We interviewed Andy Crestodina, strategic director of Orbit Media. We asked several SEO related questions. Have a look at the answers and get inspired by useful SEO tips.
Which SEO tools do you use?
I use 4-5 tools regularly. I’ll list them here in order of frequency:
Google Analytics (daily)
I track traffic from search as a channel and I measure the performance of specific posts that I’m currently promoting. I also check the rankings for queries and search traffic to landing pages. I generally check these reports in GA, not Search Console.
I track rankings for around 150+ phrases, measure the difficult and search volume for possible target phrases and check the authority of client and partner websites. I also measure the changes in our authority every month or so.
Check the search rankings for clients, prospects and their competitors. It’s fast and accurate enough to be meaningful. I also track brand mentions and get on-page ideas here sometimes.
Research topics that may get traction, find influencers and see what’s working in other places.
Estimate the audience of partners and client competitors. Also, check the overlap in audiences across many for topics and keyphrases. Very powerful!
What are some inexpensive SEO tips you would like to share?
I don’t know any expensive SEO tips. All of my tips are free! And you can do all the most important things with the free version of the tools mentioned above.
The best and lowest cost tip I know is to build out the site to target a wide range of phrases. Because Google doesn’t rank websites. Google ranks web pages.
So make a sitemap that is wide and deep, with many pages targeting many phrases.
A site with a keyphrase-focused sitemap will get a ton more traffic than a site with fewer pages or a site with pages that don’t align with phrases and topics.
Look at how many pages on the site can target all kinds of different phrases.
This diagram also makes a few other important points:
- The “services” page isn’t really optimized for anything. It’s a more general page not focused specifically on one topic.
- There are two kinds of phrases: informational and transactional. I call these “questions marks” and “dollar signs.” The blog might rank for question marks, but the service pages rank for the dollar signs!
How do you prepare strategies for new websites?
Once you’ve decided what phrases your targeting on what pages and you’ve finished planning your search-optimized sitemap, it’s time to dig into the content.
Yes, we know that long pages tend to rank higher. We saw this again just recently in the SEMrush 2017 Ranking Factors study.
But before you start adding 500 words of fluff to your pages, stop and read the content carefully. Our goal is to add quality, not just length.
- Are there any important questions we didn’t answer on this page? Would we add any testimonials to support our marketing claims?
- These two questions will lead us to add things that improve the conversions, not just add to the word count.
Testimonials are a powerful way to build up your sales pages. A keyword focused testimonial is a great way increase rankings and conversions at the same time. A great testimonial actually includes seven things, beyond just the basic text.
To be effective fill your sales pages with this kind of content. Don’t just add one. Add many. And don’t make a testimonials page. Visitors rarely go to those pages!
How do you measure effectiveness of your SEO initiatives?
A lot of people want to rank because it makes them feel good. You’ve probably heard someone say this before: “I rank number one for this phrase!”
But expert marketers rarely say things like this. They know better. They understand the connection between search and demand. They go beyond rankings:
- Search engine rankings don’t get impressions …unless people search for the phrase (search volume)
- An impression isn’t traffic …unless it gets clicked (CTR)
- Traffic is not really a visitor …unless the visitor stays (bounce rate)
- A visitor is not a lead …unless the visitor takes action (conversion rate)
So smart SEO are thinking beyond rank. They think about search volume, clickthrough rate, bounce rate and then finally conversions. Everything has to work or you don’t generate any demand. You can’t eat rankings or put them in the bank.
Beginners talk about rankings. Experts talk about conversions.
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