Can't go wrong with the Google Keyword tool, SEMRush and Google Trends. The Keyword tool for volume estimates, SEMRush to see what keywords competitors are ranking for/targeting, and Google Trends to make sure the traffic is actually coming from countries I'm trying to target. Gives a relatively accurate picture of when to expect traffic spikes and seasonality insight.
Note - at this point Google already has baseline metrics from other search results. So, if your site beats them by a factor of say 3x then Google thinks - hey.. this page looks to be way better - so why not stick its rankings in the long term and why not even bounce it up higher and see what happens and measure again how users engage with the site?
I know there are other tools that have nice features as well and I have tried some of them, but I always come back to Jaaxy, why? because it is very accurate with the data it provides and is easy to use once you get into it. From SEO to finding available affiliate programs for products to checking my ranks in SERPS It has it all in one package. I love it.
XML sitemaps are especially useful because it lists your site’s most important pages, allowing the search engine to crawl them all and increase understanding on your website’s structure. Webmasters use the XML Sitemap to highlight the pages on their sites that are available for crawling. This XML file lists URLs together with additional meta-data about each of these links. 

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.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”It’s not rocket science: the more lucrative the keyword, the tougher the competition. And unless you’re a big-name brand yourself, it’ll be nigh impossible to compete against those with more manpower, funds, and experience. – Ankit Singla, MasterBlogging.com” quote=”It’s not rocket science: the more lucrative the keyword, the tougher the competition. And unless you’re a big-name brand yourself, it’ll be nigh impossible to compete against those with more manpower, funds, and experience.”]
If you get an "Action Against Links" notice - there is no plea you can send. Your site or some pages of it - would basically have a lot of rankings. To fix things you need to fix links and any other on-page and other issues and wait for the re-crawl to happen. Since the Penguin algorithm is not real-time... you will see ranking gains faster and you do not have to wait for a data-refresh to happen to see any benefits of your link purge or SEO fixes.
Its important that you setup your social channels and interlink them and then engage with your users on social with the right content and drive traffic to your site through these channels. Racking up fake signals and fake followers who do not engage or visit your site through the channels, is easily detected by Google as false and it does not help your rankings.
Long tail keywords are the low hanging fruit of keyword research. These are phrases with low competition, and generally low search volume as well. While any individual long tail keyword might not attract a ton of organic traffic, targeting them en masse can be an easy way to quickly pick up steam in your niche and poise yourself for tackling more competitive search terms.
Yes solid keyword data dramatically changes the game as far as rankings go. I have seen many tools that provide Cost per click stats and meaningless charts that confuse most users. the data Jaaxy provides helps drive “organic” traffic to your site on a consistent basis which will out perform PPC sites every time. I like how you say thinking like the end user, as I feel that way when I search. I dive into what people are looking for and it really helps drive content idea’s. I have seen great results from that.
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