The dog days of summer are upon us—that special time from July to about Mid-August marked by the most sweltering days of the year.

Well, if you’ve been focusing on your online business to escape the heat, you’re out of luck. It’s rising in here, too. But if you’re reading this, you can take the heat. So, let’s get to the advice that will keep you cooking.

First, check out these data-laden case studies to make sense of recent changes. We’ll start by looking at whether CTR is a ranking factor, some tests into the best backlink checker and, what’s working for SEO in 2019. Then, I have a case study for you built off my link service.

After that, I’ll take you through the guides that will show you how to drive traffic to your site, analyze your competitors, and cheaply boost content linkability like a pro. After my choice of guides, I’ll show you the ones Cyrus Shephard considers the best for SEO this year.

Finally, the month’s big news and lively discussions. If you’ve been wondering what’s causing rule-abiding sites to lose traffic or why some GMB reviews are missing—your answers are a few scrolls away.

Your answer as to whether CTR is a ranking factor? Let’s start by looking at what Dan Taylor has to say.

Is CTR a ranking factor?

The role of CTR in ranking has been a huge debate, lately. What keeps this debate interesting is the fact that there are seasoned experts on both sides.

How do you know who to believe? As usual, the answer is hard data. Fortunately, Dan Taylor has just finished collecting some for us.

Rather than a new study, it’s a collection of all of the most authoritative evidence that’s been collected. There are links to multiple in-depth experiments and case studies, along with some evidence you might not have thought to check (like patent filings).

calculating CTR

His conclusion is that CTR is not a ranking factor. However, you’ll need to read the piece to find out why that may not mean what you think it does. There’s some important analysis of the reasons optimizing CTR still matters. Also, you’ll learn why it’s likely to matter more very soon.

This is information you can use to prepare for the future, but our next case study has data you can put to use right now: Check out the latest numbers on which backlink checker is the most accurate.

Which Backlink Checker is Most Accurate? [2019 Case Study]

Link building matters more now than it ever has. Tools have been released to make it easier, but now there’s so many that it’s circled back around to hard again.

Testing out different checkers can be time-consuming and expensive, but reading this deep dive takes minutes, and it’s free.

The case study looks at 4 of the biggest checkers-

  • Ahrefs
  • Majestic
  • Moz
  • SEMRush

backlink checkers list

The point of the case study was to examine not only the number of results but the accuracy of them. Over 10,000 links were crawled to determine how many of the links reported by each checker was already dead.

It might surprise you to learn that none of the checkers were 100% accurate. 8% of the links returned by even the best checker (Ahrefs) were already dead. Except for first place, there were only 1-2% differences between the different checkers.

You can use this case study to pick a more accurate checker. However, the evidence seems to suggest that there isn’t much difference between 2nd and 4th place. That’s reason enough to care about the other features each one offers.

Better backlinks are one way to improve your SEO, but wouldn’t you like to know more ways? How about…17 more?

17 Ways to Improve Your SEO in 2019

I know what you’re thinking. “Ugh. A listicle? What’s this doing here?”

But this is no ordinary list, my friends. Each section is backed up by data and pulled together at the end with a series of growth charts to show what they all accomplished. It’s a case study into almost all the ways that a stalled site can get moving again.

where do i even satrt seo 2019

If you’re new at building and ranking websites, you can use this study to develop your own list of best practices. If you’re experienced, you can use this study troubleshoot problem sites. Compare the items to what you’ve already accomplished, and take the next step (or 17 steps).

If 17 options aren’t enough, I’ve still got one more for you. Coming up next is a quick look at what Authority Builders did for one niche affiliate marketing site.

Authority.Builders Review: Real User Data Case Study

I won’t take up too much of your time to toot my own horn, but I was proud of this particular item that was published this month. One of my clients performed his own case study into how two links from Authority Builders worked on one of his sites.

The effects of the links were as isolated as possible from any other work on the site. So, this will allow you to see what kind of effect they have on their own starting from the day the links went live.

first keyword

It’s a short study and a short read—unlike the following item—which happens to be the beefiest items in our list this month. Let’s move onto our guides for the month with a look at the proven ways to drive traffic to your site.

11 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

This roundup is just killing it with the useful lists this month, right? This guide goes deep in-depth into various outside-the-box ways to drive traffic to your website. Each item is supported with all the graphs, references and visual aids that you need to apply the insights to your own sites.

If you’re a pro, you’re likely to have heard some of this advice before. However, the information here is so detailed that there are probably some practices (or the reasons behind them) that you’ve missed. Even if you already use these tricks, these guides may help you do it better.

back to tthe future web traffic

Some of the advice was certainly off the beaten path, such as advice about how to…

  • Promote content in relevant online communities
  • Answer questions well
  • Appear on podcasts

It’s a long read, but a convenient one because you can just jump around to the items that will have the most impact on your sites. Whether this one takes up a lot of your time, or only enough to pick up a trick, it will be useful.

Now, let’s move onto a guide that focuses on one specific skill and how to do it better. Our next guide covers a 5-step procedure to better competitor analysis.

5-Step SEO Competitor Analysis Tutorial (With Template and Examples)

I’m glad that this piece has come along this month because I’ve been a long-time believer in the vital importance of competitor analysis.

If you have the impression that this is something only high-level SEO experts can handle, this simple guide may prove you wrong. No, it’s not a breezy read, but you don’t want it to be if you want to do this right.

If you’re serious about understanding your competitors, I think it’s fair to say that this piece offers everything you need. It breaks the entire process into five steps. Each step is packed with all the information you need to understand what you’re doing and why it will matter.

seo competitor analysis robbie

The guide requires one tool to pull it off properly: Ahrefs.  I might also suggest Surfer SEO, but hey, I didn’t write the guide.

But each step also covers where you find the information you need in the Ahrefs interface. So, you won’t be left confused even if you’re new to the tool.

Ahrefs can be a little costly for a new enterprise, and if that’s a concern you have, then the next guide in the list is also going to be a relief. It’s about how to make content more linkable without dipping into your budget.

How to Boost Content Linkability Without Wasting Your Marketing Budget

Your content will establish your authority, drive conversions and stand as the property that attracts links. At least, it’s meant to do those things. Sometimes, though, you invest serious time and money into good content only to see it stall out.

Increasing linkability without dipping further into your budget is a huge deal and the subject of this guide. It covers several ways that you can increase linkability by making only small modifications to the way that you build your copy.

marketing linkability stats mac

Some of the tips are things that you can do in minutes, such an injecting a few expert quotes or stats in strategic areas. If you want to take it further, there are some higher-budget options like adding images. For the pricier options, you get great advice about how to do it right.

If you’d like to know how to do quite a bit more right (like say, almost anything), you’ll find what you’re looking for in the item. Cyrus Shepard is presenting some of the best articles to learn SEO.

Cyrus Shepard presents the Best Articles to Learn SEO

If you didn’t know Cyrus Shepard from his SEO work already, you may have been introduced to him here. He catches onto trends fast and frequently pulls high-level Google employees into his conversations on Twitter. His tweets have been featured several times on our roundups

He doesn’t focus on education topics that often, so this piece by him is a special treat for anyone who wants to know what it’s like to have his perspective.

seo not rocket science meme

He covers 7 different articles that have the power to transform someone from a complete novice to someone who has a firm grasp on the foundations of SEO. The articles teach everything from keyword research and traffic to on-page optimization.

If you ever have a friend who needs advice about breaking into the industry, this is a very decent place to send them.

With the guides now out of the way, it’s time to start looking at the latest news of the month. First, another story in the ongoing saga of the last algorithm update. Why are some rule-abiding sites losing traffic?

What is Causing some Rule-Abiding Sites to Lose Traffic?

This educational discussion took place on the news-aggregator Reddit.

It was posted by a website owner of a health-adjacent site who is experiencing a serious penalty without an obvious source.

seo case study no way meme

The site discussed is focused on examining medical research related to supplements. It doesn’t sell any products itself, or even make any claims regarding products. All the content is focused on reviewing published research.

The subject of the site (supplements) is leading some in the conversation to believe that the June update is responsible.

The thread is more than worthwhile, with hundreds of comments from other established SEOs that may be helpful as advice for other website owners.

Rankings aren’t the only things going missing lately, though. Many GMB reviews have also seemingly vanished.

Google Confirms Cause of Missing GMB Reviews – Will They Ever Come Back?

GMB reviews began to go missing around mid-July. There was a lot of speculation at the time about whether it was an error or not.

google review missing

Recently, some answers have come down from Google. It seems that at least some of the disappearances are not intentional. It’s true that an effort has begun to target and remove fake reviews. However, Google’s official stand is that some unintended reviews were targeted.

The link includes the full statement from Google, including a promise that an inspection is underway to restore any illegitimate reviews.



Article by

Matt Diggity

Matt is the founder of Diggity Marketing, LeadSpring, The Search Initiative, The Affiliate Lab, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. He actually does SEO too.