Daniel Cuttridge

 

Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Daniel Cuttridge, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

Daniel has been working online for over a decade, first as a web designer and later as an SEO.

After selling his six-figure agency in mid-2018 he scaled his new niche site portfolio to 5 figures in under 6 months.

As a technical SEO consultant, he’s worked with some of the world’s top companies and brands.

He currently runs a 6-month-old community called On-Page Academy where he shares totally free insights and information about all things pertaining to websites and SEO.

I’ve been reading his blogs and you can just tell Daniel loves SEO and emphasizes quality discussions over quantity.

If you have any questions related to on-page and technical SEO, please feel free to pick his brain.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s success and strategies.

3) Please do not PM him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.

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Table of Contents

What are your tips for gaining big clients for a new agency quickly?

Thanks for the question.

I think that my best results have always come with content marketing.

It doesn’t even have to just be SEO specific.

I’ve had SEO content on blogs in the past.

But got in front of other entrepreneurs and businesses by writing “shoulder content” that I knew they would be interested in.

Stuff on productivity was always quite successful, and then I would share it on relevant sub-reddits etc.

Obviously as well as Reddit, LinkedIn is quite good now for getting clients.

But definitely content marketing. When you share that you’re connecting with people instantly.

How do you prefer content marketing to be planned? One should write the blogs on the money site or write the blogs on Medium and give a back link to money site?

I think it depends on your goals, but for me personally I use Medium as I’m not trying to rank those articles.

I think if you wanted to get clients from content marketing.

The best way to do it would be guest posting, as you’ll be borrowing the audience of someone that’s already established!

How do one go about finding good guest posting sites?

I genuinely think that it depends on the industry… In SEO you can prospect on Twitter or LinkedIn pretty easily.

In different industries it’s usually best to do some Googling and find some sites that’d be suitable.

You can also use Ahrefs, SEMRush and other tools to reverse engineer competitors sites for link targets

What’s your process for handling keyword cannibalization?

I think there are two types of cannibalization…

* Soft

* Hard

With soft cannibalization I utilize GSC (Google Search Console) data as they’ll give you the top 300 positions.

Pages ranking for target keywords in the top 300 positions may not be harming your rankings for your target page.

But they make great internal linking opportunities.

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Hard cannibalization is the type where you know that it’s actually harming your rankings.

A lot of people used to argue that having multiple pages in the top 10 is a good thing.

And it’s hard to argue that from a traffic perspective.

https://twitter.com/searchliaison/status/1136739062843432960

We saw Google state that they are going to be doing a site diversity change.

Which means they want to display less listings from the same site in each individual SERP.

This means that old argument goes out the door.

But also makes it harder to identify hard cannibalization going forward.

I use Ahrefs and Google itself for identifying this kind of cannibalization.

Ahrefs is useful here for the historic data it gives us.

I’ve found that fixing this kind of issue is often done best by strategic rewrites of the content.

Identifying the issue though in general is best done with a comparison matrix style table.

This way you can work your way through the potential reasons for cannibalization based on likelihood.

I wrote an article; https://blog.usejournal.com/what-is-seo-cannibalization…

Which goes into a bit more detail about the things people should be checking for when creating a comparison matrix for cannibalization

Are you going to add some content on this page: https://onpage.academy/ ?

I plan on adding a few more free video courses.

But at the moment I’ve mainly been enjoying doing some blogging on Medium!

I wish I could do more at once.

What’s your go-to process for trying to push a stubborn article stuck at the top of the 2nd or bottom of the first to the top 5?

Great question!

The first thing I do these days is check my competitors internal links to their page.

I’m looking at how many they have, how relevant the content is, what the anchor strategy is and if any of those supporting pieces have backlinks.

Obviously you can go super deep down the rabbit-hole when it comes to that, so I usually leave it there.

I’ll adjust my internal linking as needed, and it’s usually good enough to give content a little push if I’ve never done this before for that page.

I like to give things some time, so I usually let this sit for 10 days at least to see what happens.

After that, I’ll usually move on to adjusting things like the page title, headings and term frequency (keyword density some people use instead).

Basically all of the most “powerful” on-page things you can adjust I’ll do those first.

I’ve had great results improving the CTR on pages and seeing SERP movements based off of that.

It’s worth doing if the CTR is low for your target keywords in GSC.

Generally updating and improving the content can help as well.

I usually start building links after all other options have been exhausted.

This process can take months, but your pages will keep moving up if you repeat the process and stay consistent.

What are you using then? For off-site indicator analysis I find ahrefs to be unmatchable. On-site stuff I’m using more SEMrush nowadays. I find SEMrush to be severely inaccurate for scraping comp backlinks though.

Ahrefs, SEMRush, Majestic are the holy trinity

How would you turn keyword research into content production?

I usually research longer tail keywords and broader information keywords.

The strategy is different with both of those.

With the long-tail stuff on my niche sites such as individual reviews I’ll usually focus on just that single keyword.

Not a lot goes into this. I’ll use the full name of the product somewhere in the review,

I’ll also use shorter names and talk a lot about any variations of the product.

The broader informational pieces, I do the “bigfoot strategy” that’s been talked about by Nick Eubanks and others.

This requires a lot more research, and I’ll spend time gathering keywords and topics that I think need to be talked about in that article.

A good example is on some of my sites I break these bigger articles down into sections for the templates I’m using:

– Introduction

– What Is X

– Benefits of X

– How To Choose X

– Best X Products (Or Best X Products For Y)

– Things People Should Know E.g. Side-Effects, Hazards, Prerequisites.

– Frequently Asked Questions

That requires quite a lot of keyword research and general research to give to the writers.

I generally give them a few keywords and further reading links for each section.

Every sites template is a little different, but with those bigger articles I tend to find that some variation of the above works well.

I love those bigger articles as I can rank for a lot of information queries while also still capturing affiliate clicks via the Best X section.

Generally that’s how I’m competing with newer sites these days.

Long-tail reviews and informational intents.

I’m not the most scientific here honestly lol

What are the newest tricks ( if any ) you have seen / used , working perfectly during last couple of years.

Thanks for the question.

I wouldn’t call it a trick, but I’ve definitely seen a big change in focus from link sculpting to crawl sculpting in recent years.

My meaning here is that instead of minimizing links on a page.

It’s far more effective to make it easy for Google to crawl your pages as easily as possible.

A good example of this is pagination.

Rather than having a next/previous pagination on your blog, you’ll get better results in terms of using a 1, 2, 3 .. 6 style navigation.

Google don’t want to spend ages trying to navigate your site. So make it easy for them by reducing crawl depth.

One of my sites I used the 1, 2, 3…6 format of navigation but somehow Google used to rank some of the pages (ie… 20) very highly in the site: results… is this normal? I switched to previous/next to stop it from happening and didn’t notice much of a change in either direction.

Generally I try to prevent those pages from indexing.

The best option is to set them to follow, noindex with the meta robots tag.

Failing that, there’s always a canonical to the /blog/ or “root” page of the blogroll.

Unfortunately Google stopped supporting rel=next/prev and noindex in the robots.txt which means the options are limited.

Hint: Never ever use robots.txt to disallow the page, as this stops the pages being crawled, which is no solution at all.

How do you decide which niche/keyword to go after? What’s your criteria in order to make you go “Awwww yussss, dis the one that’ll make me some solid $$” ? Also (sorry for being greedy), your number 1 tip for a newbie looking to get into SEO?

Thanks for your questions. 1. Since most of my sites have been Amazon based.

I have opted to go for niches where there’s a good deal of products that cost $100 and upwards.

This has to be in a good vertical where the commission rates are good.

I had a network of tech sites, but the commissions are awful.

The other thing I do is make sure to go into a niche where there’s at least some level of passion there.

I think that I find it easier to convert people who are hobbyists. Pets, DIY etc.

2. My number 1 tip for beginners is to simply get out there and focus on the things that will make your site grow.

That’s going to be content and links. Don’t get caught up in the theory and just take action. You can learn the rest later on.

Can you describe your ideal work environment for getting things done? What music is playing? Desktop or laptop?

Awesome questions! I’m a desktop guy.

I mainly use Windows for SEO and Marketing, but also have Ubuntu on a laptop for coding.

I use a left screen/right screen setup. I don’t know if the science is solid.

But I feel like it’s good to try and emulate left/right brain activity on each screen.

Music I love so many different genres, it depends on my mood. Rock, rap, jazz, blues, chillstep, retrowave, folk etc.

I know you do some killer SEO audits but what is it that you do differently that makes your audits so effective? Can you share any insights without giving away the secret sauce?

Thanks for the super question mate!

I think my biggest tip is going to be doing a lot of the process manually.

Tools are great, but they should only supplement the manual process.

I think that it’s important to realize that when you start to become experienced in SEO that the tools developers might actually know less than you.

So there are things tools miss, and ultimately you need to use a bunch of tools, your own tools and your own eyes to get the best results.

When I was running my old agency, we used to do different types of audits on different schedules.

This got us best results, but for general people doing one off audits for smaller sites.

Just do as much of it manually as possible as you’ll learn a lot doing it this way.

Redirecting old domains work?

In my experience it works great if the domains have some power/juice/trust.

If the prices of some sellers are a little high and that’s why you’re hesitating trying it out.

I’d say go and look at GoDaddy Auctions as you can get some bargains there!

Do you strict to a specific category or branch out over time? How’s your experience when you try to expand your site? Meaning for example – you have bunch of pages and reviews etc for a specific category.. And when you publish anything new in that category your site straight shows up in top 20..
Then you decide to expand outside of that category and you find new articles are taking long to show up and rank in postion 80 and above..

I’ve just recently started branching out on some of my sites, and it didn’t really occur to me until a few months ago when I saw a bunch of people doing it in one of my niches.

It seemed to work for them, so I thought why not try it. And it’s working well so far in that niche.

I’m not sure if that’s niche specific or if it applies to most niches.

On the opposite side of the coin, I’ve had sites where I’ve covered a broad selection of topics.

One topic ranks well, the other doesn’t. I find narrowing my focus in those cases helps a LOT.

So it’s really one of those things where you just have to try things and feel confident that you can always undo whatever it is that you did.

Which with content is definitely the case!

What is your preferred method to build strong links to affiliate sites? Strong links = links that will move the needle.

Awesome question.
I like guest posts from relevant sites, with the target pages keyword in the URL or Page Title.

This is something that you can get from a few sellers.

But generally it’s better if you do the outreach yourself as you can never be totally sure what you’ll get from sellers.

Gary Wilson introduced me to this method, he calls it reverse relevance.

It’s what’s given me the best results this year.

As someone who understands things in a more technical way, it makes perfect sense to me and I wish I had thought of it lol

What are your thoughts about press releases potentially moving the needle in regards to rankings (new or old sites, affiliate, ecommerce, etc)? Any value at all from an SEO perspective, despite the nofollow attribute and dupe content issues?

Thanks for the question.

I’m afraid it’s been a while since I used a Press Release.

This is because the last time I used one, probably in 2017 it didn’t move the needle much.

I have seen plenty of proof that NoFollow links can improve rankings though.

So that’s not why I avoid them now. For me it’s just an ROI issue.

I’m curious as to whether some of the new press release services are using canonicals back to the original site to avoid the dupe issue.

If they did I’m sure it wouldn’t be an issue at all!

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I think that’s the question to ask to the providers, and if they can do that on half or more of the sites then you’ll probably be fine to test this out.

What’s the best SILO structure for the national builds? Reverse SILO is a must with breadcrumbs?

Great question.

I think it depends on what you mean by silo. I’ve been doing SEO for a long time now and the actual definition of a silo doesn’t leave a lot for interpretation as the rules are so strict.

That being said I helped someone implement a strict silo on certain parts of their national site a few months ago.

While in other areas they were using a more wikipedia style structure where there wasn’t such strict rules.

I think this might be the future for effective site structure, is using multiple structures on one site but based on the requirements of individual areas.

What would you recommend a local SEO guy to do to rank say a roofing company once he already has a single 2500 word landing page with good on page SEO and good ctr? Once the individual page has good on page done, what is your silo or content strategy from there, and do you have any digrams or videos on this topic? And do you like to link TO supporting pages or FROM?

Thanks that means a lot!

I like to link to and from supporting pages on local sites.

It’s whether or not I’m going to be using a contextual link or not.

I think that breadcrumbs are a great idea on these smaller sites.

I use a structure that I’ll be talking about in future on On-Page Academy that I’ve called Nabla.

It’s basically the opposite of a Silo.

So at the top-level you’re using a broad and shallow structure.

While within the internal links themselves (contextual) you can use silo rules.

I’ve talked about both of these briefly in one of my old articles.

https://medium.com/…/i-improved-my-rankings-by-42-in-10…

Since then I’ve been playing with Nabla Structure more and what I love about is is that it’s really focused on the recurring links on your site.

Leaving you free to do as you wish with the contextual links.

It was so long ago that I did local that it’s hard to say exactly what’s working now.

But I think that site structure is site structure.

So that’d be my first recommendation for smaller sites.

After that just add more supporting content, some good links to the root domain.

Both locational relevance and topical relevance.

I never had any problem ranking local sites taking that approach with links.

But I definitely think that supporting content is low-hanging fruit when it comes to local.

Local sites need more of that than they usually have.

1. How do you plan your internal links strategy when the site is siloed? Are you limiting yourself to link only between posts in the same silo or you don’t care and just links to relevant pages? Personally, I think relevancy is more important and linking strictly in the same silo doesn’t make sense. 2. How important do you think the alt information provided in image tag is important to rank keywords? IMHO, from my tests, alt tag is more important for Google image ranking than for content itself..I tested many times to put some relevant keywords in alt tag or long tail and it has never helped to rank them. From my point of view, I prefer to stay natural and describe the image in the alt tag including my main keyword.. so if I promote the best “headset”, I may describe an image “Man walking with a headset”. I am curious to hear what you have to say about that.

Thanks for the questions dude!

1. I agree with you, I actually don’t do a lot of silo only or strict silo stuff anymore.

I think it used to work a lot better than it does now, and works well “situationally” in 2019.

I want every page on my site to have 5 internal links minimum, and 15 maximum on average. As long as those links are relevant!

In terms of anchor text I do think you can go a lot more aggressive as many people do. But not 100% exact match.

I do 50-75% Exact Match and the rest is just variations, page title, generic etc.

2. I agree with you. I’m no image SEO expert, but these seem to be super important there from what I’ve heard.

James Dooley seems to be the go-to guy for image SEO.

There’s way more to it than just alt tags.

BUT even though alt tags aren’t super important in either realm, they are important enough that you should be doing them.

For adding more relevancy to your supporting pages.. are you considering to link those to relevant external content or you focus only on internal linking?
I never tried it but I am planning to give it a try… not on my money pages but on supporting articles, why not.. Your thoughts?

I externally link all the time, and I think it’s really important.

https://www.rebootonline.com/…/long-term-outgoing-link…/

This old study actually shows their results with it, and a recent Authority Hacker post by Gaël Breton and Mark Webster found similar results (although accidentally).

I’ve even linked out on money pages, I just put the external links at the bottom of my content as ‘references’ to keep them on my page.

Google still finds those links and gives you the relevance.

Which methods brings more sells?

Method 1: Working on reviews only, Like

Product Review

Where to buy Product

Method 2: Answering people question, and giving them solution to their problem and at the end or middle of solution recommending the affiliate products.

Which one works the best and brings a lot of sales according to your experience?

Good question.

I think one of the breakthroughs for me as an affiliate was staying away from the Best X keywords and Best X for Y to focus on Product Reviews on new sites.

For that reason I still do a lot of product review articles now.

They definitely account for most of the income on my sites.

With the second method, I think it works really well.

I haven’t done as many articles as I’d like to with that method.

I mainly capture these kind of keywords as part of larger articles “bigfoot strategy” style.

Those get me a lot of clicks, but don’t convert as well for the specific products being recommended.

That being said, it’d be a mistake to ignore the power of setting the cookie, especially on Amazon etc.

What do you say about Health, Fitness and Beauty Niche? Do people search for product review in these niches? Note: i only do review on products which have a lot of monthly searches. Like Ajmal Review, with Monthly Searches 1k+.

I think for supplements in fitness that people do, but the competition is TOUGH.

In beauty you’ll see people searching for certain products, but it’s usually only the top products so the competition is tough again.

I think that some of the best niches for individual reviews are certain sports and of course any home/garden products. Especially DIY.

You said you prefer ranking for “product name” review rather than best X for Y. isn’t it hard to rank for “product name” review as the competition is fierce and you can even have the very brands ranking for that term? In that case, what’s your strategy for ranking them?

That can definitely be the case, but not always.

This is why keyword research is super important.

I find that you have a lot of SEOs trying to rank for Best X for Y and most of them forget individual reviews.

I’d rather compete with a few ecommerce listings, as those aren’t very relevant results.

Quite often you can outrank the brands who made the product for review keywords, as the intent is totally different.

What sort of things are you doing to optimize content for both keywords and readability by google?

I did a lot of testing around this subject last year.

Generally improving readability didn’t seem to help rankings all that much.

However I still think it’s a good idea as it’s one of those things that acts as a bit of a secondary factor.

In the sense that better content gets better engagement which we know is playing more of a part in rankings today.

http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ is probably the greatest tool I’ve found for this.

think an easy way to see if a search engine can understand it is to use https://cloud.google.com/natural-language/ and see what it’s picking up.

Definitely worth using both!

Lets say you have a site with 200-300 pages of content and the current innerlinking structure is more or less “randomized” aka “lets put 3-5 links” in each post. Sometimes there are many links pointing to the same URL etc. which gives me more reason to believe its all randomly placed yet still somehow related (as the whole sote is). The rankings as a whole are good but not great. How would. you take on sth like this? Remove all innerlinks and start from. scratch? reavalue each an every innerlink?

I know exactly the predicament you’re in.

When I was running my agency we had huge mountains of work to get through, and the best way to do it we found was section by section.

So I would say rework these, but pick one category or selection of articles and go from there.

We would do it like this:

Week 1: Shoes – Internal Links

Week 2: Jackets – Internal Links

Week 3: Shoes – Titles

Etc.

I think that it’s the only way to do it, monitor the results effectively and not do anything too drastic.

Oh and keep your sanity too.

How do you handle blog internal linking on a website? the blog section for a company site?

One mistake I see here is people linking to their service pages from every single blog post.

I think that is a mistake as it’s ignoring relevance, and in many ways seems to actually harm things.

So when I’ve helped people with this, I’ve often had them remove internal links before doing anything else.

In some cases removing pieces of content that had no benefit to the site at all. E.g. No rankings, traffic or internal linking benefit.

The other mistake I see is people ignoring the tiered link building strategy when it comes to internal links.

It can work really well for company blogs… Yet many company blogs, don’t interlink to blog posts.

If you plan 2-4 target keywords for each page, you’ll then be able to look at all of your blog posts and see if any of those keywords are a good fit for that post.

This works much better than trying to fit them in anywhere.

I like approaching it in this way as it makes it easy to systemize, stopping you from getting overwhelmed.

But also helps rankings better than the scattershot approach I see most companies devolve into having.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Would you go as far as to no-follow/remove hyperlinked phone numbers or emails on a particular page (or sitewide)?

I have done that sitewide on a lot of sites.

I quite often do the same thing with social links as you can establish them with schema now.

Google doesn’t need a followed link to make the association. Love Schema

How did you manage to built 5 figure niche website under 6 months?

I went with a shotgun strategy. I built 50 sites between August and December last year.

These were all micro-niche sites (some call it a sniper site) where I focused on 1-5 keywords.

The idea being to get these sites making between $100-$1,000/mo each.

A big part of this was making sure to select the right niches and do the keyword research well.

That actually led me down the path to improving my keyword research process generally.

Which I wrote about here: https://medium.com/…/roi-based-keyword-research…

I used mainly Partial Match Domains. I found that there were a lot of sites available using the word good, which is obviously a synonym of best.

I think that helped me a lot!

So a lot of these sites, most of them were registered with the domain good_.com or good_.co or good_.co.uk (as some sites I focused on the UK because it’s where I’m from).

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Every site had 5 pieces of content to begin with, and were all built very similarly.

With slight variations between each to let me see what was working best.

If the sites indexed well, I would add some more content and then if that helped, I’d add links.

And at that point you’re just doing regular SEO.

Obviously not all the sites worked, but about half of them did.

Today I’m working on around 5 sites actively, and have almost 20 still making me money even though I’m not working on all of them anymore!

*20 Including the 5 I’m working on now.

My focus going forward is bigger sites, but after selling my agency I had capital but no cash flow.

So the smart thing to do felt like going out there and getting income, even if building that many sites wasn’t pretty!

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Why did you choose to blog on Medium vs. your own blog where you could benefit from backlinks and then syndicate to Medium afterwards?

The Medium thing is quite a lucky strategic move that I eventually utilized for growing my group and now simply conveying information to my group.

I actually did used to have a branded blog on https://danielcuttridge.com/ and a lot of the earliest Medium articles were syndicated from there.

For some reason, I found that people didn’t like me sharing links to my content on my own blog.

So I didn’t get much traction, and so I didn’t write more.

“If it sucks, why bother” I told myself.

I decided to turn my branded site into more of a portal, and so just moved everything across to Medium.

All of a sudden people loved the exact same content. I wasn’t treated like a pain in the backside when sharing my content etc.??? Right, lol.

I know it makes little sense, but I roll with it.

Since then I’ve had a lot more success, and even this ‘Pick My Brain’ session has come about in one way or another due to switching where I blogged.

You can actually do the opposite with Medium as well where you take a post, add it to your new blog and set the canonical to wherever you like.

So there’s potential to move it if I wanted to later on!

The last thing I’ll say about why I use Medium is that;

Since a lot of my content on Medium isn’t keyword targeted, and the ones that “are” aren’t intentionally keyword targeted.

It doesn’t matter too much that I’m doing it this way, as it just works for me.

But I think that if someone wanted to build a big SEO blog or publication that this wouldn’t be the right approach at all.

I think a big reason my content is liked by people is because it isn’t keyword targeted.

Unfortunately a lot of bloggers don’t want to touch a subject unless it has >50 monthly searches.

There’s plenty that’s worth talking about in SEO that doesn’t have widespread appeal yet!

Can I rely on one-page seo only or should also buy some links. If you buy some links which type helped your site to rank.

On-Page is like the circuit, and links are the electricity.

You need both to turn on a light!

I mainly use guest posts these days.

Other links work though, but I stick to what I’m comfortable with!

Do you think building a site around a specific product can be sustainable in the long term? For ex. The traffic can be tough and since it is a product based site, most of the content will be reviews. In that case how do you build links and beat the though competition?

When I say product I mean doing a site about a miter saw rather than saws in general.

So it’s not one specific brand product.

You can review 10 brands miter saws etc.

Links wise I’m not building many to these sites at all.

Relevance is a big part of the competitive edge for my micro-niche sites.

But yeah I don’t see it as very sustainable long-term. I don’t advise micro-niche sites as the way forward

But it was a good easy way to build cash flow quickly

I’m working on bigger broader sites now for the most part.

Do you intend to do individual product reviews and best product type posts on these broader sites as well?

Yeah I’m doing a bigger mix of content on the broader sites.

Best X for Y

– Product 1

– Product 2

– Product 3

– Product 4

– Product 5

And have articles for each of those and interlinked etc.

I think that’s a common practice, but basically just focusing on one “pillar” at a time on the bigger sites.

Where I’d make one small site, I’m building ‘multiple’ small sites in one.

So the process hasn’t changed dramatically.

Added in an extra article type and just requires more links etc

I would like to know what is the average monthly search volume (a range) you go for while targeting?

I actually shared a Keyword Traffic Estimator I used for this with my group a while back.

https://docs.google.com/…/1z8ZRmHE9wz10PUV0loR6…/edit…

This helped me get a good idea whether or not a keyword was worth it for the volume based on where I thought I could rank and industry averages for CTR %s.

In general I found that I was targeting individual reviews with 200 searches/mo minimum.

I’d usually do at least one comparison review per site, these would be the ones with the long term view in mind.

More competition, higher searches etc.

Every page usually had dozens of other keywords it’d rank for as well.

I find it rare that a well optimized article ranks for less than 10 keywords.

Usually I wasn’t targeting those, but knew I’d rank for other keywords by targeting the broadest term for that topic.

So if you think you can make money on the main keyword with the traffic estimator.

You’ll definitely get traffic and make money through other keywords as well.

A lot of guys, like Andrej Ilisin.

I later found out cluster all those keywords together as part of their research process to find the total search volume potential for any given topic.

I think that’s a great extra step to take alongside validating individual target keywords

What are the top 3 on page things that you’ve tested with success that aren’t as commonly discussed?

That’s a tricky question as I don’t test for the same reasons a lot of people do.

I’m not nearly as interested in reverse engineering the algorithm as I am in solving my own problems and overcoming hurdles.

I know how to rank, but I’d like to know how to improve my ROI.

So testing goes there which is how I changed my keyword research process which I detailed on my Medium blog.

Entities don’t get discussed nearly as much as they should though, especially how this pertains to your own site strategy.

Optimizing your site as something that is already understood vs something you’re optimizing to help Google understand.

Totally different mindsets and approaches. Wildly different results.

If you were creating a site for say exercise equipment focusing on treadmills, rowing machines and exercise bikes. Would you create a silo for each one, so treadmills would have – individual treadmill reviews, best treadmills for x articles and info articles (how to use a treadmill) and do the same for rowing machines etc keeping them away from each other or approach it in a different way?

I think that with broader sites it can be a mistake to implement strict siloing across the site.

Not because the relevance doesn’t work, it does, although you might miss out on opportunities there.

But because silo creates a deep site structure that Google doesn’t really like from a crawl optimization point of view.

Broader sites tend to be bigger, so harder to crawl to begin with unless your crawl budget is huge.

Chances are, it’s not.

Low crawl depth sites are generally built more like Wikipedia where internal linking is less strict.

So I’d avoid it just because crawl optimization is so important right now.

If you went down a more typical route where you had a category page for reviews of all types of equipment would you be trying to rank the category page or deindex so it didn’t interfere with the keywords from the reviews?

I actually wrote a bit of a guide on what to do with category pages in different scenarios – https://link.medium.com/wEKNLhqVhZ

In your example I’d usually set them to NoIndex.

As far as I have understood you want to put all numbers here side by side : (see screenshot) instead of 1.2.3……34 ? http://prntscr.com/out2yy ? because that’s better readable for the crawl bots?

Yup it’s better for crawlers

How did you manage to create so many articles for all these sites? Can you suggest a great method to be able to get articles like you did.

Multiple writers! I was launching a few sites per week so 10-15 articles per week isn’t too bad.

I’ve been lucky to work with great writers over the years, and have good contacts.

I think that for most people it’d save time to go with a content service.

But with a view of having your own writers eventually as it works out cheaper in the long-run.

I am contemplating moving a blog from a subdomain to /blog/ and wondering what would be the key factors in identifying if that would be a good move going forward?

My main question to this is why?

There are only trade-offs when making decisions.

The upside is future-proofing and the possibility for better rankings?

The downside is that changing the URL Structure in any kind of way can result in a short-term loss of rankings.

I’d say it depends on your traffic and traffic value as to whether the trade-off is worth it!

You can always do the move slowly as well. Adding new content to /blog/ and moving over lower traffic content first.

Just some food for thought

You and I both believe in placing external links to authority pages. What is your process? If you could explain who, how many, and any other tips?

I usually try to link out to 3 pages minimum.

The more academic the better!

The exception I make is Wikipedia as I would rather not link there due to indirectly linking to competitors etc.

It’s way harder to get links on an academic research paper for example.

So those are great in terms of that.

But the domains I link to absolutely have to have some authority.

Other than that, I mainly link these at the bottom of my article to keep the audience on the page.

I also use the URL or Page Title as the anchor text.

It’s worth noting that I think any method works great when linking out, but this is my personal process that I’m using currently.

I have a client I am doing paid search and social media marketing for. The website took a huge hit after the June also update and the SEO has suggested removing the CTA from our blog articles to sound more authoritative. (The CTAs are “schedule a consult” and “ask the doctor”. My question is have you ever heard of this as a method to increase rankings? And why or why not is it a great idea?

Thanks for the question.

I can think of a few reasons why removing those links might help.

But for reversing the drops caused by an algorithm update, it’s probably not going to be the main factor…

Sitewide drops are usually caused by sitewide things.

Most of the recent updates dealing with YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) niches have been broader in what they’ve targeted as well.

So for your CTAs, I would keep it as is, maybe make the links NoFollow if you haven’t already.

Otherwise keep them there as I’ve seen plenty of medical sites that do this with zero problems.

Plus, why mess with your conversions. That just makes things go from bad (algo hit) to worse!

 

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