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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.

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.

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.

8 Powerful Google Analytics Tips to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Conversion rates. At the end of the day, this is what it all comes down to. It’s easy to dream of huge conversion rates; however, they’ve been rather hard to achieve lately. Hard, but not impossible. There are many tips and tricks out there on how to increase your conversion rates even by 529% in only one day.


We are not going to deliver overnight magic solutions in the following blog post. We are going to leisurely talk about how you can increase your conversion rates by following some efficient Google Analytics tips. Because yes, used wisely, Google Analytics can help you to increase your conversion rates. Big time. 


8 Powerful Google Analytics Tips to Increase Your Conversion Rate


The next Google Analytics tips and insights will help you to master metrics and data to improve the decision making process for your online business.


You’ll learn how to increase your conversion rate by monitoring the bounce rate, by measuring the quality of your SEO traffic, by identifying slow loading pages and so much more. 


Long story short, get the most out of these juicy Google Analytics tips to increase your conversion rate:


  1. Monitor Bounce Rate to Increase Your Conversion Rate
  2. Measure Overall Organic Traffic to Better Understand Your Users
  3. Use Internal Site Search to Optimize Your Customers’ Experience
  4. Measure the Quality of SEO Traffic to Compare Conversions
  5. Identify Slow Loading Pages to Enhance Conversion Experience
  6. Analyze Your Users’ Behavior to Better Meet Their Needs
  7. Use Landing Pages’Reports to Directly Improve Conversions
  8. Look for Conversion Opportunities in Your PPC Data


Can Google Analytics Increase Your Conversion Rates?


The simple answer is yes. Google Analytics can actively increase your conversion rates. Of course, if used properly. There are direct and indirect benefits of using Google Analytics. And when you know exactly where and what to look at, you might be surprised by the insights you’ll get. 


A study made by Compass informs us that the average conversion rate for online stores is only 1.4%, while the best performers have a rate of 3%.


Now it all comes down to you. Do you want to stay in the crowd, or you would prefer to take a stand? If you wish to be better than that, you’ll have to boost your conversion rate and be as close to 3% as possible. 


Although it is possible to achieve even better results for some industries, 3% is a really good target.


To keep track of your conversion rate, use reporting tools. Google Analytics is the most popular free tool you can use to measure the success of your inbound marketing efforts. You are about to learn how to increase your conversion rates through Analytics. Therefore, grab a coffee, a paper and a pen, and get the most out of your business. 



1. Monitor Bounce Rate to Increase Your Conversion Rate


You might know by now that the bounce rate is one of the most important metric in Google Analytics and that it is commonly misunderstood by many Analytics users. It doesn’t track the time on site.


There are many definitions of bounce rate in the www world. According to Optimize Smartthe bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or web sessions.


Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.


This metric is very important because it tells you a lot about the quality of your website. Putting it simply, the lower the bounce rate, the better. Having a low bounce rate means that your users are satisfied with the content they received based on the query they were looking for.


There is a debate in the industry on weather bounce rate will be replaced or not with dwell time.  It all comes down to the fact that bounce rate does not offer a true insight of your visitor’s experience on your website.


Visitors can bounce for a lot of different reasons and it is hard to tell whether they had a good or a bad experience from this metric alone.


Google Analytics does not make any difference between a “good” and a “bad” bounce. A bad bounce can happen for instance when a user lands on your page and suddenly decides that it was not what they were looking for and returns to the search engine results page. A good bounce happens when a user reaches your page, decides to stay a while to consume your content, finds what they were looking for, and then leaves.


However, for the moment the dwell time concept is not very clear in the industry, not to mention that is very hard to measure. What we can measure and take advantage of is bounce rate




In order to monitor the bounce rate through Google Analytics you should click on Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages and you will see the pages that people click on your site. These landing pages matter the most because they are the first thing a user sees on your site.


Bounce rate


As you can see in the picture above, Google Analytics can calculate the bounce rate of a web page or website.


What you can see by using Analytics is how quickly people hit the back button to return to the SERP page.


You want your users to spend as much time as possible on your website. There is also a video tutorial provided by Yoast that can help you around. You also have a comparison icon you can click on to see and compare the bounce rate of all your landing pages.


What is the ideal bounce rate? 


According to Yoast, any page marked red is below your site’s usual bounce rate. If that page is red and has a bounce rate of 0-10%, it should still be OK. If it is around 20-30% you should for sure verify it, especially if it is one of your top 10 pages.


The bounce rate can be very easily connected to your conversion rate because if a lot of users leave your domain fast, it means that you will have very few users who find what they are looking for on your website or that your offer might need to be revised.


Therefore, closely inspect your bounce rate to make sure you are not loosing conversions. How can you have good conversion rates if the users are leaving your web pages in seconds? 


Not only the product you sell is important, but also the manner in which you present it, how you promote it and how you choose to sell it.




2. Measure Overall Organic Traffic to Better Understand Your Users


If you want to make sure that your website is effective, you will need to have great traffic and a nice conversion rate.


Analytics offer you the chance of comparing your traffic by date by going to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. Afterward, you can select and compare in order to see whether there is a growth in your online business. This will tell you if your work or digital marketing campaigns have an impact.


Traffic comparison by date-min


In order to fully understand how to monitor traffic and assure your conversion rate, you should understand how to use the Analytics tool properly.


A very useful feature in Analytics are customized alerts. This will keep you constantly up to date when something is happening to your site. It is a good trigger you could use in your SEO campaign.


You can set Analytics to mail you whenever there is something wrong.


Go to the navigation menu and click the Real Time tab to see a more compact Analytics version which provides limited options and data. This will present you information about users that visit your pages in this moment, their location, the pages they’re viewing, the keywords and websites referred to them and conversion as they happen.


It is incredibly easy to find yourself spending time on this section, but beware that this will not get you enough actionable Google Analytics data.


Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the Web like deer on a freeway. Geoffrey Moore


Under the Audience tab, you will find data that will help you to comprehend your audience. Here you will notice details from demographics to location and technology as well. You will even be able to see the browser and the devices that were used to access your site.


The Acquisition section offers details about how visitors arrived on your domain. This will also provide a breakdown by channel or will tell you how your traffic arrived on your page. In order to obtain data for the SEO section, you will have to link your Google Webmasters account. 


With the new update from Google, it is easier and a lot more relevant to see the information from Search Console integrated into Analytics. Using this qualitative data analysis method will help webmasters to see all the metrics in one place and make decisions based on the data combined with those two tools.


Google Search Console integrated in Analytics


All these steps will help you to follow your viewers’ footsteps and understand your buyers. It is important to export the analytics data and make customized reports on the correlation between your analytics and Search console data.

 Integrating data from third-party tools, plugins and platforms with Google Analytics helps you gain insight about your online marketing efforts. – Kristi Hines

Select a longer period for your Analytics reports so you can make a comparison between different months or various SEO projects period.



3. Use Internal Site Search to Optimize Your Customers’ Experience


Data gives you the power to make insights of value. Starting from here, you can make informed decisions on you digital marketing strategy and therefore work on your conversion rates. 


The price of light is less than the cost of darkness.  Arthur C. Nielsen


Why looking at your internal site search? Internal site search can paint a valuable picture on how your users got to your site. 


By viewing the site search report you can see what users are looking for from your site and what they are experiencing difficulty finding.


Now let’s see how exactly you can do this:


You can check out a list of search terms that users have looked for on your domain by clicking on Behavior > Site Search > Overview.


According to Yoast, it is very good to keep track of this dataset because it will provide an idea of what your visitors hope to see on your website. This will show you a breakdown of a couple of stats related to site searches and a list of terms that were searched in the timeframe you are looking.


In order to be able to obtain such data, you will certainly need to have your domain’s search set up properly.


Something you might notice is that some users have probably used search terms that you haven’t made a page for so far.


It is an awesome opportunity to find a new subject to cover. Also, it offers you insights about the words that were used by your visitors.


Site Search Overview



Do not worry if it seems a bit hard to understand; here is a brief description of the metrics used here:


  • Sessions with Search: Total number of Sessions that involved someone completing at least one search within your site;
  • Total Unique Searches: Total number of times people searched your site (excluding duplicate searches during the same visit);
  • Results Pageviews/Search: Average number of times people viewed the search results pages after completing a search;
  • % Search Exits: Percentage of Sessions in which people left the site right after completing a search;
  • % Search Refinements: Percentage of times people conducted an additional search after their initial search;
  • Time after Search: Average amount of time spent on the site after completing a search;
  • Average Search Depth: Average number of results pages people viewed after completing a search;


Whenever users look for something, you might think if you already offer that product or if you can provide it in the near-future. This will help, of course, with your conversion rate.


In case many visitors search for something and they do not find it you will have a higher bounce rate and maybe a lower conversion rate as well.


4. Measure the Quality of SEO Traffic to Compare Conversions


Even if you often hear that quality can be subjective and it is hard to measure, there are a couple of ways in which one can measure the quality of any traffic source or any type of traffic, whether it is PPC, affiliate, display, email, social traffic, etc.


To measure the change in search traffic quality you can use the Assisted Conversions report: Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions.


You should be aware of the fact that it can be quite common for sites with rich content, such as blogs, news site, publishing sites to have a high bounce rate, a low average time spent on a page or even low pages or sessions. 


What happens in these cases is that visitors reach them in order to consume the latest content and then they bounce without any further browsing. You might want to rethink your content marketing strategy.


assisted conversions report google analytics



While having this report active you can set the date range to ‘Last month’ and compare it to ‘Previous period’. You will now have a month-to-month comparison of conversions directly from search.


In the event of multiple visits to the site, you can have conversions in which the search was important, but not directly correlated to the conversion.


You should make use of this report in order to inspect conversions from search traffic. If you notice a decline in conversions that come from search, but the overall traffic is steady, then you can easily conclude the traffic that comes from search is not qualitative.


 Focus on 5-10 KPIs that are important in achieving your website or business objectives. – Andrew Kucheriavy


It is as well quintessential to determine the location and the reason people come to your website. Focus on analyzing the conversion rate of each website goal for every traffic source and for every target market as well.


Even though a lot of online shops run campaigns on a national or international scale, it is essential for us to find out how each main geolocation is performing. We should check, for example, the conversion rate of your goal for a specific city, like New York, and see if there was an increase for the last month.


In case you have a local business and your target audience is located in New York City, you should know that. 


conversion rate new york city



If you wish to check out the conversion rate for every traffic source in your target market you have to create an advanced segment which will include only the traffic from your city.


 Be careful to segment the conversion rate metric and take decisions influenced only by the overall conversion rate.


5. Identify Slow Loading Pages to Enhance Conversion Experience


Patience is a virtue. This saying doesn’t apply to the online stores. If you want your visitors to stay on your domain so you can convince them to make a purchase, you must take in mind their short patience span.


As years go passing by, they seem to be more and more demanding. Let’s think of it as this:


In 1999, when people were still converting to high-speed internet connections, users were willing to wait up to 8 seconds for a page to load.


But how about now? Well, guess what!


Now, if it takes more than 3 seconds, the customer will forget about your page.


If you already knew about this, you should invest in optimizing it. Slow speeds will destroy your mobile websites. If you don’t believe us, so check out the following facts:


  • 79% of online shoppers said they would not return to a website to make another purchase
  • 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
  • 44% said they would tell a friend about their bad online experience.
  • 51% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.
  • 38% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available.
  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.


As you see, it seems that optimizing load times is one item which is often overlooked. In addition to affecting user experience and conversion rate, page speed is a really important factor in search rankings.


This means that we should keep an eye open for slow pages and we should see as well how this will impact conversion rates. In order to check the page load times, you should navigate to Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings.


page load times google analytics



If you set the middle column to ‘Avg. Page Load Time’, the right column to ‘% Exist’ and add a ‘Secondary Dimension’ of Medium to filter down to show only organic traffic, you will be able to get average page load times site wide and average exit percentage for all pages.


 6. Analyze Your Users’ Behavior to Better Meet Their Needs

 Even if the data is not perfect, understanding some aspects of your visitors’ behavior will provide an important background to you. Once you do, you will also be more educated and able to make better decisions regarding what data is missing. – Daniel Waisberg 


Some SEO experts believe that the Shopping Behavior Analysis is a hidden gem of the Enhanced Ecommerce feature-set from Google Analytics. Armed with this type of data, you would be able to analyze how your users behave. Then, you will see if they proceed to checkout or if they quit in the middle of the shopping procedure.


google analytics shopping behaviour analysis



As presented by Avinash Kaushik, co-Founder of Market Motive Inc. and the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, in the example above you can notice the total sessions that did not end with a conversion. Out of those, you can also see the number of sessions with product views, the Cart Abandonment rate and the Checkout Abandonment rate.


It is quite interesting to observe this scenario.


Out of 173k sessions, 29k saw the product page, only 5k added something to the cart, 3k proceeded to the check-out and 550 users have completed the transaction.


But how about now? What should we do? There are two possibilities from this step. One thing we can do is to apply an advanced segmentation. This is how a Direct Traffic segment will look like and you will notice that the numbers will change.


google analytics shopping behaviour analysis direct



Furthermore, you can segment by males and females, big or small buyers and you can create an e-commerce segment for the group.


You can make, for instance, Sessions with Product Views and you can apply the segment to the Traffic Sources report. 


Another thing that you can do is change the Session metrics. You can select to see New and Returning Visitors, Abandonment metrics or even choose device category, city, source and user category. This means that you can separate various users and check the behavior. It is also quite interesting to look up for the segmentation of user behavior by source.





The Shopping Behavior Analysis from Google Analytics will allow you to change the experience that the users have, from source to confirmation. We believe that this tool is a gem because even though it is very easy to understand, it is also strong enough to let you find some of the big problems your website might have.


We should be aware that in the purchasing behavior, the time of year is really important without any doubt. It seems like December is the mother of all converting months and that is thanks to the winter holidays. 


The worst converting months are by far March and July, but we should keep in mind that your industry and your culture will certainly have a great impact on your sales. Even though this might not be something new to the owners of e-commerce stores, it seems that out of 100 visitors only one conversion occurs.  


7. Use Landing Pages’Reports to Directly Improve Conversions


It is very useful to use the Landing Pages report because this shows you first of all what pages are greeting your visitors.


Landing pages are, if we think of it, the start of a relationship with each visitor and this is exactly why we wouldn’t like this to be a bad experience.


Even though you have the best homepage out there, if your users land on your domain by reaching your blog first, this means that you have to take advantage of this and implement an online marketing strategy based on what they notice when they get there. Because a lot of people might not know what you do, it can be of an immense help to include some details about who you are.


Now you should also be aware of the performance of every landing page that you have on your site.


Some pages might encourage users to further explore your domain, while others might have quite a big bounce rate.


This is why the Landing Pages report can be so useful. It will give you information on what pages are successful and you might learn to apply the tactics that work for a page to other pages. In order to see conversion opportunities, you can apply an advanced filter.


Let’s say that you have a blog. If you apply a filter, you will be able to see which are the posts that attract the most traffic on your domain. You will also be able to find out exactly which posts will make visitors curious.


You can also use the advanced segments to filter the total traffic and find out how many people come from social media. This might help you to judge your social media strategy as well, because some articles from your blog might be more appealing for the readers that come from social media.


landing pages for social



You can also see what the conversion rate for each blog post is. It does not matter if you want your visitors to buy your product, to help out a cause by becoming a volunteer or create an account, the ultimate goal is conversion. Set a relevant goal.


After you set goals, you will be able to observe what pages are influencing readers to take action and increase the conversion rate of your site.


goal set in google analytics



8. Look for Conversion Opportunities in Your PPC Data


Google Adwords can offer a lot of valuable information if you pay attention to it. The PPC data can help you to create a better SEO strategy to improve conversion and other important metrics. If you take the keywords data from the report Adwords offers, you can make a connection with your best performing landing pages from Google Analytics. This way you’ll find out what better optimization can be done. 


It’s not such a laborious process, it is more a technique you need to make sure is done correctly. Otherwise, you might not have relevant results. There are 3 steps:


  1. Pull out PPC data to find out your best performing landing pages
  2. Compare Google console data to PPC data
  3. Plan and implement your SEO strategy


You can follow the complete process if you check our previous article about PPC data


The paid search traffic can tell you a lot of information. You can see exactly which are the keywords with the highest CTR, conversion rate and monetary value. Look for the keywords that are the most expensive and the lowest CTR. You should beware of those and optimize your website content for those that have low-medium value and high CTR.


 If you go into Analytics at Aquisition> Adwords you’ll find information about your paid campaigns, keywords and so on. 





There are a lof of Google Analytics tips and tricks in the online world that try to explain what does Google Analytics track or how to interpret Google Analytics reports.


This article is not an “understanding Google Analytics for Beginners” guide nor is trying to tell you what does Google Analytics track.


We’ve tried to put together some Google Analytics best practice and tips to improve efficiently and visible your conversion rates. If you already are among the Google Analytics users you might have noticed that it might not be the most user-friendly tool and although it gives you a lot of precious data, you might find yourself in the situation of not knowing how to analyze Google Analytics data.


“How to use Google Analytics in my website?” or “How to analyze Google Analytics data” are questions that pop up quite frequently. The truth is that Analytics can have a major impact on your overall business if you know how to read the data. And the marketing tips debated above might help you out exactly with that: to transform your web analytics into conversion rates.


After you make a Google Analytics account and place the Analytics tracking code on your website, you can create lots of reports and track your website’s activities.


Use the Google Tag Manager for an easy implementation. Then, you’re set and ready to create data analysis strategies, track and take decisions based on the users’ flow. 


We believe that all the tricks to master Google Analytics data that we have presented here will help you to increase your conversion rate. Of course, together with your social media marketing , search engine optimization and your overall digital marketing strategy.  Analytics is a gold mine because you have the information from Adwords and Search Console integrate into one. It is easier with all this built-into-one tool.


What we suggest is to go through all of them in order to optimize the buying process as well as possible and to see what really works for you.


It important to follow the conversion funnels and take decisions based on the data provided by the Google Analytics reporting tool.


After that, see what does Google Analytics tell you and  look for opportunities for conversion optimization. 


If you discover something that boosts your conversion try to stick to it, explore it more and you might find out that you will gain further advantage.

The post 8 Powerful Google Analytics Tips to Increase Your Conversion Rate appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Is the Long-Tail Keywords Strategy Still a Valid SEO Technique for 2017?

Long-tail SEO is a well-known technique used by lots of blogs and websites in the online world. But we always ask ourselves before we take any action if it is still a valid SEO strategy nowadays, and how can we used it properly to see direct results.


When running a blog or a website, you probably want to get loads of visitors and traffic to become a perfect competitor. With the right strategy, you can reach your target and convert visitors into potential customers.


Is the Long Tail Keywords Technique Still a Valid SEO Strategy


Keyword research is one of the best tactics to boost traffic on your website without spending much money. Using long-tail keywords can make sense if it comes to getting more targeted traffic in search engines.


Following the next well-detailed guide, you can improve your long-tails keyword strategy for the all mighty number one position in Google. 


In this article, we’ll talk in detail about how important the long tail strategy is for your whole SEO game plan, then if and how it should be integrated into your keyword strategy. 


Before we start with the hard part, the long-tail strategies and techniques, we must answer 2 important questions: Is the long tail keyword technique still a valid SEO strategy and how can the long tail keywords technique help you in SEO. 


  1. Is the Long-Tail Keywords Technique Still a Valid SEO Strategy?
  2. How Can the Long-Tail Keywords Technique Help You in SEO?
  3. Long-Tail Keywords Techniques That Will Boost Your Seo Strategy
    1. Understand Your Target Audience
    2. Research Long-Tail Keywords
    3. Make Breath-Catching Headlines
    4. Create Intros Rich in Natural Keywords
    5. Use Subtitles with Longer Keyword Variations
    6. Optimize Your Content for Users

1. Is the Long-Tail Keywords Technique Still a Valid SEO Strategy?


Yes, the long tail keywords technique is a valid SEO approach for the time being. There are lots of studies that show how effective this strategy is. For example, WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners, has managed to increase their organic search traffic by 20% in just two months. Thanks to the long tail keywords strategy!


Optimizing your content for short tail keywords could sometimes be inefficient. Focus on long tail keywords, because this strategy offers lots of benefits. It is much easier to rank for them because they are highly specific to your niche.


Another important aspect is the fact that people who end up on your website through a long tail keyword search are more likely to buy your product or service even though the traffic volume is smaller than for a short tail keyword. 


Whether it is an organic or paid search, keywords play an important role in improving your CTR (click-through rates). Using the long tail strategy, you can improve that. Gary Beal managed to double CTR  and lower the cost of his million-dollar AdWords campaign by around $90,000 when he replaced generic keywords with highly specific long tail search phrases.


At the AMA Content Marketing Conference, Chris Baggott of Compendium disclosed that 70% of search engines show long-tail keywords. They are not quite competitive and have a high conversion rate.




2. How Can the Long-Tail Keywords Technique Help You in SEO?


SEO should focus more on quality and relevancy. That’s when the long tail SEO comes in handy.  


As we mentioned before, long tail SEO can help you rank higher on Google, increase your revenue due to the specific niche keywords, boost the organic search traffic and so on.


To understand better how long-tail keywords can improve your content creation process, follow the next techniques. 



3. Long-Tail Keywords Techniques That Will Boost Your SEO Strategy


3.1 Understand Your Target Audience


Getting more insights from your target audience is a long-term process. To hit the jackpot, you should understand people and know what they want.

Do you know that each keyword in search engines is a simple reflection of a user’s desire?

You have to understand what your target audience thinks about. You should help them by answering their questions and problems. To attract your potential clients, you should create targeted content.


Before making people buy any product, they want to find out more about the products they’re interested in. They should be aware of their needs. Help them to find out specific keywords that meet their purpose of awareness. Use search strings such as “how”, “when”, “what” and “who”.


what are long tail kw


As soon as you provide them with the necessary information, you should give them all the reasons why they should buy your product or read your blog. Try to show them all challenges that can really help them make the final decision.

You should be careful at this stage as potential clients can be vulnerable and need some time to consider what they need. Try to encourage and move forward your users.

How that happens depends entirely on you. To stir them into action, you can use different comparisons, top lists, best products, reviews, costs, and benefits.


best smartphones


If you diligently follow all stages, the final decision will lie with your site users. To tell the truth, users come to searches with a definite target, and they use certain keywords to meet their needs. To push them, you can use specific keyword modifiers, such as best price, how to buy, buy, order, free shipping, free trial, buy online, etc.


best price for smartphones 1


You can use your PPC data, if you have any, to guide you in your long tail strategy. If not, start being a friend with Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions.


To get more ideas, you can use research tools such as Google Keyword Planner and target long tail keywords. It is important to give attention to these points. Using the right keywords phrases and putting them naturally in your content will convert your traffic into potential clients.


3.2 Research Long-Tail Keywords


It’s been proven a lot of times that long-tail keywords can have more chances to increase organic traffic than using head keywords. When you are researching the right longer variations, you should have your strategy about it.

It is important to choose those keywords that can be easily ranked in search engines. I should mention that Amazon gets high conversions and makes 60% of their sales using long-tail keywords. That’s why it is important to be appealing to customers for your online business.

  • Use Google Keyword Planner from Google Adwords. Enter your target keyword and click the “Get ideas” button. Find the popular keywords. Look at the competition column for that. Make sure it isn’t low competition. Aim for medium and high.


cell phone spy


  • Dig into all the keywords, highlight the long-tail variations and add them to your result list. Seek for keyword ideas and see the monthly search for each one.


cell phone spy

Today there are many options to simplify your keyword research and avoid wasting your time and efforts. I would like to suggest a few keyword suggestion tools that I really like:


  • SE Ranking helps to get long-tail keywords based on your main keyword. This tool has a 14-day trial with a great suite of useful tools including rank tracker, website audit, backlink monitoring and online marketing plan.

SE Ranking Tool

  • Ubersuggest is a great keyword research tool to find longer variations and suggest more ideas for each one, but it doesn’t show search volume.

Ubersuggest tool

 Ubersuggest Tool For Keywords

  • Rank Tracker is another example of keywords tools. It has the advantage of offering complete data in comparison with your competition. It is a more comprehensive tool. If you want to play in the big league or have a big website, this is an excellent option. 

overview Rank Tranking cognitiveSEO

You should understand that we research keywords to help users to get what they are looking for. The new SEO tactics require taking care of your users in order to find their issues. No matter what keywords you choose, either long-tail or head, you should pay attention to the user’s intent, and not to the search robots.

Picking up the right keywords will help you write content with the searcher’s intention.


3.3 Make Breath-Catching Headlines


It doesn’t matter if you are posting on social media networks, websites, forums or blogs; your headlines play a crucial role. According to Ted Nicholas:

73% of the buying decisions that customers will ever make will be at the point of the headline.

If it grabs their attention, users will read your blog post or website.


Compelling headlines are a good guarantee to get high rankings in search engines. There are lots of formulas and tricks you could follow. One of the easiest formulas to use for creating catchy headlines is Jeff Goins’ formula:


Number + Adjective + Rational + Keywords + Promise


Using a relevant keyword in your headlines will boost your website engagement, attract more traffic and improve website positions. Give your target audience what they need to fix their problems.


After choosing the right keywords, it is important to integrate them into your headlines. First, you should put a keyword in your headline and add other words to make it look natural. Do you know how to find perfect headlines? You can try out BrandMentions. Just enter the main keyword and search for good alternatives.


Use BrandMentions for catching headlines


To make your posts viral, you can use numbers in your headlines.

Content Marketing Institute declares that adding odd numbers to them can increase CTR by 20%.

Moz states that 36% of people prefer headlines that contain numbers and these posts get more viral and more social shares.


Using numbers on the headlines makes people define how long they are going to read your posts.


You can easily use headlines from famous magazines. Choose your favorite magazines and find the best ideas for perfect headlines:

Use Numbers On Headlines

I have used this appealing headline:

  • The 6 Cardinal Rules;
  • 6 Brilliant Tricks from.


As these headlines are posted on famous magazines and have lots of social shares, I will improve these headlines and put the right keywords into them.

  • Top 6 Cardinal Rules to Create an Effective Checkout Form;
  • 6 Brilliant SEO Tricks from Adam Connell.

To get better ranking results, make sure to use keywords in a natural manner. I guess that is critical today, as there are lots of websites with artificially integrated keywords in their poor content.


That can lead to Google penalties. Take a look at a list of possibly artificial  keywords:


auto service new york example


You can use these keywords, but try to use them in a natural way.


Compelling headlines are easy to understand and have good chances to be shared in social networks.


3.4 Create Intros Rich in Natural Keywords


As soon as you integrate your keywords and attract your users with compelling headlines, you should write a good introduction to prepare the reader’s mind for the post.


Actually, there is no certain rule on how to write an introduction. I used to write at least 100 words and naturally put the keywords into the content.

 Introductions Rich In Natural Keywords

It is a hard task to write a good introduction. Make sure you formulate your opinions in a clear way and include your keywords naturally. I really like the APP method from Brian Dean that stands as Agree, Promise, and Preview. I guess this is a good tactic to write an intro to attract user’s attention.

 APP Method - Agree, Promise, Preview

 Promise Your Readers A Better World

Show A Preview of Your Content

Before writing an intro, make sure you get the user’s intention with your target keywords in search. Answer these simple questions:


  • How can you attract your readers?
  • What is your main target?
  • What solutions are they searching for?


You should understand that users are not looking for the best options. They just need to learn possible alternatives to solve their issues. Here are a few rules on how to write a good introduction:

  • Use natural, top lists and question headlines that can work for the user’s intent;
  • Integrate long-tail keywords, but make your content look natural;
  • If you want to get a better effect from your blog posts, study posts from authority websites as Google still pays attention to on-page optimization.


On-Page Optimization


3.5 Use Subtitles with Longer Keyword Variations

Using long-tail keywords into your subtitles is another chance to get the user’s attention and possibly increase website rankings.

Subtitles can tell a lot what your blog post is about. People first scan headlines, subtitles, digital content, and media before digging into your blog post. If your subtitles are not impressive and interesting, readers will never come back to your site again.

Use Long-Tail Keywords in Your Subtitles

 Long-Tail Keywords in Subtitles

Follow these cardinal rules to create good subtitles:

  • Use the <h2> or <h3> tags to support your SEO efforts;
  • Make subtitles relevant to your topic and the headline;
  • Use latent semantic indexing. That means using specific synonyms and longer variations to prevent from keyword stuffing.

Latent Semantic Indexing

Make sure that keywords and synonyms in your subtitles look natural and give Google all prerequisites to identify your website as an authority.


3.6 Optimize Your Content for Users


On-page optimization is a mandatory requirement for any webmaster.


It helps deliver the best user experience to your website customers. Creating useful content for users is not only simple, but it will provide benefits for you.


I know there are a lot of articles about on-page optimization, but you just need to understand that the common sense of all your activities should represent “quality”.

User Experience Matters

Here are top practical tips you should follow:


  • Useful: Users need practical tips to easily follow them, enjoy and get effective results.
  • Show your purpose: Before creating content, you should let people know about your target. Whether you want to teach customers on how to promote a website or how to install a cell phone spying software.
  • Exciting: No matter what your niche is, you should learn to write interesting content.
  • Relevant: Relevance is what you should go after in any field. Make your headlines, subtitles, keywords and content relevant.


Keyword research plays a significant role in content optimization:


  • Try to put the user’s interests first before getting links;
  • Write for the user first;
  • Use natural anchor texts when linking out.





There are many tools that can help you make your SEO successful and avoid spending too much time on manual activities. To drive much organic traffic, you should try out long-tail keywords. That might give a long-term success in search results.

Analyze what keywords your competitors use. If you find some great ones, you can integrate them naturally into your content or just search for longer variations with Google Keyword Planner. Keep a sharp eye on how you put them into content.


This article is neither an ultimate guide for finding profitable keywords nor a beginner’s guide to search marketing. Yet, it will give you a helpful hand in what concerns the longtail search.


There are a lot of SEO tools out there that will give you info on a particular keyword’s difficulty score, how to do onpage SEO, quality content or link building. But the truth is that the greatest weapon you’ll ever have is your ability to uncover how your users think and react. You can read articles on the niche, write indepth content, do guest blogging on sites with high domain authority or learn SEO night and day. As long as you understand your users, you can say that you are heading in the right direction.


Imagine you are talking to your potential clients and focus on it to reach the better effect. It is so simple to use long-tail keywords, isn’t it? Let us know how you integrate the keywords into your content. Have you had any success with long-tail keywords? Please, leave your comment below.

The post Is the Long-Tail Keywords Strategy Still a Valid SEO Technique for 2017? appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

How to Get More Backlinks and Rank Higher on Google

get more backlinks

Backlinks are still the major indicator Google uses to determine the authority of a blog. The better your backlinks, the better you’ll rank in search results. But they sure aren’t easy to get.

Building backlinks is a tricky business because many of the “easy” ways go against Google’s terms of service.

What’s more, if you build them in a way that even looks artificial you run the risk of getting a penalty that can be hard to undo.

Today we’re going to take a quick look at the good old backlink – the good and the bad – and talk about a few ways you can start to get more.

Hope it helps!

What is a backlink?

Let’s start with the basics in case any newer bloggers are a little bit unsure.

I’d recommend you go back and read this post on the basics of SEO so that you feel up to speed. But we can quite simply define a backlink as this:

A backlink is when another website links to your blog.

For example, that link above to the article about blogging SEO counts as a backlink for that article. In that case, the anchor text is “the basics of SEO” as those are the words you click to visit the article.

What do backlinks do?

It’s also important to remember that backlinks have several purposes and lead to quite a few different results, each of them different depending on whether you are the one linking out or being linked to.

Some of the main ones include:

  • They send traffic to your site
    When you get a backlink from another blog you will get traffic from that blog as people click through to read the article. This is important even without the SEO benefits.
  • They make your blog seem authoritative
    A backlink is a lot like an endorsement from a blog which is good for your branding as you appear more authoritative if you get backlinks from other quality sites.
  • They provide new resources for readers
    When you link out to other blogs it gives your readers new information. Don’t be afraid to link out a lot as it shows that your posts are well researched and valuable sources of new information.
  • They get your noticed by the owners
    When you link to another blog and someone clicks through that click shows up as a site visitor in statistics programs. This is a good way to get other blogs to notice your blog and should form a valuable part of your blogging strategy.
  • They help you rank better on Google
    Of course, Google uses hundreds of factors to determine how well your blog ranks (site age, freshness, location, points of difference, load time, etc.) but backlinks are still a major one. If you have lots of quality links from relevant, naturally earned sources then you will rank better.

For the purposes of this post we’re just going to focus on how to earn backlinks instead of really going in to details about the different types and the effect that they have on your blog. This post should hopefully be a starting point for more research.

How to get more backlinks

Okay, so let’s jump in to the tofu and potatoes of the post and start looking at the different ways you can get more backlinks to your blog.

Remember, you always want to earn your links in a natural way. I really don’t advocate anything that is cheating or goes against Google’s terms of service. We’ll talk more about that at the end of the article.

1. Produce something different

One of the most common pieces of advice you get about SEO is that you have to produce quality content. But, to be honest, that’s not the whole picture.

If you look at the front page of Google these days you’ll notice that all the results are slightly different. For example, you’ll see tweets, long form articles, tools, calculators, news items, etc.

What this means is that it’s a good idea to try and approach your target keywords with content that is slightly different to the rest. If you can make something that stands out from the crowd it is a lot more likely that you’ll linked to because other people will see it as something valuable and exciting.

2. Link out to bloggers

A lot of bloggers seem scared to link to lots of other sites for fear of losing page rank or something like that.

In fact, linking out to other bloggers is actually a really good way to get more backlinks yourself because, as mentioned above, you get on the radar of those blogs.

linking out

For example, if you look at sites like Quicksprout you’ll notice that the articles are filled with links. This is partly that Neil wants to give bloggers more resources, and partly because he knows that when he links to people he’s more likely to get shares, links, and promotion. It’s a bit of an unspoken rule of blogging:

Try to include at least one link per paragraph and make sure it goes to an up-to-date website that is very useful and helpful. Once your post goes live you can tweet to the owner and let them know you’ve included their blog.

3. Explore local options

Many states and local councils have websites or online magazines that regularly feature local businesses as a way to support and encourage them.

Sometimes it’s just a link in a directory so that people can search by topic, but other times it’s possible to find a way to get mentioned by creating some content that helps their website.

gov backlinks

For example, the Sydney City Council has a separate website for local environmental initiatives. If your business or blog was doing something to help this issue or had some advice for other businesses it’s quite possible you could submit an article to them.

Even if you have to work a little bit harder by holding a physical workshop one evening, it can be worth it because links from government websites are extremely valuable from an SEO point of view.

It’s worth asking around your local council, suburb, etc. to see if there are any online magazines or websites where you might be able to contribute something in your niche as a way to help the locals and add content to their website.

4. Explore educational options

Another similar option is schools and universities that have separate spaces for students and teachers to write about issues relating to student life or post-grad options. Often they will be open to working on an article in order to provide more resources for students.

This is particularly relevant if you are a graduate of the university. For example, many colleges love to feature past students who have gone on to succeed in their area and would be happy to feature a story.

The most important thing here is to do your research and find the right person and topic that will be interesting. Colleges are extremely strict about what they publish and often editorials have to go through many people before being approved. A regular old guest post pitch won’t work here. We need to be creative.

5. Collaborate to host/develop something with another blogger

If you follow guys like Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker you’ll notice that they often do extraordinarily helpful business events together.

This is a really clever idea because both individuals then go away and promote the event to their own audience which has the dual effect of building interest for the event and also tapping in to the other guy’s readers.

What’s more, this type of event helps internet business people succeed and, as such, they are much more likely to link out to the event or the people that helped them.

blogging quiz

You can also develop tools like the quiz me and Slavko from Fitness Updated produced last year (you can try it out at the bottom of this post). This was a fantastic collaboration and we both earned new links from each other in the process.

Try and think about something that is missing in your niche and then make contact with another blogger who might be interested in teaming up with you to either develop it or just promote it. Often if you’ve already done the hard work and are willing to give naming rights to someone else you can get a really big link.

6. Write valuable content off-site (not just guest posts)

A lot of SEO advice is aimed at improving the content and optimization of our own blogs – and rightly so – but we should also spend a bit more time creating content on other sites.

For example, we all know that guest posts can be important in this respect (although the advice has changed somewhat) but there are a lot of other options that can really help to build backlinks.


In the Internet Marketing world there is sites like that have an original articles section where experts write about topics in depth. You can, of course, includes links to your own blog in these but the main advantage is getting in front of other bloggers and site owners who might link to you if they discover you through that platform.

You can also do this kind of thing on LinkedIn and Medium as they really favor long form content and well crafted stuff seems to do extremely well and sometimes even gets picked up by news sites. And that leads us on to the next point.

7. Hire a publicist

A lot of people consider publicists to be a little bit out of date and perhaps not in touch with the new digital age. But nothing could be further from the truth. Unless you’re John Miller.

While quite expensive, a good publicist can get you featured in media outlets that would otherwise be virtually impossible to crack. If, for example, you have a blogging event or launch coming up, you can hire a publicist who can help you craft an angle to an interview or a feature article.

This is a good one to explore because links from news sites are extremely valuable in terms of their impact on SEO, but they also send a lot of traffic and regularly get syndicated to other outlets around the world.

When looking for a publicist start in your local area and ask them specifically if they have contacts in newspapers that also have online versions. A mention in a newspaper will still bring a lot of traffic, but you also want that long-lasting benefit of a backlink.

And before you get started make sure you read this.

8. Help out other sites where the might not know they need it

The last idea I wanted to mention tonight is something that can be a bit hit and miss but, when you get it right, it can work wonders.

It is centered around the idea of contacting other bloggers in your niche and helping them out in some way that they might not have expected. For example, if you can notice some glaring errors with their site you could think about giving them a big solution for free and then later on pitch more improvements in exchange for a post about the process.

Similar to this is the idea of interning or helping out on projects. For example, last week I mentioned my friend Vishal who I met through the comments section on Blog Tyrant. He was always so friendly and eager to learn and, after a while, I paid him to do a few tasks and he ended up getting links from the site.

So perhaps take a look around the blogs in your niche and see if you can come up with something that is useful to them and get involved in a very non-spammy way. It might be putting together a high quality PDF audit, or assisting them with something like managing comments if you can see that they are struggling.

What about buying links?

I couldn’t end this post on how to get more links without talking about the most obvious and nefarious way: buying them.

The sad fact of the matter is that, in a lot of cases, buying links still seems to work for people. I can categorically say that I have never once purchased any single link in my whole career, but I do sometimes think I’m missing out when I see crappy sites competing in my niche who clearly didn’t earn the links they have.

That being said, those sites often don’t last for very long. All it takes is a manual review from Google and you have one of those pesky penalties.

Personally I don’t agree with buying links, but I know a lot of people hit back at that argument by saying that Google unfairly favors a lot of big websites, and they often take content off those sites and put it directly on the search results so that no one clicks through. In other words, they’ve made the playing field harder. And I can sympathize with that.

But I still believe that if you want a long term, sustainable blog then the best way to build links is to do it naturally by earning them with clever content, useful tools, and concerted outreach.

How do you build links?

I’d really like to know if you use any other link building methods that you think might be worth mentioning. This is a constantly evolving and changing space and it would be really cool to see what other bloggers are working on.

Please leave a comment and let us know.

Top photo © BDanomyte

21 Intriguing SEO Facts Exposed by Google on Webmaster Central & Hangouts

Each and every day that passes, another fact about SEO is revealed, another important tip is told, another story is learnt just by opening our email, twitter account, or our smartphone. We have the information at hand. Lots and lots of news from the internet marketing world go by our ears and our eyes. Make sure to listen to the right one. 


And, speaking of important stuff, we’ve searched and scooped through the Webmaster Central Hangouts to reveal the most intriguing facts about SEO Google has ever said.

21 Intriguing Facts about SEO Exposed by Google on Webmaster Central and Hangouts


Google Webmaster Central Hangout is an important source of information you should always keep an eye on. It is available for everyone, you can send questions or address them live directly to experts, and find insights straight from Google.


You can check Google’s working hours directly on their website and listen to all recorded videos, starting with 2012, regarding all kinds of topics, offpage SEO and onpage SEO facts included. Yet, we thought you wouldn’t want to listen to all the recorded hangouts, therefore we’ve made a summary for you as we’ve curated the most interesting of them all and tackled the following: 


  1. You Can Get a Site Architecture Penalty
  2. Mobile PageSpeed Is Not Yet a Ranking Factor
  3. Search Console Doesn’t Count Knowledge Graph Clicks
  4. Don’t Canonicalize Blog Pages to the Root of the Blog
  5. Applying Multiple Hreflang Tags to One URL Is Possible
  6. No Limit on the Number of URLs That Google Bot Can Crawl
  7. Now You Can Get ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ Content Flag
  8. Disavowing Is Still Necessary for a Post-Penguin Real-Time Era
  9. URL Removal Tool Affects All Domain Variations
  10. No Specific Limit for Keyword Density in Content
  11. Content Duplication Penalty Doesn’t Exist
  12. Better to Add Structured Data Directly on the Page Than Using Data Highlighter
  13. Have Relevant URL to Rank Your Images Higher in Google
  14. Low-Quality Pages Influence the Whole Domain Authority (DA)
  15. Google Works With Over 150,000 Users and Webmasters Against Webspam
  16. Google Knows Your Work Place and It Isn’t Afraid to Admit It
  17. Personal Assistant Search Optimization (PASO) Might Be the Future of SEO
  18. Google Search Console’s Metrics Get Fully Integrated Into Google Analytics
  19. Object Recognition Works in Combination With Image Optimization for Better Results in Google
  20. Google Site Search and Custom Search Within Site Will Become One
  21. HTTPs Ensures That the Information Users See Is What the Owner of the Site Provides

1. You Can Get a Site Architecture Penalty


Does Panda take site architecture into account when creating a Panda score? was one of the questions answered on a Google Webmaster Central Hangout.


Google Panda is an algorithm that looks out to the overall quality of the website and its content. In a previous blog post, we detailed how this Google update (the Panda algorithm) can affect websites and how it could actually be a topical authority


From a Google point of view, Google Panda is more of a general quality evaluation and it takes into account everything. The site architecture is included. If somehow it affects the quality of the site overall, you might get a Google Panda penalty for bad site architecture. 


Panda penalizes websites for “low-quality sites” or “thin content sites” and aims to return results with higher-quality sites near the top of search results. Let’s say, for example, that your website has issues that affect the quality of the site, such as a bad structure – then you should take some time to improve that.


If you are in the position of making a website redesign, creating a new site from scratch or doing something similar that might affect the architecture of your website, you should take into consideration what John Mueller said. 


Follow the full conversation in the next Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout with John at 9:06:



2. Mobile PageSpeed Is Not Yet a Ranking Factor


Recently, another intriguing question was addressed at a Google Webmaster Central Hangout:


How much emphasis does mobile PageSpeed have as a ranking factor?


John Mueller made a full disclosure about this in the next video (at 46:44), saying that for the moment Google doesn’t use it at all. So you’ve all found the truth, my friends, said directly by Googlers:

 Mobile PageSpeed is not an index ranking factor.

As plain and simple as that. 

Having a mobile Page Speed improves user experience and it is a critical web redesign consideration, but until now it hasn’t been used as an index ranking factor to generate mobile searches.



From an SEO point of view, for the moment, Google doesn’t take it into account at all, but keeping count of mobile PageSpeed is an important SEO task you should not overlook. This way you can offer a nice experience to your users. If they are pleased, they might come back and increase your conversion rates. Invest to gain. 


3. Search Console Doesn’t Count Knowledge Graph Clicks


Another intriguing fact about SEO revealed on Google Webmaster Central Hangout is that the Search Console doesn’t count Knowledge Graph sidebar clicks or impressions.


John Mueller said that: 


If you look for your company’s name and it appears on the sidebar with a link that goes to your website, it isn’t counted. On the other hand, he said that sitelinks should be counted.


You can listen to his full explanation from the Google Webmaster Hangout in the next video at 30:15:



4. Don’t Canonicalize Blog Pages to the Root of the Blog


Another thrilling fact about SEO revealed in a Google Webmaster Hangout was about blog pages canonicalization to the root of the blog.



Somebody asked if it’s a correct procedure to set up blog subpages with a canonical blog pointed to the blog’s main page as a preferred version since the subpages aren’t a true copy of the blog’s main page.


Setting up blog subpages with a canonical blog pointed to the blog’s main page it isn’t a correct set up because those pages are not an equivalent, from Google’s point of view.


And even if  Google sees the canonical tag, it ignores it because it thinks it’s a webmaster’s mistake.  


This method has been overly used by lots and lots of websites, but that doesn’t make it a good thing. Small or big companies make mistakes all the time.


5. Applying Multiple Hreflang Tags to One URL Is Possible


Another exciting SEO fact was unveiled after a Googler asked the next question:

Can you assign both x-default and en hreflang to the same page?

John Mueller gave a short and comprehensive explanation to this:

Yes, you can apply x-default, and en hreflang to the same page.

Also, it is possible to say to Google this is English for UK, and it is a default page. The x-default hreflang attribute doesn’t have to be a different page. Another thing you could do is to set multiple hreflang tags going to the page. For example, you can have one for UK English, Australian English, American English, and the UK English is the default one you want to use for a website.


You can take a look at the full disclosure at 21:06:



6. No Limit on the Number of URLs That Google Bot Can Crawl


The idea that Google can crawl only 100 URLs is a myth.

That is one of the most interesting pieces of information among the facts about SEO exposed on Google Webmaster Central Hangout. Somebody asked if there is a limit to the number of URLs that Googlebot can crawl. John Mueller answered that there is no limit. See the video below (47:58): 



Up until now, we knew that Google could crawl a hundred pages from every website. There is no such thing. He also explained that they analyze the crawl budget. This means they try to see what and how much Google can and wants to crawl regarding the website itself.


The crawl budget topic was explained on the Google Webmaster Central Blog along with the factor that impacts this topic:


  • Faceted navigation and session identifiers
  • On-site duplicate content
  • Soft error pages
  • Hacked pages
  • Infinite spaces and proxies
  • Low quality and spam content.

7. Now You Can Get ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ Content Flag


Google’s effort to stop fake news and offer qualitative results never ends.  They are rolling an on-going process of improving search value.


Paul Haahr, ranking engineer at Google, even said: “they’re explicitly avoiding the term ‘fake news,’ because it is too vague”.


Google is continuously trying to offer qualitative results and for that, they have worked with over 100,000 people to evaluate search results.


The people involved go under the name of Google search quality raters due to the fact that they conduct real studies and they are actually searching on Google to rate the quality of the pages that appear in SERP, without altering the results directly. These raters use a set of guidelines that have an entire section about the “Upsetting-Offensive” content flag that they can use.


A content could be flagged under the next circumstances:

  • Has content that promotes hate or violence against a group of people based on criteria including (but not limited to) race or ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality or citizenship, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
  • Contains content with racial slurs or extremely offensive terminology.
  • Includes graphic violence.
  • Explicit how­-to information about harmful activities (e.g., how-tos on human trafficking or violent assault).
  • Other types of content which fall under the upsetting or offensive category.

8. Disavowing Is Still Necessary for a Post-Penguin Real-Time Era

Another intriguing fact that Google exposed on Google Webmaster Central Hangout is the confirmation the following:

You should still use the disavow file even though Google Penguin is real time now.

John Mueller explains that if you know your website was using shady unnatural ways to generate backlinks that didn’t respect Google’s guidelines, then you need to disavow those links that could harm your website. You need to evaluate your backlink profile to see where you stand.


The intriguing question somebody asked him was “Now that Penguin runs real time would it be correct to think that if we found a few bad links on our site and disavow them, we might see a ranking improvement relatively quickly? Also, does Penguin now just devalue those low-quality links, as opposed to punish you for them?”


John Mueller declares that Google looks at the web spam on the whole website to see what decision they have to take. If you have damaging links and use the disavow file, Google will find out that you don’t want those links to be associated with you.


Google Penguin is a webspam algorithm and it doesn’t focus only on links. It decreases search rankings for those sites that violate Google’s Webmaster guidelines.


On the final base, disavowing unnatural links helps Google Penguin and it is a recommended practice. One of the facts about SEO backed up by John Mueller and Gary Illyes:

Disavow tweets


You can follow the discussion from the next Google Webmaster Hangout with John Mueller about this topic at 23:20:



9. URL Removal Tool Affects All Domain Variations


Take into consideration all variations when you want to use the URL removal tool, including the www/ non-www and http/ https. This is not a fix for canonicalization.


If you’re trying to take out the HTTP version after a site move, then both HTTP and HTTPs version will be removed and it is something you definitely don’t want.


It is recommended to use the URL removal only for urgent issues, not for site maintenance.


For example,  if you want to remove a page from your website, you don’t have to use the URL removal tool because over time it will disappear automatically as Google will recrawl and reindex those pages.


Listen to John Mueller’s entire dialogue in a Search Console Google Webmaster Central Hangout at 17:18.



10. No Specific Limit for Keyword Density in Content


A compelling question has been quite recently asked at a Google Webmaster Hangout about the limit for keyword density in content. John Mueller gave a straightforward answer regarding this topic:

We expect content to be written naturally, so focusing on keyword density is not a good use of your time. Focusing too much on keyword density makes it look like your content is unnatural.


Also, if you stuff your content with keywords, it makes it harder for users to read and understand what your content is about. On top of that, search engines will recognize that instantly and ignore all the keywords on that page.


Instead of concentrating on the limit of keyword density in content, you should aim your attention at making your content easy to read.


Use the next trick, for a change. Try and give somebody a phone call to read the content out loud. If they understand what you said in the first 2 minutes, then you’re safe, your content could pass as natural.


11. Content Duplication Penalty Doesn’t Exist


Content duplication has been a long-debated topic.


Let’s break an SEO myth: duplicate content will bring you a Google penalty. It’s not true. It doesn’t exist. We debated this issue in a previous article as well. 


Back in 2013, Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s Webspam team, said that:

In the worst-case scenario (with spam free content), Google may just ignore duplicate content. I wouldn’t stress about this unless the content that you have duplicated is spammy or keyword stuffing. – Matt Cutts


Google tries to offer relevant results for every search query. That is why, in most cases, the results that appear in SERP are filtered, so the information isn’t shown more than once. It is not helpful for users to see two pieces of the same data on the first page.


In 2014, during a Google Webmaster Central hangout John Mueller said that Google doesn’t have a duplicate content penalty.

We won’t demote a site for having a lot of duplicate content – John Mueller

It was confirmed in 2016, when Andrey Lipattsev, senior Google search quality strategist, repeated and said content duplication penalty doesn’t exist.



But you could get a penalty if you manipulate Google’s guidelines and create content in an automated way, content that is scraped from multiple locations and that doesn’t serve another purpose than generating traffic.


12. Better to Add Structured Data Directly on the Page Than Using Data Highlighter


The submitted question on this topic was the following:


Is is better to use the Data Highlighter from Search Console or it is better to add up markup from the web page? What’s the best practice?


John Mueller says it’s a great option to use and try out structured data. There are sites with content that needs to have structured data and Data Highlighter is an easy way to test it out.


Structured data implementation on your page and not through the Data Highlighter is something that needs a lot of attention. Yet, it is the recommended procedure if you think of the long-term perspective. Markup data is available for everyone. You can see if it’s implemented correctly and, more importantly, you don’t have to worry about it.


If you marked your content for each element, then when you change your layout, for example, your data will be shown properly. As for Data Highlighter, it has to learn that change.


You can listen to the whole explanation in the next Google Webmaster Hangout (starting with 46.04): 



13. Have Relevant URL to Rank Your Images Higher in Google


Another important fact we’ve figured out from  Google Webmaster Central Hangout is about the impact of the URL of an image in Google. Can it help Google understand better what an image is about?


And here is what Google had to say about this: 

We do look at the URL for images specifically and we try to use that for ranking, but if the URL is irrelevant for that query and nobody is searching for that term, it doesn’t help Google.

The main point is that Google looks at the URL when ranking images. It is an important step because Google aims to deliver qualitative results. The correlation between the domain name and the query is highly significant. It is an effective SEO tactic you could apply. 


SEO Friendly URLs can ultimately lead to higher perceived relevance, leading back to an edge from a SEO perspective. And we know this for a fact, from a study conducted by us on 34k keywords.



Let’s say that the title name of a URL is 123 and the image is about flowers. In this situation, the URL won’t disappear because of its irrelevant file name but there might be a problem here on how and for what query that image will show.


Even though Google is becoming smarter and smarter at object recognition, we still need to help it by offering descriptive information about that image (follow the guidelines from point 20 on this matter).


SEO Friendly URLs are a must when we talk about content, images or any other types of information on your website. It is important to offer a higher importance when naming your files; an SEO fact also backed up by Matt Cutts.  


14. Low-Quality Pages Influence the Whole Domain Authority (DA)


Another interesting fact about SEO that Google debated on Google Webmaster Central Hangouts was whether low-quality pages influence Domain Authority.


The exact question addressed to Google’s representatives was “Can low-quality pages on the site affect the overall authority?”


In general, when the Google algorithm looks at a website, it also takes into consideration individual pages.


Let’s say you have a small website. If you have bad quality links on a website, then it could affect the domain authority. On the contrary, if you have a large site and only a sprinkle of bad pages, then the damage is not so big. Google understands that, in a bigger picture, those pages aren’t the main issue.  


The main pain point is that low-quality pages affect the way Google views the website overall and this is something you should fix either way.


Find a solution for that pages. You could either remove them or try to improve their quality.


15. Google Works With Over 150,000 Users and Webmasters Against Webspam


Among the most interesting facts about SEO that Google exposed on Google Webmaster Hangout is the way Google fought spammers in searches. Webspam is a persistent problem in our days. It fired an alarm signal when they saw the data in the most recent SEO statistics report, published afterward on the blog.


In 2016, there was a 32% increase of hacked sites compared to 2015.


But now, with the help of users, the problem of spam Google search results is being stopped. Last year, Google started working with users, besides webmasters, to improve the quality of SERP, to clean it of spammy websites and to make it a safe web environment.


The Webmaster Central stuff managed to work with over 150,000 website owners, webmasters and digital marketers against webspam. Also, users tackled webspam by helping Googlers.

Approximately 180,000 spam reports were submitted by users around the world, as we spotted on Google Webmaster Central Blog.


Besides making Google Penguin live and improving the algorithm to take actions against webspam, the webmasters from the spam department at Google performed manual reviews on sites’ structured data markup and took manual action on more than 10,000 sites that did not meet the quality guidelines and followed black hat SEO techniques.


16. Google Knows Your Work Place and It Isn’t Afraid to Admit It

Nowadays, we take our smartphone everywhere. It’s like it’s attached to our hand because we have a lot of information on the phone. We are logged into email, we have easily access to our accounts, to our contacts and we can easily find everything we want with a quick search on Google even if we walk or ride.


Google Assistant makes it easier to search and find what we want by offering us the possibility to make voice searches and personalize our content on Android, even when we’re offline.


We’ve debated the voice search topic leisurely on a previous blog post I invite you to browse. 

Google Assistant Search in apps

With this feature you can take lots of actions on your phone and on Google search:

  • Find contacts call, email, send messages on social apps (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
  • Set different actions on your personal phone (set alarm, turn on NFC, turn on Bluetooth, brightness, take a picture).
  • Organize your calendar and see future events or schedule a meeting.
  • Open apps you have on your smartphone.
  • Listen to songs.


On a more complex level, you could ask the Google Assistant questions such as “what do I have to do today?”, “How long will it take to go from Princeton to New York?”, “Book a table at East Restaurant”.


You can see the personalized touch on your phone if you search in Apps for a person, task, event and so on. You’ll find the results for that specific query from all your installed apps (as you can see in the picture above).   


17. Personal Assistant Search Optimization (PASO) Might Be the Future of SEO


PASO comes from Personal Assistant Search Optimization. PASO might be the future of SEO because mobiles undergo a continuous development, now with the Google Assistant and the AMP feature for mobile optimization.


Google is trying to simplify the search process and to make it as easy as possible to get the information you want with fewer taps on your mobile device.


An important aspect why PASO might be the future is due to the fact that it offers personalized information for each user. It is an important aspect to keep in mind for getting improved search engine rankings.


Google Assistant is the quickest and easiest way to get your hands on the information. It doesn’t matter if you ask for a receipt, for explanations/definitions, for directions. See the example below:

Google Assistant results


You ask and Google Assistant gives you the information in a heartbeat. It is more likely that the personal assistant result has a higher CTR, because it is tailored to your answer and it’s the only one you see comparing with the results from search engines. And besides that, it offers you suggestions related to your previous search.


Google Assistant suggestions

If you want to get featured on Google Assistant you need to make sure you answer a question and your piece of content is optimized for humans.


You should follow the same steps as optimizing your content for ranking number zero. One way would be to ask the question and then answer it. This way you take a shot to get displayed in the answer box.  


18. Google Search Console’s Metrics Get Fully Integrated Into Google Analytics


The Google Search Console helps webmasters manage the way their websites appear in SERP and Google Analytics helps users to integrate services like Webmaster, Adwords, and other tools to see results based on the source (paid search, organic search result).


Along the years, users could link Google Webmaster tools with Analytics, but they could see the results separately, in different sections. The Search Console results appeared in Google Analytics under the Acquisition section, as you can see in the next screenshot (this option is still available):


Search console metrics


In the old version, you could only see how users came on the website and not what they did once they got there. Now, with the next improvement, webmasters can see all the metrics in one place and make decisions based on the data combined with those two tools.


Google Search Console integrated in Analytics

You have access to the Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions data in one place. Due to this update, you could have many more possibilities to use the search data, as mentioned on the on Google Webmaster Central Blog:


  • discover the most engaging landing pages that bring visitors through organic search;
  • discover the landing pages with the highest engagement but with low attractions of visitors through organic search;
  • detect the best ranking queries for each landing page;
  • segment organic performance for each device in the new Device report.

19. Object Recognition Works in Combination with Image Optimization for Better Results in Google


The questions that popped out in another Google Webmaster Central Hangout was:


Google is getting better and better at object recognition. Does this means that we no longer need to optimize our images description with descriptive files names, alt tags, title tags, etc.?


Having optimized images is a good indication for getting improved search engine rankings.


At this moment, we still need to optimize our images in order to rank as high as possible.


We won’t have to do that, maybe in the future. For the time being, having a relevant file name, alt description, title tag, caption on the image will help Google understand. Also, the text around the image helps Google understand what that page is about and what it needs to rank for. 


Maybe in the future, 5-10 years from now, if things go very well, all that information won’t be necessary, but for now optimizing images helps object recognition to offer better results. 


You can listen to the whole conversation on intriguing facts about SEO in the next video at 13:07:



20. Google Site Search and Custom Search Within Site Will Become One


Do you know if Google Site Search is going to shut down and transfer to Custom Search? What’s the impact?


It’s about that special site search you can set up and search within your website. You can see how it looks like in the example below:


Google Site Search


The Custom Search is quite similar as you can see in the next screenshot:


Google Custom Search


Google Site Search will combine with Custom Search because they do almost similar things. Site Search is used for one website and Custom Search can be used on different sites or just one.


You can also listen to what John Mueller from Google says about this change, even though he isn’t directly working on this project (32:32): 



21. HTTPs Ensures That the Information Users See Is What the Owner of the Site Provides


Another interesting SEO fact debated on Google Webmaster Central Hangout was about how relevant HTTPs is as a ranking factor for sites with information only.


The official response from Google is that:


HTTPs is relevant for any types of website. It doesn’t matter if the site has information only; it is still relevant. HTTPs doesn’t apply only for encrypting information like credits cards and passwords, but it also ensures that the information users see is what the owner of the website is providing.


An overly used technique to hack takes place in hotels, airports, cafes or, in general, other public spaces that offer free wi-fi access. They can take a look at the HTTP pages and add a tracking information or ads on those pages because the owner of the website failed to increase the security system. I bet that nobody wants spammy ads on their website, even if it’s informational only.

HTTPs helps users to see the content that was meant to be shown.

More on this matter you can find in the video below (56:30):





Take into account these SEO facts, as they will be helpful in planning your search engine optimization strategy, content marketing strategy or in any decision you take for your business and your website regarding the online marketing area. It’s a win win relationship: you will be updated with the SEO news and (hopefully) you will do things respecting the Google recommendations. And you can stay connected really easy:  check the Google webmaster central office hours and see what’s going on. 


Of course, keeping track off ALL the hangouts can be a burden. This is why, the previous 21 SEO stats are important for each webmaster and shouldn’t be ignored. On the long run, don’t lose focus on your plan and stick to your goals. These videos can help everyone, both rookies and SEO experts alike. They are quite a juicy resource, from keyword research, content creation, link building to other effective SEO strategies and SEO tactics. 


Having organic clicks from organic searches is still an important advantage in the lead generation path. These intriguing facts about SEO can be applied in the social media marketing strategy and in the whole inbound marketing process as well as in any other strategies, as long as you have an online presence.


Furthermore, other domains can positively influence your SEO efforts, if you’ve done your job right. If you follow the previous tips for boosting SEO you could have a good chance to succeed. 

The post 21 Intriguing SEO Facts Exposed by Google on Webmaster Central & Hangouts appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

6 Unique Processes to Spy on Your Competitors

No matter what type of business you have, there is always going to be competition. Even if you’re a leader in your domain or you’re just a start-up, you should always keep a close eye on the competitors. Easy to say, hard to do, right?  


In the online world, some may argue that this task is easier since everything is just a click away and there are so many tools to spy on your competition. I could be, but if you don’t know what to look for and more importantly who to look for, everything is in vain.


In the following post, we are going to tackle six unique and easy to implement processes to spy on your competitors. This way you will know exactly what your opponent is doing and you will figure out the best ways to outrank your competitors by using the best analysis tools. 


6 Unique Processes to Spy on Your Competitors


There is a common business saying that states you should focus more of your energy on improving your own business and less on watching others. While this is true when it comes to the offline actions, we believe it’s essential to do a competitive research for the online presence.

Think only at the fact that if you’re not in top 10 for organic search for your most important keywords, you’re chances are pretty slim to interact with potential customers. And if you are in those top 10, who are the other 9 ranking for the same keywords as you?


Efficient Steps to Spy on Your Competitors


What strategies have your competitors been using, what business plans did they implement and what processes have they deployed in the past to get there? The following steps may give you some great insights regarding what works and what doesn’t in your industry.


We’ve written another blog post where we are giving you details on some competitors spying techniques by the book.  What we are trying to present you in this blog post are the most efficient and easy to implement “spying” steps: 


  1. Identify and classify your competitors
  2. Seek advantages in your competitors past evolution
  3. Outsmart your competition by following each step they make
  4. Identify growth opportunities in your competitors’ social media strategy
  5. Discover your competitors SEO strategy to be one step ahead
  6. Monitor your competitors continuously to outrank them



1. Identify and Classify your Competitors

Who are your competitors ? this is the first question you should seek answers to. Without this vital information you can’t go any further with your competitive analysis. There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind to discover your competitors – you don’t have to create a comprehensive list with all the competition. You just need to select the most important competitors that you are interested in monitoring.


Keep in mind, the process of selecting your competitors is not through SEO. You need to use your knowledge and expertise in your niche to identify them.


It’s also important, depending on the industry, to classify your competitors. You should split them into two main categories:


  • Direct competitors – here you’ll place the most important competitors that are in the same category as you. ( they are also called brand competitors ). Usually they have products that are similar to yours.
  • Indirect competitors – companies that develop products/services that can substitute yours. They are also important because you’re competing at fulfilling a need, not selling a product. Don’t look at what product/service you provide, but the problem that you solve for the customer.


You shouldn’t focus on your keyword competitors. You don’t want to slide on this slippery slope, because you’ll end up in an endless pursuit of happiness that will cost your company a lot of resources. You may end up competing with hundreds of competitors’ websites. In the end you should have a list of maximum 10 competitors that are relevant to your niche.



2. Seek Advantages in Your Competitors’ Past Evolution


Usually, you find possible strategies for the future by looking at past evolutions. The data from previous online interactions is the most important starting point. Understanding their previous decisions regarding their strategies sheds some light on what gave them an advantage or what backfired.


You can look for all sorts of data. How people talked about your competitors. What were the tipping points of your competitors in time and how people linked to them.


You can also see what your competitors were most focused on. To do this you should quickly run a few backlink explorer reports and check their link velocity. I always do this in order to understand if a site is still trending or has lost it’s interest to its users.


The monthly link velocity can be read like a trend for a site. If for one reason or another, people stop linking to your site it might mean your business, or your competitor’s business, is not that “interesting” anymore.


Example Link Velocity


Another good tool to to spy and monitor competitors would be Alexa. You can see the evolution in time of your competitors and what are their strong areas. On what keywords they focus on for ranking.


Going through your rivals’ keywords for both organic and paid results can give a significant boost to your SEO and PPC presence. – Alexandra Tachalova, Digital Marketing Consultant


Lastly, you can see from where their traffic comes and what they prefer to visit. Using this technique will help you make a comprehensive competitor analysis.


Alexa Website Search Engine


3. Outsmart Your Competition by Following Each Step They Make


Don’t be shy to stalk your competitors’ sites! You can spy on your competition, to analyze their site and their offers. This means you want to come prepared to the fight and … be sure … they are doing it too. Leaving aside the unjustified shame, you should go, try to experience their promotional offers every time they appear.


All over the internet, you can find lots of monitoring tools with different features such as keyword research, media monitoring, competitors ad monitoring, web rankings and so on. 


There are plenty of good reasons to see what competitors are doing. You can find out if competitors are doing anything better than you and how you can match it and improve your own plans to beat the competition based on data rather than assumptions. – Chris Kilbourn, CEO of TOFU Marketing


OK, this might not be the most orthodox method, but it pays off:  


Create a fake persona and sign up for their updates and newsletters to learn about their communication style and their promotions. How are their offers different from yours and how are they trying to add value to their product/service. Create various accounts on their system to understand their user flow. See how intuitive is their system compared to yours.


Another thing that you need to do is to contact their support to understand how they treat the customers, and also get better to beat the competition.


4. Identify Growth Opportunities in Your Competitors’ Social Media Strategy


Social media strategies are something worth watching closely. If they’ve applied successful strategies, it’s definitely worth figuring out on what platforms they are very popular. Finding the right social network on which your target audience is the most receptive is essential, so you’ll know where to direct your efforts.


You need to know that using the right channel of communication via social media is done through trial and error most of the time. So why not assimilate this information from your competitor’s past experiences. You might find out some insights that even they didn’t observe in the first place.


cognitiveSEO is an example of a tool for monitoring social content amongst other in-depth data analysis features it has. Directly from the tool, you can spot content marketing strategies that work in your niche, audit your content through the power of social shares and spot your site’s strengths and weaknesses using the side-by-side comparison.



Brandmentions, a great alternative for Google Alerts, is another tool that allows you to monitor each social mention of your competitors in real time through an individual analysis. 


Brandmentions example


The valuable data that you get from dissecting your competitors social media strategies can help you a lot. You can skip through the “trial and error” part of the process. You need to understand the networks and the important metrics.


See what is the most shared content and what type of content works on that certain social network.


This is another important aspect of your inquiry, as it will tell you if you should focus on text, photo, link or video type of content. Take your time and understand who their followers are and where are they coming from. It’s essential for your success, because in the end you share almost the same target audience.


5. Discover Your Competitors SEO Strategy & Be One Step Ahead


After you’ve pinpointed your competitors and you’ve done the research about their offers and their social media strategies you need to enquire about their SEO approach. You should start with a full backlink audit on their site and extract the most vital information.


In order to understand their link building strategies you need to take everything into account from the provenance of the links to the anchor texts. The provenance of the link can offer you powerful information regarding the influence of the domain, and the anchor text helps Google understand what is that link about.


It’s also vital to know what you’re going to do with your competitive data. Changing your entire strategy just because you find a competitor doing something different doesn’t make much sense. – Johnathan Dane, Founder KlientBoost


That is why you have to monitor backlinks and look for competitors keyword opportunities. You need a link prospector in order to competitor’s backlinks. For a quick review of your competitors’ websites, you can use the Site Explorer. A site’s performance can be simply measured with Site Explorer. In the picture below you can see what information is displayed: links, rankings, anchors texts and many other.


Site Explorer


A more complex backlinks analysis can be found within cognitiveSEO’s Inbound link analysis. The nice part is you can find all sort of information about an inbound link that is yours, or your competitor’s. The competitors’ analysis features also allows you to know which common and uncommon links you have with your competition.  


This way you can easily see what websites link to your competitors and get inspired by there. This means tons of linkbuilding opportunities for you. More about this technique can be found here



It’s also worth checking into their SEO strategy to understand their penalty risk in Google due to bad practices. You can understand if they have some sort of shady SEO campaign going on. Once you know that the site’s links profile is shady it’s only a matter of time until Google catches and penalizes them.


A major source of information are the links pointing to their site. Get some data regarding the categories of websites that point to that site. And you should also inquire on what type of link it is. If it’s from a forum comment, if it’s in content or if they are site-wide.


Unnatural Link Detection Tool


Analyze the content they have on the site. You’re going to gain knowledge about what content marketing strategy works best for them. It might work as well for your site. Search for the most engaging content to see what’s interesting for the visitors and seek their best organic keyword to see what are they ranking for. cognitiveSEO, also lets you know which keywords your competitors are targeting.


6. Monitor Your Competitors Continuously to Outrank Them


What we’ve presented in the points above are not one – time processes. You should continuously check and monitor your competition to stay up to date with their search marketing strategies and how they work. You need to know that you have to be on top of your game every time. You may never know when a competitor may start a campaign that will get them straight on the number one place.


Since there are no perfect strategies on tracking and analyzing competitors, I’ve compiled a quick list. You should try to check every point in this list every time you want to create a complete analysis on your competition.


  • Track their site structure updates.
  • Track their social profile evolution.
  • Track their product updates and new offers.
  • Track their new links.(you could use some e-mail alerts to be notified when this happens)
  • Track their rankings increases and decreases.(same e-mail alerts work here also)
  • Track their Alexa growth.





In a world that integrates better than ever, the traditional offline marketing with the omnipresent online marketing, companies should track their competition more than ever with the help of online tools specialized for SEO analysis.


The difference from one rank or another in the search engines can mean a lot of possible clients. It’s only normal that in the online environment you should closely track & spy on your competitors. Competitive intelligence is incredibly important in order to improve your strategies. The SEO tools can come really in handy for a quick and exhaustive analysis. 


Use the processes and powerful tools presented in the article to stay on the top of your game!


Sometimes you don’t need very advanced tools to have an overall picture of your niche. It’s important to be connected to your Google Analytics account, to first know your traffic sources before trying to reveal your competitor’s marketing strategy.


As you can see above, there are some six relatively easy steps you can follow to outrank your competitors. Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

The post 6 Unique Processes to Spy on Your Competitors appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.