Updates! Some nuggets of SEO wisdom that you may have missed.

Hey people! It seems I’ve been spending way too much time on client work and have been leaving a number of articles unfinished.  That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped dispensing SEO knowledge though; I’ve just been sharing them on Facebook and Quora.

This update post started as an idea – an idea borne from a busy (more like lazy) man. “How do I create a new article in a short time, while also providing something new to learn for the readers?”

The genius answer: Grab the nuggets of wisdom that I’ve been sharing elsewhere, and share them here. These are some mini knowledge bombs you may have missed if you aren’t following me on Quora or Facebook.
Continue reading “Updates! Some nuggets of SEO wisdom that you may have missed.”

Guest Post: A Case Study on DIY SEO for Start-ups

thunderquote founder kevin

The following is a guest contribution from Kevin Ng. This is not a sponsored post.

thunderquote founder kevin

Kevin Ng is the founder of ThunderQuote, a B2B services marketplace and was invited recently to speak at the Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium 2016 organised by NTUC nEbO about start-up validation and digital marketing. He will be sharing more details about SEO exclusively on SEOGoodGuys and you can also find the rest of his digital marketing slides at the end of the post.
Continue reading “Guest Post: A Case Study on DIY SEO for Start-ups”

My analysis: How can small sites become popular?

matt cutts small site outperform

Can a small business beat an established brand on search engines?

This week, Matt Cutts answers the question : How can small sites become popular?

Dan asks:

How can smaller sites with superior content ever rank over sites with superior traffic? It’s a vicious circle: A regional or national brick-and-mortar brand has higher traffic, leads to a higher rank, which leads to higher traffic, ad infinitum.

Matt’s short answer:

The small guys can absolutely (out)perform the larger guys as long as they do a really good job at it.

While listening to his answer and rationales, I realized that you can interpret his points as him subtly reinforcing Google ranking factors. That was an ‘aha’ moment for me. So what are the ways which small sites can outperform big sites?

Let me break down his points, and add some of my own.

#1 Use content “freshness” to your advantage

sites that are smart enough to be agile, and be dynamic and respond quickly, and roll out new ideas much faster, can often rank higher in Google search results.

What I think Matt means, is that smaller sites can use their smaller size to adapt faster than older sites. Adopting new ideas, new technologies and new methods in a business can give you advantages.

However, how I interpret this is that smaller sites can use “query deserves freshness” to rank high on certain terms. Whenever there is a sudden trending search topic on Google, and you are one of the first to tackle the topic on your site, Google will help you rank higher for those search terms.

Google Trends   Web Search interest  crimea   Worldwide  Past 12 months
A sudden surge in interest in the keyword “crimea” means it may help with QDF

By staying on top of news in your industry, small businesses can quickly launch a content to tackle a trending topic. Using this “freshness” factor, small players can easily beat the big boys.

#2 Focus on User Experience and adding value

they do a better job of focusing on user experience, they return something that adds more value… Whatever area you are in, if you are doing better than the other incumbents, then over time, you can expect to perform better and better…

Matt Cutts gave the example of AltaVista and Google. People tend to forget that in the 90s, Google too was a young upstart trying to shake up the search engine industry.

Smaller sites tend to be able to have their own personality on the site. Having a unique “voice” on your small site will help you attract readers, and provides a more personal user experience than big, boring sites.

Besides this, we can also make sure our content provides more value. Make it more unique, more entertaining, and more useful, such that users will flock to your site instead of the bigger players.

The Huffington Post

Did you know that Huffington Post, the number 1 most popular political site/opinion blog in the US started off as a 2-person blog? They got to where they are now by offering content that was superior to the other established online news media at the time.

#3 Becoming an authority on a niche topic

think of concentrating on a smaller topic area or niche, and say, I’m a subject matter expert in this particular area, and make sure you cover it really really well, and then you can sort of build out from that smaller area until you become larger and larger..

Matt Cutts used the “Katamari” example to explain how a small site can slowly grow larger, and expand their reach to cover more topics. In case you are wondering what a “Katamari” is, please look at the attached video. It’s a rather unique video game, but it represents the point well.

http://youtu.be/cwhFH75OCDs

Referring back to the Huffington Post example in point 2, when HuffPo first started, they were a small blog that focused on liberal news and opinions. They focused and became an authority on that topic, and after time, they were able to branch out and cover topics of every kind.

Google does use certain data to determine whether a site is an authority. One of these is Author Rank, and it ties very closely with Google Authorship. Matt Cutts did state that Google takes into account the authority of an author, and gives a ranking boost for in-depth content written by authoritative authors. (I also made a small mention of this here)

#4 Content is king

Don’t stop trying to produce superior content because over time, that becomes one of the best ways to rank higher on the web.

After all, it all boils down to having superior content. Users keep returning to a site that has quality content that they cannot find anywhere else.

Matt does say, that if you run a one man team, it’s definitely going to be hard to beat a company with many employees. That doesn’t mean we don’t stand a chance.

If we can’t produce content that tops the quality of an established site, we can strive to come up with content faster. At the very least, we must do what it takes to differentiate ourselves from the competitors – whether it’s being funny, insightful, or controversial. It also helps to know how to make the content we create SEO friendly. It’s a shame if a great piece of content can’t find found.

What do you think?

Do you think we as the Davids of the internet, truly stand a chance against the Goliaths? Or is Matt Cutts just giving us false hope?

Personally, I believe I stand a chance. Do you?

6 smart ways to use the Website SEO Review Reports

competitor rankings weaknesses

More uses = more value-addedness!

As you already know, I have a service called the Website SEO Review, where I conduct an audit into the SEO of your website, and provide you with various reports about the health of the site. Using these reports, I come up with an SEO strategy, and detailed action plans for you to follow.

The best thing about these reports is that you get to keep them, make use of them, and create new strategies YOURSELF. The Overall Report is limited to the TOP 3 strategies, but with this guide, you can think of another 6 more incredibly smart ways to use the individual reports.

1. Capture more varied keyword traffic with the Ranking Report.

I’ve noticed a number of websites in Singapore that use their homepage to target multiple keywords. Their homepage Titles tags usually have a combination of multiple keyword variations of their main keywords.

Google Search web developer singapore
These sites were just out of the first page when I searched for ‘web developer singapore’

These websites are trying to cramp as many keywords as they can onto their homepage titles, because they want their homepage to show up for those searches. In a way, they are ‘diluting’ the keyword strength of the page. For best SEO practices, you should aim to target one main keyword per page – and that includes your homepage. (see also Keyword Cannibalization)

When I create the Ranking Report for you, it will generate a long list of related keywords based on the initial keywords that you give me. That way, you can see what are the other keyword combinations that you are or are NOT ranking for.

Instead of making your homepage target all the possible keywords, you can create new pages to target less competitive keyword variations. Either this, or do a keyword re-targeting on some existing pages, so they target different keyword combinations.

So if I were to use an (imaginary) Ranking Report to help a Web Design company (XYZ), an example would be:

  • Homepage : Web Design Agency in Singapore | XYZ
  • Services page: XYZ Website Designing Services
  • About Us page: Our Singapore Web Designers | XYZ

Of course, this is just an example. You will have to refer to your own report to see which keywords are best suited for you. You can attract more traffic to different pages of your site this way.

2. Take advantage of competitor weaknesses with the Competition Ranking Report

The best way to steal traffic away from your competitors is to rank higher than them for their targeted keywords. That’s usually easier said than done. However, your competitors can’t dominate ALL keywords. There are bound to be some weaknesses you can exploit.

Here’s how.

The competitor Ranking Report pits the keyword ranking between you and your top 3 strongest competitors. What you want to find are the keywords where your competitors are placed around the 10-30 mark. That means they have pages that are targeting those keywords, but are not strong enough to break into the first page of results.

competitor rankings weaknesses
The weaknesses are those in the red box. However, my client already beat them in most keywords in this case.

Head to Google, search for those keyword terms, and try to locate your competitors around the results page. When you find your competitor’s site, click to view. Look at the content of the page, and see if you can do better.

Now, go create a new page that targets those keywords, and make sure the page is filled with great content. Build some internal links and external backlinks to that page, and hopefully you can rank higher than your competitor.

Personally, I like to target these ‘easier’ keyword terms. You are more likely to outrank your competitor’s ‘weak’ pages, compared to pages where your competitor ranks on the first page.

3. Brainstorm for new content ideas with Keyword Research Report

When I need to generate relevant content for a website, one of my greatest fears is to hit a writer’s block. Either that, or hitting a brick wall. That hurts.

With the Keyword Research Report, I can provide you with a large list of keywords that are closely related to the search terms used in your niche. The difference between the Keyword Research Report and the Ranking Report, is

  •  the Ranking Report gives you keyword rankings of your main business terms,
  • whereas Keyword Research Report gives you the other keywords that people also search for that is related to your niche on a whole
wedding keyword research report
Terms that people also search for that is related to the “wedding planner” keyword

In the example keyword research report above, you can see the other terms that people also searched for when they are looking for wedding planners. With these keywords, you can brainstorm a lot of additional content that would be of value to wedding couples.

Bonus: plant those seed keywords into Soovle or Ubersuggest, and get EVEN more keyword ideas.

4. Use broken external links for link building with Website Structure Audit Report

This one is confusing, but the pay off can be huge.

The Website Structure Audit Report points out broken internal and external links. Broken links may arise due to a change of URL, or maybe an external page that has moved.

Broken links results in a lot of 404 errors for your visitors – a sign of bad user experience. Worse, you lose the link benefits when other sites link to 404 pages on your site. When you link to a broken external page, you do not offer a good experience for them.

broken link report

The Website Structure Audit tells you which pages on your site return a 404 error, and which external links are broken.

Solving the broken links and 404 errors on your own site is important. But one smart way to use the Report is to use those broken external links to build links to yourself. This is known as broken link building, and this is how you do it.

(if you didn’t read that extensive guide, here is the basic outline)

  • find out who else links to that external page
  • create an even better page than the one that you originally linked to
  • convince the others who linked to that broken page to link to your new (and improved) page
  • get links!

That’s definitely one link building strategy that has been successful for plenty of marketers.

5. Spy on your link building team by using the Backlink Analysis Report

Do you have an in-house team that is in charge of building links? Or did you hire an external SEO consultant to do the job?

Ideally, your link builders have shown you a list of links they built. But chances are, they wouldn’t tell you the whole story of how they got those links, and you probably wouldn’t know how to tell if these links are good or harmful.

So why not spy on your team by reviewing the links they have built? The Backlink Analysis Report will show you several tell-tale signs of whether the links built are harmful or not.

Geography and TLD of domains

  1. Where are your links coming from? Are they preferably from local sources, or are they from other unrelated countries?
  2. Are you getting a significant number of links from Top Level Domains like .info, .in, .cn, .tv? Many spammy links are known to originate from there.
  3. Where are those incoming links pointing at? Are 95% of them pointing at your homepage? That’s a sign of a suspicious link profile.
  4. What anchor text are being used? If more than 20% of anchor text is made up of a single non-branded keyword, that should spell trouble.

There are many more signs that will be shown in the full report. If you see anything suspicious, you can use it to confront your team and ask for explanations. More importantly, you should get them to stop before a Google manual penalty kicks in.

6. Find new link opportunities with the Backlink Analysis Report

One of the best ways to build more links is to find people who already linked to you. Since they already linked to you, it means they’ve had a positive impression of your site or content. That’s half the battle won!

With the Backlink Analysis Report, you get a list of sites that linked to you. Now do yourself a favour by contacting these sites to thank them. Either send them a thank-you email for their mention, or leave a blog comment on the article that they mentioned you.

Doing this plants a seed of friendship, and internet relationships like this can pay off in the future. How?

  • If the other site accepts guest posts, you have an advantage of getting accepted.
  • If the other site has a ‘Favourite Links’, or ‘Resources’ page, you can ask to be included.
  • If the other site has a blog content similar to one of yours, you can request to share your link on their page as further reading.

The possibilities are quite frankly, endless. But it needs to start with you making the connection.

More to come

Did you like what you just read? I’m sure I can think of even more ways to use those reports in the future.

With a bit of creativity,  you can also think of more uses yourself. Pass the reports to your developers, content writers, or public relations person. I’m sure it will give them many ideas to help improve the SEO of your website.

Be sure to write in the comments below if you thought of anything interesting to share. We can all benefit from it 🙂

UPDATE: I no longer offer this service. Sorry!