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40+ Digital Marketing Experts to Follow on Twitter: Keep Your Marketing Skills Up to Date

Digital marketing is constantly evolving.

SEO trends and content marketing strategies that worked six months ago might not produce the same results today.

So, what can you do as a marketer, entrepreneur, or website owner? How can you keep up with the latest marketing strategies, the algorithms, and analytics?

The answer? Follow the right people on Twitter.

There’s no better way to stay up-to-date than to follow the right people on Twitter and scroll through their feeds filled with great advice.

Twitter is ​one of our favorite social media platforms, but we all know there are over 500 million tweets sent out each day. No one has the time to check each account and verify the real pros from the self-proclaimed “experts.”

So, to help you sift through the non-relevant stuff and get straight to the information that really matters, we’ve compiled this list of the leading digital marketing experts and publications to follow on Twitter.

Each of these experts seems to have cracked the code with not only understanding the complexities of digital marketing but also putting them into practice. They are moving the industry forward with their innovative strategies.

The best part? They’re constantly sharing their knowledge — all for free.

What are you waiting for? Scroll down to see the list, add the experts you’d love to follow, add value to your Twitter feed, and keep your content marketing skills in top shape.

Read, learn, share, and enjoy! Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments!  

NEW: Our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, a list curated by @daninofuente and @JuliaEMcCoy ✨ Is your digital marketing hero on the list? Click To Tweet

digital marketing experts

How We Hand-Curated Our List of 40+ Digital Marketing Experts

There were a number of factors that helped us decide on which experts to recommend for following.

Our CEO, Julia McCoy, was heavily involved in the creation of this roundup. She reviewed and approved each of the people we recommend below. Secondly, two of us writers were included in the formulation: one of our copywriters, and me, Danielle, Express Writer’s Content Specialist (and everything else behind the scenes).

We think that humanly created lists are some of the best lists!

Next, here’s what we looked at when determining who to recommend to our Write Blog readers.

  • First, we looked at experts in content marketing, social media, and SEO.
  • Then, we considered digital marketing experts who are regularly invited to share their knowledge by speaking at leading conferences all around the world, and writing for consistent columns or their own blog.
  • Instead of tenure (years in the field), we looked at recent accomplishments and studied to find people that are the most current in the marketing space. We believe that matters more than tenure. If you’ve been a marketer for 30 years and you haven’t written a single blog on marketing trends for the past six or even three months, are you even current?
  • We also researched the pioneers and thought-leaders. What did they share on Twitter that was noteworthy, original, and outstanding?
  • Finally, experts who’ve mastered current industry trends and are influencing future trends were also considered.
See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter! Is your digital marketing hero on the list? 👩 👨 Click To Tweet

40+ Digital Marketing Experts to Follow on Twitter

After taking into consideration the above points, we decided on the following names that every digital marketer needs to follow. These are the people who are moving the industry forward with their innovation and following them will allow you to stay on top of your digital marketing.

1. Ai Addyson-Zhang, Ph.D

Ai Addyson-Zhang, Ph.D. is a long-time college professor who is now an entrepreneur changing the space, taking the stage and teaching authentic, real practices for social media. Her passion for social media pedagogy only started in 2015 after the surprise that one of her students didn’t know what Pinterest is! She realized that not all her students were familiar with all social media platforms, and as an educator, she needed to level up and practice what she preached.

These realizations inspired her to create Classroom Without Walls, a weekly Facebook Live show where she interviews experts in modern marketing to provide real, authentic insights on the industry. Julia has been a guest 3x! Catch a recap of Ai and Julia on Ai’s Medium page. Ai also built the Social Media Pedagogy Online Training course and helps her fellow educators and professors transform traditional learning by applying social media practices. This fearless and industry-changing woman has grown into a consultant and speaker, keynoting on stages and training academic and industry leaders how to apply storytelling in digital marketing.

Follow @aiaddysonzhang on Twitter.

2. Chris Strub

When you check out Chris Strub’s YouTube channel, you’ll notice his impressive accomplishment: He’s the first (and only) man to live stream and Snapchat in all 50 US States. This accomplishment is documented in one of his books, 50 States, 100 Days.

His roadtrip-slash-social media success is only a part of his bigger achievement: helping nonprofit organizations around the US.

Besides being an author and famous mobile storyteller, he’s going around the world as a millennial keynote speaker in social media conferences, and an educator offering online courses on using social media to build relationships — whether you’re a nonprofit or not.

Follow @ChrisStrub on Twitter

3. Madalyn Sklar

If you’re wondering how to use the most out of your social media platforms — especially Twitter — in your marketing strategy, Madalyn Sklar is your go-to person. She’s had already figured out how to live tweet in 2008 before everyone else, and now, she offers her own #TwitterSmarter Masterclass online.

Madalyn also offers coaching, consulting, and speaking services for those who want “rockstar results” with their social media. She’s pretty much very active on Twitter as she’s hosting two Twitter chats #TwitterSmarter and #SocialROI every Tuesday and Thursday.

Follow @MadalynSklar on Twitter

4. Brian Fanzo

Brian Fanzo describes himself as a “pager-wearing millennial keynote speaker.” What is a digital marketing expert doing with a pager? What is a pager? (I still know what it is – no worries.) With or without a pager, Brian is far from being outdated, and you’ll find it through his unique keynote programs about “Digital Empathy” and “Think Like a Fan.”

Believe it or not, Brian had worked in the US Department of Defense in cybersecurity for 9 years. After that, he founded iSocialFanz, which helped many Fortune 50 companies through his #ThinkLikeAFan philosophy. He also worked with brands like Dell, Adobe, IBM, and even Applebees and UFC launch their digital and influencer strategies.

Follow @iSocialFanz on Twitter

5. Natalie Franke

Natalie Franke describes herself as an educator, entrepreneur, and community builder. She is the co-founder of Rising Tide Society, a platform that empowers the creative community by providing them with valuable resources such as free educational webinars.

Through Rising Tide Society, Natalie aims to achieve her mission to transform the way creative entrepreneurs see each other, from competition to collaborators. The platform has established in-person meet-ups done on the second Tuesday of every month, which started small through local coffee meetups and now all over the world.

Follow @nataliefranke on Twitter

6. Sue B. Zimmerman

Sue Zimmerman is known as “The Instagram Expert.” She empowers both entrepreneurs and marketers to know how to leverage Instagram and get the most out of it for their marketing strategies. She’s also a social media educator, consultant, and a keynote and breakout speaker.

If you want to know the ins and outs of social media, with an emphasis on Instagram marketing, Sue is the digital marketing expert you need to follow. Get to learn more from her through her online classes and online workbooks on Instagram marketing.

Follow @SueBZimmerman on Twitter

7. Mari Smith

Mari Smith has over 1.7 million followers on different social platforms. She’s been mentioned in Forbes as one of the top women social media influencers; labeled as the “social media diva” and the “Pied Piper of the online world” in her interviews in Fast Company; and, the expert BBC and NBC interviewed during Facebook’s data breach and privacy controversy. She’s pretty much the “queen” of it all.

Mari is also an internationally renowned, seasoned public speaker. Besides that, she offers social media training services for small to big businesses and brands — all customized to match their needs.

Follow @MariSmith on Twitter

8. Kim Garst

Kim Garst is a thought-leader in the social media space. She’s been recognized as a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Influencer and one of the world’s most retweeted people among digital marketers. She’s the author of the international bestseller, Will the Real You Please Stand Up, and a speaker sharing her views on social media and brand strategy.

As an online marketing guru, she helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses through social and digital marketing like how she did with leading brands like Microsoft, IBM, and Mastercard.

Follow @kimgarst on Twitter

9. Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield has two best-selling marketing courses: the List Builders Lab where she teaches how to build a profitable email list of engaged, ready-to-buy subscribers, and the Digital Course Academy created for those who want to build their own online course or webinar.

Amy is also the host of her own podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, where she shares her own tips and tricks, expert interviews, and answers to the online marketing questions sent by her followers.

Follow @AmyPorterfield on Twitter

10. Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer has authored The Content Code, Return on Influence, and The Tao of Twitter, which is currently the best-selling book on Twitter. Moreover, his blog {grow} continues to provide up-to-date stories, updates, and advice on marketing, technology and humanity. It’s known as one of the top five business blogs in the world.

His credentials don’t only stop on his publications. He has worked with top companies including Cisco, AT&T, Adidas, Microsoft, and more from different industries. He continues to help and share his insights to content marketers and entrepreneurs through his workshops, webinars, conference talks and consulting services.

Follow @markwschaefer on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @kimgarst, @AmyPorterfield, @markwschaefer, @MariSmith, @aiaddysonzhang and more 💥 Click To Tweet

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11. Ann Handley

Ann Handley is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. These bestsellers were all translated into 19 languages — a certified international hit.

She’s the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a marketing training and education company offering online and in-person programs. It’s where content marketers can get their high-quality dose of marketing trends, tools, and research.

Follow @annhandley on Twitter

12. Aaron Orrendorf

Aaron Orrendorf is “saving the world from bad content,” and he does it pretty well as proven by his articles on big names like Mashable, Inc., Entrepreneur, CMI, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. He’s the founder of iconiContent where clients can get in touch with him and get his excellent B2B content marketing services.

Follow @AaronOrendorff on Twitter

13. Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke Duistermaat is an inspiration for those who are clueless about content creation. She started as a copywriter for clients based in the US and UK — even if she’s not a native English speaker — and continued until she left her freelancing job to focus more on teaching beginners and expert writers on better persuasive writing.

Henneke has been interviewed by Inc. and Forbes, and featured in top digital marketing sites like Search Engine Journal. She’s the author of Blog to Win Business, a handy guide for writing engaging blogs, and the teacher of her online course on persuasive writing.

Follow @HennekeD on Twitter

14. Brian Clark

If you’re a regular Copyblogger reader, you might have come across Brian Clark’s name a few times. As the founder of the platform, he’s at the forefront of providing all the current content marketing tips and tricks.

He’s also the founder of Unemployment, a resource that provides freelancers and entrepreneurs smart strategies. Brian has been featured in several business books such as Killing Marketing by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi, Linchpin and Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin, The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott.

Follow @brianclark on Twitter

15. Kieran Flanagan

Kieran Flanagan has worked with SaaS companies such as Marketo and Salesforce and helped them grow their traffic, users, and revenue. He’s also currently the VP of Marketing at HubSpot, a platform that provides inbound marketing and sales software, tools, tips and tricks to entrepreneurs and marketers.

As a thought leader in growth marketing, Kieran further shares his knowledge through his podcast The GrowthTLDR with Scott Tousley, and event talks.

Follow @searchbrat on Twitter

16. Joe Pulizzi

For everything related to content marketing, you’ll gain invaluable insight by following Joe Pulizzi. He’s the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, the leading educational organization for content marketing, after all. (If you know the Content Marketing World, then you should know CMI is behind this largest content marketing event in the world.)

He’s also a public speaker and has authored a number of books in the industry, including Killing Marketing, Content Inc, and Epic Content Marketing. If you’re serious about upping your content marketing game, better follow Joe now.

Follow @JoePulizzi on Twitter

17. Joanna Wiebe

Joanna Wiebe is a web copywriter and conversion rate optimization consultant more known as the founder of Copy Hackers.

If you don’t know what Copy Hackers is, it’s an all-packed source of tips, stories, and lessons for copywriters, freelancers, growth hackers, and startups. For clients, it’s a reliable place to find Copy Hacker-certified conversion copywriters for their business.

Joanna shares her knowledge of conversion copywriting with communities around the world through her speaking engagements. Follow her on Twitter to gain a front-row seat.

Follow @copyhackers on Twitter

18. Ryan Robinson

A writer, part-time entrepreneur, and content marketing consultant, Ryan Robinson is the man behind ryrob.com and its blog loaded with informative content that teaches readers how to create a profitable blog and business. He also teaches how to build a blog in 7 days through his free online course.

Besides writing for his blog, he also hosts a podcast where he interviews founders, entrepreneurs, and other professionals in different fields to share their stories and tips in building their businesses.

Follow @TheRyanRobinson on Twitter

19. Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn surely got the “pen” in her name for the right reason. She’s the woman behind The Creative Penn, a place where you can check out her guides on writing, publishing, book marketing, and creative entrepreneurship. She also hosts a podcast where she interviews the pros in the book writing and publishing industry.

Joanna is certainly the real deal in these topics as she herself is an author. She’s an award-nominated New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers under J.F.Penn. She continues to share her knowledge through her online courses including How to Write Non-Fiction: Turn your Knowledge into Words and Productivity for Authors.

Follow @thecreativepenn on Twitter

20. Joe Lazauskas

Joe Lazauskas is the head of marketing at Contently, a place where strategic services, a talent marketplace, and a technology platform are all in one place. He’s also the editor-in-chief of The Content Strategist, Contently’s blog.

Besides working for Contently, Joe has also written for Mashable, Digiday, and Fast Company. He is a regular speaker at Web Summit, Collision and Content Marketing World, and the author of the #1 Amazon New Release book, The Storytelling Edge.

Follow @JoeLazauskas on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @TheRyanRobinson, @thecreativepenn, @annhandley, @AaronOrendorff, @HennekeD and more 💥 Click To Tweet

21. Jay Baer

Jay Baer is the founder of Convince & Convert, a digital strategy consulting firm providing strategic plans, training, and guidance for companies that need help in social media, content marketing, online reputation, email, and word of mouth. They’ve worked with mid-size and large North American companies such as Cisco, 3M, Oracle, CVS, Comcast, and Hilton.

He’s also the author of the New York Times and Amazon best-seller, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype, plus other books on customer service, customer conversations, and online ratings and reviews. He has his podcast network too. He’s definitely someone you shouldn’t miss in your feed.

Follow @jaybaer on Twitter

22. Mandy McEwen

Mandy McEwen is a marketing consultant, digital agency growth coach, and agency owner of Mod Girl Marketing, providing DIY inbound marketing solutions and consultation for those who need help in their content marketing strategy.

Mandy is also included in the LinkedIn’s latest list of the 24 B2B Marketing Experts You Need to Know.

Follow @MandyModGirl on Twitter

23. Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy is the Chief Marketing Officer at Marketo, an Adobe company offering a digital marketing software for clients and marketers who want to improve their essential marketing areas like account-based marketing, mobile marketing, social media, automation, and more.

Follow @saykay on Twitter

24. Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner has been recognized as a Top Business Speaker by The Huffington Post and a top CMO Influencer by Forbes. His talks center around content marketing techniques, and he shares further on its ROI through his book, The Content Formula.

As the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, Michael has helped companies reach and connect to their audiences worldwide. They’ve worked with popular brands like Adidas, SAP, and The Guardian.

Follow @BrennerMichael on Twitter

25. Rand Fishkin

SEO is one of those constantly changing and evolving factors in digital marketing. Understanding the complexities of it will help you to really begin to master your digital marketing efforts. If you’re looking to learn from the best in SEO, you’ll want to add Rand Fishkin to your list.

Rand is the former co-founder and CEO of Moz, a platform that launched the Beginner’s Guide to SEO and offers a handy SEO toolset that checks everything you need to know from keyword research to page optimization insights. Now, he’s the founder of SparkToro, a product that aims to help people do better marketing (launching soon). He’s also the co-author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.

Follow @randfish on Twitter

26. Brian Dean

Brian Dean is the founder of Backlinko, one of the most popular online marketing blogs where he shares his tried and tested SEO and traffic tips. One of his latest and most interesting case studies is about how he increased his site’s traffic by 110% in 14 days — something worth checking for sure.

Follow @Backlinko 0n Twitter

27. Michael King

Another digital marketing expert you can learn a lot from is Michael. He’s the founder of iPullRank, a digital marketing agency based in New York that does SEO, UX/UI, and market research services — to name a few. They also have a page for comprehensive guides on topics like machine learning and using Google’s tag manager.

Michael works as a consultant for different businesses — from small to big names like SAP, American Express, HSBC, SanDisk, General Mills, and FTD.

Follow @iPullRank on Twitter

28. Suzanne Nguyen

Recognized as one of this year’s “B2B Marketers You Need to Know” and  “Top Voice” on LinkedIn in both 2017 and 2018, plus nominated for Forbes Asia “30 under 30,” Suzanne Nguyen leveraged her content in LinkedIn through video and print.

She grew her LinkedIn community through her channel. It all started with her one viral video and her following just grew from 900 to 19,000 in 7 months. Impressive, isn’t it?

Suzanne is also the woman behind StringStory, a place where content creators can find guides on branding, content strategy, and influencer marketing.

Follow @StringStory on Twitter

29. Danny Goodwin

Search Engine Journal is your credible source when it comes to the latest trends on SEO, PPC, SMM, and content marketing. (Don’t you know Express Writer’s CEO, Julia, is SEJ’s regular contributor?)

If you fully want to grasp the strategies from the best, you’ll want to follow Danny Goodwin. He’s the Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal where he not only writes but also oversees the platform’s editorial strategy and managing contributions from a team of 60+ industry experts.

Follow @MrDannyGoodwin on Twitter

30. Britney Muller

Britney Muller’s goal is to help drive product initiatives through data-driven research and industry knowledge, and she does it as a Moz’s Senior SEO Scientist — no wonder their tools and resources are always helpful when it comes to inbound marketing and SEO!

Britney is also the founder of Pryde Marketing, serving businesses looking for a one-stop shop for SEO, content marketing, design, and content creation services. As a keynote speaker, she has spoken in different digital marketing events around the world.

Follow @BritneyMuller on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @BritneyMuller, @MandyModGirl, @Backlinko, @MrDannyGoodwin, @iPullRank and more 💥 Click To Tweet

31. Michelle Robbins

Michelle Robbins is the Head of Digital at Milestone, a company offering a combination of software solutions and digital agency services for location-based businesses in hospitality, retail, financial services, and automotive industries.

However, you’ll most likely recognize her as the former SVP Content & Marketing Technology of Third Door Media, the company behind conferences like Search Marketing Expo (SMX). She was also the Editor in Chief of popular digital marketing publications, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today.

Follow @MichelleRobbins on Twitter

32. Joost de Valk

Joost de Valk is the founder and chief product officer at Yoast, a search-optimization company that developed the popular SEO WordPress plugin. He’s also WordPress.org’s current Marketing & Communications Lead.

There’s nothing more to say here to convince everyone why he deserves to be mentioned, especially if he’s working on the two important tools most content marketers use every day!

Besides Yoast and WordPress, he has invested in several companies and serves as an advisor to Mapfit and Student.com.

Joost regularly speaks at industry workshops and conferences like YoastCon and WordCamp US.

Follow @jdevalk on Twitter

33. Tim Soulo

Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing officer and product advisor at Ahrefs, a company offering SEO tools and online courses for businesses. He’s also authored a number of marketing guides and data-driven SEO research studies.

Tim has been in the digital marketing space for almost 10 years. He regularly shares his knowledge and experience through live talks around the world, podcast interviews, and his Twitter account.

Follow @timsoulo on Twitter

34. Olga Andrienko

Olga Andrienko is the head of global marketing at SEMRush (our favorite content strategy tool!). Her key specialization is conversion and relationship marketing. She’s done it so well that, together with her team, she managed to increase SEMRush’s social engagement by 400% in one year.

If you want to learn more about connecting with your audience, Olga has all the insights.

Follow @olgandrienko on Twitter

35. Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is the editor for Search Engine Land and CEO of RustyBrick. You can also catch him on Search Engine Roundtable, a blog that discusses advanced SEO topics.

Barry has been an advisor for startups and top companies like Google, Yahoo! Search, and Bing. Also, he’s been a speaker at several industry events including Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, and PubCon.

He received the “US Search Personality Of The Year,” award in the 2018 US Search Awards. With over 15 years of experience, you’ll definitely learn all things search-related from Barry.

Follow @rustybrick on Twitter

36. John Mueller

John Mueller is the Senior Webmaster trends analyst at Google. That title alone is enough to get anyone who’s serious about online marketing to sit up and pay attention. We all want our marketing efforts to get noticed by Google, after all.

John is also the usual go-to guy for Google Webmasters’ Q&A live stream in Youtube where audiences can ask about anything webmaster-related like crawling, indexing, mobile sites, duplicate content, Sitemaps, Search Console, etc.

Follow @JohnMu on Twitter

37. Colan Nielsen

Colan Nielsen is the VP of Local Search at Sterling Sky, a position he’s held since 2010, helping businesses and marketers know the how-tos of Local SEO. He’s also currently the Google Product Expert for Google My Business.

Local search is one of the most interesting aspects of digital marketing — and he’s passionate about it. That’s why he regularly shares his insights and case studies on his current Local SEO projects. He also shares the lessons he learned in his experience in business operations through his interviews in different online publications.

He’s also a writer for Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors, and a speaker at industry events such as State of Search and Pubcon.

Follow @ColanNielsen on Twitter

38. James Finlayson

James Finlayson has been in the digital marketing space since 2008. He has worked as an SEO executive and technical lead for different marketing agencies. Now, he’s the Head of Innovation at Verve Search, an SEO and content marketing agency based in the UK. He regularly enjoys experimenting with SEO — a hobby that brought him to where he is now after working as a lawyer!

James is now active in going around the world to speak in different conferences including the TEDx, BrightonSEO, Online Business Makeover, Fresh Business Thinking Live, the Digital Marketing Show, Search London, and Digitalization of Marketing.

Follow @JamesFinlayson on Twitter

39. Julie Joyce

Julie Joyce started working in search marketing in 2002 and then founded an all-female blog called SEO Chicks in 2007. Now, she is the owner and Director of Operations in Link Fish Media, a link building and SEO company. She also writes monthly link building articles on Search Engine Land.

Follow @JulieJoyce on Twitter

40. Casey Markee

With over 19 years of experience in SEO, link building, site auditing, and social media, Casey Markee is definitely the expert you’re looking for when it comes to experience and knowledge in the ins and outs of the industry.

Casey runs the SEO consultancy company, Media Wyse, and also works as the lead SEO consultant at Search Engine News. He further shares his knowledge as an author (with over 400+ digital marketing articles to his credit), instructor for SEO teams, and speaker at several events, including Pubcon, State of Search, and SMX Advanced.

Follow @MediaWyse on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @JamesFinlayson, @olgandrienko, @jdevalk, @MichelleRobbins, @ColanNielsen and more 💥 Click To Tweet

41. Marie Haynes

Marie Haynes has been helping businesses rank on Google, making sure that every step complies with Google’s Guidelines through her Canada-based company, Marie Haynes Consulting Inc.

Before 2008, she was a full-time veterinarian who became interested in SEO when she’s trying to rank her vet website in Google. Now, she’s a top online marketing consultant businesses will go to for guidance and solving penalty issues.

She’s also a regular writer for Moz and Search Engine Watch, and a contributor in SEO Chat forums and Google Help forums, answering questions about Google’s penalties and algorithm.

Follow @Marie_Haynes on Twitter

42. Bill Slawski

Bill Slawski has been doing SEO for more than 20 years when search engines weren’t a big thing in the world of marketing. Known as the patent master and expert on technical SEO topics, he has worked for Fortune 500 brands and nonprofits, helping them in website optimization and increase their traffic and leads.

Bill is the founder of Go Fish Digital, a company providing content marketing, web design, and SEO services. For SEO updates and insights on search engine patents and white papers, you can check out Bill’s blog, SEO by the Sea.

Follow @bill_slawski on Twitter

43. Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan is a digital marketing expert who has covered digital and search marketing topics since the 90s. He’s the co-founder of Third Door Media, the company behind popular online publications like Marketing Land, MarTech Today, and Search Engine Land. It’s also the company behind MarTech and SMX conferences.

In 2017, he left his position in Third Door Media as chief content officer and his job as a search journalist. He, later on, started working with Google to continue educating the public about search and find out how to solve certain issues around it.

Follow @dannysullivan on Twitter

44. Joshua Hardwick

Joshua Hardwick is the founder of The SEO Project, an SEO blog that aims to clear all the misinformation regarding SEO and educate readers in a way that everyone can understand. He’s also the Head of Content at Ahrefs, where he shares more of his strategies and techniques in applying SEO.

Follow @JoshuaCHardwick on Twitter

45. Cyrus Shepard

Cyrus Shepard started in 2010 as Moz’s Lead SEO, which later on gave him the opportunity to do his first speaking event in MozCon and lead its Audience Development Team.

After working at Moz, Cyrus opened his own SEO company, Zyppy, where they educate readers about SEO trends and best practices and guide them about the top ranking factors that help improve site traffic and ranking. He’s also working with startups and Fortune 500 companies as an SEO consultant.

Follow @CyrusShepard on Twitter

46. Russ Jones

Russ Jones is the Principal Search Scientist at Moz. He regularly engages with his over 9K Twitter followers about all things digital marketing. He’s also the SEO Advisor at Hive Digital and regularly speaks at top industry events and conferences like PubCon, SMX, SearchExchange, LinkLove, and IBM’s Netezza Conference.

His most notable accomplishment was leading the development of SEO technologies such as LinkSleeve, a link spam prevention tool; OpenCaptcha, a free distributed anti-spam solution: and Remove’em, a link removal service.

Follow @rjonesx on Twitter

47. Dr. Pete Meyers

Dr. Pete Meyers is a marketing scientist and subject matter expert. He describes himself as “the keeper of the Algo History, the architect of the MozCast Project, and the watcher of all things Google.” If these titles sound like you’re dealing with “the wise one” in a medieval role-playing video game, that’s what he really is in real life.

Dr. Pete works on product research and data-driven content, acting as the medium between marketing and data science. He also built research tools to monitor Google, with MozCast–a weather report showing the changes in Google’s algorithm–as one of his best projects.

Follow @dr_pete on Twitter

48. Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow is the co-founder and CEO of Distilled, an online marketing services company with offices in London, New York, and Seattle. His company also produces the online training platform, DistilledU and DistilledODN, an SEO split-testing platform.

He had spoken for top digital marketing events like SearchLove, MozCon, and Inbound, and continues to share his insights through Distilled and Moz blogs.

Follow @willcritchlow on Twitter

49. Julia McCoy

We may be biased, but our own CEO is a great resource in the industry of content marketing to follow.

Named an industry thought leader by Forbes, Julia McCoy has been on the roll providing top online content for clients in different industries through Express Writers. She’s also consistently publishing every week everything content marketing-related on Express Writer’s Write Blog.

Besides being the head of Express Writers, Julia is a serial content marketer devoted to staying at the forefront and leadership of our beautiful industry of content marketing. She is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing and So You Think You Can Write?. She has even developed two industry-leading courses guiding beginner and professional content marketers on how they can create content that converts. She’s been doing a few workshops and webinars lately too!

Follow @JuliaEMcCoy on Twitter

See our top 40+ recommended #marketing experts to follow on Twitter, feat. @dr_pete, @dannysullivan, @bill_slawski, @Marie_Haynes, @rjonesx and more 💥 Click To Tweet

You Can’t Go Wrong When Learning From the Best

And there you have it! Our list of the movers and shakers of the digital marketing space.

Of course, there are plenty more digital marketing experts who are doing great things, but we wanted to highlight these guys as their presence in the industry can’t be denied.

Before you hop on over to Twitter to follow, can you think of any other digital marketing experts?

Let us know in the comments!

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do not's of seo: sej recap

The 7 Do Not’s of SEO in 2019 and Beyond (Search Engine Journal Webinar Recap)

SEO to content is like paleo chocolate frosting to a paleo chocolate cake.

(Ever had one of those? They’re decadent, AND good for you. 🤤)

It seriously is that important–and impactful–in content marketing.

SEO-focused content marketing has powered our own organic marketing at Express Writers for years.

Without good SEO practices, your content will miss out on the possibilities of earning traffic and leads through organic user searches.

The opposite, bad SEO, will make readers and Google look a little like Steve Carrell in this scene in the 2014 movie, Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:

Not good.

That’s why, this April, I presented a webinar for Search Engine Journal on the top seven bad SEO tactics to abandon forever – ones that are dragging down your search rankings, confusing users (see above photo), and leaving your content in the dust.

We had an amazing turnout for this webinar. Over 300 people tuned in live!

Here are the slides from my webinar, and here’s the YouTube replay.

For those who missed it, or those who want the highlights, keep reading – I’m recapping the major points, here, too. ✔

Before we get into the bad SEO tactics and practices people are still using, we need to answer one question…

Get your own content marketing all geared up for the ROI you've been waiting for with the help of good SEO. Watch @JuliaEMcCoy's @sejournal webinar about the 7 Do Not's of #SEO in 2019 Click To Tweet

sej webinar recap julia mccoy

Why Does SEO and Google Matter?

Two reasons:

1. Most Internet Users Rely on Google

About half of the world’s population uses the internet. That’s no joke. Of those internet-users, about 60% begin their browsing with a Google search.

Over 3.5 billion Google searches happen in a day. Plus, Google dominates the market. Almost 60% of all web traffic begins with a Google search, according to the data from SparkToro and Jumpshot.

do not's of seo: forgetting Google

Image: Backlinko

2. Google is All About the User

Most web traffic comes from Google, and Google is all about that end-user. From their Search Engine Evaluator Guidelines to their Webmaster Central Blog, the user experience takes center stage. When your SEO and website experience tick off human users, you tick off Google, simultaneously.

Therefore, good SEO practices are all about keeping users and Google happy. The better you do, the more highly you will be ranked in search (and loved by users!).

With that out of the way, let’s get into the bad SEO tactics that will make your two most important audience members (humans and Google) confused, annoyed, and fed-up.

SEO-focused content marketing has powered our own organic marketing at Express Writers for years. Know why SEO matters with @JuliaEMcCoy's @sejournal webinar about the 7 Do Not's of #SEO in 2019 Click To Tweet

7 Just-Plain-BAD SEO Tactics You Shouldn’t Be Using Anymore

1. Using Your Target Keyword the Wrong Way

An outdated SEO practice we need to do away with is targeting one keyword per page – especially similar or semantically related keywords.

Instead, it’s better to target both focus keywords and secondary, related keywords in the same piece of content. This will align your SEO strategy with modern semantic search, which is what Google is focusing on moving into the future.

Semantic search looks at a page’s overarching topic vs. individual keywords to determine whether it’s relevant to a user’s search query.

do not's of seo: bad keyword usage

On the right side of this diagram, each keyword is targeted individually. A better SEO practice is to target related terms like these within the same piece (left).

Using a focus keyword + variations, related terms, and synonyms all within the same high-quality content piece signals to Google AND users that the page is topically relevant to the search query.

2. Developing Thin Content That Doesn’t Go the Distance

Short, thin content pieces are not SEO-worthy. If you want a page to rank, you need longer, in-depth content.

How do we know? Look at the data: From BuzzSumo’s analysis of over 100 million articles, long-form content (over 3,000 words) was most-shared. A Backlinko study came to the same conclusion – long-form content = higher search rankings.

To write longer content, focus on answering the user’s question(s) thoroughly and deep-dive into your topic.

3. Posting Content Whenever You Feel Like It

You can’t post content erratically if you want to rank higher in search. Many studies have shown that consistently publishing high-quality content leads to more ranking opportunities.

For one example, a HubSpot benchmark study found that companies that posted over 16x/month earned the most traffic and leads.

do not's of seo: posting inconsistently

That doesn’t mean you need to start blogging like a madman (or madperson), though. If you push out tons of posts but your quality sucks, you still won’t get anywhere. That leads us to bad SEO tactic #4…

4. Focusing on Quantity Vs. Quality

Pushing out blog posts just to get them on the web is never a good idea for SEO. Quality matters more than quantity for rankings and readership.

If you can’t feasibly publish fantastic blog posts on a consistent basis (say, 2-3x/week), cut back. One amazing post per week or month is better than 3 mediocre or crappy ones.

Tip: Check out the top 5 search results for your focus keyword in Google. Try to create a post that’s better than anything in that top 5.

5. Publishing Duplicate Content

According to SEMrush, a study of over 100,000 articles showed the most common SEO error is something we can all easily avoid: duplicate content. Nearly 66% of the articles in the study suffered from this problem.

It happens when multiple pages appear very similar or match 100%. Usually, this is unintentional, but some people do plagiarize content. Either way, you will be penalized.

Luckily, this mistake is easy to avoid. Do it by running all of your content through Copyscape before publishing. Rewrite any pages that have a percentage match.

6. Using Shady Tactics like Link Buying

If you really want to get on the wrong side of Google, link schemes and link buying are the way to do it.

Google specifically states in their quality guidelines that “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”

do not's of seo: link buying

If you violate those guidelines, bet on getting de-ranked faster than you can say “blackhat SEO”.

Instead of trying to sneak your way onto the SERPs, make every piece of content you publish link-worthy. Then, amplify that content using every resource in your power (social media, email marketing, networking, and connections).

Make every piece of content you publish link-worthy. @JuliaEMcCoy #SEO Click To Tweet

7. Not Paying Attention to Customer Reviews (or Posting Fake Reviews)

70% of online consumers read reviews of a product or company before buying. If you’re forgetting or ignoring the customer review portion of SEO – why?!

Some marketers go in the opposite direction and resort to posting fake reviews to boost their reputation. (Did you know The Washington Post discovered 61% of electronics reviews on Amazon are fake? Yikes.) It’s not like this works, though. Review platforms are becoming more advanced at sniffing out and deleting fake reviews.

Fake reviews aren’t necessary if you know how to earn glowing ones from customers. A few tips:

  • Ask happy customers to review you on the platform that contributes most to building your reputation (social media, Google review, Yelp review, etc.).
  • Seek customer reviews when they’re super happy with your business. Say you exceeded their expectations or delivered a quality product early – those are prime moments to ask.
  • Offer free samples to influencers and ask them for an honest review in return. This works especially well if you have a feature-worthy product.

Online reviews are a big part of building your reputation and authority. Seek them out from happy customers instead of resorting to fakery.

Turn to the Light: Good SEO Practices Are Worth It

Outdated, blackhat, or downright lazy SEO practices will make human users and Google shun your site like it has the plague.

GIF: Tenor

What you really want is a site and content that shine like a beacon, beckoning and welcoming users with the warm glow of usefulness, quality, depth, and insight.

Look at what we’ve achieved at Express Writers, for example. 99% of our leads and revenue have come to us through our SEO content.

That’s what good SEO helps you achieve. Avoid the bad stuff and focus on the good for best results. Come back into the light!

express writers cta

plan content that ranks

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Plan Content That Will Rank, Drive Traffic, & Produce Business Results with Dan Shure

Would you like to know how to plan content that ranks, drives traffic, and produces business results?

If so, you’re in the right place!

That’s exactly what we talked about during the November edition of #ContentWritingChat! But if you missed out, we have this recap that’s jam-packed with valuable tips you can use.

Prepare yourself to become a master of quality, purpose-driven content!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Plan Content That Will Rank, Drive Traffic, & Produce Business Results with Dan Shure

Our guest host for this month’s chat was Dan Shure. Dan is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with some well-known brands like Sumo and Ring. He’s also podcasts on SEO as well, hosting Experts on the Wire! Throughout the chat, he shared some great tips with us, so let’s go ahead and dive in!

Q1: What factors does Google consider when it comes to ranking a piece of content?

It’s safe to say all content creators want their work to rank highly on Google. But what’s the secret to getting your blog posts to the first page? These are some factors that Google considers, which you’ll want to keep in mind:

As Dan said, relevance is incredibly important to Google when it comes to ranking content. Google will be looking for signs that your content is an authority on the subject you’re discussing, as well as the code and schema behind the content itself.

If you aren’t aware, Google actually has a 200+ page manual called the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. This shares how they rank content and it’s worth checking out! But to save you some time, Julia read it and is giving you the scoop in this post.

Julia also mentioned Google’s EAT And YMYL acronyms. Your content needs to be expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Make that a top priority every time you create.

This is a great list to check out from Opt-in Monster!

Readability, quality, authority! These are just a few of the factors that Narmadhaa knows are important to Google.

Sarah knows incoming links are still crucial. As she said, it’s like a vote of credibility for your work.

Ben said it’s all about keywords, backlinks, readability, relevancy, authority, and more.

As Sabina said, it’s important to find a balance between including keywords without stuffing and creating content that people are interested in, and being trustworthy and helpful.

Q2: How do you plan your content around your audience’s needs and SEO?

When creating online content, you can’t be solely focused on your audience without considering SEO if you want to rank in search results. And you can’t be so focused on SEO that you completely forget what your audience needs! How do you find a balance? With these tips:

It all goes back to your keywords! Dan suggests finding the best keywords by researching and analyzing for traffic potential, competition, and matching them with your goals.

He also said to find queries that not many people have answered or those that are low quality. Find unanswered problems and craft a solution so people will find you when they turn to Google for answers.

Lexie’s advice is to ask your audience what they need first. It helps to know as much as you can about them. And from their responses, you can form questions and do keyword research for your content.

Gene loves using Answer the Public to find questions from his audience. It’s a great way to see what they need help with.

If you really don’t know where to start with getting to know your audience, create a survey and send it to them. You can also host a Q&A on social media. The options are endless, but you have to be willing to seek the information you need.

Social listening is crucial! Your audience is on social media, so it’s smart for you to be there too and pay attention to what they’re saying. From there, use their conversations to craft your content.

Q3: Are there any quick fixes you can make to improve the ranking of one of your blog posts?

Let’s say you have this blog post that’s really good, but it’s not ranking the way you hoped. What can you do to give it a little SEO boost? These tips will help:

For Dan, it’s not really about quick fixes. Your best bet is to give the content a complete overhaul if you truly want to see results.

Julia knows it’s so important to keep older content updated. In fact, it’s something we do regularly here at Express Writers! If you need some tips, this #ContentWritingChat recap will help.

Sarah’s advice is to interlink new and older blog posts. If you can link relevant pieces of content to one another, it’s a great way to keep people on your site longer. Plus, it gives them plenty of content to consume as they start building a relationship with you.

Q4: How can you determine if your content is actually helping you achieve results in your business?

We all want our content to help us reach our business goals, right? You might be trying to grow your email list, increase your conversions, or something else. But how can you be sure your content is actually getting the job done? Well, you’ll want to remember this advice:

As Dan said, the first step is to actually establish your business goals. What are you trying to achieve with the content you create? This will let you know which metrics you should keep an eye on.

As Lexie said, you have to set goals first. You can’t plan your content without knowing your goals beforehand. She also said you shouldn’t be too pushy with sales if that’s your ultimate goal with your blog content. It’ll turn your audience off fast.

Create a strategy, define your audience, define your KPIs, and your objectives and goals. From there, you have to get to work. Then, your next step is to track your results and make adjustments as needed.

Don’t forget to set goals during the content planning stage! You can’t plan content and they choose your goals. Your goals need to come first so you can choose content that will help you achieve your desired result.

Make sure you spend time with your analytics! As Sarah said, you have to measure your results.

This is a great tip from Warwick. You can set up goals in Google Analytics to keep yourself on track.

Q5: How important is it to keep your blog’s archives refreshed for SEO purposes? What can you do to ensure they still rank highly?

Do you have archives that are collecting virtual dust? If they’re still getting traffic, it would be wise to update them so you can deliver fresh content to readers. So, what steps can you take to ensure they’re high-quality and still getting attention? Here’s what you need to know:

When updating blog content, Dan does a number of things to give his posts a refresh. He makes sure to fix images and links, add internal links, make copy and aesthetic improvements, and more.

Dan also feels that sometimes it’s necessary to delete content that isn’t performing well. He suggests doing an audit to look for posts that get little to no traffic, are low quality, don’t have backlinks, are a poor reflection of the brand, etc.

Your archives represent your brand and can solidify your authority. Make sure they’re giving people a good first impression by keeping posts updated, including images, links, and information.

As Lexie pointed out, stale content will send your audience running away! You don’t want that to happen, do you?

Warwick has actually deleted pages that are no longer relevant and he’s taken the time to optimize his work for proper keywords. He’s seen some tremendous results thanks to Julia’s guidance.

If all of it seems a little overwhelming, don’t let it get you down. Make sure you schedule time for updating your older content. That’s what we do here at Express Writers! Aim to update a certain number of posts per quarter to stay on track.

Q6: Do you have any go-to tools, tips, or strategies on SEO that everyone should know about?

It’s time to spill some secrets! These are the things our audience relies on to master SEO:

Dan loves using tools like SEMrush, Screaming Frog, and Moz, just to name a few.

Julia wants to remind everyone to research and write around your keywords!

Lexie and the Netvantage team love using SEMrush’s topic research tool for finding popular questions. She also uses Answer the Public to find questions as well.

These tools are definitely worth checking out!

Kathryn enjoys testing out her headline writing skills with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

Make sure you invest your time and effort into planning an editorial calendar. Ankitaa says your content should be focused on your audience’s needs and support your brand message.

Always track your results and pay attention to what works for you and what doesn’t.

Sarah wants to make sure you know the importance of linking relevant blog posts to one another. If you aren’t doing this, go do it now!

Q7: What should we keep an eye on regarding SEO in 2019?

2019 is right around the corner and it’s time we start preparing! Which SEO trends are at the top of the must-watch list? These are the ones to keep an eye on:

Dan’s advice is to watch how Google is treating keywords, but translating them into entities or intent.

Julia is keeping her eye on mobile-first indexing, featured snippets, and making sure she creates quality content. She shares some more trends in this blog post.

As Sarah said, artificial intelligence and voice search are key things to watch!

Don’t forget about voice search too!

Jakub is watching out for voice search, featured snippets, and search intent.

Want to join the next #ContentWritingChat? Our Twitter chat takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Mark your calendars and follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest!

how to find seo keywords

Your Nutshell Guide: How to Find Killer SEO Keywords for Your Online Content

What’s one way to make sure your content gets search engine-indexed, ranked, and, ultimately, discovered by users in your target niche?

I’m sure you already know the answer from the headline – you need SEO keywords.

More importantly, you need to know how to find SEO keywords.

Why? Because the benefits are incredible.

When you target the right keywords and use them to optimize your amazing content:

  • You’ll start ranking for those keywords.
  • You’ll hit desirable top spots in the SERPS.
  • You’ll drive much more profitable traffic to your website.
    • Take a look at this chart from Ignite Visibility that shows how much your click-through rate increases as you climb into the top 5 spots on Google for a keyword. When you hit #1, your CTR makes a huge leap from 13.32% to 20.5%.

  • More clicks and more profitable traffic will lead to:
    • Leads
    • Conversions
    • Followers
    • Sales
    • Unicorns and rainbows (not literally, but you’ll FEEL just as magical as these things – like you’re an SEO wizard)

That’s a LONG pathway of benefits.

And with Facebook ad costs up 43%, and 30% of all internet users using adblockers, it’s even more important than ever to make sure you’re honing on the right keywords and building great onsite, organic content.

In essence, you’re building content people want to find.

It’s an investment for your future.

So, how do you find the right ones that will amount to traffic boosts, lead boosts, and conversion boosts?

I’m going to show you, step-by-step, using two of my favorite tools for keyword research and discovery (KWFinder by Mangools, and SEMrush).

Let’s do this.

Facebook ad costs are up 43%. 30% of all internet users using adblockers. It's never been a more critical time to build #SEO content that works. Learn how to do it in @JuliaEMcCoy's guide Click To Tweet

how to find seo keywords

How to Find the Right SEO Keywords for Your Online Content in SEMrush

The right keywords are ones that give you opportunities to break into the rankings – and maybe even climb past all the other results to hit that coveted #1 position.

These high-opportunity keywords all follow a specific formula. Usually, they:

  • Are specific (A.K.A. long tail keywords)
  • Have low search competition (don’t confuse this metric with keyword difficulty – competition shows how many advertisers are bidding to show up in paid spots in results for the keyword)
  • Have relatively high search volume (people are actually typing them into Google)
  • Have low keyword difficulty (a score that rates how hard it is to rank for a keyword)
    • Most keyword tools have their own method for calculating difficulty scores. For example, here’s how KWFinder does it:

If this is a lot to take in, I get it. These criteria seem like a lot to juggle at first.

But that’s what I’m sharing today – I’m answering the ultimate question:

How do you find SEO keywords that fit ALL of these factors?

Let’s see what that process looks like in SEMrush.

1. Start with a Relevant, Broad Search Term with Potential

To narrow down keywords in SEMrush, start by searching for a keyword you think has potential.

For example, if I sell graphic t-shirts in my online store, I would research the term “graphic t-shirts.”

As you can see, this keyword has an average organic search volume of 6.6K searches per month. But, check out the competition.

We’re looking at .93.

That’s almost 100% competition, which means you’re up against tough luck.

Another thing to consider is that even though you may net many of these numbers in search volume, few will be qualified to buy. The search term is too broad: They’re probably at the early stages in the buying cycle, and haven’t made a decision on what to buy yet. So, this traffic potential is useless for your bottom line.

For even more proof, when I plug “graphic t-shirts” into Keyword Explorer, it rates 44 on a difficulty scale of 1-100. In general, scoring 50 or above means it’s impossible to rank for the phrase.

While this ranks below 50, it’s a best-practice to only use keywords that rank at 40 or below. Lower difficulty = lower competition = higher ROI.

So, we’ve ruled out using this keyword in our SEO. We need to get more specific to find a better option.

We need a long tail keyword.

2. Use Your Broad Term as a Root, and Go Long Tail

“Graphic t shirts” is too broad. How do we make this root keyword more specific?

We add to it.

Let’s try “women’s graphic t shirts.”

Search volume is 5.4K for this one. That’s better, but still too high. Let’s look at the “related keywords” to see if there’s an option with lower competition.

“Womens graphic tee shirts” has an average monthly search volume of 210. I would need to do a little more research on keyword difficulty and brand competition, but this could be a good option for SEO.

3. Dig Deeper – Check Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume

To dig deeper, I could click on “View full report” to view all the related keyword possibilities. Then I could sort them by keyword difficulty and search volume to find my sweet spot.

The sweet spot, where a keyword is balanced between low keyword difficulty, low competition, and high search volume, is ultimately what you’re looking for.

Tip: Use More Than One Tool to Find Great SEO Keywords (How to Use KWFinder)

One of my number one tips for how to find SEO keywords is to NEVER rely on one tool exclusively.

Instead, use multiple tools to double-check your research and compare how each tool rates keyword difficulty, measures search volume, and more.

Here’s what I mean:

In SEMrush, “women’s graphic tee shirts” looks like a solid SEO keyword option with high potential.

To make sure I’m on the right track, I’m going to turn to another one of my favorite SEO tools, KWFinder, to double-check.

As you can see, KWFinder gives this keyword a difficulty rating of 37, or “still easy.”

Plus, the search volume is 260/month, but many of those searchers could be in a later stage of the buyer’s journey.

There’s definitely potential here.

Now that I’ve double-checked the results for this keyword, I’m 101% confident I can use it in my content advantageously.

How to Find SEO Keywords: Research, Research, Research

To find profitable, high-ROI keywords that can net you fantastic results, you need to dig in and do the research.

These keywords are not going to fall out of the sky and into your lap. You won’t magically come up with them through brainstorming, either.

For the best results, you have to make sure the keywords you use are backed up with data.

Look at the numbers (keyword difficulty, search volume, and competition) and try to find the best balance of all three metrics for every keyword you go after.

This is the road to help your content not only hit the SERPs, but also climb to the top of page one.

It’s not magic; it’s just smart, consistent, and sometimes grueling research.

Do the work, learn as you go, and that SERP mountain won’t seem so daunting anymore.

seo sem

SEO vs. SEM: What You Need to Know

If you’re in the online writing or content marketing business, you may have heard the words SEO and SEM thrown around.

You may have even casually sprinkled them into conversation yourself while quietly panicking at the thought of someone asking you to explain further.

SEO and SEM are common marketing terms, but does anyone really know what they mean?

First things first, SEO and SEM do not mean the same thing.

Let’s clarify that now so that you don’t use them interchangeably. Both SEO and SEM aim to increase a website’s visibility.

One of the main differences, however, is that SEM includes more paid search tactics while SEO is a process of using organic techniques to build credibility for search engines.

That clarifies things, right?

Not so fast.

Let’s dive in to today’s topic.

seo sem

What is SEO?

SEO is defined as search engine optimization. It is a process that uses various techniques to make a webpage rank higher in search results. Increasing your search ranking will also increase the traffic to your site.

Basically, great SEO = more visitors = more customers = more sales.

Google is constantly changing their algorithm, so it is a task to keep up with the best search engine trends. Unlike the quick return of some paid SEM tactics, SEO takes patience. It is a steady process that shows progress with time.

Main Components of SEO

SEO is comprised of two main components: on-site optimization and off-site optimization. These are also referred to as on-page and off-page.

Some on-page optimization tactics include:

  • Keyword incorporation into titles, headers, meta descriptions and content
  • Creating high quality blog posts and page copy
  • Optimizing page load speed by resizing embedded photos
  • Formatting proper URLs

Some off-page optimization tactics include:

  • Back-linking, or having other authoritative sites link back to your webpage
  • Posting on social media
  • Managing local listings

All of these strategies establish your site as a credible source in the eyes of a search engine. While SEO is a more organic way to optimize your site, it still takes hard work and expert knowledge to utilize the full benefits.

What is SEM?

SEM refers to search engine marketing. This type of online marketing involves both organic and paid strategies to optimize a site. SEO can be thought of as one component of SEM, but in a larger sense, search engine marketing is working to drive traffic to your site immediately.

(Now, SEM is something I’ve never personally used at Express Writers. Instead, we use foundational inbound marketing and do things like publish 1,000 blogs to bring in our leads.)

If your boss is looking for a quick boost in website analytics, paid search engine campaigns could be the way to go.

Some paid SEM strategies include:

  • PPC (Pay-per-click) listings and advertising campaigns
  • Ad campaigns designed to reach a target demographic
  • Hiring a copywriter to create relevant ad copy using selective keywords
  • Managing metrics like impressions, cost per click and click-through rates

The most popular SEM strategy is pay-per-click campaigns (PPC).

You’ve probably come across these ads without even realizing what they are for.

PPC is just fancy terminology for paid search results. Search engines like Google sell ad placement to the highest bidder. These ads will show up first when someone searches for matching keywords. It’s likely they’ll click the ad just because it’s the first thing they see. Honestly, who goes past the first page of search results on Google?

Every time the ad is clicked, the business pays a fee to the search engine.

Just try it. I searched “tires in Austin” to look for places to replace my flat tire. At the very top of the list there’s an ad for Good Year Auto Service. I click, they pay.

This type of targeted marketing helps increase your site’s visibility in a shorter amount of time. But it must always be turned on, like a faucet, with revenue – without revenue, it shuts off.

Rules to Follow for SEO and SEM

Maybe you’ve started a website without even considering online marketing strategies. Don’t rush to change everything just yet! The ins and outs of these terms can feel overwhelming but you’ve probably incorporated some key components without even trying. One major part of ranking high in search engine results is creating high quality content. Everything else is icing on the cake.

The Do’s of SEO

  • Develop a content strategy before writing and posting content
  • Focus on engaging, well-written and high quality content
  • Include links back to your website
  • Research keywords and incorporate them naturally
  • Insert links to credible and original sources
  • Find your voice and have a consistent tone throughout your site
  • Include a call to action (CTA) that is relevant to your brand
  • Incorporate photos, videos and GIFs that are labeled for reuse and resized to optimize the page’s loading time
  • Customize your meta descriptions to speak to someone searching for your content

The Don’ts of SEO

  • Avoid keyword stuffing. Don’t overuse your keyword in a way that negatively affects readability
  • Pay for links. They usually do not add value to your content
  • Repeat the same content or use the same titles and meta descriptions for different articles

The Do’s of SEM

  • Take advantage of SEM tools
  • Analyze the sites of your top competitors
  • Know and continually research your audience
  • Share your content
  • Check your quality score and ad relevance
  • Pay attention to A/B testing to figure out what ad copy is most effective

The Don’ts of SEM

  • Forget to utilize ad extensions to make it easier for customers to interact with your site
  • Write content for only one group of people. Instead, write different content for different demographics
  • Use excessive punctuation. Capitalizing every letter or adding extra exclamation points doesn’t emphasize your point. It just comes off as irritating

Where Should I Start?

Now that you know the difference between SEO and SEM, the first thing to do is to use terms correctly. You can even bring up the topic at a dinner party. Okay, maybe don’t go that far. At least you will no longer be confused.

The next step is to figure out how to implement SEO and SEM strategies to optimize your website.

If you already have a website you can start adding new content that incorporates keywords, links and calls to action. If you haven’t set up a website yet, now you have the guidelines to start building the most successful one yet.

CTA strategic ROI content

content marketing seo

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing SEO

This week, we had our monthly community chat for #ContentWritingChat!

There was a lot of great information shared during the busy hour over on Twitter. And we’re recapping it all for you!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing SEO

We conducted a poll a while back to see which topics our participants were interested in. One of the topics that came out on top was Content Marketing SEO, so we made it the choice for this week.

Q1: How do content marketing and SEO work together? And why is it important to utilize both?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share how content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand and why both are important for content creators. Here are a few responses:

Jason knows that if you spend more time on one or the other, your content is going to suffer. It’s important to implement both content marketing and SEO if you want to see major results online.

As Sarah said, they work together to improve each other.

Good content isn’t worth much if it isn’t optimized for your audience to find it. Keep that in mind!

Julia said you can’t have high-ROI without a firm strategy and knowledge on how to use both.

You need great content and you need people to actually discover it. That’s why content marketing SEO is so crucial these days.

Q2: What are some tips to help you create content that truly resonates with your audience?

No matter what, it’s so important that your audience enjoys your content. To create content they’ll want to read and share, here’s what you need to know:

As Lexie said, it’s important to get to know your audience first. They will guide you when it comes to creating content they enjoy.

Once you know who your audience is, you can create with them in mind. Write about the topics they’re discussing to attract attention.

Cheval knows that listening to your audience is so important if you want to create amazing content.

Amanda also said listening is crucial. You can see what your audience responds to, what they comment on, what they talk about, and so much more. That can help guide the direction of your content.

When you pay attention to your audience, the answers will follow. Don’t be afraid to tweak your strategy to best suit them and their needs.

Debi knows it’s important to share content that showcases your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

Sarah suggests looking at your analytics. You can see what is grabbing their attention and earning conversions. Do more of what’s working to maximize your results.

If you’re feeling stuck for ideas, ask them! Danielle suggested surveying your audience to see what appeals to them. After all, they’re the best source to ask.

Make sure you’re answering questions people are asking. You want to deliver on an actual need that’s related to your business.

What is your target audience already talking about? Andrea suggests using tools like Quora or BuzzSumo to see what their conversations are centered around. This will give you a great starting point for your next piece of content.

Don’t forget to also check out industry trends. It can be very beneficial to talk about the hot topics of the moment.

Jason made a great point about putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. Figure out their pain points and what kind of information they’d like to have. Then, all you have to do is create it!

Q3: Does consistency matter to SEO when it comes to how often you post on your blog? If so, how often do you write new content?

Does it really matter how often you blog? Is there a magic number of posts you should be publishing each week? Check out this advice:

Julia knows that consistency is huge. You don’t want to drastically cut back on the amount of content you’re producing because your rankings can suffer as a result. However, you also shouldn’t publish somethings that’s rushed or low quality. You need both quality and consistency in order to succeed.

Sarah also knows how important quality is. No one wants to read fluff content. They want something that’s truly going to provide value.

Publishing regularly is great, but it’s only worthwhile if you’re publishing something that’s high-quality.

As Amanda pointed out, no one really wants to follow a blogger who isn’t consistent. Create a schedule that’s actually manageable for you and stick with it. That way, your audience will always know when to expect a new post.

Q4: What is one SEO tip more people should know and implement in their content creation?

Is there an SEO tip you wish more people would use? Our chat participants shared some great advice! Check it out:

More people need to learn how to effective conduct keyword research for their content.

Lexie’s advice is to tastefully use keywords within your content. You don’t want to fill your posts with keywords in a way that’s unnatural. It’ll turn off your readers.

Once you have your chosen keyword, you need to sprinkle it in a few key places throughout your blog post. Use it in the URL, image alt tags, the post title, meta description, etc.

A great headline makes all the difference! Include your focus keyword and make sure it’s something that intrigues people enough to click.

Sarah said you need to link to your new content somewhere else on your site. Internal linking is a big deal for SEO!

Don’t forget to give your images a description by adding alt text. It helps to make your images searchable.

You can also use an SEO plugin to help. Yoast is a great one for this if you’re on WordPress.

Q5: How has SEO changed over the years? Is there a tactic you used to use, but have ditched in recent times?

There are a number of old SEO tactics that are no longer acceptable to use. You’ll want to make sure you stay clear of them! Here are a few our chat participants have ditched:

Ranking blank pages and keyword stuffing are things of the past in the world of content marketing SEO.

Julia said the focus should be on your reader and the quality of your content.

Keyword stuffing, doorway pages, and cloaking… These won’t fly anymore.

Lexie said link building has changed in recent times. It’s important to get quality backlinks from reputable sites, as opposed to getting them from any old site.

It will surely be interesting how things change as the world of video and voice search continues to expand.

Make sure you’re always staying updated with the changes Google makes to their algorithm.

Q6: How do you know if your content is performing well? Are there certain metrics you like to track?

Once you’ve published a piece of content, it’s important to track how it’s performing. Metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on include:

What’s your end goal for your content? As Amanda knows, that’s what really matters because it’ll help you choose the right metrics to focus on. You might be looking for sales, comments, email subscribers, or something else.

Is your audience responding to the content? You want to know that what you’ve created is actually resonating with them.

Are you attracting attention from the right audience? It’s not doing you any good if you’re attracting all the wrong people.

Average time on site, click-through rates, and heat maps are just a few things you may want to watch.

You might even want to check out behavior flow charts to see how visitors move through your site.

Website traffic and email responses are just a couple metrics Devin likes to track.

Bounce rate, shares, comments, and more! These are all things any content creator may be on the lookout for.

Julia suggests tracking things like time on site, chats started for those running live chats, sales inquiries, and conversions.

Q7: Do you have any tools you rely on to create amazing, search engine-optimize content?

There are plenty of tools you can use to help with content marketing SEO. Which ones are the favorites among our chat participants? Check out these suggestions:

Lexie has a few essential tools in her arsenal, which includes Answer the Public.

You can’t go wrong with Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, and your brain power.

Yoast is a must-have for anyone on WordPress!

Yoast, Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Google Trends are tools Sabjan relies on.

Aisha is also a fan of Yoast, but she also likes to use Grammar Girl.

Debi knows that Google’s tools are essential for any content creator.

Anne also uses Yoast, Google Keyword Planner, and Google Analytics.

Quora, BuzzSumo, and Ahrefs, are also great tools to try out.

To make a splash with your headlines, use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. Danielle also like Hemingway app.

Q8: Which resources do you turn to in order to learn more about content marketing and SEO?

To expand your knowledge on the latest with content marketing and SEO, check out these resources:

Lexie has a few resources she loves, which includes Neil Patel, Search Engine Journal, and even us!

Cheval turns to SEMrush, Search Engine Journal, and Rebekah Radice for all the latest in content marketing SEO.

Moz is another go-to resource.

Danielle loves to read content from HubSpot.

A few of Carla’s favorites include Content Marketing Institute and Medium.

Don’t forget to use social media to see what others are talking about online.

And in case you need another reason to join our next chat, Devin said one of his top resources is our very own #ContentWritingChat.

Twitter chats, blogs, and Google searches are all great, but sometimes it helps to just have a conversation with people in your industry.

Join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! The fun happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time over on Twitter! You can follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.

SEO audit

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Conduct an SEO Audit with Lexie Kimball of Netvantage Marketing

Have you ever conducted an SEO audit for your website? If not, you should! However, if you’ve never done one before, you might be wondering how to get started… If you’re in that boat, there’s no need to worry! That’s exactly what we talked about in this week’s #ContentWritingChat.

And as always, our participants had some amazing advice to share. If you’re ready to turn your website into one that Google loves, keep reading for the valuable tips!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Conduct an SEO Audit for Your Website with Lexie Kimball of Netvantage Marketing

Our guest host this week was Lexie Kimball of Netvantage Marketing. Lexie is their account manager and she really knows her stuff when it comes to SEO! As a frequent #ContentWritingChat participant, it was great having her step into a guest hosting role.

Q1: Share the basic process you go through for an on-site SEO audit.

If you’ve never conducted an SEO audit before, you’ll need to know where to begin. To help you out, our chat participants shared some essential steps the process includes. Here’s what you need to know:

Lexie’s first step in conducting an SEO audit is keyword research. As she mentioned, the chosen keyword for a piece of content goes in page titles, meta descriptions, and body copy. The team at Netvantage also does a technical audit of the website to locate any red flags.

Michael, also from the Netvantage team, knows that chatting with your client first is a must. It’s important to understand their business and needs. He then suggestions moving on to keyword research, on-site recommendations, and implementation of changes.

Mallie starts by Googling the site, using analytics to identify keywords, and then she looks at specific pages.

Sarah and the team at ThinkSEM start by running the site through Screaming Frog before moving forward with other key steps.

SEMrush is a go-to tool for Sarah! She takes the tool’s suggestions into consideration.

It’s also important to have an understanding of your goals/your client’s goals and who the target audience is. From there, you can create an effective plan.

For Julia, she feels talking to the client is the first step. This allows you to outline solid KPIs you’re judging content by when auditing. From there, she also likes to use Screaming Frog to grab all site links.

Q2: Where do you start with keyword research?

When it comes time to conduct keyword research, where do you begin? Check out this great advice from Tuesday’s chat:

To get started with keyword research, Lexie knows it’s important to talk to the client before beginning. Because the client has plenty of knowledge on their business, they’re able to provide some great suggestions for keywords. She also suggests looking at competitors to see which keywords they’re using and ranking for.

A consultation with the client is a must for Sarah! Sarah and her teammates use that opportunity to question the client on their ideal audience, products, and services.

Michael knows it’s helpful to ask the client to provide a list of keywords that are high priority. After all, they likely have a good idea of which ones are best for their business.

For Ray, it all starts with interviewing the client. Then, he moves onto tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner.

Dennis knows it’s important to define which keywords you want your site to rank for. You can then record your current ranking for each one and watch it grow.

Mallie relies on Google AdWords and Google Analytics to get started.

Abbey, another Netvantage team member, also agrees that asking your clients for keyword suggestions is a great way to begin. From there, she likes to look at queries in Google Search Console.

Adam’s advice is to review popular forms and sites where customers are spending their time online. It’s a great way to see what they’re talking about and to determine the right keywords and topics to use.

Cheval recommends checking out Twitter chats for content topics. This can help a lot when it comes to your keyword research.

Q3: What tools do you use for keyword research?

Fortunately, there are a plethora of tools at our disposal that can help with keyword research. If you’re looking for some great ones to use, check out these suggestions:

Lexie said the Netvantage team turns to Google’s Keyword Planner first. They also rely on SEMrush and Grep Words.

Michael said the multiplier function in Google’s Keyword Planner is a huge help for finding the right keyword for your content.

Even the Flying Cork team says Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to get started.

Sarah provided a list of amazing tools that are worth checking out! As she said, there’s no shortage of tools so you have plenty of options to find the ones that work best for you.

Google’s tools and the Moz Keyword Explorer are great options!

The team at Base Creative also love Google’s Keyword Planner and the Moz Keyword Explorer.

SEO PowerSuit and Google’s Keyword Planner are go-to tools for Kyle.

Julia’s favorite tools for conducting an SEO audit include SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Mangools.

Don’t forget you’ll need a place to keep all of your data organized! An Excel spreadsheet is a great way to do that.

Q4: Once you have your keywords, how do you decide where they go and where they’re used?

You’ve got your keywords… Now what? You need to figure out how they’ll be used. Here’s some helpful advice to get you started:

Lexie said they typically select two or three keywords per page. As she also pointed out, they need to go on the most relevant page.

Those keywords are then used in a few essential places. Keywords should be used in the page title, meta description, and throughout the body copy.

Sarah said the client conversation is an opportunity to lay out a sitemap of pages and sections. You can then get chosen keywords to fit into that structure.

Julia’s advice is to focus on one long-tail, high-opportunity keyword per long-form post. She suggests using synonymous keywords.

Kyle knows that long-tail keywords are where it’s at! He makes sure they’re integrated into titles and content of blog posts.

Dennis suggests finding long-tail variants of your keyword and then writing authoritative and comprehensive blog posts on the topic.

As Abbey said, make sure keywords are placed on the most relevant pages. And of course, no keyword stuffing! Keywords should always be used in a natural way.

Q5: Do you create the content the keywords go in on the website?

Are you the one who creates the content that includes your chosen keywords? Or does someone else have this task? Check out what some of our chat participants said:

Lexie said the team at Netvantage will work off existing content if possible.

On the flip side, sometimes they add a paragraph or two to what’s already on the site. This helps increase content length. In some cases, they’ll recommend new pages for the website when doing the SEO audit. The Netvantage team will then create the content for those pages.

Here are Express Writers, Julia writes a lot of the keyword-focused content on our site. We also have a team of 40 writers that help out!

For Sarah, she isn’t the one doing the content writing. There are other team members at ThinkSEM that step into that role.

As for this Sarah, she’s definitely creating the content!

The Sandbox team creates new content, but they also rework the existing content for maximum results.

Jade also writes the keyword-focused content, as working directly with the clients is very important.

When doing an SEO audit, sometimes you’re lucky to create the content and other times you have to optimize what’s already been published. It just depends on the client!

Q6: What technical aspects do you look at for a website when doing an audit?

Don’t forget that it’s not just about the website’s content. There’s a technical side of things to check on as well. Here’s what else you need to look for:

As Lexie said, Google definitely puts an emphasis on speed these days. The Netvantage team uses Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom for this.

She also said they use Google Analytics as another tool. This allows you to check Average Page Load Time and Average Page Download Time.

You can’t forget to also check for canonical errors when conducting an SEO audit.

Abbey seconds that by encouraged you to check for canonical errors on a website, as well as site speed. Make sure you’re also looking at whether or not it’s mobile-friendly and if there’s duplicate content.

As Michael said, you’ll want to check for sitemap errors and others. They’ll need to be fixed!

Dennis knows that page speed and mobile-friendliness are two important factors to consider these days.

Jade relies on Google’s Speed Page Insights to test page speed. Google also has a test to check and see if your site is mobile-friendly.

Debi knows there’s no shortage of technical aspects to look at. She provided a great list of things to review.

Q7: What metrics do you look at to evaluate a website?

Which metrics are important to keep an eye on when evaluating a website? These are some of the top ones to watch:

The Netvantage tame uses Majestic to with a few key metrics during an SEO audit. They look at the number of linking domains to the root domain, as well as citation flow and trust flow of the homepage of the website.

Moz Open Site Explorer allows you to check domain authority and homepage authority.

As Lexie said, looking at domain authority helps determine if the site has bad links that need to be disavowed.

Michael suggests looking at URLs submitted vs URLs indexed.

Dennis recommends tracking metrics from organic search.

Julia shared the seven KPIs she always focuses on. Check it out!

Q8: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest SEO changes?

When changes occur, how do you stay updated? These are great resources to check out:

Lexie’s go-to sources are worth checking out.

These are some more great suggestions from the Netvantage team.

Ray follows some SEO blogs, but he also watches expert YouTube channels to stay updated.

Cheval turns to SEMrush for their blog content, but he also learns a lot from Twitter chats.

As Jade said, you just might learn a think or two from joining #ContentWritingChat!

Natasha suggests a wide array of ideas such as blogs, forums, social media, seminars, and more.

Ready to join the fun? #ContentWritingChat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to join in!

julias free facebook group cta

site presence & seo

#ContentWritingChat Recap: “Back to School” with Your Site Presence & SEO: 101 Refresher

This time of year, a lot of people are heading back to school. They’re stocking up on supplies, getting textbooks, and preparing for another semester of classes. However, even if you’re not heading back to school, it doesn’t mean you can’t do a little learning!

For this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we decided to go “back to school” by talking about the basics of building your site presence and mastering SEO. This was another one of our community chats, where our participants are the stars of the show. And they certainly had some great advice to share!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: “Back to School” with Your Site Presence & SEO: 101 Refresher

If you’re ready for a refresher course on site presence and SEO, you’re in the right place! Grab a pen and paper to take some notes and let’s dive right in!

Q1: Explain the importance of SEO and how it integrates into your online marketing.

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share why they feel SEO is important. What did they have to say about it? Here are a few responses from the chat:

As Jason said, SEO helps people find and see you online. The keywords you target in your content are just one of the ways you can boost your visibility in search rankings.

Lexie mentioned that SEO is a huge part of everything they do over at Netvantage Marketing. They conduct keyword research before creating anything. Then, that keyword is used in the page title, body copy, etc.

When done right, SEO helps your brand become searchable and more visible on search engines. This is why you want to conduct keyword research and choose the right keywords for each piece of content you publish.

As Elizabeth pointed out, Google can’t send people to your site if they don’t know you exist.

Brittany made a great point! You can’t build something and expect it to be successful. You can’t just publish a piece of content and expect people to find it. You have to put in the effort to optimize your content for search engines like Google.

Q2: What are the basic SEO steps every blogger needs to take when publishing new content?

To get started with SEO, we need to have the basics covered. So, which steps should you always keep in mind when you’re publishing a new piece of content? Here’s some advice:

As Julia said, it starts with knowing your audience. Without knowing your audience and understanding their needs, you can’t create content they’re interested in. You’ll want to follow that up with keyword research to choose the right long-tail keywords for your content.

Lexie also knows that keyword research is an essential beginning. The keyword you choose for a piece of content will be used in the page title, meta description, and throughout the body copy. However, as she pointed out, you should always incorporate the keyword in a way that’s natural.

Choosing the right keywords goes back to paying attention to your audience. Your content should address their pain points and the questions they’re asking.

Brittany said you want to go for the keywords people are searching for. The right keywords are going to help you rank higher in search results.

Tony shared a helpful infographic with some tips that are important to keep in mind!

Q3: How can you make sure you’re speaking to the right audience in your search optimized content?

Another priority is to make sure you’re reaching the right audience with the content you’re publishing on your website. After all, you don’t want to risk attracting all the wrong people to your site. Here’s how to make sure you reach the right people:

Audience and keyword research is essential here. As Jason said, you need to know who you want to reach and then research the terms and phrases they’re searching. This will help you write the content that targets your ideal audience.

Having a reader persona is essential. You want to know who you’re trying to reach and create content that answers their questions and addresses pain points.

As Julia mentioned, Google looks at content like a human does. You’ll want to write with your human reader in mind if you want to succeed.

Lexie said you should communicate with your audience, not at them.

Jeff is a fan of actually talking to his audience. You can strike up a conversation with your ideal readers to really get to know them and their needs.

A little research is going to teach you everything you need to know about your audience!

Q4: Name a few top mistakes you see repeatedly in SEO content.

There are quite a few mistakes that people frequently make in their SEO content. And if you don’t know what they are, you won’t be able to avoid them! These are things you’ll want to avoid on your own website:

As Lexie pointed out, keyword stuffing is still an issue today. She also mentioned it’s a mistake to not use your keywords in headings.

Mallie also feels keyword stuffing is huge NO.

Andrew feels using visible clusters of keywords can actually cheapen your content. You don’t want to go overboard when incorporating keywords into your content. It needs to be done naturally.

Choosing the wrong keywords is also a big mistake. If you aren’t targeting the correct keywords, you won’t successfully reach your audience.

One thing that a lot of people still forget about is their meta description. Don’t forget to take an extra few seconds to type up a meta description for your blog posts.

Mistakes Zala has noticed are not optimizing for the right keywords and local search, poorly written content, and failing to check analytics to see what actually converts.

One huge mistake that Julia sees is people putting out crappy, worthless content. That’s not serving a purpose for anyone. You need to focus on adding value with everything you publish.

Q5: Are there any tools you rely on when it comes to creating SEO content?

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you with SEO, but how do you know which ones you should use? Here’s a list of suggestions:

Jeff is a big fan of Moz.

Lexie turns to a variety of tools, including SEMrush and Answer the Public.

For Mallie, the Yoast plugin for WordPress is a must!

Sabjan is also a fan of Yoast.

Julia shared a list of her favorites with us, which includes BuzzSumo and Quora. Both can be used to find out what your audience is talking about.

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help you craft amazing, clickable headlines for your content.

For Cheval, Twitter chats are a go-to. You can learn a lot from others through chats.

Don’t forget that you should never stop learning. Jade reads various blogs and watches what some of the experts in the field do.

Q6: How can you tell if you’re achieving your desired SEO goals?

So, how do you know if you’re actually achieving the goals you set out to reach? Here’s what you need to know:

Andrew knows the first step is actually setting quantifiable, trackable goals. Without clear goals in mind, you won’t know what you’re working towards.

Jeff suggests watching how your rankings change. Is your domain authority changing? How many backlinks are you generating? These are all factors you may want to watch.

Marijana recommends using Google Analytics and Moz. You can track any changes, as well as the terms you’re ranking for.

Another thing to keep an eye on is how people are finding your site. What keywords are they searching to discover your content? This is important information to keep in mind.

Q7: What steps will you take to give your site a refresher in the months ahead?

Now that we’ve talked about giving your site a refresher and SEO basics, we wanted to know how our chat participants could improve their own sites. Here’s what they had to say:

Brittany is working on a content audit, as well as reviewing her content strategy. She’s even taking Julia’s course!

Even Julia is updating older posts from the Express Writers archives!

Jennifer is currently working on updating her older posts for SEO.

Mallie plans to update her blog post images with alt text.

Read, discover, and learn. Remember that you should always learn and find ways to improve your skills.

Q8: What are your favorite resources for learning more about SEO and growing your website? Tag them!

These resources are a must for our community! Check them out:

Neil Patel, Moz, Search Engine Journal, SEMrush, and HubSpot are bookmark-worthy resources! They’re great for learning about your site presence & SEO.

Julia shared a great list of suggestions, including Content Marketing Institute and Kissmetrics.

These are resources that are worth checking out!

Mallie is also a big fan of Moz’s content!

Join us for #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday from 10-11 AM Central Time! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss anything!
#Contentwritingchat

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Making Content Marketing & SEO Work for Your Brand with Gini Dietrich

By now, you probably know how important content marketing and SEO are for your online brand. But do you really know how to implement them? In this #ContentWritingChat, we discussed this topic and received some really great advice from our chat participants. Keep reading to learn more!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Making Content Marketing & SEO Work for Your Brand with Gini Dietrich

Our guest host this week was Gini Dietrich. Gini is the CEO of Arment Dietrich. She’s also an author and a speaker. In this week’s chat, she shared some valuable tips you’ll want to use for your own brand.

Q1: Content marketers today have to know SEO. Do you have a process you recommend to combine both?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their tips for combining both content marketing and SEO. Here are some of the responses we received:

Gini’s process includes the following: defining keywords where you can compete, creating headlines, developing an editorial calendar, publishing content, earning high-value links, and tracking results.

Julia says it all starts with knowing your keywords. She loves to use SEMrush for this. Then, she writes an optimized headline and begins creating her content.

For Emma, her process starts by identifying keywords with Google’s Keyword Planner and other research. She knows it’s important to figure out what your audience is looking for.

Mallie recommends using Yoast, which is a powerful WordPress plugin. It’ll give you an understanding of the basics of SEO.

Make sure you always write with your audience in mind. You need to create content that will appeal to your human readers.

As Sarah said, your end goal is always to get the right content in front of the right people.

Kristin agrees that you need a strategy in order to get your content in front of the right people.

Q2: So, are you saying we need to create content for robots first?

The big question here is… Who do we focus on when creating content? Do we focus on the human reader or the robots running the search engines? Here’s what our chat participants had to say:

Gini doesn’t feel robots should be your primary focus. Instead, she recommends keeping a list of questions your customers and prospective customers ask. You can then do keyword research and create content based on those commonly asked questions so you can better address your audience’s needs.

Andrea is right. Google is getting a lot smarter and they do pick up on it when you create great content for your human audience.

Gaby’s advice is to focus on providing quality, valuable content for your audience first and foremost.

Kristin focuses on writing for her audience and makes SEO tweaks afterwards.

In the end, your audience is who really cares about the content you create. Always keep them in mind.

Q3: The Google Keyword Planner only gives ranges for non-advertisers. How can we get more specifics?

Our chat participants had some great advice for getting more specific information when it comes to keyword research. Here’s what they had to say:

Gini likes using the Moz keyword planner, which is a favorite for many content creators.

Sarah suggests looking towards some other tools for help. She recommends Moz, SEMrush, and keywordtool.io.

SEMrush and Majestic SEO are also two popular tools.

Louise turns to platforms like BuzzSumo and Reddit for finding relevant topics and keywords that people are talking about.

Sarah has found Answer the Public to be a great tool to help you find ideas for your content.

Grep Words is another tool you can consider using for your keyword research.

Social listening is another great way to tune into what your audience wants and needs.

Gaby’s advice is to monitor your market, industry, audience, brand, and your analytics.

Q4: Can you define domain authority and explain why it’s important to content marketers?

Wondering what domain authority is and whether or not it’s important for you? Check out these responses from the chat:

Gini says domain authority gives a metric at the top of the funnel. It gives you the opportunity to find high-value sites for media relations and publicity.

If you want to learn more, check out the link Kristin shared.

Julia said domain authority is a metric created by Moz. She suggests paying attention when researching keyword opportunities.

As Sarah said, it correlates with rankings and performance in search engines.

Q5: How do you recommend we pitch contributed content, if we’re not PR pros?

If you need some tips for pitching contributed content, just check out this advice:

Gini feels pitching is all about relationships. You can start building a relationship with a publication by sharing their content first. You can also comment on their content and talk to them on Twitter. Once you’ve built up that relationship, you can move forward with your pitch.

Kristen’s advice is to know who you’re pitching inside and out. It’s the best way to ensure you’re a good fit.

Andrea suggests building relationships with publications and authors. When you do, you stand a better chance at getting a yes from them when you pitch content.

Devin also agrees with building a relationship with the site and editor you’re wanting to pitch to. It also helps to have examples of work you’ve already published.

Mike suggests building a relationship first as well. Ask to contribute a piece when the time is right.

Mallie’s advice is to personalize the pitches you send. You want to showcase the value you can provide through a contribution you’d like to submit.

Ditch the mass emails when pitching. Be personal and genuine when contacting someone about a contribution.

Shannon said it’s all about fining the right contact person, showing value, and filling a need.

Q6: What if someone had a topic that has very low search volume? How do you handle that?

What should you do if your topic doesn’t have the highest search volume? Here’s some helpful advice:

As Devin said, it’s ultimately going to depend on your niche. Not every niche will have the same size, search volume, etc. And Gini agrees. Low search volume can be beneficial in a niche industry.

Julia knows it’s not worth trashing a topic simply because it has low search volume. Check out the graphic she shared with tips on how to validate your content topic.

What really matters is that the content is well-written and it’s created for a specific audience.

As Sarah pointed out, those searchers are still in need of content, even if it is a small amount.

While search volume is valuable, Mallie knows that engagement is key as well.

Q7: Can we use LinkedIn Pulse and Medium to help increase our domain authority?

Are platforms like LinkedIn Pulse and Medium worthwhile? Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say about the subject:

Gini feels it won’t boost your domain authority, but it will build your readership and send traffic back to your site.

Julia says yes. She suggests including posts on LinkedIn Pulse and Medium in your monthly content plan. You can use it as an opportunity to link to related content on your site.

Zala agrees that these platforms can be great for cross-linking and generating traffic to your website.

While it might not help you increase domain authority, it can help you get more traffic.

It’s also worthwhile to determine if your audience is actually spending time on these platforms. If they are, it’ll be worthwhile for you to share content there.

Q8: Can you give us a list of all the tools you recommend for this type of work?

If you’re in need of some new tools to try out, we’ve got you covered! Check out these suggestions from the chat:

Gini suggests having a list of questions from your customers and prospects, a keyword planner, a mind mapping tool, and an editorial calendar. She also recommends having some patience, elbow grease, and the ability to build relationships with others.

A creative mind and a strong work ethic are certainly important.

Louise says you should have a strategy, but always keep it flexible.

Yoast, BrightEdge, and Google Docs are essential for Mallie.

Julia relies on SEMrush, Mangools, KWFinder, BuzzSumo, and Airtable.

Andrea’s go-to tools include BuzzSumo, Feedly, and Hashtagify.

Recap of Recommended Tools:

  • SEMrush
  • Moz
  • keywordtool.io
  • Answer the Public
  • Mangools
  • BrightEdge
  • Hashtagify
  • Grep Words
  • Majestic SEO
  • BuzzSumo
  • Reddit

Be sure to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat, which happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time. (We’ll skip July 4, though! Happy Independence Day to all our chatters!) Follow us @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest updates!
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internal linking

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Internal Linking & Its Importance in SEO with Sarah Danks

The latest #ContentWritingChat was all about SEO as we talked about the importance of internal linking. In this chat, some amazing tips were shared regarding this tactic and how you can use it in building your own website’s online presence. If you’re ready to learn more about it, keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Internal Linking & Its Importance in SEO with Sarah Danks

Our guest host this week was Sarah Danks from ThinkSEM. She’s their Digital Strategist and is no stranger to a great Twitter chat. In fact, if you’re a regular participant you’ve likely noticed Sarah in our chat before, as she typically joins us every week. It was great having a regular participant step into the guest hosting role and she shared some fantastic advice with all of us.

Q1: Why are internal links important?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share why they felt internal linking was an important part of SEO. Here’s what a few of our participants said:

As Sarah pointed out, the web is all about connections. Internal linking allows you to to connect pieces of relevant content to one another. You’re able to show the relationship between pages on your own website, which is a great way to keep them on your site longer.

Julia’s response is really a helpful way to think of internal linking. It helps to move traffic from room to room onsite. This basically means it keeps people from moving from page to page once they’ve first landed on your site. It’s key if you want to keep someone digging into the depths of your archives.

Jeff knows that building up those internal links is a good way to increase your authority with your audience. And who wouldn’t want that?!

Kristen also mentioned it’s a way to show you’re a credible and reliable source and builds your authority.

By providing internal links, it also makes it easier for your readers to find more relevant content. As Jeremy pointed out, people will go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for if you don’t give it to them. So, if you have more content you know they’d enjoy, link to it!

Elizabeth feels internal linking helps guide your audience through your site and leads them to other valuable, actionable content. Keep that in mind when adding links to content so you can be sure you’re sending them somewhere worthwhile.

Q2: How do internal links affect overall site structure?

Now that you know the importance of internal linking, you should also know how it’s going to affect the overall structure of your website. Here are a few responses we received in Tuesday’s chat:

As Sarah pointed out, a well-linked site is easy to navigate. This is great for visitors to your site because you want everything to be accessible. There’s nothing worse than a site that makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for.

Also, if you’re lacking when it comes to links, it makes it harder for readers to find related content. It can also make it more difficult to get them to convert.

Jason said internal linking offers flow and stability. Instead of forcing your reader to figure out what to do next or where to go, you can direct them to additional content. Don’t leave it up to them, otherwise there’s a greater chance they’ll leave your site.

This is another important thing to consider! Linking helps create a hierarchy of your content. Through those links, a reader can flow from broad content to more specific content that’s still relevant.

Jeff knows internal linking is going to help customers easily find the relevant information they’re looking for while on your site. Make sure you’re taking advantage of that by directing them to the next page you think they’d be interested in.

Think of it like a roadmap, as Sarah said. Lead your readers where you want them to go next.

Julia, our CEO, has even written a guide on internal links that will help you out. Be sure to read it!

Q3: Who do you please first: search engines or users?

We all know that it’s important to optimize our content for search engines, but is that really where we need to direct our attention first? Or should we primarily be focusing on our users? Check out these responses from the chat:

Sarah said it’s all about catering to your users first and the search engines second. When you focus on them, you’re playing by Google’s rules and delivering valuable content. That’s important!

Make your users happy and you make the search engines happy as well!

The search engine algorithm changes from time to time. One way you can’t go wrong is to focus on your user first and foremost. This ensures you’re creating the content they’ll love.

Debi knows it’s all about the user experience when it comes down to it.

Julia is all about focusing on the real human who is going to be engaging with her content.

People before bots!

Ashley brought up a great point about how users need to be able to find your content in order to read it. Her advice is to optimize for SEO, but create for your user.

As Andrew pointed out, it’s just like the old chicken versus the egg debate. He said it’s important to optimize your content for competitiveness, but user engagement is essential as well.

Q4: Does the anchor text of links matter?

When it comes to actually creating a link, does the text you add the hyperlink to matter in the end? If you’ve been wondering about this, we have an answer for you. Check out these responses:

Sarah knows anchor text should be descriptive, but you also need to avoid anything spammy. That’s not cool! There’s no need to link an incredibly long sentence either. You can link just the key point so people know what they’re clicking for.

Anchor text certainly matters. Readers don’t want to see a link that says, “Click here,” or anything else of the sort if it doesn’t state where they’re going. They want details so they know what they’re clicking on.

With relevant anchor text, you make your link more valuable to both readers and Google. That’s key to any internal linking strategy.

Elizabeth’s advice is to use descriptive anchor text to let users and the search engines know where it leads.

Ray knows it’s not just important for SEO, but also for accessibility. Everything needs to be user-friendly for your reader.

And of course, make sure you avoid any kind of click bait.

In the end, if you wouldn’t click on a link, your readers probably won’t either.

Q5: Are there any links you should include on every page?

We asked everyone to chime in with their thoughts on including certain links on every page. Here’s what some of them had to say:

As Sarah said, every website has a purpose. Make the purpose of your site know through the use of a CTA (call to action) that leads people to your end goal. And of course, having a good navigation on your website is important in helping people find what they want.

Liliana also agrees having a link to your CTA is always important.

For Jeff, he likes to include links to a contact page. This makes it easy for a reader to get in touch with you and encourages them to do so.

Navigation links are a crucial element of every successful website.

Don’t forget to add a link to your homepage on every page of your site. This gives people an easy way to get back there after they’ve clicked off.

Q6: Is there such a thing as too many or too few links in page copy?

When it comes to your internal linking strategy, is it possible to have too many or too few links? Here’s some advice to consider:

As Sarah said, both are absolutely possible. You don’t want to overdo it by providing too many links, which can look spammy. However, there are downsides to too few links as well.

Tony’s advice is to only link to content when it’s relevant to do so.

To second that, don’t have links just to have links. Make sure they’re adding value to your user in some way.

Shannon knows too many links can be a turn-off for your readers, so it’s best you find a balance.

The key is to make sure you don’t overwhelm them, but that you also don’t leave them hanging. If you have more they’d be interested in, link to it.

Q7: What’s the easiest way to incorporate new internal links to your website?

Now that you know all about internal linking, it’s time to start using this strategy yourself. How do you begin? Check out this advice from the chat:

If you add a new blog post, make sure you link to it. You can link newer posts to older ones and older ones to newer ones. It really is that simple to get started!

Julia suggests doing the same. Whenever you create new content, take the time to add links to relevant content from your archives.

Ray’s advice is to review the major pages and pots on your website first. Then, start determining what can be linked to other pages appropriately.

Shannon suggests listing content in the biographies for employees and contributors.

Q8: Give some examples of internal linking done incorrectly.

What are some examples of internal linking gone wrong? Here’s what you need to avoid:

Don’t use the same link too many times, avoid using non-descriptive text such as “here” for anchor text, and don’t get spammy with CTAs.

Not using valuable anchor text, linking to the same page multiple times, and overdoing it on the links are all things to avoid.

Jeremy said to avoid using too many links, otherwise it can look like the footnotes of a law review article. Your readers probably don’t want that!

No one wants to come across a dead link, so make sure all links work before hitting publish.

And remember, don’t like just for the sake of linking. It should add value and serve a purpose.

Ready to join the fun for yourself? #ContentWritingChat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time over on Twitter! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.

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