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10 SEO Fundamentals Every Web Developer Should Know

You are aware of the difficulty… You only need to take care of these four or five tickets, and it will make a huge difference in your SEO goals for the month.


But how can you persuade your web developers to join you?


How can you help them comprehend the importance of your SEO needs when they have so many competing priorities?


Years ago, I could accomplish roughly 90% of my SEO work for a particular client on my own. Those were the days. SEO now increasingly relies on content generation, UX, code development, IT, and multiple layers/levels of approvals, among other things.


I’ve written many times about how SEO can’t be done in a vacuum, and I’m glad it’s a discipline that now prioritises alignment in order to provide a quality experience for website visitors.


There has always been a demand for web developer help throughout my career. That meant meetings with my inhouse team or collaborating with a third-party developer hired or contracted by my clients.


In either scenario, gaining web development buy-in and support is crucial for SEO.


It’s much better when engineers grasp SEO fundamentals. It is far more efficient if developers understand the fundamentals and incorporate them into their builds and site upkeep, preventing any rework later.


Check out the ten must-know SEO essentials for web developers, as well as some focus group conversations with my SEO specialists and developers.

1. Safety


Search engines care about website security, check that you have an SSL installed and that there are no issues.

That is where we begin.

In addition, having the required measures in place to guarantee that the site is free of vulnerabilities that could allow for an injection, modified content, and so on. Hacking at any level degrades user experience and sends out negative signals to users and search engines. When securing the site using plugins, extensions, or tools, keep site speed in mind (more on that later).


2. Response Codes


Server response codes are important. There are many ways to get a website to render for a user, as well as distinctive UX designs, which motivate some inventive dev implementations. Regardless, ensure that pages are displaying 200 server codes. Any 3xx or 4xx codes can be sourced and updated. Remove any redirects you don’t need.


3. Redirects


Redirects are an important aspect of the website migration and launch process when moving from an old site to a new one. If you only perform one item in your launch process, make it redirection. We’re talking about ensuring that all URLs from the previous site redirect to the most appropriate subject matter page on the new site using a 301 redirect.


If you are simplifying and changing content structure, this could be one to one or many to one. 


As with the server codes mentioned above, don’t trust a page’s rendering and think it’s fine. Use tools to ensure that all redirects are 301s.


4. robots.txt


Nothing counts in SEO unless the site can be indexed and displayed in search results. Don’t let the robots.txt file fall by the wayside. Default commands can be overly permissive in some circumstances and too restricted in others.


Understand what’s in the robots.txt file!


Do not send the staging file to production without first double-checking it. Several sites with excellent migration and launch preparations have been thwarted by a prohibit all command from staging that was pushed to the live site (to prevent the dev site from being indexed).


Consider banning low-value things such as tag pages, comments pages, and any other variations generated by your CMS. You’ll normally have to consider a lot of low-value garbage, and if you can’t stop the pages from being created, at least stop indexing them.


5. Sitemaps


XML sitemaps are our opportunity to guarantee that search engines are aware of all of our pages. Don’t squander resources and possibilities by allowing photos, irrelevant pages, and items that should not be prioritised for focus and indexing to be prioritised. Make certain that all pages listed in XML sitemaps return a 200 server code.


Maintain them by removing 404s, redirects, and anything that isn’t the destination page.

6. URLs (Uniform Resource Locators)


Good URLs are short, feature words relevant to the page’s content, are in lower case, and contain no letters, spaces, or underscores. I LOVE seeing URL structures with subfolders and pages that correspond to the content hierarchy in the navigation and site structure.


Three steps down? After that, type “”

7. Mobile Compatibility


Remember that just because something works or appears well in a browser does not necessarily indicate it is suitable for a search engine. Search engines value mobile friendliness. Use Google’s mobile-friendly tool to validate it. Make sure it passes. Consider the content rendered in the mobile version as well.


Google indexes “mobile first.”


This indicates that they are prioritising the site’s mobile version.


If you’re hiding or not rendering crucial content in the mobile version that you want search engines to evaluate for UX reasons, think twice and be aware that the content may be absent from what Google views.

8. Site Speed


This is the eighth item on the list, but it is possibly the most critical after guaranteeing that your site can be indexed. Site speed is critical. Slow page loading and sites harm user experience and conversion rates.


They have an effect on SEO performance as well. Unfortunately, there is no single method for optimising site speed.


It all boils down to keeping your code light, utilising plugins and extensions sparingly, having an optimised hosting environment, compressing and minifying JS and CSS, and keeping picture sizes under control.


Any code, files, or elements that can cause performance or stability alterations provide a risk.


Include any protections for content management restrictions so that a 10MB image cannot be uploaded and cause a website to crash. Or a plugin update goes unreported because of how it slows things down.


Ongoing benchmarking, monitoring, and optimization of site speed.


My Lead Developer’s favourite tool in the Google Chrome browser dev tools is or Lighthouse.

9. Heading Tags 


Heading tags provide excellent context signals to search engines. Remember that they are for text, not CSS shortcuts. Yes, link your CSS to them, but do it in the order of significance. Don’t use H5 for the initial, largest page header and H1 for page subheadings.


There has been a lot written on the impact (or lack thereof) of headings on SEO performance.


In this article, I’m not going there. Just be as literal as possible with the hierarchy and how it’s used. Use these instead of other CSS if possible. If possible, limit the number of H1s on a page to one. Work with your SEO personnel to grasp the general strategy for headers and on-page content.

10. Dynamic Content and Content Management


As previously said, CMS functionality can derail even the greatest dev implementations. Take care with the power you grant. Understand the site’s continuing content plan and requirements so that content writers have the control they desire while not jeopardising site speed or any of the SEO on-page aspects.


Having as many dynamic aspects as possible, such as tagging, XML sitemap generation, redirects, and more, can save you time while also protecting your site and code and keeping everything stable.




The interaction and coordination between SEO professionals and site developers is critical.


SEO is based on best practises for technical SEO as well as other factors such as enterprise scaling of on-page content.


Understanding the fundamentals of SEO can go a long way toward good collaboration and SEO performance.


Furthermore, it can lead to more efficient website creation work and fewer re-work or “SEO-specific” upgrades and demands.

If you are a web dev looking for help for a clients’ site, or you have an inhouse dev team but NO specialist SEO function in your marketing team, let’s have a chat about how I can help with your search efforts!

The Top 10 Reasons to Outsource SEO in 2022

What Exactly Is SEO Outsourcing? Why Should You Consider It?


Most marketing teams have a lot to do and not enough time. This is especially true when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Some people interpret the term “outsourcing” to suggest that your in-house staff is never involved — this is never the case. Outsourcing SEO will save you time and money, but a disjointed SEO staff is a formula for catastrophe. Indeed, the greatest SEO “outsourcing” entails a close collaboration between your in-house team and an SEO agency, ensuring organisational goals and marketing team KPIs and campaigns are aligned with SEO efforts, and sourcing in-house industry expertise as necessary.


Because of shifting algorithms, severe rivalry, and a general lack of awareness of the industry, SEO may be exceptionally hard. It may also take some time to see the desired results. However, those outcomes can offer tremendous returns in the long run.


Juggling expectations regarding time, money, and human resources allocated to this service can be one of the most challenging difficulties for anyone wanting to win at SEO, which is why organisations frequently choose to hire outside help to get things done faster and at a lesser cost.


When it comes to outsourcing any component of a business, there is often some trepidation and concern. This is because you will have to put your trust in a third party. The anxiety is legitimate, but it just means that any organisation contemplating this step should only work with certified and proven vendors.


Outsourcing SEO’s Effects: Positive or Negative?

Outsourcing something as important as SEO can have a huge impact on your company and the efficiency of your in-house marketing staff. It might have either a devastating (bad) or a favourable impact. It’s hazardous, and there will be no quick wins – it’s a lengthy game – but it may be a rewarding game worth playing.


These are the top ten reasons why any firm serious about digital marketing should consider outsourcing or “nearsourcing” their SEO operations to a fractional marketing agency. With all of these benefits available when using an agency to provide SEO services, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. Let us spend some time delving into each of these.


Regain Valuable Time

This is the first and most fundamental advantage of outsourcing your SEO efforts. Optimizing your website’s pages and content to rank better on search engine result pages (SERPs) takes time, especially if the people in charge are inexperienced. Having experienced professionals handle this aspect of your SEO campaigns will save your firm a lot of time.



SEO is a challenging and intricate process. It is usually not worth the time and money to train an in-house full-time employee on SEO — they may not have the necessary skillsets to begin with, or the training may take months. Furthermore, even if they master SEO, they may not have enough time in their day to implement it. Marketing departments are already overburdened.


You’ll need someone with years of experience or a team of various pros who specialise in specific areas of SEO and digital marketing campaigns if you want it done right. Outsourcing SEO services will give your firm with a full team of professionals for a fraction of the cost of keeping them in-house.


An SEO company or agency can give a lot of value for a relatively low price. Keep in mind that SEO pays off over time. Doing SEO wrong from the start can be significantly more expensive than getting it properly.


Quicker Results

A digital agency or SEO service provider can take what you have and put a whole digital marketing strategy behind it, such as a keyword strategy, lead generation and content marketing strategy, and the like, so you can start seeing results quickly from the material and traffic you already have. Developing and implementing a proper SEO strategy on a site with otherwise good traffic and content can often result in reasonably quick results.


You may also expect work to begin immediately if you outsource SEO, as opposed to the customary delays that result from in-house pre-planning and preparation before implementation. After all, less experienced professionals will need time to learn and figure things out before they begin, whereas proven SEO specialists will encounter little to no learning curve.


Furthermore, your SEO efforts should be measured, tested, and refined over time — this is why it’s called Search Engine Optimization. Doing a little amount of SEO in-house and then reducing it over time is a proven way to see results fall.


There is no learning curve.


If your organisation is just getting started with SEO, chances are the personnel who take on the responsibility will spend a significant amount of time learning the ropes, detracting from content optimization and material development in general.


SEO specialists are, well, specialists. They are well-versed in SEO and its associated issues. This implies they won’t have to waste time learning anything new. They are prepared right away.


Improved Marketing Strategy

Many businesses use “SEO” by just generating content and hope for organic traffic and leads. While hope is wonderful, it has little to do with good SEO.


A good SEO company will assist you in developing a competitive strategy in the following areas:


  • Strategy for keywords
  • Content strategy for multiple platforms (blog, YouTube, social media, etc.) and content types (guides, tutorials, topic clusters, webinars, etc)
  • Schedule for creating thematic content
  • Marketing with content (getting leads and business from your content creation)
  • Establishing links (getting backlinks from valuable domains)


A full-service digital marketing agency can take what you have and turn it into a digital marketing strategy, which means connecting your SEO efforts to your video creation efforts, social media efforts, email campaign efforts, and so on, while also ensuring that your SEO efforts aren’t negatively impacting your conversion optimization (CRO) efforts, the overall user journey, and user experience. Some SEO firms who specialise in SEO might actually have a negative impact on your total digital marketing since they don’t evaluate the impact of their efforts on areas such as user experience, conversions, and the like – SEO should not be done in isolation.


Maintain White Hat SEO Practices

A competent SEO business will use white hat SEO tactics, which are the “positive” types of activities that can boost your SEO rather than hurt it, as “black hat” SEO approaches can. Obtaining backlinks from bogus websites and directories, for example, is a black hat SEO strategy that will hurt your SEO and domain authority score.


Gain Access to Effective SEO Tools and Knowledge

SEO firms typically have access to cutting-edge SEO techniques, which can be costly or difficult for marketers to justify in their budgets. Furthermore, learning and harnessing the power of these tools, such as SEMRush, Moz, and Ahrefs, not to mention more enterprise SEO solutions like seoClarity and BrightEdge, can take years.


SEO is also one of the services provided by digital marketing organisations. You receive access to not only SEO skills but also competence in related areas. This implies that when you outsource SEO services to a digital firm, you gain access to a complete team of digital specialists, tools, and resources to assist you with your demands.


Improve Your In-House Team

Burnout is a genuine issue. Overworking people and subjecting them to menial duties on a regular basis may and will have an emotional and psychological impact on their mental health and productivity.


SEO job can grow monotonous after a while. Long hours are spent sifting through pieces of information about the same issue and running through vast lists of terms, examining their search traffic and performance. Time and time again.


When you have a whole staff handling the work, you solve the problem by rotating them on a regular basis. But what happens when the team is small or consists of only one person?


Outsourcing SEO solutions will relieve your in-house marketing team of this type of labour, allowing you to assign them to other projects. There are various more aspects of digital marketing that require the attention of your team. By relieving them of the time-consuming demands of SEO, they are free to focus on those other things, further optimising the use of your in-house resources.


Maintain Knowledge of Trends and Tools

Proper SEO necessitates the use of numerous tools as well as a grasp of changing trends. Google, for example, updates its search algorithm approximately 500 times every year. Most of the time, the adjustments are subtle yet significant.


SEO agencies are constantly on the lookout for market developments and new tools. They have no choice. This is their main source of income. Your organisation gains access to a constantly updated supply of information by outsourcing.


Obtain an Objective Point of View

It is easy for people wearing a company shirt to become enamoured with the brand. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it might cause issues when objectively judging work. Recognizing fractures and defects gets more difficult when you are too close to something.


One of the most underestimated advantages of outsourcing your SEO services to an agency is that you will have employees that are dedicated to honesty. Someone on your in-house team may choose to or be consciously unable to detect errors in his work because his career is at stake; but agencies must be objective and deliver outcomes because their reputation is at danger.


This means you’ll be able to acquire objective third-party assessments of what’s going on that are extensive, efficient, and detailed.


Outsourcing / nearsourcing SEO services does not have to be a high-risk venture. It has the potential to be a good turning point for any firm that takes the time to study and evaluate prospective sources.


Weigh all of your options, make an informed decision, and watch your costs fall as your results skyrocket!


Are you concerned about outsourcing SEO or another form of digital marketing? I  get it. Please contact me if you have any queries or issues. I’m here to help!

The How and Why of Content Pruning for SEO


A widespread misconception in the SEO industry is that you must post ‘x’ amount of content on your website on a regular basis in order to rank well over time. True, supplying your target audience with valuable, relevant, and optimised material that answers queries and gives insight will boost your visibility. The reverse impact can occur if the content being produced is inaccurate, badly designed, or lacks purpose.


It’s critical to check and assess the material on your website on a regular basis to ensure it’s functioning well and not becoming stale. There are likely to be pieces that no longer align with your brand, are no longer true in terms of their information, or content that isn’t helping your brand reach any specific goals, especially on major sites that have been producing new content for years.

This is known as content pruning, and this article will help you understand what it comprises, as well as why and when it is vital to prioritise pruning over developing content.

What exactly is content pruning?


The removal, consolidation, or re-optimisation of underperforming material across your website that provides no relevancy, value, or insight for your target audience is referred to as content pruning. It entails examining information for a variety of characteristics such as visibility, goals, accuracy, accessibility, and others. Content pruning should not be confused with culling, because it is not as simple as deleting large amounts of content and being brutal; this can cause far more harm than good.


Let’s look at the broad definition of ‘pruning’:

“trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by removing dead or excessive branches or stems, particularly to promote development.”

The same is true for content pruning for SEO: it is about identifying content that is no longer serving a function and eliminating, re-optimizing, or consolidating it to ensure higher quality content across your site, and hence a long-term increase in visibility.

What is the significance of content trimming in SEO?


Keep up with Google algorithm adjustments.


Google’s algorithm improvements are always emphasising information’s quality, accuracy, and authority. In addition, their ranking algorithms are getting significantly more perceptive about what constitutes quality material. The days of exploiting scraped, keyword-heavy content to rank for specific keywords are long gone.


Material pruning enables you to find any older pieces of content that do not align with or violate Google’s quality rules, allowing you to adjust or eliminate this content to improve the overall quality and authority of your website’s content. Poor, scraped material or blackhat practises that you may have employed in the past may have gone unnoticed by you, but they will not be ignored by Google and may impact your site’s visibility.


Achieve certain targets more effectively


Content published on your website should be consistent with your brand’s long-term objectives. Articles and landing pages can be used to build backlinks, convert visitors, solicit inquiries, or increase traffic and brand awareness. With sites that contain a large amount of content, there is a good probability that not all pages will be fit for purpose over time, or that not all of your pages will have any purpose at all.


The purpose of content pruning is to find old or even recent information that does not correspond with your business goals and then alter, remove, noindex, or redirect it to more relevant, better-optimized content. It is the process of determining the objective of each page on your site, whether the page is optimised to achieve that aim, and the page’s performance thus far.


For example, if the goal of a page was to produce backlinks but your digital PR effort failed, consider why and whether the page can be revised, further optimised, and outreached again. Another example might be a page with insufficient material. With a page on a related topic, the current material can be reinforced or consolidated. You can reap tremendous benefits by tailoring your content to its intended purpose.


Look for old content


Content decay occurs when older pieces of content lose their relevance or become erroneous over time. Content pruning entails reviewing potentially stale content like this on a regular basis to ensure your website is providing up-to-date, factually accurate advice, whether you decide to update the page, redirect it to a more relevant page on your site, noindex it to keep crawlers away, or delete it entirely and display a 404.


Determine competing content


Internal competition is common, especially if your brand or the website you’re working on is vast, such as those with large content libraries. This is known as content cannibalization, and it occurs when numerous pages on a website compete for the same keyword or keywords. Most of the time, it is inadvertent and goes unnoticed, but it has the potential to drastically reduce the visibility and success of all competing pages. Content pruning allows you to identify instances of cannibalisation and devise a plan of action to address them. For example, you may decide to combine two pages on one URL with improved exposure in the goal of generating a larger, more effective, and more valuable page.

So What do you do?


Now that we’ve established what content pruning is and why it can be extremely useful and effective for SEO, let’s get into the specifics of how to implement it.

Design your dashboard


To begin, you’ll need to collect a wealth of relevant data in a spreadsheet to give yourself the best chance of evaluating your content and providing effective recommendations. The simplest way to achieve this is to crawl your site with a tool like Screaming Frog to collect all of the essential data. You can also export a list of all indexed URLs from Google Search Console.


I recommend importing a full year’s worth of data into your dashboard to get a comprehensive picture of how your pages are performing.


Creating a dashboard with all of the metrics you intend to analyse might be tedious and time-consuming.


Here’s a list of the data we recommend entering into a spreadsheet, as well as the tools you can use to do so:


Screaming Frog


If your site has fewer than 500 URLs, you can crawl it completely utilising Screaming Frog’s free SEO spider tool. You can obtain the following information from this point:


URL index

Metadata (alternatively, use an IMPORT XML formula to pull meta titles and descriptions into a Google Sheet, such as =IMPORTXML(“URL”,”/title”))

Heading structures and H1s

the number of words

Instances of duplicate content


Analytics by Google


The greatest places to find your data are within Google’s own tools. You can export the following data from Analytics along with your URLs:


Organic traffic, which includes Organic Users and Sessions

Engagement Time vs. Bounce Rate (GA3) (GA4). Using this data, you may discover pages where users leave almost instantly or pages where they stay a long period. However, don’t rely solely on these indicators; someone may leave a page if they rapidly found what they were seeking for.

Organic Conversions, Revenue (if relevant), and/or Objectives To prune your content, you must collect data that is relevant to your business strategy and overall goals. E-commerce companies, for example, may wish to track how many visitors purchase after viewing a given page of content, whilst other sites may be interested in how many people submit an enquiry or perform another specific action on the site.


Google Search Console


The Search Console is handy for checking which pages are indexable and exporting a list of all internal and external links on the site.


Rank tracking software


Before recommending a course of action for SEO, it’s also necessary to obtain a broader understanding of how your pages rank. I propose using Ahrefs, SEMRush, or another similar tool that allows you to export a list of URLs and their top-ranking keywords for this purpose.


These tools are also valuable for determining whether pages have backlinks leading to them and the authority of these links, as well as determining search intent and the various search engine results page (SERP) elements available for specific keywords. For example, you can quickly determine whether a SERP has the potential for a Featured Snippet, which your page could benefit from better optimising.

Establish your priorities


After that, you can begin pruning. If your site is quite extensive, for example, with thousands of posts published throughout time, you will need to determine your priorities. You might wish to focus on pages that were published before a specific year, have few to no backlinks, or earn less than a certain quantity of organic traffic or conversions each month. Again, this is depending on your business and the long-term goals of your site, whether that is better visibility in a specific sector or increased conversions.


Create a plan of action.


While reading your blogs, articles, news releases, or other forms of material on your website, you should keep a list of potential actions in mind.


This stage of the process allows you to vet your older content and create a list of planned actions, such as reoptimizing a page for different or additional keywords, consolidating an underperforming page with a stronger page on the same topic, leaving pages alone that are performing well or aren’t designed for SEO purposes, or simply scrapping pages that aren’t ranking or generating any traffic.


Among the possible actions are:


Consolidation (For example, if you identify that multiple pages on your site are competing to rank for the same keywords or find a page that is thin on content, you may want to consolidate these onto a stronger page.)

Update (For instance, if you discover that information, statistics, or facts used throughout your material are no longer relevant or correct and must be updated.)

Re-optimise (For example, if your page isn’t ranking for its target keywords, it could be because it doesn’t fit the proper search intent and should be optimised for an alternative set of keywords.)

Repurpose (For example, if you identify pages whose purpose does not fit the search intent. This might happen when a page has too little information or when readers are looking for a page with a lot of media, such as images or an infographic alongside copy.)

Remove (For example, if you discover a page with relatively little material or that is completely irrelevant and has no room for growth.) Always be cautious about eliminating potentially valuable content and make every effort to reroute people to related pages or show a bespoke and useful 404 page.)

Monitor (For example, if a page was recently released but isn’t currently ranking for your target keywords, create a note to monitor it in the future months and tweak as needed.)

There is no action. (The chances are that if you routinely publish high-quality, well-researched, and optimised content, a lot of it will be doing well as is and can be left alone to age and gain in visibility over time.)


Evaluate the results


Measuring the effects is arguably the most critical aspect of the content trimming process. If you evaluate and update a lot of your material but don’t prioritise assessing the effects of your efforts, you’ve completely defeated the point.


As you move through your material, ensure that everyone involved is aware of the state of specific pages and when new and enhanced information has been uploaded so that you can track the effects of these changes in the months to come. This allows you to readily determine your ROI for your time spent, whether it’s more organic traffic, conversions, or backlinks. Of course, keep in mind that your results may not be immediate; it may take time for Google to recrawl and rank your material correctly.


To sum up


Material pruning can be equally as beneficial as, if not more so than, developing fresh content for SEO. In addition to preventing your website from becoming overburdened with low-quality or repeated information, pruning allows you to be aware of the value each page provides and measure results accordingly.


Google is emphasising content quality and authority, so reviewing what you already have and making sure it is unique, valuable, helpful, and reliable will only benefit you.


A checklist of questions to ask yourself when reducing your content.


Use the checklist below to ensure you’re properly evaluating a variety of essential variables while pruning your material;


Intent to search for keywords Is your content still in line with the search intent of visitors if you have targeted keywords through it? Has the search intent for those terms shifted slightly over time, and if so, how can you adjust your content to better reflect this?

Page function. What does a piece of content serve? Is it intended to inform, educate, convert, or entertain?

Page objectives How will you assess the success of a piece of content? For example, if the goal is to convert or produce leads, you must ensure that conversion tracking is properly configured. If the goal is to entertain or attract attention, you may wish to track the number of backlinks obtained.

Internal rivalry. Are there several pages on your site that compete for the same set of keywords? If so, is it advisable to aggregate these or reoptimize certain pages?

The average amount of time spent on a page. Are users visiting your blog pages and then leaving without engaging? If this is the case, what might your page be lacking that your users were looking for when they searched for your target keywords?

Accessibility. Are your sites readable in terms of text size, font type, and colour contrasts? Does your written and non-written material consider website accessibility features like alt tags and clear heading structures?

Stale or out-of-date content Is your content showing symptoms of deterioration? Is information presented, for example, that is no longer accurate or relevant to your business offering or goals?

Content that is too thin or of poor quality. Is there ever a time when there is little to no material on a page for Google to crawl? If so, is this consistent with competitors, or do these pages need to be improved or removed? Are there any situations when your brand’s present rules or standards need to be improved?

Content duplication Is there content on the site that has too many similarities in terms of goal, keyword targeting, or wording?

Content that is underperforming. Is there any material on your site that has been present for a long time but isn’t producing organic traffic or ranking for keywords? If so, does the page provide additional value, or should it be improved or removed?


For more help or advice on how to best prune your existing content – drop me a line. 

How to Get Your Company Listed on Google Maps

Do you want to know how to get your company listed on Google? Adding your business to Google Maps is one of the simplest methods to accomplish this.

The procedure is free and straightforward. You may get your business on Google Maps by going directly to Google Maps or by using Google My Business. In any event, Google will want you to authenticate that you are the business’s owner.

Is it worthwhile to use Google Maps for business? Absolutely. Within 24 hours, 76 percent of people who conduct a local search visit a physical business or shop. 28 percent of them make a purchase in the end.

Another way to look at it is that adding your business on Google Maps could enhance your discoverability by 76%. It can also increase your sales by up to 28%.

What Is Google Maps and How Do I Use It?

In a commercial environment, Google Maps makes it possible for consumers and clients to find your company using a Google search. When activated, your company will appear on Google when customers search for local businesses that provide specific services.

For example, if you are a plumber in Montreal, your company will appear when someone searches for “plumber in Montreal.” Here’s an actual Google Maps example, replete with actual plumbing firms.

How awesome would it be if your company also appeared in local searches? In fact, with a little more SEO, Google will feature your business in the Local Pack, making it even easier to find.

The Local Pack on Google is a “top three” list of the finest local businesses for various queries. Your website, directions to your location, ratings, opening hours, and any other information that may entice potential customers are all included in the listing. However, unless you list your business on Google Maps, it will not appear in the Local Pack results.

Google Maps may be the most significant component of any local SEO campaign because it makes your business easily discoverable in local searches.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Company Listed on Google Maps?

Adding your company to Google Maps is entirely free. You only need to create a free Google business profile. You can then add your business to Google Maps to reach more clients.

How to Get Your Company Listed on Google Maps

You can add your business to Google Maps in two ways. The first is to use Google Maps directly, and the second is to use Google My Business.

Step 1: Go to Google Maps and search for your company.


Go to and type in the name of your company in the search field. If your company appears, it is already listed. Because anybody may add a business to Google Maps, yours may already be listed.

If your business does not appear in Google Maps results, you will be given the option to “Add a missing place.”

Step 2: Fill in the blanks.


Select “Add a missing spot.” The following window will allow you to submit information about your company. This comprises the name of your company, its category, and its location.

Your company will already be listed on Google Maps at this time. However, until you claim the listing, it will not appear on Google Maps or in the Local Pack.

Step 3: Register your company.


You’ll see a link to “Claim this business” in the following window. This informs Google Maps that you are the business’s owner. As a result, Google will allow you to change any information as needed in the future. You can, for example, include your website, contact information, operation hours, and so on.

Step 4: Confirm the company’s legitimacy.


Google will need to authenticate that you are truly the proprietor of the business as you state in this final stage. Often, they’ll do this through an email-based postcard.


It should arrive within two weeks. Changes to any of the details will result in a new code from Google, which will necessitate a new postcard.

The postcard has a one-of-a-kind PIN that you enter online to verify your business. You must do this within 30 days after requesting the code in order for it not to expire. After verification, it usually takes a few weeks for your business to appear on Google Maps and other Google platforms.

How to Use Google My Business to Get Your Business Listed on Google Maps

Google My Business (GMB), now known as Google Business, is a free service for managing how your business appears on Google platforms such as Google Maps. You don’t need a website to use GMB, although having one helps a lot when it comes to ranking on Google’s search platforms.


Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to getting your business on Google Maps with Google My Business.

Log in to your business account on the Google My Business website. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one here.

Step 2: Look for your company.


Once you’ve logged in to Google My Business, search for your company precisely how you want it to appear in Google. If your company’s name displays with its address, that signifies it’s already on Google My Business. In that situation, you’ll need to claim it and prove that you’re the rightful owner.


If your company does not display in search, select “Create a business with this name.” Now, type out your company’s name precisely as you want it to appear on Google.


GMB setup – enter the name of your company that you wish to appear on Google.

Suffixes such as LLC and Inc. are permitted, but are not required.

Step 3: Select a business category.


On the next page, from a drop-down menu, choose the category that best fits your company. You can also type it in and Google will propose alternatives.

This is critical since it tells Google which local searches should display your business.

Step 4: Determine if Google Maps should display your company’s location.


If your company has a storefront or a brick and mortar site, you’ll probably want Google Maps to route clients and potential consumers to the exact location of your store or shop. In such scenario, when prompted if you wish to add a place, select “Yes.”


Do you have a physical location for your GMB setup?


If, on the other hand, you run your business from home, you’ll undoubtedly want to keep your location confidential. In that instance, selecting “No” makes more sense.

Step 5: Enter your company’s address.


If you want to display your company’s location, enter its address now. If you already selected not to display location, you can skip this step.

Step 6: Look for possible matches.


As previously stated, your company may already be featured on Google Maps and Google My Business. If Google finds any listings that match your address, it will display them.


If the discovered listing belongs to your company, you must claim and validate it. If not, proceed to pick “This doesn’t match.”

Step 7: Determine your service areas.


Does your company serve consumers who live outside of your immediate vicinity? If so, notify Google and proceed.

You’ll be asked to specify the locations you service.

Instead of individual towns and cities, you might choose to enter county names.

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Step 8: Include your contact information.


Enter your company’s phone number and website address. Keep in mind that this is the phone number that will be displayed publicly by Google. As a result, it’s advisable to use your business phone number rather than your personal phone number.


If you don’t already have a website, Google can design a simple one for you. Simply choose “Get a free website based on your information.”

Step 9: Complete and validate your business on Google Maps.


To finish the process, click “Finish.”


You must still prove that you are the owner of the firm as claimed. Google will present you with five verification alternatives. The five are as follows:


  • Google will send you an actual postcard.
  • Email – An email with a verification code will be sent to you.
  • Phone – You will receive a call from Google with a verification code.
  • If you already have a Google Search Console account and a validated website, this option is available.
  • Bulk — Select this option if your company has more than ten locations.

Step 10: Fill in the blanks with your company’s information.


Finally, GMB will let you personalise your business page. This includes entering your business hours, writing a description for your company, enabling messaging, submitting images, and so on.

This is followed by another page where you may add extra information, such as co-managers and a business logo.

Is It Worth It to Advertise on Google for My Business?


Google My Business is well worth the investment. For starters, it adds your company to Google Maps, which improves both physical and online visibility. Second, GMB allows you to present as much information about your company to your customers as possible. Google My Business also allows you to browse and reply to consumer reviews and feedback. At the end of the day, GMB not only increases your customer base, but also your interactions.


Why isn’t my business listed on Google Maps?


If your company listing does not have a location authority, it will frequently not appear on Google Maps. For the business to appear on Maps, you must enable location.

Otherwise, it will only appear on Google Maps if a searcher is standing directly in front of your business when searching for it on Google Maps.


Make Better Use of Google Maps


Google Maps is only the first step in launching a great search engine optimization strategy. It must be combined with a decent website that can be found on Google Search, as well as conscious optimization work, in order to maximise your clickthrough rate and sales.

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Is SEO a Dying Sector?

The same question is posed to digital marketers year after year. ‘Does SEO have a future?’ Is it a dying trade?’


When this rhetoric rears its ugly head at the end of the year, it astounds me. I’m wondering why SEO is getting so much attention. The unequivocal response is no. The SEO industry is not extinct. In fact, I believe SEO will grow in importance over the next 5-10 years. As more firms move to an online model, and as more governments encourage SMEs to learn more about digital tactics, SEO will become more valuable. Digital marketing is a mash-up of numerous channels, and I feel SEO has been and continues to be neglected.


The SEO sector has been tainted with a brush that should have been left in the early 2000s, whether due to a lack of expertise or otherwise.

Why are people claiming that SEO is no longer relevant?

The simple answer is a lack of comprehension. SEO, which was quickly followed by SEO specialists, has become enormously sophisticated. And I understand why. Some aspects of SEO are exceedingly difficult to understand. When you mention faceted navigations or PWAs, the ordinary site or business owner’s eyes will start to glaze over.


These are the topics that lead the general public to feel that SEO is a dying industry. Another factor to consider is that individuals want to rank at the top of Google without having to pay for SEO. I believe that SEO is underappreciated by the general public (IMO). They’re simply too complex for individuals to absorb in a short period of time. The simple alternative is to switch to PPC, social advertising, or email marketing. All of those play a significant role in any SEO campaign.


Likewise, vice versa. SEO is a black art, which I believe should be abandoned. Only a few will be able to use it. It isn’t only for the rich; it’s for everyone. But, like with anything, not everyone has the time, and not everyone is interested in studying it.

Is SEO still relevant?

When the official announcement of COVID and lockdown 2.0 came about, digital marketing (and marketing spending) came massively under fire. However, SEO demonstrated how valuable it could be to an organisation when physical store visits were forbidden. 

The outcomes you can achieve from SEO are sustained by allocating a monthly budget to it. So, if you decide to lessen your on-page SEO or link-building activities, you should expect a drop in organic traffic and ranks. Obviously! So, yes, absolutely,  SEO is especially vital. Even during pandemics, Google will remain the most popular search engine.

Do the major search media outlets make mistakes?

Every journalist has one goal: to get as many people to look at their work as possible. Does this imply that the SEO sector makes mistakes from time to time? Absolutely. It’s the same as any other industry throughout the globe. 


If one popular search outlet publishes an article proclaiming, ‘Is SEO Dead?’ – trends will arise. It’s entirely natural. During these moments, I recommend paying attention to the search engine result pages (SERPs). If you’ve been watching your competition all year, you’ll notice any changes to their SEO approach.


Forbes would not be my first option for determining whether SEO is dead. I’d rather experiment with firms like Search Engine Journal. Alternatively, you can rely on prominent Twitter feeds to acquire the most up-to-date information. You can find the official Google Twitter feed in this article I wrote about the Google algorithm

It's not only about keywords and rankings.

It isn’t, believe me. I know at least 20 SEOs who are experts in extremely specialised areas of search engines and their signals who would disagree with this statement.


SEO is the process of developing a website for a company that solves all of their target audience’s needs. It’s all about the experience, whether it’s with a product or service, or with useful content. Conversions, traffic growth, increased rankings (yeah, it’s a component of it), brand exposure, PR, online authority, and income are the end results of that experience.


You’ll never realise the benefits of SEO if you look at it in isolation. You could, but it’s not the whole picture. SEO has helped millions of businesses thrive online all over the world.

Paid marketing vs. natural search

When the debate over PPC vs. SEO comes up, I always find it fascinating. I won’t go into too much detail concerning PPC vs. SEO because a fast Google search will tell you everything you need to know. But here are my two pence…


SEO and PPC (or any type of paid marketing) should be used in combination, not alone. If you need short-term traffic to a page that you’ve just spent a week creating and optimising for SEO, PPC can help. If you want to gradually eliminate your reliance on paid ads and rely solely on organic visitors, SEO can help.


That brings me to my next point….

Paid search and SEO are linked via KPIs.


What is your primary objective as a marketer? Whether you work for a client or in-house? My goal is to get as many visitors as possible to visit my website or specific pages. What I do should be determined by the best path for growth. Whether I used PPC and paid social in conjunction with SEO, or whether I employed e-mail marketing. It makes no difference.


SEO continues to play a significant role in driving revenue and growth. However, no marketing channel should be considered in isolation. Everything should function as a whole. You’ll obtain considerably better outcomes if you focus on your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs) rather than specific rankings or budgets.

Is Google suffocating the SEO industry?

This is something I can believe in.


Since I began my practice more than 4 years ago, there has been a continuing struggle between Google and SEOs. The power struggle and mystery surrounding Google’s algorithms has long seemed to put SEOs on the defensive. Google has worked hard to improve its algorithms in order to make organic search more credible for users. Google wants consumers to search for a question and get the best answer possible. On the surface, that appears to be quite straightforward.


You’ll win if you create exceptional content that addresses your customers’ questions. You’ll do exactly what Google requests. I wouldn’t have a job if it were that simple. SEO is interesting because of the subtleties of search engines.

However, it is far from dead, and Google is merely attempting to improve the user experience,  whether or not at the expense of an online business. They are unconcerned.

Why isn't SEO a dying industry?

COVID has shown that maintaining your business online might mean the difference between profit and failure. With a significant increase in online commerce, it exposed the companies that invested in SEO and those that did not. This demonstrates that SEO is not dead. It’s just not as popular as Google Ads. Or perhaps Facebook advertisements.


What you should realise is that SEO is an essential component of any digital marketing strategy. Sometimes you don’t realise how/why, which is why SEO and Google’s algorithms education is critical.


Survival Advice


My advice for dismissing headlines that proclaim “SEO is a dying industry” is to simply ignore them. 


Don’t be concerned about what journalists or other SEOs say. Concentrate on what works best for you and your company. Whether you own a small, medium, or large company, there is always room for growth. Is SEO usually the best (or first) option? No. No, not always. But, do I believe it is always present? Absolutely.

SEO's Future

At best, the future of SEO as an industry will be stable, but I expect massive growth in the next 5-10 years. SEO will become a more widely understood marketing practise. I anticipate there will be an influx of organisations that want to include SEO into their operations or individuals who want to learn the art of website ranking.


If you’d like to schedule a 15-minute chat with me, I’d be happy to show you how SEO may improve your business.

How does the Google Algorithm Work?

Google’s search algorithm is one of the most important technologies ever made. 5.6 billion Google searches are made every day, so it’s safe to say Google has a big impact on the world and on your business as well.


But what is the Google Search Algorithm, and how does it work? And, most importantly, how can you get more people to come to your site regardless of it.


This guide tries to make sense of the mysterious Google Search Algorithm trying to answer common questions such as;

  • What is the Google algorithm for search?
  • How does the Google Search Algorithm go about its business?
  • When people search for things on Google, what are the things that make them show up?
  • A note about changes to Google’s algorithm.
  • Where can you find Google’s official news?


People talk about the Google Search Algorithm when they talk about how Google ranks things. Many factors are taken into account when it comes to ranking a website. These include keywords, usability, and backlinks.


SIDENOTE. Google has a LOT of different search algorithms that work together to give the best results. People talk about Google’s search algorithm a lot when they talk about its ranking algorithm, and we think that’s what most people mean when they say that.

How does the Google Search Algorithm go about its business?

Google’s algorithm is very complicated, and it’s not clear how it works. It’s thought that there are more than 200 factors that go into how a website is ranked, but no one knows them all.


There is always a new algorithm, so even if they do, it doesn’t matter. Google usually makes changes to its algorithm six times a day. Up to 2,000 times per year.


Google, on the other hand, does give some tips on how to do well in its search. You’ve just got to stay with your finger on the pulse!

When people search for things on Google, what are the things that make them show up?

What comes to mind when you think of a “search algorithm” when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO)? In other words, how does Google decide which pages to rank and in which order?


If we look at Google’s “How Search Works” page, we can see some of Google’s most important ranking factors:


  • Backlinks
  • Freshness
  • When someone talks about a certain word,
  • A user’s experience
  • Subject matter experts

Let’s break these thing down a bit…

First, there are back links.

Google wants to show pages where “well-known websites on the subject” link to the page. In simple terms, it wants to see backlinks from well-known websites that are also relevant to your topic.


Link building is what you do to get these links, and it’s one of the most important things you can do to get Google to trust and show your site. This has always been the most important thing for Google to look at when deciding whether or not a site is trustworthy.


The backlink profile of your page and the backlink profile of your competitors can help you figure out if links are keeping your content from getting more traffic.


The first thing you need to do is enter the URL of the page you want to rank into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. You’ll see how many backlinks and referring domains (websites that link to your page) it has. If you visit the site explorer you can see a demo on how it works.


Once you’ve done that, go to Ahref’s Keyword Explorer and enter the main keyword you want to rank for on that page into the search box. Then, scroll down. You’ll find the SERP overview section, where you can see how many backlinks and referring domains your competitors have. You can also see how many backlinks and referring domains your own site has.


The more backlinks that your competitors’ pages have, the more likely it is that you need to focus on getting more links to rank above them.


Here are some ways to start building links:

  • Guest posting.
  • Making things that can be linked to (“linkable assets”)
  • Links that don’t work (AKA “broken link building”)




In order to learn more about the backlink landscape of your keywords and what kind of links you need to rank, look at what domains your competitors have that you don’t. This will help you figure out what kind of links you need in order to rank. In Ahrefs, type in the top three competitors for your target keyword into its Link Intersect tool, and your page into the “But doesn’t link to” box.


In the “Show link opportunities” box, hit “Show link opportunities.” You’ll see all the sites that link to other pages but not yours. These are the first places you can try to get links from.

Expertise in the field (AKA “Topical Authority”)


If a lot of people like a site for a certain type of search, Google wants to show it. Those are the sites that have more, important information about queries that are related to the one being looked for.


People “seem to value” backlinks, but Google doesn’t say what it means. We’re safe to say that topical backlinks are a part of it. So in addition to writing a lot of related content, you also need to get links from sites that are relevant to your topic.


Suppose you want to rank for “best protein powder.” If people also come to your site for content on topics like the following, Google may be more likely to rank you for it!


  • Best time of day to eat protein
  • Is it OK for pregnant women to have protein powder?
  • How is protein powder made?
  • What are the benefits of protein powder


In addition to having content on these topics, you should also try to get backlinks to the content that are relevant to them.


Google and its users may think you’re an expert on the subject if you write a lot of related content and link to other content that’s relevant to the subject. This could help you get more traffic from search engines. There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to how your site is going to be ranked.

Fresh is best!

“Content freshness” refers to how “fresh,” or up-to-date,” the content on your site is. When did it last get updated?


This factor is more important for some queries than others. Search engines like Google usually put results that have been published in the last 24 hours at the top of the list when people search for news.


It doesn’t matter if you search for a topic that doesn’t need to be updated very often, though. Things like “storage units”


The reason for this is that good storage unit needs today are a lot like they were two years ago. So it doesn’t make as much of a difference how recently it was written or how old it is. If you write a guide like this one you’re currently reading, it is called “evergreen content.” That is, content that won’t need to be changed very often, or for a long time.


When you’re trying to figure out how important freshness is for the keywords you want to target, you should always look at the SERPs for that keyword. Is Google seemingly giving more weight to new content? If so, you’ll need to keep the piece up-to-date to have any chance of staying at the top.


When someone mentions a certain word (“keyword mentions”)


It’s one of the things Google looks at: “the number of times your search terms show up on the page you want to rank.”


If you can, try to use your exact keyword several times on the page, including in places like:


  • The page name/title.
  • Subheadings -you must have at least one of them.
  • The page’s web address, its URL
  • The first paragraph.


However, I don’t think you need to worry about keywords after that. This is because you’ll naturally use the keyword you’re trying to rank for in your content as you write about it.


The words “evergreen content” appears many times in my post on evergreen content even though I didn’t do anything to make this happen. It just…comes out in natural “conversation”.


Instead, pay more attention to making sure your page meets the searcher’s needs and answers their question. In other words, make sure that you’ve covered everything that searchers might want to know about your site.


In its “How Search Works” page, Google emphasises how important this is. This is why…


A lot of people don’t want a page with the word “dogs” all over it. That’s why, when algorithms look at a page, they look for other things that are related to the word “dogs,” like pictures of dogs, videos, or even a list of dog breeds.


To do that, you can use Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool to find subtopics of a given keyword that you should talk about on your page. Click “Content Gap” on the left. Plug your site into Site Explorer, then click “Content Gap.”


Next, go to Google and search for the keyword you want to target with your page. Pull the top three to five URLs that match the goal of your page (e.g., if your page is a blog post, choose other blog posts).


So that you can see what keywords are used by your competitors, plug in their URL(s)…. Then, click “Show keywords.”


Plus, when you do this kind of content gap research, you might also come up with ideas for new articles that are related to the one you’re working on.

The user experience


Whether the page has a good user experience is what Google says it is interested in. But what makes for a good user experience?


There are a lot of things that make up user experience (UX), like the following:


  • The speed at which a page loads (Google recommends under two seconds)
  • Interstitials like ads or pop-ups aren’t taking over the screen
  • Internal links and navigation that are easy to use
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • The design of the site itself
  • Having a meta title and description that match search intent (meta tags etc)
  • And so on…


Speed has become more important to Google in the last few years. In the summer of 2021, Google made a big change. CWV (Core Web Vitals) is a kind of speed test that Google has made more important.


Using Ahrefs’ Site Audit, plug your site in, and then click on the “Performance Report” tab. You can check your CWV and learn how to improve your site’s performance. CWV scan must be turned on in the setting. At the top of the report, you’ll see a note about this.



Make sure CWV can use the Google API. Then run another scan of your site. When it’s done, you’ll get a report that shows which pages need work and which pages have mistakes.


When you click on the number next to “Needs improvement” or “Poor,” you can see those pages. There is a tool that will show you which pages don’t meet the Lighthouse Score or the CrUX performance. These are page speed scores from the CWV report.


If you want to learn more about how to make your site better for users, contact me for a more in-depth chat

A note about changes to Google's algorithm.

Google changes its algorithm almost every day, and it releases major updates two to three times a year that can have a big impact on how well your site is ranked.


Things change. If you don’t know what Google is looking for when it comes to ranking your site, you might not be able to get on the first page of the search results and could even have your site penalised!


Some of the most important Google changes are:


  • Update on Intrusive Interstitials
  • Mobile-First Indexing (also known as “Mobilegeddon”)
  • RankBrain
  • Panda
  • Penguin
  • Hummingbird
  • Pigeon

This is FAR from an exhaustive list – these are just the main ones I’ve encountered where clients have typically had major issues!

Where can you find Google's official news?

There are a lot of different ways that Google tells people about changes to its algorithm, here’s just a couple that I use to keep up to date, and be able to advise clients properly…



If you want to stay up to date on what Google is doing with its algorithm, it also has regular office hours called Google Search Central, which you can sign up for. There, people like John Mueller, a senior webmaster trends analyst for Google, will be able to answer your questions right away.

The last thing…

There are a lot of moving and complicated parts to the Google Search Algorithm, and it changes all… the… time! However, its main goal of giving the best results for a search query hasn’t changed at all.


In spite of all of Google’s changes, the basics of SEO haven’t changed much since search engines first came out. If you pay attention to the information you learned about in this article, you will be able to get on the SERPs eventually!


In short:


  • Content that is high-quality and well-formatted should match the search intent of your keywords.
  • When you write something, make sure it’s up to date.
  • Make sure your site is easy for people to use.
  • Build links that are relevant to the subject at hand, not just general links.

According to Google, these are the things it looks for in a search algorithm.


Feel free to share this with whoever needs to read it, and if you’d like more help with your own SEO, feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to share my expertise!

How to Use Surround Sound SEO

You’re probably familiar with “Surround Sound” audio, which refers to the effect generated by multiple speakers configured to create an immersive sound experience, making you feel like you are inside the action. That’s a large part of what makes watching a movie in a theatre special!


Part SEO, part PR, you can use Surround Sound marketing to envelop your potential customers in information about your brand all along the path of the decision-making process, making your brand the obvious choice when they’re ready to buy. 


What Is Surround Sound SEO?


The term Surround Sound Marketing, coined by HubSpot, refers to a strategy that prioritizes being found in as many of the top-ranking pages as possible versus simply getting your own domain to rank at the top of the results. 


In other words, the goal is to make sure your brand is visible every time someone searches for a relevant keyword, and for potential customers to see your business mentioned in as many of those top-ranking pages as possible—even if those pages are not on your own domain.


So, Surround Sound Marketing Involves:

Figuring out where your customers go online while making a decision to purchase.

Finding a way to appear on as many of those destinations as possible.


Why Use a Surround Sound SEO Marketing Strategy? Surround Sound marketing enables you to be everywhere your customers are searching online. 


Get Found in SERPs.


Traditional SEO prioritizes getting our own content to rank. With over 4 million blog posts published daily, gaining a top spot in the search results for important keywords can be tough. Sometimes it’s near impossible.  The great news is that you don’t need to own those top spots in order to succeed, you just need to be included in the existing top pages!


Take a look at the top organic results for “best meal delivery services.” Not one of the top results is owned by a meal delivery service company. The competition is just too great. Instead, we see results from large publications such as NBC, CNET, and Good Housekeeping. 


You will not outrank them.


What you may be able to do though, is to convince these publications to include a mention and a link to your website on those pages of theirs that do rank for the applicable keywords. Now you’re starting to achieve SERP coverage without your website ever directly appearing in those top results.


Surround Sound marketing helps you identify potential gaps in search coverage and pursue new growth opportunities.


Buyers Are Doing Their Research – Be Where They Are


Studies show that people visit an average of three websites before making a purchase. And the more websites they visit before making a purchase, the more they are likely to spend. Think back to the last few purchases you made. Did you do one Google search and choose the first result you saw? Did you go directly to a brand site and buy? Or did you ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations, search for reviews and review articles, check Amazon for top-reviewed products, and check social media posts and comments for the brand and product you were considering?


If one brand shows up in all of those steps (in effect being endorsed by 3rd-party sites) how much more likely are you to choose it over a brand that only appeared once along the way? This is your goal—be everywhere they’re looking.


Be Seen Repeatedly

One of the oldest teachings in modern marketing tells us that people need to be exposed to your brand messaging an average of seven times before they make a purchase. And while the actual number of interactions or brand messages required varies, Surround Sound marketing greatly increases the number of opportunities buyers have to see and engage with content about your brand. 


Get Trusted Sources To Talk About You


Consumer trust in brands is waning. A 2021 study found that only 34% of 1,000 consumers polled said they trust the brands they use, while 81% said that trust is a deciding factor in purchase decisions. What consumers DO trust is unbiased 3rd-party information. This is what you’ll be building when you use Surround Sound Marketing.


Ad Costs Continue To Increase


In July of 2021, Business Insider reported that Facebook and Instagram CPM (cost per thousand impressions) rose 89% year over year. YouTube CPMs also reportedly increased an incredible 108%. As targeting options and audience size decrease with new regulations and increased competition, this trend is likely to continue.  Ads also present a trust challenge. Only 19 and 38 percent of people surveyed say they trust social media and search engine advertising. 


Surround Sound Marketing Works

HubSpot coined the phrase “ Surround Sound Marketing” and implemented it for their own brand. Over a period of seven months, they gained an increase of over 40% in their SERPs coverage for the keywords they targeted. What would that kind of increase mean for your business?


Building on Rented Land?


What about the argument that you “shouldn’t build your house on rented land”? That’s all well and good if you have buyers showing up at your house in droves. Otherwise, it pays to meet them where they are! Maintaining your own “house” is still important, but with Surround Sound marketing you’ll also make sure that people can find you wherever they’re looking.


Who Should Use a Surround Sound Marketing Strategy?


Many businesses benefit from more coverage in keyword search results, but the Surround Sound strategy becomes practically mandatory if:

  • Your business is new 
  • Resources for content and content distribution are limited
  • Your industry is competitive


This strategy works for local businesses, and brick-and-mortar businesses (small and large). Early results show that it works well for D2C (Direct to Consumer) and SAAS (Software as a Service) companies, too.


How to Create a Surround Sound SEO Strategy


There are several important steps to creating a Surround Sound marketing strategy but the good news is, you likely have much of the work done already. Let’s get into it! 


  1. Map Out Your Personalized Buyer Journey

Understanding your customers’ unique buyer’s journey is key to showing up just when they need you. This buyer’s journey can typically be broken down into three stages, and you want people to be able to find you at every stage. That said, Surround Sound marketing is especially useful in the consideration and decision stages.


Awareness: The stage where a prospect is determining that they have a need or a problem that’s related to what you sell. At this time, they’re not looking for solutions, just figuring out the extent of their problem. 


Be a reliable source for information, creating valuable content that focuses on the problem. If you can easily acquire mentions on popular pages for these keywords, by all means do so. However, these keywords tend to be a bit removed from the decision stage. Search example: “how to eat healthy with no time to cook.”


Consideration: The stage where your buyer is committed to researching all the available solutions to solve their problem. 


You want to be found in as many of these information sources as possible. Get mentioned in content about the solution. Search example: “Meal delivery services.”


Decision: The end point of the journey when a prospect has narrowed down the list of solutions, and they are looking for confirmation that they’re making the right choice. 


Make sure you are mentioned in content that answers your customers’ questions about your product or service. Search example: “Best meal delivery services.”


  1. Determine Where Your Customers Are Searching for Solutions

When it comes to figuring out where you need to appear, there is no substitute for asking your existing customers where they heard about you. 


If they don’t remember, you can ask something like, “Where do you go or who do you listen to when you’re researching or deciding on a solution for xxxx?” You’ll likely hear about podcasts, social media platforms, blogs, and other publications that they trust. A simple survey tool such as Typeform makes it easy to collect and analyze this information. You’ll want to appear in all those places from their first search through to the recommendation or review that finalizes their decision.


  1. Find the Keywords You Should Target


Identify the keywords your potential customers use when making a decision to purchase. There are three types of keywords to consider:

Variations on your product or service – “Meal planning,” “meal prep services,” “meal delivery service,” might be some examples.

These are the kinds of words you would use to ask your friends, search on Amazon, or when looking for products on Google

Review and list keywords -“Best meal delivery service,” “best meal prep options 2022,” “highest-rated meal delivery,” for example.

You could also tie in some of your unique features or value propositions, such as “best meal delivery service for vegans,” “most affordable meal prep service,” or “best kid-friendly meal delivery service” Alternatives to something they may have considered or used already—“best Green Chef alternatives”


You could use the Semrush Keyword Magic tool to find related terms and variations with high search volume. This tool also allows you to filter by intent (here we see keywords with a commercial intent). Create a spreadsheet or an Airtable and list your keywords, monthly search volume, and difficulty score.


“Best Meal delivery service” has a keyword difficulty score of 85, which means that without a substantial effort in content promotion, SEO, and link building, you have very little (to no) chance of ranking for this keyword. 


HOWEVER—you’re not trying to rank your own site. You’re trying to get the existing top-ranking sites to mention you. With Surround Sound marketing, you CAN target that keyword.


Prioritize Target Keywords


Not all keywords are created equal! Appearing in 40 results for a keyword with 100 monthly searches is not nearly as useful as appearing in 10 searches for a keyword with tens of thousands of monthly searches!


To account for this, subtract your visibility score from one and multiply it by the monthly searches (“volume”) for each keyword. This spreadsheet will do that for you. This represents your additional SERP coverage potential opportunity for that keyword. 



If you appear in 15 of the top 20 search results for “best meal delivery service,” which keyword has an average of 33,000 monthly impressions, you’ll divide 15 by 20 and then multiply by 33,000. That gives you an opportunity score of 24,750. 

Compare that to “best meal kit delivery service” where you appear in 10 of the top 20 results and the average search volume is 4 thousand monthly. That looks like (1-.5)*4,000 for an opportunity score of 2,000. Sort your results by opportunity and start with the highest numbers.


  1. Identify the Specific Pages Where You’d Like to Be Mentioned


Here you’ll be identifying pages that link to your competitors and NOT to you. Determine How Well You Rank for Those Important Keywords Today

To check your rankings manually, do an incognito Google search for each keyword. Open the top 20 pages and search for mentions of your brand and links to your domain. In your spreadsheet, enter the number of mentions you find, whether the page includes a link to your site, and whether or not your competitors are mentioned. The spreadsheet will calculate your visibility score (% of mentions in the top 20 SERPs).


This is a pretty tedious step, but vital to the process. It’s a great task for a virtual assistant. Keeping your keyword list pared down will also save you time. Surround Sound marketing is even easier with our new tool, aptly named Surround Sound! Get access here or apply for a free Surround Sound strategy session.


What If Your Brand isn’t Mentioned in the Top 20 Results?


We all start from zero, so if that’s what you’re seeing, don’t lose hope. This just means that your possibilities are endless! And starting from nothing means that every new SERP exposure can be tremendously impactful.


Sentiment Matters – What If Some of the Mentions Are Negative?


Maybe your competitor published something unflattering. Or perhaps a product review was posted before you refined it to its current state. There’s not much you can do about competitor content aside from outranking them in search results. Fortunately, you know how to do that now.


For a fair negative review, whether in a blog post or on social media, see if you can start a conversation publicly or via email. Apologize for their less-than-ideal experience and offer to let them try (for free) your new and improved product. They may be willing to update their review if they have a better experience this time.


  1. Get Top-Ranking Publications to Mention You

As you’re evaluating the pages where your competitors appear but you do not, you’re likely to spot some patterns. Many of the sites and pages are likely to be:

  • Review sites
  • List articles
  • Shopping sites
  • Social platforms
  • Big publishers


If you want a busy marketer who is in charge of a blog, online store, review site, or social presence to consider your request, you’re going to need to provide value. Some ideas that may get their attention (and cooperation) include:


Offering to send free products. You may even send more than one person would need—giving them the pleasure of sharing. This is often the most compelling offer.

An offer to promote their content or engage in mutually-beneficial co marketing.

Offering to write content for their site. When it’s well written, doesn’t need editing, and provides value to the reader, marketing teams love free content! Just make sure it’s better than the page they have that mentions your competition so it can outrank that page.


Sending an email or social media message out of the blue might not be the best way to engage with the people in charge of these sites. You can warm up your targets on social, engaging with their content in an authentic way that adds value. When the time is right, send an email or direct message with your offer, but make sure it is obvious that you have researched them and you understand their goals and needs. Make your offer/ask, but also invite them to get on a 15-minute call so you can find out exactly what they’d like to get from you. You may have to send more than one email or message to get their attention. 


Get creative and try to avoid “I’m bumping this to the top of your email,” subject lines, as they may have an effect opposite to that desired. HubSpot has some great resources for writing effective outreach emails.


Keep track of the emails you send to each company in a CRM or your handy Airtable or spreadsheet. And of course, keep track of partnerships scored and make sure to follow up regularly to keep it active.


Fore more information on how to benefit from surround sound SEO, drop me a line!

The Reality of Duplicate Content

Don’t let the gleaming new material you worked so hard to create fade away. Here’s everything you need to know about duplicate content and how to avoid it. The dreaded “duplicate content penalty” is one of the biggest SEO misconceptions.

Do you want to learn an SEO secret?

The term “duplicate content penalty” is a misnomer. You will never receive a warning from Google Search Console informing you of a duplicate content penalty. However, just because your site has the same or similar material on several pages or even multiple sites doesn’t mean it’s not being penalised. When Google comes across the same content on a site – or numerous sites – its algorithm determines which content to rank.

Google appears to rank the erroneous content in the vast majority of cases. And if that happens, the gleaming, valuable information you toiled over might as well vanish as Wonder Woman’s jet.

What Is Duplicate Content and How Do I Avoid It?

Duplicate content is exactly what it says on the tin. When the same copy appears on two or more web pages, this is known as duplication. Duplicate content can arise on your own site or on a site that you don’t have control over. Items like footers and other text that makes sense to be on numerous pages are not considered duplicate content. Because of pagination – or how your website is designed – Google recognises this content isn’t the “core” of what you’re attempting to express.


You should look for duplicate content.


Even seasoned SEOs, I’ve discovered, rarely check for duplicate material unless at the start of the process – during Technical Discovery. This is a blunder. Someone scraping your site and posting your content as their own can result in duplicate content. It also happens on websites since unique content is difficult to come by, and it’s often faster to merely cut and paste content for comparable pages. Setting up a routine to check for duplicate material is a good idea. Some programmes check duplicate information on a regular basis and give an alert when it is discovered.


Monitoring for Duplicate Content


There are a variety of tools for checking for duplicate content. Three separate tools are used;


Semrush is our first choice – The site audit report in Semrush looks for duplicate material, but just on the domain. As a result, we employ a second programme to keep track of duplicate content and other portions of the Internet.

Copyscape has shown to be the most effective, but there are many more options.

We also use Grammarly, which has a fantastic Chrome extension for quick site scans.

The majority of the tools are intended for use by teachers etc and others who need to check for plagiarism. These tools aren’t specifically designed to discover “duplicate material,” yet they do a terrific job of it.


Is There a Limit to How Much Duplication Is Acceptable?


The major search engines, as far as I’m aware, have not defined what constitutes duplicate material. Many SEO professionals have sought to clarify the difference between similar and duplicate content. I still want the all material be at least 30% distinct from the rest of the copy.

For this, I use an ancient “keyword density” programme. Several technologies compare two bits of content and calculate the duplicate percentage

You should be able to locate one that works for you by searching for “duplicate content checker” or “keyword density tool” on Google.


How Do I Get Rid Of Duplicate Content?


It should be simple to fix duplicate content once you’ve discovered it. All you have to do now is make your content stand out. However, it is more complicated than it appears. We’re all aware that Google favours content that demonstrates knowledge, authority, and trust, or EAT. The rewrite can be stiff when a writer edits identical content they’ve written. It’s simple for duplicate text that has been corrected to resemble a 5th-grade book report in which the student simply rewrote what was in the Encyclopedia Britannica. To avoid duplicate content difficulties, it’s usually best to have a writer who isn’t the original author of the content.


One piece of advice: don’t show the content that needs to be rewritten to the new writer.


Allow the next writer to start from the beginning. This nearly ensures that the new duplicate will be one-of-a-kind.


Advanced Content Duplication Removal


Fixing duplicate content concerns on sites with a lot of it can be tough. In ecommerce environments where products are identical, we frequently find a lot of duplicate material. I recommend that you avoid using automatic solutions to fix duplicate material on huge websites. These automatic methods frequently produce illegible pages that do not convert, which is something no one wants. My recommendation is to identify each page and assign other authors to rework pages that they did not write. If that’s not possible, rewrite any duplicate content on category pages at the very least. If you don’t have the time or money to edit every page, having your category pages properly set up provides you the highest chance of making a sale. When this happens, we notice that category pages rank slightly higher and that conversions occur on category pages.


Duplicate content on product pages may or may not rank.


And even if they do rank, it’s possible that they won’t stay there if Google gets confused and doesn’t know which piece of material to rank. It may take a long time to fix thousands of pages with duplicate content. It’s tempting to utilise automated solutions to resolve duplicate content issues, but resist the urge. Take the time to go over the site with a professional writer and come up with original, authoritative material for each page.

However, keep in mind that not every product description needs to be written in Pulitzer-winning prose. In almost every scenario, being clear on product sites converts better than attempting to be witty or cute. The most important thing I’ve learned about removing duplicate content is to hire new authors.


It is always effective.


For more info on how to work with (or without!) duplicate content, feel free to drop me a line!

What to ask when appointing an SEO Consultant

We all know we need to do more for SEO – making our websites stand out and giving Google everything that it needs to put us forward as a reliable and trustworthy solution for our target audience. And with an SEO consultant, all of that and more can feel achievable.

But what should you look for in an SEO consultant, to help optimise your recruitment services and ensure that your adverts for both candidates and clients are being seen by the right people?

The importance of SEO

First thing’s first, why might a recruitment business like yours need an SEO consultant in the first place?

Organic search is a key area of business growth and success online, as it uses the website’s content and usability to rank it and present it to a captive target audience group. An SEO consultant can help you to transform the way your business is interpreted by search engines, putting focus on the copy and features which support a high SEO ranking, and changing things which aren’t working.

While an SEO consultant may need time to get to know your business as they are not a formal employee, the benefit of a consultant is that they will bring a wealth of experience to your business. That is, if you find one that’s worth investing in (like us!)

Here’s how working with a consultant can benefit your recruitment agency.  

The benefit of working with a recruitment SEO expert

When it comes to my clients, all of them know what to do when a company is engaged in their services and when candidates come knocking. They are experts in moving candidates through the recruitment process, and in ensuring that a client’s vacancies make it to the right platforms and job sites.

But when it comes to marketing themselves, it can often be a different story. When your business lies in working alongside and within other businesses, it can be easy to put your own marketing on the backburner – with SEO dropping as each day passes without a new content update or keyword check.

When you work with an SEO consultant, all of the hard work you do for your clients becomes part of your overarching marketing campaign for your own services. It allows you to focus on the great service you provide, without impacting your own online presence and ability to reach and connect with new clients and customers.

Now that you know the value of an SEO consultant, here’s what to ask in order to find the right one.

The questions to ask an SEO consultant

The following questions will help you in identifying the competency, success rate, potential plans and ideas, and the approach of each SEO consultant (not to mention their cost and the handover process upon completion of the project).

What SEO tools do you use?

This isn’t just about the tools they use, but the way they use them and how they put different tools to the test in delivering great results. The more they can tell you about their chosen tools, the more experience they have with them.

What do you do best?

Simple, straightforward, and eye opening. By asking an SEO consultant what they do best, you start to unpick their experiences and their own skillsets – giving you a better idea of what they do well themselves, and what they might outsource. Not to mention, when you know what each potential consultant does best, you can be sure to work with the one which best matches your business.

How can your work impact my business, and how soon will I see results?

A good consultant will outline the various touchpoints that their work will affect, including the organic traffic to your site, conversion rates, the creation of a cohesive marketing strategy, PR and content creation, and increased online exposure through your website and social media / other platforms.

If an SEO consultant has a strong track record, then they will understand the benefit of their work not just in terms of figures but in relation to how they nurture a strategy that will withstand the test of time.

What has been your biggest success to date?

Not only is this a great question for highlighting the success rate of the consultant, but it also gives you some insight into how they operate and what they value in terms of the way they partner with and support different brands and businesses.

What kind of SEO reporting can I expect to see from you?

This touches on both regular updates and the overall report at the end of the partnership and helps to set expectations for both parties. If the SEO consultant doesn’t immediately have an answer to this question, or if they don’t directly ask you about the way you want to be updated and the reports you want to see, then this is a red flag. Any great service involves reporting, and a strong consultant will want to deliver the information you need in a way which works for you.

How much do your services cost?

The final question – and it’s a big one. After all, recruitment SEO services can deliver the very best consultant candidates right to your door, but if you can’t afford their services or you are limited by your budget in terms of the timeline you can give them, it’s not a worthwhile investment of time or money.


Finding the right SEO consultant for your business can be a gold ticket to success – but before you can start capitalising on their experience and knowledge, you first need to be sure that you’re working with the right person. Asking the above questions will help you to ensure that the next steps you take are benefitting your business success and growth.


Entity-Based SEO: Everything You Need To Know

There’s no denying that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most complicated aspects of digital marketing. It’s not helped by the fact that SEO keeps changing over time, with Google bringing out new ranking factors and ways of organizing the billions of sites on the web.


With that in mind, you might have heard about something called entity-based SEO. What does this mean and what else do you need to know about it? Needless to say, it’s a crucial aspect of the modern SEO strategy, so you need to know as much about this topic as possible. This guide will walk you through everything you need to understand:


What is entity-based SEO?

Previously – and we’re talking about the very early stages of SEO – keywords were the main thing used to rank websites. Google would look at how many keywords and synonyms were on your site, ranking you based on similar keyword searches. The more keywords you had, the better you’d perform. 


Nowadays, Google has moved away from solely relying on keywords. Instead, context is now a huge part of SEO, helping users find exactly what they’re searching for. You see, the problem with keywords is that, on their own, they provide absolutely no context behind what someone is searching for. A good example is someone searching for ‘Georgia’. On its own, Georgia can relate to so many different things – is the person searching for info on the state or the European country? Do they want to find information on a person called Georgia? There are countless options that can be considered if you look for further context behind the search. 


Adding context to keyword searches is, effectively, what entity-based SEO is all about. Instead of just looking at keywords, Google uses SEO entities. 


What is an SEO entity?

Google defines entities as:


“a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined, and distinguishable.”


In more simple terms, it relates to pretty much anything: 


  • People
  • Places
  • Colours
  • Dates
  • Concepts
  • Companies
  • Events

The list is endless, but each entity is distinct and independent of all others – and of keywords. From an SEO standpoint, an entity is basically a subject that you can link to the knowledge graphs of search engines. If you’ve done a bit of research into this topic before, you’ll know that Google used Wikipedia as a primary trusted seed for its Knowledge Graph. What this means is that you can basically call an entity a subject that can be attached to a Wikipedia article page. So, if you look something up on Wikipedia, it will have a subject or category, which is basically what an entity is in the SEO world. 


An even simpler way of breaking it down is by saying that entities are basically the topics relating to keywords. However, the entity itself must link to a knowledge graph that has information and data across the web. A knowledge graph makes it easier for search engines to scan your site for information. 


How is entity-based SEO beneficial?

From both the marketer and the consumer standpoint, entity-based SEO has its benefits. Consumers will be directed towards the most relevant topics and websites for their searches thanks to entities. Going back to the Georgia example, if someone were to type this into Google, the dropdown box would already present a series of suggestions based on different entities. It can show famous people called Georgia, as well as the country of Georgia, and various information on the state in the US. Plus, if someone were to add ‘things to do in’ before Georgia, they’d get searches that showcase everything you can do there. This is because all of the websites include entities that let Google know they are talking about Georgia the place and what people can do there. 


For marketers, entity-based SEO gives you a chance to categorize your business better than ever before. You can attach entities to your brand, providing more context behind it and allowing you to use more keywords. If Google knows that your brand name is attached to the ‘business’ entity, you can start using keywords linked to what you sell. This is why companies like Dell can be found when people search for laptops or computers. You can also connect your business to specific place entities, ensuring that only people within that location will find your content. It’s useful when the area you work in has the same name as other places around the world. 


In summary, this whole idea lets you refine your SEO strategy to be found by the right people and grow your presence. 


How do you implement entity-based SEO?

For starters, it revolves around your content and the words you use in the text. You can call upon lots of words and phrases that aren’t keywords but add context to the keywords you’re focusing on. As an example, let’s say your business focuses on SEM. You know this term to relate to search engine marketing, but it can also be an acronym for scanning electron microscopy, which is an entirely different thing. How will Google know what you’re talking about? By including lots of content revolving around marketing and search engines it is easy to find the right entity and include your pages in results relating to search engine marketing, rather than the other topic. 


Secondly, listing your business online will be a massive help as it defines and creates your entity. Google My Business is a great place to start as Google will instantly recognize your brand and put you in the right category. Other business listing sites will further solidify this, establishing your company name as a business brand and letting you call upon keywords for searches relating to what you do. 


Ultimately, it’s all about adding context to your website. Entity-based SEO goes beyond keywords by helping search engines understand what category to put you in when people search. It’s all built around creating a better experience for the user and finding the most relevant sites for their searches. Yes, it can be confusing, which is why it helps to work with a digital marketing agency to fully understand the process and how you can benefit from it.