Best Free SEO Tools To Gain Ranks on Google

Every business out there needs to do SEO to improve ranks on Google Search. SEO can be quite confusing at times, it is best for your business to learn the basics from free SEO tools, gain ranks and when you notice growth, upgrade to a paid or premium tool later.

I am sharing the list of best free SEO tools for your business with pros and cons of each to gain better ranks on Google. These tools are free and intended to provide you learning and familiarity before you decide to buy one. Any tool which forces you to pay, limit or restricts access levels for free subscription is not covered here.

1. SEMrush

SEMrush provides a free version with basic features to try before you decide to purchase one. Fortunately, it can add a lot of value if you are a Startup or a new business as up to 10 Searches and 10 results per search are free for a day. You can restart fresh on the very next day and this goes on.

To initiate a free level subscription, just type in a query in search bar and you will automatically be asked to register for your free account.

Find Out: What Can I Do With A Free Account From SEMrush?

semrush interface

Pros

• 10 searches a day in Domain Analytics and Keyword Analytics before your daily limit is reached.

• Ability to Create one Project for free, each Project basically serves as a dashboard for all other individual modules within SEMrush

• Track up to 10 keywords with free version

Cons

• Since this tool follows Google’s algorithm and updates, the results would vary at times

• Insights from data are not as good as what you get from Google Search Console

• The paid search/Advertising research data always show the past campaigns and not really a live campaign in the market.

• Bit pricey as compared to other similar tools in the market

2. Mobile-friendly Test

Whilst there are hundreds of factors which determine rank for a web page on Google Search, being mobile friendly is one of them and critical for a website to have.

This tool by Google confirms if your website is mobile-friendly by just typing in your URL and shows website rendering on google as below. This typically takes less than a minute or so to run.

Learn More: Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

mobile friendly test

Pros

• Quick identification of mobile usability issues on entire site

Cons

• Mobile focussed tool, you will have to refer Google Search Console for detailed analysis and fixing of errors if any

3. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is the most important tool when it comes to analyzing every aspect of your website’s presence in Google Search.

It is the closest you can get with Google about digital presence of your website. Most importantly, it is completely free to use.

Learn More about:

Search Console and who should use it
Get started with Search Console basis your role

google search console interface

 

Pros

• Analyze impressions, clicks, and positions of your website on Google Search results

• Easily Submit sitemaps, individual URLs for indexing

• Receive free email alerts when Google identifies any issues on your site

• Easy optimization tips to enhance your website

Cons

• Some issues fixed already may crop up again, you will have to fix them and re-index your pages unless Google shows it to be fixed and error free

4. Google PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights (PSI) analyzes the performance of a web page on mobile and desktop devices and scores it on a 1 to 100 scale in different score ranges basis Lighthouse Scoring.

The color-coding maps to these Performance score ranges as following:

• 0 to 49 (slow): Red
• 50 to 89 (average): Orange
• 90 to 100 (fast): Green

Google pagespeed insights

It also provides recommendations around improving the web page’s performance as such.

This is a developer’s tool and requires certain technical (intermediate to advanced) skills. If you wish to know more, find more in links below.

About PageSpeed Insights
Analyze and optimize your website with PageSpeed tools

5. Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere provides search volume, CPC & competition data on 16 websites as below screenshot. It is available as an extension on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers.

It works with little small hacks like fetching the data between keyword tool and Google Keyword Planner (through API) which comes handy for today’s marketers.

keywords everywhere tool

Pros

• Allows access to keyword metrics for a list of keywords and lets you download the list in Excel, CSV or PDF file formats

• Easy explanation for UI and visuals on each of the 16-website supported, just click of any of above website to get an example of what will happen if you install this extension on your browser, simple, yet effective!

Cons

Not many, there used to be a bulk upload feature which seems to be missing for now

6. SEOptimer

SEOptimer is a Website analyzer and SEO checker tool that provides comprehensive website audit with actionable recommendations to improve your website’s performance.

Just type-in your URL and get started without having to sign up as such.

SEOptimer User Interface

Pros

• Easy to digest summary with comprehensive Results breakup to jump across the results as belowSEOptimer results

• The website and SEO audit also consider security aspects include critical software updates to your website which is good to know. A lot of other tools in the market do not address this functionality otherwise

• The Recommendation section is further classified into high, medium and low priority items which comes handy when you must address them one after another

Cons

Since it is all about SEO and Website Audit, keywords strategy or paid search insights are missing. It is more about what this tool does best and not really a con as such.

7. Google Keyword Planner

Google keyword planner helps in analyzing data for average search volume and forecasts over last 12 months or suggest new keywords basis related search results over last 12 months time period. Google did a lot of improvements over previous versions as below.

Google keyword planner

Pros

• Firsthand data by Google Search itself

• Ability to analyze search volumes and related keywords during past 12 months

• View or easily download keywords

• Save ideas to existing campaigns in Google Ads

• Granular competition ranking across keyword ideas

Cons

• PPC or paid search focussed tool, no information around backlinks, organic search strategy

• No data about your website which is important to know for your business

8. Google Trends

Simple tool to analyze a search terms or topics and its usage across different locations at a given time period.

google trends user interface

Pros

• Compare up to 5 search terms or topics in a given time range for specific country

• Plot charts as above to analyze growth or decline in search terms or topics

• Related queries, easy selection by “Rising” or “Top”

Cons

• Limited 5 terms can be compared

• No data for low search volume keywords, you will have challenges looking at company related/branded search terms if you are a new business or start-up

9. Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool is a good alternative to Google Keyword Planner, and it is based upon Google Auto Complete suggestions to provide keywords ideas.

keyword tool user interface

Pros

• Free version generates up to 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions for every search term

• Works without creating an account as such

• Keyword ideas are same as Google’s Autocomplete – It extracts suggestions and presents in an easy-to-understand interface.

Cons

• You will need to buy pro-version for Search Volume data

10. SpyFu

SpyFu is a competitor Keyword Research Tool for PPC & SEO. You could start analyzing right from a competitor’s domain level as below.

It provides comprehensive view of top keywords, PPC, Inbound links including organic ranking history of top 10 keywords for free.

spyfu competitor research

Pros

• Free View of Most valuable keywords (top 5) with rank change and historical trend

• Comprehensive SEO Overview with top organic competitors

• List of links to your domain

Cons

• Limited results for local keyword research

• Limited accuracy of backlinks as compared to Google’s data

11. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest provides domain, traffic and SEO level overview. You can run queries by keyword or domain to get started and sort data by selecting country of choice.

It basically scrapes data from Google Autocomplete like many other tools in the market.

Content ideas, Site Audit and Backlinks are new features which show limited results.

ubersuggest results

Pros

• Online and free to use without creating a login

• Easy to understand information around domain level overview, top SEO pages and Keyword ideas

Cons

• Data presented is very different than what is reported by Google Search Console

• Data, sometimes, loads forever as below

data loading issue ubersuggest

 

12. Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Unlike all other tools mentioned here, Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an installable file (not web-based) supported for Windows, MacOS and Ubuntu Operating systems.

Basically, a site crawler to analyse results and take actions in real-time.

screaming frog user interface

Pros

• Free to use version allows crawling a website of up to 500 URLs

• Very effective in doing real-time SEO audits and used by leading brands

• Easily find Broken Links, Errors & Redirects, discover duplicate pages and review meta robots and directives

• Detailed FAQ section on website which solves most of your day to day problems

Cons

• More than 500 URLs require a paid version of this software, including integration with Google properties which are much needed to get best results.

13. SEOquake

SEOquake by SEMrush is a free to use SEO tool and Browser extension available for Chrome, Mozilla, Opera and Safari web browsers.

This comes very handy if you have lot of web pages or if you work on lot of campaigns for different clients.

seoquake interface

Pros

• Mere click on the browser icon fetches all SEO related data for any web page in real-time, works flawless when you want to compare yours vs. competition web pages in a new tab

• Detailed analysis of SERPs and export the results in CSV format

• Full report for internal/external links

Cons

• Lacks paid research or data and you will have to rely on the parent tool – SEMrush

Do you prefer using any other free SEO tools, or want to highlight anything I didn’t cover? please do let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

 

Best practices for Organic Link building and Citation in 2018

In the previous blog, we discussed back-links and their significance in SEO. Before we begin, let’s also look at the basic difference between a link and citation. Link essentially contains a hyperlink back to your web page. A citation, on the other hand, is any mention of your business out on the web, with or without a link.

To explore best practices for organic link building and citation in 2018, I have broadly categorized this blog into 3 areas as below:

1)    Links and Citation from External Websites

2)    Links and Citation by adding value to existing content

3)    Links and Citations by Community Engagement

1.Links and Citation from External Websites

Link Reclamation:

Link reclamation is the process of locating, contacting web admins and converting your brand mentions on a web page into backlinks.

Broken Link Fixing:

Broken Link Fixing is the process of identifying, contacting web admins and converting dead links into valuable links.

Digital Asset Submission:

Submission of existing digital assets or collateral is an advanced method of content marketing and off page optimization. This also helps build brand reputation, improve organic search results & increase back-links.

Info-graphic Submission:

Info-graphics are essential content marketing tool today, many times, they seem to trend well on social media and can easily be repurposed. Brands should share them on popular info-graphic websites.

Few Info-graphic Submission Websites:

PDF or Document Sharing:

Brands can share existing collateral such as business documents, information brochures, pdf, whitepapers and slides across leading document sharing websites. This helps in generating back-links and create popularity at the same time.

PDF Sharing Websites:

Video Submissions:

Video Submission is one of the fastest growing activities online and involves uploading, publishing and sharing video files online. For instance, Customer testimonials along with living event videos are trending today and help in boosting traffic. One should also try to Include keywords in the title and description of the videos while submitting.

Video Submission Websites:

2. Links and Citation by adding value to existing content

Content Curation:

Content curation is the practice of finding, organizing, annotating and sharing the best and most relevant content on third-party websites for your audience. This makes your content more credible and positions your organization as a go-to resource.

Content Curation Websites:

https://www.scoop.it/

https://www.bagtheweb.com/

https://flipboard.com/

https://www.pearltrees.com/

3.Links and Citations by Community Engagement

Participating in LinkedIn Communities:

Participating in LinkedIn communities involves joining communities relevant to our domain, posting discussions, connecting with other members, commenting on other discussions regularly, create awareness, generating traffic, leads and more.

Influencer engagement through blogs on Popular Websites:

Participating in blogs on popular websites involves finding industry related third-party blogs, engagements with the blog and getting to involve in discussions, connecting with members and adding value to the target audience.

Guest Blogging on Premium Websites:

Guest blogging involves writing guest blog posts on third party websites which are related to your industry and domain. One should look at websites with a good relevant audience and blog subscribers. Your basic profile as an author on the blog will eventually lead to referral traffic. It also helps in personal PR and brand building otherwise.

Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions about more such methods for organic link building in the comments section below.

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Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

What are backlinks in SEO and What is the Significance of Link Building

Rumors say, there are about 200+ ranking factors for Google and backlinks are among the top 3 contenders for google ranks, as said by Andrey Lipattsev earlier ( Partner Development Manager, Search and Integrations at Google), I also happen to listen to him in a recently conducted “Digital Transformation Day” an online conference this month.  A backlink is very commonly used term in the SEO world. These are links coming into your web pages from external websites or commonly stated as links from a third party back to your website. Acquiring backlinks is also a proven marketing tactic that increases brand awareness and conversions.

moz search factors survey

Top 2 factors are link related, Source: Moz | Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015

Traditionally, web pages with maximum backlinks used to rank higher which is largely true, even today. The more you have, the better are the chances to rank well for top keywords.

What is a good backlink

backlink

* Search engines also consider citation or mentions like links

Relevancy

Being relevant to the search query is of utmost importance to Google. A backlink is relevant when it comes from a relevant source.

Trust

Google must trust the website from where the link is originating to your website, for a backlink to be good to you. Google’s move towards not trusting a website without SSL encryption is a worrying factor as chances of our old backlinks getting diluted are more. (if they don’t bring in encryption for example)

Authority

Effective link building doesn’t mean building unlimited links but it means getting genuine links from the website that are reliable and of high domain authority. For example, A link from an authoritative website like the Wall Street Journal will make a greater impact on your rank than a link from a newly built website.

Different domains

All your backlinks should not be from same domain with different quality domains, instead.

The Significance of Link Building

Backlinks from one website to another act as a vote in eyes of Google and indicates search engines that others vouch for your content.

Link Building helps in the following:

  • More visibility of your website and content in the search result.
  • The high-quality incoming link means your site will be admired as a valuable resource to Google. Focusing on niche and quality content are some of the ways to look at it.
  • Getting indexed in search result easily.
  • Receive traffic from other websites linked to your web pages
  • It is also a very strong signal which search engines use while considering ranking.

Related Read:

  1. 13 Steps For Building An Effective SEO Strategy
  2. Press Release SEO – Best Practices & Checklist To Optimize PR
  3. Google Penguin 4.0 Update – Impact On SEO

What do you think, Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!

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Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

Press Release SEO – Best Practices & Checklist To Optimize PR

Press releases are one of the most organic ways to build backlinks and gain better SEO ranks. Press releases often called as PR otherwise, can add lot more value to your organic search efforts and help obtain better organic traffic to your website when done right.

In this blog, we shall talk about Press release SEO, all the best practices, and a quick checklist to optimize your every day press releases. Having said that, one needs to be very careful in over optimizing a press release for SEO as Google can penalize you for same.

I will segregate best practices for optimizing a press release into the 3 sections as below, please note, much importance is given to steps before a press release go out to the public as you will have limited control then, specifically in cases where you are working with a PR distribution partner like PR Newswire or so.

  • Before drafting a Press Release
  • While drafting a Press Release
  • After drafting a Press Release

Step 1 – Before you Start drafting a Press Release

Important points to consider here:

  1. Create unique content for each press release.
  2. Publish the press release on your website at least 2-3 days before submitting it to external press release websites.

Select the right keywords

Basics first, selecting the right keyword is very fundamental for all SEO efforts, I will talk about keyword research process in another detailed blog soon. For now, let’s look at how interestingly, marketers can select right keywords for the press releases as such.

Brainstorm

What is the theme of the press release? SEO professionals would know that Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI plays an important role in how search engines extract different meanings of the same keyword and rank different web pages accordingly. Try using a very effective tool called LSI Graph for getting ideas around same. For instance, “Apple” as a word can have multiple meanings/associations as below

What industry does this press release target? Will my keywords matter to the relevant industry and target group?

What kind of words, people might search? (try searching the same words and observe the kind of results shown by Google – if they do not show the right results, change the word)

Is it focused on specific geographies or specific platforms?

Think Niche

Avoid aiming for keywords competition is already well ranked for, instead, try positioning your content and keyword around niche topics and areas. Google recently confirmed that 15 percent of searches we see every day are new. Thus, there is a new scope every day.

Ideas from other tools

Auto Complete: Try google auto-complete in search bars, it shows the most prominent search queries for each keyword you try.

Google Trends: A wonderful tool to know search trend for each keyword, provides region wise split with up to 5 years and compare multiple terms as well.

Keyword Planner Tool: A built-in tool in Google AdWords which can help you understand keywords, associated volumes and much more.

Step 2  – While drafting a Press Release

Before we jump into this step, lets us look at the anatomy of a press release. At a broader level, it can be categorized into logo or image, headline, body, Related read, About Company, Signature, and Safe Harbor. Example as here to know more

Focus on Headline of the Press Release

Most of the websites distributing your press release would define the headline as the H1 tag. Since search engines consider H1 tags when evaluating a website, it is important to optimize the headline. Following are some suggestions:

  1. Include a targeted and relevant keyword in the press release headline.
  2. It’s a difficult practice and may sound a bit impractical to PR professionals, it works though! Try Limiting the headline length to 60 characters since the search engines display up to 60-65 characters in search results. If the headline length cannot be limited to the specified characters, ensure that the newsworthy part is in the first 60 characters.
  3. Ensure that the headline is concise and relevant to the news being shared.
  4. Try to include a Sub-headline. Incorporate additional keywords/phrases not included in the headline in 1 above.

Introduction is of utmost importance

While accessing a web page, search engines crawl from top to the bottom. Since the Introduction section is at the beginning of the press release, it is advisable to optimize it by including targeted keywords. Keywords that are important from a business and SEO standpoint, which could not be included in the headline earlier, could be included in your introduction section here.

PR professionals can also try to add schematic variations into the paragraph, for example: in the first few sentences of the press release you could use language like “Executive of a Consulting Firm” as a variation of “New CEO”

Body Section SEO

Structure, Content & Length

  1. Create precise content relevant to the press release headline.
  2. Focus on the most important message at the top.
  3. Maintain a word count between 500-800 words for the press release.
  4. Maintain a structured flow and use additional sub-headings in the content if required.
  5. Content of every press release should be unique to avoid penalty from search engines and press release directories for duplicate content issues.
  6. Include photos, videos and other multimedia whenever possible.
  7. Make the plain text stand out with formatting (Bold, italic, underlined or bulleted text)

Keyword Inclusion

  1. Only those keywords that are relevant to the press release should be included. Usage of targeted keywords rather than generic terms is recommended.
  2. Include important keywords in introduction, sub-headings, first paragraph of the body.
  3. Try including 1-2 relevant keywords as early as possible because while crawling pages, search engines access the content from top to bottom. So, important keywords which are placed higher in the press release body can be easily crawled by the search engines.
  4. The allocation of the keywords in the press release body should look natural. Include broad match keywords if exact match keywords cannot be included.

Anchor Text Inclusion

  1. Anchor text in the press release body should refer to links that are relevant to the content and topic of the press release.
  2. Avoid giving open-ended anchor text like “Click here” or “Do more”. Instead be specific “Watch Video of management discussions on Q1 results”. Having similar text links will make the process look natural.
  3. In addition to linking to the Home page, also link to internal pages of the website which are relevant to the topic.
  4. Only include unique links (Avoid using the same Anchor text & avoid targeting the same URL more than once in the article)

Step 3  – After drafting a Press Release

About Company/Signature Section of Press Release

  1. Include the exchange, stock symbol and International Securities Identifier Number (ISIN), Or similar numbers based on your country regulations.
  2. While publishing the press release, create a unique content for About Company/Signature section and use the same for press release submissions to external websites.
  3. Whenever possible, About Company /Signature section should have one hyperlink to the Home page with the anchor text of  “Your Company Name”.

Using Images & logo in Press Releases – SEO Tips

  1. Using targeted keywords in the Image ALT tags helps to increase the SEO value of the images being used. The ALT attribute needs to be defined within the <img> tag, used to define the source of the image within the HTML page. The ALT attribute must be defined for every image present in the press release. (This should be implemented on your website and those websites which allow editing press release code.)
  2. Optimize the image file name to include a relevant and targeted keyword. Optimization of file names by including relevant keyword should be done before the image is uploaded.
  3. Include an image caption to describe the image and its relevance. (This should be implemented on your website and those websites which allow editing press release code)

Learn More: Image SEO alt tag and title tag optimization

Checklist to Optimize Press Releases for Search Engine Optimization

Content

Suggestion

Before drafting the release
  • Identify 2-3 relevant phrases which people are searching for.
  • Target a maximum of 3 unique and relevant key phrases across your content.
  • As much as possible, use the mix of text, images, videos, and quotations etc. for your content planning.
Headline
  • Limit the headline length to 60-65 characters. This may be a challenge for PR professionals but it works.
  • Include the most important Keywords in the Press Release Headline.
Introduction
  • Include the focus keywords in the first two paragraphs for your release.
  • Try Using schematic language.
Body
  • Limit the body length to 300-800 words. (General guidelines by press release platforms)
  • Do not place more than 2 hyperlinks within the body of the article (excluding the Signature)
  • Do not place more than 1 hyperlink per 150-200 words.
  • Prefer linking to internal pages of your website (category pages & sub-category pages) in addition to the Home page to build context.
  • Only include unique links (avoid using the same Anchor text and targeting the same URL more than once in the article)
  • Link with specific anchor text.
  • Try using a mix of text, images, multimedia wherever feasible.
About/Signature
  • Only include one hyperlink in the Signature.
Image
  • Always add ALT tags and enhance them with keywords
  • Include targeted keyword in the Image File Name (Before uploading the image)
  • Encapsulate short, clear and precise sentences around the image to build context. Search engines are known to pick up these sentence to show it in knowledge graph or answer boxes.

Did you come across a different strategy to optimize a press release? please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Read more about creating a SEO Strategy from scratch – 13 Steps For Building An Effective SEO Strategy

Best Free SEO Tools To Gain Ranks on Google

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Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

What are Micro-moments & Why Marketers need to focus on them in 2017

What are Micro-Moments?

The moments in our daily life when we look out for a device (laptop/Desktop Mobile Devices & Tablets) to take an action on things we want or need right now are micro-moments. Quite often, devices we use are mobile devices, the gadget which is always in our proximity.

Micro-moments though is a recent development with Google in 2015, they launched it as an important step in fracturing consumer’s journey into intent driven micro-moments. It is an opportunity for Marketers to influence the buyers by focusing on micro-moments in 2017 to meet their business goals.

Types of Micro-moments:

Google officially, classifies these into:

  1. I want to Know – Consumers are exploring or researching for and not yet decided to buy.
  2. I want to Go – Consumers are considering buying from a local store or eating at a local restaurant.
  3. I want to Do – Possible before or after a purchase is made. People want help in getting things done or try something new here.
  4. I want to buy – Very important, people have made the decision to buy and may need help in deciding what and how to buy. People move in store and research online about the same product very often while being in the store itself.

google micro-moments

 

Why Marketers need to focus on micro-moments

Mobile devices are closest you can get any info you want at your fingertips. Earlier, In Nov 2016, Mobile traffic to websites, for the very first time, surpassed traditional desktops, tablets, and PCs. Google,  during Nov, 16, started testing mobile first indexing for natural search ranks. It means data from mobile devices would, primarily, be used for awarding search engine rankings. This has not been a case traditionally, though, which was more about desktops and PCs focused approach. Therefore, increase in mobile traffic data, Google’s focus on mobile first indexing and relevance of Micro-moments from mobile devices is a clear indicator of next big wave in search, marketers need to consider in their marketing plans in 2017

Things marketers should do

It’s all about being there at the very moment, relevant and fastest when your consumers needed you the most.

Anticipate micro-moments of consumers in your industry

What, Where and How they search for information. Utilizing search marketing and SEO Skills can help you understand their goals and aspirations while doing so.  Use Search insights, Opportunities using mix and match of SEO tool, (Such as SEM Rush) Google trends, Webmaster tools and consumer surveys to identify seasonal behaviour shown by your consumers online.

Relevancy

The closest anticipation from the step above means you know what your consumers are looking for. It is obvious that you also need to be relevant and most appropriate. Recent algorithm update called Google Penguin, 4.0 update enables changes in real- time. Being there with anticipation is one part sustaining there is another. Being most relevant to your consumer certainly, will provide you with that edge in Google’s micro-moments.

Pace

29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (that is, they can’t find information or it’s too slow). Its micro-moment you are aiming for, it needs to happen at an instance when consumers just searched for your interest area in doing business. Users on mobile devices need to know quickly, buy uninterruptedly. Keeping your mobile User experience seamless and top class is the need of the hour. You must look at paid advertising (AdWords) in case you are still not there organically. For example, flight cancellation on a weather troubled day is a clear indication for hotels near airport area to go on paid advertising, saying, “Flights got cancelled today due to bad weather, no worries, stay with us today at 50% off, show your flight cancellation SMS to avail this offer” If you notice, you are there at right time and at the very micro-moment itself. There can be better use cases too.

Managing Negative mentions

Very important, always be careful about the micro-moments you never want to be a part of. Even if you have a negative news/story and it’s trending in media, your marketing/PR team needs to ensure that there are subsequent Positive mention, influencers, and good PR/ thought through improvements in customer satisfaction to support the same.

For instance, while searching “worst hotel in the world” here is what you get, High time their marketing needs to fix this. No hotel would ever want to be here as you know 🙂

worst hotels search

The Bottom Line

Unlike last few years, Mobile traffic is going to increase further, the proximity of mobile devices to its user’s make it important for brands to consider putting in sincere efforts to make it in Google’s Micro-moments. Anticipation and research of what your consumers will be searching about will be the key to all your efforts. Brands also need to look at word of mouth, primary research and talking to their customers so as to understand what matters to them. Brands should also look at connecting dots and similar observations between social media, data from search marketing team, call center support, local and store merchandising etc. to get most realistic micro-moments your customers are searching for and plan ahead to be there.

Handpicked articles to learn more:

  1. Improve Brand Awareness Using Featured Snippet Box by Google
  2. Best practices for Organic Link building and Citation in 2018
  3. What are backlinks in SEO and What is the Significance of Link Building

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Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

Improve Brand Awareness Using Featured Snippet Box by Google

What is a Snippet Box

You must have noticed a box-like structure while trying to type in a search query, especially on Google search. It is also quite possible that you may also find the content in the box and the immediate ranking page below to be exactly same. These, mostly appear from any of the top 5 listing pages in SERPs, having said that it can also appear from pages, not in top 5 ranks. It can be a paragraph, a list (bullets, numbers) or a table snippet as well. For instance, StepToInbound ranks as below in featured snippets.snippet steptoibound rank view

Google terms this box as a “Snippet Box” often called as Quick answer box or direct answers, rich answers in search too. It was launched by Google in 2014. This should not be confused with knowledge graphs which directly pulls relevant information from Google’s data sources. It is a normal search result, emphasized with the special layout to provide quick answers to users.

What can it do to your brand?

Great things, more visibility on top of all Search results, standing out from clutter and crowd, more clicks to your website and better CTRs as Google is saying to the world that your results are best, Google trusted you so will users, thus better CTRs. Most importantly, a simple direct answer to a user’s questions without having to scroll through multiple pages.

The catch is able to influence the competition ranks

While all being said is good, I noticed that a user can actually provide a feedback or know more about a how the results appear in general. Since this is a new development, the intention of Google involving users to provide best accurate results to other users is fairly understood. The ability to submit feedback leads to a safe assumption that competition may try to submit negative feedbacks deliberately to avoid you being there. Google, though, on record confirms that “it may not lead” to a change in ranks, I don’t see people not trying this out to influence. (At least from different IP addresses)

Here is an example of the process you need to go through while submitting a Feedback to google on snippet box results. I tried a simple Query – How to plant a tree

snippet box query

I provided feedback as “this is not useful” from the options Google provides as below, notice that out of 4 options given by Google, only 1st one “This is useful” positively contributes to your brand” all other options, however, as per user’s feedback, may lead to losing out on this snippet box.

SERP screenshot

The screen you should see after submitting the feedback.

snippet box feedback

Okay great, I am listed in one of those snippet boxes. What’s next?

With the recent launch of google penguin 4.0 update changes are real-time now. If you are ranking in Google snippet boxes today, tomorrow it may be different. Competition may try working smarter than you, Google may find a more relevant and better content to award with snippet box view, multiple reasons you may lose out.

What should I do to remain in those Snippet boxes?

Actually, it’s difficult to follow Google algorithm all the time, we can only try to understand it more and try being as close as possible. Being relevant with updates and fresh content is the key.

Learn More: The 10 Essential SEO Ranking Factors You Need to Rank #1 in 2019

What if I don’t want my pages to be featured in a snippet at all?

Simple, Use <meta name=”googlebot” content=”nosnippet”> tag on your pages of interest. This will remove all snippets on your page, including those in regular search results.

How can I optimize for visibility in Google’s Snippet Boxes?

Now, this is the most important part, it’s not that complicated. It’s called 5 Ws and 1H formula 🙂

Here are few quick tips:

1) Find out questions users are asking across online media related to your product, offering or service – One can also using the keyword tool, social media listening tools, and direct suggestions in google search or semrush and so on to do so.

2) Who, what, when, where, Why and how (the 5Ws & 1 H) – try organizing your content using these to answer most probable questions your target group of customers might be asking online. One can also look at having a product/services focused dedicated FAQ section on homepages of each product/services or offering you may have. the primary objective should be to make your answers as explicit as possible within your content, web pages, paragraphs, infographics, and charts.

3) Old is Gold – IT won’t be surprising to see that you already have featured snippet box awarded by Google to your web pages. You can get this info by using SEO tools such as SEMrush, you can find this in organic research> RHS of the screen as featured snippet if any. Maintain more FAQs in such pages to retain them for a longer period.

Conclusion

A last year’s study confirms Snippet boxes accounts for about 19% of total queries in search engines. Surely, with growing importance for brand awareness that too organic listings, this trend is bound to increase. The openness of Google to allow users to share feedback may not continue for long asGooglee will, over a period of time, know they judge the content best. Nevertheless, it can get you more visibility, clicks and better organic growth, its time you have a focused strategy in place to obtain Google featured snippets. Do it before your competition does. Remember, boxes are never guaranteed, you can always aim, test & try though! Let me know your feedback or suggestions in the comment section below.

Related topics to learn more:

  1. 13 Steps For Building An Effective SEO Strategy
  2. Press Release SEO – Best Practices & Checklist To Optimize PR
  3. What are backlinks in SEO and What is the Significance of Link Building
  4. Best Free SEO Tools To Gain Ranks on Google

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Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

Google Penguin 4.0 Update – Impact On SEO

Penguin 4.0 update started rolling out on 23rd Sep 2016 and recently on 13th Oct, Gary Illyes from Google confirmed that it is fully rolled out across all its data centers.  A lot of noise was heard in online media about Penguin 4.0 update being real-time, In this blog, we will be talking about Relevance of Penguin 4.0 update and its impact on SEO.

What is Penguin 4.0 Update?

Penguin update was the first release in 2012, it is the 4th update in Google Penguin series and it is part of Core Google’s Algorithm now, essentially targeted towards penalizing websites for all back Hat SEO techniques to manipulate SERP which has been a traditional practice for some time now.

The real-time nature and integration within Google algorithm is meant to enable data refresh in real-time, for faster changes post a new page/site is re-crawled and re-indexed.

Gain or Lose in Real-Time

The changes are real-time, websites adopting black hat SEO techniques will be penalized fast, Pages with credible and relevant content would also be ranking fast. In short, you don’t need to wait for 3 or more months to observe actual movements in your page ranks. Request for re-indexing and wait for the crawl to happen. Probably, within 24 hours or so results would be evident with SERPs moving up or down for your web pages.

Google algorithm gets fairer with Penguin 4.0 Update

Content is good and relevant, you will be awarded better ranks faster, essentially bringing in more engagement for SEO professionals. Search marketers would need to work harder to strategize SEO for their organization, today’s SERPs may not be sustainable tomorrow.

Don’t worry if you made few SEO mistakes in recent past, the good news is that you will be able to know them faster and work on course corrections.

Time to remove toxic back-links from your pages

Penguin 4.0 update also focuses on the specific pages toxic links are pointing to, rather than entire websites, you need to regularly check your web pages for toxic back-links and disavow them asap.

The Bottom Line

It’s too early to comment if you are facing any immediate changes in your SERPs because of Penguin 4.0 update. Having said that, toxic back-links to your web pages are something you can focus on right away using suitable back-link audit tools. Disavow negative back-links to your web pages using Google Disavow tool, SEMrush also offers inbuilt back-link audit tool or this can be done manually too. Here is more info on this by Google & link for Google Disavow links tool you can use to monitor your back-links, Trust you find this blog useful, let me know your thoughts in comments section below.

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Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

13 Steps For Building An Effective SEO Strategy

If you are a new brand or a website, SEO takes the center stage as it doesn’t involve any advertising cost. A good mix of off page, on page and technical SEO can make your new brand visible across the Search engines or SERPs without much of SEO investments as such. Search Engine Optimization is well known and much talked about for many years now, the question however, is there a way one can build an effective SEO strategy for the website? Is there a framework for doing SEO for a new website? The answer is yes.

Here are 13 steps for building an effective SEO Strategy

Step 1: Baseline reporting for an effective SEO Strategy

This is first most step to know ground reality and baseline to start all your SEO efforts in the first place.

Generate a baseline Ranking Report for the keywords. The baseline gives us an indication of where the web pages are ranked on Google and will be used to measure results.

Baseline Traffic report for <Your website> Use an analytics tool to generate desired data here. Tools with links you can use for the same:

Google Search Console

SEMRush

Step 2:  Define Clear objectives for your website’s SEO Strategy

Primary Objective: Increase visitor traffic to <Your website>

To drive people to the specified content on <Your website> from pages that to be optimized for specific keyword phrases.

Secondary Objective: To increase brand awareness and generate web inquiries for <your website>

Step 3: Define Target Search Engines for your SEO Efforts

Undoubtedly, Google leads the search engines with over 63.8 % market share, Source: ComScore

Followed by Microsoft’s Bing Network with 21.1% market share, thus, it is important to consider at least both these Search Engines for building an effective SEO Strategy.

On a related note Google search dominates all other search engines in general. IF you rank well in GOogle search results, you are more likely to rank higher in all other search engines such as Yahoo Search or Bing Search for instance.

Step 4: Define a budget for your SEO Strategy

Startups find it difficult to plan a pre-defined budget, However, it is a must-have requirement, brands need to plan for at least tools, technology, and resources to successfully manage the SEO.

Explore SEMRush

Step 5: Define Results Timeline for Measuring SEO Performance

On an average, once all recommendations are executed for your website’ SEO, there is a delay of at least a week or two, before one starts seeing results in the Search Engine rankings. This also involves re-submission of your site pages for re-indexing by Google for quicker results. indexing is faster with Google,now and it should happen by default within 24 to 48 hours.

The keyword rankings shall continue to improve as your inbound links age, and the SEO implementations have been indexed. On an average, net efforts for On-Page, Off-Page and Technical SEO will be experienced within few weeks.

Step 6: Keyword Research and Analysis

Plan for the keywords that will give you qualified traffic, do they have a monthly search trend you can leverage from, or is there a specific keyword type you can stand for, and how can your keywords & web pages be used in combination to attract search traffic.

Analyze Keyword Difficulty and choose long tail keywords.

Step 7: Plan Keywords which matters

Focus on optimizing keyword phrases that are mapped to the specific web pages of your website.

1 Keyword per landing page combinations. (Collate all of the above information from step 7 and 8 above to finalize your choice of keywords, Refer Keyword vs Search Volume Data and decide most relevant ones to go after for)

Avoid having mutiple pages with similar content as GOogle would award the most relevant one. It is otherwise callled as Keyword Cannibalization.

Step 8:  Domain Analysis and Technical SEO

Analysis of the website information architecture and internal linking structure, quality of back-links you have for your website and amount of referral traffic you are getting from.

Analysis of HTML and page layout, responsiveness for mobile usage

Content Analysis & Creation: Decide the amount of Index-able Text Content, Quality & quantity of visible HTML text on your web page, SEO Copywriting, Your content developers should know basics of effective SEO writing, Additional web page/content creation if necessary.

Step 9:  Linking Analysis

  • The overall Internal link structure
  • Internal Link Popularity of Linking Page within Host Site/Domain
  • Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community
  • The link weight/authority of the target website amongst its topical peers in the online world
  • Link Relevance, Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site and web pages
  • The subject-specific relationship between the sites/pages linking to the target page and the target keyword
  • Deep Link Analysis, Deep link percentage is the % of all inbound links that point to pages other than the homepage

Step 10: Link Development

Increase link popularity

Implement a Strategic Link Campaign by purchasing links on websites that will provide a high SEO value

Step 11: Indexing Analysis

Avoid Duplicate Content

Content very similar or duplicate of existing content in the index

Possible duplicate Title/Meta Tags on many Pages

Implementation of Robots.txt exclusions

Step 12: Implementation of all SEO Recommendations

Once all the changes have been completed, you should run an audit to verify that the recommendation was implemented correctly and identify gaps as applicable for corrective measures. This can be done once in 6 months to monitor all your efforts towards building an effective SEO Strategy.

Step 13: Define Success Metrics

The First page Search Engine rankings

Increase in Website Traffic to by <mention percentage> <your website> for instance, validate and repeat all above steps.

Related Read:

  1. Press Release SEO – Best Practices & Checklist To Optimize PR
  2. What are backlinks in SEO and What is the Significance of Link Building

Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

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