Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

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

Jason is a digital marketer with 15+ years of experience online.

In 2007, he released an information product titled “Long Tail Traffic Secrets” which was arguably one of the first to discuss long tail keywords.

And the long tail of the search demand curve (a topic he’s still supporting even a decade later as evidenced by recent discussions in this group).

He’s also worked behind the scenes as an operations manager on many projects, including numerous Clickbank #1 sellers, as well as with one of the top white label SEO resellers.

Helping them reach 5 and 6-figure per month revenue goals, and on more than one occasion, managed those businesses to an eventual sale.

For the last 5+ years, he’s been focused solely on SEO, specifically developing processes to manage keyword research, content audits, and SEO audits at scale.

Both for the clients he works with directly and the agency owners he supports on a white label basis.

If you have any questions regarding keyword research, content marketing, SEO audits, and how to create the right processes and systems to manage them, 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.


Table of Contents

Do you feel long tail is a big factor for local business?

Yes, I do.

Google says 15% of all searches are unique and I’ve not seen anything to suggest those numbers are any different for local keyword phrases.

Plus, it’s one of the best ways I know to strive for topical relevance.

For example, a dentist in LA or a dentist in NY who offers invisible braces/invisalign needs to look beyond the core terms like “invisalign dentist new york” or “los angeles invisible braces dentist” and dig into the entire scope of the topic.

Invisalign financing, straightening teeth without braces, cost of invisible aligners, teeth straightening aligners, etc.

As those variants and semantics keywords are closely related to those core terms and can help position them as an authority on the subject matter.

Answer the questions the website visitor has in their mind but hasn’t “spoken” or “written” to Google yet.

Prefix1 Prefix2 Keyword1a Keyword1b Suffix1 Suffix2 Suffix3. Have you found any prefixes working much better than others? E.g. Top, best, #1, Cityname?

Great question.

Yes, there are definitely patterns.

In some cases, those patterns appear broadly across numerous niches/topics (best, reviews, top, fast, cheap, etc) while in others they’re more specific to the niche.

For example, the most common variants around the topic of educational toys are by age (educational toys for 6 month old baby, educational toys for 4 year old boys).

Age group (educational toys for preschoolers, educational toys for toddlers), and the desired learning objective (reading toys for 3 year olds, educational science toys).

In comparison, the most common variants around the topic of portable record players are related to bluetooth (victorola portable bluetooth turntable).

Speakers (record player with built in speakers), and type (vintage portable record player, suitcase record player).

After running through the initial keyword research to find those terms and the common variants.

I use the concatenate function in Google Sheets or Excel to create unique variations based on those root terms.

Otherwise, I’ll use the “Merge Words” tool from Keyword Keg.

But that forces you to use 3 separate root words and sometimes I need less than that, while in others I need more.

Are you putting all these variants in the same article or writing separate 1000+ word articles for each?

Depends on the keyword research and content map.

In some cases, the keyword cluster will focus on 10 keywords with an accumulated search volume of 500 searches per month and competing pages with an average of 1,500 words.

While in another the keyword cluster will include 50 keywords with an accumulated search volume of 25,000 searches per month and competing pages with an average of 5,000 words each.

What do you mean by competing pages?

The pages ranking in one of the top 10 positions for the target keyword.

In your case, the top 10 ranking pages for the term “ask a vet” are:

Pick His Brain! with Jason Dolman 1

Of those competing pages, the following competing pages rank for many of the terms related to “online vets” and “ask a vet” search queries:

As a result, you should be analyzing their keywords, content strategy.

And SEO strategy to reverse-engineer what your website needs to outrank them.

What important factors should one look at before conducting an SEO audit on a site?

SEO Audit is almost always the first step.

Whether at the site-wide level to uncover issues across the entire domain or at the page-level to uncover the missing elements.

And issues that need to be addressed to improve rankings for a specific set of keywords, that’s the first item reviewed.

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When conducting an SEO Audit, I start with the target keyword and URL (home page if site-wide.

Page URL if page-level) and focus on the following key areas of analysis:

SERP Analysis – review the SERP features, current ranking position of the target URL, and competitors ranking for the target keyword.

Review target keyword searches and branded searches.

Competitor Analysis – review and compare the ahrefs data for the target website and it’s 3 top competitors in terms of organic traffic, # of organic keywords, top 3 ranking, and top 4-10 ranking keywords.

Website Analysis (site-wide only) – review and analyze the site-wide optimization issues and opportunities, focusing on page load speed, mobile responsiveness.

Website security (HTTPS), presence of XML sitemap and robots.txt, redirection/canonical errors, 404 errors, broken links, schema markup.

As well as the presence of additional properties (Facebook, YouTube, Yelp, HomeAdvisor) to support the brand entity.

Content Analysis – review the website for thin, low-quality content, duplicate content, keyword cannibalization, title tag, meta description tag, header tag and image optimization issues.

Backlink Analysis – review and analyze the backlink profile of the website and how it compares to the top 3 competitors, focusing on ahrefs rank, URL rating, domain rating, # of backlinks.

# of referring domains, quality of referring domains, anchor text distribution, DF vs NF distribution, and the distribution of backlinks among all pages of the website (home page vs internal pages).

In terms of organic traffic, # of organic keywords, top 3 ranking, and top 4-10 ranking keywords.
Would a larger number of niche-specific long-tail rankings of pages help the overall ranking of a site – say for an ‘overall-niche” keyword for the homepage?

It depends.

If you have a page ranking 5 long tail keywords with 10-20 searches per month and a chunky middle keyword with 100 searches per month that’s a MoFu term.

Which is closely related to the 5 long tail BoFu terms, then yes.

The rankings of the 5 long tail keywords should support and assist the rankings for the MoFu term with 100 searches.

If you’re just talking about in general.

Does ranking for lots of long tail keywords help your shorter tail rankings.

The answer would be “No” as a result of the example given above.

I hope that helps. Please clarify and ask again if not.

How best to incorporate those keywords into pages/posts that rank?

If it’s a new website, the content map defines the keyword clusters and each cluster represents a new page or blog post.

If it’s an existing website, you can use the content map to determine which keywords should be mapped to existing URLs.

And then expand the content to target those keywords.

When adding or creating the content, focus on the search intent behind the keywords and ensure the content addresses them.

Focus on using the individual words as opposed to the exact match search terms to make the content natural and optimize on-page elements (title tag, meta description tag, header tags, alt image text, etc.).

Internally link relevant pages together, and build external links to optimize the page for the target keywords.

Do you offer any course on kw research and seo audit part or have any recommendations ?. I concentrate on these 2 along with on page seo as my service areas. Looking to invest time and money and have been searching for some sort of paid training for these 2 ( kw research and SEO audit) from last few months.

I don’t have a course on Keyword Research or SEO Audits.

I have created templates for both and am looking at releasing them along with videos and instructions on how to complete them on a licensing basis.

Otherwise, they can be fulfilled on a white-label basis.

If your service area is global i.e. an online business but you want to show up for searches in each country i.e. online vet Australia, online vet NZ, online vet UK how would you communicate your service area page/s

The process would likely be the same except the “Service Areas” would be the countries as opposed to cities.

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Keyword research would tell the full story.

Do you prioritize keywords for your clients or create content maps or schedules, if so, how? If not, why or what is the supplement?


We have a Keyword Research and Analysis service which uncovers the keywords the page/website should be targeting and analyzes which ones are the best to target based on search volume, CPC, KD, etc.

After the Keyword Research and Analysis has been completed, we have a Content Map and Strategy service which tags each keyword by funnel stage (ToFu, MoFu, BoFu).

Search intent (information, navigation, investigation, transaction) and organizes them into a content strategy and content tree which can be used to determine the content marketing strategy for the website.

Should we have Tofu, MOFu or Bofu content in a blog section of an ecommerce site.

I’d probably suggest pillar content instead of blog posts, but yes, you should definitely have content targeting ToFu, MoFu and BoFu searches.

In the case of the ToFu and MoFu search queries, that content would likely be in the form of a buyer’s guide or something similar.

What would be your top three tips for getting from page 2 to 1? And realise that this may vary but maybe you have a top 3 that are ‘usual’ ‘winners’.

Tip #1 – Reverse analyze the keyword rankings of the top 10 competing pages to figure out which keywords they’re ranking for that your page is not.

Make note of the primary and secondary keywords, as well as keyword variants and semantic keywords they’re also ranking for.

Tip #2 – Review the content on the top 10 competing pages and use that to drive your content development research.

Add content and other on-page optimizations to target the new primary and second keywords, keyword variants, etc. you found.

Tip #3 – Reverse engineer the backlink profile of the top 10 competing pages and use that to drive your link building strategy.

Build internal and external links to the page using the primary, secondary, semantic, and variant keywords as your anchor text (mix brand + keyword and other anchor text variants for external links).

What is the key of success SEO? 1. ON-PAGE? 2. OFF-PAGE? The best blog article on subdomain or directory? What is the best way to optimize legacy content (blog) for 3 – 5 years ago and make it relevent and rank in 1st page google? How to make sure we can rank 2 permalink in 1st page google something like keywords Best hotel in new york. Sometimes i see got some website can rank both article in 1st page. But mine is cannot.

#1 – Key to success? Keyword research. Foundation of everything else.

#2 – On-Page SEO – All else being equal, matching the intent of the search query within the content on the page itself is the key to a successful campaign, SEO or otherwise.

#3 – Blog article – Directory.

#4 – Content audit to determine which pages could be improved, which ones should be left alone.

Which ones should be removed from the index (temporary or permanent) and which ones should be permanently deleted.

#5 – Depends on the keywords and SERPs Google displays for them.

But in most cases you want to rank a single URL from the same domain for each keyword to avoid keyword cannibalization issues with another page.