SEO Services For Serious ROI. Blog Posts For Serious SEOs.

SEO Mythbusters: It’s Google vs Bing. SEO Truth: It’s Apple vs eBay vs Fiverr vs Google vs Bing vs …

As I shared recently in my post disspelling the myth of 3 query types, Mahalo recently pivoted to sell its content in the form of iPhone/iPad apps. They’ve gone from SEO spammers to App Store quality producers. (more…)

SEO MythBusters: There Are 2 Types Of Query Intent, Not 3

I want to put down the long-standing myth that there are three types of queries, namely navigational, informational, and commercial queries. 


How Even Established Sites Use Keyword Difficulty aka Efficiency Data

[Edit: I try to post original stuff but I realize here that I'm adapting "second page poaching." It only occurred to me after writing my post, but when you're done reading this, check out Virante's posts on second page poaching, relevant data collection and an API. ]

While working on a huge site with 1000s of pages and keywords, I realized that I needed to prioritize what keywords to build links for.

The situation was different from a brand new site, because for a new site, all keywords are equally hard to rank for (except perhaps those in the domain), in that you’re not in the top 100 for anything. In such a case, you typically prioritize keywords by absolute search volume, then keyword difficulty.

Unlike a brand new site, this site already has pages in the top 100 – and especially the top 20 – for dozens of terms. I sawthis when setting up the rank tracking (for reporting purposes) in Raven Tools. (Normally I prefer Authority Labs for rank tracking for their great historical graphs. These let you see what links boosted you, assuming the links are published on sites crawled regularly.)

 Check page 2 rankings with equivalent keyword search volume for their relative keyword difficulty, using SEOmoz’s keyword difficulty tool.

Accessible to SEOmoz Pro members only as of this writing.  

Anyways, Stephan Spencer and the boys at Virante shared a tip that you should look for pages ranking in positions 11-20, e.g. on the second page, since they’re easiest to rank.

The site already has loads of authority links from across the web, having been around since the 90s. So what’s needed at this point is deep links with a mix of anchor text. You’re only a few links away from page 1 and traffic in that case.

And as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. A site doing 1 million visits/month didn’t get there from trying to rank for “insurance” straight away, but from getting 50 visits a month here and 230 visits a month there. It adds up and snowballs, because as more people get to know you and find you in search results, more people link to you.

(Mike Grehan described this phenomenon years ago as the [SEO] Rich Get Richer, in a piece called Filthy Linking Rich.)

What do you do when you have a few dozen pages on page 2? With similar keyword search volumes? Look at the keyword difficulty. 

So unless there’s a tool that gives me keyword difficulty scores in bulk, I’m going to go through the terms 5 at a time with SEOmoz’s keyword difficulty tool and see what ranks in positions 2-20 and is worth building links for to top up traffic.

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Achiya – SEO For A Charity For Learning-Disabled Children

Charities have a unique SEO problem: there’s not a lot of people searching to give to them, which makes keyword discovery difficult. I saw that with Mada Center, a soup kitchen in Montreal that I tried to do PPC for but we failed for lack of keywords, and recently have come across a similar challenge for Achiya, an Israeli charity for learning disabled kids whom I work with via illuminea, a web agency in Jerusalem. (more…)

4 Advanced eCommerce SEO tactics

The following is a guest post from James Agate, the SEO director at Skyrocket SEO, a leader in eCommerce SEO & Conversion Optimisation for small and medium sized online retailers.

eCommerce SEO is a unique beast. There are technical issues to consider, scalability challenges to think about and countless other opportunities and drawbacks that need to be taken into account. We work a great deal in the eCommerce space; here are some of the ways I know will take your or your client’s business to the next level.

Can You Retarget Offline?

Short tip for today, scratchpad style:

Retargeting ads are very successful … because they target an audience that already visited your site, and because they tend to offer deals to people who almost bought, but for whatever reason left before purchasing. These deals help push people across the threshold and get them to buy.

What if you did that offline? Someone comes into your car dealership and walks away with no keys… Call them back the next day with another offer based on what you think would close the deal. Don’t start chasing the next prospect [yet].

Have you guys ever done this? Or taken other online tactics offline?

Google Click-Through-Rate: Blended SERPs & SEO Strategy

This is a guest post by Phil Golobish, Senior SEO Consultant at Slingshot SEO. When he’s not writing posts for Gab, Phil helps Slingshot achieve digital relevance for deserving brands. You can follow Phil at @saintphilip or +Philip Golobish.

In 2006, AOL accidently released a ton of Google click through rate data. Clever marketers then used this data to estimate traffic a site could receive in any ranking position, and to forecast SEO ROI.

Since then, Google has made countless algorithm changes, incorporated personalization options, and blended results with images, videos, news, etc.

Given these changes, are the AOL CTR numbers still relevant? More specifically, what impact has blended search results had on CTR?
The study Slingshot performed after the jump! (more…)

Google URL Builder: Trick To Bulk Tag URLs for Google Analytics

Ever try creating lots of Facebook ads that you wanted to track using Google Analytics? If so, you probably know Google’s URL Builder, which generates URLs with tracking tags. (See post-script for an explanation if you’re not familiar.) It does this for a spectacular amount of URLs at a time! Exactly one URL at a time, to be precise.

Frustrated by Google’s URL Builder tool? Here’s how to build URLs with tracking tags in bulk.


Mid-tail Keyword Domination

This is a guest post by John McElborough, who runs an SEO consultancy and PPC agency in the UK

In my last post here I shared some tactics for how you can cash in on long tail keywords using various content generation strategies. There’s no doubt that the long tail is where the traffic’s at but today I want to talk about the mid-tail which in many sectors is where the moneys at! (more…)

Stuff Your Face On Long Tail Keywords In 5 Easy Steps

This is a guest post by John McElborough, a [ed: awesome!] search marketer from Brighton, England who runs inbound360 and blogs at

There’s been a lot of talk in the SEO world of late about the idea of ‘content farms’-  sites which exist principally to attract mid to long tail search traffic through large scale content generation.

Several high profile SEO’s have been pretty critical of sites like ehow, mahalo and livestong who use these tactics. Personally if a sites earning that much cash through SEO I’d rather learn from it than criticise so for my first guest post here on Gab’s blog I want to take a closer look at long tail tactics and share some practical tips for how pretty much any site can cash in on their markets long tail potential.

Yahoo Term Extraction Tool

I dunno why this is the first time I ever saw this, but this tool essentially enables automated long-tail exploration and discovery. And while a similar valuable tool is available via SEOmoz Pro, this one is free (for now) via Yahoo. (Though obviously, SEOmoz has a lot of other tools Yahoo does not.) (more…)

Bulk Keyword Research For Local SEO & PPC

Here’s a secret … I LOVE Aaron Wall’s Keyword List Generator Concatenator tool.

You take keywords, input them in a series of boxes, and it concatenates (glues) them together (with a space in between). If that sounds like gibberish, play with the tool. It’s super intuitive and you’ll be able to figure it out pretty easily.

In short, it’s a shortcut to building long keyword lists for exact or phrase matched ad groups.

Instead of typing out:

Adidas basketball shoes

Nike basketball shoes

Air Jordan basketball shoes

Kobe Bryant basketball shoes

point guard basketball shoes

You type out the modifiers in one group, with commas and no spaces: Adidas,Nike,Air Jordan,Kobe Bryant,point guard

And you type basketball shoes, once.

Then it sticks them together for you like with the list above. It can also add on quotation marks (” “) or square brackets ( [ ] ) for phrase or exact match purposes.

I was doing some of this myself in a local context and decided to save some time for the rest of you. Here’s a list of states, stuck together and only separated by commas, as you need them for Aaron’s tool. Note: I skipped the Marianas Islands (also some other islands I deleted, I think) and turned District of Columbia into Washington DC.

Alabama,Alaska,Arizona,Arkansas,California,Colorado,Connecticut,Delaware,Washington DC,Florida,Georgia,Guam,Hawaii,Idaho,Illinois,Indiana,Iowa,Kansas,Kentucky,Louisiana,Maine,Maryland,Massachusetts,Michigan,Minnesota,Mississippi,Missouri,Montana,Nebraska,Nevada,New Hampshire,New Jersey,New Mexico,New York,North Carolina,North Dakota,Ohio,Oklahoma,Oregon,Pennsylvania,Puerto Rico,Rhode Island,South Carolina,South Dakota,Tennessee,Texas,Utah,Vermont,Virginia,Virgin Islands,Washington,West Virginia,Wisconsin,Wyoming

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16 Content Network Guides & Tips

I’ve been reading up on the Content Network before launching a first campaign there in years. The following’s a list of posts I’ve found useful and the key takeaways. They may repeat and overlap in some ways. That repetition is summarized below. The links are accompanied by notes on what’s unique in that guide. (more…)

How To Find Competitors’ Best PPC Ads

If you could find out your competitors’ top converting ads when you enter a market, you’d save a lot of time optimizing campaigns, wouldn’t you?

It would be like knowing where the jelly is in a jelly donut – you’d bite right into the good stuff and skip the mostly-dough areas. (more…)

Is PPC Necessary? Why? If So, When Do I Need To Do PPC?

Is PPC necessary? Why is PPC necessary or not? If so, when do I need to do it?

These are questions I recently got in fielding a proposal for search marketing services. For others who might have the same question, here’s the answer, and an explanation. (more…)

Inverse Document Frequency In Plain English – Dr E. Garcia

SEW Moderator OrionI recently had the opportunity to discuss some information retrieval theory with Dr Edel Garcia, who is a researcher and professor in the field, as well as a longtime SEW Forum moderator (aka Orion). He helped me understand what Inverse Document Frequency (IDF) is, and what it has been used for in the information retrieval field. Dr. Garcia generously agreed to let me publish our conversations on this blog.

(Update: Apparently Dr. Garcia is no longer active at SEW as a moderator.) (more…)

Meet Me At SMX Advanced

To all my readers: If you’re going to SMX Advanced, I’d love to meet you. I’ll probably check comments on this post etc Monday n see what’s up, but the easiest way to meet is to: (more…)

When Pirates Share Their Booty, SEOs Rejoice

The Pirate Bay – the world’s largest peer-to-peer site, which focuses on torrent technology – lets you view what people are searching for (Not Safe For Work (NSFW)) as well as its tag cloud (NSFW), which I presume is what people are sharing, in the most literal sense.

At the risk of stating what may be obvious to most SEOs, when pirates share their booty, keyword research is a lot easier. (more…)

“Buy” Comes Before “Sell”

Nothing new here for the marketing pros in the audience, but you intermediate guys and newbies will like today’s post on why you need to rank for purchasing oriented terms rather than selling ones, imho… I want to expand on Seth Godin’s bit on making a new market vs taking a share of an existing market. (more…)

Domains Are NOT Real Estate, KW Research as I. Property: Internet Law Experts Speak Out!

Are domain names the internet’s real estate? Can keyword research be considered intellectual property? I put these and other questions to Eric Goldman and Mark J Rosenberg, both of whom are speaking on SES San Jose’s legal panel. (Clarification: This is an interview, not coverage of an SES session.)

Google Keyword Tool: Now Shares Specific Data

You heard it here first folks: Google has recently updated its keyword tool to share precise volume numbers. Whereas the tool only returned relative numbers before, it now shows the precise amount of monthly search that occurred last month, as well as an average amount of monthly searches. (more…)

Handy Dandy Resources: Diamonds in the Rough Posts and Tools

Big ideas and food for thought:

How to Find Competitors’ Keywords For Your SEO & PPC

Want to find out competitors’ keywords? Here’s how to find what keywords competitors use on their sites – and protect your own!


Google Is Indexing Site-Search Results Pages

Google Analytics is broken (like PageRank is broken), and leaking my data into the index. All the site searches here on SEO ROI are resulting in site-SERPs pages getting into G’s index. How is this happening?

Final Update: This has been disproven as being the source of the site-search-results appearing in Google’s search results. I had good reason to believe that Google Analytics was the source of this (you can see below for my original thoughts on the matter), but there’s now a clarification. My apologies to Google and to my readers for the mistake.

A while back I saw a video about using Google Analytics to (more…)

Post #88 – Scratchpad

ScratchpadFormal writing is really frustrating because it requires you to dress up simple ideas in complete sentences, edit your work for grammar and spend an unholy amount of time writing what it would take you a few minutes to express verbally. When you come up with new ideas or discover new stuff as often as I do, that can get really frustrating.

So I’m hereby inaugurating what I hope will be a regular column here: Scratchpad (scratchpad picture courtesy of one eye fish). I’ll share my latest ideas, in a raw scratchpad type format and be paying even more attention than usual to your feedback. (The Post #88 reference was the pre-naming version of this post’s title and I found it quite appropriate to an informal column.)

For this first issue, I’ve got

  1. New uses for Google’s Keyword Tool External,
  2. Mined ideas from Google’s Press Days 06 and 07,
  3. Revelations of what the PPC arbitrageurs (more…)

Using Google Trends For SEO: Domaining, Expanding, Seasonal Queries

Just as Google loves data, so should SEOs. I love country code domain names and domaining (NamePros is a great community to learn, if you’re interested). As I was conducting some keyword research to buy new .ca domains, it occurred to me that I could use Google Trends (notice the nofollow on that link ;) ) data to help me with my selection. There are also other uses for Trends data in SEO that are equally interesting. (more…)