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How to use Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to Rank Better on Mobile

Optimizing a page for mobile speed? Not easy. Mobile search has come a very long way, especially since the Google Mobile Friendly Update, back in 2014.


Mobile optimization keeps evolving, and it happens fast.  At first, we had separate mobile versions, then responsive designs, now we have Google AMP pushing strong. What AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is, if and how AMP can influence SEO and how it will impact your business – you can find the answers to all of these questions in the following article. 




All this change, happening so fast, can get a little frustrating.


It’s difficult to implement Google AMP and you’re not sure if it’s worthwhile spending that time.


In this article, we’ll be taking a look at exactly what Google AMP is. We’ll find out if we need it or not, how to easily implement it the right way and if it’s really good, or just another Google attempt to monopolize itself over the web.



  1. What Is Google AMP and How Does It Work? 
  2. How Can AMP Improve SEO?
    1. Site Speed and Dwell Time
    2. The AMP Carousel, Cache and Third Party Apps
  3. How to Implement Google AMP
    1. How to Install AMP on WordPress
    2. How to Install AMP on Drupal
    3. How to Install AMP on Joomla
    4. How to Install AMP on Concrete5
    5. AMP for Magento and OpenCart
    6. Custom AMP Implementation
    7. How to Validate the AMP HTML
    8. What Happens If the AMP HTML Is not Valid?
  4. The Pros and Cons of AMP
  5. Conclusion


You might be thinking:


My website loads fast enough on mobile! I already have a responsive design and a cache plugin! Why do I even need Google AMP?


Here’s the deal:


If your website is blazing fast on mobile, you’re definitely not part of the majority. Mobile pages are still slow! More factors than you might think are involved.


A study from DoubleClick by Google states that more than 50% of mobile users decide to abandon a webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.


Site Speed Case Study 1


The study also states that 77% of mobile websites take longer than 10 seconds to load. The average load time of mobile sites on a 3G network is 19 seconds.


Yes, you read me right! It’s 19 seconds. And 4G only makes it 14 seconds, which isn’t all that great.


We, the marketers/publishers, might be OK with seeing pop-ups, ads, register forms, banners, videos, and so on. We profit from them. Sure, we optimize them for maximizing revenue and for performance, as well.


But think of it this way:


You’re now the reader. You’re standing at your desk, on your PC, looking for something on the internet. It’s not marketing related. Let’s say it’s a health-related issue, or some information you need on some legal problem. The first website you open takes 5 seconds to load. Your speakers are a little bit too loud, but you forgot. A video ad autoplays. You start searching for it on the screen while reaching for your speaker’s volume knob. You finally spot the video through the forest of ads. It’s on the top-right side of the screen. As you move your cursor up, an exit pop-up triggers. It’s full screen. The video still plays in the background. Are you mad yet? I sure am.


mobile ads are bad


Now, all of this can happen pretty fast on a PC, at least if you have a decent computer and network connection.


On mobile, things are probably not so dramatic.


You know what happens?


People tap the back button. And boom! Just like that, the bounce rate jumps up high, and the dwell time goes down, as well as your rankings.


When you’re on the go, you either want to find some information REALLY fast, or you’re just browsing and won’t even bother waiting. A dozen of other articles are waiting out there.


We’ll dive into the details later, but first, let’s take a look at what Google AMP is, and how it works.


1. What Is Google AMP and How Does It Work?


Google AMP is short for Accelerated Mobile Pages. The project has been started by Google in partnership with Twitter, in order to make mobile browsing super fast.


In a nutshell, it’s a stripped-down version of HTML.


The developers claim that an accelerated mobile page is capable of loading up to 4 times faster than a regular HTML page.


One way or another, it’s a response to Facebook’s Instant Articles or Apple News. Although in many ways similar, an important difference is the fact that it’s open source.


The new mark-up restricts the use of JavaScript to only a few files that Google will provide. You will also have to use a specific form of CSS, but don’t worry: your site can still look pretty cool.


AMP is built for speed. The main concept is readability. Special design, effects and features are not important in the accelerated mobile page.


When a valid Google AMP page is posted and indexed, Google will then cache it on its servers. 


Once the page is cached, Google can rapidly fetch it for dispaly when someone tries to view it. The AMP version is already faster by itself, but through heavy caching, the loading of the page in mobile browsers seems instant.


Many third party applications will also cache the AMP version of your pages so that they can display it very rapidly.


Both versions of the AMP page (the hosted one and the cached one ) will contain rel=”canonical” which points to the original mobile webpage. In case the website is responsive, then the AMPs will point to that version.


I asked Will Critchlow, from Distilled, what he thinks about AMP, and if he thinks it will succeed in becoming a standard in the future.


I think we have to acknowledge that it’s already a standard. There are reports that publicly list just how much AMP traffic some big publishers are getting.
CEO @willcritchlow /


Will also said that it’s been a long time since Google has been pushing anything so hard, and that we should expect more and more updates to come. Will helped me to better understand a few concepts about AMP, and I want to thank him one more time. So… Thanks, Will!


2. How Can AMP Improve SEO?


In the early days, before AMP was even released for the search engines, Google had speculated that it might impact SEO at some point.


They have not officially stated that AMP affects SEO in any way. In February 2016, John Mueller said in a Google Hangout that AMP isn’t a ranking signal.


AMP still isn’t officially a ranking factor in 2017. Here’s a tweet from John from early 2017:



However, there are a lot of indirect factors that might lead to SEO improvements, on mobile and desktop as well.


Keep in mind that most people use AMP as a second option for their website. If you have a responsive website, you will mark the original HTML page as the canonical version. This means that you will have a rel=canonical from the AMP to the original version.


In this case, your main website will be the responsive version of the website, not the AMP one. Google will then index the fully responsive version of your website, and use that to calculate the quality score of your page.


John states in the following video that if the AMP page is the canonical version, then it matters for site quality and user experience.



However, having an AMP page marked as canonical on a responsive website makes your AMP version the only indexable version.



At first, I thought that AMP was only for mobile. I mean… the name is Accelerated Mobile Pages, right? But John’s statement proves that you can have an AMP only website.


And guess what:


The AMP official website at is exclusively written in AMP HTML. There doesn’t seem to be any issue with rendering an AMP page on a desktop device. The site looks great. It even has nice animations on it. And of course, it is pretty fast.


A website can be built entirely on AMP HTML, as long as it’s built correctly. It will display well on both desktop and mobile devices.


We also know that Google is testing the mobile index first, so it makes sense now to have a strong mobile version more than ever. Mobile SEO will soon become the standard for desktop search results as well.


There are cases though where desktop versions were indexed first for mobile, even though an AMP version was available.


Jennifer Slegg wrote about this, back in November 2016, after the State of Search Conference. She also tweeted about it.



This happens probably because in many cases, the AMP version is not only stripped off HTML but also off content. If Google indexed only the AMP version by default, then those pages would actually have a disadvantage.


2.1 Site Speed and Dwell Time


The speed of your site matters a lot. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, people tend to abandon slow loading sites.


Google has tested that many times, and results have been consistent. People who implement AMP get higher loading speeds, which results in better CTR and more conversions. If you read about the topic long enough, you will notice a lot of positive experiences with AMP. These experiences mention lower bounce rates and higher dwell time.


You see, informational websites usually suffer from higher bounce rates. This is because when people find the information, they usually click back or exit the page. It doesn’t mean that the page is bad or that it offered a bad user experience. It’s just the way things happen. 


Content marketers usually resort to popups and forms in a try to get leads and keep their customers from bouncing. Although this works and many marketers commend it, it can negatively impact the speed of a website, which in turn will lead to the same problem: people leaving your website.


Google AMP tries to fix these problems. At first, people thought that because the limitations, sign-up forms might not be available anymore. AMP fixed this with recent updates and forms are now available.


As we stated in another article, dwell time is related to SEO and it’s like a brother to the other similar ranking factor, the bounce rate. The more people stay on your site and the less they bounce, the better your rankings will be.


Both bounce rate and dwell time are factors tracked through Analytics. We can use Analytics in Google AMP as well.


As stated on the Google Developers Website:


Analytics AMP vs Non-AMP


From the phrase above, we can understand that AMP Analytics data can blend with regular data, which might bring better mixed results over time. You can read more here.


2.2 The AMP Carousel, Cache and Third Party Apps


One of the most intriguing features of Google AMP is the possibility to be featured in a carousel. The carousel will only show AMP pages, and although it doesn’t always get triggered, it will show above the SERPS, therefore placing you at the top of the page.


Here’s a series of screenshots taken with my mobile phone. The screenshots show the AMP carousel in action. You can check it out yourself by accessing on your mobile device. I simply searched for ‘Obama’.


AMP carousel


The carousel has good parts and bad parts. It’s good to be featured at the top of the page, over the #1 spot, but at the same time, readers are one swipe away from leaving your website. Google AMP is very good for readers, but publishers and advertisers might not agree with every aspect of it.


As we can see, although Google stated clearly that Accelerated Mobile Pages don’t affect SEO directly, some indirect factors can lead to SEO improvements.


Google AMP doesn’t directly affect SEO, but indirect factors that result from AMP can.


AMP’s purpose is to improve the user experience. And from what we know, better user experience results in better rankings.


What’s really cool about AMP is that it cannot impact your rankings negatively. If you implement AMP and use rel=”canonical” to point it to your main version, Google will use that to calculate the quality score for ranking.


Remember: if you only have an AMP version of your website, then Google will use that version to rank you. If you build it well around the stripped HTML and are willing to accept all the current restrictions, you will have a faster website that offers a better UX.


3. How to Implement Google AMP


Ok, AMP looks cool. Now, how to get it?


Well, if you’re using one of the popular CMSs out there (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla) things are as simple as installing a plugin/module/extension, or whatever they are called.


3.1 How to Install AMP on WordPress


WordPress is the most popular CMS on the web. You’re probably using it. The WordPress development team already has an agreement with the team at AMP Project, so an easy implementation was expected.


The default and official WordPress AMP plugin can be downloaded here. Yoast also had to release a glue SEO plugin to merge the meta data with the AMP format. 


If you wish to improve the experience, install this plugin. It comes with better reviews and more functionality. It already has Yoast support built into it, so you can directly optimize the AMP pages for search engine optimization. In order to work, this plugin requires the default AMP plugin mentioned.


The plugins can be installed in any order.


To install a WordPress plugin, login into your WP Dashboard, click on Plugins on the left and then on Add new plugin. Search for the plugin name, click Install and then Activate.


If you don’t know how to do this, take a look at this simple video from WP Beginner.



After installing them, you should be able to access the accelerated version of your pages by typing /amp after any URL on your WordPress website.


3.2 How to Install AMP on Drupal


Drupal also has its own plugin for AMP pages. If you wish to install it, you can get the plugin here. The archives with different versions of the module are towards the bottom of the page.


To install a plugin on Drupal, simply go to the Extend section on your Dashboard. Then, click Install new module. You can either download the tar.gz file from the link above and upload it into the Dashboard, or you can right click, copy link address, and paste it into the Dashboard.


If you’re having trouble installing a Drupal module, follow the steps in this video:



3.3 How to Install AMP on Joomla


Joomla also has a number of available extensions for implementing Google AMP. Head over to  and search for AMP.


There are multiple ways of installing the extension. You can download it from the website and then upload it into your Joomla Control Panel, click on Extensions and the Extension Manager.


All the methods of installing the extension of your choice can be found in the following video:



3.4 How to Install AMP on Concrete5


Even the new uprising Concrete5 has its own module for AMP pages. It is developed by hissy on GitHub. This module is still in beta. It should be tested on a development version of the website first.


Installing it is a little bit more complicated, as you will need access to your server’s command prompt. This can be done by logging into your cPanel and searching for SSH (Secure Shell). If you don’t have SSH access, your hosting provider may or may not provide you with it. Contact the hosting provider’s support department for information.


Then, simply run the following command lines into your command prompt. Enter the lines one at a time, and press the Enter key after each line.


$ cd ./packages
$ git clone amp
$ cd ../
$ ./concrete/bin/concrete5 c5:package-install amp


After doing so, you can access the following URL from the dashboard:




Accessing it will lead you to the module setup page. Select the page types you want to activate AMP on. Then, insert your Analytics ID. This is optional. Click save, and you’re done!


If you wish to customize the AMP design template, you can copy the package and files from packages/themes/amp to application/themes/amp.


If you run into any trouble, you can get further support on the Concrete5 community forums.


3.5 AMP for Magento and OpenCart


The two most popular eCommerce CMSs also have their modules for the Accelerated Mobile Pages.


These are fairly complex plugins, and I have only been able to find paid versions in the top results of my searches.


Magento AMP plugin download.

OpenCart AMP plugin download.


3.6 Custom AMP Implementation


If you’re not using one of the popular CMS platforms there, things aren’t that easy. Ideally, you should outsource this to a group of experienced programmers. If you have a custom platform, you probably already have a team.


But if you’re willing to do this yourself, the whole documentation on the AMP Project Website is a must read.


In this article, we will cover only the most important parts, and the ones related to SEO.


Remember that the AMP HTML is a lot more limited. It has many restrictions. Elements must be placed in a very specific order, otherwise, the format won’t be valid.


Here is the most basic accelerated mobile webpage, the classic “Hello, World!”.


<!doctype html>
<html amp lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Hello, World!</title> <link rel="canonical" href="" /> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,minimum-scale=1,initial-scale=1"> <style amp-boilerplate>body{-webkit-animation:-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both;-moz-animation:-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both;-ms-animation:-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both;animation:-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both}@-webkit-keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}@-moz-keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}@-ms-keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}@-o-keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}@keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}</style><noscript><style amp-boilerplate>body{-webkit-animation:none;-moz-animation:none;-ms-animation:none;animation:none}</style></noscript> </head> <body> <h1>Hello, World!</h1> </body>


In order for an AMP HTML to be valid, we must correctly insert all required mark-ups. 


For example, the document must begin with 

<!doctype html>

. The document must also contain the 

<html ⚡>

 top level tag. You can also use 

<html amp>

. While in regular HTML the




  tags are optional, they are required in AMP HTML.


You must also include the link in the AMP JS file using

. This JS loads everything you need in order for the AMP HTML page to work properly. 




  tag must also contain a 

<link rel="canonical" href="original page URL or self" />

 . Remember that the canonical tag is very important, as it tells Google which version should be used for indexing and organic search rankings.


The CSS boilerplate content is also mandatory. You can use the 

<style amp-custom>

  tag to add diversity to your website. The whole supported CSS documentation can be found here.


Another critical thing is the 

<link rel="amphtml" href="">

 . Without it, Google won’t even know your website has an AMP page and it won’t display it. You should place this in the full version of your site (mobile or responsive).


Without rel=”amphtml” Google won’t discover the accelerated version of your page. Place it accordingly in the original version of your webpage.


How to Add Forms in Google AMP


As mentioned before in the beginning of this article, the developer team at AMP worked hard to keep improving the mark-up.


At first, forms were not available in the AMP HTML so people feared that they will not be able to generate any kind of leads anymore.


A workaround, consisting in an iFrame hack was available. Today, AMP allows you to use the




 tags. For the document to be valid, the following script is required:



More about AMP forms can be read here.


How to Add Analytics to AMP


In order to track your AMP pages, you will have to load the following required script:



Then, you can use the


  tag to measure different statistics. The whole Analytics documentation can be found here.


Can you Implement Ads in Google AMP?


So far, some disadvantages have been flagged regarding the ads and revenue of publishers. The team at AMP Project recently published an update, presenting new accepted types of ads for AMP.


The types of ads that can be inserted include parallax videos, lightboxes and carousels:


AMP ads


To be honest, these ads look pretty cool. They look clean. They aren’t annoying as they work similarly to the Facebook principle of ads. They don’t interrupt the user from reading. Users see the ad, but they can very easily skip it. It naturally comes and goes through the scroll.


These AMP ads are also really fast. Check out this video showing an AMP ad loading side by side to a regular ad.



More and more ad networks are supported by AMP. To implement ads into your accelerated pages, check this documentation.


3.7 How to Validate the AMP HTML


After you have built your AMP page or made modifications to it, you have to verify and validate it.


The best and quickest way to do it is using the AMP Validator Chrome Plugin. The AMP Validator Plugin is also available for Opera Browser.


AMP Validator Plugin


After installing the plugin, an icon will show up where the Chrome Extensions are. It will turn green when the AMP HTML page is valid. In case the AMP is not valid, it will turn red, and you can click it to view the errors.


Invalid AMP


As you can see, the plugin does a great job at identifying the issues. You can then click on Debug and it will take you to a page where you can edit your HTML and quickly validate it. You can also type the HTML directly into the validator at


If you are not using Chrome or Opera, you can also do the following:


Access your AMP HTML, right click, go to Inspect and then click Console. Then, type 


  at the end of your URL and hit Enter. This will show the errors in the browser console.


AMP Validator Console


If your code is valid, the console will display the message “AMP validation successful.”


You can also test the page through the CDN by accessing

 . The page will display if it is valid. If not, the following message will show.


Invalid AMP CDN


3.8 What Happens If the AMP HTML Is not Valid?


If your AMP HTML is not valid, your pages won’t get cached by Google or other third party platforms that use AMP to rapidly display pages. Your will then not benefit from things such as the AMP carousel.


However, if your website is AMP only, or the accelerated page is the canonical one, your site will still get indexed, even if the HTML is not valid.



AMP is a basic HTML mark-up, with only a few extra features. It will get indexed like any other HTML.


4. The Pros and Cons of AMP


So far, most arguments against Google AMP have been annihilated. Not only that the problems were solved, but disadvantages now turned into advantages.


  • Hard to implement ads, if any at all > Fixed by recent updates
  • No forms, have to use hack instead > Fixed by recent updates
  • Not suitable for eCommerce > Snapdeal uses AMP and increased conversion rates. eBay has also been testing AMP
  • Sharing on social media used cached URL > Fixed, Google now allows you to share the real URL instead of the Google one


Many more fixes could be added to this list, but I hope you get the point.


Despite this, many people still strongly disagree with AMP. 


Josh Bachynski is a great SEO and also an Ethicist. He had a pretty good count of arguments concerning Google’s actions on the Internet.


Personally I don’t like AMP at all. I like how it is fast, but that is not the ONLY way to get your mobile experience super fast! It is just another clandestine attempt to own and control more of the internet!
josh bachynski JOSH BACHYNSKI
SEO @joshbachynski / Follow Josh on his YouTube Channel.


And it’s kind of true. I mentioned in the beginning of this article that the project is Open Source. The term sounds like anyone could contribute to the code itself, but in the end, it’s still Google who decides what stays and what doesn’t. We can only play by Google’s rules.


It’s the same like with Mark Zuckerberg’s instant articles. Although it sounds like Facebook wants you to browse faster, the idea behind it was to actually keep people engaged in the Facebook App, never to leave it again.


It’s faster, but sometimes, you really want to browse a website at its fullest, and inside FB app, that’s not possible. Sure, you can eventually open it in a browser, but it requires an extra step.


Even Will Critchlow agrees that AMP will never have the same functionality as a regular HTML website.


“By definition, AMP is a cut-down version, and it needs to stay that way. If it allowed all the functionality of HTML, then publishers would end up re-creating the heavy, slow sites they have now. The whole thing only works if you are restricted from doing certain things. There’s an element of game theory here – by being able to blame Google, and plausibly claim to advertisers that they can’t possibly do certain things, publishers get to avoid doing the things they wanted to avoid anyway.”


Will basically tells us that Google is trying to be Good Guy Greg here. Publishers will now be forced to avoid certain things that they thought were good, but actually weren’t.


Scott Gilbertson wrote for The Register about AMP. He doesn’t agree with it for a number of reasons. When I asked him about Google fixing slow mobile sites, he stated that:


The problems that AMP is supposedly trying to solve are a result of poor developer practices, poor education within the developer community and a lack of emphasis on page load times from search engines. I do think that there’s a real problem with page speed that needs to addressed, and I think Google is in a unique position to be able to influence developers but AMP isn’t the way to do it.
Scott Gilbertson
Blogger @luxagraf /


Scott says that if Google changed its ranking systems to favor faster pages, developers would rush out and start building faster pages. Google already has done that to some degree, but not too aggressively. Scott suggests an “estimated page load time” displayed in search results so that people could decide whether or not they want to click through.


Scott also states that the real URLs are obfuscated. Sites in the Google cache will be easily mixed up one with another, because they all look so similar. A full story about how a Russian news site can be easily mistaken for a British one can be read here.


AMP looks a little bit like communism: Everybody shall be fast. But you can’t work more to advance in speed over others. No, no. Everybody shall be EQUALLY fast. Meanwhile, Google shall monitor all your traffic and keep it close to it. Even Russian spy sites are involved!


But if Google eventually forces everyone to use AMP, then what happens to all the good guys who fought hard to have a fast mobile website? If everyone uses AMP, it will be very hard to outwork your competition in terms of site quality.


It seems like Google took advantage of a World Wide Problem and found a solution to help themselves as well.


In the end, users will appreciate AMP. A 10KB page vs a 2MB page will result in less data traffic used. They might complain about the changes in aspect and carousels at first but they will comply and ultimately like it. Regular users won’t even feel the difference between AMP and non AMP. They will only spot that pages load incredibly fast, and content is right in their face, as they tap.




As marketers, we set the standards. Consider that users are more prone to remembering a bad experience rather than a good one. This is available in all situations. It’s the pain principle. Our brain is more prone to avoiding pain that to pursue happiness.


Google cares most about making their customers happy.


You might say:


“Not true. Google cares most about making money.”


And you might be right. But by offering the best experience to their readers, it means they will stay more on Google. And this means Google wins.


Think about this though: if you were Google, what would you do?


Google AMP is a bridge that tries to get both readers, publishers, and advertisers to get along. Sure, it’s kind of forced, but so far it has worked pretty well.


This article was about AMP. If the AMP initiative fails or doesn’t sound fair to you and you won’t use it, then this article is a call to all web developers, publishers and advertisers there to do their best to improve the user experience of all their websites.


What do you think about AMP? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments section, and let’s get the conversation going!


The post How to use Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to Rank Better on Mobile appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

How Content Influences Rankings – What We Found Out After Analyzing 3,7 Million Pages

You’ve heard it a thousand times by now already: write high-quality content and the ranks will follow. Or Content is king! But what does that even mean?


To shed some light once and for all if and how content influences rankings, we’ve performed an in-depth analysis on almost 40,000 keywords and around 4 million pieces of content. And the results are GOLD.


Content Performance vs Rankings Research cognitiveSEO


Content marketing, among other SEO strategies, is really a hot topic these days for any industry. But I bet you already knew that. What we think you might not know is the exact correlation between SEO and content. 


Do you know how the content of your website actually impacts your search engines’ rankings? Or do you know the exact key elements your content needs to have in order to rank in Google’s top results?


We have good news and bad news. The good news is that after having analyzed a whopping set of data we’ve got it all sorted out: content’s correlation to Google rankings, metrics to measure content’s performance, key elements that boost content + many other data that we’re sure is going to impact your website big time.


The bad news? Well, the study is quite large and to get the best out of it you will need to thoroughly read this article. And yes, it’s quite long but, for the sake of your business,  totally worth it.  


  1. A High Content Performance Will (Almost) Guarantee You a Top Google Position
  2. Commercial vs. Brand Keywords: How Do They Correlate With Rankings
  3. How Do Domain and Page Performance Influence Rankings
  4. How Long Should Your Content Be to Get High Rankings
  5. Defining a New Metric: Content Performance
  6. How We Did the Research
  7. How Can You Improve Your Content Performance Score 

1. A High Content Performance Will (Almost) Guarantee You a Top Google Position


Do you know that saying: Save the best for last? This time we decided not to take it into account.


Admittedly, we are too excited about the findings so we couldn’t help but share the big news with you:


Content does influence rankings but we also figured it out why and how.  


If you torture data long enough, it will confess.


As you can see in the screenshot below, after compiling and analyzing all the ranking content for the top positions in Google, for around 40,000 keywords, we realized that there is a very strong correlation between content performance and rankings (and therefore organic traffic we might say).

The higher the content performance score, the better the rankings.  

The content performance metric shows you how well a page is optimized from a content point of view, on a scale from 0 to 100. We needed a way to scale content when correlating it with rankings and content performance was great for this. You can find out more about Content Performance  here or later in this article.   



At an informal level, we always knew that content strategies have a lot to do  with rankings and quality content creation improves your rankings. Google itself admitted it and they even created an update dedicated to this issue and the importance of relevant content. 


When you actually see real numbers that show to what extent content performance influences rankings, it’s totally different. 


So let’s do a rundown of these interesting observations.


The first thing to notice when looking at this chart is that good content performance is within average values – almost within the middle two-thirds of a 0 to 100 scale. There are no extremely high or extremely low content performance scores. Not only that but along the represented interval, points are quite evenly distributed – there are no quick jumps or sudden falls, everything follows the same, smooth line.


This is another important observation: the trend line is a lot smoother (almost perfect, from corner to corner). There are only 4 instances in this chart where points don’t follow the “high content performance equals high position” rule and those are very subtle, almost unnoticeable. If the vertical axis went from 0 to 100 instead of zooming in at the current interval, we’d probably not notice those points at all.


Last but not least, there is another visual cue to be found in the graph: a sort of a “cut-off” point at a score of 50 for the content performance, which almost evenly splits the first 10 positions from the following 10. While not specifically significant in itself, it is consistent with the other observations and strongly points that:

There is a very strong correlation between a high content performance scores and ranking on a high position.


2. Commercial vs. Brand Keywords:  How Do They Correlate With Rankings


There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing and over 1 billion websites in the world. And all these billion websites are interested in targeting all sort of keywords.


At a holistic level, we realized that the keywords analyzed by us within this research, fall into one of the two categories: commercial keywords and brand keywords.


  • Brand keywords refer to the keywords strongly related to the name of the brand. For instance, “cognitiveSEO” is a brand keyword we are interested to rank for.
  • Commercial keywords are the ones that have a direct profit – making intent. For instance, in our case “best SEO blog” would be a commercial keyword.


The question now remains: does the content targeted for commercial keywords correlate differently with rankings than the content targeted for brand keywords?


Commercial Keywords – Ranking Correlation


Just by taking a look at the chart below it’s crystal clear that when it comes to the content targeted by commercial keywords, the correlation between the content performance and top rankings is extremely strong.


This means that when it comes to commercial keywords, content has a very high impact on rankings.

Commercial Content Performance Rankings cognitiveSEO


It’s almost impossible to keep up with the link amount a big brand is getting. Yet, content performance is something that is in your full control and you can take advantage of it.


Brand Keywords – Ranking Correlation


We realized that the same strong correlation that applies to the overall content performance and rankings, applies as well when it comes to brand keywords in particular.


It seems that the better the content performance score for the brand keywords’ content, the better the rankings.

Yet, we couldn’t help noticing a particularity of this correlation. Yes, it’s a strong one (we ran several regression tests on it to make sure of that) but it’s slightly different. As you can notice in the chart above, the first position has almost the same content performance score as the 5th one (#1 scores 46, # 5 scores 45). And this situation replicates to some extent to other situations as well.


And, as we are prayed upon the idea: if it works, why? If it doesn’t why?, we took a closer look at this situation.


Content matters a lot when it comes to brand keywords, yet, not as much as it matters when it comes to other types of keywords. And this is because we believe there are other external factors that boost a brand name to the top of the rankings.


Let’s take, for instance, “Brand Mentions”. It could be a commercial keyword, yet, is also a brand name:



Even if the content performance score for score isn’t as big as for other pages targeting the same keyword, the brand itself will be the winner and it will rank first.


And this is because Google is really good at semantical search and understands the intent of the user, firstly. Not to mention that the brand itself is most likely the topical authority for the brand keyword and it will be automatically ranked among first.


Yet, content performance seems to matter a lot in the case of brand keywords as well. So just because you are targeting your own brand name doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put efforts in creating a high performing content.


3. How Do Domain and Page Performance Influence Rankings


The bitter-sweet truth is that content alone does not boost rankings. There are other ranking factors that interfere when it comes to SERP position. And among those factors there is the domain and the page’s performance.


We can refer to domain/page performance or authority. We used the term “performance” for this research as it piles up several factors (domain/page’s age, number of incoming links, etc.)


Domain Performance vs. Rankings


As we can deduct from the screenshot below, overall there is a strong correlation between a domain’s performance and its ranking position.


Yet, this relation is not always smooth and linear. We can see that the domain performance for the pages ranking number one is almost the same with the ones ranking number 4.

Domain Performance Rankings cognitiveSEO

Therefore, even if domain performance seems to matter a lot when it comes to rankings, there are cases when other factors, such as content performance, might matter more than the domain’s overall performance.


Page Performance vs. Rankings


When it comes to Page performance, there is clearly a strong relation between the authority of a page and its rankings. The higher the page performance, the better the rankings.  


If, after looking at this chart you say something like: I have zero chances of ranking without a high page performance, think again.

Page Performance Rankings cognitiveSEO


When you get to think about it, how does a page become highly authoritative? Among others, when it’s a topical authority on a subject. And how can you become a go-to resource on a subject, the topical authority on that matter? By having relevant and optimized content on that particular subject. Therefore, without planning to make everything about content, we cannot help by noticing how connected the pieces from the ranking puzzle are.


4. How Long Should Your Content Be to Get High Rankings


As we crawled so much data, we couldn’t help taking a peak at the number of words top 20 Google ranking webpages use.


The very first thing you should notice about any chart is the variation range. In this case, it looks like having anywhere between 1400 and 2000 words is associated with being in the top 20 rankings.


It seems that the optimal number of words one page should use in order to rank high is somewhere around 1700 words. Yet, here is a longer subject to debate which we’ve luckily covered in a previous study: Long versus short content, which one ranks better?

Number of Words Rankings cognitiveSEO


The next thing you should do is look for trends and correlations. And here is where things usually get complicated. Even this chart, while seemingly straightforward, points to a few interesting observations. The first is that, in general, it is better to have more rather than fewer words .


There are 11 points on the graph that go in direct decreasing order of both number of words and position. They are not consecutive, so that makes the trend a bit less obvious, but it is there. Even where there are consecutive points that don’t follow this “rule,” the rule is reinstated within maximum 2 points.


The second equally interesting observation is that this rule is visible only from the 3rd position onwards, while the first three positions actually display the opposite trend – the fewer the number of words, the higher the rank. But here comparison between points is again useful.

The number of words associated with the first position, while lower than the number of words associated with the second or third position, is still higher than 15 of the other 20 positions (75%).

I know; it sounds a bit complicated. But this actually means that while there is not a perfectly linear correlation, the placement of points is still consistent with the idea of a correlation.


What do we get when put all of this together? Two conclusions:


Having fewer words, rather than more, within a certain interval, is likely to land you on a lower ranking.


Having between 1600 and 2000 words (all other factors being equal) has the highest chance of placing you in the top 10 Google positions.


Yet, remember: it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.


5. Defining a New Metric: Content Performance


As we like this metric just as much as a kid likes his newly lego built toy car, indulge us to explain to you some more about it.


Why? Because it’s worth it. Not to mention that content performance is the core of the present research.


 We needed to correlate content with Google positions. But we cannot correlate “content” as a whole. We needed a metric that would measure the content influence. And here is how we ended up with Content Performance.




How Did We Come Up with the Idea of Content Performance Metric?


It all started from a cliche. Everybody says that content is king, you need to have good content to rank and I bet you can continue this row of self-evident truths.


But lately, it’s been getting harder and harder to rank on Google’s top rankings, no need to insist on that. We figured out that the solution of getting high ranks relies on content.


But our question was:


How can we actually measure the impact of content on rankings? We also believe that content impacts rankings but how exactly?  We needed some clear evidence.


Call me the doubting Thomas but I believe that almost everything that exists can be measured at some point. So, can we “measure” content? A difficult, but not impossible task.


 Inspired by semantic search and the term frequency – inverse document frequency (I know it sounds like a Wheel of Fortune word but you can find more info on it here) we came up with a metric that can measure the impact any piece of content has on rankings: the Content Performance metric.


What Is Content Performance?


The Content Performance score reflects how important a word is to a document in a collection or corpus.


Putting it simply, the content performance metric shows you how well a page is optimized from a content point of view, on a scale from 0 to 100.


The higher the score, the better optimized the content is. And not only this: the same metric gives you info on the reasons why a piece of content is performing well or not.


The Content Performance metric is an indicator entirely developed by us, everything from soup to nuts. A lot of Google reverse engineering was involved in this, combining algorithms and concepts such as semantic search, LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), TF*IDF or topical authority, just to mention a few.


How Does Content Performance Work?


  • We start by analyzing the top rankings results from Google, having content as a focus point.
  • After that, we apply some really advanced algorithms in order to identify the semantics, topics and keywords used on those pages. We do not take in consideration HTML tags influence (h1/h2, etc.). We only look at how well written and relevant the content is, trying to identify the exact factors that boosted those pieces of content on the top of the rankings.
  • Based on an in-depth analysis, we give a content performance score for each piece of ranking content, highlighting the focus keywords used by that piece of content.

6. How We Did the Research


The short answer for the “how we did the research” question would be: with tons of patience and a truck of coffee.


The longer answer would be: 3,784,369 pieces of content.


What we actually did was to look at the content, domain, page performance and many other data coming from approximately 3,7 million of pages ranking on 40k keywords. We took the first 100 SERPs for each keyword. We’ve analyzed them thoroughly, squeezed them as much as we could and we draw some great conclusions.


Even if we had the data for the first 10 Google pages, we decided to present you the conclusion on the top 20 positions in Google because we know that these are the “most hunted” positions and are of great interest for you, guys.  The data collection took place in April 2017. 


I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it the right way, did not become still more complicated. 
Poul Anderson Poul Anderson
American science fiction author 

Inspired by Google Semantic Search, Latent Semantic Index, Latent Semantic Analysis (LSI & LSA) and applying lots of advanced algorithms and Pearson Correlations, we squeezed everything we could for the set of data we had in order to make sure we have the most accurate and reliable results possible.


We also ran some regression analysis to make sure the correlation was right and the results more than confirmed our theory. It turned out there was a 97% positive relationship between variables and that the regression model accounts for 94% of the variation in ranking. With p falling way below 0.01, it is clear that this finding is significant and not the result of random chance.


This, of course, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other factors that contribute to ranking variation, just that the variation in content performance correlates, to a very large degree, with the variation in rankings, and that it is consistent with all the other factors.




We hope we haven’t lost you somewhere among the geeky data. Yet, we believe that a solid research cannot be made without a proper methodological approach.  


And yes, we do know that correlation does not imply causality.  But, as the creator of the XKCD web comic states:


Correlation does not imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there.’ 


And, if we were to draw a conclusion to all the data, what you need to keep in mind is that a high Content Performance score is correlated with top rankings in Google.


7. How Can You Improve Your Content Performance Score 

If you’ve made it so far, allow me to reward you with a short joke:


Statistics play an important role in genetics. For instance, statistics prove that numbers of offsprings is an inherited trait. If your parent didn’t have any kids, odds are you won’t either.


Also, since you’re here I’m guessing that you’ve browsed through all the charts and figures exposed above and you are now interested in our sense of humor only. But you want to see how can you make the most out of this research.


If the content performance boosts rankings, then, the content performance score is what you need to work on. 


Seeing the high correlation between the content performance score and the rankings, wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that helped you out to calculate and improve your content performance score?


Well, good news: we’ve invented that tool: The Keyword Tool & Content Assistant


As we’ve made this great breakthrough with the content performance score, we knew we needed to do something about it. So we’ve begun to dig deeper and decided to create a tool that will offer something that no other automated tool can: the exact recommendation that any piece of content should follow in order to improve its content performance score and therefore its rankings.


It wasn’t an easy ride, I can tell you. Lots of hard work, advanced algorithms and months of continuous work and research. Yet, the results are tremendous as we’ve managed to create the tool that we and any SEO pro, webmaster or content marketing needs. 



But I’d better show you how it works.


Let’s say that I own a food blog and I am interested in tackling the “vegan recipes” niche. I already used the Keyword Tool to get an idea of what people are searching for in Google when it comes to this subject. And now I am interested in “beating” my competition’s content performance score.


Just by taking a look at the Ranking Analysis section I can get a full idea of who my competitors are, where they rankings are and how  they got there. 


vegan receipies content performance


Having the content performance score for each of my competitors makes it easy for me to understand where my content performance score should be. More than that, I also get the exact list of focus words those webpages used. The focus keywords are the exact keywords that boost the content performance score. 


I am all covered when it comes to the competition. I know who ranks where and why. But what about my content score?


The Content Assistant is a feature also created by us; a sort of personal assistant that will tell you the exact pieces you need to use to improve your content performance score. It’s a learning machine, based on real search results, that helps you to optimize your content and your overall marketing strategy.  


It’s like trying to solve a really complicated puzzle but someone would come and would give you the exact instructions and steps you need to follow. Things get way much easier, right? Just take a look at the screenshot below.



I’ve entered my own piece of text on which it seems I need to do some content improvements. It seems that my content performance score is only 19 and my goal is to beat #1 score, which is 52. So how do I get that score? By following the recommendations, just like in the screenshot above.


There are some important keywords that I never thought of using. And not only my content performance score will be increased if I use them, but also the overall quality of my article, as it will tackle some subjects that are of high interest. And hopefully my ranks as well. 

It’s a 100% beneficial situation: my blog articles will get great content optimization tips (due to which my target audience will have a better user experience) and my SEO rankings will hopefully improve. 


Hopefully this research, along with the tool, will make you re-think your content marketing programs and the way you view search engines rankings.


Of course, there are a lot of factors that can influence rankings: social media (we even did a research on how social signals influence rankings), backlinks, etc.


As long as content performance has such a high impact on rankings, why not make the most of it?



The post How Content Influences Rankings – What We Found Out After Analyzing 3,7 Million Pages appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Because We Never Failed

As children, we have unbridled aspirations.

We dream to be astronauts. We dream to be explorers. We dream to be princesses. We dream to be the world’s greatest sports star.

We dream.

Looking back at our childhood dreams, we rarely feel we failed because we didn’t become the astronaut. Or marry the prince. Or found new lands. Or had stadiums cheering our name.

Instead, we look back and remember a time when dreams had no limits and anything was possible, even if, in reality, it never was.

Yet we never use the fail word. Because, in truth, we never failed.

Just because something didn’t happen doesn’t mean it’s a failure. Far from it.

That failed astronaut? Perhaps he became a scientist and found a cure for cancer.

That failed princess? Perhaps she became a politician and ended global hunger.

That failed sports star? Perhaps he became an author and wrote the book that changed the world.

Failure is simply a word. A perception of what might have been versus what is. Another path on an ongoing journey.

Something that exists because we allow it to.

If we allow failure to exist, we can also disallow it. And if we disallow it, we can think the way we did as children. Where one dream not realized becomes another yet to happen.

Because if something can still happen, it hasn’t failed. And if failure hasn’t yet happened? Perhaps it never will.

13 of the Best WordPress Plugins to Make Your Blog More Professional

One beautiful thing about a WordPress blog is the never-ending ability to add plugins that completely change the way your blog looks and functions. It’s absolutely essential for successful blogging.

best wordpress plugins

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A lot of these plugins would cost thousands (or even tens of thousands) if you wanted to pay someone to build those features in to your blog individually.

For example, before e-commerce plugins came about, you’d need a team of developers constantly working on your online store. These days you can do it with a few clicks.

Here are some of the best WordPress plugins that you can install to make your blog instantly more professional. It’s not the biggest list in the world, but we’ve only selected the very best.

NOTE: There are two affiliate links in this post. I’ll let you know which ones they are. I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through that link. Thank you for the support.

The best WordPress plugins for a professional blog

Let’s dive in now and have a look at some of the plugins we’ve chosen that will help you to build a more professional blog in just a few clicks. As always, let us know what we’ve missed in the comments below.

1. Boxzilla
Slide out boxes and pop ups done very simply.


Boxzila is the successor to the very popular plugin, Scroll Triggered Boxes, and is an improved version that allows you to create a variety of scroll and pop up boxes for your blog. For example, you can see on in action on this post. You can set it to open when people exit the blog, after a certain amount of time, and you can build boxes that only appear on certain pages.


2. WooCommerce
A comprehensive e-commerce platform built in to your blog.

WooCommerce recently celebrated its ninth birthday and has grown to be one of the best loved and most trusted plugins for building an online store with your WordPress installation. While it’s not the most simple plugin to use, the list of features are absolutely phenomenal and the support and community makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a way to get started selling physical products online.


3. Pretty Link
Better looking URLs for affiliates and less confusing linking.

Pretty Link is a plugin that allows you to change the way your URLs look. For example, if you’re directing people to an affiliate product that has a horrible looking address that might put some people off, you can use Pretty Link to set up a URL that incorporates your own address (like so that it looks a bit more friendly to users. Also gives stats on how many people click the link and so on.


4. Social Warfare
Beautiful social media icons for your blog.

Social Warfare is the plugin that I use here on Blog Tyrant to add scrolling social media buttons in the sidebar, and to manage social buttons on the site as a whole. It has good options for setting your style and colors, and allows you to make a lot of optimizations. For example, you can have different settings for mobile vs desktop social buttons.


5. Smart Podcast Player
Gorgeous podcast player that integrates with your existing set up.

If you have a podcast on your blog I highly recommend Smart Podcast Player as a plugin that allows you to quickly build a beautiful player that integrates perfectly with your podcast hosting. It’s clean, simple to use and the player is mobile responsive. I’ve used this plugin on some other sites and can attest to the support staff being extremely patient and friendly with all the setup questions that I had.


6. Shortcodes Ultimate
Use little codes to make buttons and more.

Shortcodes Ultimate is a very lightweight but valuable plugin that allows you to use little snippets of code to add some great features that would otherwise probably have required a designer and coder. For example, you can add little buttons with icons, or upgrade and get testimonial boxes, pricing tables, etc. All of these things can make your blog look more professional by adding formats that are slightly more involved than plain text.


7. Better Click to Tweet
Perfectly designed options to encourage others to tweet your quotes.

This is a very cool plugin that allows you to add a click to tweet quote box within your posts. It styles the box according to the format of your choice, and lets you set things like the tweet text itself, the display text, and the Twitter handle that gets mentioned.

This is a really simple yet beautiful plugin that can add some nice extra functionality to your blog without having to use an external site like the old days.


8. To Top
Simple buttons allowing people to scroll up.

to top

This is a very simple plugin that allows you to add a little arrow on your blog so people can scroll back up to the top with one click. This is quite a useful feature if you have a lot of long form content or a list post (like this one) where people might need to go up and down frequently. You can style the look and feel to make it fit with your design.


9. WishList Member
Build a membership site from your blog.

This is a very comprehensive plugin that allows you to lock content on your blog in order to create a membership site, school, or paid training course without needing to send visitors to a separate site or company.

It has over 80,000 active customers and has been used by some really popular bloggers to extend their content into a paid arena – a very good way to make some extra money from your blog if you have a unique offering. Allows you to drip content to students, password protect different areas, sneak peak content, and much more.


10. bbPress
Forums and bulletin boards from your blog without hassle.

This is a beautifully simple forum-building plugin in its setup and technology, while still having so many levels of comprehensive features that it impresses everyone who tries it.

If you’ve ever wanted to add a forum or bulletin board element to your blog then this is the place to start. It’s had over 300,000 installs and is used by some of the biggest forums in the world. A great way to add extra community to your blog without needing to develop a whole forum from scratch somewhere else.


11. SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle
Huge amount of widgets and icons to create yourself.

This is a really clever idea that can save you a lot of time. SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle basically gives you a huge selection of widgets that you can customize for your own needs. It includes icons, colors, etc. so that you can create things like map widgets, buttons, call to action links, headlines, etc. It’s a very simple way to update your blog and brand without needing to change your whole theme.


12. Visual Composer
Totally change the way your blog looks with a drag-and-drop editor.

This plugin really is a game changer when it comes to how the back end of WordPress works. I’ve been using it for a few months now on a few side projects, and it’s safe to say it has totally transformed the way I use WordPress.

With a simple drag and drop editor, you can now change how WordPress looks and is structured without needing a new theme. You can build landing pages or buttons or full screen photo banners without any coding. Absolutely wonderful plugin and worth the fees simply in the amount you save by no longer needing a coder.


13. Yoast Comment Hacks
Redirect comments to a thank you page and much more.

If you’ve ever left a comment on Blog Tyrant you’ll see that you get redirected to a little thank you page that encourages you to sign up. That is done with this plugin, which has now been expanded to include other features like emailing people who leave a comment, disallowing comments if they are too short or too long, etc.

If it’s by the team at Yoast you know it is trustworthy. We’ve been using this for years and highly recommend it for some really cool and necessary comment features.


How to install a WordPress plugin

If you’re new to WordPress then you might not know about the absolutely wonderful world of plugins yet. Basically they are bits of code that developers have written that allow you to change the way your blog works.

They cover all sorts of features from photo galleries and security to social media buttons and design changes. Here’s a beginner-level video on how to install a WordPress plugin quickly:

Before installing any plugin on your blog you should do a few basic checks. Make sure it is compatible with your version of WordPress, make sure it has good reviews from users, and make sure it has been recently updated.

What’s your site’s best WordPress plugin?

I’d really love to know whether you think there are any awesome plugins that absolutely must be included on this list. Do you use anything that really transforms your blog and makes it feel or look more professional?

Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Keyword Tool & Content Assistant – The New Way to Boost Your Rankings

Mark Twain famously noted that “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning”.


Admittedly, Twain didn’t know a thing about SEO, but his wisdom remains relevant beyond technology. Because, when you come to think of it, that’s a large part of what we do: we struggle to find the best way to say something, so as to make it the most attractive to potential users.


In the past few months we’ve been working relentlessly on a game-changing SEO tool: The Keyword Tool and Content Assistant. A tool that is perfectly adapted to the digital marketing realities and designed to help you to improve what matters most: rankings.


Keyword Tool & Content Assistant


We firmly believe that our Keyword tool is, for the moment, the fastest way to boost your Google rankings. With the hope that we’ve stirred your curiosity, we invite you to scroll down and read more about the tool that will make you re-think they way you do SEO. 



  1. Does It Take You Months, If Not Years, to Improve Your Rankings?
  2. Keyword Tool & Content Assistant – The Tool That Changes the SEO Game
  3. How Is cognitiveSEOs’ Keyword & Content Tool Different Than the Other Keyword Research Tools
  4. How To Get Higher Rankings on Google in Three Easy Steps
    1. Step 1. Use the Keyword Explorer to Reveal Thousands of Topics & Keywords Opportunities
    2. Step 2. Understand How Content Impacts SERP by Using the Ranking Analysis
    3. Step 3. Use the Content Assistant to Identify the Exact Keywords Your Content Is Missing to Rank Higher
  5. What Is the Content Performance Score?
  6. Does Content Performance Influence Rankings? – Massive SERP Research
  7. Case Studies – Higher Rankings with 30 Minutes Work in Less Than 48 Hours



Does It Take You Months, If Not Years, to Improve Your Rankings?


How many times did it happen to you to write amazing content that simply didn’t rank the way you’d expect to?


And how many coffees did you drink trying to figure out why other pages rank in front of you for a keyword that you are highly interested in?


I know it happened to me a lot and I know how frustrated I felt.


Lately, it’s getting harder and harder to rank on Google’s top rankings, no need to insist on that. Yet, we cannot stop thinking: What can we do to reach those top positions? Are links the solution? Maybe content?


Last year we realized that the competition in Google was made up of mega-brands like Wikipedia, Forbes and Entrepreneur. Yet, to have a puncher’s chance against these huge authority sites we need to outsmart them.


But how can small brands and businesses stand a chance in front of these giants? Off page factors like links are not in our direct control. And even if they were it’s almost impossible to keep up with the link amount a big brand is getting. 


We then realized that the solution stands in the ranking factors that we can control, such as content. 


As we like to find solutions more than we like complaining about problems, we’ve started to experiment with some advanced theories about how Google classifies top ranking content and to put them into practice. We’ve played around with complex algorithms, semantic search and cutting edge artificial intelligence. 


The amount of work invested in creating this metric? Humongous!

The results? Worth every second!


As mentioned before, we’ve figured out a solution for the Google top positions issues and the results were incredible:


  • Higher rankings
  • More organic traffic (within days)


And as we, at cognitiveSEO, like to share the best experiences and tools with you, we’ve started working on a tool that will make re-think all your SEO’s strategies. 



Keyword Tool & Content Assistant – The Tool That Changes the SEO Game


Ranking on Google’s top positions is becoming harder and harder every day. And this is because there are a lot of ranking factors that are not under your direct control.


Everywhere you turn you hear the saying: Content Is King. But what does that even mean?


With Google focusing more on semantic search, content remains a huge ranking factor. And, unlike backlinks for instance, content is in your full control.


What we did was create a tool that will help you take full advantage of content as a Google ranking factor. A tool like no other, a tool that understands how the SEO game needs to be played these days. A tool that makes no compromise in terms of quality. A tool that delivers higher rankings & increased organic traffic – The Keyword Tool and Content Assistant


Below you can see an explanatory video on what our Keyword Tool is all about. 



You too can become a topical authority and get the best possible rankings based on content.


Relavancy and optimization.  Two important attributes that every content should have. And we are going to tell you exactly how to achieve them.


Our Keyword Tool & Content Assistant is not just a tool, but a 3 in 1 tool that combines these powerful features:


  • Keyword Research
  • Ranking Analysis
  • Content Optimization 


The keyword research tool will help you to identify new ranking opportunities and thousands of keyword and topic suggestions.


The Ranking Analysis will give you insights on the top ranking pages in Google, letting you know the reasons why those sites are ranking there, from a content point of view and not only.


The Content Optimization Tool is a fully personalized content assistant that will guide you to craft optimized and relevant content that will rank in top SERPs.


This tool is for any marketer, webmaster, SEO Pro, blogger or content writer who needs an app that will actually yield results on short and long term;  a tool that is fully transparent and understands how the SEO landscape has evolved in the last years.


How Is cognitiveSEOs’ Keyword & Content Tool Different Than the Other Keyword Research Tools


When you read the title of this chapter, chances are you must have said something like: “oh no, not another keyword research tool.”


And you couldn’t be more right.


This is NOT just another keyword tool or a Google Keyword Planner alternative.


Yes, it gives you thousands of keyword suggestions and ranking opportunities and yes, by using the tool you can find the keywords that people are typing into Google Search Box. And even the keywords from autocompletes and search engine suggestions, ordered by search volume, cost per click or keyword difficulty.


But it does much more than that.


While all the other tools (that we are aware of) stop at giving you keyword suggestions, we go that extra mile: we let you know what to do with those keywords by giving you the exact methodology one should follow to improve their ranks.


What is the purpose of a keyword research tool if not improve your rankings? We understood this need and this is how we came up creating a tool that will ease the process of your final purpose: higher rankings.



If we were to include everything that the Keyword Tool & Content Assistant does in just one tagline, this would be it:


The Keyword Tool & Content Assistant helps you to find keyword opportunities & create better performing content.


As we were saying before, there are lots of keyword research tools available, yet there’s no other tool like this one out there. And this is because our tool is not just a simple keyword explorer. Our tool also offers the exact methodology one should follow to improve their ranks.


As we cannot summarize everything that our freshly launched tool can do for us in just one tagline, allow us to give you some more insight on what cognitiveSEO’s newest member can do for you:


  • Reveal Thousands of Topics & Keywords Opportunities in a Matter of Seconds (it offers instant results on any term that might cross your mind)


  • Complete Keyword Research Using a Fresh & Massive Database (it gives you way more recommendations coming from multiple sources: our own huge, updated database, suggestions and autocompletes from multiple search engines, + many others.  


  • Understand How Content Impacts Search Engines’ Rankings (it gives you content insights for any website, letting you know why some pieces of content perform better than others )


  • Identify the Exact Keywords Your Content Is Missing to Rank Higher (it will give you access to exact focus keywords you should use in order to obtain the best possible ranks)


  • Create topically relevant content for any niche and industry (it offers you a personalized Content Assistant Tool that guides you through the whole optimization process )


Of course, these are just some highlights on what the tool can do for you. But don’t believe us! Go ahead and try it for yourself.



How To Get Higher Rankings on Google in Three Easy Steps


The most terrifying words in the search engine optimization world are: I’m a SEO expert and I will rank your site #1. And this is because there are a lot of agencies out there that guarantee number one ranks for any major search term by using all sort of shady tactics. We even wrote a blog post about this.


While getting ranked #1 is an entirely desirable outcome, the truth is that no one can guarantee that it will actually happen. It’s not that you aren’t trying hard enough. Rather, there are so many factors influencing the ranking that it would be impossible for anyone to be able to proficiently control all of them.


However, there are ranking factors that are out of your control (backlinks, social signals, etc.) and others that are under your total control, such as content.

What we did was find a solution to control one of the most important ranking factors: CONTENT.

There is no easy way out when it comes to ranking high on Google. We know this and any digital marketer or SEO Pro knows this as well.

What we are offering is not an easy way out but an efficient and simple methodology of increasing rankings.

We also know that Google uses so many algorithms when ranking a website that it’s almost impossible to keep up with all of them. So what can you do in order to be among Google’s favorites?


Make use of the algorithms that are in your direct control, such as Content.


Google has come a long way in fine tuning its algorithms and its tendency lately has been to rank sites according to content, more than any other factors.  They have even created an algorithm that will de-rank websites with thin content and which are not topical authorities in their niches. 



Considering everything mentioned above, this is how we came up with a solution for getting high ranks, based mainly on content.


No backlinks required, no other extra work. Just a good, relevant, optimized content methodology that will most likely move your rankings where you deserve: in top Google position.


With no further introduction, we are proud to present you the 3 steps technique that brought us and our early adopters awesome results in terms of organic traffic and rankings:


  • Step 1. Use the Keyword Explorer to Reveal Thousands of Topics & Keywords Opportunities
  • Step 2. Understand How Content Impacts SERP by Using the Ranking Analysis
  • Step 3. Use the Content Assistant to Identify the Exact Keywords Your Content Is Missing to Rank Higher


There is no magic formula, no shady tactics, just effectively channeled effort.


3 steps



Step 1. Use the Keyword Explorer to Reveal Thousands of Topics & Keywords Opportunities


In the modern SEO landscape a keyword research tool is not just a passing trend but a must.  


And when we started crafting our own keyword tool what we had in mind was to create an all – inclusive tool, the one that will give you all the info in one place, without being forced to search elsewhere.


So, let’s say that I own a health website and I am interested in the keyword “protein shakes”. A simple search on the Keyword Tool will reveal thousands of opportunities that might have never crossed my mind: keywords I have never thought on ranking before, topics I should target considering monthly search volume or cost per click, + many other ideas. 


the keyword tool from cognitiveSEO1


As you can see in the screenshot above, you can now identify not only new topic ideas, but also the keywords it is worth investing in.  Check out the most relevant keywords, the one with the highest volume and find out cost per click data so you can better craft your SEO strategy. 


Where from do we get the data for our Keyword Tool?


  • Huge proprietary database, constantly updated
  • Search engines suggestions
  • Autocompletes from multiple search engines
  • + many other sources


What is the main info you will have access to by using the tool?


  • Thousands of keywords and topics suggestions
  • Monthly Search Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty
  • Cost per Click
  • Relevancy



Step 2. Understand How Content Impacts SERP by Using the Ranking Analysis


So you’ve made the keyword research, you found the best topics opportunities for you and you’ve decided to focus on a specific keyword. Now what?


Now you can get even more data not only on the topic or keyword you are focusing on but also on the top ranking pages for that keyword. 


You now have access to a piece of info that you cannot find elsewhere: 


You get to know the exact keywords that boosted a piece of content in top Google results. 


cognitiveSEO Ranking Analysis


As you can see in the screenshot above, when searching for what web pages rank on the top results for “protein shakes”,  you will also see the reasons why those pages are ranking there. 


You will get insights on the keywords those pieces of content used, you will know the number of words each ranking page has and its performance. You will also get a readability score based on which you can get an idea of how easy it is to read that page. And if you want to see for yourself how that page looks like, you can access it directly from the tool. 


Another important metric highlighted by us within this section is the Content Performance score, a metric we are going to tackle in the future chapters. 



Step 3. Use the Content Assistant to Identify the Exact Keywords Your Content Is Missing to Rank Higher


Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that would tell you the exact things your content is missing to rank in top 10 results?


Good news: We’ve invented that tool!


Content Assistant – the personalized content optimization tool that will give you the exact recommendation you should use so that your content will rank the highest. 


How does the Content Assistant work?


For the last months we’ve been working  on an algorithm that would determine the impact content has on rankings. This is how we came up with the Content Performance score, a metric detailed in the following chapters, and the Content Assistant, a tool that tells which are the exact keywords you should add to your content to rank higher. 


We analyze the top ranking pages in Google for the specific keyword you are interested in and based on a complex semantic algorithm we let you know which are the exact keywords your content should contain to be as relevant and as optimized as possible. 


Content Assistant cognitiveSEO


You can start optimizing a new content or work on an existing one.  Let us go back to our “protein shakes” example.  What I did was take a piece of content written on this subject and added to the Content Assistant.


As you can see in the screenshot below, the tool tells me the exact keywords I should use in my content, highlights the one I already use and lets me know if there are keywords that I should use more often.  In the situation of keyword stuffing, the tool will let me know what are the words I overused and due to which my content would not perform as it should.


The better optimized the content, the higher the content performance score and the chances of ranking in top Google results. Your users will get better and more relevant content and you will get higher rankings. 


Content Assistant from cognitiveSEO


Does it look straightforward? Well, it actually is and the benefits it brings are HUGE. 


The time it takes to optimize a page? Of course, it depends on the context.


With 30 minutes or less spent on optimizing you can get top rankings. 




What Is the Content Performance Score?


As we, at cognitiveSEO, like to be problem solvers, we tried and failed, failed then tried some more, worked a lot until we found a solution for this: The Content Performance Metric.


The metric that shows you how well a page is optimized from a content point of view, on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the better optimized the content is. And not only this: the same metric gives you info on the reasons why a piece of content is performing well or not.


The Content Performance metric is an indicator entirely developed by us, everything from soup to nuts. A lot of Google reverse engineering was involved in this, combining algorithms and concepts such as semantic search, LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), TF*IDF or  topical authority, just to mention a few.


As you can see in the screenshot below, you get a content performance score for every piece of content you might be interested in, for any keyword or topic.




As I know you are curious what’s happening under the hood, I am going to share with you a bit from our internal “kitchen”:


  • We start by analyzing the top rankings results from Google, having the content as a focus point.
  • After this, we apply some really advanced algorithms in order to identify the semantics, topics and keywords used on those pages. We do not take in consideration HTML tags influence (h1/h2, etc.). We only look at how well written and relevant the content is, trying to identify the exact factors that boosted those pieces of content on the top of the rankings.
  • Based on an in-depth analysis, we give a content performance score for each piece of ranking content, highlighting the focus keywords used by that piece of content.



Does Content Performance Influence Rankings? – Massive SERP Research


After we developed the Content Performance Score, we wanted to make sure that there is a connection between Content Performance and Rankings.


And without lingering for too long, we started a massive SERP research on 30,000 keywords trying to identify whether and how content performance influences Google’s top rankings. 


After we processed all the data, when we looked at the correlation between Content Performance and Position, we knew we were on to something. A really strong Pearson’s correlation coefficient (-0.97), confirmed by the distribution in the chart.


The higher the score on content performance, the more likely a page is to be ranked higher up.


correlation content performance rankings


I am not going to detail here the researcher’s joy that we felt once we saw the results. 


We then knew that our Content Performance Score is accurate and it does predict higher rankings. 


Of course, the content performance score is not the only factor that matters when Google ranks a webpage. There are domain and page performance, the freshness of the content and other metrics. However, the Content Performance is a metric that is now at your disposal and you can make the most out of it. You can increase your Content Performance score and therefore hope for higher rankings. 


We also ran a regression analysis to make sure the correlation was right and the results more than confirmed our theory. It turned out there was a 97% positive relationship between variables and that the regression model accounts for 94% of the variation in ranking. With p falling way below 0.01, it is clear that this finding is significant and not the result of random chance.


This, of course, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other factors that contribute to ranking variation, just that the variation in content performance correlates, to a very large degree, with the variation in rankings, and that it is consistent with all the other factors.


There are obviously a lot of other tests that we would like to run to further assess the robustness of our model, and hope to do so in the future. But for now, what we found has more than solidified our trust in the new tool.




We are not going to annoy you with many methodological data (if we haven’t already) as we are going to write a more detailed blog post on this matter in the future. 


What you need to keep in mind for the moment is that a high Content Performance score is correlated with better rankings in Google



Case Studies – Higher Rankings with 30 Minutes Work in Less Than 48 Hours


Our Content Assistant allows you to fully optimize your content and to make it topically relevant in a matter of minutes. As you have the exact recommendation you should follow in order to get the best possible rankings at your disposal, all you need to do is invest a small amount of time for some great results. 


It’s a win – win situation for everybody: the users get better, relevant content and you are getting higher rankings.


The time spent in optimizing the content can differ on the context, of course. From what our users have told us so far, it seems to be taking somewhere between 5 to 30 minutes for each optimized page. The improved ranks were visible for some of them in less than 24 hours and for other in just a couple of days.


We have some great case studies we would like to share with you. Bill Sebald, Jason Acidre and Krumel were some of the SEO experts who used cognitiveSEO’s newest family member and had some great results after using the tool. 


Bill experienced great results in less than 24 hours. Great result for him and for us as well. 

Within 24 hours, we saw our rank improve from #5 for the term we were optimizing for to #2. This fluctuated over the next few days but then we settled into the #2 spot and have remained there since. Read the full case study
Bill Sebald
founder @Greenlane, 15 years of eCommerce and SEO experience


Jason is another pro that likes our tool (we hope) just as much as we do. The testimony is that he went straight to number one page in Google with minimum time investment. 


From position #12 to position #5 in under 30 days (for the term “SEO Philippines”). Read the full case study.
Jason Acidre
Experienced SEO Pro, Co-founder @xightph


Krumel is an SEO expert who has been working in the Search marketing field for more than 10 years now. His experience with the Content Assistant tool was great as he managed to boost his clients’ traffic up to the sky. 


I’ve increased my clients’ organic traffic with 78% in one month. The rankings were almost immediately improved.And we efficiently increased the visibility in SERPs and traffic. Read the full case study
Founder & CEO @Advert Point


To make things easier for you, here are the exact steps you need to take when doing content optimization with our Keyword Tool and Content Assistant:


  1. Enter your targeted keyword.
  2. Review the keyword suggestions.
  3. Go to the Ranking Analysis section to see how content impacts rankings for your competitors.
  4. Go to Content Assistant and start optimizing your content (old or new).
  5. Implement the changes on your site (publish new article/page or update old page/post).
  6. Go to Search Console and ask Google to fetch/re-fetch your content.
  7. Wait & check your improved rankings.


We can keep on talking on what our newly launched Keyword Tool and Content Assistant can do for you. But we say go ahead and see for yourself. The tool is also listed on Product Hunt and you can check it out there.  


Take the tool for a spin and let us know your thoughts on it. Hope you’ll love it as much as we do. 



The post Keyword Tool & Content Assistant – The New Way to Boost Your Rankings appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

16 Reasons Why Startups Fail at SEO and How They Can Recover

Failure … a rather hard to digest word. Failure is the bad guy everybody avoids. Winning, on the other hand, is a whole different story. But with new beginnings comes the challenge to keep your head above water and not to mess it up.


It is not science per se. It is just sweat, practice and A/B testing based on your data and real data examples. Startups fail at SEO because they aren’t prepared or do other rookie mistakes, but in the next few minutes you’ll find out how to steer away from them.


Why Startups Fail at SEO


Failing can give you a real sense of what works out for you and what doesn’t. Startups fail because they take the wrong approach, don’t know their audience or overlook making a market research, bringing a product to an oversaturated market and so on.


Discover all the reasons why startups fail at SEO. Learn from the others’ experience. Find out the best examples of startups SEO failures and find out how you can get better from today’s article. In addition, learn what makes a startup successful.


It’s filled with peppery examples, appealing explanations, and strong SEO solutions.


  1. Selling to the Wrong Customers Profile Will Kill Your Startup
  2. Believe SEO Is Just a One Time Thing Will Make You Lose 92% of Your Audience
  3. Not Scaling Your Results Gets You Only 50% of Your Goals
  4. Ungrounded Overconfidence Will Leave You Stuck in the Pivot Phase
  5. Not Knowing Your Target Will Bring Higher Costs and Fewer Users
  6. Choosing an SEO Company That Will Rank You First in One Week Will Tank Your Ranks Definitively
  7. Having a Slow Loading Website with Bad User Experience Can Decrease Conversions by 100%
  8. Targeting Misleading Keywords Will Bring Zero Traffic to Your Website
  9. Not Using Marketing Tools Won’t Bring You SEO Opportunities
  10. Using Old School SEO Techniques Will Get You a Google Penalty
  11. Building Low-Quality Links Gets You 25% Search Visibility Fall
  12. Over-Optimizing Anchor Texts Sends an Alarm Signal to Google 
  13. Not Adapting Your SEO Strategy to the Evolving Industry Will Crash You
  14. Having Unrealistic Timeframe and Budget Means Game Over
  15. Poor Content Investment Makes You Lose More Than 67% Leads
  16. Writing Low-Quality Content for Another Purpose Won’t Bring You Any Leads

1. Selling to the Wrong Customers Profile Will Kill Your Startup

One of the major reasons why startups fail is selling to the wrong customers. It all comes to your audience. You’ll never have to bleed out customers.


Your audience must be on the top of the list. They are the ones who will use your product or services. Your business should revolve around them.


There are a lot of startups that don’t know their audience, which their purchase flow is,  their interests or other behavioral characteristics.


It’s exactly like when you would like to invite some friends to dinner but don’t know their preferences. Do they eat pork? Does anyone have food allergies? Does anyone eat vegan food? You need to know this information before you start preparing the meal.


Calxeda, the company that started to provide computers based on the ARM architecture for server computers, had a problem regarding their audience. They moved faster than their customers could move, having problems getting in line with their level of knowledge. They started acting faster than their customers’ understanding.

We moved with tech that wasn’t really ready for them – ie, with 32-bit when they wanted 64-bit. We moved when the operating-system environment was still being fleshed out – [Ubuntu Linux maker] Canonical is all right, but where is Red Hat?
Calxeda  Calxeda testimony

Wrong customers don’t see value and they won’t come to your site and eventually won’t buy. If you focus too much on the best channels to reach your targets you won’t succeed either.

Selling to the wrong customers will kill your startup.

The mistake startups do is focusing on channels rather than target customers. They start their marketing backwards: Channels > Segmentation > Customer > Message.



What Is the SEO Solution For Not Targeting Your Customer Profile?

To improve your chances of success you need to start your online strategy in reverse.  


Start with the customer, make a profile for your buying personas, then continue with the segmentation process, create the message and select the right channels. If you defined your customers’ profile, but the channel you reach out to them is not the right one, you’ll lose them.


When you finish those steps you will be prepared, you’ll understand your customers. You’ll speak the same language. But your job is not done yet. You have to set the right goals.  


Let’s say your customers are mainly on Twitter and your social activity takes place on Facebook. You should be where your users are.


For example, Get Vero’s social media strategy focuses more on Twitter. You can see in the next screenshot that their articles get more shares on Twitter. That is the secret: become famous through what you write about way ahead of who you are.



Multi-channel promotion is also an option. But stick to 3-5 social accounts. Adapt your message to each channel.


Another thing you could do is ask for feedback from your prospects. Spend enough time talking with customers to find out how you can improve your business.


2. Believe SEO Is Just a One Time Thing Will Make You Lose 92% of Your Audience


Believing SEO is just a one-time thing is a definitive reason for failure.


Don’t set and forget. This a vicious mindset for every goal you make. Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) objectives and then follow their evolution, take a decision based on them.


Always have continuity for everything you do. Never let things unfinished because you’ll not evolve. That is a mistake that even older firms do.


SEO is what you do to push your website on the search engines. If you’re not there, you don’t exist.


There was a saying: The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results. Lots of studies say only 8% of searchers end up on the second page of Google. More than that, the total of average CTR for top 10 queries is 208%, meaning users click more than twice on the first result page.


What Is the SEO Solution For Not Having Continuous Monitoring?


It is important to make an SEO strategy you have to follow. If you don’t have the knowledge for it, hire or collaborate with a trustworthy party. Make an SEO audit and invest (time, money) in SEO because you need to make it to the first page.


Use audit tools such Site Explorer for a quick analysis.If you want something more complex use cognitiveSEO or call a hard working Pro.


Make a blog, where you post new and qualitative content on a weekly basis or a period of your own.


Take, for example, the help desk software GrooveHQ, that has created a link profile in the tech and business industry using mostly blogs. Another great thing they did was to build anchor text that is extremely specific besides the branded ones.



Their accurate way of building online presence helped the startup to develop a steady and valuable growth.



Groove HQ has an excellent content strategy because they worked to offer catchy content, grab bloggers’ attention and have a great social strategy in place. It was the safest SEO strategy to ensure nothing came back to haunt them.


3. Not Scaling Your Results Gets You Only 50% of Your Goals


Not keeping track or results of poor accountability is another SEO startups fail.


Pursuit results in every goal you make. Results must be measured no matter what. Otherwise, you can’t learn anything. Make sure you mark your key milestones. During your product development process, you have to establish which are the most significant points. 


If you don’t do that you’ll never know how much you’ve invested and you won’t be able to make a comparison with the outcome. Eventually, you’ll lose focus and this will kill your startup.


The postmortem company MyFavorites has a story you should learn from. The initial idea of MyFavorites was showing and telling your favorites, but in the end that was all: an idea.


Steve Poland, the founder of postmortem MyFavorites said:

When we came back from SXSW, we all started losing interest, the team was all wondering where this was eventually going, and I was wondering if I even wanted to run a startup, have investors, have the responsibility of employees and answering to a board of investors, etc.
Steve Poland Steve Poland
Currently the Managing Director of Z80 Labs / @popo

And he didn’t go on with it.

A successful entrepreneur will set aims, test hypotheses and evaluate the results.

An SEO plan can include lots of activities that you need to break into tasks, set a timeframe for and organize. This way you can have a bigger picture.


What Is the SEO Solution For Not Scaling Your Results?

A clearly defined road map, with tasks assigned to specific team members, can consolidate and enhance your SEO strategy. There are lots of tools for that: Meistertask, Trello, Blossom and much more.


Use tools such as Google Search Console, cognitiveSEO, Google Analytics for tracking data and your SEO activity.


Setting goals in Analytics and Google Adwords can help you see if the strategy and SEO campaign you’ve conducted is the right one to fulfill the target.


4. Ungrounded Overconfidence Will Leave You Stuck in the Pivot Phase

An SEO consultant/expert’s job is to understand the role of the clients, to deliver what has been promised and to educate them in terms of what SEO can and can’t do for their business.  


Not being able to see the bigger picture is another startup SEO failure. Usually, this happens if the entrepreneur is overconfident in his knowledge but doesn’t know SEO. And it can easily turn into arrogance and therefore another startup fail, even if you have the best business plan of all business plans.

5. Not Knowing Your Target Will Bring Higher Costs and Fewer Users

Not segmenting your SEO efforts to target customers with the highest potential Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is another reason why startups fail at SEO.


Don’t conduct link building techniques on sites with thin content such a web directories of all sorts of websites that have a list with links. Don’t try and build links on all kind of sites that are not related to your industry or sites that are too general.


The wider the audience, the larger the SEO costs of attracting them on your website.


The sad and real fact is that many startups assume which their target is. You wouldn’t believe, but some startups think that because they are developing the next app, all the smartphone users are in their target.


They couldn’t be more wrong. There are so many different types of smartphone users that you can’t count them even using your both hands.


As Mayank Jain writes in TalentPad’s post-mortem:

We failed because of our inability to figure out a scalable solution, which addresses a large enough market in India. One of the things that our entire team has been passionate about is making a big impact to a wide-ranging audience. We could not figure out a way to achieve that.
Mayank Jain Mayank Jain
Tech Entrepreneur / @jainmayank_943

TalentPad was a marketplace for technology recruitment.


What Is the SEO Solution For Not Knowing Your Target?


Create a name for yourself. Start building a reputation and create awareness around your name and your business. Make a connection between them.


You can start by creating relevant content to your niche and write on websites that are newsworthy and have lots of viewers. This means to go narrow and deep. Work on from there.


After that bring them to your blog. Here, create content and share it on other platforms such as, GrowthHackers, Medium.


I bet that there are many other tools and platforms you could use to get the word out, but that it’s up to you to find them since they are targeted by the industry or type of activity.


More than that, you can appeal to amplification techniques to reach a wider audience and multiply your links by hundreds.


6. Choosing an SEO Company That Will Rank You First in One Week Will Tank Your Ranks Definitively


Among the reasons why SEO fails might be because you collaborated with cheap SEO “consultants”.


How many times did you hear a cheap SEO freelancer performed black hat SEO and poor link building on a website?


rank number 1

How many sites did you hear complaining about the fact they got penalized for this? Make sure you don’t do these kinds of mistakes.


Just a few days ago we had a client who was saying he was struggling to clean his site of a bad vicious collaboration in the past.


The company used a cheap “specialist” to do SEO and made a mess on the previously good SERP with a terrible and absolutely dreadful link farm.


Being new in the business and needing to do SEO so that people will find you in Google is hard.


What Is the SEO Solution For Choosing Shady Companies?


You have a lot of options for this SEO failure. Have a well-structured approach before you contact somebody. Do your homework and be prepared. Take your time for a thorough job. Acknowledge one or more of the next solutions:


  • Start looking for trustworthy references.
  • Analyze the payment method: never work with SEO consultants that put a price on a link. For example, the cost per link e 1 euro, etc.
  • Look at their portfolio, if they have any or ask for one.
  • Ask for an SEO plan. See if it is transparent. A renowned expert won’t disclosed his tactics in detail but for sure will tell you which strategies to follow so they can fulfill your goals within a timeframe.
  • Look for references. They shouldn’t have a negative image on the internet.
  • Ask for a list of past clients. Vanessa Fox, author of Marketing in the Age of Google says a reputable SEO consultant shouldn’t be afraid to show a brief list of his clients.
  • Test them by using tricky questions. For example, ask them whether they can bring you on the first position in Google. If they says yes, you should run and never look back. It is impossible to guarantee a number one in any search engine. 
  • Make sure you establish a way to communicate with each other in a way that fits you both.


Besides all the solutions above, you need to keep track of the evolution of your website. To do that, use Google Analytics, Google Webmaster tools or other tools mentioned before.


When you finish the collaboration, you should have ownership of all the optimized content you paid for.


7. Having a Slow Loading Website with Bad User Experience Can Decrease Conversions By 100% 


Another internal reason why companies fail at SEO is the fact they don’t have a good website. A good website means a good structure, a fresh design, a natural user flow, fast loading speed time, a non-spammy looking with all kinds of ads, scalable font.


Having a slow website speed could drastically decrease conversions. Dom Perignon Champagne made this mistake by compromising content for an appealing website design. Studies showed that if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, the customer will forget about your page.


Their web design was a big failure since you had to wait more than 40 seconds for the website to load the first time, 38 seconds the second time. And then the page was so crowded with vague options, showing a lack of good site architecture. This is a big NO NO!

Dom Perignon Champagne Website Design Fail



What Is the SEO Solution For Slow Loading Websites?

Don’t bring any revolutionary changes because you think it would look good. Don’t change the natural flow and the habits people have. An architecture that changes the customer journey can mess up all the SEO efforts.


Look at your competitors and understand what their site architecture is and look for patterns. Work from there, building a better website.


Do your research and think like a client, not like a business owner. For this job you also need a good UX designer. He will have a professional look and he will understand the users better.


Matthias Metternich, co-founder of, an online fundraising service for charities, says it better in an online interview:

Good advice is generally relative, but our tip is to look beneath the surface and beyond the interface, through to the problems that pervade the systems we lean on day in and day out. True disruption happens on a systemic level – after which ingenious interfaces and design make simple, elegant and beautiful what were complex problems that few ventured to solve.
Matthias Metternich Matthias Metternich
Matthias Metternich / @MMetternich

You can improve your website by doing a few changes:

  • Use Schema markups to structure the data on the website. helps you to organize the website like a few maps so that Google understands better how your website works.
  • Create internal linking for a qualitative on-page search engine optimization.
  • Keep a short and friendly URL structure.
  • Use redirects for broken pages.
  • Use breadcrumbs to help with navigation.

8. Targeting Misleading Keywords Will Bring Zero Traffic to Your Website

One of the many reasons startups fail at SEO is the use of the wrong keywords. Choosing the best keywords can be an exhausting job especially if you don’t know that much about SEO or you are in a highly popular niche.


Use the language of your audience. There is a difference between table linen and other table cloths.


There are differences between different geographic locations. If your business focuses on local targeting, then your SEO strategy should be based on local keyword targeting.


It shows in a way when you’re searching for best SEO tool in and Google is giving a lot of emphasis to the local SEO. So this is another important aspect you should take into account.

Google wants to know your location

Another mistake is to make a bad choice of word order. Let’s say you offer transfer services from and to the airport in New York. You must be very careful with your choice of word position. Otherwise, you could mislead the reader and create misunderstandings.

auto service new york example


From the example above you can see that the “auto service new york” is not really a happy choice. It can be misinterpreted with car services in New York, as you can see from the suggestions list Keyword Planner tool gives.


If you really want to use this keyword, optimize your content for multiple keywords or the content that it isn’t important in generating revenue.  


What Is the SEO Solution For Misleading Keywords?

Use Keywords Planner to get the best fitting keyword match. Look for long-tail keywords to get near the first 10 positions. Don’t be too specific, though.


One of the best tactics is to do keyword research to boost organic traffic on your website.


The next thing you should do is choose the topic, write about it and place the keywords naturally within the same word-field. Use related keywords — Google uses LSI — Latent Semantic Indexing, a natural language processing that determines the relationship between terms and concepts in content.


Try Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions or Ubersuggest for that keyword ideas.


Search for the keyword you want to use and Google will show you suggestions as you can see in the next screenshot:

Accommodation in London search query

You’ll see an extended list at the end of the page:

Accommodation in London search query

You shouldn’t neglect localization in SERPs so you won’t miss on local search opportunities.


Next, go through all the steps regarding the on-site SEO optimization: place the keyword in the title tags, meta description, image alt descriptions, URL structure.


9. Not Using Marketing Tools Won’t Bring You SEO Opportunities

Not using marketing tools is another SEO fail experienced by startups. It is a known fact that the marketing tools can be a lot of help in the first phase of starting a business.


Digital marketing tools can help you achieve your goals in your marketing strategy. The right instruments are real assets to get ahead of your competitors.


If you don’t use them, you won’t be able to see the results you’re anticipating.


Using tools is a good start because if you’re new they can lead you the way and you need support.

Not using marketing tools is like driving an old car blindfolded on the highway .

If you want your SEO effort to succeed you have to use tools. At least the standard ones: Google Analytics, Google MyBusiness, Search Console.


What Is the SEO Solution For the Lack of Marketing Tools?

Search for tools that have been tested and used by others. You can search for experts to see what are they using and get insights.


Feedly created a list of specialists and their best choice for tools and platforms on a certain topic such as marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing, brand marketing, content marketing, SMB marketing. This is just an example. I bet you can find many others.


Siftery is a specialized site that shows you the products that are most recommended by other companies like yours.


You have to log in and see for each company the list of products they use for everything they do.


Here you can see alternatives for each product and the list of users that use a specific tool.


AlternativeTo is an example of a platform you could use to find alternatives to different websites, tools, and products.


Find new websites launches on Product Hunt to be up to date with everything that’s going on.


If you want to find specific companies and people Crunchbase is a powerful choice. You can find valuable information from each search.


10.Using Old School SEO Techniques Will Get You a Google Penalty

Ever heard of black hat SEO? Stay away. There are many ways to damage your website if you follow that.


Using outdated techniques is an SEO startup failure. I can understand that being new into the business you can fall into taking all kind of shortcuts just to get higher and faster on the first page of Google.


Expedia experienced a visibility drop from 773,776 to a low of 551,548 after they created a WordPress theme with a keyword rich footer, which is a 2008 – 2009 SEO technique, now counted as an unnatural link building technique.


Mediaup, a web design agency from Germany, got hit by Google’s algorithms because of an unnatural link profile. 


As you can see in the picture above, they’ve encountered a big drop in rankings.


Based on this information gathered from the cognitiveSEO tool, it’s no big surprise that more than three-quarters of all links were low quality or have no authority.


What Is the SEO Solution For Old School Techniques?

To recover their ranking, they started reviewing their backlinks to see how many were unnatural or suspect.


They classified their anchor text to see how many were brand, commercial and misc.


After a thorough link analysis, they disavowed the bad links and sent the file to Google.


If you don’t want to be in the position when all the damage had been made, you should be careful what technique you are applying to your business. It is better to prevent than to correct.


Stay on top of the game. Use a mentioning tool such as BrandMentions to receive notifications for your topic of interest. Read the latest news from the industry.


11. Building Low-Quality Links Gets You 25% Search Visibility Fall

A low-quality link uses link schemes techniques, which include:

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

In 2014, Expedia experienced a decrease of 25% search visibility after building low-quality links using link schemes. This came up with a manual penalty from Google.  


At first, experts thought it was a negative SEO attack, but after a thorough research, it appeared to be exactly the opposite. Their link profile was loaded with links on private blog networks, sponsored low-quality articles, and WordPress Themes with a hidden link to etc.


Their spammy campaign was based on old school SEO techniques such as using black text on a black background as you can see in the picture below:





What Is the SEO Solution For Low-Quality Links?


First of all, build links in compliance with Google’s Quality Guidelines. There are other significant aspects you should have on the top of your mind:

1. Build links on influential domains. Having a natural link profile link means to have a higher distribution of links with no influence because the internet has a higher number of domains with no influence. Take the example below:

Link Influence chart

It is mandatory to have links on high influence domains so you can have a natural link profile.

2. Depending on your industry and your the type of activity, you should have links to similar websites from websites in that category. In the picture below you can see for sure that the websites are in the tech industry. 




The links coming from .edu websites are highly appreciated. They give a high value and trust.


A bad example for the tech startup above are the links coming from Adult websites. There is no connection with those links. If you don’t want that type of links you need to disavow them or check the website before getting a link there, to avoid future surprises.


3. Set a clear webpage type. If you want awareness in the blogosphere then build links in blogs. Web directory links aren’t in style now. Don’t go in that direction. Aim higher.


Webpage Type


4. Earn links that are positioned in a short paragraph of text. Having links in a group of links is never better because it is not considered qualitative content.


12. Over-Optimizing Anchor Texts Sends an Alarm Signal to Google


Back in the old and wild days of SEO, over-optimizing anchor texts used to do some magic and get websites rank higher in SERP for those specific keywords. But things have changed in the past few years.


Another lesson by Google Penguin that we taught is never excessively optimize the anchor texts. If you’re a rookie, you might fall into the mistake. It is considered to have an unnatural profile if you have more than 40% commercial anchor texts.


Listen to what Joshua Ballard from Paradox Marketing says about the correct use of anchor texts:

The only SERP metric that a brand marketer cares about is branded search volume. An SEO marketer cares about all relevant organic keyword positions. The same goal, from two different perspectives. 
Joshua Ballard Joshua Ballard
Founder at Paradox Marketing / @BallardJoshua

Keyword-rich anchor text is another mistake you should never experience. Using a paragraph of text as anchor text can trigger a flag. Take a look at the next screenshot:


Bad anchor text example



All your anchor texts should look natural. Review them and see what improvements you have to make. Google devalues websites that have backlinks with anchor texts that excessively use money keywords.


Accordingly to Microsite Masters, websites that had money keyword for anchor text in 65% or more of their inbound links were penalized by Google.


What Is the SEO Solution For Anchor Text Over-Optimization?

You have to accept the prohibition against over-optimized anchor text. Even though there are startups that fail the test of natural anchor texts, there are others that succeed.


HelpScout is a living example. When it started, the help desk software focused on using match anchor text and only a few commercial anchor texts such as “help desk system” and “affordable desk system”.


Now, their anchor text distribution is manly focused on the domain name – Help Scout.

HelpScout Anchor text distribution



13. Not Adapting Your SEO Strategy to the Evolving Industry Will Crash You

Google is continuously adapting in the online environment. Too many people (especially those who are new in the business) look where Google has been instead of looking where it is heading. 


There comes a need to adjust and evolve. 


Not adjusting your SEO strategy to the evolving industry will come back to bite you on the bum. How could you manage your business if you don’t know what’s happening in the world? 


It is like walking blindfolded with your hands in your ears on the highway. It is dangerous!


What will happen eventually? You’ll lose revenue, money, investments, website traffic, opportunities and put your business at bankruptcy risk.


At first, your eyes should be wide open and seek for the best option. Decision makers look straight at the tactics and implementations and forget about the analytics, goals and strategic planning. Then developers and designers don’t really understand the importance of organic results and the list goes on. 


Do you know many websites have been penalized by Google because of bad SEO techniques? A lot of that is because they were using old methods and didn’t stay up to date with the information considering that will go on just fine like they did before. 


Google estimated that the initial Panda change affected about 12% of queries to a significant degree. 


What Is the SEO Solution For Unsuited Strategies?

First, don’t do it. Second, you can start by subscribing to newsletters from Google or newsworthy websites that offer industry insights. Follow experts on Twitter. Use social media to engage with people and get real updates on changes that happen in your industry.


If you’re a fan of GrowthHacker, you can stay up to date if you follow some great minds there, too. There is also, where you can do the same.


There are also a few things you should be following rigorously:

  • think on a granular level;
  • integrate social media into your SEO strategy;
  • don’t hurry to implement your strategy.


There are great examples of business that recovered when they started following the pieces of advice and recommendations from Google. Who would believe that a Google penalty can help other websites? is an example of a website that had an impressive recover from a Penguin penalty because they learnt it the hard way.

buyautoparts recovery penguin 4.0



After they adapted their SEO strategy to the new change of algorithms from Google, the website experienced 320% increase in traffic.


14. Having Unrealistic Timeframe and Budget Means Game Over

Did you decide to implement an SEO strategy for your startup but didn’t set a realistic timeframe and budget? You’ll sink faster than the Titanic. Most of the entrepreneurs want immediate results with minimum efforts and forget about this.


Not having a budget can lead to careless costs on things that maybe weren’t mandatory and you can easily run out of cash. That’s how you lose control of your spending and don’t know how much you have to gain back.


Not measuring your expenses and income is another mistake.


The timeframe can help you have a perspective and choose the best time for launching. You can be too early or too late. was supposed to be the original social network, but people weren’t ready for it in 1997 when it started. The name was pretty smart. It came from the game “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” and the idea that we’re all six degrees away from everyone on Earth.

Six degrees


What Is the SEO Solution For Dealing with Unrealistic Timeframe and Budget?


There are lots of ways to build an SEO strategy on a limited budget, too. You just have to choose the ones that suit you.


A set budget can help you stay focus and a well-established timeframe can keep you up to date and let you know where you stand in every moment. And you’ll avoid running out of money. 


You can ask a few experts to test your product first. Create a teasing campaign on social networks.


Make your launching day even more special by promoting it on ProductHunt. Sign up your product and let people review it. Gather opinions and feedback from your users. Create a relationship with them.


ProductHunt can be really helpful if you know how and when to use it. Hey – a mobile app created for the sole purpose to communicate with people around you just to talk and not to find a partner.


Hey mobile app


The launch on ProductHunt was a hit. 99% of the users that downloaded the app came from ProductHunt. They even had a lot of activity, as you can see in the next screenshot.

Hey a success on ProductHunt



15. Poor Content Investment Will Make You Lose More Than 67% Leads

Haven’t you heard about business owners who wanted to start a company with few investments and have employees with the same dedication as them, working for the minimum wage?


That is not the solution. Think smart. Set your priorities.


Working with the wrong team can also screw up your startup and increase your failure rate. Hire intelligent people with knowledge and abilities in copywriting who understand your vision and value it. Invest in your employees because they can grow along with your startup.


Content goes hand in hand with SEO. Being at the first attempt might be hard for you to make investments.  


SocialMediaB2B says that B2B companies with a strategic content marketing generate 67% more leads than companies that don’t. So can understand why it is good for you, not to mention it is vital to invest in content marketing.


What Is the SEO Solution For Poor Content Investments?

Invest time and money. Don’t be cheap. Use the possibility to do guest posting or create valuable content on platforms where you have the possibility to become a contributor. And then promote it and amplify it.


Take for example Anthony Kosner, designer, developer and contributor to Forbes. At first, he was a magazine designer for Time Inc., Conde Nast, McGraw-Hill and then moved to content marketing strategy. He has managed to have more than 400,000 unique visitors at the moment.


Sticking to topic knowledge, facts-gathered content is the key to successful SEO. That type of content will always be ahead of everything is published online. That’s what Anthony aimed for and that is how he succeeded in having so many readers through contributing.


Learn from the SEO success story Buffer had. Leo Widrich, the co-founder, used a good growth hack technique. He started writing content about Twitter, how to get followers and how Twitter can help your SEO.  Then he reached out to other blogs to see if they were interested in reading his content or if they were interested in similar topics.


Write for the influencers.

Write for the people who influence your potential customers.

leo widrich Leo Widrich
Co-founder Buffer / @LeoWid

He started creating relationships. He gained his audience through guest blogging and after 10 months, Buffer had over 100,000 users.


This is a type of startup you can follow to see the factors for success, for understanding their SEO strategy, for acquiring customers in the end. 


16. Writing Low-Quality Content for Another Purpose Won’t Bring You Any Leads

Not writing valuable content might lead to an SEO startup failure and harm your website. You don’t write qualitative content, you don’t rank.


Content marketing fails when content fails to serve the purpose of the brand. Grabhouse is an example of a content marketing failure. The startup was designed to be a real estate listing portal. Instead, they started to write content and ended up a viral content magazine.


Its content was more appropriate for Buzzfeed or a similar website, but not for Grabhouse. That’s how the business failed. They gathered lots of views and visitors but didn’t collect sales.


What Is the SEO Solution For Low-Quality Content?

Jeff Bullas explains the importance of organic traffic came from qualitative content.

So long form content is now a key component for serious content marketers.  SEO traffic is often 50% of the attention for a blog post. Over half this blog’s traffic comes from organic search.
Jeff Bullas Jeff Bullas

Founder at / @jeffbullas

The solution here would be to have an integrated content marketing plan to gather users from everywhere.


Leadpages, an automated software, had a very well-planned content marketing strategy. Their blog was updated regularly with fresh content together with an email marketing campaign to hook the readers and users and get them on the website.


This technique helped them grow from 0 to 15,000  subscribers over the course of a single year. Great numbers!


Leadpages also offers webinars and tutorials for its platform.


There are other approaches. Buffer, for example, based on long and in-depth well-researched articles to generate more traction on the social media platforms.


When you decide to plan your content strategy establish what makes you different and explore the differences, set the goals and engage with your audience.  





Failure hurts. Nothing new here. Learn from the biggest mistakes others did and take the solutions to improve your SEO efforts.


There are a lot of SEO startups failures, but do you know how to recover from a loss? If you listen to all the SEO solutions proposed, you’ll find the right way to do it.


Don’t start your business blindfolded. Look at others, spy your competition. Do some reverse engineering. You can also find a lot of case studies of successful startups. Be one of them instead. Learn how a startup succeeds in SEO by following the good practices. Look for bootstrapped startups and learn from their experience.


Searching for business models and creating the best one isn’t enough. 


Make use of the marketing tools you’ll find on the mesmerizing land of the Internet. Think and overthink the SEO strategy. Then act! Set SMART goals, track them and see what you have to improve.


Even though there were unfunded startups that managed to survive, it better to set a budget with at least a few financial resources to allow you to make some moves and hook customers. Invest, invest and invest. Collaborate with trustworthy people and don’t use outdated tactics. 


Have a strong content marketing strategy which you follow rigorously. Always do SEO. You need to have a dedicated person for that.


Create a team that you can work with and can achieve what you set forth. And in the end, search for quality achievement in everything you do, don’t accept shortcuts and cheap work.

The post 16 Reasons Why Startups Fail at SEO and How They Can Recover appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

The Complete List of Blog Sites

blog sitesWelcome to the complete list of all the blog sites on the web (that we could find!) where you might consider starting a blog for the first time.

The goal is to give you a list of all the options out there so you can start researching to determine what is the best for your budget, goals, technical requirements, etc. We’re going to keep adding to it and updating it each week.

Oh, and this whole page doesn’t contain a single affiliate link, but it does have a cool scrolly graphic to watch over and over!

How to choose the right blog site for your needs

Choosing the right blog site to use can be a really confusing process if you are new to the whole thing. You have to consider pricing, features, upgrades, etc. and all of this can get a bit overwhelming.

Let’s start this post by having a quick look at some things to keep in mind when determining what blog site is best for you. These factors could go on forever so don’t take too much time thinking about it – just keep it in the back of your mind as you research.

Note: Here at Blog Tyrant we have our own blog hosting recommendations if you want to get started with WordPress on your own server as quickly as possible. We still think it’s the most comprehensive blogging option.

blog site infographic

If you like this graphic I’d really appreciate a share on Pinterest as it helps get the word out about the article. This one took a really long time to put together so any support would make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The complete list of blog sites

Please keep in mind that these blog sites are not all created equal. Some are simple website builders while others are open-source, comprehensively featured mammoths. Thus, we are not recommending/reviewing each and every one, but rather are creating a comprehensive list so you can see the options and research further.

If any of the information below is incorrect please let us know. We researched all of these by examining the list of features on the sites themselves (as well as some external reviews), but sometimes this information is a little bit vague and it changes regularly. Ideally we would have signed up to each one and tried it out but it would have taken months and tens of thousands of dollars.

We’d be very happy to change or add things if anyone, including the sites themselves, would like a revision or correction, and we’ll do our best to keep adding sites and updating information.

1&1 Website Builder // Go

Is essentially a small web hosting company in its design and operation, but offers some other features for bloggers like 24-hour support, nice clear interface, and a bunch of design templates to choose from on the top plan.

Pricing: 99 cents per month for the first year and $9.99 per month thereafter. At this level, you get a choice of 10,000 industry-specific design templates, 20 million stock images, and a custom domain name.

Angelfire // Go

Angelfire has been around for a really, really long time and was where I had a website with flaming text back in school. I still have a big soft spot for it.


Has a free plan but shows ads. It’s a little bit outdated by today’s design standards, unfortunately, but still has a very fun and friendly style.

Pricing: Free with ads. // Go

It’s such a shame that this site isn’t dominating with that great domain name, but we couldn’t even get it to load. Don’t bother. // Go

Blogger is now owned by Google and has been one of the most successful blogging platforms in history.


All Blogger blogs are included in Google’s AdSense program by default, which means that the users can immediately start advertising on their blog. It lacks many features such as advanced plug-ins and tools but has all the basics like commenting, theme editing options, built-in analytics, and so on.

The platform supports up to 100 authors on a single blog and offers a free mobile application. Good option for new bloggers and has been the choice of many popular bloggers as it is easy to learn, but may be too limiting for a few advanced uses.

Pricing: Free. Charges for other additional services such as custom domain or premium themes. // Go

This is a drag and drop style website hosting with options for bloggers as well. Has over 15 million members and options for email lists and some other email marketing with responsive design options.

Pricing: Blogging is free and paid options for further features. // Go

Credits itself with being the world’s fastest website builder and has a pretty cool drag and drop live interface that a lot of people will enjoy. That being said, here’s what its CEO said on Quora: “It’s not a good platform for heavy bloggers.”

Pricing: $9/month.

Cargo Collective // Go

Cargo Collective is a personal publishing platform that enables its users to create accessible tools within a networked context – to enhance their exposure on the Internet. They have a lot of new releases about to happen and so the difference between the options is a little bit complicated, but some of the new functions and features seem pretty awesome. Keep an eye on this one.

Pricing: Cloud hosting, 12 Projects, 3 Pages, 100MB Storage, Edit CSS, 5 Membership Invites with upgrades for $66/year or $9/month: Unlimited Projects and Pages, Unlimited Bandwidth, Advanced Editing, All Templates (30+). // Go

Great for coding enthusiasts and those who want to show of coding and front end development. It offers some unique features. Some of them include a collaboration mode which allow users to works together, professor mode which lets the user share his/her code with other students, live and interactively and send to phone via SMS. Most basic plan is the starter plan which allows two users, 10 projects, 10 people for professor mode, 1GB storage and unlimited bandwidth.

Pricing: Ads will be shown on your site in the starter mode, so you’ll have to go for the developer mode which costs $14.25 to avoid them. There are also team plans available.

CityMax // Go

Founded in 1999 and has launched over 500,000 websites. It’s a pretty simple and old-school design that doesn’t really sell its features very well. That being said, has things like an integrated store option, backups, integrated email marketing, support, etc. Some excellent specs but possibly not the up-to-date solution for new bloggers given it’s a bit on the expensive side.

Pricing: $24.98 per month. Free 10 day trial available.

Duda // Go

Duda is mainly aimed at agencies who need to build a lot of responsive sites for clients and has some really cool features like a library of millions of free images and drag-and-drop site builders.

You can sell 10 products on the free plan. Mobile-only sites available as well. But it seems as if you cannot migrate your site else where which could be an issue down the track. Strong focus on website speed and is used by some pretty big brands.

Price: Free plans and paid plans starting at $14.25/month.

DoodleKit // Go

Doodlekit markets itself as a website builder with a lot of code-free template building tools and lots of things like icons, fonts, backgrounds, etc. Most basic features like shopping cart, forums, form builders and image galleries are available. Free plan is available and offers 100 GB Bandwidth and 100MB storage.

Pricing: From $10/month with a custom domain, five extra users, unlimited bandwidth and 3GB storage. // Go

Powered by WordPress, Edublogs is widely used blogging platform for education services, Universities, colleges and schools.


It offers 250+ themes and no ads in the free plan. Edublogs lets you easily create and manage student and teacher blogs, quickly customize designs and include videos, photos and podcasts – it’s safe, easy and secure. Founded back in 2005, Edublogs Powers over four millions blogs. Even Stanford University, Cornell University, and City University make use of this service for their educational purposes.

Emyspot // Go

Emyspot aims to give beginners and easy website or blog building service that is responsive, free to use, etc. Free hosting, unlimited assistance, and other basic features are all available.

Pricing: Free option available with some limitations, but there are some more expensive options for showcase sites or online stores, etc.

Ghost // Go

Ghost is one of the more beautiful blogging sites out there, and I suspect it will keep growing. It is very simple and flexible to use for beginners. There is a separate screen for your content creation and preview, which means whatever you type on the content creation page that will reflect on the preview page of your blog.


The Ghost dashboard is really stunning and easy to use, and you have the option to sign up for a preview and test it out live before you sign up. It’s missing a lot of features like plugins and so on, but it really does well for what it is for – a minimal blogging service.

Pricing: $29 billed monthly – 1 blog, 50,000 views / month, unlimited transfer and storage. Ghost does not offer a free hosted plan (has 14-day trial). However, you are not limited in the hosted version in any manner. Then there are advanced, team and business plans.

HubPages // Go

Squidoo, once owned by Seth Godin, was sold to HubPages. The idea is that you write about your passions and can earn experience points and even an actual – the more page views you get the more they pay you. It’s a really clever idea and, although not really suited for many uses, it could be a fantastic place to practice and get used to how networks of people who are focused on one topic or niche work and interact.

Pricing: Free.

IM Creator // Go

This is a really simple but visually attractive website builder where you choose a theme and customize it and then get going. Unlimited hosting, connect your own domain, access to all themes. There’s more features on the higher plan and reseller options are available.

Pricing: There’s free options but then the reseller accounts start at $350 and go all the way up to $25,000.

Jimdo // Go

Jimdo is a really cool looking website and blog hosting platform that has some very funky templates and theme options. They’ve put a lot of emphasis on making it as clean and practical to use as possible.


Has a template builder and seems to have a focus on blogs that want to showcase a bunch of photos as there is a big focus on images and galleries. Has a separate App for editing your blog on the go, which is something a lot of platforms lack.

Pricing: Starts at $7.50 a month. // Go is the free blogging version of and has all of the basics that you’d expect from a large blog site. It is an open-source platform where the .com version is hosted for you and the .org version lets you download it for yourself so you can tinker away. Has millions of users and a very large community which is good if you run into trouble or need some support.

Pricing: Free. // Go

This is the paid version of and is one of the world’s biggest blogging and website hosting services. It’s fully open source and has an incredible community that is constantly updating and working together to build something that they enjoy. Over 3% of the entire web is powered by Joomla and, as you’d expect, has a huge host of features that you’d need.


It’s worth exploring all the core features as there is a lot to go through. I spent about a week using a Joomla website once and, although it did everything we needed it to, I found it a lot harder to customize and tweak and expand than a similar WordPress installation. The back end feels somewhat dated, but I know many people prefer it.

Highly recommend you jump in and look at the features and try their live demo and see if it is a fit for you.

LinkedIn Pulse // Go

All you need is a LinkedIn account to get started. However, just like other platforms, there’s no guarantee that it’ll exist forever if the site itself becomes unpopular and therefore your content may be at risk as compared to when it’s published on a self-hosted blog. Has the potential for a lot of reach but also mainly only read by people on LinkedIn and about topics related to work and those niches. // Go

Template-customization options. An active social-networking community. Mobile and voice-posting options. LiveJournal isn’t as user-friendly as the competition, but an extremely active community and a good amount of customization options for Web-savvy users make this blogging service worth a look.

Pricing: Free. Some paid services and themes through the LiveJournal shop. Shows ads within dashboard.

Medium // Go

Medium is a free platform which is specifically content-focused and suits writers. It’s made a lot of waves in the blogging community lately and is easy to use and very beautiful in terms of it’s simple layout and white space.


I’ve chosen it as one of the recommended free options as it is a really good way to learn to blog and, although it won’t be the right choice for a full website/blog option, it connects and integrates with Twitter nicely and as such can help you get your stuff noticed easily.

Has nice features like the ability to highlight and share certain paragraphs of text, bookmark articles, etc.

Pricing: Free

Moonfruit // Go

Moonfruit has been around since 1999 and seems to be a quick and easy option if you want to get a website up as fast as possible, but after that it seems like the template might be pretty locked in once you’ve built it. Has great support options and is always mobile responsive. While it has some cool features I don’t think it is robust enough for a long term blogging solution. They do seem to have new features on the radar so maybe keep checking back and see what’s new.

Pricing: Lite plan starts at $6.75 and offers one site, up to five pages, 10GB Bandwidth, 500MB storage. // Go

This is a pretty cool looking website builder that could be quite useful for agencies. However, we discounted it immediately from our recommendation list as the starter plan only allows you to send one newsletter per month, which is really insufficient for bloggers. That being said, there are a lot of good testimonials for this site so it may be worth investigating if you want a really easy way for building a quick website and the specs are quite good.

Pricing: Starter plan is $8. // Go

This is actually a pretty cool site that, while not a blogging platform as such, is a super fast way to get a piece of content online. All that it asks for is a name for your page and a password – you’re done!


No email required either. Others can access your content through the initial password. Might be useful for those who wish to share something with their circle confidentially.

Pricing: Free.

Penzu // Go

This one is an interesting option that is focused on those who wish to have an online journal. You can use three types of journals using Penzu blogging platform: DailyDiary (public can read your content), Expressive Journal (private), and Travel Journal (especially designed for travelers).

Pricing: Free plan is available. Pro plan available at $19.99 per year. Pro+ plan available as well. // Go

Only one of its kind. The whole premise of is to negate the need for users to use a separate blogging tool, working instead with the popular note management system, Evernote.

evernote essentially turns Evernote into a content management system, which allows users to sync notes directly to their blog. Very cool idea and worth taking a look at if blogging is new to you.

Pricing: Free. // Go

This is a pretty cool minimal option that lets you do some unique things like posting from your email. While it is marketed as a “no fluff” option, there are also some basic features that are quite useful like being able to view all your subscribers, make images retina friendly and so on. There’s a free demo which I would try before committing to the platform too much.

Pricing: Free.

Posthaven // Go

Posthaven’s main point of difference seems to be the strong statements that they make regarding their pledge to keep your content online forever. The promise not to get shut down or acquired and, as such, your posts will always be safe with them. They have their own themes or you can build your own, and you can post by email if you like.

Pricing: $5/month // Go

Hasn’t been launched yet but we’ve included it here because it looks like it could be cool.

Sett // Go

Sett is a blogging platform that lets you tap in to an audience right away by syndicating blog posts to other Sett users in similar interest groups. They claim that people who use Sett experience almost a 98% increase in comment counts, which is pretty impressive. There are quite a few examples on the homepage of posts that have gone somewhat viral, but the platform itself is missing some flexibility that you might need for professional blogging. Still worth a look.

Pricing: Free plan available. Paid plan with additional features starts at $12.

Silvrback // Go

Another minimalist platform with most of the essential features included that works as a subscription service. Several themes available and there are two UI options to choose from. One unique feature is its Github support to directly upload Github articles and they offer a 14 day trial for you to explore. The typography they chose on the site is a little unfortunate and I don’t think it enhances the minimal branding they are going for.

Pricing: $3.99/month.

SITE123 // Go

SITE123 is a multilingual website building platform that offers 69 different languages to build your website. Responsive design, free image library, 24/7 support, and lots of other useful features such as restaurant menus and online store integration for those who need it. Looks like a good basic option but it’s uncertain about how advanced it can go in terms of integrations that you need to grow a blog.

Pricing: Starts at a free 500MB storage 1GB bandwidth option and then pricing goes up.

Sitey // Go

Sitey is yet another website builder that is difficult to tell how it really differentiates from the other options despite having some nice features for beginners. There’s 24 hour support, shop options available, a drag-and-drop editor and hundreds of responsive templates.

Pricing: Starts at a free option for 50MB storage (which is barely anything) and then moves up.

Strikingly // Go

Strikingly is a very beautiful looking blog site and website builder that has a very simple model for building sites that will appeal to a lot of beginners. It has been used by some pretty big entrepreneurs and has some nice endorsements.

Has scrolling single-page design with sections to which you can navigate. Free accounts get a address, show a Powered by Strikingly badge at the bottom, let you sell one product, and limit you to 5GB throughput per month. Could be good for simpler needs.

Pricing: For $8 per month, you add a custom domain, increase the monthly bandwidth to 50GB, and raise the number of products to five.

Squarespace // Go

If you’ve ever listened to a podcast you’ll know about Squarespace as they are prolific sponsors and have done an excellent job of encouraging people around the world to start a website or blog on their platform. It’s popular, beautiful and it’s easy to see why people love it.


Responsive design for mobile screens. Lots of website-building tools and options. Deep selling capabilities, including digital downloads. Free SSL certificate. Good help and analytics tools. Less straightforward than competing site builders. Fewer and more-restrictive templates than the competition. No free level. Lacks third-party widget marketplace. Little customization for mobile sites.

Squarespace has a real focus on design and as such it is the choice of a lot of brands that want to showcase their work, products, or art in a very stylish and modern way. Although you don’t have the same level of customization as a blogging site like WordPress, a lot of the stuff you want is already built-in and ready to go. Worth a look for many bloggers.

Pricing: Free 14 day trial available. Personal plan starts at $16.

12. Svbtle // Go

Really cool concept that claims that you blog will remain online forever. It is set up to help you come up with concepts and ideas as you blog, and so might be slightly different than just a blog hositng platform or regular site builder.


Very minimal and beautiful feel to the site and clears out all clutter as you write which is an idea that really appeals to me on the days I just need to write.

Pricing: $6 monthly membership.

Tumblr // Go

Tumblr took the blogging world by storm and is now one of the most popular services on the planet. It has a very distinctive feel and set of features that seems to appeal to younger audiences and fast-paced content like memes and so on.


It’s generally a micro-blogging and social networking website owned by Oath Inc. (Verizon and Yahoo!) that allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. It’s somewhere in between Twitter and Medium.

Users can follow other users and blogs. You can use a custom domain but don’t expect a lot of plugins like WordPress. It has a mobile app. Tumblr’s biggest advantage is the community of users that share content with one another that often go viral

Pricing: Free. Tumblr sells premium themes for prices ranging from $9 to $49 each. // Go

Typepad offers robust tools for site management, SEO and controlling how your blog is promoted. Designing capabilities are limited without HTML coding, so this would be a service best suited to bloggers experienced in web design, but they do promise excellent support. TypePad requires a premium subscription, and its preset templates and themes aren’t as varied as other services, even free blog platforms. Seth Godin uses this.

Pricing: TypePad Basic service, for one individual, starts at a reasonable $8.95 per month, while TypePad Pro service, allowing multiple authors, costs $49.95 per month.

Ucoz // Go

Ucoz is a website template builder that comes with some good features but it seems as if you have to pay for one of the higher monthly plans to access things like a true responsive mobile design that, we think, should be default by now. Has some strange features like image watermarks added on your photos unless you choose one of the higher plans. There may be a reason for doing this but, to us, it really seems like it would scare off users.

Pricing: Free plan shows ads, storage up to 400MB, mobile version is a basic PDA.

Ukit // Go

Another website template builder with some extra features added along the way that seems to be aimed at small businesses instead of individuals. Live chat support. Automatic and manual backups. 200+ designs to choose from. You need the Pro plan in order to be able to edit HTML.

Pricing: Plans start at $4 per month.

Quora // Go

Quora’s aim is to make knowledge more available to the masses and it has done a really good job of doing what it was designed to do. It is based around a question and answer format and isn’t really a blogging platform as such but a place you can share the things you know, answer people’s questions, and so on.


You regularly see Quora posts on question-based SEO results like the one above, which is pretty cool. Your domain will have “quora” in it. Perhaps a good optional extra to have alongside your blog, but possibly not the best for your main base.

Pricing: Free.

Virb // Go

Essentially a website builder but with unlimited space, large collection of themes, mobile responsive and widgets. Can be connected to an external Tumblr blog.

Pricing: Single plan is $10/month. One year free virb student program.

Voog // Go

Voog is a stripped-down, beautiful yet simple website builder with a particular focus on the easy creation of multilingual responsive websites. It supports contact forms, online store and other basic features like mobile responsiveness.

Pricing: Plans start at $8.71/month which includes 2 GB storage, 3 users, 30 pages, 3 languages, custom domain password protected pages, fully customizable design, API access, etc.

Webnode // Go

Webnode is a really simple website builder that has some visually stunning themes to work with as well as features like an online store option, mobile ready, and no ads on site. Over 27 million people use this service which is an excellent endorsement.


A little bit confusing as home page says it can be free but the pricing page only lists paid options, and the templates on the personal/free blogging section look a little dated. Would be good to explore this before starting.

Pricing: Basic plan has 100MB storage, 1GB Bandwidth and starts at $3.95/month.

Webs // Go

Simple drag and drop interface makes building websites easy. Has a free option, but displays ads on your site. A custom domain name comes free with all paid plans. Need to pay extra for things like advanced stats and the ability to integrate a store.

Pricing: Starter plan is available for creating a basic site for $5.99/month.

Webstarts // Go

Webstarts claims to be the number one website builder of 2017 and hosts around 3.8 million websites, which is pretty amazing although I couldn’t find any criteria for the rating.

Online store option available, automatic domain setup and online store and CDN. Free plan available and offers 1GB storage but appears to show ads.

Pricing: Pro plans starts at $4.89/month and offers storage up to 5GB, bandwidth of 25GB, and removes ads, along with providing some additional features.

Websitebuilder // Go

Another website builder with all of the expected features including over 10,000 theme combinations, custom domain names, mobile responsive templates, support, etc. Has a free plan but it is extremely restrictive with things like no option for mobile responsive sites or email.

Pricing: Premium plan starts from $5.99/month and provide free domain, free hosting, free ad credits, seo and marketing help, mobile sites. Higher plans include free email, priority support and ecommerce.

Web Start Today // Go

Web Start Today is a premium DIY website builder that helps you create professional websites for free. Has a widgetized site builder, but it seems as if you have to pay extra to have a mobile responsive design which is a bit of a shame.

Pricing: Has free options but uses their domain name. $4.99 p/m standard plan with 10 Pages, limited storage and bandwidth, ad-free, 2 email accounts.

WebyDo // Go

Weby Do is a really beautiful looking platform that focuses on being able to craft nice designs without using code and is really meant for web designers building sites for clients. Might be a little on the expensive side for beginners, but could really suit some custom situations. Really like that you can suggest and then vote on the next features you want added to the platform.

Pricing: $75.00/month (monthly plan) with email support for up to 10 sites. // Go

Weebly has become a pretty recognizable brand name among small businesses and people who are just starting out on the web. They’re marketing has been very good in that sense. It’s a simple, reliable free option that now powers over 12 million websites.


The place a lot of emphasis on helping you do your own marketing and email list management which is really nice if you need a blog site that will help you build a blog for the purposes of growing, for example, a physical store or business.

Pricing: Free plan available but you’ll want to go up to at least the third plan tier to get all the things you’ll need over your blogging career.

Wix // Go

Wix is another blog site and website builder that has made huge inroads in the booming small business website market – you see it almost every day for local businesses around your town. It has some good and some not so good features.

They offer over 510 professional templates, and have a drag and drop website builder and features that is focused around industries like Art, Music, etc. There’s a mobile editor that allows you to edit the mobile version of your site separately. With Wix app market, you can add functions to your website, such as live chat (for customer service), newsletter, testimonials, reservation/booking tools, contests, pricing tables, etc.

One of the drawbacks is that it seems as though once you’ve picked a template to use you can’t switch to another template without re-inserting your content. If you are using Wix’s free website builder, it includes advertisement logos. To remove the advertisements, you will need to upgrade to at least their “Combo” premium package. It’s not designed to manage complex e-commerce needs.

Pricing: Free and then paid plans start at $4.50/month. // Go is the free version of where you essential use their blog site for your blog instead of installing it on your own server. It is extraordinarily popular and has some (but definitely not all…) of the features we love about for professional blogging.

Users can upgrade to a custom domain name. The solutions to user’s problems are found within the active forums and the site’s in-depth tutorials. It can be used for building a site, blogging, or an eCommerce site but lacks a lot of the themes and plugins and customization options that you get with the self-hosted version unless you upgrade to the Business Plan.

We often recommend this as a good free starting point as it is then quite easy to migrate to a setup as opposed to if you started your free blog on a totally different platform. Read the next one to see why it’s a step up.

Pricing: Free. Charges for other additional features such as custom domain or third-party themes and plugins. // Go is the open-source free platform that you install on your own server. It has been the most popular blogging and website building software for a long time now, and it has been the basis for all of our online businesses, including Blog Tyrant.


We have some more details about how the and self-hosting setup works here if you’re interested, but the main thing to know is that you need your own server and domain name, and then you install WordPress on that server and use it as your blogging platform/dashboard. It sounds simple but it only takes a few minutes and the process is automated on most hosts. Here’s a guide on how to do it.

WordPress’s main advantages is that it is open for programmers and designers to design themes and plugins and as such there are literally hundreds of thousands of ways you can change your whole blog by just installing a simple plugin or theme that behaves differently.

Xanga // Go

There seems to be a re-launch of this blog site happening soon but the website is a little bit confusing at the moment. We’ve left it on the list and will update it should they launch the new thing.

Yola // Go

You only get a three page website on the free option and have to upgrade to the top platform to get most of the necessary features. Has a 30-day money back guarantee which should be essential for all blog site and website builders.

Pricing: Free and upgrades available.

Zoho // Go

Zoho is more than just a website or blog builder in that it encompasses and entire cloud software suite that businesses can use to run a lot of their operations from finance to marketing and promotion and sales.

A lot of bloggers will find these features unnecessary as they are intended for bigger companies, but it’s interesting to find a place where they are all integrated nicely, and it’s been around since 1996 so has a very solid reputation.

Pricing: Basic plan available for $5/month. Most requisites for a well working blog are only fulfilled by the Standard plan available at $10 and beyond.

What blog sites or features are missing?

We’d really like to make this resource as accurate and comprehensive as possible so that people can easily browse a list of blog sites and then dive deeper into their own exploration. What blog sites are missing, and is there anything you’d like us to change with the format or features listed?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

A New Adventure – Joining Kayak Online Marketing

If you’re in the inbound marketing space, you’ve probably heard of Kayak Online Marketing.

Located in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, Kayak Online Marketing is one of the leading inbound marketing agencies in North America.

Under the leadership of CEO Randy Milanovic, Kayak has consistently been recognized as a leader in the space, with features in Forbes, Inc., CTV News, and more.

As of June 26, I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be joining Randy and his team as Director, Brand Strategy.

About Kayak

Initially starting life as a creative agency, Kayak Online Marketing made the switch to inbound marketing as Randy saw the need for a full optimization service for businesses.

That means looking at where a potential client is now to where they want to be, how their site and lead conversion optimization is driving towards that, and helping internal teams and stakeholders understand what the business needs to do to get the results they seek.

This holistic approach sees Kayak Online Marketing working as true partners with clients, as opposed to “just the agency”. It enables clients to:

  • Have a website that enables true lead generation and conversion from the first visitor touchpoint
  • Benefit from ethical and modern SEO strategies
  • Understand how their offline as well as online actions impact their online marketing results
  • Energize internal stakeholders through discovery workshops and ongoing training

Having watched Randy and his team for a few years now, and respecting the way he not only conducts business, but acts as a mentor for the local business community, I couldn’t be happier to be joining the team.

Randy Milanovic (l), with Friendship bench co-founder Sam Fiorella and myself sampling some fine craft beer.

I’ll be sharing more soon as I get embedded into the team, but for now, if you have any inbound marketing needs and are looking at the fuller, holistic picture when it comes to your online marketing, get in touch today! 🙂

403-228-2525 main | 855-228-2525 toll-free US/Canada
HubSpot Certified Partner Agency
Contact Us

Is Content Curation Good for SEO? 11 Examples That Prove So!

Content curation. You’ve probably heard about it, you might have even read a few pieces on the subject but you never really went through it.


How many time did it happen to get a topic idea and start writing on it immediately? And after you’ve hit published you didn’t get the expected results.


The curated content marketing technique can actually boost SEO. Big time. And below you can find some case studies that prove exactly that.




Content curation has tapped its  way into the content marketing world to extend and empower relevant content in the online world. When done correctly, content curation gives a personal and relevant perspective to each published blog post.


The curation technique can help you to fuel your curated content marketing. It could offer you the chance to boost your SEO and bring valuable traffic to your website. 


The next 11 content curation examples will show you how content curation can improve your SEO strategy and results.


You will find out how to curate other people’s research, create outreach campaigns in the digital marketing world, transform boring content into mundane news, share unseen articles on search engines and so on.


  1. What Is Content Curation?
  2. Can Content Curation Boost SEO?
  3. Use the Benefit-Driven Formula to Drive Over 27,000 Backlinks
  4. Generate Over 13k Views by Curating Other People’s Research
  5. Gather Fascinating Images to Create Curate Content
  6. Outreach Content with the Help of Influencers
  7. Make Brand New Content Using Other People’s Lessons
  8. Use Visual Interactive Content Ideas for Boring Industries
  9. Conduct Intriguing Research Through Videos
  10. Leverage Trending Content Before It Happens
  11. Make User-Generated Content (UGC) a Priority
  12. Create the Best Go-To Source Content Using Statistical Data
  13. Be an Authority in the Industry Through Powerful Case Studies



What Is Content Curation? 


Content curation is the process of gathering, organizing, writing and publishing relevant content around a specific topic.


An exact content curation definition cannot be traced out.


What you need to know is that the content curation methodology implies looking through the vast amount of content available out there, nicely sorting and arranging it out to transform it into an outstanding piece of content on a specific topic.  Of course, with the hope that the content becomes viral and generates a lot of traffic.


Content curation is not a new phenomenon, it is a known fact. The person that implements the curation strategy is named curator.


A curator can also be found at museum or art galleries. They are responsible for the collection, preservation, and display of items. In media, there are DJs that have the position of curator when they are assigned to select which will be played on the air.


Can Content Curation Boost SEO?


But how does content curation help you in your SEO strategy, you might ask?


Curating content delivers quality traffic, generates lots of backlinks, enhances your online presence and, therefore, boosts your SEO.


It turns out that curating content can help you generate over 13k views, over  40k links or 250k social shares.ew, as you will see in the examples below. 


There are also content curation tools that can help you with that.! is a good example of curation tool that can help you to see the best performing content for a specific topic by publishing curated content.


Quuu is an effective content curation software for social media you could use.


Zest is another great recommendation you could use to share and discover stellar marketing content.


So is Pocket Recommendations, that makes it easy for you to catch the content you care about.


Apart from the next 11 examples, we also advise you to consider curation communities such as, GrowthHackers, Designer News.


The amount of content being created and delivered on sites, blogs, and social networks is truly staggering. This is how content curation came along; a process that can help you out with your overall digital marketing strategy.


To make sure that content creation will impact your overall SEO, here are some processes you need to take into consideration when performing content curation: 


  • Identify your target audience’s content needs
  • Develop a fresh content framework
  • If possible, do real-time curation
  • Decide: what’s worthy to write and share



Before we dig into finding the best examples, let’s make a difference between content creation and content curation.


The first one has the power to create new and fresh content and the second one has the ability to bring content alive and generate traffic making it highly linkable. We should think about these two as if they were a process of content marketing split into two phases.


1. Use the Benefit-Driven Formula to Drive Over 27,000 Backlinks


Its very name, benefit-driven formula, explains what it is really about – the content that uses this formula offers a benefit to the reader.


Usually, this benefit is integrated using an actionable verb. A great example that uses the benefit-driven formula is, for instance, this headline: “12 unique content amplification techniques that earn 327% more links” as it offers the benefit: “ earn 327% more links” by using  those 12 amplification techniques.


Another great example of curate content that uses this formula is a guide from Backlinko named Link building for SEO. Pretty straightforward. 


The interesting thing is the fact that the title is organized by benefits, not topics, like this subtitle: “How to get world-class links with content marketing”. Note that it isn’t named “Content Marketing”, but instead it offers a benefit.


Backlinko formula


This kind of content must always respond to the viewers’ question “what’s in it for me?”. If your posts answer this question, then you’re on the right track.


The content began to receive traffic and links as it was, and only after that it was promoted. Of course, the design was another important trigger, but it’s another part of the whole strategy. You can see its great evolution in the next screenshot:

Benefit driven formula example

The Site Explorer can help you to discover the most high-performance piece of content by the number of links, ranks, shares or influence (such as domain influence or page influence).


2. Generate Over 13k Views by Curating Other People’s Research


Another example of a successful content curation is the article:  The ideal length of everything online, backed by research on Buffer’s blog.


This one uses the strategy of content sharing out of other people’s research from trusted sources. It gathered all the information on a specific topic, making it the most resourceful content data with information straight from the main source. You can find there info on things  such as the the ideal length of a tweet offered by Twitter, the ideal length for a headline by KISSmetrics, the ideal length of a blog post by Medium and so on.


Take a look at the screenshot bellow to spot the success of the blog post mentioned above.


Share Other People's Research


This original approach, by curating content from the original source, is a great way to attract traffic and create a linkable piece of content on the long term. Making a blog post backed up by research generates a vast amount of views, traffic and user satisfaction. 


Buffer blog post

The article above is a good example of curated content because it gathers all the statistics for the ideal length on everything that is online. As the name says, it offers examples with the ideal length of a tweet, Facebook post, Google+ headline, ideal width of a paragraph, ideal length of a presentation and so on.


Sharing and discovering content is a huge pillar in every marketer’s plan of action. When managed correctly and systematically, content can make or break a marketing strategy. But the bigger part the content plays in the marketing strategy, the bigger the pain experienced by the marketers.
Yam Regev
CMO at Webydo | Co-Founder at



3. Gather Fascinating Images to Create Curate Content


Gathering vibrant pictures is another great example of content curation. 12 Of The Coolest Offices In The World is an excellent article model of this type of content. The author used vivid photographs to draw the readers’ attention and keep their interest alive.  


Use mage for content curation


This article had success due to the fact that it collected pictures with offices from around the world and put them together in a great mix up.


The blog post combined all kinds of companies with different types of activities and services such as fundraising, technology, hospitality service, architecture, fashion, toy manufacturing. The list integrated big, well-known names of the online and offline world.


Another aspect that is quite important is the fact that the article was curated on Bored Panda, a dedicated photography website, and also specifying the source for each photo.  


If we take a look at the data for this page in Site Explorer we can see it generated a lot of links and social shares.


Gather fascinating images to create curate content


Before you consider applying this content curation approach you should know a few tips:


  • select only high quality pictures to drive engagement;
  • try to post on websites that have a large number of visitors.




4. Outreach Content with the Help of Influencers


Using influencer marketing technique to curate content can place you on the road to success. The article 20 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros from Social Media Examiner is a strong example of this content curation technique. In the following printscreen you can see a preview from the outreach content.  


Social Media Examiner example curated content


Using a mention outreach technique can really boost your online presence and bring you awareness. Take a look at the screenshot below:


Outreach content with the help of influencers


The thing that makes this article so valuable is the fact that the Pros/Influencers used real and hands-on examples regarding everything there is about social media through their tips.


The author collected and published the article into a neat and eye-catching blog post. She observed the guidelines of an outreach article by choosing a particular topic, selecting well-known experts, picking a template and creating an engaging headline.


5. Make Brand New Content Using Other People’s Lessons


9 facts about computer security that experts wish you knew is another example of a good content curation strategy for improving SEO.


Gizmodo made a brand new article using other people’s advice and lessons. For each statement,  the author selected an authority in the industry to back it up. The information is gathered through an in-house research and not through a direct contact with the source/expert. That is the difference between this method and the previous one – the way the information was collected.


Gizmodo content curation example


The good news about this type of curated content is that you could always improve it with new insights, just like the author of this blog post did. At the end of the article he left this note ”This article was originally published in March 2015, and has been updated” so the readers will know that the information is accurate and trustful.


After a quick analysis in the Site Explorer, we can see the data pulled out for this article.

Make brand new content using other people’s lessons


It has a natural look and a natural distribution of links and referring domains. The Page Influence is Good, just like the examples we’ve encountered until now. The curated content also gets a large number of social shares, which shows that it is a valuable piece of content.   


6. Use Visual Interactive Content Ideas for Boring Industries


Content doesn’t mean just blog posts, it can also be displayed as video, visual, graphics and so on. Using interactive visual content ideas for boring industries is another content curation strategy. cardstore by American Greetings, a greeting card retailer, created one of the most interesting birthday cards through a video to celebrate Mother’s Day.  

World's Toughest Job by cardstore


The video went viral and social shares, links, mentions started to flow. That happened because the brand used a unique method to deliver a birthday card, not following the traditional way at all. 


Below you can see the notable feat of this article.

Use visual interactive content ideas for boring industries


You can see it has lots and lots of links, referring domains and shares on social media channels. The page influence is high and so is the domain influence. That’s a very good sign the video is powerful and has relevant content.


7. Conduct Intriguing Research Through Videos


A nice implementation of the method used in the title above can be found in the  #LikeAGirl campaign. The brand worked with a documentarian for this video to ask a group of girls and boys what it is like to do different actions “like a girl”.


A study showed that girls’ self-esteem drops twice as much than boys’ during puberty and since confidence is a brand equity they used this information in the concept of the video.


The phrase “like a girl” is used as an insult rather than a good thing. This video tries to change that by asking girls during the puberty period and young girls a few questions: “How does it look like to throw like a girl?” or “How does it look like to run like a girl?”.

Like a girl campaign Always


The content strategy used by the brand helped it to generate a lot of traffic and views. The idea behind this project – to encourage and keep girls’ confidence high during puberty – also contributed to the success of the video. Actually, the study was the basis for this video, supporting the research with the help of the participants and also offering a conclusion.


The video is not only an experiment, but it also makes a stand in the end and shows what actions can be taken in the future. Using this content marketing strategy can offer you a high advantage from an SEO point of view.


Below you can see the great results for this curated content:


Conduct intriguing research through videos


8. Leverage Trending Content Before It Happens


If you have news or insight from your industry, use it as a leverage to trigger traffic and social exposure in the online world. It is also a quite important aspect in term of SEO.


Imagine the next situation. You have a friend who is the biggest guitar lover you know and you find out there will be an exhibition of rare guitars in town.


How do you think he will feel when you give him this info? Apply this situation for your readers. Offering them fresh and qualitative content is a huge advantage for you to win them over.  


To get inspired you can look for trends or related searches on Twitter, search mentions on BrandMentions, be a member of niche groups on LinkedIn, Google + or any other social media channel related to your business), or publish content from RSS feed, follow posts from GrowthHackers.


Twitter trends


For this technique, it is important to search for intriguing news. Take GrowthHackers’s example. As you can see in the next screenshot, they tweeted three times in quick succession about the same topic.


GrowthHackers example


This is just one example. For sure there are others that can be applied for sharing unseen article strategy.


To have great results using this method you should pay a lot of attention to the research data stage. Then sort out interesting information you can write about from emails, aggregator services, RSS feeds, books and so on.


An expert curator is a good researcher, on top of other aspects such as writing, promoting and SEO technicalities.


Quality content curators help us find the content that matters. The best content curators understand their audience and strive to only share high-value content that is aligned with their interests.
Ross Simmonds
Founder of Hustle & Grind



9. Make User-Generated Content (UGC) a Priority


User-generated content is all the content that is created by the user, such as comments, content submission, uploaded images or any other form of transferred public content.


For example, when a brand asks participants to do something such as uploading images or content in exchange for a prize is a situation of curating content. National Geographic uses this strategy for their Your Shot project to select the travel photographer of the year.


Make user-generated content a priority


You can see for yourself that this curation technique is working just by looking at the results in the Explorer tool:


National Geographic- Your Shot


The page authority and domain authority is high, which shows the quality of this type of curation content.


Another technique would be to use the user-generated content to create new/fresh blog posts for your brand. For instance, you could use the comments from your users in a new article or your viewers’ questions from the forum in a new blog post.


Forums themselves are a good example of user-generated content. Fodor’s, the world’s largest publisher of travel and tourism information, has a whole category of Forums for different topics.  

Fodo's Forum UGC example


The best part is that it generates a lot of traffic and links. On top of that, they use the forum to push visitors on other pages on the site. As you can see in the previous picture, on the first page of the forum, there is a section with the latest news and features from the website.


User-Generated Content Fodors


10. Create the Best Go-To Source Content Using Statistical Data


Another example that proves content curation is good for SEO comes from Hubspot: The ultimate list of marketing statistics. Creating the best go-to source content using statistical data can lead to traffic generation and social shares boost.


What makes this article unique is the way the information is organized on categories and subcategories, like SEO, content marketing, social media, video marketing, email marketing, lead generation, advertising, marketing technology, sales.


Basically, everything about online marketing gathered from different providers, which makes it a well-documented and excellent go-to source content.

Hubspot conrent curation example


You can easily find what you want due to this structure. It is meaningful and organized. The information is easy to read, using bullets, colored graphs, and all those subcategories.


Another important aspect is the simplicity of this article. It is neat and easy to follow, which is really important these days because nobody has time to follow chunks of text.


One of the main things is simplicity and quality of content, so if we get that right, we hope to remain on track.
Daniel Kempe
Co-Founder/CEO @ Quuu


The data pulled out for this article show it is a highly qualitative content and has started to gain more and more links recently.


Create the best go-to source content using statistical data


11. Be an Authority in the Industry Through Powerful Case Studies


Glassdoor, one of the biggest websites that help people find a job through real reviews from previous employees, conducts in-house analyses and elaborates market trends. They have in-case studies that can really make an impact. For example, Demystifying the gender pay gap: Evidence from glassdoor salary data is a really good in-house case study.


Glassdoor in house case study

Glassdoor used data from hundreds of thousands of Glassdoor salaries shared anonymously by employees on the website. One of the aspects why the study was successful is the analyzed topic: the gender pay gap.


It is very resourceful, examining it based on two approaches, one for workers with similar backgrounds working in similar jobs and, moving forward, one that splits those groups into male and female workers. This type of content curation provides real data information that basically anyone can read at and draw a conclusion out of it.


Below you can see the link juice collected by this article:

Be an authority in the domain through powerful case studies



The content curation process might not be very difficult, it just needs a lot of attention if you want to have great results.


We thought that the content curation definition or the content curation tool might not be in handy all the time. However, some content curation examples will help you better understand what it’s all about. 


To become a good curator you need to have an eagle eye and be a good picker of the topic and the way you expose the curated information. We’ve written some previous posts on how to amplify your content or how to write a better one



No matter whether you use the benefit-driven formula, curate other people’s research, use visual interactive content ideas for boring industries, leverage trending content before it happens, outreach content with the help of influencers or any other example we’ve mentioned above, you have a good chance to experience these new approaches. 


If someone else did it, it means you could experience some good SEO results with these content curation techniques. And the good part is you can find a tremendous amount of content on the web you should juggle with.


As we mentioned before, it is important to know your public’s interest and to offer content that is relevant to your target audience. 

All of your curation efforts can lead to better performing content.

The previous guide will help you to get started with your content curation process. 


After you carry out your content curation strategy it is mandatory to continue with content distribution and promotion to bring the value and keep your article alive. You can start your sharing content process right now if you have content you failed to promote or that you did promote and is still relevant to your audience in the present.  


This is not a an ultimate guide or a definitive guide to content curation. We tried to offer some examples that really proves the power of content curation. We would be more than happy if you could contribute with some more examples. 

The post Is Content Curation Good for SEO? 11 Examples That Prove So! appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

What Will You Sell if You Give Away Your Best Blog Content for Free?

free content give away

If you give away your best blogging content then what’s left to sell?

It’s a very interesting question that a lot of bloggers worry about when it comes to deciding how they are going to make money from their blog in the short and long term.

Many of us get concerned that if they post all of their best stuff there will be nothing left to say when it comes time to creating a paid product.

So, what’s the solution? Let’s take a look.

The question on free vs paid content

First, here’s the question I received in my inbox from Shruti (used with permission and edited for length):

While I myself a firm believer of the fact that the number one strategy for positioning oneself as authority, to get readers to love you, and for building a connection with them is to write heroic, epic, blockbuster insanely valuable post.. But don’t you think if I, as a blogger, would give away all my best contents for free, then I would face problems at a later date regarding what contents to include in my info product when it is already being presented as a blog post by me earlier…

Why would anyone pay me for something they can get for free? Even if someone agrees to pay me then will my info product be worthy enough to be exchanged for money? Hope you would pay heed to my dilemma..

Looking forward to your response. Thanks for your time.

It is a legitimate question and is something that almost every blogger will think about at one point in their career. So let’s dive in a see what solutions we can find.

The free content strategy

Let’s step back a little bit and look at the “free content” strategy that we are talking about here.

It all centers around the idea that one of the best ways to succeed in blogging is to create incredibly helpful content that solves problems and then give it away for free.

Some of the options look like this:

  • Write extraordinary long form content
    One of the main options is just to create incredibly useful long form content that goes into extraordinary depth and provides a lot of value. If you do this the thinking is that people will be more likely to subscribe. Sites like ViperChill has operated like this for a very long time now.
  • Do that and then offer more on the email list
    The more common strategy is to start a mailing list, and couple brilliant blog posts with a mailing list that offers a free giveaway download in exchange for a subscriber’s email address. This is the tactic I try to do here on Blog Tyrant, although my blog posts are far from brilliant.
  • Upgrade your content in exchange for email addresses
    A new strategy that we have been seeing a lot lately is where bloggers offer content upgrades. This is where you add an extra download to individual pieces of content. Where the content is site-wide in the option above, this option relates to individual posts and can include charts, worksheets, lists, etc.

All of this involves a lot of work and, more to the point, a lot of information. It takes time to research and put together and is no small feat. So, at the end, is there really anything valuable left to sell?

Putting it all together at the making money stage

make money blogging

It’s really important to remember here that there are a lot of ways to make money from blogging and creating paid products is just one of them. But let’s take a look at some scenarios that might give you some idea.

Example scenario stage #1: combining old with new

Let’s say you have a blog about eating vegetarian food when you have IBS. It’s a very niche topic that can provide wonderful benefits for those that are struggling to live with the condition and also want to avoid eating meat.

So, your vegetarian blog (…we need more vegetarian food bloggers, by the way…) would be a wonderful collection of recipes, photos that you take yourself, information about how you came up with the recipes and then also you own stories and research about dealing with the condition.

Next, you could think about releasing your own hard copy version of a cookbook. This is a great example of using a mixture of old content and new content in a new format and charging money for it. Lots of people prefer to cook from a book, and people also like to have them on coffee tables which they can’t do with a digital version. So this is old content in a new format.

Example scenario stage #2: combing income streams

Following on with the example of the vegetarian cooking blog for people with IBS, the next thing you want to look at is diversification.

When it comes to making money with the blog you could/should have a mixture of income streams that, over time, add up to a good source of revenue. This could include affiliate products like cookbooks and implements from Amazon and maybe even different supplements that you’ve tried (if that’s even legal in your country).

When you mix this with your cookbook sales you might find that you can make a tidy income of people paying for products that are new things you create, re-formatted old content, and content/products created by other people.

Example scenario stage #3: expanding in to different verticals

By now you cooking blog and book is ticking along nicely. You’ve got a bunch of fans who like your thinking and have had some nice results with your recipes and solutions for IBS. It’s at this point that you might think about exploring verticals.

For example, you’ve been relying on the cookbook sales for a little while now so why not expand out and organize live cooking shows in the areas with the biggest subscribers? You might even create an annual meet-up or camp where people get together and do fun IBS stuff like not drinking and taking it easy. 😉

You could launch your own line of aprons with a funny joke from your blog, you could create a podcast that is donation-per-listen that goes over other cooking ideas, interviews with interesting people in the niche, etc. The possibilities are quite literally endless.

It’s a lot like a band

Thinking about making money from a blog is a lot like how a band goes about building a career.

First they come up with some songs and launch an EP or an album. They then start touring the country, playing music, and building up a fan base. While they are touring they might even sell some merch.

Over time that fan base gets big enough that they start getting some big views on YouTube or Spotify and there’s enough money in the bank to maybe think about an overseas tour.

You then drop your next album and do it all over again. Except now you’re selling out theaters instead of dirty pubs. But you have to keep in mind that you’re still playing those first songs that people first heard on a crappy old EP.

It’s a mix of new and old content, and a bunch of sideways formats.

So how do you do it?

The first step is to do your research. Take a look at others in your niche and see what they are doing.

The next step is to start experimenting. The more experiments you run the more data you have. And it’s usually at this stage that you start to find things that people might be willing to pay to understand. This is such an important part of the process that a lot of bloggers overlook. I wrote about it on Jeff’s blog and I can’t emphasize it enough.

Next you can look at the most popular content on your blog and see what is missing. How can you improve on what is already there and could you charge for it? Has someone ever asked you a question that you could possibly answer in greater depth? Once you’ve figured that out – can you then answer it in a different format? (Think: video course, podcast, coaching session, member’s forum, etc.)

You can even do a big old survey and ask people directly what they are struggling with and if there are any opportunities in there. It’s a simple method to get some very honest feedback.

Have you ever paid for content?

I’d love to know whether you’ve ever paid for content on a blog that also offers a lot of its material for free. What made you open up your wallet and were you satisfied? If you have any good examples I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Hope this helps, Shruti!