Everyone advertising online needs to learn about sites similar to their site. This is so you can figure out how to out-do your competition in search rankings (SEO) and keyword advertising (pay-per-click).
In a crowded marketplace, it’s often the case that short, 1-to-3 word keywords are already heavily associated with high ranking websites.
Three little keywords like “little black purse” that drive a ton of traffic to people selling purses. Very few except the ones who have been in the marketplace for a long time will be able to be at the top of Google.
But how do you understand where there are opportunities to be had in what people are searching for?
Enter QuickSprout, a tool to “let your competitors do the work for you.”
QuickSprout appears to have been purchased and rebranded as SEMRUSH. However, the original Quicksprout landing page greets you with this deceptive search box. (Warning: the search doesn’t actually work; you can type anything or nothing in this box and click ‘Start now’ and the website still takes you to the long-scroll landing page you see below.)
Then, before you are required to sign up for the free trial with a credit card, you are greeted with a good dose of marketing ideology and schmooze by being led through several pages of high-octane ad-buying theory. I’ll just leave it here for you to read for yourself.
Today we’ll research the keywords “pet supplies” to see what people are searching for related to their pets.
From here we can see people are searching for pet supplies plus, pet supplies, pet supplies near me, pet supplies plus coupon, pet supplies store, etc. (No surprises there.)
In the Keyword Manager, we can create a list. (Let’s call it “pet supplies”)
It is empty by default:
We then add keywords to this list to create a composite view.
Let’s take a quick look at the Keyword Gap Analysis tool. Here I want to look at the clothing brand Uniqlo versus four competitors: H&M, DemandWare.com, FastRetailing.com, and Express.
The keyword analyizer shows is a visual Venn diagram of the overlap between these brands.
If my brand were lacking in significant keyword traffic as compared to the others, this tool would tell me what keyword gaps I have in my traffic (where I could be more competative).
SEO Writing Assistant
SEMRUSH also includes an SEO tool to analyze my text. When I give it the text of this article, it scores me with a 5.9 out of 10, giving me advice that the text is too short, it is missing a headline (it is not actually), and that I should add the keywords ‘digital marketing,’ ‘search results,’ and ‘search engines.’
There’s a ton of more features too: cost-per-click views, saved reports, site auditing, backlink auditing, and social media auditing.
Semrush is a powerful tool if used in the right way: it can let you slice and dice your SEO and ad spend to gain insight into where you can have a strategic edge.
Switchings a little to tools you can use to analyze your own website, today we start with a free tool to help you understand how Google is crawling and indexing your website.
Today’s tool is Google Search Console.
To use GSC, you’ll need to go through verification. This makes sure that you actually own the website or domain in question. There are two strategies for verificiatin: Domain and URL-based.
If you want to claim the entire domain and your website has subdomains associated with that domain, then using Domain authentication is easiest but requires access to your DNS records.
Start here by entering your domain name.
Next you’ll need access to your DNS or Domain Name Server settings.
Once you are verified, your GSC will begin to collect data.
Here is the overview screen where I can see how many people clicked from Google searches to my website in the last 4 months
As well, the “Coverage” area is telling me that when Google crawls my website, it finds 448 pages with successful responses and 15 that are unsuccessful.
This is so useful for finding broken pages, because you can drill down into the broken pages and see exactly which pages are returning non-successful results. It shows this to you in a chart over time, which can, in my case, help me catch problems in my WordPress blog.
In my case, I can see that some pages recently (in June & July) started showing broken links. Here I can see what my broken URLs are so that I can go fix them. (Be right back!)
On the Performance tab I can see my impressions (that is, the number of times my site came up in search results) as compared to clicks.
Down below, it even shows you what people were searching for that led them to your website.
While many of the other tools featured in this series have been helping you do competitive research, this tool provides you with the insight only available to the person who owns the website. And these aren’t approximations like some of the other tools featured— Google is actually showing you true results from its massive search infrastructure that powers Google searches.
Sometimes you put something up that’s a mistake. Sometimes you write something on your blog that you regret. Many savvy observers know there is a “Google cache” that will hang on to some content that allows removed content to still be visible to the internet “in the cache.”
For the most part, most web operators will let Google re-crawl their site and make updates as necessary. Often this is fine: Google is smart enough to crawl you site more often if it changes more often, and less often if it changes less often, thus the time that the old content lingers in the cache typically is not a problem.
With GCS are two powerful tools: Removing a URL or clearing out the cache of its content (forcing Google to do a re-crawl). You need this if you accidentally put up embarrassing content.
First of all, know that the first step is to actually take the content off of your website. (Like, really remove it.) If you want to remove an entire page (URL), you would remove the content from that page, make the page either return nothing or an error and then use the GCS remove tool to remove the URL. Alternatively, you can use a standard robots.txt file to tell Google not to index a URL (be sure to do this in addition to blocking the URL in the GCS interface as shown here)
If for some reason you want to leave the content up but not have it show up on Google (for example, it is semi-private), you would use a robots.txt file instead of removing the content to instruct Google not to index the URL. If you had accidentally forgotten to do this —that is, something you intended to be semi-private shows up on Google search — you would fix your robots.txt file first and then use the GCS interface here to “temporarily” (they say “for about six months”) tell Google to block that URL from showing up in search results.
If you have content that you have changed but for some reason Google’s cache doesn’t seem to be keeping up with your changes, you can also use the GCS to tell Google to clear out the cache and re-index your page, shown here.
Google Search Console has even more features than I’ve been able to cover today, including web vitals, mobile usability, and a way to see your internal and external lnks, and a basic security audit too.
Being a free tool GCS is an absolute no-brainer for any site owner who wants to understand better their organic and search-based reach on the internet.
This is a somewhat profound statement if you stop to consider its implications: 1 out of 5 searches on Google is for something “never been seen before.” It’s unclear to me precisely what they mean by that (I find it doubtful they mean 20% of the searches are unique.) I assume it means are for topics that are new, for example, for any given day. That is, four out of 5 times people search on Google it is for something Google has already amassed years of knowledge on. One out of five (or 20%) are for keywords or trends that happened today, or very recently. When you search for today’s news, as everyone who uses search engines knows, you get results from recent content, which typically gives you insight into the current conversation of what you are researching.
Despite starting with this video of a slightly creepy guy nodding at you suspiciously playing on a loop (it’s really rather creepy if you keep looking at it), the tool is much more interesting once you leave the home page.
As you can see, what they are suggesting is that people will share things with Google that they wouldn’t share otherwise. From this, you can gain a deeper understanding of your market and its trends.
Here’s what happens when I search for their example word “chocolate”
It breaks your response down into questions, prepositions, comparrisons, and search terms begin with a given word.
Here we see the “questions” section, which shows me related searches broken out into why, when, who, which, where inquisition categorization (interestingly, in addition to the Five Ws and How, they also contain “are”, “will” and “can” which also categorize questions in the tool)
Here’s a view of the “preposition” for chocolate:
The “comparissons” section compares this search term with similiar or contrasting search terms.
And finally the “Alphabeticals” section which shows you all related keywords that begin with “chocolate”
Another trend analysis tool for today that is focused on comparative social media analysis.
Today’s tool is BuzzSumu.com and it is a fantastic tool for analyzing keywords and searches. BuzzSumo is like a search engine. However, it shows you timely content (that is, published with a date) related to your keywords. It also shows you how many people on different platforms are sharing the content.
Take a look at the BuzzSumo results for “content marketing.”
For this link hit from in Nov 2019, BuzzSumo tells me:
• 8000 people have engaged with it on Facebook (liked, shared or commented)
• this article got 14000+ Twitter shares,
• only 72 shares on Pinterest,
• how many people shared it on Reddit (0), and
• how many other links to this article were made across the internet (74).
Furthermore, it also shows an “Evergreen” score: This measures how much engagement it gets after 30 days in an ongoing way.
This is a measurement of how relevant it is in a long-term way, rather than temporarily relevant for a short duration.
As well, when searching for keywords, you can filter by language or country. This feature makes BuzzSumo an incredibly powerful tool for drilling into seeing who is publishing content related to your topic of interest.
This is just a small summary of a very powerful tool.
After that, other sections, like the “Discover” section, you can browse through trends (that is “buzz”) in a viewer that is more card-like. This view automatically updates in realtime!
All the Web
The content searcher lets you search by Web, YouTube, Facebook, or Backlinks.
The short pitch for BuzzSumo is:
When you want to get yourself into the conversationyou need to see what people are saying. BuzzSumo is like a macro bird’s eye view into what is happening across social media channels and real-time content publishers (like blogs, media sites, etc) with sophisticated tools to let you discover trends and see what kinds of messages your market is receptive to.
It’s an invaluable tool for market research and has great potential for doing trend analysis and understanding social media.
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