Small business SEO: Your questions answered

Being a small business is tough. Many businesses fail in the first year, and many more will not make it to the five-year mark. But even established businesses can fail if they are unable to adapt to changing times.
Marketing is difficult — digital marketing even more so. And the black-box nature of SEO can make it the most difficult form of marketing your business. Yet when done well, there is little that can compete with strong, organic search engine visibility to promote your small business. Organic listings build trust with local customers, and all the best business relationships are built on a foundation of trust.
In this article, I want to look at SEO as a marketing tactic specifically for small businesses. I will share everything we have learned working on hundreds of small business SEO projects. My intention is to arm you, as a business owner, with the knowledge and power to make the right decisions when implementing an SEO strategy —

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Setting up and testing AMP for WordPress: A quick 7-step guide

In today’s mobile-centric world, having pages that load quickly is essential for satisfying the user. Not only that, but the effects of slow page speed have been correlated to a decease in overall revenue and an increase in page abandonment.
Users have come to expect mobile sites to load just as quickly as their desktop counterparts. In fact, Amazon, one of the largest online retailers, concluded that even a one-second lag in page load speed accounted for a $1.6B decrease in annual revenue.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) are quickly becoming the standard for how a fast-loading page should be built. Using a pre-render, AMPs are able to load 15-80 percent faster than standard mobile pages without compromising functionality. While the ease of AMP implementation will vary depending on your CMS (content management system), WordPress can be a good test environment for previewing what your AMP page might look like.
Follow this quick seven-step guide to enable AMP for WordPress.
Note: Parts of this guide assume that you have activated the Yoast

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Weathering the Google storms

A good friend of mine and truly the best SEO expert I have had the privilege working with, Gregory Gromov, once referred to the Google algorithm updates and tests as “Google storms.” The coined phrase made all the sense in the world. Per Gregory, a solid SEO program provides the ballast to weather the storm, but if a storm hits and flips you over… well, it is time to right the ship.
A Google algorithm update is actually a rare opportunity. While in some cases it may appear to be more of a nightmare than a dream come true, understanding how to capitalize on the event is key to succeeding in SEO — and as your program matures, you will look forward to the updates.
The following is a process I have used for years to evaluate Google updates at a site level to glean new opportunities for improvement and to determine what is already working. This is a

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How to monitor Google Knowledge Graph changes and performance

Google’s Knowledge Graph is a very prominent part of organic search results. By now, searchers are accustomed to seeing the panel that appears on the right side of the search result page that provides information about entities such as people, places and brands.
Individuals and companies alike are striving to acquire, maintain and monitor a Knowledge Graph listing. At the moment, however, there is no easy way to report on Knowledge Graph performance and changes. In 2016, Google’s John Mueller did mention that links in Knowledge Graph panels would be counted in the Search Analytics report in Google Search Console. However, this still does not give us insight into the algorithmic aspect of Knowledge Graph rankings and changes.
Why monitor your Knowledge Graph result?
So you may be wondering why should you should care about changes to your personal or company Knowledge Graph result. Here are a couple of reasons.
You (or your business) may share a name with another entity, or maybe

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How to quickly find and export all subdomains indexed by Google

An SEO audit is rarely limited to the www (or non-www) version of a website. When looking for potential duplicate content, it’s often important to know how many subdomains exist and, more importantly, how many of them are indexed by Google.
The good old search operators
An easy way to find indexed subdomains is to use search operators.

Start with “site:” and the root domain.

One by one, remove each subdomain (including: “www”) from the results with the “-inurl:” operator.

When there are no more results for Google to return, your query with the search operators should include all subdomains indexed.

However, this technique has its limits. It’s unlikely that the site you’re auditing has as many subdomains as wordpress.com, but you may come across a site with several dozen subdomains. This can potentially cause the following issues:

The process can be long, especially if it needs to be done for several domains.
You might get Google “captchas” along the way.
The size of queries is limited (around 30 keywords).

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The ins and outs of an SEO audit

Whether you’re taking on SEO for an existing website or getting ready to launch a new one, a comprehensive SEO audit is crucial to understanding what problems exist and what work needs to be done. At SMX West, three SEO audit experts shared their knowledge from start to finish on a proper SEO audit.
Jessie Stricchiola: Key Elements of Discovery & Planning
Jessie Stricchiola, CEO of Alchemist Media, started off the panel by laying out the essential steps to performing an effective SEO audit. Before you get started, you must first understand the purpose of the audit, because each type of audit requires specific issues be checked. Some common reasons you might perform an audit include:

a new website;
a first-time audit for a website that’s not yet been live or has never had SEO performed on it;
a website redesign and CMS migration;
a domain/subdomain migration; or
to diagnose traffic drops and penalties.

If you’re a consultant or an agency, you’ll also want to consider the

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How to Identify The Impact Of Mobilegeddon & Future Mobile Algorithm Updates

The new Google mobile algorithm has arrived in all its fury, and everyone seems a little disappointed in the change that failed to rival Panda.
Entire industries were not destroyed, and even if they were, former Google head of webspam Matt Cutts isn’t around to blame anymore.
According to Google Search Console ringleader John Mueller, this is due to the fact that, while the new mobile algorithm affected a lot of queries, most sites were either:

Already mobile friendly, or
Changed, but not significantly enough to notice (vs. Panda where the entire site dropped in search results).

In this column, I’ll explain how to get as close as possible to finding the cause of gain or loss of mobile clicks at the page and query level using Google Search Analytics. I’ll also attempt to establish a good benchmark based on the current strength of the new Google mobile algorithm.
Strength, Stats, & Spotting The New Google Mobile Algorithm
Enterprise SEO Tool BrightEdge tracked 20,000 non-mobile friendly URLs

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How Search Result Analysis Leads To A Better SEO Program

How often do you go back to determine the type of content that appears in search engine results for your priority keywords and phrases?
A few months ago, one of our clients posed an interesting challenge: they wanted to expand their online product offerings but were concerned with the level of viability those offerings would have for organic search performance. They wanted to better understand how the search engine result landscape could impact marketing strategy and tactics.
Some of the search-specific concerns expressed:

Type of content assets that appeared to perform best in organic results for a strategic set of keyword targets.
Type of user experience prevalent for content assets uncovered.
Type of competitors or distributors already present in these organic results.

This initiative provided the opportunity for us to thoroughly re-examine keyword strategy as it pertained to the direction of content marketing initiatives. And while this was one instance where we really were able to invest considerable time and energy in specific results, its a

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How To Replace Google’s (Not Provided) Data To Strike SEO Gold

While it is certainly useful to review organic keyword data in Google Webmaster Tools, it’s not a patch on the level of insightful detail once achievable in Google Analytics back in the days before Google’s move to 100% secure search (a.k.a. “not provided”). I’ve written about the importance of replacing this data before, but given the feedback I’ve received, it’s clear that more detail is in demand.
Mapping traffic behavior for particular keyword phrases though from landing page to exit, or through the conversion funnel, allows for much more powerful insights to be derived. Care for an example? OK.
Let’s say you’re a retailer trying to work out why your purchases for a particular product have fallen off a cliff over the last month. You can see that that all traffic sources are still at the same level. Filtering by channel shows that organic traffic is suddenly bouncing 200% more than in the previous month and is exiting the funnel to contribute

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