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Top 42 Tips To Master A Combined Art

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Top 42 Tips To Master A Combined Art


True digital success – for search engine rankings, user experience, and the brand overall, whether personal or business – occurs when the art of SEO and the art of writing are combined.

The best SEO writing comes from the perfect blend of:

  • Topical knowledge/expertise.
  • Deep knowledge of writing well
  • SEO best practices.

SEO is a must for any online writing, especially from a keyword perspective, and correctly mapping those keywords to pages/posts.

Readers can recognize an authoritative voice immediately, and a fake voice even quicker.

Whether you want conversions, brand awareness, or something else, your writing needs to have authority (and authenticity).

With that said, here are the top 42 writing tips for any content writer within any type of company, from billion-dollar software designers to local pest control companies.

The focus weighs more towards the art of writing itself, which will naturally lead to the creation of quality content that search engines demand.

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Writing for SEO: The Essentials

1. Think Keywords First

Your writing must be found before you’ll have any impact on your target audience. This is why keyword research should always come before any research or actual writing.

This keyword research will massively influence your research, also, because you’ll discover other ways your target audience is searching for your topic.

No matter how intelligent they become, search engine algorithms can’t recognize the best voice in a piece of writing. But if keywords are there, you have the opportunity to be heard.

New to keywords? Check out this beginner’s guide to keyword research.

2. Approach Keyword Research Like An Art

There are thousands of keyword research articles available. Research, discover, and test what works best for you.

Such as…

Make this process cyclical. I build content calendars out in three-month segments, performing fresh keyword research at the beginning of every cycle.

Industries change, and new keywords trend quicker than you’d guess.

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3. Study The Competition For Keywords

There are many tools available to help you find competitor keywords.

Warning: Only take keywords – don’t study the actual writing of your competitors. Once you do that, you sound like them and struggle to create anything original. Create an original voice and you’ll be heard.

4. Target 1 Or 2 Keywords For Each Page Or Blog (Except Homepage)

Always focus on broader terms for your main “parent” pages and longer terms for the “child” pages below.

Targeting searcher intent first, volume second will help you get into the mindset of what your target customer wants.

5. Use Keywords Where They Matter Most

Use your keyword in the following (prioritized of importance) to send search engines strong signals of the content’s intent:

  • Title tag.
  • Internal links within content.
  • Alt attribute of image.
  • Headline tags (always have an H1!).
  • Meta description.

6. Use Bold & Bullet Points Wherever Possible

Google pays attention to these, including when awarding featured snippets.

Make sure to use target keywords in bold and bullet points when possible.

7. The Title Tag: Still The Most Powerful Element

Make sure your target keyword is part of the title tag, ideally toward the front.

Also, remember that title tags should be about 60 characters, so put as much time into this as your actual content creation.

For the homepage title tag, target three of the most important keywords that describe the business/website.

Always think about storytelling. Keep it simple. Speak the language of your target audience. And write to influence that click-through.

8. Add Related Keywords

Don’t simply stuff keywords in after doing the writing.

If you’re well prepared with keyword research, have the list of topically related keywords at hand as you write.

If you are staying on topic, you will insert related keywords naturally.

9. Use Your Target Keyword In Your Meta Description

Google says it doesn’t use the meta description as a ranking factor.

See also  5 Tips For More Engaging & Impactful Branded Travel Content

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However, if someone is searching for that target keyword or phrase, those words will be bold.

Bolding attracts the eyes – and might entice a searcher to click rather than scroll by.

Also, write your meta description like ad copy. The goal is to excite the audience to further influence a click-through (your title tag should be the first influencer, immediately backed by your meta description).

Writing For SEO: Craft & Routine

10. Write. Rewrite. Then Rewrite Again. Until It’s Right.

It’s all about routine and process.

As William Zinsser says in, “Writing to Learn:”

“Only by repeated applications of the process – writing and rewriting and pruning and shaping – can we hammer out clear and simple product.”

11. Outline And Plan

It’s much easier for a mind to think (and a search engine to read) in chunks, and actually see those chunks coherently.

Most minds naturally want to write in a stream of consciousness style like Jack Kerouac – but this isn’t novel writing. Most of us are writing for a business, to further that business’s success.

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Organize headlines (for SEO with keywords!) and fill in the gaps.

Sometimes those headlines are more important than the words beneath. Make those headlines scream thoughts, and the words shout to support those screams.

12. Write Sentence By Sentence

Set up Word or Google Docs in landscape mode for the first draft, and write sentence by sentence.

Don’t write any paragraphs until you do your first rounds of edits.

I learned this tip from Charles Euchner, author of “The Elements of Writing.”

Single-line sentences keep the mind fresh. They’ll help corral thoughts as you begin editing.

Think short for every sentence – like a 140-character tweet – and embrace short and concise writing.

13. Write Daily

A muscle grows when it has input combined with correlating relaxing points.

Your mind works that same way; embrace it.

Again, write daily to work out the writing muscles, followed by some relaxing.

Never stop the growth of writing muscles.

14. Shut Your Wi-fi Off

This tip comes from Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek.”

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This simple practice keeps focus in place and prevents the mind from answering anything outside of your focus.

Distractions move a mood. Make those distractions non-existent.

15. Got Questions? Ask Your Digital Assistant

The Wi-fi may be off, but sometimes you need immediate answers to questions that will nag you. Some can’t work without answering questions.

The solution is simple: ask Alexa, Siri, or your Google Assistant.

I keep an Amazon Echo Dot next to my desk and use it for quick research.

I have an Echo Show, but it doesn’t belong in the office where it can quickly jack your focus due to the video factor. That one remains downstairs, out of the office.

16. Read All You Can

Especially read the writers who simplify everything.

People may not love Hunter S. Thompson due to his politics or mad lifestyle, but his prose is crisp and simple. I read “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in one sitting.

(And not once, but maybe 10 times when I needed a push into something I couldn’t possibly finish and needed a mind breath.)

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If you’re business-minded, Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth” is a one-sitting read, too. It’s simple and informative.

17. Stop Waiting For Inspiration

It’s useless.

There’s no such thing as inspiration unless you like to talk about writing instead of actually doing it.

True writers write every day and make it a lifestyle that helps develop the “art.” Practice makes stuff happen and takes discipline.

Words simply flow better and easier after practice and discipline. Nothing happens without the simplicity of practice.

See also  14 Top Reasons Why Google Isn’t Indexing Your Site

18. Read The Essentials

For traditional writing, read William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well.” Don’t just read it once. Reread it once a year.

For the digital age of “short” writing that makes an impact, read Roy Peter Clark’s “How to Write Short.”

Don’t stop there. Read “The Essential Don Murray: Lessons from America’s Greatest Writing Teacher” and “Ernest Hemingway On Writing.”

19. Try Writing In Longhand

This article is based on notes I took while flying over the Atlantic Ocean en route to Valencia, Spain.

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Flying is a great time for thinking and using longhand. Plus, it keeps your mind off the snoring passenger next to you.

Write in longhand in cabs, buses, middle of meetings, etc. Try it, and revisit those notes before you get to work typing.

20. Write About What You Love

To truly master the craft of the written word, embrace writing that makes you happy – regardless if it’ll make you money. The more you write, the better you’ll become.

Short writing provides inspiration (regardless of how absurd it feels or reads sometimes!).

21. Ask Questions Daily

Friends, family, wife, children, whoever. Continually ask questions.

The more you learn, the more you can provide readers (possible prospects in business), regardless of your industry.

Questions are the highlights of learning. Let people talk.

Think 80/20 – let others talk 80% of the time as you listen, and you can talk the other 20% of the time.

Your readers will thank you one day.

22. Know Your Audience & Write For Them

Remember to keep your voice and style the same.

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That’s how to set yourself apart from the zillions of other content writers out there.

23. Work Better Under Deadline?

For some people, the pressure of a deadline forces the creativity out of you.

If this is true for you, have project managers bump up your due dates.

I do this with my teams, sometimes by as far ahead as four weeks.

24. Build Your Work Around Questions

Always ask, “What’s the problem and how do I clearly provide a solution?”

It’s just as important to ask, “Will readers care?”

This helps keep your voice trustworthy and authoritative, keeping search engines and readers happy.

25. Split Long Projects Into Short Tasks

Write all headlines first (remember to use target keywords in them), and fill in each portion.

This works just as well whether you’re writing a 2,500-word piece on the craft of writing, or a 750-piece for a client discussing the technical aspects of a product.

26. Always Have An Ending in Mind

Knowing where your content is leading will keep your writing focus sharp, and will help you more often achieve the ultimate goal of most online writing – a conversion.

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27. Check Your Spelling & Grammar

Misspell a name and the article immediately loses credibility.

Craft your content with sloppy grammar, and the reader doubts your authority.

After you’ve checked for spelling and grammar errors, check again.

28. Aim For Credibility

Without credibility, you’ll lose any chance of capturing an audience’s attention.

Situations get worse if you spread false facts.

Take added time for research and fact-checking.

29. Edit With The 10-Second Rule In Mind

This goes for every single paragraph, especially for the first paragraph and meta description.

You want to immediately grab the reader’s attention — and keep it.

Is the article worthy of additional conversation? If so, and you have proper CTAs, this can help move readers one step closer to conversion.

Writing for SEO: Form

30. Write Strong Sentences & Paragraphs

The strongest words should begin and end a sentence.

The strongest sentences should appear at the end and beginning of a paragraph.

This helps keep the slower, more in-depth material in the middle, and the most important thoughts before the reader.

See also  Google: Webpages with Featured Snippets Won’t Appear Twice on Page 1

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31. Become Obsessed About Clarity Of Voice

Clean writing reflects a clear mindset – something people (clients!) need.

For example, Starbucks uses both functional and expressive language to clarify its voice in its marketing.

Screenshot taken by author

Or Mailchimp’s voice is plain spoken with a dab of dry humor.

An example of clarity of voice.Screenshot taken by author

32. Keep Writing Free Of Clutter

Keep it simple.

Get straight to what you’re saying.

Strip all useless words.

Get sentences into their simplest form.

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33. Beware Of Excess Adverbs & Adjectives

If the verb or noun can’t perform the explanation, that verb or noun isn’t strong enough. You can learn more about writing with adverbs and adjectives here.

34. Use A Variety Of Long And Short Sentences

A variety of sentence lengths helps your content to create some rhythm.

Readers enjoy this.

35. Short Paragraphs Allow The Mind to Breathe

Use short paragraphs often.

Space between paragraphs psychologically takes less energy to read, saving that prospect’s energy for the sale/lead.

36. Always Use Active Verbs

In this sentence, the active verb is “Use.”

Without active verbs, the mind shifts. It wanders.

You lose an audience… or a sale.

Be clear on what action the reader can take next.

37. Avoid Clichés

Like the plague.

You feel me?

Writing for SEO: Favorite Hacks

38. Listen to Your Favorite Music

Why not write to it? Some forms of music will bring drastically different emotions out on the page before you’d realize it, so the more the better.

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While writing this, I went from Coltrane to Infected Mushroom to Hendrix to SRV to Dimmu Borgir to Breaking Benjamin to Chopin.

For editing, Wes Montgomery was my go-to.

Music can help words flow, so embrace it all.

39. Commit To The Most Serious Writing In The Morning

I’m typically up by 5:30 a.m. That’s when my brain is freshest.

I always block a few hours every morning for my most serious writing.

40. Carry A Tablet To Jot Down Ideas

If you think clearer in longhand, carry a small tablet for jotting down ideas overusing your phone.

Moleskine tablets are my favorite because they are thin and fit into books, which I always have with me when traveling.

There’s only so much marginal space within a book for ideas; a tablet takes care of this and keeps you off the phone.

41. For Clients: Think 80/20 For The Initial Few Engagements

Focus on the 20% of your writing that will produce 80% results for the client’s sales. How?

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Simple: always begin a content strategy around the top ROI products. This shows value, and will help contribute to the overall qualified keywords you want them to want to rank for.

42. Remember To Get Away From It All

The writers that have the true minds to create and provide value to clients always need a break.

One of my weekly tactics for resting and reenergizing is “half-day Wednesday.” I tune out and either play guitar, hike or ride motorcycles… basically whatever is needed.

This mid-week break keeps the mind fresh and clear, which translates into positive workflow and, ultimately, happy clients.

Conclusion

Creating content that leads to conversion involves not only the art of SEO but also the craft of writing.

Embrace both if you’re serious about providing the most value to your readers or your client’s readers, which you naturally want to turn from prospects to customers.

Also, remember that the appeal and popularity of strong content will only compound online over time.

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Think of SEO writing to a business as compounding interest to an investor – have the patience and discipline to do it correctly, and the results should continually speak for themselves.


Featured image: Paulo Bobita/SearchEngineJournal





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Searchmetrics’ CMO Talks Enterprise Volatility, SEO Careers & CWVs

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Searchmetrics' CMO Talks Enterprise Volatility, SEO Careers & CWVs


Are there upsides to the volatility inherent to SEO with all of its Google updates, changing consumer behaviors, and constantly evolving technology?

And just how important are Core Web Vitals, anyway?

I had a chance to catch up with Lillian Haase, CMO at Searchmetrics, recently to get her take on a few enterprise SEO hot topics and advice for beginners in SEO looking to grow into leadership roles.

If you’re in the market for employment with a leading search data, software, and consulting solution, you’ll want to check out her tips as to what Searchmetrics looks for in new hires, as well.

1. Core Web Vitals (CWV) has been a hot topic this past year.

What do enterprise marketers need to know about CWVs now that the dust has settled?

Lillian Haase: “For marketers in any business, focusing on reducing friction for users when they arrive at your website is the name of the game — with or without CWVs.

Before the official announcement that CWV’s page speed signals would become ranking factors, fast-loading and easy-to-navigate websites saw better results in the search engines. The CWV rollout just made it official.

I will say, too, that the dust has only settled in terms of Google talking about CWV.

The work for many brands is still colossal.

Our team sees many large companies still experiencing major problems with site speed and shifting layouts. Until domains can fix those issues, they’ll struggle to excel in competitive SERPs.

Having a decent CWV will be the price for entry onto the playing field.

If your CWV is far worse than your competitors, you’ll struggle for rankings – but CWV goes beyond SEO. The gains are much more concrete when it comes to revenue and conversions.”

Related: Analyzing 2 Million URLs: What We Learned About Core Web Vitals

2. We’ve seen you write before on volatility as an opportunity in SEO.

Can you share a few ways these volatile times may translate to opportunities for enterprise SEO?

See also  Google Reveals Top Searches of 2020

Lillian Haase: “At the start of the pandemic, we had major shifts going on in marketing. This necessitated a pivoting of methods to adapt to a new, uncertain environment.

When it came to SEO, we had clients with unprecedented traffic drops and increases. The world had changed and so had their web traffic.

My advice remains the same as then.

When you’ve experienced a sudden drop in traffic, analysis of where the drop occurred is the first step towards recovery – but it’s not the last.

It’s crucial to understand why it happened.

Was it a change made to your website?

A Google algorithm update?

A loss of keyword rankings for a specific page or group of pages — or something else?

Take steps to improve, or reverse an earlier change, depending on what you find.

The opposite happens, too, and you may experience a sudden influx of traffic and better rankings.

While celebrating is certainly not to be neglected (after all, teams work for years to see increases in traffic, so be sure to enjoy it when it happens!), it’s still important to ensure it’s the right kind of traffic, and that visitors are engaging with your web content.

Look at ways you can optimize your top-traffic pages to keep visitors engaged and moving through your website. Take advantage of that extra traffic with conversion rate optimization.

In addition, update your keyword research around topics that are ranking well to determine if you missed anything.

There might be something new uncovered through research that you haven’t optimized for.

Cover all your bases and see how much more extra traffic you can get on top of those already good results. Good can always get better.”

See also  5 Tips For More Engaging & Impactful Branded Travel Content

3. What do you think is the most underrated optimization or tactic in enterprise SEO today?

Lillian Haase: “The basics, such as optimized headers and user experience, are still the same.

But the bar for great content and high-performing websites is much higher.

Your content needs to be heads and shoulders above the rest.

For example, the Google Product Reviews Update impacted many affiliate sites.

With these and other Google Updates, the days where you could write basic copy about a product and hoping to rank are gone.

Now, you make your expertise on the topic very clear by providing a truly informed opinion about the product’s performance.”

Related: 3 Ways SEO Has Changed This Year & What It Means for You with Jordan Koene

4. What advice or recommendations do you have for junior SEO professionals who might aspire to a leadership role?

“My advice would be to learn to tell the story of SEO’s impact on the business in terms of revenue.

In other words, if you can communicate the value of organic traffic framed in business terms, you will be heard by leaders in other teams who do not understand the ins and outs of SEO.

They’re looking for the value (often, in financial terms) the channel is bringing the company.

One of the most difficult things I see SEOs struggle with is that they go into unnecessary detail about search engines.

As SEOs, we’re so interested in the many moving pieces of the work, and we get overly excited with the minutiae.

But if no one understands what we’re talking about or they think it’s boring, the message is lost.

See also  What To Focus On This Year

Try to focus on business results in your presentations, reports, and in meetings with your superiors, instead.

In most organizations, organic search is undervalued when compared with other channels such as paid search.

If you can find a way to elevate the conversation to business metrics and stay out of the technical details, you’re well on your way towards future opportunities in SEO leadership.

If you can also consistently increase organic traffic, leads, and sales for your organization, you’re also setting yourself up for success.”

5. What does it take to succeed in a role at Searchmetrics?

And are you currently looking for any specific types of talent?

Lillian Haase: “We’re growing our services teams globally, so thanks for asking this and giving me a chance to share a little more.

While we have a variety of roles open, we’re actively recruiting SEO consultants and account executives.

One of the benefits of working for a company of our size is having the opportunity to have your voice heard.

We understand the next great idea can come from anyone at any level.

Successful team members adopt the mindset of builders and innovators and seek out opportunities for growth. Then they present those opportunities with a clear focus on the bottom line.

In general, we look for people that are not just looking to “do the job.”

Yes, we want people skilled in a particular area. However, we want people that are looking to push the envelope by asking, “How can we be better in our function?”

When it comes to culture, we’re looking for a culture add, not a fit.

We understand having a true diverse Searchmetrics family not only includes diversity in gender and ethnic background but also experience and thought.”

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What To Focus On This Year

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What To Focus On This Year


As the ball dropped in Times Square at midnight on January 1, 2022, many search engine marketers were tempted to check their analytics and rankings.

It appears that Google has replaced Santa as the purveyor of the “Naughty or Nice” list in the online world.

Some sites receive the gift of better rankings before the New Year.

Others are cleaning the coal dust out of their stockings, running frantic analyses on why they were put on the naughty list.

Holiday core algorithm updates from Google are nothing new to veteran search engine marketers.

And I don’t know who needs to hear this, but next year the update will be there after Christmas.

Don’t feel guilty about taking a few days off.

Take some time to think about how you can be even better in the New Year.

That’s what I did.

Below is my list of SEO resolutions for the New Year.

1. Remember To Have Empathy

In my experience, most search engine marketers are very “left-brained.”

Sure, there’s a ton of creativity in the search engine marketing world – but most search engine marketers would rather figure out why a piece of code isn’t loading as fast as it should versus trying to understand the intricacies of a searcher’s mind.

Don’t get me wrong, the technical aspects of SEO and paid search are essential – and without technical savvy, what we do doesn’t work.

But technical fixes are not enough to show continued improvement in your search engine marketing results.

I believe that the best tool any marketer can have is empathy, the ability to understand the feelings of others.

If we as marketers can understand the feelings, motivations, intent, and actions of search engine users, we can create webpages and content that not only provides value to visitors but also increases our site’s bottom line.

See also  6 Core Web Vitals Extraction Methods For CrUX With Pros & Cons

I have always prided myself on my ability to empathize with searchers.

But with every core algorithm update or IT person screwing up a site, I find it very easy to put my empathetic impulses on the back burner to chase technical fixes.

Those technical fixes are for Google, not the searchers.

I need to remember to spend as much – or more – time understanding those who make a query as I do looking at ways to improve a site’s performance.

The dividends that come from empathetic marketing practices are usually greater than those gleaned from technical fixes.

All of us in search would be wise to remember this.

2. Automate All The Things

In the last few years, many prominent SEO professionals have touted the advantages of using the Python programming language to automate rote search engine optimization tasks.

Python, in the hands of a competent programmer, is a powerful tool that can cut the amount of time required for search engine optimization significantly.

Python can help you scrape data to come up with content ideas, analyze common on-page SEO issues, track and analyze issues in your backlink profile and much more.

Those interested in some of the possibilities with Python should read this article: How To Use Python To Analyze SEO Data: A Reference Guide.

As I’ve stated in the past, by definition I am not a coder.

However, I’ve been around code for so long I know what to look for when I’m analyzing how the code will react with the search engines.

For those like me, I encourage you to dig in and learn the basics of the Python language.

No one is going to care if you master the intricacies of the code.

See also  6 Expert Tips For Small Business SEO Strategy in 2022

In fact, I would argue that spending too much learning the language is a waste of time.

For me, the end goal of learning about any new technology is to learn its full capabilities and limitations.

If you understand what a piece of software can do, you can then plan what you need and either figure out how to program just what you need or hire someone to program it for you.

It’s almost impossible to hire someone to automate your SEO tactics if you don’t understand how Python (or any other software) can help you achieve your goal.

My goal in 2022 is to learn everything python can do.

If you are a freelance python developer, feel free to hit me up around May, as I suspect I’ll have some projects by then.

3. Get Your Tracking Right

The introduction of Google Analytics 4 has thrown a wrench in a lot of sites’ tracking codes.

Many went from somewhat high confidence that their analytics data was correct to uncertainty.

When you don’t trust your analytics numbers, you can’t make proper decisions.

You can’t plan properly.

We often have prospects that show up with poorly executed tracking.

This has become so much of an issue that we recently implemented a policy where we don’t move on to any other work until the tracking is set up.

And it needs to be set up so everyone in your organization trusts the data.

If you increase traffic by 140% but the boss doesn’t believe the numbers are accurate, no one will get credit. There is a good chance that the tactics used to achieve the increased traffic won’t be approved again in the future.

Why would anyone approve activity that, based upon their worldview, isn’t effective?

See also  3 Tips to Catapult Your SEO Results in 2022

On the other hand, if traffic falls and no one trusts the data, it will be almost impossible to accurately diagnose what is causing the traffic decrease – at least in a way where the whole team is on board with the diagnosis and action items to fix the issues.

4. Embrace The Grind

Good SEO is a grind.

In many cases, we are implementing tactics and must wait several weeks before we know if our efforts worked or not.

We’re a lot like farmers – planting our seeds in the code of our sites, watering and caring for the code while knowing that storms from Google or drought from lack of consumer interest may mean a disastrous harvest.

Successful SEO pros embrace the daily grind.

We work on content to bolster our authority.

We check the code daily to make sure nothing is broken.

And when Google announces an upcoming update, the net looks like a town that just heard a storm is coming – SEO professionals work to batten down the hatches, even if we aren’t exactly sure what to do to prepare for the storm.

All-in-all, SEO becomes a list of daily chores.

Those SEO pros that embrace this daily grind are successful.

Those that look for magic bullets and quick fixes end up chasing their tail.

Embrace the grind.

It’s how you show long-term, sustainable SEO success.

In Conclusion

If you’ve read this far, I’d love to hear your search engine marketing resolution.

Feel free to post your SEO New Year’s resolution on Twitter using the hashtag #seo2022.

I am looking forward to reading all the new year’s resolution inspiration I’m sure the readers of Search Engine Journal can provide.

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Featured image: LanaSweet/Shutterstock





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Should You Disavow Links From Spammy Yet High Authority Sites?

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Should You Disavow Links From Spammy Yet High Authority Sites?


Today’s Ask an SEO question comes from David in Craughwell, Ireland, who asks:

“When checking my and my competitor backlink profiles, I come across many links from firebaseapp.com and web.app domains.

These domains have high DA but the pages are very often spammy and low quality. It is my instinct to disavow these links but due to the high DA I am unsure how to proceed.

Do you have any advice, please, for when an SEO encounters awful links from high DA domains?”

Hi David,

Great question! The first thing to think about is that Domain Authority (DA) does not come from Google and is not a credible metric.

How Does Domain Authority Factor Into Your Link Disavowal Strategy?

DA is a calculation devised by a popular SEO tool and used by that tool only (not Google) to evaluate a website.

If you trust that tool, then you can use the metric as a way to begin looking at a domain or a specific webpage and whether a backlink may have some value.

But I personally wouldn’t let a high DA sway me in one direction or another. There are a ton of high authority domains you likely don’t want a backlink from.

Porn sites and gambling sites may have a ton of domain authority and content that gets a lot of engagement, but that doesn’t mean a backlink could be good for you (unless you’re in those niches).

I found links to a fashion site I work on from porn sites with high DA in their cosplay section and we disavowed because we don’t want the association, even though the link was natural and benefited the end user.

See also  Are Nofollow Links a Google Ranking Factor?

So What Should We Be Looking At?

The more important thing to look at is how Google will see that link.

Ask yourself why that site is linking to you – does your company sells something relevant to the topic of the website, the topic of the category, or the content within the page?

If you sell something unrelated like plumbing supplies or service alarm systems, Google will probably question why you have links from this site.

They will either ignore the link or potentially devalue your site as it may appear you’re building spammy links.

If this high DA site or series of sites has a ton of outbound links, there is a reasonable chance Google knows it is part of a farm and will likely ignore the link on its own.

If you’re worried about these links, you can always add them to your disavow sheet if it makes you feel more comfortable. Disavowing only takes a second and having peace of mind can last a long time.

That’s why I still do it for my clients.

For your app-specific questions: If you’re seeing this as an attack on your website, or it is a developer who is a fan of your brand and decided to link to you from all their apps or sites, you can leave it alone.

It’s likely they’re linking to all of your competitors, too, or your website is contextually relevant to the topic of the website.

If you do decide to trust a tool’s metric (all of them have their own) then I would pull a report of the specific URL linking to you (not the base domain) and look to see what the score is for that page.

See also  How to tell an effective data story: Tips from Nancy Duarte

If the score is good and the content makes sense, I would keep the link. If it is clearly spam and not topically relevant I would consider disavowing the page or the entire domain to save time.

You can go a step further and pull similar reports for your top three competitors in Google search to see if they have similar backlinks. If they do then you may be in the clear as everyone in your space has the same issues.

In this situation focus on things in your control like on-page SEO with your content, page structure, schema, internal links, speed, and UX.

Do You Really Need To Worry About Disavowing Links?

Google has gotten a lot better about detecting good and quality backlinks while ignoring spammy backlinks, including high DA sites.

If the links are clearly not natural and only pointing at your site, go for the disavow and do domain-wide.

Again, peace of mind is something that can have a positive impact on your business and your personal life, so taking a couple of seconds to add the URL to your disavow file and upload is absolutely worth it – but only if you are sure it is a spammy link and from an irrelevant site/page/source.

I hope this answers your question and thank you for asking it.

These subjective questions are always more fun to tackle – you made my day!  =0)

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Editor’s note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts, who have been hand-picked by Search Engine Journal. Got a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!


Featured image: fatmawati achmad zaenuri/Shutterstock





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