated.

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