SEO Tips and Insights Blog

Here's an archive of blog posts I've shared since 1999, including articles, interviews, books, news, and audits. Topics include SEO, digital marketing, copywriting, communications, and business.

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puppy, dog, hybrid

Choosing SEO Keywords: Heads or Tails?

December 24, 2020

The old way of doing SEO was straightforward: people searched using keywords, and the more of those keywords were found on your page, the greater the chances it would rank well. The problem is, it was a race to the bottom.

Competitors were adding more keywords to their pages, trying to one-up each other. Over time, their content would be stuffed with so many keywords, it would become unreadable and create a poor user experience.

Then, black-hat SEOs (people trying to game the system) would hide keywords or create redirects from keyword-stuffed pages to the better ones.

Thankfully, Google caught on, and after a while killed off those surreptitious techniques.…

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loading bar, 2021, new year's eve

Top Five SEO Predictions For 2021

December 23, 2020

Predictions are fun. Not because it’s an opportunity to flex my prognostication muscles (I certainly don’t have any) but because it’s an opportunity to share some insights into where we’re going, which I think might benefit you.

Now, I’m nowhere near the level of experience of some of the SEO experts I look up to. I dabbled in SEO throughout my 30-year career and became serious about it only in the last five. But I do think I have an eye for trends and where they’re heading. I see things that, to me, seem logical.

As 2020, which was for some the worst year ever, comes to a close, here are five of the biggest trends I see increasing in importance — concepts that we as SEOs need to pay greater attention to.…

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pc, computer, stethoscope

SEO Keeps Fingers On The Pulse

December 21, 2020

As you probably know, I’m a semi-professional drummer, although the pandemic has put a damper on gigs let alone band practices and jams with fellow musicians. So to keep me in the groove, I practice while listening to songs.

I prefer songs without drums. But sometimes, finding them can be a hassle. Not all songs have drumless versions. Sometimes, I have to look high and low to find them. Other times, I’ll have to download the songs and edit them myself to mute out the drum frequencies. But this can be tedious.

I often watch drummers on YouTube to learn new skills and techniques, and to improve my drumming chops.…

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seo, sem, google

What Does An SEO Consultant Do?

December 19, 2020

If you’ve been following me for some time, you know I used to be a marketing consultant and switched gears to offering strictly SEO consulting. Since then, some have asked me “What does an SEO consultant do, exactly?”

I realize that maybe some clarification might be helpful. Plus, if you were considering hiring an SEO consultant to help strengthen your online presence and boost your traffic, this might give you some direction.

First, as I’m sure you’re aware, a consultant is someone who consults, an expert on a particular topic who gives advice related to that topic.

An SEO consultant is no different.

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orchard, apple, apples

Low-Hanging Fruit SEO For Plastic Surgeons

December 18, 2020

I added a small part near the end of the plastic surgery SEO audit I did on OttawaPlasticSurgery.com when I posted it online. But since I did it after I first published it, you may have missed the additional content.

It’s simply this.

In that critique, I said that the biggest missed opportunity is content marketing, and that this website needs a solid content marketing strategy — particularly to appeal to a more top-of-funnel (i.e., lesser aware) audience.

I said that plastic and cosmetic surgery are rife with questions — e.g., about costs (most common), appraisals (i.e., before-and-after photos, the second most common), and risks (the third).…

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Quick SEO Audit of OttawaPlasticSurgery.com |

Quick SEO Audit of OttawaPlasticSurgery.com

December 15, 2020

When I first started out in the 90s, I wanted to showcase my work. So I posted critiques in discussion forums with the hope that prospective clients would see my work and hire me. I also did it because I loved doing it.

Today, I’ve decided to do it again. I’m going to randomly select plastic surgery websites and do a quick, high-level SEO audit on them. Hopefully, you will learn something you can apply to your own website.

Selecting Sites For SEO Audits

I select these “auditees” at random. That sounds too much like “oddities” (aren’t we all?), but at least it’s better than “victims.”…

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justice, hammer, judge

Can Your Prospects Take An Oath?

December 14, 2020

Preamble: I wrote this article back in 2003 and I rewrote it in early 2005. Back then, it was meant primarily for a copywriting audience. Now that I specialize in SEO, and seeing how the concept of “funnels” is gaining popularity, I took the liberty to slightly update it.

One problem in SEO, copywriting, content, or any kind of communications, is that the audience is not targeted for the message or the message doesn’t march the intended audience.

When it comes to SEO, if the content doesn’t match the search intent and fails to align with what the user’s searching for, the user will bounce back and search engines will conclude that your website doesn’t meet the user’s needs, which will impact and lower your rankings.…

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wheel, wagon wheel, cartwheel

5-Step Content Strategy For Plastic Surgeons

December 11, 2020

If you’re a plastic surgeon or cosmetic medical professional, and you want to build organic traffic to your website, you need content. But you also want content that attracts interested, qualified patient leads. Just adding content alone is not going to do this for you.

To attract quality traffic, you need to create quality content.

And for that, you need a content strategy.

Defining a content strategy for your website is a foundational component of search engine optimization (SEO) — and once the foundation is built and it’s solid, the rest can follow and work far more effectively.

So let’s look at how to build a content strategy.…

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board, chalk, training

12 Best Practices For SEO-Focused UX

December 10, 2020

I once ran had a private coaching group where one of my former students asked: “Michel, I’m starting a blog using WordPress. Do you have any general tips on things like layout and design?”

When it comes to WordPress designs, I don’t have any preference. But I do believe in minimalistic designs. What I use is Beaver Builder page builder (Elementor is fine, too, but I personally don’t like Divi). My favorite theme is Astra and I also use Ultimate Beaver Add-ons. (These are my affiliate links.)

As for best practices, here are some tips:

Think User Experience

Offering a good user experience (UX), aside from good content, is a major part of SEO.…

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ancient, animal, archeology

How Content Alignment Improves SEO

December 9, 2020

The process of discovering what Google thinks people want is a great tool for SEO research. It is often referred to as “SERP analysis,” where SERP, of course, stands for search engine results page.

Now, I know you’re a plastic surgeon or dermatologist, and you’re not an SEO expert. But this is not about SEO in a direct sense. It’s about good old market research. It’s about understanding what users are looking for, why they want it, and how to give it to them.

Understand that market research is the core of marketing. When I talk about “keyword research,” it’s not about keywords in and of themselves.…

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