Welcome to another Exposure Ninja Digital Marketing Roundup.
Little late on the delivery of the second round-up of September as our researcher and writer — that’s me — had a short holiday. But fear not, as all of the important developments in SEO and the world of Digital Marketing can still be found in the blog content below.
In this week’s Round-up we’ve learned:
✂️ How to prune your old content
💵 Why Freemium models might earn a higher retention than you might think
📊 How you can use Google Data Studio to turn Search Console data into tasks
🕸️ How to improve your internal linking
Jump to your favourite marketing subject:
Prune Your Older Content
Not every piece of content ever created is a golden nugget of awesome. It’s highly likely that during the time that you’ve been creating content, you’ve improved your skills considerably — you create better content today than you did in 2015 — but this means there’s (probably) content on your website that resembles those old paintings you did as a kid, which are still stuck to your parent’s fridge.
Your options with older under-optimised content are limited: You can either remove the content or improve it. We prefer to improve content where possible and give it a new lease of life, but not every piece of content deserves to be saved.
If you’re in the unfortunate position of hosting a lot of old content that you’d prefer to be free of, you now have some options.
Content pruning gives you the opportunity to find and remove content that’s giving your website a bad name, and the great team at Siege Media has put together a great article — called “How to Conduct a Content Audit for SEO” — which provides a step-by-step process for finding content to be pruned using Screaming Frog, Ahrefs and Google Analytics.
If you’re looking for more options on automating your content auditing process, we can strongly recommend the Automated Content Auditing guide by Webris, which helped us during the revision of our own content auditing process.
Discover Your Competitor’s “Overachievers”
When the team at ahrefs isn’t adding new features to its SEM Toolbox software, it can normally be found churning out fantastic in-depth articles.
One of its most recent articles, guest written by Derek Gleason of ConversionXL, is terrific for content creation brainstorming and competitor research.
Using ahrefs — although we easily duplicated the process using SEMrush — Gleason looks at the number of domains linking to the URLs returned for the test search queries he performed. Typically, SEOs may focus more on the URLs with the highest total of referring domains, but this may not paint the full picture. Instead, it’s more fruitful for link-building research to discover the pages that are earning a higher quantity of backlinks, due to the higher quality or value of that piece.
The article includes all of the steps you need, but one of the simplest points is this:
Divide the number of referring domains to each URL by the number of referring domains to the entire site.
The resultant value gives you the percentage of referring domains to a site that a given URL accounts for—the larger the percentage, the more valuable that post was to the website.
It’s a really great post, so if you’re looking for new angles for content creation, we highly recommend giving the article a read.
Freemium Models Could Generate Higher Retention Than Free Trials
Patrick Campbell of SaaS Metrics Software company ProfitWell has been creating content and sharing the knowledge he and his team have gathered through the work they’ve done with hundreds of SaaS companies for years, but some of their latest content has been well worthy of the newsletter subscription some of our Ninjas have with them.
One of the company’s most recent blog posts has really made us think about the best pricing model for some of the SaaS companies we consult with.
“Are Free Trials Better Than Freemium?” uses gathered data to display how non-Freemium models compare against the pricing and acquisition model, and the results are really interesting.
Not only are users more likely to be retained under a Freemium model, but they’re also more likely to pay for the product in the future and have higher NPS scores (What is an NPS score?).
If you’re currently deciding on the best pricing model for your software or service, we highly recommend giving this short post a read.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Use Google Data Studio for Deeper Search Console Data Reviews
International SEO wizard Aleyda Solis has put together a brilliant Google Data Studio template, which makes it easier to review, analyse, and draw actionable tasks from.
Within only a few minutes of testing I was able to find a number of pages for one client that were cannibalising each other, and stealing impressions and clicks from a key money page, which represents potentially lost sales — never good!
It takes seconds to copy Solis’s template into your own Data Studio set-up and across all of your clients. Make it the next thing you do after you’ve finished reading this.
Another slightly similar tool, which helps turn Search Console data into actionable tasks, is BigMetrics, and it’s super helpful.
How to Optimise Your Images by Using the Right Filetype
Image optimisation can include a lot of work, and it’s regularly under-done or completely forgotten. This is largely due to the way the web has changed over the past twenty years and how we build sites, which has left many important optimisation lessons missed.
There are a number of options to consider when optimising images, but where does one start when learning how to do it?
Marcin Gorczyca of Elephate has compiled a brilliant article with comparative examples between the different available filetype and compression options, including tables demonstrating how the total file size of an image may depend on the size and quality values set to it.
Gorczyca mentions a file format called WebP, which we’re not overly familiar with here at the Exposure Ninja Dojo, but we’re currently spending time looking into the various ways it could come into our own optimisation processes, as the post-compression file size benefits are certainly worth the effort.
If you’re just getting started with the subject of image optimisation for SEO, we can suggest Yoast SEO’s “Image SEO: Optimizing images for search engines” post and, for the more advanced developer-minded folk, we’d strongly suggest this one-page, community-created “Essential Image Optimisation” guide or Google’s own documentation for developers.
Why Google Shows Other Website Images in (Some) Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are a fantastic part of the search engine results pages if you’re the person to claim them for your target keywords, as they earn a higher click-through rate.
Unfortunately, sometimes the Featured Snippet — which you can learn how to claim here — uses an image from another website, rather than the images you’ve inserted into your own content. It can be frustrating not only to you, but also to the website owner who has an image appearing in the Holy Grail of “Position Zero”, but doesn’t benefit from the click.
It’s been long debated why this may occur, but in a recent The SEM Post article by Jennifer Slegg. the reason was made clear in a tweet by John Mueller, a leading member of the Webmaster team at Google.
In the post, Slegg not only covers what Mueller had to say, but also gives quick, actionable advice on what you can do to improve the likelihood that Google will opt to use your images instead in Featured Snippets.
How to Improve Your Internal Linking
Andy Drinkwater of iQSEO has updated his often-cited article on How to Increase Your Internal Linking. In the post, Drinkwater explains his complete process for discovering the current state of internal linking within a website, with an emphasis on key “money” pages, and the tools he uses to paint a full picture of the site’s internal link structure.
This post is repeatedly passed around our SEO Ninjas, who love the simplicity of the system Drinkwater suggests, and we heartily recommend you read and bookmark it for future use.
As SEO Ninja Andy Cockayne says, “… Internal linking allows you to highlight to Google your most important web pages. It also allows you to ‘group’ certain pages together, which not only improves SEO, but also provides a better UX, which is believed to be a significant ranking signal”. This means that you’re not only improving the flow of any PageRank/Trust Flow/Link Equity (call it what you will) around your website, but you’re also making it more user-friendly.
Beneath is a recently estimated traffic graph from some of **Drinkwater’s** own internal linking work showing how successful following this best practice can be.
This is the result of a 6-month campaign. 5x traffic growth at a cost of just under $12,000 USD
Once again, Internal Linking shows just what it can do.
— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) August 1, 2018
How to Scrape the SERPs (with Caution!)
Google scrapes the web every second of every day. Without web crawling and scraping, it wouldn’t have a product to sell and its searchable indexes of content would never have been created. Instead, we’d still rely upon user-generated directories of content, such as the original Yahoo! directory and Dmoz (remember Dmoz?).
While Google makes a living out of crawling your website, it doesn’t really like anyone doing the same to it, so please take the following words of caution seriously:
Crawling Google’s web properties is against its Terms of Service, and we at Exposure Ninja do not encourage the practice of scraping its property for malicious intent.
With that out of the way, we’d like to bring your attention to a brilliant article by Rory Truesdale on How to Scrape Google SERPs to Optimize for Search Intent.
Truesdale’s article explains how web scraping can be made possible to gather information regarding the URLs indexed for search queries. The benefit of this is that an SEO practitioner can learn more about the types of pages, their quality, and how search intent is understood within Google’s choice of pages indexed.
Truesdale’s methodology also includes two spreadsheets to aid the documentation process of this form of research, as well as a smart formula for determining the intent of a URL based on the keywords used in the page title. Genius.
On a related note, SEO veteran Glen Allsopp recently brought the Simple SERP Scraper free-use tool to our attention, which has been very handy indeed.
— Dale Davies (@daledavies_me) September 17, 2018
Other Notable Mentions
29 Useful Questions to Ask during a Reference Check Call
While not all of the questions in HR software company Know Your Company’s latest blog post will be relatable, applicable or necessary for your own reference checks, the quantity and depth of questions put together by founder Claire Lew is a brilliant bookmark to return to during your next hiring phase.
Argos Becomes a Leading Voice Search Retailer
UK retailer Argos has become one of the first UK retailers to move into the increasing territory of Voice Search-assisted eCommerce. As detailed by Louise Linehan of Pi Datametrics, the retailer has a 7.43% share of the Voice Search market in the UK — higher than industry giants Apple and Amazon UK.
The partnership with Google Home and associated Google Assistant-installed devices should help to increase its market share as people become more accustomed to researching, reserving and making product purchases via their voice devices alone (although customers are still more likely to research via Organic Traffic sources to begin with).
This latest move comes as UK retailers move into the large quantity of fresh visibility real estate, left vacant by Tesco’s recent decision to end its online eCommerce offering (with the exception of groceries), as examined by Sistrix).
Argos’ push into Voice Search signifies that the medium is becoming as necessary a consideration for the strategies of eCommerce companies as Search, Paid Search and other referral channels are today.