The days of keyword stuffing to increase your ranking are long gone. Google got smarter and more intuitive; it’s not so easy to try to game the system and cheat your way to the top.
With that in mind, you must understand how to optimize your website correctly, without over-optimizing and getting penalized.
You 100% should be optimizing your website, but too many SEO improvements can hinder your ability to rank. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true—too much of a good thing can equal a bad thing and that rings true in the world of SEO, too.
We’re going to discuss the signs that your site may be over-optimized and what you can do to remedy it to not only avoid Google penalties but to also help boost your rankings.
Most people today know that keyword stuffing is a no-no, but there’s more to over-optimization than that. Today, there’s a whole list of SEO tactics that, if not done properly, can lead to an excessively optimized site.
Here are the aspects of your site to keep in check to avoid a penalty:
If you ask around, you’ll probably hear that your keyword density, or how many times your keyword(s) appears in your content, should be anywhere from 1-3%. So, if you have about 1,000 words on a page a 1% density would be using your keyword 10 times throughout and a 3% would be 30 times.
Now, I’m going to go ahead and say that first, keyword density is a myth. Sure, you can use it as a guideline, but it’s more about WHERE your keywords are placed than how many times.
And for the record, I would never utilize a 3% keyword density. You risk sounding super spammy and Google won’t like it. In fact, I’ve de-optimized web pages, taking out excess keyword usage and witnessed the ranking for that page instantly increase, which solidifies the fact that keyword stuffing is a certain NO in the online world now.
As a way to increase traffic and therefore increase SERP rankings, some people will try to gain traffic for non-relevant keywords.
For example, they may stick high search volume keywords that are completely irrelevant to the site within the content to try to gain traffic from them. Obviously, you wouldn’t convert on any of that traffic.
As the Google bot crawls and indexes your site, it takes into consideration all the keywords that you use across your entire site and then determines your rank for relevant queries. If you have unrelated content, it will take away from the overall strength of your site.
You must focus only on your particular niche. There are plenty of topics and sub-categories to focus on within each and every niche out there, no need to go mixing in other, unrelated topics.
Interlinking is an awesome SEO tool, no doubt about that. The problem is, when you use too many exact match anchor text in your content, you’re setting yourself up for an over-optimized website mess.
Yes, an exact match anchor here and there is ok, even good as it can increase your SEO. But there is definitely such thing as too much.
Here’s an example of an exact match anchor:
Check out our awesome blog posting service
(links to: example.com/awesome-blog-posting-service/)
Do you see? The anchor text is the exact same string of words as the URL. You can do this, but do it very sparingly.
A better option would be to spread your anchor text across a sentence fragment like “Blog posting is a service that provides awesome SEO benefits.” My keywords are still in there, but they’re diluted by spreading them out across the sentence.
The H1 header is meant to identify your page’s MAIN heading. There should only be one main heading—there’s plenty of other H-tags to use for your sub-headings.
Using more than one H1 tag on a page is over-optimization, don’t do it.
Go ahead and go crazy with your H2s, H3s, H4s, etc., but just stick to one H1.
Your website footer is another area to check for website over-optimization. Your footer should be designed with the user in mind—it should be a nice closure to your page not a place to stuff in last-minute keywords.
Footers receive minimal crawler recognition because of their position so don’t waste your time trying to increase your ranking by adding in keywords to the footer, it’s a recipe for over-optimization.
The last place I recommend checking for over-optimized website pages is in your links. A healthy link profile has links that point to the home page AND deep internal pages.
An over-optimized webpage has a ton of links that go only to the homepage or other top-level pages like the services page or contact us. Mix it up by pointing some of your inner links to deep internal pages and blog posts.
It’s easy to overdo it with SEO techniques, and what you might not realize is that it’s hurting you rather than helping you. Now that you know what to look for, take some time to comb through your website and see if there are any red flags and then work to fix them.
Don’t have time? We offer comprehensive website auditing services that will tell you exactly where your content stands and what improvements can be made to help increase your SEO and conversions as well as avoid over-optimization penalties.
No matter what algorithm changes Google throws at us, one thing will always remain true: you need to do keyword research before you try to rank.
We’re going to break down everything you need to know about keyword research so that you can get started writing and ranking!
Let’s start with the basics…
Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing search terms that people enter into Google. These are actual search terms and phrases that people are using, and you can use those to help build your content strategy as well as your overall marketing and SEO strategy.
If you follow SEO and digital marketing trends at all, you’ve likely heard that keywords themselves are not as important as the ability to rank for the actual searches people conduct every day. Today, it’s all about user intent.
Google has gotten much smarter and more intuitive over the years. It’s the intent behind the keyword and whether or not your content solves the problem. That being said, keyword research is still as relevant as ever.
Keyword research will tell you what topics people care about and how popular those topics are. By researching keywords that get a lot of search volume each month, you can identify and sort your content into topics to create content on. After that, you can use those topics to determine which keywords to target.
People take to Google to answer questions and solve problems. By researching keywords, their search volume, and general intent, you can answer the most pressing questions that your audience is asking.
It’s all about providing value. Let’s jump into one of the easiest keyword research strategies there are for identifying topics and phrases that are relevant to your business and will help boost your rankings and grow your traffic.
First things first, take some time to think about the topics that you want to rank for in terms of generic subjects. You should be able to come up with anywhere from 5-10 different topics relating to your business and what you offer.
It’s helpful to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer—what types of topics does your target audience search for and want more information on?
For example, if you’re an electrician, you might come up with several general topic categories like:
•Residential electrician (5k)
•Commercial electrician (6.5k)
•Circuit breakers (90k)
•Interior lighting (10k)
•Exterior lighting (22k)
•Electrical Rewiring (590)
•Exhaust systems (2k)
The numbers in the parenthesis to the right indicate the monthly search volume. You can use this data to gauge how important these topics are to your target audience and how many potential different sub-topics you need to create to be successful with that keyword. The higher the search volume, the more competitive and difficult the keyword will be to rank for.
Now that you’ve identified a few broad topic buckets that you’d like to focus on, your next step is to determine which keywords fall into those topics. These are the specific keywords and key phrases that your target customer is searching for.
For example, if we take a look at the topic of “residential electrician”—you would brainstorm some keyword phrases that you think people would type into Google related to that topic. Some key phrases for this topic may include:
•Why you need a residential electrician
•Residential electrician for new construction
•24-hour residential electrician
•What does a residential electrician do?
The objective of this step isn’t to come up with your final list of key phrases, but rather to write down some phrases and subjects off the top of your head that you think potential customers may be searching for.
*Pro-Tip: Download the free browser add-on, “Keywords Everywhere.” This tool shows you search volume, CPC, related search terms, and more.
You may have already started this in the previous step. If not, it’s a great way to add more meat to your list of possible topics and a great place to use a tool like Keywords Everywhere.
Google also has the handy feature at the bottom of the search engine results page (SERP) that will give you related search terms.
The image above shows the related search terms for “residential electrician.” You’ll notice the search volume to the right thanks to the Keywords Everywhere browser add-on.
To find even more key phrases, type some of these related search terms into Google and then check those related search terms.
If you’re not sure what long and short-tail keywords are, let’s run through it quick:
Short-tail keywords are generally one to three words in length and pretty generic. Long-tail keywords are longer key phrases that typically contain more than three words.
Short-tail keywords are usually more difficult to rank for than long-tail ones.
It’s important that you have a mix of both in your content strategy so that it’s balanced with short-term wins and long-term goals. You can actively work towards ranking for the short-tail keywords with lots of search volume while you simultaneously see success in ranking for longer tail keywords.
For example, let’s take the short-tail keyword “electricians,” which has 34,000 searches per month and compare it with the long-tail key phrase “how to find an electrician” which has 210 searches per month. Which one do you think will be easier to rank for?
“How to find an electrician” will likely be much easier to rank for because it’s less competitive. But don’t get discouraged. While it’s true that the short-tail keywords get more traffic, the traffic you’ll get from a more specific key phrase is usually the more desirable traffic.
Why? Because when someone is looking for something so specific you have the opportunity to answer their exact question as opposed to someone who is just searching for something very general.
Someone who is searching for “electricians” could be looking for a wide range of different information. They may be looking for an electrician's salary, what electricians do, how to find electricians, etc. When someone searches for “how to find an electrician” you know exactly what information they’re looking to find.
Start digging around to see what your competitors are up to. What keywords do they rank for?
Just because your competition is ranking for a certain keyword doesn’t necessarily mean you need to target that same one, however, it’s super helpful to take into consideration when you’re creating your list of keywords.
There’s likely going to be quite a few keywords on your list that your competition is ranking for, but there may also be some that they don’t know about or don’t seem to care about. Finding these gems allows you to assert yourself as an authority in the niche by taking a slightly different approach and capturing traffic from lesser-known keywords.
How do you see what your competitors are ranking for? You can always do it the manual way and open up an incognito window and browse the SERP, or they are plenty of SEO tools that will make the process easier. SEMrush and AHREFS are both great options for analyzing your competitors.
Whether you’re creating website content, blog posts, or a sales page--it’s important that you use the keywords that you identified as relevant to your customers when you create the copy.
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If you have a regular blog for your business, kudos! You’re already light years ahead of many businesses. Creating regular posts for your business blog brings so many benefits to your marketing efforts.
The question is, are you interlinking within your posts to boost your SEO effors? If not, listen up, because this strategy can seriously improve your rankings, increase the number of indexed pages you have, and improve brand awareness.
There’s so much noise out there about link building for SEO, and while that’s surely the best way to increase rankings and build trust, you can’t forget on-page SEO tactics that can be equally as important.
Read on for my guide to interlinking blog posts naturally to boost your SEO efforts.
Interlinking is just like it sounds--linking your blog posts and website content together, keeping visitors on your site. So, you could have a brand new blog post go up, but you could mention a concept you wrote about in another blog post and link to that in the text of your new blog. Or, you can throw in a call to action that links to your freebie and so on.
Why do this? Because interlinking your blog posts are meant to allow search engines to easily crawl and index all your pages. Additionally, it gives search engines a chance to see the structure of your site.
A clean site structure equates to more pages getting indexed, which increases your chance of your blog posts getting matched to search inquiries. Google strives to provide the best overall experience as well as the best content for search queries, so the quality of your site layout comes into play when rankings are being determined.
Besides helping to boost your SEO, there are plenty of other benefits that interlinking can provide.
Internal website links make it easier for your readers to navigate your blog and find more content. This is crucial for retention rates and brand recognition.
Think of it this way, you drew a new reader in with a blog post, they read it through and then clicked exit because they’re all set. But that’s not what you want. Wouldn’t you rather provide plenty of opportunities for your reader to engage more with your brand? Of course, you would.
When you incorporate anchor text links in your blog post, it’ll lead your reader to another relevant post, and before you know it, the reader is exploring your whole site because they love what you’re doing and saying and you're providing them with a ton of value.
Each anchor text link serves as an invitation for your readers to explore more of your brand and engage with your content. Your bounce rate will go down and, assuming you have a lead magnet or email list pop-up system in place, you’re more likely to get that reader to subscribe and keep coming back for more.
Before you interlink your blog posts, take a second to make sure you know how to write blog posts that rank. There are a few structural systems and keyword pieces that should be in place before you should start thinking about linking.
When it comes to interlinking SEO strategies for your blog, the number one thing to keep in mind is to keep it natural. Smart SEO links are easy to accomplish.
Although your blog may cover many different topics, chances are they’re all related in some way. They should all have a common thread that brings readers back to your brand.
When your content all centers on a similar topic or overarching theme, it's common to mention something in a blog article that you’ve already written an entire blog post about or mentioned elsewhere. This is the perfect opportunity to link these two posts together.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a blog post on how to French braid your hair. In your post, you may mention that French braiding is one of the best hairstyles in 2019. If you already have a post on your blog titled “Top Hairstyles of 2019,” you would link to it. Pretty simple, right?
If you’re like me, you’ll start writing a blog post about one topic and then realize there’s a bunch of other topics that you could take a deeper look at and create additional blog posts for, and then you can link them together. It all becomes one giant, exciting puzzle.
It’s also wise to link to other pages on your website, not just other blogs. Going back to the French braiding example, in the post you may mention something about finding a hairstylist where you could insert a link to your services page. That link will then boost your services page because it has another relevant link to it.
Lastly, you should always have a call to action link. This is usually at the end of the blog post, but it’s where you ask the reader to take the next step and give them the link to do so. The next step could be asking readers to give you a call, set up an appointment on your calendar, subscribe to your email list, download your freebie, etc.
The last thing you want to do is ask them to act, but not give them a way to take action immediately aka an interlink, you’ll likely lose them. Most people aren't willing to go searching around your site to figure out the next step. You've got to make it simple for readers to continue on their journey with your brand.
While interlinking SEO strategies like this one will certainly help boost your rankings, brand awareness, and retention rates, if you overdo it, you could get penalized.
Putting too many exact match keyword anchor texts in your content will raise a red flag and look super spammy. You want your content to look, feel, and read very naturally.
You can master the art of interlinking for SEO by creating awesome content and then linking naturally and selectively. Once you get the hang of it, I’ll feel like second nature and it’ll help you think of new blog topics to write about.
Feeling lost? Want more information? Want to implement a great blog strategy but don’t have the time? Get in touch!
I offer monthly blogging packages that incorporate all the best blogging techniques for you. The best part is, you can have all your blog posts done for the month and ready to go for weekly posting. Blogging on auto-pilot!
Raise your hand if you want to make money while you sleep.
Seriously, affiliate marketing, if you can figure out how to do it effectively, is one of the best ways to earn passive income.
Internet marketers and influencers make it sound easy-breezy to make affiliate commissions, but is it?
The truth is, there’s a lot that goes into a successful affiliate marketing campaign. As someone who has written a lot of affiliate content and who has also successfully made money in affiliate marketing, I have some great tips for how to write a killer affiliate product review that converts.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, there’s a lot to talk about, but for the sake of this article, let’s focus on writing an affiliate review that’s optimized for conversions.
Ready? Let’s dive in…
The first, and most important thing to remember is to make sure your review post is honest. An honest, informative post will help to establish authority and trust with your readers.
Additionally, you should speak to your readers as if you were speaking to your friend. Be engaging, open, and honest in your review.
You want to establish yourself as an expert in the niche, while remaining authentic with your review. The last thing you want to do is be misleading.
How do you do this? Well for starters, you should know and understand the product you are promoting. How can you provide an honest review if you’ve never used the product or haven’t put in the time to do the research?
Your review should include your opinions, both the good and the bad. You may be tempted to just rave about the positives of the product, but this technique can actually create doubt in the reader.
When people are looking to buy a product or service, they are looking to solve a problem and they want to understand everything they can about the potential solution before they open their wallet and make a purchase.
As in most cases in life, honesty is the best policy when it comes to affiliate product reviews.
If you’re writing affiliate content, I am assuming that your intention is to convert your traffic to paying customers and win a commission.
So, let’s talk about how to structure your affiliate product reviews for maximum conversion:
One thing that I love doing with affiliate content is creating a table of contents. A good product review is long, and sometimes people don’t want to read the entire thing. Some people want to jump ahead to the section that they feel is most relevant to them.
Adding a table of contents to your review will make it more user friendly and easier for the reader to navigate. Without a table of contents, people often just see a page of long-form content and don’t want to be bothered with scrolling endlessly to find the section they most want to read.
Here are the sections I recommend including in your review:
Writing an affiliate post should start out the same as any blog post you write; it should have a good intro that catches your reader’s attention.
Start by hooking them in, then let them know what the post is going to be reviewing.
If you are reviewing a course or program that is affected by a timeline, this is an important fact to mention right off the bat.
For example, let’s say you’re reviewing a workout program. It would be wise to say something like I began this program on (this date), and lost 10pounds and 13 inches in just 3 months.
People make purchases based on emotion. The more you’re able to connect with your readers and play to their emotions, the higher your chances are of them clicking your affiliate link.
You need to figure out exactly what type of person this product was made for and then get inside their head and speak directly to them. What are their pain points?
Going back to the workout program example, maybe you purchased it right after you had a baby. You were feeling insecure, unsure, and unhappy with the way your body looked.
You were ready to regain your confidence and start taking some time to do something for yourself again.
These are the kinds of things that your readers will relate to, they may be in the exact same place as you were when you first purchased the product.
When you talk about why you purchased the product or service, again, always be honest. It’s the honesty and vulnerability that will resonate with people.
Talk about any reservations you had before committing to the purchase. Was the price a point of contention? Was it missing a component that you hoped it would have?
Here’s your chance to provide some valuable information about the product or service itself. Every product has a story, and it’s up to you to convey it to the reader in a way that will help entice them to buy.
Just like every product has a story, every product was created to solve a problem. Talk about the problem(s) that this product was intended to solve and some of the key features.
Here’s where you want to mention what makes this product unique. You can even call out the specific competitors.
Address subjects like how the product or service you are reviewing is different from other options out there and why this was the best fit for you.
Who doesn’t love a good pros and cons list? We’re all weighing them out in our heads during the buying process, why not make it easier by putting them down on paper for your readers?
This is probably my favorite part of writing an affiliate product review because you get to be really honest and, ultimately, really helpful to the reader.
You should talk about the positives and the negatives of the product your reviewing, but do so gently. You want to be honest, but you don’t want to turn the reader off from buying completely.
A good strategy for listing the “cons” of the product or service is to talk about aspects that you think the creator could improve upon, or things that you wish were included.
If it’s a product you’re reviewing, could it be offered in varying shapes and sizes to make it more versatile?
For a course, is there a topic that you would have liked to see included?
Price is often a major deterrent for people. Help soften the blow by offering other, similar options that are priced more affordably, but solve the same problems.
Your readers want to know exactly how the product or service that you’re promoting helped you so that they can envision the same results for themselves.
You lost 10 pounds and 13 inches by following this workout plan? Awesome! Include some before and after shots for proof.
You gained 1,000 new Instagram followers by utilizing the training in an Instagram course? Great! Show some stats and screenshots of your engagement and growth.
The key here is to be honest, relatable, and excited about not only the results you achieved, but helping to spread the word so that others can achieve similar results.
A good affiliate product review always ends with a recap and conclusion.
Would you purchase this product or service again? Would you recommend it to your friends and family? Was the price worth it? Did you get a good return on investment?
This is your last chance to give your reader your honest recommendation. You can also add in some social proof, or customer reviews, that back up your review and further persuade readers to click your link and buy.
Now that you’ve got the structure down, want to see a couple of examples? Below are a couple of affiliate reviews I wrote and convert on.
Making money from affiliate commissions is one of the best ways to add a passive revenue stream to your business.
It’s certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme, it takes a lot of time, energy, and skill to get people to click your link. That being said, affiliate marketing done right can net you a nice income.
Want to start making money through affiliate marketing, but don’t have time to do the research and write the reviews? Let me help!
If you’re a business owner, you already know that you need great copy for your website, blog, and brand in order to make the best impression on your audience and generate the most sales.
But, as a busy business owner, you don’t have the time to write all your own content and you want to outsource. (P.S. check here for our top 4 signs that you should outsource your content writing)
The question becomes, where do you find the best business copywriter and how much should you pay for content?
If you’ve done any research into finding a business copywriter, you’ve likely come across several freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork that appear to have the solution to your problem.
But are those $15 blog posts from Fiverr a good investment or a complete waste of time and money?
As someone who got their start on a freelancing platform, similar to Fiverr, and who has also purchased content from these platforms, I can provide a unique perspective into whether or not you should trust your business content to a Fiverr copywriter.
This question could be posed for a multitude of freelancing platforms, not just Fiverr. There are dozens of platforms out there advertising that they have the best freelance copywriters, and their content is cheap!
There’s no doubt that you can get inexpensive content on these platforms. We’re talking an average of $10-$15 per 500 words of content. But, if someone is willing to create content at such a low price point, how likely is it to be of high quality?
Here are a few reasons why hiring a Fiverr Copywriter may not be the best investment for your business:
$5 for a 500-word blog post on a topic of your choice with keywords and images included? Sound too good to be true? That’s because it probably is.
Writing content is hard work. It takes time, research, energy and a natural knack for stringing words together. No copywriter who is worth their salt will charge such a low price for content.
In fact, it’s an insult to content writers everywhere when so-called writers charge peanuts for content. These people are de-valuing a service that should be held with the highest of regard.
After all, the content you put out for your brand dictates potential customer’s impression of your business.
I have personally ordered content from a freelance content copywriter on a popular platform that was marketed as “quality content at pocket-friendly prices,” and let me tell you, it stunk.
You may wonder why I would outsource content when I make a living writing content and, the truth is, I got curious. Was I charging too much for content? Could business owners really get great content for cheap?
The answer to both questions was no.
No, I wasn’t charging too much for content, in fact, I should charge more! And no, you can’t get content that’s good enough to represent your brand and be the message you send out to your audience for cheap.
The truth is, if you want high-quality, SEO focused content that’s personalized for your brand, it’s going to be an investment, but one that will be well worth it.
Anyone can dub themselves a copywriter and set up a gig on Fiverr, literally. All it takes is a computer and an internet connection and you can start your new career as a freelance writer.
But what if you have no experience whatsoever in copywriting? You steal other people’s content of course!
I can’t tell you how many negative Fiverr reviews I have read from customers that say they purchased content, only to find out that the content they were given was “spun,” or re-written to make it “unique”.
Have you ever read spun content? It’s complete crap and even if you only paid $5 for it, you wasted your money.
Worse yet, some writers will actually steal whole pieces of content from others on the internet and try to pass it off as their own. This is a huge no-no and can end up costing your business some serious penalties.
When you hire a business copywriter, you shouldn’t have to put your content through a plagiarism checker like Copyscape, you should feel confident that they are writing 100% unique content that is custom tailored to your business and brand.
Let’s face it, no matter what country you do business in, you want a copywriting professional who knows and speaks the language of your customers.
If you live in the US and your company operates in the US, and your customers are in the US, it makes sense that you would want someone who is a US native to write your content.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are tons of non-native writers who absolutely crush content and can likely write better than most.
The problem with platforms like Fiverr is that scammers can easily post a gig with a made-up persona that can be misleading. They can use fake names, pictures and background stories that lead buyers to believe they are ordering from someone that writes in their native language.
Business owners only realize they fell victim to a Fiverr scam when their content comes back and it clearly was written by someone who is not fluent in their language.
When situations like this happen, there isn’t much you can do, unfortunately. The Fiverr refunds process tends to be slow, and unless your content was downright unusable, you may not win the dispute.
You end up with a piece of content that you can’t really use, and find yourself back at square one, looking for a business copywriter.
Fiverr and other freelancing platforms can be a great place to find writers, for certain situations. Do I think you should trust your business’s important content that will be the face of your brand with them? Probably not.
I’m sure there are those “unicorn” Fiverr copywriters out there that provide exceptional writing at a fraction of the cost, and if you find one, don’t tell your friends! You’ll want to keep that weapon all to yourself.
If you want personalized content creation that’s designed to boost your rankings and help you convert, you need Business Copywriting Services.
To learn more about how our copywriting services can help your business, get in touch today!