This Week In SEO 94
Content Checks, Incentivizing Reviews, Optimizing Metas & More


Rankings Stagnating? Do a Quick Content Check

It’s easy to fall into a routine with running your site. You’ve got so many things to focus on that, eventually, you’re just going by on muscle memory.

Draft a post, add an image, hit publish, push on social media, repeat.

Suddenly six months have gone and your rankings aren’t what they once were or what you want them to be. What happened?

It’s a scenario I’ve seen happen many times. So what can you do about it?

This post from RankXL gives one possible solution to one specific problem:

Maybe it’s your content, bro.

This is by far the biggest reason I have such a hard time finding long-term writers: Unnecessary filler content. Even expensive writers have this problem, and it’s a huge pain in the behind.

Every time I order a longer article of 2000 to 3000 words from a writer I’ve never worked with, I will end up having to cut 30% to 40% of it. It’s full of unnecessary information and add-on sentences.

If you haven’t done anything like this in a while, maybe take a minute to run through and see if any of these issues may be impacting your site’s performance.


The Chrome Browser Says: Not Secure

Imagine you’ve put all this hard work and effort into building a site, ranking it well for a bunch of sweet keywords, and… an no one stays on your site for more than 10 seconds.

In an upcoming edition of Google’s Chrome browser, all websites without an SSL certificate will be marked “not secure.” Like this:

Starting in July, the latest version of Chrome will show the second notification for sites that don’t have SSL even if someone is not inputting information into a form field.

Why this matters to your SEO:

  • People are going to see “not secure” and thing your site will infect their computer.
  • They’ll immediately go back to Google and Google will think “damn, people aren’t staying on this page a long time. I guess it’s not relevant.
  • Google will push your page further down the rankings because user-experience shows it’s not relevant.
  • Your rankings go down.

It’s an easy fix, and you’ve got a few months to get it done, so…


Google Removes 96/101 GMB Reviews

Damn, Google!

So here’s a bit of local SEO drama for you (and a very costly lesson for you to learn from).

Someone complained on the Google My Business advertising forum that a competing law firm was incentivizing reviews by offering a free pass to a zoo reward, to be chosen from people that left them a review.

Here is a review from someone complaining about the practice:

Of course, most attorneys in the area have a few reviews which is totally normal. Almost all of their fake reviews came in at the exact same time 25-30 days ago. Although, there is a new push with more reviews popping up today, and there’s a batch that was all left on the same day 6mos ago.

They should have under 10 reviews at the very most.

Eventually, the law firm in question chimes in several times on the thread (with some super lawyer-y lingo like “pursuant” and “to the extent”) to say that they are not offering their services in return for reviews, and so they are not in violation of the guidelines.

I definitely recommend reading the full thread, but here’s how it ends (and this is the part you really should internalize):

Google’s team decided that the reviews WERE, in fact, against their guidelines:

“Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. (For example, business owners shouldn’t offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews.) Read more in our review posting guidelines. If you see a review that’s inappropriate or that violates our policies, you can flag it for removal.

And here’s how it all shook out:



An SOP for Optimizing Metas

If you want to get your hands dirty and optimize your page Leslie Knope style, this post is gonna rock your socks.

This post takes you through the process of optimizing your meta titles/descriptions using data and a solid process.

One thing I do like about what they have to say here, in addition to some really smart steps to optimize your metas, is the examples they provide of good vs. bad. Here’s one:


WordPress, Tumblr, Medium or …? 8 Best Blogging Platforms Reviewed

X Keyword is at the end
X No parenthesis or brackets
X Asks a rhetorical question
✓ Contains the keyword “blogging platform”
✓ Contains a power phrase
✓ Has a number


8 Best Blogging Platforms Reviewed (Updated 2018)

✓ Keyword is at the beginning
✓ Contains parenthesis
✓ Contains the keyword “blogging platform”
✓ Contains a power phrase
✓ Has a number


Going After Branded Long Tail Keywords

get it?! They’re BUILDING a brand. ???

We’ve talked before about the value of going after long tail keywords more specific to your product or service than general keyword, and we’ve discussed going after buying-intent keywords.

Today, I want to recommend reading this article on branded long tail keywords.

The idea of optimizing for brand-related long tail keywords ticks several SEO boxes:

  1. increasing brand presence (and authority) for Google
  2. giving visitors a positive experience
  3. increasing SERP CTR


what do all these examples have in common? They are all about customer experience. Google’s search results are find faster ways to give consumers the information they want directly in the SERP. Brands can miss out if they don’t control this information, and aren’t seen as the best source of information to Google. Gone are the days when brands can rely on loyalty bringing consumers to scroll through their sites for the information, and now they must adapt to providing the details in the format suitable for Google and consumers.

Covered in this post is optimizing for price, reviews, competitor comparison, special/holiday hours.

You want to make sure your brand owns the top spots in the SERPs for these and related queries, as it’s better for your brand, better for customer experience, and all-around better for your SEO.

You’re welcome.

Search Volume, Old Content, KW Cannibalization, and More!
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Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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