School may have just gotten out for the summer, but this month’s roundup is going to take you right back to class. From beginning to end, it’s all information that’s going to make you better at what you do.
First up, the month’s juiciest case studies. You’ll learn what an insufficient amount of links will do to you, what the numbers say about how to write great content, and what an in-depth analysis says about the best correlational SEO tools.
After that—the month’s guides that will make you a better SEO. You’ll pick up a stack of new linkbuilding tricks, the means to rank beyond your location, the keys to long-tail keywords and what it really means to optimize for searcher intent.
Finally, the news. You’ll learn what Google announced (yes, seriously) for their algorithm update, the signs that Google is better at judging medical sites, whether text-only ads are on the way out and why everyone is freaking out about favicons.
So, let’s get started with the first big case study. You may know linkbuilding is important, but do you know that without it…you’re doomed?
You’re Doomed Without Links [2019 Case Study]
It’s hard to separate the power of building links from all the other work you’re doing to get your website off the ground. But then, along comes this case study that completely isolates the work of content building from the work of link building.
For the first six months of this study of a brand new website, not a single link was built. 20+ pieces of content were created, but nothing was done to promote them or create links.
Predictably, very little happened. Despite tens of thousands of words in high-quality content built out over months, the website saw a negligible amount of traffic and growth.
After the first six months ended, the content building ended, and the focus was placed entirely on links. What followed was a nearly 2000% increase in organic traffic. Check out the article for more interesting data, graphs and insights.
If all this information has you chomping at the bit to improve your linkbuilding strategies, you’re in luck. One of our guides coming up a few items later will give you 13 ways to do just that.
For now, let’s look at a content case study that will show you how to build the kind of blogs that get views and draw new links.
How to Write a Blog Post That Gets 304,392 New Visitors (SEO Case Study)
Creating engaging content can be stressful for even the most experienced SEOs. Throwing some numbers and certainty into the creation process can make that process a lot more repeatable.
You’ll find some of those numbers in this study by Nathan Gotch at Gotch SEO. He runs the numbers on a successful post and breaks down the elements that delivered value to readers and encouraged backlinks.
The study closes with an in-depth guide portion that goes into how to choose the database of keywords that will be used to build the content based on what’s working for your competitors.
Some of the work that is needed to duplicate these results with your own content can SEO tools that maximize your on-page content. How fortunate that our next item will reveal the best ones to do it.
Top 3 Correlational SEO Tools for 2019 (Full Comparison)
You have all the options in the world when it comes to on-page SEO tools, but if you want to know what sets them apart, this in-depth review by Craig Campbell is for you. It covers 3 of the top competitors and studies their unique benefits.
The tools in question are PageOptimizer Pro, Cora and Surfer SEO. They are judged on several different merits, including on-site ranking factors, user experience, simplicity, system requirements, TF*IDF functionality, and other features.
All of the conclusions are pulled into a table at the end, which makes this one a quick and convenient read if you want to find out how the features appeal to your exact needs. As you might expect, the “winner” changes depending on your needs.
Now it’s time to get to the guides. As you were promised earlier, it starts with 19 killer linkbuilding strategies to get your brainstorm blowing.
13 19 Killer Linkbuilding Strategies
Linkbuilding is always a bit of a pain, even if you have a lot of time to spare. If you’ve been looking for some relief from dropping emails to strangers and hoping for the best, you’ll find it right here in this long piece by Robbie Richards.
The piece was first published with 13 strategies (hence the URL) but has now been updated to 19 with advice about how to build quality links with industry-specific tools, reclaim lost link equity in 404 pages and “hack” quora for referring traffic.
Each is laid out in an impressive amount of detail. You’ll get all the notes you need to replicate it for yourself, along with plenty of images that will show you how to use any of the tools that are involved in each one.
This guide can make any page a monster, but a page is only as useful as its purpose. If you’ve been trying to make a page rank outside of-of its geographic location, that’s what the next guide will teach you.
I Want to Rank Beyond My Location: A Guide to How This Works
Local SEO can be lucrative on its own, but sometimes you’re looking to swim in a bigger pond. Ranking beyond one area can be difficult when you’ve got one location, but it’s not impossible to expand your range as this Moz guide reveals.
It breaks down several of the top strategies that take you from hyperlocal rankings to local, regional, state and national exposure. For each level you’re trying to reach, they provide specific tactics to get you where you’re going.
This piece is high on expertise and low on fluff. You can jump around to find what you need, and there are plenty of references and links to cover any steps you might not understand from your own experience.
One of the key ways to rank for any location at all is to master the use of long-tail keywords. If you have any questions about how to accomplish that, the next guide is going to tell you everything you need to know.
Long-Tail Keywords: The Last Guide You’ll Ever Need [2019 Edition]
This guide by the people at Authority Hacker promises to be the ‘last guide you’ll ever need’. By any indication, they’ve worked hard to earn that distinction, even if keyword advice is anything but evergreen.
The different chapters cover everything you need to know to find keywords, sort them and use them. The guide shows you how to use them to rank more effectively, draw more traffic and to develop better, more focused content.
If you’re planning to give it a try, make sure to find a comfortable chair first, and maybe mix yourself a cocktail. It’s a huge guide that’s filled with step-by-step instructions, screenshots that will carry you through different tools and advice.
Of course, keywords are just one part of optimizing your content. There are a slew of ways that you can make the content better. The next item is going to teach you one of the most important ones.
Optimizing Your Content for Search Intent
Most SEOs are aware by now that Google places a lot of emphasis on user intent. They want to direct users to results based on why they made the search, not just the keywords that they used.
By any indication, Google has become a lot better at judging user intent. Using thousands of signals as clues, the search engine can guess whether you’re looking for specific websites, general information, a product to buy or comparisons to shop.
But have you gotten any better at it? Do you know what steps to take to make your content match the needs of incoming searchers? You will after you read this guide by Ahrefs.
It covers everything you need to know about the different types of intent, how you can find intent by looking at search data and then how to optimize based on what you discover.
The guide finishes with two miniature case studies that demonstrate how much power making edits around user intent is worth. In the first study, the changes were worth a 677% increase. In the second study, it was 3,100%
This is a guide that will be well worth the time it takes to get through it, but for now, we’re moving on to some lighter reading—the latest news stories. First up, Google had actually announced their last update.
Google’s Announced June 2019 Broad Core Algorithm Update
Google’s announced update is now being implemented. We know this because they took the rare step of telling us. That’s not something that’s really in their nature, so a lot of people are curious about the change in stance.
Unfortunately, that the update was made is just about all we know about it at this point.
This may mean that while nothing was being targeted, spam that has escaped notice until now took a hit. The only instruction that Google gave is that there is nothing for you to fix and that you should do nothing.
While you might be skeptical about that advice, it’s probably the safest bet right now. It can take a few weeks for the changes from an update to settle, and anything you change now in response to mild movements might cause trouble.
My stance is that you are best off waiting a month for the dust to settle before you do anything.
After some rocky updates in recent years, some SEOs might be concerned. However, as the next news item shows, Google is getting better at targeting exactly what it intends to.
Has Google Gotten Better at Judging the Quality of Medical Sites?
Google is constantly looking for ways to improve the results that they deliver to searchers. That’s a gargantuan task considering the billions of searches that happen every day.
When the 2018 core update dropped, there was speculation that they were targeting medical sites in particular. At the time, Google didn’t give validate any theories, even as the data made it clear that medical sites were seeing big changes.
That’s changed with some recent comments by John Mueller. He has just recently confirmed that the algorithm has been focused on more and more on what he calls critical spaces that include medicine.
This suggests several things that SEOs should note.
First, competing in the medical results is going to take a lot more professionalism than in the past now that these results have special attention.
Second, this is likely just the first attempt at what is going to be an ongoing effort to give special attention to critical search topics. Those involved in any niches that involve people’s safety, financial security or other sensitive areas should take note.
Another subject that SEOs should pay attention to is the recent changes in Ads and Favicons. This is another trend that’s making some concerned.
Why are SEOs frustrated about Ads & Favicon changes?
A sizeable share of all searches is made on mobile phones now. Google has embraced this trend to the point of requiring websites to be mobile-ready for access to certain advantages.
Mobile does come with unique challenges when it comes to ranking and drawing in traffic. The SERPs pages for computer and mobile results don’t look exactly identical, and recent changes to mobile results have some SEOs concerned.
The ad label on the mobile SERPs page is now identified only by the word “Ad”, where it was once identified by that in addition to a bright background and whole-result highlighting.
In fact, the Ad label is now located in the same spot where favicons are featured for non-ad results. People are noting that the label looks a little like a favicon if you aren’t paying close attention.
This is drawing attention for several reasons. First, because organically-ranked results are far more difficult to separate from ads. Secondly, because favicon identifiers represent a fertile ground for scammers to try to phish from SERPs.
The changes are not necessarily set in stone at this point. Google is very active in updating its mobile SERPs at the moment.