The Definitive Guide to Link Building For Travel Companies in 2020-21

In this article you will learn:

  • How to optimise your website for search engines
  • How to find and fix broken links
  • What to do if Google penalises your website
  • How best to use internal and external links
  • Why you should have good quality links
  • Benefits of guest blogs
  • Learn how social media can work for you

What types of links are there…

Links are one of the most important factors in your overall ranking.

There are three types of links:

Internal links

Links from part of your site to another page within your domain

Outbound links

Links that point to other sites around the web

Inbound links

Links from other sites that point users (and search engines) towards your site.

The existence of all types are required but as for the latter type, with inbound links, things can be a little more complicated.

Having quality in-bound links will help search engines find, classify and rank your site.

But how many links should you have towards other sites?

Usually you’ll find yourself with just a few hand-picked hyperlinks on each page. Unless you own Wikipedia, or a major directory, don’t think that you’ll ever go over 10 or 20 links in a single page.

On the other hand, if you expect to have more than 100 links in a single page, why not use two or more pages with smaller content fragments and lesser link numbers?

Inbound links are a more complicated environment, you could even get a penalty from Google if you have links from low quality sites, or links that follow an unnatural pattern.

Anchor Text Types

Anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web. It usually appears as blue underlined text.

There are six main types of anchor text at your disposal:

Exact-match

If the keywords used mirror exactly the page they’re linking to. i.e. “types of anchor text” linking to a page about types of anchor text.

Partial-match

This is when the anchor text includes the keyword as part of a longer anchortext . i.e. “advantages of different anchor text”  linking to a page about anchor text.

Branded

When the brand name is used as the anchor text. i.e. “apollo” which links to an article on apollo’s website.

Naked Link

This is when the url (web address) is used rather than an anchor text. i.e. www.apollo.agency

Generic

This is when no relevant anchor text is used, instead a generic “click this” or “here” is used.

Images

Images used within websites are capable of being embedded with a web address so that when you click on the image it takes to to a website the same as a normal hyperlink.

What sort of inbound link to look for…

Don’t look for paid links. Paid links coming from link farms or reciprocal links are a curse not a blessing.

That’s because Google detects that these links are coming from a page or a set of pages that usually display an unnatural link pattern.

These linking domains are marked by Google to be not trustworthy and their links are considered the same.

As you may understand, if your site gains links from a wide variety of domains that have a clear correlation to your page, and these sites are considered trustworthy, then Google will get confident that your website is trusted by a number of different organizations.

Domain Authority

How much Google trusts a domain already is denoted by a magnitude called Domain Authority.

This is score from 1 to 100 points in a logarithmic scale. This in turn means that it’s significantly easier to grow your score from 20 to 30 than it is to grow from 70 to 80.

Look for links coming from high Domain Authority websites. Such sites have a very large number of high-quality external links.

Reversely, small businesses and personal websites with fewer inbound linksmay have a much lower Domain Authority score.

Brand new websites will always start with a Domain Authority score of one.

Because of the way Domain Authority is estimated, it is better to be used for comparison between sites that may have more prospective link profiles than others.

Both will help you gain the trust of Search Engines. The question is: How to represent your site as an Authority in you niche? Follow the steps:

  • Make research. Learn about your topic.
  • Start a blog and add content. Not just any content. Add in-depth, useful content.
  • Present yourself as an authority and the niche as your field of expertise.
  • Promote your content in the social media.
  • Ask people for their opinion.
  • Stay active. Develop more content.

This way you‘ll persuade people that you understand the topic, that they can count on what they read.

You can’t succeed in any niche unless your audience values your advice. When your users start viewing you as an authority you’ll get more followers.

Up to this point, we have discussed the importance of the selection of topic, the keyword and the content. Now let the links come into play.

Once again, you will need tools to analyze references to and form your site. Open Link Profiler (openlinkprofiler.org) and SEO Profiler (seoprofiler.com) are two great options. Pick one, input your site and study the results.

How to generate quality inbound links…

Guest Blogging

If you want to create high quality links to your site, perhaps the best way to do it is to create content on another site with the freedom to link back on your site.

Guest blogging is a great way to communicate with fellow bloggers and similar niche enthusiast, as well as your potential customers in a fruitful way.

 

  • Kissmetrics – They will positively help you submit a high quality post. Check the topic list that interest them and get in contact with them. They surely welcome fresh, well-written article.
  • HubSpot – HubSpot Inbound Marketing Blog has thousands of subscribers and attracts more than 800,000 monthly visits. If you have the confidence and experience, consider becoming a guest blogger.
  • ProBlogger – ProBlogger helps a lot by providing useful guidelines and suggestions regarding your writing. This increases the chances of producing a high standards article that can be useful to the blog audience and get positive feedback.
  • Copyblogger – Now that’s a tough blog. Writing content for Copyblogger is not a joke. But Copyblogger will support you and guide you to successfully submit a great guest article post.

DoFollow and NoFollow Links…

The difference between a DoFollow and NoFollow link is solely there for the use of the google crawlers, as an end user you wont see any difference in the hyperlink visually unless you look into the website code.

The purpose of having a NoFollow link is that the link is no longer indexed by Google and no longer considered part of your link profile.

This is beneficial as it removes the risk of links to your site that you cannot control or have removed.

All hyperlinks are DoFollow by default, the only time you need to make a change to the code is if you wish to make the link a NoFollow.

DoFollow Link Example

An example of a DoFollow link:

<a href=”http://www.google.com/”>Google</a>

NoFollow Link Example

The same example as a NoFollow link:

<a href=”http://www.google.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Google</a>

Create Good Quality Content

Creating good quality content is key to a successful website.

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  • Don’t deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

Also consider whats called evergreen content, evergreen content is content that is always relevant—much like the way evergreen trees retain their leaves all year around.

Follow the link below for an example:

www.skifamille.co.uk/blog/la-plagne-family-skiing

Attend Industry Events

Try to develop contacts, share ideas, socialize and be watchful.

The more you learn the more knowledgeable you become in your niche.

Broken Link Building

This technique is a very nice way to provide social work and gain high quality links.

Over the years, old sites, especially before the PHP era where sites where static in their vast majority, had their links hardcoded inside the HTML.

For this reason URLs where not dynamically produced. There wasn’t even a need for sitemap existence. This rigid situation led to a phenomenon called linkrot by some. The changes that occurred in a site didn’t reflect in the link URLs of other sites pointing to that site.

The result was that the number of links pointing to a non-existing webpage started to increase exponentially.

Broken link building is the procedure to offer new content and request that old forgotten link to be rerouted to your article. There are some prerequisites in order for this method to make sense.

First, you have to find a way to scan and locate broken links. Not any broken link. Instead, links that once pointed to content relevant with what you have to offer.

Special tools for that, such as www.brokenlinkcheck.com can help you find dead links fast.

Observe the site and the URL itself to distinguish if the link correlates with your niche.Second, you have to offer content that is at least better than the initial.

WayBack Machine (web.archive.org) can give you a clue of how outdated the lost article that corresponds to the broken link would seem today. Your article should not just be a bit better than the previous.

You always need to offer high quality valuable resources to earn the link and the reputation.

Thirdly, the owner of the broken link has to agree to change the reference. Usually, they have no reason to refuse. But be warned, some people are so busy or just don’t care. The majority though responds positively and that way you gain a very appreciated, high quality link.

Links are considered an intrinsic part of the site’s content. They connect your content with other content and, thus, form a chain of relationships.

The text and the media of the content form another type of relationship, they are descriptive of the topic and the keywords. What are the rules for successful SEO content writing, and what are the pitfalls that lurk in your way? Read on to find out!

Influencer Outreach

Influencers are people who are active on social media and blogs and, as the terms implies, they have the skills, talent and means to influence others in their field.

How do they do it? Nowadays, they use the internet mostly and blogs to be more precise.

Why is this important? Not only to learn from them, but then replicate the process and become a good blogger and potentially an influence to others in your own rite.

To become an influencer would certainly be a good thing, but let’s be honest, very few achieve that overnight. It requires significant time and dedication.

What you can do is put aside the influencers that don’t relate to your niche and focus on those that do.

You will find them easily from their blogs. Or use your existing network of contacts to identify link and guest blog opportunities.

Then your scope is to attract them in a way that the will influence positively the crowds in your favour. How will they do that? By writing articles, you may think. Well, perhaps they could do that. But no, they can influence the crowds by inviting you on their blog as a guest blogger.

Prior to achieving this, you’ll need to have a certain level of authority gained. If they think you have the skills and the quality, they’ll be more than happy to give you the opportunity of offering fresh, high quality, content.

The potential gain you have from this is huge: You establish yourself further as an authority, you gain links to your site, an audience that wasn’t initially yours, and even more you learn new things. The ultimate goal is that you become an influencer too.

Internal Links

Internal links help users, and Google, navigate from one page to another within the same domain. They are commonly used in main navigation.

Such hyperlinks are used in order to:

  • Allow users to navigate through a website
  • Maintain information structure for the website<
  • Route link traffic and ranking power around several places of the website (from blog to shop and vice versa)

However, what about the links from other sites to yours? That’s the real goal. You need to bring links from the outside world to yours, on to your website.

Again, quantity is not the key, it’s all about the quality.

Quality links come from sites with authority. “Authority” is not just another term in the SEO jargon. It is your ultimate goal.

Your aim is to get a reference to your site from another high authority site. In order to do this, you have to be convincing in that linking to your site will benefit your target by providing good content.

Don’t think of link exchange, “I’ll link to your site if you link to mine”. This kind of trade died long ago. Actually, this is a good way to get your site de-indexed and send your ranking into decline!

It’s not necessarily good to buy links either, potentially you could waste your money with no SEO compensation at all.

Though, working with the right companies and high quality links and sites can be very beneficial.

How to fix a Google Penalty…

So you finally managed to get a full scan of your site metrics, a detailed SEO assessment and the results speak for themselves. Google has penalized your site.

The symptoms were there for the past few months but due to the rather sustained traffic you somewhat didn’t want to believe it is actually happening. You may have seen symptoms like:

  • You don’t rank well for your own brand name any more. You find other sites rank better than yours. Think about it, you should have the first position when it come to your brand.
  • Your pages that appeared on the first page of results have shift to the second or third without any action on your part.
  • Your site rank has dropped from a decent two or three to zero or one and you cannot explain why.
  • Google suddenly stopped revering cached search results from your site.
  • A simple site search like “site:yourdomain.com” suddenly yields no results.
  • You discover that your reference in Google’s results is other than your homepage.

How to Deal With a Penalty

The first step is to identify the problem.

Usually it is some sort of change, either on your side or with Google’s algorithms. If it’s the first case, undo the changes if possible to eliminate the problem.

For example if your site was hacked and Google scanned some malware, it wise to put on a clean back up as soon as possible.

On the latter, you need to go over the entire site and make sure that it conforms to the rules and best practices proposed by Google.

Here’s what you can do when the problem comes from inbound links that Google now considers as of poor quality:

Disclaim low ranking links

Place a request to Google not to count bad links that are harming your reputation. Click here to visit the disavow tool.

Get some links removed

A harder measure is to place a request or put in some legwork towards the site you get the bad links from, to get some of the remote links removed.

Request reconsideration

Especially if your penalty was human error. Usually, that will come after you have taken some actions on your side.

Be patient

It will take some time for Google to realize and act on your changes and disavow requests. Moreover, it could take a bit longer to re-crawl your site.

It is worth noting that in a few cases, the damage is so significant that there is no coming back from it.

If your domain has been denigrated you may want cease and drop the whole project.

Most penalties are rectifiable though, if you are willing to put the time and effort in and follow the SEO standards as your rebuild your site and reputation.

Don’t listen to voices that can erase penalties with a magic wand–unless, of course, you want to lose money while making things even worse.

Tourist Office Websites

There are plenty of ways to get recognition and website referrals for travel businesses.

Using local tourist offices are a great way of getting links back to your site as its also in their benefit to promote the companies who offer holidays to the destinations they promote.

Photos:

cearsinfotech.com

axelblog.com

justperfect.co.za

moz.com

Top Tips for Improving your SEO in 2020

Business are ever more reliant on the internet to reach their target audience, from a sole trader to a large business, SEO is vitally important for any website to succeed.

Here is a bite-size breakdown of the key elements necessary to make SEO work for you:

Study Your Competitors Thoroughly to Understand the Niche

The first important step before you start creating content in a new niche, is to spend some time researching your active or potential competitors.

Identify the most prominent blogs, study the writing style and look at the most popular posts available and see if there’s jargon/style specific to the niche.

Select a Narrow Topic to Simplify Research

To build authority in any niche, you need to be specific and create well-researched and valuable content. The best thing to do is to select topics within your niche, analyse them, break them into further categories and create separate and unique posts on each.

Remember to ensure you focus on high search-volume keywords with in your page title and header.

Utilise Snapshots, Images, Videos and Infographics

To make your content look professional and trustworthy it’s a good idea to use snapshots and visuals throughout.

It will make your content more appealing and will help your readers have a better understanding of what you’re writing about.

Quote Experts to Develop Trust and Authority

To establish credibility, it can be useful to use quotes from respected people within your niche. This in turn will make your content trustworthy, by utilising their authority to enhance your content

There are several ways you can do this.

  • Locate popular blogs in your chosen niche using Google search
  • Find a quote from any popular and credible blog and refer to it in your own content
  • Search Amazon, Google Scholar, or look for the most popular books on the Kindle store related to your topic and use quotes with a credit to the author

Add Numbers, Data and Useful Information

Use numbers and dates in your content.

A study by Conductor concluded that headlines with numbers were significantly more eye-catching for social media users as compared to simple text headlines.

Write in a Friendly, but Authoritative Tone

If you speak with confidence and an authoritative tone, chances are people will take notice.

If you’re prepared to spend some time on research, to really understand the niche and grasp its potentials, you will soon be considered to be an authority within your niche.

The challenge is to deliver information in a confident manner to ensure that your readers trust your authority.

Team up With the Top Influencers of your Niche on Twitter

Use Twitter to your advantage, discover in real time about a new niche, connect with the people who set the trends and learn from them.

Engage with influencers within your field and use their knowledge to create high-quality content. Your audience will see your social relationships and the link with influential users on Twitter adds credibility to your brand.

Organise a Virtual Summit

Organise and host a virtual summit.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, virtual summits are online events where 10 to 20 or more experts share knowledge and tips on a very specific field using video calls on Skype, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts or one of many communication platforms.

The summit is free for anyone to attend while it’s live. Once it’s over, people can pay to access the complete event.

This is one of the smartest way to gain authority in your field. It will allow you gather ideas that can be translated into high-quality blog content.

This well-established strategy has proven to be one of the most effective ways to boost your personal or brand image and offer you more knowledge than you can acquire from most other means.

They can send your email lists and connect you with potentially hundreds of experts and establish you as an authority.

Create Round Up Posts

Consider taking a specific problem and ask for feedback from as many experts as possible.

Your aim is to crowd-source quality content from other experts in that niche.

This may be answering a question, or their opinion on a specific topic. Check out a good example at www.igoski.co.uk/blog/archive/best-ski-blog

Make Your Site Attractive to Professional Bloggers

Bloggers are in constant search of ways to develop their online presence, either through building high-quality articles on authority sites that direct people to their blog, or through gaining exposure within a specific niche.

This is a win-win situation. Professional bloggers seek to create backlinks to their site to generate authority and traffic and your site becomes more recognised as a host of credible and authority content.

Ensuring that you invest in high-quality posts frequently is a sure-fire way to see positive results in your search results.

Ideas for interesting posts:

  • A DIY instruction post or step-by-step guide
  • A top ten list related to your niche
  • An interview with a successful person within your sector or an article about a success story

Remember: Frequent uploading of articles gives evidence to your visitors that your site is active. Quality articles with catchy titles may just make them stay a bit longer on your landing page or leave a comment. All of which doesn’t go un-noticed by search engines.

Check Your Site and E-mails Often

Another clue that your site is active is answering your visitors’ inquiries or comment with a “thank you” message or similar.

Something nice that shows you have seen the comments posted to your articles. That might seem a bit of a chore at first, but it’s essential as it gives your visitors a motive to return to your site as they feel part of your community.

Find the Balance in Keyword Density

There is no secret recipe for the ideal number of times a keyword should be used. The days of pages heavy packed with keywords showing up at the first pages of the results are long gone.

The internet has come on a long way since then and algorithms for relevancy are much more complicated.

Search engines compare documents with each other and understand which words form a natural and common combination and which don’t.

High repetition of keywords usually gets a red card, unless your site is highly trusted with strong a link profile and lots of reviews. In that scenario the situation might be a little more flexible.

Still, there are some general rules and tips you can follow when it comes to keyword density:

  • For searches inside the site, higher density is preferable
  • For searches on the web, for example, through a search engine, the general rule is less is more
  • High repetition of keywords in an aggressive way may increase the possibility of getting filtered
  • Use of variation with low repetition of the same keywords is ideal for boosting your rank, since your content will include different possible terms of a search. The possibility of getting filtered decreases.

SEO is NOT Only About Keywords

Domain age, site security and authority, anchor texts, usage data and locality are all factors that are taken into consideration by search engines.

How important are they? It depends on the search engine. It seems that each of the best-known search engines have developed their own unique algorithms. More specifically:

  • Search engines use a custom language system that allows them to ‘read’ the words and ‘understand’ them.
  • Some engines give more value to onsite factors whereas others give the most to offsite factors.
  • As a general rule, the title of the page is more important than the other content of the page.
  • The meta keyword tag seems to become less important for the majority of search engines.

EXTRA TIP:

Algorithms determine the relevancy, not only of your keywords, but also of the supporting text.

In order to obtain a stable ranking and be linked to a family of keywords, opt for a supporting text that keeps in line with the keywords and give your overall text a fine structure.

Talk To Us

Whilst your SEO performance is something which requires a hands-on approach, the best approach is to talk to the experts.

Advice tailored to your website, and your resources is crucial to achieving the best possible ROI from Google search.

Get in touch with us today for a FREE, no-obligation SEO Audit.

This will show your current performance and the potential opportunity through Google Search.

The Best SEO Tools for 2020-21

Today’s digital marketing is governed by a ruler with two faces.

One of infinite prospects for business growth, and another resembling an ocean of competition which threatens any and all businesses.

And the name of this unpredictable tyrant?

Google of course!

Whilst the internet offers a vast horizon of opportunities for businesses of all industries, especially travel, to reach more customers than ever before; the fact that is so open and accessible poses a challenge.

How can any business succeed in standing out in this competitive landscape, where almost anyone has at least a professional website?

That’s where SEO comes in.

Search Engine Optimization is a series of practices that help a business to improve their position within the results pages of the search engines (such as Google) and take a bigger share of the potential traffic which is available within the relevant market niche.

Whether you manage SEO yourself, have an in-house team, or employ an agency to manage on your behalf, understanding the importance of SEO to your business, and how the actions you take affect your website’s rank, is essential for any business owner or marketing head.

That’s why SEO tools are so important. They allow you access to the data. To identify, understand and rectify any issues.

But where do you start?

Keyword Research Tools

Identifying the most relevant and valuable keywords for your business is the first thing you need to do in order to achieve strong SEO results.

This translates into a thorough keyword research process and identification of any related keywords with significant traffic volumes.

That is, find the keywords users are searching for which best relate to your product or service; and which have a decent number of searches per-month.

Where do you start to do that? Using some SEO tools.

These tools offer what most professional SEO marketers use everyday. Below are a selection of our favourites…

FREE Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner

Google hosts an arsenal of tools that can help you with your keyword research.

Google’s Keyword Planner, maintained inside the AdWords platform, is probably the best place to begin; particularly if you already have experience in using AdWords.

If you haven’t used it before, its structure will be relatively easy to grasp for first-timers.

All you need to do is set up an AdWords account (with some level of spend) using a Google account, and the tool is then free to use.

So it’s paid-for, but not officially.

Enter a keyword in the search field (single or multiple), or even your website address and Google will present you a long list of relevant keywords, as well as basic information that will help you to identify the level of competition for each keyword.

A look at Google’s keyword planner

For every keyword you select, the tool will identify the total number of searches Google has counted within a standard month, both worldwide and locally (your national market); as well as the level of competition for the specific keyword.

 

Google Trends

Google Trends (trends.google.com) is yet another amazing – and free – Google tool.

The search starts by inserting the target keywords you wish to research and then select and specific parameters regarding location, search history, search volume, search volume change and category.

Google Trends will provide you with insights that describe the volume of interest a certain keyword attracts on the web, what triggers this volume of searches, what type of pages initiate the searches (web, images, news, videos, products, etc), as well as similar keywords, queries or topics.

KeywordTool.io

Another free and well-structured tool, KeywordTool (keywordtool.io) utilises Google Suggest, a search technology developed by Google to accelerate display of search results even when you have not finished writing your query.

The dominant feature of this tool is that it can deliver a list of long-tail keyword suggestions (more specific search queries) that in Google’s opinion are related to the target keyword you inserted for research.Professional (Paid) Keyword Tools

Apart from free tools, there are many task-specific, professional tools you can acquire and use for your site.

These are often part of a wider suite of packages, with pricing levels tailored to businesses of different sizes.

Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool

Part of the paid MozPro suite, the Moz keyword difficulty tool (moz.com/tools/keyword-difficulty) is one of the most useful, and despite the name, easy-to-use tools in the SEO game.

Among its capabilities, it helps you factor out keywords that are hard to rank for and thus saves you time and money.

It helps you to identify the biggest keyword opportunities by combining keyword difficulty score with projected search volume.

SEMrush

SEM Rush (semrush.com) is a fully-fledged analytics platform with all sorts of tools.

Worth utilising when you need to analyse the keywords your competitors use or when you want a head-to-head comparison of your domain versus another domain in terms of overall competition.

Also useful for reviewing keyword usage and ranking positions in Google’s organic, paid, and shopping search results.

Term Explorer

Term Explorer (termexplorer.com) delivers very clean and informative research reports for the keywords in scope.

It provides the highest volume of relevant keywords and most actionable competitive data available online.

Ahrefs Position Explorer

Ahrefs (ahrefs.com) provides the same framework of services as SEMrush, but it goes a step further in the direction of social metrics.

It lets you assess the rating of a specific URL or its parent domain, investigate and get clues for the backlinks number and quality and the referring domains, including the references drafted from mainstream social networks such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

Accuranker

The Accuranker tool (accuranker.com) will help you to assess the ranking of your existing keywords and provide you a long list of related keywords utilising an automatic keyword differentiator.

This is extremely useful as it saves you lots of time in monitoring the rank progression through each of your keywords.

HubSpot’s Keywords Tool

Last but not least on our list is the Keywords Tool provided by Hubspot (hubspot.com).

Hubspot is mainly an in-bound marketing platform with developed branches towards CRM and sales.

The keywords tool is integrated to the marketing portion of the pie and it will greatly assist you in researching and identifying the best keywords, helping you understand exactly which keywords generate traffic and leads.

Additionally, HubSpot’s keyword tool communicates with your content pages (if they’re hosted on/linked to HubSpot).

How To Find The BEST Keywords

You need to consider:

  1. What is my target audience? Why will they search using this keyword?
  2. What is my audience is looking for now? How is this related to my keywords?
  3. What are other terms that I could use instead?
  4. How well do I rank for my target keywords?
  5. What are the keywords my competitors use? What is their target audience and how well do they rank with these keywords?

This will ensure that you end up with a set of keywords which are attainable, relevant to your specific target audience, and of value to your business.

Your Current Search Ranking

Once your target keywords have been determined, you need to assess your site’s current search ranking.

You are interested in the traffic that each keyword currently brings into your site.

You can use a range of the SEO tool to input your site and a specific keyword to get an estimation on how well your site ranks and the average search volume.

Select Winnable Topics

Keywords come to expand, differentiate and eventually identify to Google the main topic of the site.

Your keywords highlights to search engines that you have high-quality content which is focused around a specific subject matter.

Your task is to highlight that your business/website/writers are more skilled in a specific field of expertise than your competitors.

Your plan for the website will be affected by the age of your domain.

…for a new website

As a new website, your goal is to estimate how much time, effort and, ultimately, money it may take you to achieve strong ranking in search engines for relevant keywords and surpass your competitors.

This is closely related to how many competitors you have and how well-established they are on the market for particular keywords.

To assess these factors you will have to thoroughly analyse each of your competitors for a few key metrics:

  1. Site age
  2. How many links they‘ve got and from what sites (check Domain Authority)
  3. The traffic and traction the site has
  4. The time people stay on the site
  5. The strength of the brand

…for an established website

An established website is able to shift the keyword focus through creating new pages targeting additional keywords.

Examining the ranking progression of the new content will indicate the amount of work involved.

If you differentiate your site’s topic, you may quickly become an authority in a new field, depending upon your history and the competition.

Good practice is to catch the low-hanging fruit by identifying landing pages that already rank relatively high for specific keywords, and invest in high-quality external links to give these ranks a push.

It is essential to study and analyse thoroughly the strength of your competitors, the relevancy of the keywords they use against yours and against each other.

This process should be carried out at least for the competitor sites displayed on the first page of Google’s relevant search results.

Based on the results of the analysis, you will come to draw a strategy on how you will deal with several SEO aspects of your site to overcome any higher authority of your competitors.

Picking the Right SEO Tool

If you perform a quick search on how many tools there exist for SEO, you’ll be quite surprised at the abundance of sites, books, papers, plugins (and much more) available.

Most of the platforms provide a basic set of tools along with task-orientated functions that differ from provider to provider.

Some the features you should note include

  • Ranking check depth (i.e. the number of links to count before stop ranking assessment. This can vary from 10 to 200 links)
  • Rank update frequency (from once per month to once per day)
  • Ability to compare keyword positions by dates
  • Google Webmaster Tools integration
  • Marketing plan (SEO checklist)
  • Social media marketing integration
  • Provide human help for fixing errors
  • Provide multilingual customer support (if required)

Reviewing SEO tools with these features will help you find better opportunities to get high quality services, tools and tips.

Remember also that you’ll want time to get familiar with the platform, so do they:

  • Offer a free trial (how many days?)
  • Provide a demo (not just a video)

No matter what you decide, you need to give yourself  time to get acquainted with the features, the capabilities, the work cycle, and the idiosyncrasies of each platform.

What are SEO Tools Used for?

It’s great finding a useful SEO tool, but what’s your objective?

  • Find Broken Links

Use a spider to crawl a website and detect broken links (404s) and server misconfiguration errors such as redirect loops.

Save the crawl results to fix them one by one or to forward them to a developer.

  • Analyse Page Titles & Meta Data

Identify page titles and meta descriptions during a crawl that are too long, too short, missing, or repeat across several locations on your site.

  • Extract Data

Gather any data from the HTML of a web page using CSS Path, XPath or regex.

You may be focusing on social meta tags, secondary headings, prices, SKUs or more. Use filters to keep data manageable and contained.

  • Generate Sitemaps

Generate your XML sitemap along with specific categories sitemaps, such as products, reviews, comments etc, with advanced configuration over URLs to include, last modified, priority and change frequency.

  • Check and Resolve Unwanted Re-directs

Find temporary and permanent redirects, identify redirect chains and loops.

  • Discover Duplicate Content

Use your SEO tools to detect pages with exactly the same contents using hash check (i.e. md5 correlation algorithm), partially duplicated fragments or elements such as page titles, descriptions or headings and find low quality content pages.

  • Review Robots & Directives

Find out URLs blocked by robots.txt, meta robots or X-Robots-Tag directives such as ‘noindex’ or ‘nofollow’, as well as canonical tags such as rel=”canonical”, and rel=“next” and rel=“prev”.

  • Integrate with Google Analytics

No SEO assessment is complete without the insights of Google Analytics.

Connect your site and tools the API and fetch user data, such as sessions or bounce rate and conversions, goals, transactions and revenue for landing pages against the crawl.

  • Use Google Search Console

Look for pages that have stopped ranking and non-indexed pages. Search Console may identify the reasons for this. This is discussed further later in this post.

Tools to Check your SEO Vital Signs

Any good webmaster or business owner needs to be aware of the response speed and the health of their site. 

If you have experienced a sudden drop in organic traffic, Google may have penalised or de-indexed your site; hence you need to be aware of key metrics Google uses to rank your site.

The first step is to start monitoring the vital metrics for your site.

You can easily get lost in the abundance of data that one or many SEO tools can provide.

Therefore, you have to select and focus on the most important ones to get clues about factors you need to improve, and what may be causing you problems.

Check for Red Cards and Penalties

Identifying site-health issues is crucial to effective SEO.

Investing in content, identifying keywords, or building links could bring limited success if key SEO issues are not resolved.

PageSpeed Insights

Site speed tells how fast your site loads. If your site takes a few seconds to load, chances are that most people won’t wait around for it to load.

Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to get a rank for your website’s performance and get a breakdown of things you need to improve.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is ideal for an on-site optimisation audit.

Search Console can help you locate page index errors, re-submit a page for indexing, rectify sitemap errors as well as check the existence of the robots.txt file and create where necessary.

If you have had any manual penalties from Google (which would be severely affecting your websites rank in SERPs), this is where you will be able to learn more about the reason for the penalty.

In order to use the Google Search Console, you will have to verify your website(s). 

Verifying your site in Google’s Search Console proves that you either own the site or are an authorised user.

To prove the ownership of the site you will be asked to do one of the following:

  • Add and html tag inside a web-page

Perfect for static sites where you can open, edit and close a single html page.

Difficult for dynamic content, especially if a cache mechanism is used.

  • Upload an HTML file

You must have access to your root directory. This solves the problem of dynamic content posed from modern CMS systems and cache mechanisms.

Verify via domain name provider

This requires the (virtual) handshake of your domain provider directly with Google.

It is the best option for large websites as it proves that you are the owner of the main domain and all of the resident sub-domains associated with it.

  • Add the Google Analytics code

This code is added to the template of every page on your site to help track important metrics.

Use Tag Manager to add the appropriate tag needed for verification.

In Summary

SEO is an on-going process, requiring an understanding of how both on and off-site elements affect your website’s ability to rank.

Ensuring that pages are correctly optimised for your target keywords is the first step towards strong rankings in SERPs, and the range of tools identified can help you to ensure that you are focusing on the most relevant and valuable keywords for your business.

Reviewing keyword opportunities and the link profile of your website (and your competitors) represents actions which are essential for any successful SEO campaign.

Other tools enable you to check your site’s vital signs to confirm you’ve done everything possible to give your site a good chance of ranking.

Choosing the right tools can save you a lot of time and can make the difference to your website’s rank potential.

Choose wisely.

SEO Case Study: How to Rank for 10k MORE Organic Keywords in 4 Months!

In this case study we’re going to show you how we implemented a custom strategy for one of our clients, which has increased the number of keywords ranking in Google by over 10,000 in only 4 months!

March – July 2020 Comparison YoY (+10,000 more ranking keywords)

We want to share a process we’ve developed to improve the link profile and Domain Authority (DA) which any business can use to drive more qualified traffic from search engines.

Our case study provides actionable takeaways, following a simple and repeatable SEO strategy.

More site visitors means more impressions, more signups, more purchases — and, importantly, more revenue!

The Challenge

In this case study, we feature a fast-growing travel business offering wildlife and safari holidays worldwide.

The business is run by a team of specialists, who know everything there is to know about turning wildlife dreams into reality.

We began working with the client in March 2020.

The business was keen to improve their overall SEO performance at the start of the outbreak of Covid 19.

They were keen to invest in growing their search exposure in a way which was sustainable and offered long-term value to the business.

Our initial focus is on understanding more about the business, the most important search keywords, and the existing SEO performance.

The business was ranking in top 10 positions for a very limited number of relevant search terms.

The plan was to:

  1. Use keyword research to identify keyword opportunities.
  2. Optimise landing pages for key-phrases offering relevance and high search volume.
  3. Utilise existing content and focus on new content creation.
  4. Review the existing link profile.
  5. Develop the link profile of the homepage and other important pages.
  6. Focus on developing the Domain Authority.

So, if you’re ready, let’s dive into the case study.

Step-By-Step SEO Process

Step 1

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a crucial first step to understanding the current SEO performance and the potential keyword opportunities.

There are a number of keyword research tools which can help you to understand the keywords you rank for currently, and identify keyword opportunities based on search volume.

The most effective free tool is Google Keyword Planner which, provided you are currently running paid PPC ads, gives you exact search volumes for related terms.

The initial focus is on identifying keywords which are considered ‘quick wins’. These are pages ranking just off the first page of Google.

Pages already ranking strongly may simply need to be targeted more specifically on the relevant keyword.

The aim of the process is to identify the most important keyword to target with each landing page.

For each key-phrase will need to consider the average monthly search volume, the level of competition and the conversion intent behind the user’s search.

For example, ‘Kenya Holidays’ has more conversion intent than ‘Kenya’, albeit with much lower search volume.

Focus on  defining your niche (i.e. Safari holidays in Kenya)

You can research in 2 key ways:

  • Find new keywords

To find new keywords, add words, phrases or your site URL related to your business and you’ll get the following data:

Exact monthly search volumes (or volume range depending on PPC spend)
Level of competition
Top of page bid (the equivalent cost-per-click through Google AdWords)

  • Get search volume and forecasts

If you have a pre-existing keyword list, you can upload the list into Keyword Planner to identify those with the highest search volume.

The more keywords you have to review, the more informed your on-page decisions will be.

Look to identify as many relevant target keywords with search volume as is possible before moving onto step 3.

Step 1 – Summary

  • Keyword research is key to effective SEO
  • Identify keywords offering strong search volume
  • Look for keywords with conversion intent (i.e. ‘safari holidays’)

Step 2

On-site Optimisation

Once a list of relevant target keywords has been identified through the keyword research process, a crucial next step is to ensure that there are unique landing pages created to target each key-phrase.

This involved amending the focus on pre-existing landing pages to ensure these are focused on the most valuable keyword opportunities.

The most important on-page changes relate to the H1 and page title.

These key SEO elements need to be aligned to ensure there is a clear focus on the target key-phrase for each page.

As part of this process, it is important to identify whether there are any keyword cannibalisation issues.

Such issues occour when separate landing pages are optimised for the same target key-phrase.

It is crucial to resolve such issues by ensuring each page has a distinct keyword-focus. This process removes the chances of multiple pages competing with others for the same keyword.

Step 2 – Summary

  • Ensure you have a unique landing page targeting each key-phrase
  • Ensure the Header 1 (H1) and page title are both targeting the same key-phrase
  • Identify and resolve keyword cannibalisation issues

Step 3

Audit Existing Link Profile

It is important to ensure that the link profile of your website is clean.

A toxic link profile may be causing un-told damage to your ability to rank for competitive keywords.

An initial starting point is to review how ‘toxic’ existing links are.

Paid SEO tools such as SEM Rush provide clear visibility as to how to the total number of links to your domain deemed toxic or potentially:

Links need to be manually reviewed to ensure that those being listed for review are in fact poor quality.

Note: Links from niche domains run by specialists with poor understanding of website development can be listed as toxic. Niche-relevance is important to your overall performance, so don’t be too hasty to remove swathes of links at once. This can do more harm than good.

As well as paid tools, you can also review links pointing to your domain using Google Search Console.

Once a list of links to be removed has been agreed, you will need to submit a disavow file.

The disavow file tells Google that although you are aware the toxic links exist, you do not want these links to be considered part of your link profile.

Step 3 – Summary

  • Audit existing link profiles – Identify toxic links
  • Submit disavow file to Google Search Console
  • Treat disavow submission with caution (don’t be over-zealous)

Step 4

Improve Pre-existing Blog Content

Blog content forms an important part of the overall visibility for your domain.

Whilst the aim is to develop your authority with new content, the best place to start is to ensure ALL existing content on your site is representing your business in the best possible way.

The initial aim of the process is to review blog content, which provides 3 main advantages:

  1. Increased content depth increases the possibility that each article ranks well in search engines.
  2. Improving the content to include clear calls-to-action (CTAs) ensures that ALL of your content is working hard to convert visitors into enquirers (and hopefully bookers)
  3. Adding relevant internal links (to appropriate sales-focused landing pages) improves the websites internal link profile, improving SEO performance.

Key steps for improving content involve:

  1. Adding additional content
  2. Adding/improving imagery
  3. Adding/improving calls-to-action
  4. Adding additional internal links to key sales pages

The main benefits of investing in your existing content is:

  • Attracting new users 

Once ranking for relevant search terms, blog content can provide a valuable stream of visitors.

Content focused on answering questions relevant to your products, or providing inspiration, will ensure that visitors are similar to your target audience.

  • Promoting key pages

As well as attracting new users to the domain, content needs to focus on converting readers into enquirers.

This includes adding clear calls-to-action on blog content and using internal links to promote key sales-focused landing pages.

As we discussed earlier, internal links to these pages will also aid overall SEO performance.

Step 4 – Summary

  • Review existing content (landing pages and blog articles)
  • Identify additional content requirements
  • Add additional content, images and calls-to-action

Step 5

Internal Link Strategy

Isn’t it odd how something as simple as adding a link to another page on your site can help your SEO?

Any content on your should be utilised to promote key landing pages using internal links.

This will both promote relevant product, as well as improve the internal link-profile of important landing pages.

When we started working with the client, there were a few internal links on most of his pages and posts, but there wasn’t a clear strategy behind them.

After completing the initial content audit, there was a focus on adding new internal links and optimizing the anchor text of existing links.

The aim is to add a selection of internal links to other landing pages using anchor text that included either:

  • The target keyword of the landing page
  • Or, a variation of the target keyword
  • Or, a secondary long-tail keyword

The aim was to add links pointing to landing pages which related to the specific blog posts, including destination pages (i.e. Uganda), experience (i.e. Gorilla Trekking) and places-of-interest pages (i.e. Bwindi National Park).

This process ensures the target landing pages benefit from increased SEO authority as well as more exposure to readers of the blog articles.

Step 5 – Summary

  • Internal links are an increasingly important part of SEO performance
  • Links between related pages is crucial for overall performance
  • Use optimised anchor text for internal links (aligned with your target keyword)

Step 6

Link Building

Links from high-authority domains to your website are the most important component in improving your organic performance.

Whilst on-page optimisation ensures that your website is in the best possible position to perform well in search engines, quality in-bound links are a crucial part of highlighting the credibility of your site to Google.

The majority of links (at least at the outset) will need to be directed to your homepage.

This focus ensures that the links improve the overall Domain Authority of the website; helping to improve the ranks for a wide range of pages across your site.

Referring Domains Gradually Increased
Referring Domains Gradually Increased

This focus on links to your homepage using branded anchor text (your brand name or URL) is also the safest way to improve your overall SEO performance, whilst also protecting the long-term health of your website.

Moving forward our focus has diversified to include links to specific landing pages to improve the rankings of specific target keywords.

This process is based upon the keyword research process discussed earlier.

Depending on the existing link profile of your website, you may need to look into submitting a disavow file.

Disavowing poor-quality links is an essential part of giving your site the best possible chance of improving your SEO and this played it’s part in the SEO improvements.

Step 6 – Summary

  • Focus initially on links to your homepage
  • Start by using natural anchor text (brand name and URL)
  • Develop links from high-authority domains
  • Start with a limited number of links per-month (ensure the link building rate looks natural)

Step 7

Creating SEO-driven content on a regular basis

An important part of long-term SEO performance is regularly publishing new content.

Looking at the search engine performance of news websites, it is clear that Google loves fresh content.

Publishing content on a regular basis means that Google will index content more frequently, and subsequently is more likely to notice improvements to your domain and authority, and hence re-adjust their ranks accordingly.

SEO-driven content refers to content based on the important keyword opportunities relevant to your niche.

A common problem is to write write content then find the most valuable keywords they can find to ‘optimise’ the content for.

New content ideas for blog posts can be found through the keyword research phrase and through taking advantage of your industry-expertise.

  • Keyword opportunities

Use keyword research tools to identify keyword opportunities, use Google  medium-to-high traffic keywords with low (or medium) competition.

  • Questions

Ask your Sales team what questions customers and enquirers are asking.

This is a good way to understand the concerns that you can help to answer.

  • Best-of lists

Best-of lists are an effective way of inspiring potential customers and also ranking for competitive keywords.

With the increased word count available with such lists, the articles deliver high levels of monthly search traffic.

Step 7 – Summary

  • Content is king – Create fresh content regularly
  • The higher your keyword count, the better chance of your pages ranking well in Google
  • Focus on answering customer questions and providing inspiration

The Results

Organic Ranking Performance

The number of keywords ranking in top positions has improved dramatically since we started working with the business in March:

The focus on high-quality links to the homepage has delivered an increase in the number of keywords ranking in Google by over 10,000 in only 4 months!

(Source: A Hrefs)

High-authority links to the homepage improves the overall Domain Authority (DA), which is the key reason behind such a clear increase in pages ranking in Google.

The overall DA affects the ranking of all pages, hence this is the most effective way to improve overall organic traffic.

Organic Traffic

As a result of the improvement in organic ranks across a wide range of pages, the monthly organic traffic the website receives has improved dramatically:

120% More visits from Google alone in Just 4 Months!

Value of Organic Traffic

The value of organic traffic has also increased significantly, proportionate to the increase in traffic:

(Source: A Hrefs)

Talk To Us

Whilst your SEO performance is something which requires a hands-on approach, the best approach is to talk to the experts.

Advice tailored to your website, and your resources is crucial to achieving the best possible ROI from Google search.

Get in touch with us today for a FREE, no-obligation SEO Audit.

This will show your current performance and the potential opportunity through Google Search.