How using search opportunities can guide link-building content strategies

Content and links are still pillars of search engine optimization (SEO).
In fact, Google has told us in the past these components are two of the top three factors in Google’s search algorithm.
By now, we should all know this, but many people are still making a critical mistake when it comes to content and links and how they relate to each other in terms of search optimization.
The majority of webmasters brainstorm, design and execute content initiatives, then pursue links. I feel this may not be the best strategy. Link building should be a consideration before content is published and should be used to guide content strategy.
When search opportunity dictates content strategy rather than the other way around, the results can be tremendous. When you can consult on content strategy before linking begins, the results can be positive:

As you can see, we had success securing links and expanding keyword rankings, and because the content was targeted and strategic, it only

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Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Brainlabs & Trimark Digital

During the last five weeks, Search Engine Land has conducted a number of interviews with last year’s Search Engine Land Award Winners. In this week’s series, we are featuring Brainlabs and Trimark Digital.
Brainlabs was awarded two trophies at last year’s event: Best Retail Search Marketing Initiative for SEM and the Best B2C SEM Initiative for Enterprise award. Trimark Digital’s SEO campaign for the Fairview Garden Center helped it win Best Overall SEO Initiative for Small Business award.
“We’ve long been known as a lead generation agency from a paid search perspective,” says Trimark Digital lead digital strategist, Dani Roberts. In today’s spotlight interview, Roberts shares how the team focused on a client’s organic digital performance to take home the award — proving her agency’s ability in SEO as well as paid search.
If you’re considering whether or not to submit an entry for this year’s Search Engine Land Awards, be sure to check out interviews with last year’s winners:

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Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners MediaHub & UPMC Health Plan

Last year, more than twenty agencies and SEO professionals were recognized for their excellence in SEO and search marketing at the 2017 Search Engine Land Awards. To give insight into the winning campaigns and the award submission process, we have been conducting interviews featuring last year’s award winners.
In today’s edition of the Search Engine Land Award Winners spotlight series, MediaHub’s associate director of search shares more about the Royal Caribbean search campaign that earned the agency its “Best Enterprise SEM Initiative for Travel & Lifestyle” award. UPMC Health Plan’s Zach Cole is also featured. His team was named the “Best In-house Team of the Year for SEM” at last year’s awards event.
The 2018 Search Engine Land Awards will be hosted on June 12 in Seattle, Washington as part of the SMX Advance Conference after hours events.
First launched in 2015, this will be the fourth consecutive year for the Search Engine Land Awards. And while

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Making your first AMP Story: Google’s answer to Snapchat and Instagram

Among the many exciting announcements during AMP Conf 2018 in Amsterdam was the introduction of AMP Stories, a new format similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, implemented via a new accelerated mobile pages (AMP) component.
Unlike Snapchat and Instagram Stories, which are features within their own respective platforms, AMP Stories are going to be found in a mobile Google search engine results page (SERP). As with the rest of the AMP Project, other platforms are to leverage the format as well. These provide users with a highly engaging slideshow experience with rich media features such as video, audio, pictures and text in a format that mobile users have been known to love.
Here’s a one-minute video introducing the accelerated mobile pages (AMP) story format:

Excited yet? I am, but alas, it hasn’t rolled out to the public as of this writing. The amp-story component is still in “experimental” and development mode, and it must be enabled for the user within the AMP

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Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners iCrossing, Merkle Inc. & Todd Silverstein

In this week’s edition of our Search Engine Land Award winners spotlight series, we are featuring the agencies who won the 2017 awards for Best B2B Search Marketing Initiative for SEO, Best Retail Search Marketing Initiative for SEO and Best Enterprise SEM Initiative.
We also are interviewing Todd Silverstein, who won the award for Best Overall SEM Initiative for Small Business. While Silverstein serves as the US head of performance marketing at Edelman Digital, it was his work as an independent contractor for a small business that earned him a 2017 Search Engine Land Award.
“It’s important for me to always practice what I preach, and I’ve been pushing my Performance Marketing team at Edelman Digital to always deliver incredible client results,” says Silverstein. “Because of this, I jumped at the opportunity to perform advanced SEM implementation.”
This year’s Search Engine Land Awards event is being hosted in Seattle, Washington, on June 12, 2018, during the SMX Advanced Conference. If

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Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Wolfgang Digital, Metric Theory & Precis Digital

This year’s Search Engine Land Awards will mark the fourth consecutive year the SEO and SEM community has come together to celebrate the best and brightest in the industry. The 2018 event will be hosted in Seattle, Washington, on June 12 in conjunction with the SMX Advanced Conference, and it has been expanded to include several new award categories.
Started in 2015, the Search Engine Land Awards has not only recognized top-performing SEO and SEM professionals and agencies, it has raised thousands of dollars for a variety of nonprofits, including Be the Match, CODE.org, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Women Who Code.
As we near this year’s awards event, Search Engine Land is taking a look at last year’s winners in a collection of interviews highlighting the campaigns that won and the results they generated.
For our latest addition to the series, we talk to the teams that took home awards for Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative and Best

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How AI can uncover new insights and drive SEO performance

In 2015, Google announced that it had added RankBrain to its algorithm, cementing the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in search. Fast-forward to 2018, and search marketers are starting to use AI, machine learning and deep learning systems to uncover new insights, automate labor-intensive tasks and provide a whole new level of personalization to guide website visitors through their purchase funnel. We have now fully entered the AI revolution.
For clarity and for context within this article, I find the following definitions helpful:

Artificial intelligence is a broad field, covering a range of machine applications to carry out tasks that typically require human intelligence. Human intelligence encompasses a broad range of behaviors, so it should be no surprise that the umbrella term “artificial intelligence” can be used to categorize natural language processing, chess playing, driverless cars and millions of examples in between.
Machine learning is often conflated with AI, but it is actually an application (and therefore a subfield) of artificial intelligence. In

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The unique selling proposition: A key element for SEO success

Google processes trillions of searches per year, which equates to billions of searches each day. How do they decide what is the most promising result for every single one of that staggering volume of questions?
Experience shows that you don’t have to be a huge website for a major brand to rank in the top spot for a given query. Google doesn’t care which sites show up high in SERPs, as long as the page lives up to user expectations, which is something they measure on a tremendous scale. That begs the question: What is it that makes a page stand out, as far as Google is concerned? Why do pages rank in Google in the long term?
Ask why
Google factors in hundred of signals when calculating a website’s ranking for queries in Google Search. These include everything from site speed to inbound links to page content. Above all, however, Google seems to favor sites that are popular with users.

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Looking back at 2018 in search: A time traveler’s year in review

Greetings from the future! I’m writing to you from January 2019. Since search is such a dynamic space, with every year bringing unexpected developments, I thought it would be helpful to use my knowledge as a denizen of the future to give you a glimpse into what’s to come in 2018. So for you, this is a look forward — but for me, it’s a year in review. And let me warn you, you’d best buckle up!
(Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Sorry folks, I can’t tell you which cryptocurrencies take off, as I promised some guy named Doc Brown I wouldn’t, but I can say that AI-investment programs sure do a number on it.)
The top stories in search in 2018
The big question for Search Engine Land readers, of course, is, What the heck will happen in search in 2018? Obviously, I can’t cover everything, but here are the top stories that will make

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YouTube SEO 101

Based on Alexa traffic rankings, YouTube is the second most visited site on the web, right after Google. Unfortunately, a lot of digital marketers still treat it like any other social media site. But success on YouTube isn’t about posting content, it’s about optimizing your content — just like your website.
It’s easy to find videos with millions of views and videos with almost none that are basically the same. The difference between success and failure often boils down to a few elements.
When it comes to YouTube SEO, a lot of the optimization work can be encapsulated into a process that you can apply to all your old videos and then to each video as you publish it. And you’re about to learn that process.
Here’s what you need to know if you want your content to rank number one on YouTube for the keywords you care about.
The basics
This section contains the essential background information you’ll need to understand

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