22 Keyword Research Tools

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Even in an era of the semantic web, keyword research is still important. But it’s not just about the specific keywords. We need research to understand our market and competitive landscape, we need research to help brainstorm the topic of our new blog post. The 22 keyword research tools I cover below will not only help determine keywords for your on page SEO, but help you assess your competition and may even help you validate a new idea. Most of the tools listed below are free, but I’ve included a few that are not.

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Help! I hate to blog, what do I do about SEO?

Writer Creating Content on Laptop

SEO goes hand in hand with great content

This week’s post is an answer to a reader’s question.

SuZen Marie asks: My brother has no interest in blogging on the website I built for him and I know this is not helping the site’s SEO. Is guest blogging or a featured column the way to go? Does “borrowed” content count to boost SEO ranking as well as original content?

You’re right to worry about having content on your brother’s website. In today’s competitive landscape, excellent content is the way to win at SEO.

That being said, since you have a site that provides a local service, local SEO tactics, can get you pretty far. Ideally, though, you want to rank in both the “map” results as well as with a pure organic listing so that you have multiple opportunities to get the click.

It all comes down to how competitive your niche is. With some niches, some basic on page optimization and enough citations (local SEO listings) might be enough. But those niches are getting rarer and rarer, especially if you are in a bigger city.

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Moving WordPress to a New Domain in 7 Steps

Moving boxes .. and WordPress sites

Moving boxes .. and WordPress sites

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. For one thing I’ve moved my residence. There’s no way around it, moving sucks, especially when you lived in one place for seven years. So I guess it was only appropriate to have the challenge of moving a WordPress blog to a new domain for a client soon after my move.

The scenario

These moves can be really dependent on the scenario you are dealing with, for example: who has the domain registered etc., so I’m just going to detail what I did and hopefully it will help others.

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Do You Need to Worry about SEO with WishList Member?

At first glance SEO and membership sites seem to be two entirely unrelated things. When Googlebot encounters a login page, that page is a brick wall that stops it cold, since search engine bots don’t have a way to log into your site. So any content behind an authentication wall is essentially invisible to Google and the other search engines. So when you are setting up a membership site do you need to worry about SEO at all?

WishList Member Login Page

Example of WishList Member Login Page

Up to this point I had just assumed no. But I was wrong; when I started looking at a WordPress site using the WordPress plugin WishList Member, I ran into a number of issues. Some issues are specific to WishList Member – and I cover those below. But there is also some general SEO friendly practices around managing your content that applies to any membership site that I want to cover as well. Let’s start there.

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Checklist for Choosing a SEO Friendly Content Management System

site map

Dynamically generated XML sitemaps are one CMS feature you will want.

Although I often recommend WordPress as a CMS (Content Management System), I’ve worked with a variety of other CMS – including some in house developed ones.

If you are considering selecting a Content Management System for your website, make sure you select one that provides a rich set of SEO friendly features.

Here’s my checklist to make sure you get a CMS that won’t set you up for failure.

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Can your site get a Bing Penalty?

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Do Bing Penalties Really Exist?

By stripping away most of your organic traffic, a Google penalty can make or break your website. A Bing penalty is not as dire – but it could still have an impact on your bottom line. I recently was successful in restoring Bing and Yahoo #1 rankings to a site that had dropped off the first page for their head term. Here’s what I did and what you might try if you are in the same situation.

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Does User Experience Matter for SEO?

bad user experience with a donut

Don’t do this to your users !!

I have lost count of how many times a business owner has said to me: I’m good with my SEO, I got my keywords added to my site and I am done.

Well it’s a little more involved in that.

For example, did you know that the user experience of your site may be harming its SEO performance? When you step back and look at the bigger picture, it makes sense. Google has repeatedly said that its top goal is to deliver a great search experience to you, the searcher. If you are clicking through the search engine results pages and getting crappy sites and consequently leaving right away – don’t you think Google notices if enough people are behaving this way?

User Experience and how it matters for SEO was the topic of a recent interview I did for Ann Hession’s radio show: Turning Problems into Profits

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Is Affiliate Disclosure Required in an Email?

Confused on Affiliate Disclosure in Email?

Confused about Affiliate Disclosure in Email Marketing? So am I.

After the beta launch of my SEO for Business Owners course, I’ve been planning to do a more expanded version next year (with a better title). One component of that planning is looking for partners that can help promote the course to reach a broader audience.

If you are not familiar with this business model, here’s how it works.

  1. You find someone that has a business complementary to yours and has (preferably) a big list
  2. They email their list promoting a freebie that you offer such as a free report or free webinar
  3. You then sell your product to your newly acquired prospects
  4. You pay your partner a commission for each person that he/she sent you that bought your product

Of course this is just a high level overview, but that should be enough information for you to get the gist of it. So the question is, do you have to disclosure the fact that you are a partner (or a affiliate) in the email you send to your list?

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Local SEO 101

When I created citations for a business six months ago, I wrote this 101 style blog post while it was still fresh in my mind. Since I now offer a local SEO video module as part of my SEO for Business Owners Course, I’ve returned to it and added even more details. You’ll learn how the local seo ecosystem works and all the basics you’ll need in getting started in local SEO.

local SEO

Get Started with local SEO for Web Visibility

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Google Analytics Setup

In order to know whether you are improving the performance of your website, you need a way to measure your progress. This is where Google Analytics comes in.

Step 1: Create a Google Account

You will need a Google account. It’s easiest to create a or use an existing gmail account, although it is still possible to create a non gmail account as a Google account.

Step 2: Create an Account for your Website in Google Analytics

Once you have created your Google account, navigate to Google Analytics and click on “Admin”. Enter the name of the account, website and website URL (see below). NOTE: As of April 2014, all new GA accounts use Universal Analytics.
Google Analytics Setup
Click on the “Get Tracking Id” button. Note: Depending on which approach you take, you may need both the UA code and the tracking code shown on the next screen.

Step 3: Install the Google Analytics tag onto your website

The way that Google Analytics works is that when a visitor comes to one of your web pages, a piece of code that has been installed into your website fires and sends the tracking information to your Google Analytics account. So you need to install the GA tracking code into your website in this step. Fortunately if you are using WordPress there are plugins that make this easy for you.

We’ll use a popular one called “Google Analyticator”. Google Analyticator makes the installation fairly easy and even adds a dashboard into your WordPress admin. This plugin is available in the WordPress repository, so to install just click on “Add New” and type in “Google Analyticator” to find it. Once installed, navigate to the plugin page and click on “Settings” for the plugin.

There are two ways you can use Google Analyticator:

  • Authenticate the plugin with Google: You give the plugin permission to access your Google account. If you want the dashboard you must authenticate.
  • Just use the plugin for tracking: Skip the authentication and go directly to the Settings screen. You will need the UA Tracking id if you skip the authentication.

Most of the settings I leave as is – except the ones I note in the screenshot below:
Google Analyticator Settings


If you have many plugins and are concerned about performance, you may want to skip using a plugin and install the code directly into your theme. This is an advanced approach that requires you be able to edit your functions.php file on your server.

In the functions.php file you want to add both an action and the function “add_googleanalytics” as in the below:

function add_googleanalytics() { ?<
Insert the code you copied from GA here.
It should begin and end with <script> tags

<?php }
add_action('wp_head', 'add_googleanalytics');

Google Webmasters Tools Setup

Google Analytics helps you track your website’s traffic. Google Webmasters Tools is the channel Google uses to communicate to you any problem its crawlers might find on your site. You should set both up.

Fortunately once you have Analytics setup, it’s easy to also setup Google Webmasters Tools as it will just verify based on the Analytics code you just installed in your website.

  1. While logged into your Google Account (the same one you are using for Google Analytics), go to Google Webmaster Tools
  2. Click on the red “Add a Site” button (located at the upper right)
  3. In the popup, type in the URL of your website and click on Continue.
    1. NOTE: it’s important to enter your preferred URL, ie. this blog’s preferred URL is http://webenso.com. But if you are using https and www then your preferred URL is https://www.yoursite.com.
  4. For verification method select “Analytics” (it’s usually the recommended method).
  5. Then click on the Verify prompt to complete the setup