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The Complete Keyword Research Guide for SEO

Why I Wrote a Keyword Research for SEO Guide

Any Beginner’s SEO 101 Guide will tell you that Keyword Research is the first step in the SEO process. However, many guides fail to explain the actual process of conducting keyword research. There are different keyword types, latent semantic indexing, audience profiles and difficult metrics to account for. For this reason, I wrote the Complete Keyword Research Guide for SEO.

Understanding Keyword Types for Audience Targeting

keyword research buyer persona targeting One of the fundamental steps to understanding keyword research is being able to differentiate informational keywords from intentional keywords. These keyword types or keyword segments, help us create a content strategy that aligns with our conversion funnel.

Informational vs. Intentional Keywords


  • Research, Tutorials, DIY
  • Build Awareness and Interest
  • Account for Majority of Organic Traffic


  • Direct Response Keywords
  • Used for Products/Services pages
  • Difficult to Rank/ High Competition

Now we visualize this concept using a marketing funnel: informational-intentional-kw-funnel

Persona-Driven Keyword Research

For many industries, especially B2B, searchers will query (search) for identical products or services using completely different keywords. Reasons for this can be generally attributed to the searcher’s job role, technical knowledge, or skillset. Hypothetically, a construction supervisor in need of bronze alloy pipes may use broader terms like bronze copper alloys, while an engineer may use a more specific terms associated with testing standards or compounds.

The first step is to create audience personas. We will want to obtain information such as:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Purchasing Habits

There are many ways to collect this data. Some of these options include:

  • Survey Monkey
  • Linkedin Profiles
  • Facebook Profiles
  • Pinterest Profiles
  • Interview Customers

Social profiles really are a great tool for collecting persona data. You can quickly and easily understand their likes, dislikes, and even the way they write.

For fanstastic, in-depth information about persona-driven keyword research, check this out.

How to Choose Your Keywords

Keyword research and selection is not an exact science. Some SEO strategies may involve much more detailed keyword segmentation or groups. However, a great way to get started is by using a keyword research tool.

Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Tool Cost Creator
Google Keyword Planner Free Google
BING Ads Intelligence Free Microsoft
Google Trends Free Google
SEMrush Free (Limited) or Paid SEMrush
Uber Suggest Free Reprise Media Italy

Qualifying Your Keywords

Once you’ve finished building a list of keywords, next it is time to qualify those keywords. You will be spending a lot of time in the near future optimizing for these keywords, so you wan to make sure you’re optimizing for the right ones.

Keyword Qualification Checklist

 Is the keyword relevant to your website content?

Applying Keyword Research to SEO Strategies

More than likely, you are beginning to realize that there is a whole lot more search volume associated with your informational keyword list than your intentional keyword list. Yes, this is normal. A long time ago, Rand Fishkin wrote a blog called Illustrating the Long Tail. The illustration below is from his article and interestingly enough, Long Tail keywords (which are commonly informational keywords) make up for 80% of the traffic.

long tail keywords

Your long tail keywords and informational keywords can all be part of your content strategy. Using each article, blog, or page as a  new way to drive more traffic to your website. At that point it is important to remember, however, that you will need to plan your conversion strategy. Once the user gets to the website, how do you convert them into a sale? What’s your strategy?

5 Ways Restaurants Can Dominate Local Search

Local SEO is one of most powerful tactics a restaurant or restaurant chain can employ. It is no secret that most consumers marry local search rankings, reviews and ratings on Google to merit. When someone is searching for a restaurant nearby, they will typically choose one from the top three local search results, and the way you get your listing to the top is by doing Local SEO. If the user doesn’t like the results, they are much more likely to search a different keyword than dig past the top three local results. Why is that?

The reason is merit. When the user doesn’t find what they want in the first three results, they assume those results are the most popular restaurants in that category. So, rather than waste time, they move onto a different keyword.

How to Get Your Restaurant Ranked

There are numerous factors that go into building your search engine rankings, but for restaurants, there are particularly unique approaches to outranking your competition. The first thing you must understand is which SEO factors are important.

  • Content
  • Backlinks
  • Editorial Coverage
  • Reviews on Google as well as third party sites.

Because restaurants heavily rely on PR strategies to grow, it is important to understand your restaurants positioning strategy. Without having an edge, angle or clear differentiating factors, restaurant reporters, journalists and online lifestyle magazines won’t cover your news. If you happen to be in that situation, you should go back to step one and develop a marketing plan and brand strategy.

As for you others out there who have a great story, this article is full of actionable tactics you can employ.

Step 1 – Build Your PR Network

The first step is to figure out who is reporting on restaurant news. Figure out who all of the local restaurant reporters, franchise reporters and major food bloggers are in your area. Some great sources to start with are trade journals like bizjournals or your major local news station. Build a list of every contact you can find, including their email, twitter handle, instagram profile, linkedin profile and facebook. Once you’ve collected all of that information into a spreadsheet, it is time to start crafting your story.

Step 2- Crafting Your Story

This part can get tricky, but if you are serious about your restaurant, chances are you have a good story in there somewhere. You could come out with a new recipe like “Gluten Free Pizza” or maybe you’ll be hosting live music every Thursday. Just make sure that the story is interesting and engaging. Launching your new website is not a story. However, enabling online orders and checkout on your website is a story.

Step 3 – Prepare Your Press Release

You have a story, and you have contacts. Now it’s time to prepare a press release. For this, you’ll want to craft a press release that you plan to distribute through multiple news channels and sources. Before you send it to PRnewswire, you should start by pitching the story to your preferred publications. Make a list of all of the news, trade journals, blogs and publications you want your story covered. This list should be a list of your TOP choices.

Step 4 – Outreach

Outreach is perhaps the most important step of them all. Once you’ve created your top list of news publications you want to cover your story, reach out to them manually and make sure the email is personalized. Part of the strategy here is to make a connection and grab attention. That means your news headline should be newsworthy and interesting. Your email should be short and sweet. If you write paragraphs, they will not read it.

Step 5- Wire Service

The final step here is to launch your press release through PRnewswire after you’ve reached out to your top publications. This creates a more impactful effect because if your story were to get covered by one of the top 5 publications you wanted to cover your story, chances are, the press release will simply help solidify the news. This can generate a more viral effect, helping generate more links, thus dominating local search.

Give it a shot. There’s nothing to lose. Sometimes the extra effort is worth it.

Website Design: 7 Essential Skill Sets for Building a Modern, Profitable Business Website

Creating an effective website design is much more involved than it used to be. Business websites have come a long way over the last two decades. Websites are now the heart of many business models. Your website needs to be more than a few generic pages built around a stock template.

To be truly effective, having an internet marketing company develop your strategy is the best way to start. They will not just build you a brochure website but will ensure that it is the hub of every marketing effort. To develop a truly effective online presence, you need to draw on the expertise of these seven skill sets.

1) UX Designer

The UX, or user experience, is key to a successful site. UX should be aligned with each business’ marketing strategy. Confused and frustrated visitors don’t turn easily into customers. The UX designer is responsible for making the conversion route as easy and logical as possible. Strong UX Design is vital for studying visitor behavior to smooth out any bumps in the road.

Web users have small attention spans these days. Your website should cater to the behavior of a modern user to improve conversion rates. Visitors need simplicity and direction.

2) Visual or Graphic Website Design Specialist

An easy to use website is vital, but so is making the website look great. It needn’t be a work of art, but an unattractive site looks amateurish and doesn’t inspire the customer confidence that’s vital for conversion. Every design should intend to make your business look like a billion dollar company.

A visual website design specialist is responsible for putting the aesthetic polish on the underlying experience so that your site exudes quality, professionalism, and credibility.

3) Information Architect

Modern websites covering large topics can quickly sprawl out of control. It’s the information architect’s job to make all the site’s content accessible. This is done by laying it out in an easily consumable way. There’s little point in your site containing valuable content if the visitor is too overwhelmed by options to find what they need.

Your information architecture should be developed by your web design company of choice and should be in complete alignment with your online marketing goals. It is important to understand how each page, post, and online resource will integrate with each communication channel such as social media, SEO, paid advertising and brand strategy.

4) Copywriter

A copywriter produces the text content that helps turn a visitor into a customer. You only have a few seconds to convince a new arrival that they’ve found the website they need, so concise and compelling copy is a must.

Many digital marketing agencies and website design agencies overlook important factors that small businesses shouldn’t ignore. Regardless of your business’ size, a full service design and marketing agency should look to your business objectives and positioning strategy before developing the copy. Your website’s copy is the heart of your website’s content. It will make or break the effectiveness of your website.

5) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Optimizing a site for search engine visibility is no longer a separate process that can be tacked on after a site has been completed. Sites need to be developed from the ground up with SEO considerations in mind, and it takes expert input every step of the way to lay the groundwork for high rankings.

For strong SEO, especially when creating custom websites from the ground up, the SEO foundation is the most important step. Would you build a house on a weak foundation? Developing your website with SEO in mind is vital. In fact, your SEO planning should start at the beginning of the website planning process. Not at the end.

In some cases, it can be smart to hire an SEO company who specifically specializes in SEO. Not all web design or marketing agencies have a firm understanding of SEO concepts, but that is a choice you will have to make as a business owner. Fortunately, SEO is our specialty.

6) Web Developer

Off-the-shelf web design software can achieve a lot, but it takes someone with a solid technical understanding to get the most out of the packages. And for truly bespoke websites, a developer is needed to draw together the visual design, customer-facing features, and back-end tech in a seamless and fully functional way.

7) Project Manager

Lastly, these disciplines won’t magically come together without someone being in overall control. A project manager is essential to keep the development effort on track, and to keep the team members working together effectively.

A project manager should have a deep understanding of the web as a marketing and business medium, good management and people skills, and a clear vision of what the finished website should mean for the business.

The days when a simple, brochureware website was sufficient for an online presence are over. A modern website takes the input of many skill sets, and expertise across all these seven areas is needed to see the returns your web investment demands.

Joshua Belland SEO is a full service digital marketing and Houston web design agency. Based in Houston, TX, please feel free to give us a shout or visit. Stop shopping around and call us today. We are exactly what you are looking for!

Google Advanced Search Operators for Powerful B2B Sales Prospecting

We know that the information is out there… somewhere. We just don’t know where to start looking. With the Web growing exponentially every day, it can be time consuming and frustrating to sift through all of the irrelevant findings. Fortunately, there is  away to target exactly what your looking for and all you need is Google!

What Is An Advanced Search Operator?

Advanced Search Operators are commands combined with specific keyword queries in a search engine that allow the user to narrow their results.

How Do You Use An Advanced Search Operator?

Before you can really understand how Advanced Search Operators work, you have to understand the basic structure of the web. Let’s look at some examples of search operators…

  • site: (search only in one website) Search Query
  • intitle:(only searches for keywords in the title tag of the website) search operator example
  • allinanchor:(search only for pages with this specific anchor text)On this example, we will get super specific…. allinanchor

This is a combination of an Advanced Search Operator (allinanchor:), Boolean Search Operators (AND),  ”Houston” (your location), and “opthamologist” (your target client).

  • The Boolean Operator, AND, tells Google to only return results that have all of these keywords on a single webpage.
  • The allinanchor:email only looks for anchor text with the keyword “email” in it.

Here are the results we came up with… One Search Result

That’s correct. Google only found one result that matched our query exactly. Now, how can we use this for B2B Sales Prospecting? Let’s start by taking a look at some of the search operators we’ve learned already.

  • In this scenario we will use the site: operator.
  • Now, we have to know which site we want to search. Why not start with the largest directory of business professionals on the web? LinkedIn.
  • The last step is knowing who your target client is. It’s not always a good idea to try to specify a person’s title or a position. They vary from company to company and your results could become convoluted with irrelevant information. Instead, your target client is going to be a company in an industry. We’ll choose a major hospital. Our goal is to connect with as many doctors as possible. Let’s see how we can query this…

Search Operator Combination

  • We used which only allows Google to show results of profiles on LinkedIn.
  • The next step is entering the company website that we’re targeting 
  • Following the website, we use the word ‘Doctor.’ The cool thing about Google is that it uses Latent Semantic Indexing to understand different variations of a keyword such as Doctor (e.g. Doctor or Dr). It’s smart enough to understand that they are the same thing.
  • The last thing we do is use a Boolean Search Operator. This will allow us to require the word “Houston” to be on the page as well which will return us Geo-Targeted results.

Let’s take a look at what came up…

doctor search results

Interestingly enough, the first three results that show up have ‘Dr’ in the title. The 4th result doesn’t have ‘Dr’ in the title, however, Google used Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to relate the word “Doctor” to “Surgeon,” thus providing us with a relevant lead still.

You can use other social networks like Google Plus to find local businesses as well using a very similar methodology. If you learn how to use them properly, Google can become your strongest prospecting tool.

By |January 31st, 2019|Categories: , |0 Comments

Local SEO Action Plan 2019 – Your Definitive Guide

In 2017, my local rankings dropped suddenly. Here we go again, I remember thinking.

Since I recovered those rankings, I’ve stayed at the top of the Google map pack for Houston SEO or SEO Houston consistently for 2 years. Much has changed from 2017 to 2019 and for some of us, it’s helped, while others it has sent on a wild goose chase.

In this article, I’m going to take you through a step-by-step 2019 local SEO action plan that will get your rankings back to the top and keep them there.

Step 1: Conduct an SEO audit

The first step of getting back to the top of Google maps is by conducting a thorough SEO Audit. One of the first things I like to do before running my site through an SEO audit tool or crawler is seeing exactly which pages are indexed in Google.

To do this go to google and type in site:[] just like its shown in the screenshot below.

This advanced search operator allows us to view only the pages on our website that are indexed in Google.

The next step is to install the SEOQuake Google Chrome extension. Once it has been installed, go to your Google search settings and change the number of results on each page to 100 instead of 10.

By |January 6th, 2019|Categories: |Tags: |0 Comments

Ethereum and the Hyperledger: Bridging the Next Phase of the Blockchain

Ethereum always seems to be in the blockchain news. Yes, Bitcoin remains the dominant force. Even though several popular blockchains employ smart contracts, only Ethereum has become synonymous with the term. Many believe that Ethereum is the most promising of the blockchains. This is hard to deny since so many new ICOs choose the platform to run their smart contracts.

Smart blockchain applications continue to grow at an incredible rate on Ethereum. By itself, it may one day become part of every industry where blockchains can be applied. The growing speed of adoption of the Ethereum platform is no error in judgment. It is at the center of some of the more serious discussions about vital issues affecting the cryptocurrency market today.

Some believe that Proof-of-Work is not necessary. If this were convincingly proven than Ethereum would be justified to move away from the system. It could survive the move whereas Bitcoin could not.

In regard to blockchain development, there are concerns that Ethereum’s adoption is outpacing the capabilities of the platform. Solutions to this problem may be found in the hyperledger seeking to integrate blockchain operations. These efforts would bring on-demand services to blockchains. An evolving Ethereum blockchain along side the success of a hyperledger would transform the crypto space.

Serious blockchain investing requires knowledge about both the original blockchain and its Proof-of-Work mining, as well as, the potential applications of smart contracts. Proof-of-Stake and other validations are important, but the foundation of how the crytpo markets were built are on the backs of the original blockchain and Ethereum. The advent of a truly integrated hyperledger could be the next major milestone. Fully integrating all the blockchains toward on-demand services would almost certainly bring the world closer to a majority adoption.

Blockchain training is now being employed at institutions of higher education. This is another sign that its application has become so widespread as to permeate deep into the daily life of global society. Universities are involved now because, along with its influence, the problems the blockchain can solve are highly complex.

Few people understand that one of the allures of Ethereum is its flexibility. As rigid as the original blockchain is, Ethereum offers creativity. From corporate applications to gaming and personal ICOs programmable contracts on the blockchain are a new asset class. Initially, they did not seem like much, but as individuals found empowerment, development has blossomed.

Improve Page Speed to Improve Keyword Rankings and User Experience

Improve Page Speed

The best way to improve page speed is by following some common tactics that anyone can implement. Although SEO usually focuses on content, keywords and link building. While those SEO factors deserve your attention, you should also pay attention to other SEO strategies, such as page speed. When your pages quickly load, you can outrank competitors and enjoy more website traffic. Continue reading to find out how.

Initial Page Speed Testing

Try using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to assess the current performance of your website content. Simply enter the URL of your page into the search box and the tool will rate it on a scale of 1 to 100. You will also receive detailed feedback that includes recommended improvements.

Optimize Images

Although images can increase the visual appeal of your web pages and increase viewer engagement rates, they can also create delays as they load. As a result, visitors may give up on your site and try another one. For this reason, one of the most effective SEO tips to Improve page speed involves reducing the time required to load images.

Resize your full-resolution images to manageable dimensions and then run them through a compression tool to reduce their file size. This simple step can dramatically reduce the time needed to load your pages and, increase their search engine visibility.

Minify CSS and JavaScript

Reduce or eliminate the use of separate CSS and JavaScript files on your site. Web browsers must first load such files, delaying the user experience. Instead, use inline CSS and scripts wherever possible.

Minifying your CSS and JavaScript content can also boost your SEO. This process eliminates unnecessary data and space in your files so that browsers can read and interpret them in record time.

Prioritize Loading

Satisfy your visitors by loading your most important content first. This quickly engages your visitors with the information they need. Meanwhile, as they begin reading, your pages should perform another loop to load your ads and sidebar content.

Enable GZIP Compression

GZIP compression is enabled on the server side. You can do this by also updating your .htaccess file if you are hosting on Apache.


After optimizing your pages, retest them using PageSpeed Insights to verify that you have improved their performance. Afterward, periodically retest your website for speed to make sure you retain your SEO advantage.

In conclusion, page speed improvements rank among the top SEO tips for boosting performance. By creating a cycle of testing and optimization for your pages, you can create a long-term advantage for your website. As you put the above tips to use, stay alert for other tips that will help you optimize your pages for speed.

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Understanding SEO for Duck Duck Go

Marketing professionals and business owners tend to focus their SEO strategies on Google. This makes sense because of the way Google dominates the internet search industry. Still, other search engines, such as Duck Duck Go, exist that compete for the almost one-quarter of internet searches that Google doesn’t get.

Duck Duck Go has built a reputation for being the search engine that respects privacy. Therefore, every time SEO news headlines feature Google’s many alleged privacy violations, Duck Duck Go has a chance to attract new users.

At the end of 2017, the Duck Duck Go CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, estimated that the search engine handles almost 24 million queries every day. With almost that many monthly unique users. That number accounts only for about 0.22% of all internet searches. However, Duck Duck Go is growing and offers many opportunities for businesses to grow their sales.

Now, how would you like to try to get your share of business from Duck Duck Go? Here are some SEO tips to get the best results from this small, but unique search engine.

1. Get inbound links

Like practically every search engine, Duck Duck Go places a high priority in search results for sites that have backlinks that come from high-quality, authoritative and popular websites. So, if you want to attract visitors from Duck Duck Go, make sure you have an effective link building strategy in place.

2. Disclose your location

Duck Duck Go users that know that the search engine doesn’t track their location may include geo-qualifiers in their queries. This helps them find businesses nearby. To match these queries, be sure to disclose your location on your website.

3. Remember Bing and Yahoo

Although Duck Duck Go uses hundreds of sources to determine page rank, much of the data used by the search engine comes via the larger Bing and Yahoo search engines. So, if you optimize your content for those sites, you should expect to rank higher in Duck Duck Go’s search results.

In summary, to optimize your site for Duck Duck Go, make sure you follow the best SEO practices for Bing and Yahoo. Meanwhile, emphasize backlinks and quality content, and you’ll attract more visitors from one of the world’s fastest growing search engines.

By |May 16th, 2018|Categories: |0 Comments

Does SEO Still Matter?

Digital marketing changes at a remarkable pace, often leaving website owners wondering what they should do to get the best results. Recently, phrases such as “content is everything” have become commonplace in SEO news headlines. The new emphasis on content naturally can make you wonder if SEO still matters, or if it’s dead.

Humble beginnings

SEO began in the early days of internet search. Website owners discovered that they could “game the system” by loading pages with keywords. Primeval search engines simply counted keywords and their frequency when determining what results to show to their users. All that has changed.

Algorithms rule

Nowadays, Google dominates the search industry and has revolutionized search to ensure that users can find high-quality, actionable content. The algorithm that powers Google and its competing search engines have the ability to measure the readability of a page as well as other factors such as social media signals, backlinks, formatting, content types and more.

Artificial intelligence

As search engines become smarter, so do your competitors. Corporations with access to the latest AI engines and machine learning systems have gained a strong advantage in the world of SEO. This means that getting to the top of search engine results pages (SERPS) is becoming nearly impossible for owners of small websites.

Information blocking

SEO strategies depend on having ample relevant information available. Unfortunately, Google has become involved in “information blocking,” preventing Google Analytics from displaying many queries that generate traffic for any particular site. As a result, you will see entries such as “not provided” or “other” as a growing percentage of your results.

SEO tips

Although in many ways the outlook for SEO seems bleak for small businesses and even for small SEO firms, the situation falls short of hopeless. Sites still need to follow sound SEO practices and third-party SEO services can still help you attract relevant search engine traffic. However, when SEO comprises the bulk of your digital marketing strategy, you may want to diversify.

So, moving forward, continue to audit your website for SEO, but you should also expand your effort to increase the quality and diversity of your content. Also, remember to engage on social media and pursue other strategies such as influencer marketing. In other words, SEO still matters, but it doesn’t warrant the time and energy it may have commanded in the past.

How SEO and SEM Combine Forces

The organic listings within the major search engines are definitely the more preferred type of advertising for any company in any industry. Organic listings are trusted anywhere from 70% to 90% more than the advertisements that are around them. This does not mean, however, that there is no use for the advertisements that you see on Google and the rest of the major search engines. As a matter of fact, the discipline that is used to place those ads may actually help your search engine optimization efforts. Search engine marketing is the practice of getting a great deal for the ads that show up on the front pages of the major search engines. This is a discipline that, if used correctly, can be incredibly helpful for a long-term strategy that includes both search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Let’s take a look at exactly why. SEO News: SEO is about the long term First of all, search engine optimization is all about the long term. The listings that show up for competitive keywords are there partially because of age. Google tends to trust a website that is there for a longer period of time. If you have a young website, but you need sales this quarter instead of two years down the road, you don’t have the ability to wait on this. This is exactly were search engine marketing comes in. While you are creating long term content for your organic listings, you can fill in the gaps with short-term advertisements that will show up immediately. Your real concern is getting a plan together so that you can get the most out of the money that you spend. However, there is an even better reason to do search engine marketing. SEO Tips: Get keywords from SEM You can find out what the keywords are for your search engine optimization campaign. The keywords that allow you to create a highly visible search engine marketing ad are the same keywords that allow you to create a top listing in the organic ads. However, you would never know what these keywords were unless you had some sort of data to show what the response was. Search engine marketing, or short-term advertisements, can get you this data very quickly. Now that you have it, you can immediately start optimising your content for those keywords so that your organic listings show up more quickly. These dual SEO strategies are exactly what most companies engage in. You may see them show up in the organic listings and in the advertisements at the same time if they have a big sale going on. This is par for the course for companies with multimillion dollar budgets, but even small and medium-sized businesses can participate in it as well. Scale down, but the overall strategy is the same.
By |April 23rd, 2018|Categories: |0 Comments
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