What’s Best For Your Business?

April 12, 2018 3 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. When you own a digital marketing agency, clients want to know where to invest their marketing dollars. A question we frequently receive is, “Should I invest in PPC or SEO?” Related: SEO vs. PPC: Knowing Which Is Right for Your Website According to WordStream, PPC stands for pay-per-click, “a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked.” Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. Earned placement via Google organic (or SEO) means you don’t have to pay for each click. An example Below is an example of PPC result versus SEO via Google Search. The search term I used was “car insurance.” Using Google’s Keyword Planner, I was able to determine that the average cost per click […]

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Subfolders, Subdirectories and Subdomains: The URL difference that can drive a major increase in organic traffic

We were recently asked if it’s better to use a subdirectory (also known as a subfolder) or a subdomain on a website. If you’re unfamiliar with these two terms, you’ll know them right away when you see URL examples. A subdirectory looks like this: marketingsherpa.com/freestuff. A subdomain looks like this: sherpablog.marketingsherpa.com. Even www.marketingsherpa.com/ is technically a subdomain. The difference may seem like an esoteric or gorpy concern that only developers and programmers care about. After all, why should the URL matter anyway? Most people are just clicking on links. And occasionally when they actually have to type one in (say, from a newspaper ad), you’re creating a vanity link that redirects to the actual URL anyway. Well, search engines may care. A lot. Even if they claim they don’t. And the experts I asked said that subdirectories are almost always the better option. When to use subdirectories “From a ranking […]

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Flipping a WordPress Based Site from http to https

In mid-July of 2015, I decided to flip the Sugarrae.com site to https using SSL. In the last eighteen+ months, Google has been pushing hard to “make SSL happen.” They even said it might give you a bit of a rankings boost, no doubt knowing that tons of SEOs and business owners would begin flipping their sites hoping to gain an edge. Switching to SSL is not as simple as grabbing a secure certificate and flipping the switch. And once you do get it active without issue, you need to make sure it’s maintained. Do I think Sugarrae needs to be secure? No. Did I think there was a ranking boost significant enough to make the switch? No. But I think that Google isn’t backing down from this crusade. Sugarrae is a branded site within its niche with a decent backlink profile. So I figured I’d test what happens when […]

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Website Redesign—One Year Later (Critical Lessons Learned)

It’s been a year since the latest major redesign of the Smart Passive Income blog, and I wanted to give you an over-the-shoulder look at what has happened since, including all the great things and the not-so-great things. I also want to highlight some of the latest features and updates we’ve added based on what we learned. Let’s do this! The design before the recent update wasn’t terrible. In fact, it was great! We actually converted the custom theme into a distributable WordPress theme that hundreds of people have since downloaded and are now using for their own website. It’s called the SPI Pro Theme, and you can check it out here on StudioPress. It was the number one downloaded theme for a couple of months after it was released, which is awesome! [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] The older site worked […]

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SEO in 2017: Proven Content Ideas That Attract Backlinks

In this guest post, Glen Allsopp explores SEO in 2017, offering up in-depth content strategy ideas to help you attract backlinks to your site. Pat Flynn March 27, 2017 This is a guest post from Glen Allsopp from Gaps.com, who (fun fact) was featured in SPI Podcast Session #3 from over six years ago! He was one of the first in the world of SEO to really inspire me back in the day, and someone, although quite a bit younger than me, I very much look up to. He’s been diving even more into the world of SEO since 2010, which is why I wanted him to share a guest post about what’s working today. Take it away Glen! I’ve been actively involved in the SEO world for eleven years now, and if there’s one thing that has kept me so interested in the topic it’s the ever-changing landscape of […]

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Backlinking—What’s Working and Is It Even Still Important with Brian Dean from Backlinko.com

I predict that today’s episode is going to be a favorite. Get ready to take notes—this episode will give you tons of useful strategies for optimizing your website’s SEO. I’m thrilled to have Brian Dean from Backlinko here to share his expertise on backlinking. You may remember Brian’s epic post on backlinking that appeared on the Smart Passive Income blog in 2014. In this episode, Brian reviews the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and teaches which strategies will help you boost your site’s Google rank and drive traffic to your site. Thanks for Listening! Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below! If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post. Also, please leave an honest review for The SPI Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and […]

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What Does Machine Learning Have to Do with SEO?

If you believe most popular representations, artificial intelligence is scary. We see it take over the world in Terminator. It murders its creator and escapes in Ex Machina and it just goes insane in 2001: A Space Odessy. We’ve been taught our whole lives to fear the singularity. But we’re barging ahead with AI development anyways. And it’s invading our everyday lives. Even our cell phones will have artificial intelligence chips soon. But one area you would never expect AI to touch: SEO. But it’s happening. And Google’s machine learning algorithm is changing the way we do SEO. Let’s take a look. 1. Machine Learning vs. Artificial Intelligence The idea of artificial intelligence has been around for a long time. The man who built the first full-sized computer created the most ubiquitous test for determining how human-like AI really is. If it passes the Turing test, it’s fooled a human […]

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How to Make Your WordPress Website Secure (SSL) in 6 Steps

If you’ve looked into search engine optimization as a promotional technique for your website, you have likely come across the advice to make your website secure (having an https:// appear in front of your URLs instead of http://). Google has been very vocal in pushing for all websites to make the move to being secure, and even claims to give sites using SSL a slight boost over sites without it. This guide is meant for typical WordPress based websites. If you’re an e-commerce store or a more complex website, you’d be better off employing an SEO consultant to oversee the migration. Step 1 – install a secure certificate My hosting company enables secure certificates for websites hosted with them by default (though you need to follow through with the steps listed below to have your sites render using them). They’re very basic SSL certificates, but they meet the minimum standards […]

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Google Search Console – a Beginner’s Guide to Finding Actionable SEO Tasks

Google Search Console (GSC) can be a helpful tool – providing you use it. This guide isn’t meant for advanced users nor is it a comprehensive dive into every feature GSC has. I’m not looking to overwhelm you. Instead, we’re going to go over eight simple GSC features that can provide you with actionable tasks you can start working on right away to improve your site’s SEO. Ensure your site isn’t suffering from a Manual Action Not every “penalty” handed down by Google is the result of their algorithmic updates. In some cases, Google has singled you out and given you a penalty. This action is referred to as a Manual Action or Manual Penalty. In the old days, you only got these penalties as the result of breaking Google’s guidelines severely and intentionally. You had no idea when you got one either except through the power of deduction. In […]

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Is Content Still ‘King’ in Voice Search SEO?

“Ok, Google, what’s the weather like outside?” Google tells me the temperature and the forecast. My friend: “Why don’t you just stick your head out the door?” Me: “It’s easier this way, and besides, it’s winter and cold.” You can speak faster than you can type on a phone keyboard unless you’re The Flash. And let’s admit it, most of us aren’t The Flash. This is exactly what Google is hoping as they push their very useful voice search option. They’re hoping that people will decide it’s too much work to type or that really, I don’t want to be distracted from my driving. Voice search really is convenient. It’s the next step in search technology. And nearly 20% of all mobile searches are voice search. What, then, does this mean for SEO? 1. What Can Voice Search Do? Voice search will serve a different purpose than traditional search. You […]

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What Happened to the Internet Giants of the ’90s?

I once thought of a prank so brilliant it was stupid. Blockbuster displayed massive bins of free AOL download CDs. Instead of forking someone’s yard, teepeeing their house or egging their car, why not AOL their yard? I was never able to convince anyone to help me out with this prank, but man did I think I was brilliant. Mention an AOL CD to anyone under 25 today and they’ll look at you as if you mentioned an eight-track tape. That along with dial-up, Yahoo, and any other internet term from the 90’s will earn you looks of incredulity and confusion. Maybe I’m getting old. Or maybe technology moves ever faster. But the truth is, one company that’s here today could be bits lost in the etherspace tomorrow. What happened to the internet giants of the 90’s? Let’s see where they are today. 1. Back in My Day, Sonny, America […]

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Fixing a Penalty From Compensated Content & Reviews

This past weekend Google sent out a round of manual penalty notices citing “unnatural outbound links” – later confirmed to be targeting sites publishing compensated content and reviews where the blogger is linking out to the brand or site that compensated them. If your site received the notice, you’ll find some advice for fixing your site and getting the manual penalty removed below. If you haven’t been hit with this penalty, but review products or experiences on your blog (even if you use nofollows), I’d still highly recommend reading this post. Not receiving the notice this round doesn’t necessarily mean your site is completely in the clear. If you don’t know what a manual penalty is (also referred to as manual actions), you can find more information on what manual penalties are here. This post will focus solely on how you can fix the manual penalty related to compensated content […]

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Why Linking to 3XX and 4XX Pages Is Bad for SEO

If your SEO has said you need to change all internal links pointing to a page that has moved or been killed, they’re doing their job.  It is an annoying task but a very important one.  There are three main reasons why not linking to 3XX and 4XX pages is important for SEO, not to mention creating a good experience for your website visitors. If you’re an IT or DEV professional reading this to get out of changing links, even though a 301, 302 or 307 redirect is quick and not very noticeable for an end user, it is certainly noticeable by a search engine and that is what this post covers. Three Reasons to 3XX and 4XX Are Bad For SEO: You do not waste your crawl allowance with them Sending users to resources that do not exist creates a bad UX and less favorable option for the search […]

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How Google Works – A Call for a Search Discussion

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I sometimes complain about the current state of the industry – most notably centered around what passes for research and discussion these days. It feels like people want to be handed the fish – with little interest in learning how the person with the fish caught it. Seeking out debates and experience seems to have been replaced by wanting to be spoon fed blog posts – often laced with assumptions and misinformation hidden within a single-case graph or a slick graphic coupled with an impressive looking byline. Separating fact from fiction becomes increasingly hard as the next generation of our industry raises themselves up by following rather than exploring. At SMX West Google engineer Paul Haahr gave a presentation that gave some insight into how Google works. In my opinion, it’s the most transparent and useful information we’ve been presented with […]

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People Buy From People: Five examples of how to bring the humanity back to marketing

“People don’t buy from websites, people buy from people.” This is an essential principle from the MECLABS Institute Landing Page Optimization certification course (from the parent research organization of MarketingSherpa). With so much focus on martech, marketing org structure and website optimization, and channels ranging from print to digital advertising, this principle can be easy to forget. Yes, marketing technology is powerful. Yes, the correct structure of the marketing department and IT department are necessary; and you certainly want a well-functioning website. But this is just infrastructure. Mere roads. You, dear marketer, are in the driver’s seat. You decide how to use these roads. The most effective way to use them is to connect with other people. Remember that everyone behind the technology is a real, complex human. And everyone on the receiving end is a real, complex human with hopes and fears, needs and wants, goals and pain points. […]

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Competing with Amazon in SEO

In this week’s Affiliate Marketing Tip of the Week  we tackle a situation faced by countless affiliates and affiliate managers – that of competing with Amazon’s stellar search engine rankings. Amazon, the company whose affiliate marketing program is in many ways exemplary of leveraging affiliates for growing a business, is crushing many brands’ affiliate marketing efforts, making their SEO-centric affiliates suffer revenue loss the very moment that the brand starts selling on Amazon. Background Last year, U.S. online sales reached $395 billion [source]. Out of these, Amazon.com alone collected $136 billion [source], accounting for 43% of US online retail sales [source]. Who wouldn’t want to sell in a marketplace that owns 34.43 cents of every 1 dollar that Americans spend online? For many businesses adding their product(s) to Amazon translates into a substantial exposure and additional revenue. Thus, many brands go this route – in fact, millions do [source] and, of these, as […]

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