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ccTLD plays a role in stating which specific search market/location your site wants to rank in. Some examples of ccTLD would be websites ending in .ph, .au, etc. instead of the more neutral .com. If your website is example.ph, then you can expect that you’ll rank for Google.com.ph and you’ll have a hard time ranking for international search engines like Google.com.au. If you have TLDs that are neutral (.com, .org, or .net), then Google will determine the country where you can be displayed based on the content you publish in your site and the locations of your inbound links.
An SSL certifcate is an absolute must. Even if you are not giving visitors a login, for them to access certain areas of your site - getting an SSL is essential now and does help in boosting your trust and help in ranking higher. For ecommerce sites and other sites that provide login areas - its an absolute must, or users of chrome will see a "red screen" while they access your site.
The highest number is the one that would give you the most potential return. If you have a big-time domain and can rank pretty easily on competitive keywords, start at the top. If you’re a newer, smaller site and can’t really play with the big guns yet, it might make more sense to start in the middle of the sorted keyword research list – these aren’t the “monster” keywords in your niche, but they’re also less competitive, and therefore easier to rank on.
What these Google suggestions are based on is real content that lives on the web. Google is trying to connect searchers with the content they might be looking for. As a marketer, this is helpful to you because it shows you what already exists out there in the niches where you operate, and if you don’t have content on those topics yet, maybe you should.
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.
Of all the tools listed in this article, Moz Link explorer is an old one & quite popular.  If you want to compare backlinks between two or more domains, Open Site Explorer is worth trying. This tool works best when you have a paid account of SEOMOZ though a free version of this tool is good enough to get you started checking the backlinks of your site and the sites of your competitors.
Below is the estimated scale for SEO competitiveness. Again, this is all based on just general guidelines. Use these though! I follow these quite closely actually and they do work. After writing hundreds of posts based on SEO scores from KWFinder, I can tell you that I stand behind them 100%. A lot of times if I find a keyword that is easy or super easy to rank for, I will be on 1st page of Google within a week of posting.

Make it a habit to regularly check your traffic count for the sole reason of you being on top of everything. I recommend doing this twice a week, if you can check it 4 times a week, then that would be best. This is an important foundation of your site audit and checking your traffic can never be disregarded. After checking your traffic, the next step is to:


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?
You can also indicate which pages don't need to be crawled or are not important. You call the Googlebot to crawl and index your site from inside the Google Search Console. However, do note that although Google "looks" at your sitemap - Google is more interested in doing a raw crawl of your site - jumping from one link to another to spider all the pages in its database. By doing that, it also forms a link map of your site into its own index - which tell it which pages on your site are the most important pages (they are the ones that have the most links - the most prominent links).
If you have not setup a Search Console account - you may check if your site is penalized by searching for the title of any page or post in quotes in Google and checking if the appropriate page/post shows up as the fist result. If not - then you need to start checking the severity of the penalty. This can be done by entering your domain name directly in the search and seeing what happens, or just searching for your domain brand name without the TLD or the TLD after a space separator.
I just have the free version right now so I don't know all that the pro one can do. But even the free version has A LOT of tools you can use, I haven't even figured them all out yet. But one that I have used is their Content Optimizer. You can take a new or existing content piece of yours, and compare it to one of your competitor's pieces on a similar topic, and see where you might be lacking based on the keywords that are used in each piece.
I have been using KWFinder for over a year now and can’t believe I haven’t shared this with you guys yet. It is hands down the best keyword research tool out there! It’s one of those rare tools you find that just never closes in your browser. It’s fast, the UI is amazing, and it is what I use to base my keyword research on for every blog post I write on all my sites. I haven’t used Google’s Keyword Planner for a long time, and to be honest I always hated it. If you are looking for a good Keyword Planner alternative, then look no further! Check out my in-depth KWFinder review below.
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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!
Hey Alex – this is a good question. No tool is going to be spot on. My advice is to not look too much into the accuracy of the metrics, but look at it more as a relative measure. I’m finding Ahrefs to be a good barometer for keyword competitiveness, but I’ve also heard great things about KW Finder lately. I think it’ll more come to personal preference. Both are solid options.
An SSL certifcate is an absolute must. Even if you are not giving visitors a login, for them to access certain areas of your site - getting an SSL is essential now and does help in boosting your trust and help in ranking higher. For ecommerce sites and other sites that provide login areas - its an absolute must, or users of chrome will see a "red screen" while they access your site.
The experts love SEMrush, but will you? Take the tool for a test drive and decide for yourself. For a limited time I'm giving all my readers an exclusive one month free access to SEMrush PRO. You'll get unrestricted access to all the tool's features. If you decide SEMrush is not for you, cancel anytime during the one month trial and you won't be charged a penny.  
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