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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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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wooden, spinning top, top

Uncover Gold For Your SEO By Digging Deeper

December 8, 2020

Previously, I talked about why using Google for your SEO research is important. By understanding how your audience searches Google, and how Google answers their searches, can tell you a lot about search intent.

Google listings are great. But remember, there are five areas that can provide some great insights into organic rankings and search intent:

  • The search results themselves.
  • Search autocomplete suggestions.
  • “People also asked” after the first few results.
  • “People also search for” section further down.
  • Related searches at the bottom of the page.

As you type your search query, Google usually drops down a list of suggestions. But did you know that you can get suggestions for suggestions?…

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question mark, important, sign

Why Keyword-First SEO is Wrong (or Misleading)

December 7, 2020

I use tools for SEO research all the time. But one of the best ways to do research for SEO (and I’ve said this before but it bears repeating) is to go directly to the source: Google itself.

By using Google, you can do a search and find out what Google thinks you want. Tools help make the process efficient, but if you want to see quickly what Google thinks, going straight to the source gives you a ton of great information.

I mention this for two reasons.

First, Google actually tells us what they want.

It’s called the Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines.…

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5 Ways Videos Can Boost Rankings and Conversions |

5 Ways Videos Can Boost Rankings and Conversions

December 5, 2020

If you’re a plastic surgeon or cosmetic professional, then you know the power of adding visuals to your website. Of those, video is by far the most effective as it engages all the senses — and studies show that the more senses you engage, the higher the conversions will be.

Today, adding video to your website is surprisingly easy.

But it wasn’t always that way.

When I created the first web salesletter that incorporated videos back in 2004, broadband wasn’t fully adopted yet and YouTube only came out in late 2005.

I added about 20 short video clips to the web page — mostly excerpts of the product (it was a DVD training library) and video testimonials.…

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gear, transmission, technology

5 Reasons Why I Made This Major Change

December 2, 2020

I often say that it’s never too late to learn or change. And it’s never too late to start over or try something new. I know from personal experience since I’ve done it several times in my life and career.

Today, I’ve decided to do it again and switch gears.

It’s nothing drastic like joining a monastery or the circus. Admittedly, 2020 felt like that in many ways. I did, however, recently decided to become vegan.

If you know me, you know how much I love bacon. I will miss it. But my health, the environment, and the welfare of innocent animals are more important than my tastebuds.…

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living room, couch, interior

The Power of Positive Pressure

December 1, 2020

Buying a brand new house from a home builder is an interesting exercise.

When I bought one years ago, I remember the process of choosing finishes, flooring, cabinets, paints, tiles, fixtures, you name it. It was both exciting and tedious at the same time.

Moving into a bigger home also created a need for new furniture. But it was also a long wait. It would take another year before the home would be finished and I was able to move into it. So during the waiting period, I went furniture shopping.

Problem was, I couldn’t have the furniture delivered until months later.…

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abandoned, broken, concrete

What is Search Experience Optimization (SXO)?

November 30, 2020

Search engine optimization (SEO), in the sense most people think about SEO, is becoming less about optimizing for the search engines and more about optimizing the user’s search experience.

It’s called “search experience optimization” or SXO.

SXO is not a new concept.

I’ve said that SEO boils down to creating quality content on a website that delivers a quality user experience. But this is nothing new. It has been a topic of discussion among SEO consultants since the early 2010s.

The issue is, how do you measure quality? Quality is subjective. What you think is “good” may not be good according to your users.…

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office, startup, business

Copywriting Productivity Tools to Boost Your Writing

November 28, 2020

These days, I do a lot of SEO consulting and content strategy work. But a big part of my career was in copywriting. And when I write copy, some tools help me tremendously. Whether it’s doing research, writing the copy itself, or working with my clients, there are certain resources that help.

I previously shared tools I use for SEO work. I use some of them for copywriting, too. Below are some extras that I specifically use. You don’t need to be a copywriter. But these resources may help you either write your own copy or, when you outsource it, know what to look for or how to fix it.…

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SEO rules three ranking factors

SEO and The Law of The Vital Few

November 27, 2020

If you’ve been a follower or subscriber for some time, you likely know that I often talk about SEO and the fact that it really boils down to two things:

  1. The quality of your content, and
  2. The quality of your user experience.

In other words, provide good content on a good website. What’s “good” is relative. It’s content that’s relevant and valuable to your users (i.e., it matches their search intent and it’s helpful to them), and delivered on a website that’s fast, secure, and easy to use (i.e., the content is easy to find and consume).

Focus on those two things and you’re golden.…

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