How to tell whether a site is adaptive or responsive

As most SEOs are aware by now, there are three main techniques for serving mobile website content: responsive design, adaptive design (also called dynamic serving), and separate mobile URLs.
While it’s easy to identify separate mobile URLs just by looking at your browser’s address bar, telling responsive and adaptive sites apart can take a little more digging around.
In my mobile workshops with Shari Thurow at SMX West and SMX Advanced earlier this year, many of the participants were confused as to how to tell responsive and adaptive mobile configurations apart. So, I went through the exercise that I’m going to describe today. Hopefully, it will help some of you make the distinction.
If you’re not sure if the site you’re looking at is responsive or adaptive, ask yourself these questions:
Does it change shape when you resize your browser from a desktop computer?
Responsive sites are meant to change layout based on browser window size (regardless of device), while adaptive sites

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How to test (and perfect) nearly everything in PPC

PPC (pay per click) is a key component of many online marketing campaigns. And while it can drive significant revenue, it’s also one of the most expensive ongoing costs in a campaign. Therefore, it’s key that you test your ads regularly, to make sure you aren’t letting any conversions slip through the cracks.
Testing and optimizing is an important part of our job as digital marketers. And I’m not just talking about perfecting your ad copy.
At SMX London earlier this year, I gave a talk on how we design and implement tests at Crealytics for both Text and Shopping ads.
Carrying on from that, this post will cover three methods you can use for successful testing, two types of testing to help you take performance to the next level, and five common pitfalls that testers often run into. I’ll also illustrate these points with examples from our own internal testing efforts.
Deciding which method to use
Designing a good experiment is

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An easy quarterly plan for local link building

Summer conference season is in full swing, and this month I’m stepping off Greg’s Soapbox to share some in-depth knowledge. With the release of the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors and several studies, local SEO sessions are all pushing the importance of building local links. Even when tips are shared that explain how to get great links, people always seem to come back with variations on the same question:
How do you actually build local links?
I wrote a post here on Search Engine Land last year about building local links, and I usually point people to that post to get good ideas. But recently, several people have pointed out that it shares high-level ideas, not actual tactics.
So, I decided that I should share some insight into how our team works the link-building process, with a focus on actual process and tactics. Keep in mind, we’re talking local SEO for SMBs, so we won’t have huge budgets to create

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SEO case study: Zero to 100,000 visitors in 12 months

You need more traffic.
More visitors on your site means more impressions, more signups, more purchases — more revenue.
But how do you capture more traffic from search results that are becoming more crowded, more diverse, and evolving in the way they are delivered?
With SEO, of course!
Today, I want to share a process we’ve developed at Siege Media to earn links and visibility, and to increase web traffic for our clients. I’m going to walk through how we built a site’s SEO strategy from the ground up — growing from zero visitors to 100,000 — and share key takeaways that you can apply to your own strategy.

The general outline of our strategy was:

Start slow and take advantage of “easy wins.”
Focus on securing a handful of strategic links to important pages.
Establish passive link acquisition channels to build momentum.
Be intentional about content creation and its impact on search.
Level up over time, and target higher-value opportunities.

Let’s dive into the case study.
Note: We had control over

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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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The role of traditional public relations in SEO

If you’re doing search engine optimization (SEO) properly today, then a significant portion of your effort will overlap with traditional public relations (PR).
This is because over the last few years, Google has minimized the effects of easily gameable ranking signals and refined their algorithm to better represent user experience. In other words, websites that satisfy their users tend to rank better than those that do not.
Inbound links are still a critical component of any SEO campaign, but the easy link-building tactics of the past have been wiped off the board, largely thanks to Google’s Penguin update(s). This includes buying links, guest blogging at scale, embedding links in plugins or themes and more.
The only type remaining as valuable and effective over the long term are the proverbial Holy Grail of link building: natural editorial links from high-traffic, authoritative websites.
And therein lies the challenge: How do we earn these coveted editorial links? Well, it’s a two-part equation.
The first part

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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 use Google Tag Manager to show your clients results

Are you tired of asking your web developer to add code, snippets, pixels or scripts to your site so you can track remarketing, conversions, analytics and more? Google Tag Manager (GTM) allows you to add or update tags without having to bother your developer.
Google Tag Manager gives you control over how your tags are defined and how they fire. GTM involves a little bit of a learning curve, but once you understand the basics, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. If you’re an SEO who hasn’t yet delved into tracking codes (I know you’re out there, and it’s okay!), now’s the time to start.
Using tracking code will help you measure the results of your marketing campaigns — essentially, you’ll be able to show the results that your digital marketing efforts are making. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be a programmer to dig in. As an added bonus, you can use GTM to manage your clients’ campaigns as

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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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