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5 Things You're Doing Wrong On Your Site Major SEO misconceptions revealed at BrightonSEO 2015 Conference

SEO is a constantly changing landscape — changes are coming from all directions, turning once widely practiced techniques into big SEO no-no's.

If you find it hard to keep up with the change, industry conferences are a place to get the most refined insight on what's trending in SEO. And as the SEO PowerSuite team had the great luck to attend BrightonSEO (one of the key events for search marketers both in UK and worldwide) a few weeks ago, we put the most surprising takeaways from the conference into the "5 Things You're Doing Wrong" guide to help you bring your SEO up to date.

Local SEO:
Avoiding backlinks from low authority sites because of Penguin

Backlinks from low-authority sites will put you into trouble, right? Will cause a link penalty and push your site to the middle of nowhere in Google, won't they? Here's what a local SEO expert Greg Gifford thinks.

Expert opinion:

Greg Gifford
Director of Search & Social at AutoRevo, @GregGifford
"If you've got a low authority site, but it's highly relevant to your local area, that's a really great link to get."

From Greg's speech at BrightonSEO:

"Traditional link builders are going to tell you to only go after high authority sites. So if a site has low domain authority, you should avoid it, because it could get you in trouble with Penguin.

Now I'm gonna tell you that's not true. If you've got a low authority site, but it's highly relevant to your local area — that's a really great link to get.

I love getting those little church websites to link to my clients, because those sites, while they might not carry a lot of authority, carry a lot of local relevancy.

So make sure you're paying attention to these smaller local sites and getting links from those as well."

Link-building how-to from Greg Gifford:

Google's Pigeon update, rolled out back in 2014, has changed the local search landscape, making traditional authority signals (on-page and backlink factors) much more important for local search than before.

Thus, you need to pay attention to building links to your local website.

1. Research your competitors' backlinks to find new opportunities for your site.
"Pull backlinks from your site; pull backlinks from your competitor website. Compare the two, look for patterns and opportunities and then go after those links and get those links so that you'll be competitive."

2. Take advantage of the relationships you've built with local influencers.
"If you've got a friend at church, or play golf with a mayor, take advantage of these relationships you already have to get more backlinks for your business."

3. Take advantage of local activities you're already involved into.
"If you're already donating to local charities or sponsoring local sports teams, make sure you take advantage of it and get the links where you can."

SEO PowerSuite how-to:

To analyze your competitor's backlinks and quickly compare them to yours, use Domain Comparison feature in SEO PowerSuite's SEO SpyGlass.

Once the tool finds backlinks for each of the websites you're interested in, simply switch to the convenient comparison table to see what the sites have in common and how they differ:

Site Content:
Letting multiple pages of your site compete in Google for the same keywords

The more pages are ranking in Google for your target keywords, the better? Not quite so — having multiple pages that target the same keyword can get you in trouble, as Jon Earshow points out.

Expert opinion:

Jon Earnshaw
CTO and Co-Founder of Pi Datametrics, @jonearnshaw
"When Google is confused as to which of your pages to return for the keyword, we often see a decline in rankings."

What internal cannibalization is:

Internal Cannibalization is a conflict between two or more of your site's pages that compete for the same search term. Because of their duplicate theming and lack of obvious hierarchy, Google can't determine which of the pages should appear for the given search term, and as a result none of the pages gets the deserved ranking.

This usually happens for quite broad terms that you don't have a special landing page for. Or, on the contrary, when your subpages get more prominence than the intended landing page.

From Jon's speech at BrightonSEO:

"Cannibalization is really damaging the visibility of content and it's on the increase now. It's affecting all types of businesses. And I'll be absolutely amazed if cannibalization is not impacting on your site today.

When we don't make clear statements to Google in a way we connect our assets together, then Google becomes confused as to which page to return. And then we often see the ranking flux, we often see the internal cannibalization."

Fixing internal cannibalization how-to from Jon Earnshaw:

To identify internal cannibalization:

1. Monitor the visibility of your content daily.

"Monitor your positions every single day — set alerts and make sure you are tracking your visibility."

2. In case of any suspicious position change — check for internal cannibalization first.

"Don't ever be fooled by a straight line; and especially the one with a little flux in it — because it tells you there's something going on."

To fix internal cannibalization (if several pages of your site collide in their theming):

1. Decide which of the pages you want to be returned for the search term.

2. Theme this key page for the term, give it a unique title that has the term in it.

3. Give the page some authority — make other conflicting pages link to the key page using this search term as the anchor.

SEO PowerSuite how-to:

Enable the "Track multiple results for keyword" option in SEO PowerSuite's Rank Tracker and re-check your site's positions to see the list of all website URLs that rank in search engines for the same keyword.

Keyword research:
Focusing on “head terms” and not paying much attention to long-tail keywords

Do you still think that ranking for the fat head keywords is your primary goal, while all those long-tails are something not worth your while? This approach doesn't seem to work any longer, and here's why.

Expert opinion:

Simon Penson
MD and Founder at Zazzle Media, @simonpenson
"Head term is dead — we see search volume spread much more evenly across millions of terms."

From Simon's speech at BrightonSEO:

"In this world everything we know changes. The traditional long tail curve dies and we see search volume spread much more evenly across millions of terms.

And the smart way of claiming that is to create specific content to service that growing search traffic opportunity. Specific article-level content is much more likely to surface here as it answers a specific question."

Long-tail keyword research how-to from Simon Penson:

So, how do you leverage this long-tail keyword opportunity?

1. Paint human "personas" that represent each of your customer groups.
Dig out the data from social media to understand who your customers are: their geography, demographics, interests and hobbies. Then group this data — paint the exact "personas" that represent the main groups of your customers.

2. Identify specific keywords for each of the "personas".
Get into the head of your "personas" and identify which questions they will ask when searching for your product. Identify the main keywords they will use and run those keywords through your keyword research tool to get an even wider picture.

3. Build your content creation around the long-tail keywords you've found.
Along with the more general content you produce, try to create pieces of content to target these specific long-tails.

SEO PowerSuite how-to:

SEO PowerSuite's Rank Tracker has a powerful keyword research module that combines 17 different keyword research tools (from AdWords Keyword Planner to Google Related Searches and SEMrush).

After running your seed keywords through all these tools, you end up with a widest possible list of long-tail keywords.

E-commerce SEO:
Using an e-commerce platform off the shelf, without tuning its category system

Modern e-commerce platforms make running an online store much easier, but there's one thing you can't trust them with if you want to maximize your organic traffic and sales.

Expert opinion:

Alec Bertram
Founder at Allotment Digital, @KiwiAlec
"Very few platforms set product categories correctly off the shelf, putting you at risk of under-indexation."

From Alec's speech at BrightonSEO:

Many ecommerce websites have underindexation within their category systems. This means that they lack the specific pages required to rank for their many of their mid-tail terms, and thus miss a great deal of their search traffic and revenue.

If you have this issue on your website, a great opportunity to improve organic visibility and traffic is in revamping your category system.

Long-tail keyword research how-to from Simon Penson:

Identify the issue and revamp your category system.

1. Find keywords that don't have a specific landing page.
Identify all of the keyword phrases your customers frequently use to find your products and check which of them are overlooked on your product category pages.

2. Make sure structural revamp is worth the effort.
Fundamentally changing the way the category system works is a big cost. So, before starting the big change, you need to make sure the work is going to pay off in the long run. And here's a formula to estimate the profitability of this change:

All keywords you can rank for
after applying category system changes

Their search volume

Average click through rate of the SERPs
(the percentage of searchers you expect to come to your website from SERPs if you rank on page 1)

Your current conversion rate and average order value
for the keywords

This should be enough to estimate how much money you're currently losing by not ranking for these keywords. If the potential revenue is high enough to justify redeveloping the category system, start the revamp.

3. Create indexable pages within your category system for every keyword.
Re-build your category system so that a specific category page for each of your target keywords.

Make sure that through the revamp you don't raise any duplicate content issues — you need to have unique content on every page (at least the title, meta description and H1 heading). Make sure none of the unnecessary pages squeeze into search engines' indexes — limit crawling and indexing for pages that:

  • Have more than one attribute for a filter group selected
    Ex. "DKNY or Karen Millen Evening Dresses", "DKNY Red or Blue Dresses"
  • Pages which have more than a maximum number of groups selected — "Size 14 DKNY Red Strapless Silk Evening Dresses" has 6 groups selected. We want these to be non-indexable/non-discoverable because they're too specific — a user will normally search for the core attributes that they care about.
  • Any pages which are sorted or ordered differently from the default view (i.e. price low to high) as these are duplicates of the default view;
  • Any pages which have a de facto attribute. For instance, in the recruitment industry all searches for jobs are intended to be full-time by default. Therefore, users are unlikely to ever search for "full time marketing jobs" — pages with this attribute selected are useless; but pages with the "part time" attribute tend to be useful.
SEO PowerSuite how-to:

SEO PowerSuite's WebSite Auditor lets you check the entire website structure, control your pages' indexation and avoid duplicate content issues.

You can run structural audit on the website level or examine issues on a page-by-page basis.

Not yet building quality backlinks from Wikipedia

Who else thinks Wikipedia is not a place to build backlinks? Matthew Barby has something to say against that.

Expert opinion:

Matthew Barby
Digital & Content Strategist at Wyatt International, @matthewbarby
"Wikipedia citations are an easy and valuable source of links."

From Mattew's speech at BrightonSEO:

Creating great content is vital for high rankings, but it's not the only factor. Combine great content with great links and you'll stand a chance of ranking on the first page of Google.

Earning great links isn't easy, but there are a few proven link-building methods you can use to build quality links for your website, and one of them is Wikipedia citations.

Wikipedia link-building how-to from Matthew Barby:

Here are the 3 ways to get Wikipedia link to your website.

Note: To edit or upload a new Wikipedia entry, it's better to get an experienced and active Wikipedia editor.

1. Get links through Wikipedia citations.
Go to to find Wikipedia articles relevant to your business and marked with "Citation needed". Create an article on your website that could be used as a citation for this Wikipedia article.

Edit the Wikipedia article's citation section to reference your article.

2. Fix Wikipedia's broken links.
Once again switch to WikiGrabber to find pages marked with "dead links".
Find the broken links on each Wikipedia page and view them in Wayback Machine. Recreate the old content (tailoring it so it's unique) and edit the Wikipedia article to reference your article.

Get in touch with any previous linking domains.

3. Get your own Wikipedia listing.
Write up a Wikipedia page for your business. Make sure you adhere to Wikipedia's formatting guidelines. Get an experienced and active Wikipedia editor to upload your entry.

SEO PowerSuite how-to:

As Wikipedia articles tend to be frequently modified, it is a good idea to monitor if your links are still in place.

You can import all the links into your LinkAssistant project and set the tool to automatically verify if the link is still there.

There is a lot more to share about the BrightonSEO Conference, and if you are serious about your own digital marketing, it's a really good idea to get along to the next BrightonSEO event later in 2015.

And if you find the guide useful, do share it with friends and colleagues using the social buttons on the left!

We were glad to meet you in person!

BrightonSEO was a great opportunity for us to see a lot of friends and meet new ones. Thanks to all of you for taking a moment to stop by the SEO PowerSuite booth to say "Hi!"

And the next event we're visiting is…

If you plan to make it to GPeC summit in Bucharest on May 11-13, come listen to a great talk by our Head of SEO — Yauhen Khutarniuk (the guy "to blame" for our site's #1 Google position for one of the most competitive industry keywords — SEO software).

Yauhen Khutarniuk
Head of SEO at Link-Assistant.Com
"Make your SEO work harder: tactics you can implement to your e-commerce site right now"

Have some thoughts to share? Please shoot us a message in the comments: