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Author Archive

How to Use Google Webmaster Tools for SEO

Note: The article contains updates to previous articles “3 Ways to Use Google Webmaster Tools for SEO” and “3 More SEO Tricks in Google Webmaster Tools,” both of which have been redirected to this article. 

Google Webmaster Tools ― which I shall henceforth egregiously call “GWT” (apologies in advance) ― is a sweet suite of Google SEO tools that provides data and configuration control for your site in Google. If you’re doing any SEO and you don’t find value in GWT, you either use a paid tool that uses GWT data or you have a great opportunity to expand your toolkit.

There’s a ton you can do with GWT, but it can take a while to learn how to get great return on the time you spend with it. To that end, I’ve tried my best to assemble a meaty, practical collection of key insights on the reports I’ve found most useful (including lots of coverage on the Search Queries feature). (more…)

Getting Your SEO Priorities Straight with the Keyword Equation

billions and billions of web pages

There are a lot of web pages out there competing for the #1 rank for a lot of keywords. Good SEO is all about picking your battles. You have limited resources, and seemingly unlimited competition, so you need to decide where best to target your SEO efforts and then go hard.

That’s why we use a system called The Keyword Equation to determine a keyword’s value relative to another with a figure called the Keyword Value Index.

(Yes, there’s math involved. No, it won’t hurt you.)

Keyword Value simplified equation


SEO Measurement Mistakes, Part 4: Links

Link Measurement

This is part 4 of a series examining mistakes with SEO metrics.

  • In part 1 of this series, we discussed 5 huge mistakes regarding top-level SEO KPIs.
  • In part 2, we looked at 10 common mistakes made when analyzing SEO metrics in Google Analytics.
  • In part 3, we looked at 10 critical errors in analyzing and monitoring crawling and indexation metrics.

Today, we’ll do 10 of the most common mistakes in link metrics. (more…)

My 15 Favorite Free SEO Tools

I’ve said it before, but I love me a good free tool. Below is a list of my fifteen favorite freebies for doing SEO. While there’s a ton of tools out there, this article means to highlight the essentials.  It’s nice to have a huge arsenal, but it can be more powerful to wield a few powerful weapons expertly.

8 Tips on Leveraging Relationships into Links



It’s no secret that links matter in search marketing. But – just ask RapGenius – link “building” can be dangerous, resulting in devalued links and even hard-hitting penalties that go beyond mere devaluation.

A few months ago, I attended a breakout session on links where a hyper dude named Neil Rodriguez uttered the words “Google will never devalue relationships.” That statement stuck, and it seems relevant as ever.

Often, when we need to build authority on the site of a new client, the first thing I like to do is look at the existing relationships the company has. As Wil Reynolds has said: “You have people in your CHURCH, why are you running past them to go try to convert people on the street?”

There could be relationships right under your nose, with people more than willing to vouch for your brand. So it just makes sense to take these relationships public for the whole Net to see, and, along the way, possibly happen to earn those editorial votes (i.e. Natural Links) Google craves.

Here 8 quick tips on how. (more…)

5 Ways to Get Data on PDFs and Other Downloads

One of the notable limitations of Google Analytics (GA) is that it does not provide data on non-html pages out-of-the-box. Thus, if your website has PDF files, Word docs, .wmv files, or other downloads, you’ll face a black hole of data.

But there are ways around that.

Recently, we started a project with a client that had a substantial portion of PDFs on their site. We went through our checklist for SEO for PDFs and determined the following:

  • The PDFs were worth keeping in PDF format
  • The PDFs needed SEO’d, including needing internal links to other pages on their site
  • We lacked data on PDF usage to help our client determine what users were interested in

To the last point, because so many types of content (reports, magazine articles, studies, etc…) were in PDF form, the client really struggled to understand what content performed the best, making content strategizing extremely difficult. So we had to implement workarounds to obtain as much data as possible.

We’ve written about many applicable workarounds in the past, but today I want to get them together in one place for you for easy reference if you want data on your downloadables. So, using our PDF-focused project as an example, below are 5 ways to get data on non-html files.


Ideas for Keyword (Not Provided)

If you’re an SEO practitioner, chances are you’ve heard that Google keyword data is likely going to be 100% (not provided). I’d love to provide you with a brilliant solution package to make your the keyword (not provided) headache completely disappear. But, like most industry people (that aren’t completely fooling themselves), I can’t yet.

So here’s 15 ideas on dealing with (not provided) and a bunch of my opinions.  Hope it helps. Big thanks to the entire LunaMetrics team for this one.

1. Employing a Rationale Problem-Solving Framework
2. GWT Search Query data
3. AdWords Paid & Organic Report
4. Paid AdWords Data
5. AdWords Keyword Planner Data
6. Google Trends
7. Ask the User
8. Focus on Landing Pages
9. Non-Google Data
10. Provided Data
11. Historical Data
12. Statistical Extrapolation of Samples
13. New Solutions from Google?
14. Triangulating visits via volume, rankings, CTR
15. Paid Data Sources

SEO Measurement Mistakes Part 3: Crawling and Indexation Metrics

This article is Part of a series:

  • In part 1 of this series, we discussed common mistakes regarding top-level SEO KPIs.
  • In part 2, we looked at common mistakes made when analyzing SEO metrics in Google Analytics.
  • The final article in this series is on Link Metrics.

Today, I want to cover 10 critical errors in analyzing and monitoring crawling and indexation metrics.

se9arch engine crawl and index


SEO Measurement Mistakes Part 2: 10 Google Analytics Gaffes

Author’s Note: This is Part 2 of a multi-part series titled SEO Measurement Mistakes. Links to the rest of series are below:
Part 1: 5 Huge SEO Measurement Mistakes
Part 3: Crawling and Indexation Metrics
Part 4: Links

In my last article, I discussed 5 ways people stifle SEO campaigns at the macro level by focusing on the wrong KPIs.

Today, I’d like to discuss a few common Google Analytics pitfalls we see when it comes to SEO. (more…)

5 Huge SEO Measurement Mistakes

Author’s Note: This is Part 1 of a multi-part series titled SEO Measurement Mistakes. Links to the rest of series are below:
Part 2: 10 Google Analytics Gaffes
Part 3: Crawling and Indexation Metrics
Part 4: Links


Last week, I sent an email to my fellow LunaMetricians asking one question, “what’s some big mistakes you see when it comes to SEO and measurement/Google Analytics?”

The measurement masters came up with some good stuff, and I’ll discuss five high-level screw-ups people make when it comes to analyzing SEO metrics.

Let’s start from the top.

1. Obsessing over Rankings

Ever Google the term “SEO definition“? The results have been getting better, but there’s still some severely outdated definitions ranking highly. Here’s a taste of the bad stuff:

“Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.”

“Stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” Just about every Webmaster wants his or her site to appear in the top listings of all the major search engines…”

The second excerpt comes from a 400 word entry that seriously talks about Meta Keywords and directory submissions as viable SEO tactics. But I digress.

What the outdated and crappy definitions how SEO all have in common is they paint a verbal picture that high rankings are the goal of SEO. That is false.

The goal od SEO is to improve rankings. False. The goal of SEO is to increase the value generated by organic search traffic.