I recently decided to go with ahrefs after using spyfu for a couple years and trialing secockpit. I was a moz client for awhile too about a year ago. I found spyfu data to be sketchy (or just plain wrong) fairly often, and moz, I don’t know, just didn’t seem like they were really into supporting what I wanted to know. secockpit was achingly slow for a trickle of data. ahrefs isn’t nearly so graph-y as spyfu, but they are so blazing fast and the data is so deep. I enjoy it a great deal, even if it is spendy.
Negative SEO is basically when someone sends a ton of spammy, low quality backlinks to your site. The goal is to get Google to think your site is low quality because of all the crappy sites linking to you, and eventually devalue your site. There are actual companies that get paid to do negative SEO on behalf of their clients. It sucks, but it's reality.
I think people's aresenal of keyword research tools are mostly the same: 1) You need a tool to examine search volume, most likely Google Keyword Planner 2) A tool to help you generate more keyword ideas. Tools that work with the search engines' autosuggestions are very popular such as KeywordTool.io and Ubersuggest 3) Then people might add a tool broaden the depth of their data, maybe including something like Google Trends or Moz's Keyword Difficulty tool.
Keyword research should come first in your digital marketing strategy. Increasing web traffic remains the most important criteria for measuring marketing success and all search begins with keywords. According to Hubspot, more than 60% of marketers identify increasing their organic search presence as their top digital marketing priority. Though SEO continues to evolve, keyword research and content strategy remain the cornerstones of digital marketing.
Great Top 10 keyword research tools list. Thank you for posting Robbie! I really appreciated the feedback from the experts. There are a definitely a few tools here worthy of taking note of. I have also been using DYNO Mapper (http://www.dynomapper.com) as a keyword research tool. DYNO Mapper is a visual sitemap generator that delivers keywords on all pages of any site. The user simply inputs any existing URL into the system and it will scan thousands of pages.
However, this does not mean you cannot topple them. It just takes more of an effort in terms of content as your page has to build the trust. That is why you will see the "Google dance" happening for fresh content from a site that is not yet trusted or is not very authoritative. Google gives your page a chance and measures user click-throughs when it pushes you to certain spots in the SERPs and then measures user engagement levels when the traffic hit your site through those positions in the SERPs.
Competitor analysis should be an important part of your keyword research. It’s important to know how your competitors are ranking. Competitor analysis can reveal holes in your own content. Also, you should steal ideas from your competitors. However, never use the same content. Duplicate content will also be penalized by Google and is frowned upon generally. Emulate success, but be cognizant of keyword difficulty, which measures your chances of ranking with a keyword phrase due to significant competition. Also, be aware that Google almost always rewards brand keywords to the owner. You’re unlikely to trick Google into ranking you with your competitors’ brand names.
In Chapter 2, we learned about SERP features. That background is going to help us understand how searchers want to consume information for a particular keyword. The format in which Google chooses to display search results depends on intent, and every query has a unique one. Google describes these intents in their Quality Rater Guidelines as either “know” (find information), “do” (accomplish a goal), “website” (find a specific website), or “visit-in-person” (visit a local business).
Now for the fun part. Let’s dive into the dashboard. In this example below I am going to use the keyword “blogging.” So for me, I want to know the search volume for anywhere because a lot of my sites target the entire internet, I don’t care what country they are in. And I choose English as the language. You can easily change the location. If you are working with local clients it might make sense to narrow it down to a city or state. Note: you can also import a CSV of keywords if you are coming from a different tool or have a large list.
Basically, Google shows the autocomplete suggestions whenever you start typing anything into Google search box. It is in Google's best interest to show the most relevant keywords in the autocomplete suggestions. Keywords that would help Google to retrieve the most relevant websites and help users find the most relevant content for their search query.
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Given you have a good idea of where to start and are fairly confident you are speaking the same language as your client, jump start research by generating related keyphrases and long tail variants with the ever so easy to use Google Autocomplete. This tool makes predictions based on what you are typing that are a reflection of Google search activity.
Brian, thank you for all of these informative guides! I started out as a digital marketing intern and everything that I learned from your site has helped me land a job as a marketing specialist. I’m truly grateful and enjoy everything that you published so far. If you have a chance, I’ve started using this tool called SEOClarity, I was wondering what’s your take on it? Have you used it before or know anyone that has?

Keyword research is a constant process. Trends change. Seasons change. Popular terms and catch-phrases change. SEO and marketing agencies are a great resource for ensuring that keyword research is done on a regular basis. You should refresh your research at least quarterly, ideally monthly, to stay ahead of your competitors. Partnering with a reputable SEO agency is a great way to ensure you’re always ahead of your competition.
There’s always more than one way to ask a question. Consider synonyms and semantic variations on keywords describing your services. Google’s RankBrain technology recognizes synonyms and expands their search results accordingly. Google also punishes websites for stuffing their content with repetitive keywords. Synonyms and variations can help you to reach a larger audience and avoid Google penalties for keyword stuffing.
Search Engine Optimization is just a term that explains how we make our content (like blog posts) easy for search engines to find. We want to put specific words and phrases (keywords!) in our content that match up with the phrases people type into search bars. We also want to put those keywords into places where search engines like to read it. That’s it! Got it? Good job!

What’s the point of creating a website if Google and users can’t access its content? It’s incredibly important to check everything from your robots meta tags to robots.txt file to XML sitemaps and more. It’s highly recommended to check the robots.txt and robots meta tags since they usually restrict access to certain areas of your site. Just be sure to check them manually and ensure that everything is in good shape.
Now for the fun part. Let’s dive into the dashboard. In this example below I am going to use the keyword “blogging.” So for me, I want to know the search volume for anywhere because a lot of my sites target the entire internet, I don’t care what country they are in. And I choose English as the language. You can easily change the location. If you are working with local clients it might make sense to narrow it down to a city or state. Note: you can also import a CSV of keywords if you are coming from a different tool or have a large list.
We do a weekly checkup of our traffic count and once we saw the sudden drop, we knew something was wrong. The problem was, we didn’t do anything. I just published a new post and it suddenly became that way. I won’t go into how we investigated and fixed the cause of the drop, but this just goes to show how important it is to do a regular check of your traffic in Google Analytics. If we didn’t do the regular checks, then our traffic count might have just stayed that way until it becomes a crisis.
As for duplicate content, Google gets confused when you create and publish articles with similar content, and this eventually leads to indexation issues. Keyword cannibalization happens when the owner focuses his effort on ranking for a particular keyword from several different pages. When this happens, Google won’t acknowledge multiple pages; they’ll only focus on the best one thus making the other ones useless and inaccessible to search engines.

We also have a very unique “Local Search” only keyword search that cross references the populations of all towns and cities in USA, Canada & UK. So you can put in a search like “plumber” then choose to see all the cities in “California” with a population of between 50k – 100k and it will spit out plumber suggestions attached to the locale. Pretty neat.
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