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2018 SEO Case Study – How to Rank in Google with Content Promotion + Parasite SEO

Posted on: January 17th, 2018 by John

Content Marketing Picture

**UPDATE – 5/9/2018


They say you should practice what you preach….here you go. My intention from the start was to target the phrase “SEO Case Study 2018” and other similar variants, including the word “Parasite SEO”.


Search Console:

2018 Search Console Image

While it’s not a lot of traffic, it’s highly targeted, date specific, and will drive traffic throughout the year. It also has led to new clients. Remember, every little bit of traffic ads up and it’s not always about the volume, but the quality. In October this year, I will create a new case study for 2019. See where I’m going with this?

***Original Post

It’s a new year and time to start testing some methods. While these aren’t new strategies, what we’re finding is, there seems to be a stronger correlation with social sharing and promotion than there was in times past (social seems to be a bigger ranking signal). While link building is still king, you can certainly rank good blog posts without any link building. That being said, if you want to rank for higher end type keywords, it certainly helps if your website already has some inherent authority, but that’s not the rule. You can target a handful of lower tier keywords, without any links pointing to a specific URL. Of course, it’s important to do your own testing, as results will certainly vary dependent upon a thousand different factors.

Things to consider when testing your blog promotion and parasite SEO

  • Obviously, you need to have super solid on-page (good page load times, optimize title tag, LSI keywords, TF*IDF, etc..). This is a fundamental aspect of SEO. If you aren’t building a quality website, with quality on-page, you may as well save your money. It’s like building a house on a bad foundation. You wouldn’t build a house on a shitty foundation…would you? Treat your websites the same.
  • Sweet spot with content length for blog posts seems to be around 1K words. Also, always write the content naturally. Don’t be throwing out garbage on your blog. That never helps anyone and is another reason to throw your money out the window.
  • With parasites, if using high end publisher, e.g – Huff Post, content length doesn’t seem to be as important, as you can piggyback off the tremendous authority a site like that carries. Of course contributor post and editor posts rank much better than community posts with any of these higher end publishers. Spend the money and don’t be cheap.
  • Depending on budget, I like to try to point higher end links at my client’s properties (outreach posts on legitimate websites), but PBNs definitely work. With high end pubs, you can throw the kitchen sink at it, but know that something like niche specific PBNs will certainly perform better than a bunch of crappy GSA links.

Case Study #1


Length of time – 60 days

Content Length – Roughly 1300 words

Target Keywords – Low/Medium competition (thousands of variations)

Social Promotion – Used in conjunction with $50 Facebook paid boost

Link Building – 2 outreach posts on niche specific websites



The results for this blog post have been awesome. We even scored a featured snippet for the majority of search queries related to the target keywords:

sony vs fuji cameras  sony mirrorless camera

Organic Traffic Results

As you can see, there has been a good amount of traffic to this specific blog post via organic traffic.


Google Analytics Traffic


You can also see an example of how we track campaigns using here:


Some things to note with this SEO campaign.

  • We have been optimizing this website for roughly 8 months
  • The website is less than a year old
  • We’ve been link building mostly to content pages, with a few high end homepage links to the homepage to push authority.

*There are currently 4-5 similar case studies in the works. I will update this blog post every two weeks with progress.

**Disclaimer – Correlation doesn’t imply causation. After years of SEO, I understand this. This blog post is for informational purposes

Parasite SEO


Below are a couple parasite SEO examples we have been working on using Huff Post as the parasite. We just started these on January 12th, so we’ll update them as they start to move.

Parasite #1

Property – Huffington Post

Type – Reputation Repair

Keywords – Brand/Person’s Name

Link Building – 50 high metric PBN links – not niche relevant


Parasite #2

Property – Huffington Post

Type – Keyword Specific

Keywords – Low/Medium Keywords

Link Building – 3 niche specific outreach posts


We have 4-5 ongoing case studies for content promotion, so please check back frequently, as I will be updating this post frequently.

Need content promotion? Check out our sales page here.



How to Audit Existing Content and Rank Higher in the Search Engines (Tutorial)

Posted on: July 17th, 2018 by John

OK, I’m going to assume everyone reading this article understands fundamental on-page and off-page SEO. Fundamentals such as good page load speeds, mobile friendly website, and quality content, etc. should be a given. With that being said, let’s dive into how to take existing content from your website and improve your current rankings in the SERPs.

Tools I Use:

Getting Started

Grab the URL you want to improve from your website. This can be a product page, an article, etc. I’ll use a current project I am working on as an example. Their content piece revolves around the main keyword “Fertility Pills”. Grab the URL and throw it into SEMrush.


SEMrush Example


Next, scroll down to “Top Organic Keywords” and click “View Full Report”.


SEMrush Example 2

In this instance, my client has over 500 keywords, so to narrow it down, I sort by volume:


Sort SEMrush



Sort the keywords by top search volume. Once you do this, click to export.





SEMrush gives you the option to export only the top 100. If you want less than that, you can always manually click the keywords you want to export. Sometimes I will choose to do it manually if I want to take out any keywords ranking #1, irrelevant keywords, or if there are very specific keywords I want to concentrate on. Most of the time, I keep the keywords ranking in the top position so I can monitor them and make sure there aren’t any drastic drops.

Next, highlight all the keywords in column A in excel. Once you do this, go to your rank tracker and paste all 100 keywords into your rank tracker. In Serpbook, I create a category (call it “Fertility Pills Article”), paste the keywords into the keyword list field, then click the option to only track that specific URL.





Before I go any further, I wanted to mention that SEMrush gives you the option to show keywords in desktop and mobile. Since search results vary with mobile and desktop, you want to export two separate lists of keywords from SEMrush.

In Serpbook, you also want to create two different rank tracking categories. With this client, I have them listed as “Fertility Pills Desktop” and “Fertility Pills Mobile”. In the above screenshot, you can see that Serpbook gives you the option under “Tracking Options”.

Next, I set up a saved report in Analytics and a custom report in Databox. I’ll start with Analytics first.

Go to your Analytics dashboard and click Behavior>Site Content>Landing Pages:






Next, you want to segment it by Organic Traffic:





Click “Apply”. After you do this, find the URL under landing pages, which you are working on:





Once you click on the specific URL , go to the top right corner and click “Save”:





This will allow you to quickly access your report under Customization>Saved:





Couple things to mention up to this point.

  1. You can set up multiple segments and save them individually. For example, if you want to have a segment for just mobile traffic, you can create a report for that. Desktop, etc.
  2. I like to set date ranges and compare to the previous period to see how the traffic is growing. I do this automatically by setting up a custom dashboard in I want to keep this tutorial short, so I’m not going to get into how I set a dashboard up in Databox, but this is what mine look like:





Now, before all the haters come out of the woodwork, understand that I started this project on the 29th of June. As you can see on the first, there was a nice jump in traffic after my initial phase. Also, as you can see from the rankings, they are already seeing a nice boost:





Before I get into the actual audit process, I want to give a nice little tip. If you are auditing a blog post, make a few small tweaks and change the post date. Once you do that, use the Fetch as Google option in Search Console (make sure to add the specific URL). This is merely anecdotal, but all my tests show that this small little change will actually give your page a nice little boost (per Google’s Recency/Freshness Algo). Good article here about the subject.


Auditing Your Content

Again, I’m trying to keep this as short as possible, so I’m not going to get into the fundamental on-page stuff. What I will tell you is, sometimes the smallest tweak can make a huge difference. For example – bolding keywords, adding internal links to relevant pages, adding internal links from relevant pages (find top authority pages and funnel page rank), outbound linking to authority websites, adding keywords, tweaking the meta tags, extending alt tags, etc.

With that said, the first thing I do is run the page through’s TF*IDF module. If you don’t know what that is, I explain it in this article. In layman’s terms, it’s how many times a keyword is used within the content. Hence – term frequency.


Click on Content Success>Analyze>New Analysis:





This will show you the top 10 competitors keyword frequency list. These are the most prevalent keywords in correlation with the keyword “Fertility Pills”. It also gives you list of keywords by relevancy:





Next, you want to compare your URL with the top competitors:





This will show you how your content stacks up with the competitors as far as term frequency:





As you can see above, my client (in purple), could add “fertility”, “ovulation”, and “pregnancy” within their content (could also be included in meta tags as well) in order to improve.

You can also click on the tab “Competition”, to show individual sites and how frequently they use each term:





I’m not going to get into all the nuances of how I use this software, but if you’re a data nerd like me, you can get pretty crazy with this stuff. Like anything in SEO, use the knowledge I have bestowed on you and get creative 🙂 You will want to run these reports for all keywords you originally exported out of SEMrush. You will see a ton of overlap, but pay attention to the details. There could be 1-2 keywords within each report that your content is missing.

Now, this is a process that I usually do over a period of months. I like to make some tweaks to the page and monitor the rankings and traffic for a week or so, then rinse and repeat. I also try not to build links to the page right away, because I like to know how much of an effect simple on-page tweaks are making to the page. Sometimes, that’s all you need to really push a page into those coveted positions, but many times it really comes to link building, which I will get into next.

Also, another way to see where your content may be lacking is to simply monitor your rankings. Anything that is sitting off the first page could be deficient in some way. Sometimes a single word inserted within the content can launch a keyword onto the first page.

In some cases, if it’s ranking 20+, it’s a good indicator that Google doesn’t find the content specific or relevant enough in regards to those keywords or phrases. In this case, sometimes it’s good to write a hyper-focused article about the lower ranking keywords, then link from the original article to the new content.

Sometimes, in this client’s case, I could tell that they had so much overlapping content, that they were cannibalizing his top pages. In this case, we decided that we are going to find pages, which aren’t ranking high and 301 them to the most relevant pages. The devil’s always in the details, bros.


Link Building

There was a study I read recently by (I can’t seem to find it, but if someone has it, shoot me an email), in which they analyzed over a million websites and found that 90%+ of ranking pages in the top 10 of the SERPs had links pointing to those pages.

Those of us in the trenches would say “duh”, but I can’t preach how important links are in your ranking strategy. Us little guys don’t have the authority of the thousand pound guerillas like Wikipedia, or Amazon, to rank purely with authority, so it’s important that you build links to your inner pages. Even if it’s 2-3 relevant links, it’s super important.

What I like to do is buy some link drops on relevant pages (if you are in need I can help you out). The other way is to build your own PBN, or get yourself into a PIN (if you don’t know what a PIN is, read this awesome post by Gary Allsop here). Private link networks are becoming my new favorite way to get links, because it doesn’t cost you anything and it’s a great way to dominate.


The issue is, it can be hard to get into one of these groups. Most of them are on Slack or Facebook private groups.


Acquire links, monitor traffic and rankings. Rinse and repeat.

In conclusion, get creative with the information I’ve shared with you here. I use this very same method to audit my clients who have Ecommerce websites as well. Use your imagination with this. It’s endless.

If you are in need of content audits or SEO, feel free to contact me today!


**Update – here is an example of how I add keywords throughout the process to increase specific keywords:

On-Page SEO – The Ultimate Guide

Posted on: December 2nd, 2017 by John

How to do On-page seo


By improving your rankings, on-page SEO can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales for your business. Simultaneously, it will reduce the amount of time and money that you need to spend on link building and social signal acquisition.

Research shows that on-page SEO still matters. There are plenty of SEO’s that will tell you that on-page SEO doesn’t matter, but those same people are spending thousands of dollars on links to achieve the same rankings that you can get for a 10th of the cost.

While on-page might not always be enough to earn your first page rankings for competitive keywords, it will help to boost your rankings and make the battle for first place that much easier and cheaper.

Even if you ignore this group, there is another subsection of the SEO community that still believes that old school methods work. They’ll tell you that nothing has changed, Google is still a simple beast and the more times that you include a keyword, the better. Give these people a wide berth.

Panda crushed most of them, and those that survived are likely to follow suit over the next year as Google optimizes their algorithm for understanding the content on a page. On-page SEO is a tightrope walk if you succeed you will get the admiration and glory that you deserve, but just a small slip and you can crash into nothingness.

Unfortunately, not taking part is hardly an option. There will always be other business owners who will take the chance, and those that succeed will be too far ahead for you to catch up. On-page SEO is a prerequisite for online success and therefore understanding and implementing it is of the utmost importance.

Traditional On-Page Ranking Factors


While it’s true that the same tactics that worked ten years ago won’t work today, that doesn’t mean that those ranking factors have disappeared. Many of them are still incredibly important, but Google has tightened their boundaries, punishing websites heavily for stepping over the limit.

Instead of stuffing, ramming, jamming and any other forceful verb, you should approach these old factors with purpose and a delicate hand. While SEO’s have been punished in the past for keyword stuffing, including your keywords in important tags is still beneficial.

The key is to give Google what it always wanted, a helping hand. Don’t try and take advantage. Use HTML markup the way it was intended, i.e., using image alt tags to describe the image if it doesn’t load and header tags for appropriate sub-sections.

Beneficial On-Page Factors


  • The Title Tag – Using your title tag correctly is vital to ensure that Google indexes your article in the way that you intended.
  • Header Tags – Headers are essential for readers and robots. They help to divide a long page into consumable chunks that are easier to read and compartmentalize. They also give the crawlers a better idea of what the page is about and which parts of the page are the most important.
  • URL Structures – Including your keyword in the URL makes sense, not only for the reader who wants to click a page that is relevant to them but also for the robots.
  • Image Alt Tags – If an image on your page fails to load it’s useful to have an alt tag which will display instead. Rather than using these to stuff in your keywords, use them the way they were intended.
  • Strong and Emphasis Tags – Adding emphasis to certain parts of your content is a natural way to give extra information to a reader about the importance of a sentence or phrase.
  • The Meta Description – Your meta description should briefly describe what the article includes, why it exists and who it is intended for.

These six ranking factors are from an era long behind us, often abused but still relevant. Only three of these factors have a significant impact on your rankings (we’ll get to that later), but all of them serve a purpose for both your readers and the search engine crawlers.

Dangerous On-Page Factors


These two have caused a lot of debate in the past, primarily because they were both important ranking factors that could make or break your on-page SEO. This is no longer the case, and many SEO’s would argue that they have no benefit at all while still being potentially dangerous. Optimizing for them is likely to have no impact while over-optimizing can be detrimental.

  • Keyword Density
  • The Meta Keywords Tag

In earlier versions of the Google algorithm, keyword density was necessary for the crawler to understand what your content was about and which keywords it should rank for. But once SEO’s started abusing it Google cracked the whip, punishing websites heavily for stepping over the boundary.

Eventually, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) was implemented, making keyword density redundant. That change alone means that keyword stuffing is now useless. The only reason you should ever think about keyword density is to ensure that when writing naturally you haven’t stepped over the boundary.

The Meta Keywords Tag played a similar role when search engines struggled to interpret content in any intelligible manner. Of course, now they don’t need any help and using this tag only informs Google that you’re actively trying to manipulate their algorithm.

Optimizing for Rankings


In the past, you could succeed by using your keywords in every single tag, header, and paragraph on the page. But doing that today is going to earn you an over-optimization penalty, or at least a negative impact on your rankings.

Thorough keyword research is going to give you a selection of keywords, both short-tail, and long-tail, which you can optimize for within your content. Short-tail keywords are the most competitive while long-tails are less-so because they have less traffic and offer a lower incentive to websites targeting them.


Title Tag


Your title tag is arguably the most potent tag on the page. It represents the entire article, and therefore it makes sense that Google would pay attention to the words that are within it. With that in mind, it makes sense to use your most competitive keywords in your title tag because it’s likely to give the most significant boost and therefore help you to rank.

There is some research to suggest that including your keyword towards the beginning of your title tag is beneficial, but this often isn’t practical. If you are doing this consistently, you also leave a large footprint should Google ever choose to penalize sites for manipulating rankings in this way.

It’s also common knowledge that Google uses CTR (click through rate) to influence their SERP’s, and therefore you should also optimize your title for readability and user interaction.

If you are creative in your title tag, you can often include both a short-tail keyword and a long-tail keyword. Not only is this a natural way to write a headline, but it also ensures that you’re getting as much benefit from your title tag as possible.


Header Tags


In most cases, you will make your H1 tag the same as your title tag, many platforms like WordPress and Joomla will do this automatically. This means that the strongest header tag at your disposal is the H2 tag.

The H2 tag is your chance to optimize for the next most important keywords, rather than including your main keyword again. The 2nd keyword you optimize for is probably lower competition, and therefore an H2 tag is often enough to put you in an excellent position to rank on the first page with just a few links.


URL Structure


Within your URL it’s smart to include the main keyword, especially if it’s only a couple words in length. If it’s exceptionally long, then you might opt for a semantic variation.


Image Alt Tags


When you include a picture on your website, you should always take the time to write a detailed alt tag. This tag will appear for users who can’t load the image and also for blind users who use a text-to-speech program to read the page to them.

Presuming that you are using relevant images you can often include one of your keywords in the image alt tag, but it shouldn’t be the whole tag, it should fit naturally into the sentence.


Meta Description


In this day and age, Google treats your meta description as optional, often choosing to replace it with a part of your content that it thinks is better suited to the SERP’s. However, it can increase your CTR which means more traffic and also positive user signals which can have an impact on your rankings.

Modern Factors


Those traditional factors represent around 30% of the journey, more than enough for you to overtake your uneducated competition, but perhaps not enough for the most competitive keywords. For those, you will need to optimize for new on-page factors that can improve your rankings without risk of being penalized.


Grade Level Reading Score


It’s incredibly likely that Google is using Grade Level Reading Score to decide which results they return for different queries. Grade Level Reading Score is a complex system that attempts to interpret an article and the words that are used, giving a school grade which represents the level of writing in the article.

It makes complete sense if a young child searches for a page about dinosaurs they likely need a result that uses simple language. On the other hand, Google needs to be able to interpret queries and serve more complex pages for searches that are likely performed by adults interested in the science of dinosaurs.

Algorithms like the Flesch Kincaide Reading Ease score and the Grade Level score allow website owners to analyze their pages and see what level of language they are using.

To optimize your pages for this, you should interpret the keywords that you are trying to rank for and also analyze the top 10 results in the SERP. Both will allow you to figure out what level of writing is best for your readers so that you can adjust your writing style to improve your rankings.


Latent Semantic Analysis/Indexing


LSI is the reason why keyword stuffing is redundant, rather than dealing with individual words it looks at the topic of the content and uses a sophisticated algorithm to find relationships between words and topics. This is what allows Google to rank pages for keywords that are never even included on the page or in any off-page signals.

Rather than trying to optimize for LSI keywords, focus on writing the best content that you can, covering a broad topic and giving readers as much information as possible.


Term Frequency – Inverse Document Frequency


tf*IDF is a measure of how important a phrase is to the entire piece of content, computed by a sophisticated algorithm that looks at the frequency of phrases within a document, along with other factors.

The tf*IDF value increases in proportion to the number of times a word is used, but this increase is offset by the frequency of the word. This helps to disregard words like ‘he’ and ‘it’while recognizing the importance of words that are used in larger quantities than usual but not frequently.

Essentially, tf*IDF is a complicated method for calculating a value similar to keyword density which Google can use to influence their rankings of pages for specific keywords.


Supplementary Content


In recent years Google has hired more humans to rate pages, giving them more data about the quality of a page. This data allows them to interpret a page and figure out whether a human would like it, without ever having to show a person first.

This essentially means that you need to create a good experience for readers, i.e., easy to read content, less intrusive ads, visible contact and address details, links to other pages and websites.


Page Speed Time


With the majority of searches performed on mobile, your pages can’t be bloated. They need to load fast, and because fast is subjective, it’s increasing each year as the internet gets faster.

Ten years ago, a page that loaded in three-seconds was fast, but now that’s practically a requirement for having a usable website. You don’t need to push the limits of page speed, but most sites should ensure that they load in around 1-second or less.

Length of Content


Research has shown that rankings are highly correlated with the length of a piece of content. As with page speed, the ‘right length’ is subjective but it appears to be increasing each year. In the past, a 500-word piece of content was substantial, but now you might need 2,000-words just to break the first page.

Other studies have shown that users link to and share longer content more than they do shorter pages. Secondly, pages which are filled with information are more likely to have positive user signals because the time on page will increase and the bounce rate will likely be lower because you are keeping readers engaged.


Enhanced Content Types


Research shows that there is a correlation between pages that have images and rankings. This should be self-explanatory, people don’t enjoy reading vast chunks of text, they would rather have pages that use pictures, videos, lists, quizzes, resources, infographics and table of contents.

Best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Conferences – 2017 Edition

Posted on: March 15th, 2017 by John

Conferences offer a lot of opportunities, not the least of which is information on a subject in which you are interested. Attending a SEO conference is truly no different, as the goal is to familiarize yourself on what is trending in your vertical, what’s new in SEO, the interesting new developments, and really the tried and true methods that have carried SEO for years. Being up to date and current with your industry is important; most industries require continuing education in order to be top on of changes (SEO is no different). Here they are in order of quality and utility:

  1. Ungagged: Black Hat World Conference. Want to learn a bit more about the darker side of search engine optimization? Technical SEO has always had one foot in the greyer areas of the internet, so why not learn a bit more about all that goes bump in the SEO community. A deft mix of intelligent people, things Google doesn’t want you to know, and people who share your passion wait for you at Ungagged.
  2. Do you love sessions that both dynamic and filled with people who care about deep diving in advanced content concepts? MozCon might be for you. Whether you are interested in search, inbound marketing, or the social side, there is a lot to see here. Three days of actionable ideas and dynamic thought leaders await.
  3. Search Marketing Expo (SMX). Since 2007, Search Marketing Expo has been the leading event for SEO & SEM professionals. Between conference sessions and training workshop, marketing practitioners have learned how to be successful at this conference series that takes place multiple times around the world.
  4. MozCon Local. Are you looking to learn next-level tricks for all things SEO? Then this local marketing and EO conference with industry-leading brands and thought leaders will be of interest. Attend dynamic talks, live Q&As, and network with fellow marketers and enthusiasts.
  5. SearchLove Conference. Take a deep breath and enjoy two days of marketing workshops from of the world foremost thinkers, complete with discussions about current trends in search, analytics, content, optimization, and more!
  6. State of Search. This heaping helping of insight can help you no matter where along the spectrum of experience you land. There is a lot to take in, so pace yourself. You can find SEO, PPC, and social media marketing discussions, as well as networking events with giants in the marketing community.
  7. The annual optimization conference is a bastion for the industry’s best leaders, business, consultants, speakers, and sponsors. You will find a dearth of workshops and discussion surrounding social media, Internet marketing, search engines, and digital advertising.
  8. SEJ Summit. This invite-only flagship conference is dedicated to presentations that tackle the big issues in SEO and marketing: link building, on-page SEO, content strategy, and more!

seo conference

Did we miss your favorite conference or one that you think should be included? Let us know!


Fractionalization: The Future of Advertising Is Here Today

Posted on: March 15th, 2017 by John

There wasn’t always truth in advertising, but there was the ability to grab the attention of your demographic with ease. Familiarity has been replaced with viral content; and in many ways, this transition from straightforward advertising to the multi-dimensional approaches that are the bullet points for thought leaders has changed the game to something more behavioral––something that requires scaffolding.


Video marketing has been around since the advent of television, and it boy has it changed. Once, all you needed was a clever premise, a well-shot commercial, and the appropriate placement during prime television hours. This was before the ability to pass over what you don’t want to watch, or simply turn off advertising through social media applications.


A captive audience is easy to sell to.


Complexity invites a variety of difficulties; however, expanding the overall playing fields has created niche markets on top of niche markets––complete with targeting and re-targeting applications to help navigate them. Perhaps your wondering what this means for you. Two things are clear:


  • Single-channel marketing has gone the way of the dodo
  • Your demographic is now online


Television hasn’t disappeared altogether; it has just become a less effective advertising tool when considering ROI, cost-benefit analysis, and the relative budget necessary to get a campaign up and running. Drilling down deeper, we need to think about why single-channel marketing was so effective––is so effective.


The answer is simple: a direct, unadulterated conversion with your audience.


So now the question centers on how to keep the conversation, but change the methodology. Developing content for a demographic is the basis of marketing; in order to do that you need to know where you audience consumes media and information, and what indeed they are interested in.

This isn’t new information. Just think of the most popular brands that come to mind and you can create a list of brands that have taken this change in stride and adjusted their marketing strategies as it relates to video. The problem is not the principle; it is the methodology.

A common guiding principle in marketing is same behaviors, same results.

This applies to video marketing strategies as well. IF you are still creating Coke ads with Cindy Crawford for a millennial (and younger) audience, then you are behind the curve. As such, these videos are skipped over because that brand did not take into account how their audience consumes media and to what kind of media they attenuate.


Fractionalization: The Future of Advertising Is Here Today

local seo


This leads us to the concept of fractionalization. A single-channel approach ignores the ability of a consumer to simply ignore an advertisement. Fractionalization is a solution to this problem. By creating smaller viral content with a budget, say many videos instead of one video, you can create content that appeals to the strengths of each social media outlet. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat all have very different aesthetics; as such, the approach and content should differ and reflect what will create the greatest interaction––and conversion. It might seem like fractionalized creates more work, but really it is in an opportunity to flex creative muscles and approach your product in ways that you might not have considered before. While, it’s true that it does take more time, it is the way of the digital age.


If you’re scratching you head, don’t worry. Getting started is simple enough:


What’s the Big Idea? Understanding what you offer and who you want to offer is always the first step of a marketing endeavor. The Big Idea is something as simple as writing romance novels and identifying your audience of women between the ages of 35-55. Having this core principle guides how you fractionalize. This audience enjoys reading this genre, and you want to continue to encourage them to do that as well as purchase your product. There are a lot of writers and a lot of romance novels, so you need to use fractionalization to identify how to approach the different channels available to reach this demographic.


How does your audience break down? So you’ve identified a broad demographic and there are plenty of people subsumed by it. There are subsets within this audience that utilize social media channels differently, and identifying them allows you to better target them with content. For instance, our romance novel has a broad audience, some of whom might use Facebook or Twitter predominately. As such, you need to break down the channels in order to understand how to effectively hold your audience’s attention. Using multiple ads allows you to target more potential consumers than a single video ad on only one social media channel.


Build your content: Now you know where your audience is, what kind of content is successful on those platforms, it is time to create content reflects these different marketing channels. Understanding that people spend less time on a Snapchat post than a Facebook post should influence the length and delivery of the respective content. Older audiences will likely use older media, and younger audiences will use newer media; so not only do you need to base the content on the type of channel, it needs to be catered to the demographic.


The future of advertising is now, and video content must be fractionalized in order to reach more potential consumers who would likely be tuning out your content elsewhere. Knowing your audience is a great first step, but in order to stand out from among other similar products and companies, you need to force yourself to understand the entire social media ecosystem. Trend toward valuable content and specific targeting and you will find yourself turning the corner before you know it.


Changes Coming to Instagram – Feeds to be Organized Like Twitter & Facebook

Posted on: March 16th, 2016 by John

Instagram has just announced that it’s planning to organize its feeds rather than displaying posts as they go live. The reordering of the feed, if implemented on the site, will bump up popular posts and those from good friends and families all the way to the top. Eventually the site hopes to eliminate irrelevant and unpopular posts from user feeds.


















People miss about 70 percent of their Instagram feed. Instagram plans on ensuring that the 30 percent users do get to see is relevant to what they like. Instagram wants that 30 percent to be the best of the best for its users.

Instagram has jumped on the wagon of different social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, in which they organize posts based on particular interests and bump those posts up to the top, even if the posts are a little old. The results of this change have been a little rocky for Facebook and Twitter, as tens of thousands of protesters went against it. But considering that Facebook introduced this change in October of 2009 (check out this cool Facebook algorithm change timeline), the change did not seem to hurt them at all.

Instagram is testing the waters right now and is taking a more cautious approach with this new change. They have only introduced the change on a single-digit percentage of users before they plan on introducing it sitewide. However, Instagram is not going to make this change optional like Twitter did on their site, which could create a backlash if users don’t like it.

Instagram is known for making small changes, which keeps users happy. The changes that are going to take place aren’t major, so people will not wake up tomorrow wondering if they have a different Instagram.

Since the new algorithm to be used by Instagram will be implemented based on interactions with photos, it is unclear how Instagram plans on keeping the celebrities, brands, and advertisements out of user feeds. The change might make it harder to find those gems you sometimes stumble upon. On the other hand, not many people like missing important events from their friends and family, which is why Instagram is choosing to go this route. Instagram wants to make everyone happy and hopes their new algorithm will do just that. Instagram wants you to see your friend’s engagement right as it takes place.

A Recipe for Success in Business: Calculating Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by John


Believe it or not, one of the most valuable marketing and easy-to-use metrics in business is also the most overlooked formula. It simply amazes me how many people are not using this formula. In a day and age where quantifying your data is crucial to a business’s success, it’s no wonder half of all startups are out of business within the first year. What is it you ask?


It’s called Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)— and it’s a game-changer for your business.


As an ecommerce retailer, service business, or any business which has recurring clients, knowing the CLV (also can be referred to as CLTV, LTV, and LCV) of your customers is one of the most crucial tools for your success. It helps to develop a healthy business model and profitable strategy as you intentionally invest in reaching the clients will grow your brand the best.

Customer Lifetime Value - CLV


Calculating the lifetime value of a customer also helps to:


Develop a more efficient customer acquisition

When you only focus your marketing channels based on the gross profit of an initial purchase, you limit the return on investments (ROI) of customer acquisition. Instead, you should be optimizing the channels that reach your most profitable customers in terms of their lifetime value. Understanding and implementing  the CLV into marketing strategies will enhance customer acquisition by giving you insight into the demographic that should be targeting. The trick is to maximize your customer lifetime value in relation to the investment or cost of customer acquisition to develop a recipe for success.


Create better and more personalized targeting and messaging

Relevance is key when it comes to reaching your targeted audience. Using CLV to segment your brand’s customer base is important because it gives you a more dynamic view of your ideal client. You can use it to create more personalized messages that speak to the clients who will directly benefit your brand in the long run.

Foster stronger relationships with your most valuable customers

Calculating CLV can help you choose where to direct your customer service resources by identifying your most profitable clients. After all, the Pareto Principle applies well when it comes to consumers: 80% of your revenue is generated by only 20% of your customers. So, giving particular attention and better service to the best customers will give you more support from them, which helps push up margins and make your business more profitable.

Identify and utilize behavioral triggers

You can use CLV to identify the behavioral triggers of your ideal clients. To figure out the most influential incentives that get your most valuable customers to make their first purchases, you can organize data into natural clusters and make comparisons. Try to better understand why certain triggers lead to purchases, and then replicate the triggers with prospective customers.



How to Calculate CLV of Customers

While there are multiple ways to calculate CLV, using the most basic formula focuses on the variables that you’re most able to control. Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to calculate with the breakdown of this awesome infographic from KISSmetrics:


(Average Order Value) x (Number of Repeat Sales) x (Average Retention Time)

KISSmetrics breaks down each step of the calculation of CLV using Starbucks as an example. The first step indicates how to find the average sale, which is the first variable. Then, the next step is to find the number of repeat sales, which is the number of visits per week in this case of the infographic (shown below). Then, the averages are plugged into the formula above to find the lifetime value of customer for that particular given time.

Another example could be applied to a monthly subscription service, like Spotify Premium. The membership costs $10 a month, giving their customers access to thousands of songs to listen to whenever and wherever they are without any ads interrupting. So, we could apply the formula in this way:

($10) x (12) x (3 years) = $360

So each subscriber has a value of $120 a year, or $360 if the if membership lifetime average is 3 years. For college students, they offer it at half price. So for those who flash their student IDs, their annual CLV is $60, or $180 for 3 years.

And with all the interrupting advertisements that play on the free Spotify accounts (not to mention being limited to shuffle play on mobile devices), the monthly subscription is a tempting offer. Then more questions arise: How does a free trial month of Spotify convince more people to subscribe? How many of those potential customers keep on subscribing? Is losing $10 for a potential customer worth it? Is losing $5 a month worth it on certain customers?

Calculating the CLV is made to answer those questions, helping you understand how to reach and keep the most valuable customers coming back for business. It can help you find innovative ways to increase the lifetime value of a customer by creating offers and building better service catered to you best clients.

Take the time to work through the numbers through this simple equation. Doing so when you’re early on in the business can give you a head start on building your brand towards your ideal client. Don’t forget to use variation to find out which strategies provide the best results. Ultimately, it’s what determines the strategy and success of your company.

In the coming week, I’m going to write a blog post about how to use your CLV in order to calculate how much you should spent to acquire a client (CAC = client acquisition cost).

It’s Finally Here: SERPS with Four Ads on Top

Posted on: February 22nd, 2016 by John

It’s Finally Here: SERPS with Four Ads on Top

There’s been a lot of speculation in the PPC community over the last couple of months, as Google tested SERPS with four ads on the top of the page, which previously only had one to three ads. This replaces the usual mix of top, bottom, and sidebar-heavy AdWords ads, depending on the specific search result.

Although it is difficult to tell if things have increased or not, now, ads will have additional features, such as sitelinks.

In the last two weeks, things have been gradually changing, but as of the morning of February 18, the percentage of top ad blocks displaying four ads jumped from 18.9% to 19.3%.

If you take notice to the 5,986 page-1 SERPs in the tracking data that displayed top ads, here is how the ad count currently breaks down:

adwords ad block graph

In the image above, you’ll notice that 4-ad blocks have overtaken 2-ad blocks for almost one-fifth of all top ad blocks. Now, although this situation is complex, it will continually change as time goes on. Right now, being at 19%, it’s fair to say that it’s no longer in testing.

Sample Keywords & SERPs

serp new

As you can tell, the 4-ad will carry the same information, such as sitelinks, location, and other features. Other examples of high-volume searches that provided us with 4 top ads since Google implemented this change includes:

  • “royal Caribbean”
  • “car insurance”
  • “smartphone”
  • “netbook”
  • “medicare”
  • “job search”
  • “crm”
  • “global warming”
  • “cruises”
  • “bridesmaid dresses”

Please note that our data is mainly geared towards commercial queries, so there is a possibility that our percentages of occurrences are just a little bit higher than the total population of searches.

Shift in Right-column Ads

panels are also integrating niche advertising and verticals, such as hotels, music, movies, and even some consumer electronics.

This situation is liable to change and the numbers could change in coming days and weeks. Stay tuned for the latest, I’ll try to update you shortly.

The 4-ad block looks the same as all other ad blocks, the only exception being that it’s in the fourth category. Here we’ll provide you an example for “used cars,” localized to the Chicago area.



Here is another example from another very competitive search, “laptops.”

We have also noticed another change, which is that right-hand column ads seem to be moving in a different direction now. Take a look at this 30-day graph for the occurrence of right-hand ads and bottom ads below.


The same day Google implemented the 4-ad block, there was a substantial drop in right-column ad blocks, and with that, there was an increase in bottom ad blocks. Rumor has it that AdWords reps are confirming that this change has taken place only for some clients, but the confirmation for everyone else is still pending.

Where Is Google Going with This?

We won’t know for sure, but what’s for certain is that Google is definitely making changes, which they have been doing for a while. First, Google made a public and measureable move geared towards mobile-first design. Since mobile does not support right-hand column ads, Google might be trying to make everything standard in terms of advertising.

Another thing is that in the last couple of years, we’ve seen new right-hand elements pop up, including knowledge panels and some paid blocks. These elements push right-hand column ads down. At the same time, knowledge

How to Rank Higher with Better Content and the TF*IDF Algorithm Explained

Posted on: January 21st, 2016 by John

**UPDATE 4/1 – See bottom of page for some testing results.

Welp, 2016 is upon us and it’s that time of year to do some personal inventory. How is your site ranking? Not good enough? Not at all? There’s probably a reason this is so. With constant changes to Google’s algorithm, it’s a full time job just keeping up. I know, Google is always messing with yo stuff…right? Let me show you a quick and easy way to make your website content better.

Have you heard of the TF*IDF algorithm (not to be mistaken with tl;dr)? I know, it sounds sexy..let me explain. The TF*IDF algorithm has been around for quite a while now. It’s complicated, but it’s the way Google looks at words and the frequency at which they are used. Think frequency, not keyword stuffing (got it BHW?). Basically put, it’s the way that Google measures quality and understands content. If your the type that likes to geek out, here’s more information about TL*IDF. Mad props to the guys over at for the original article.

Now that I got that out of the way, let me show you a simple way to rank your pages better in the search engines (mostly Google..wink wink).

First, go to and get yourself an account. main page


It’s free for one account, but has limited capabilities. If you are a small business and only need one website, choose the €99.90 option (it’s around $108). If you are an agency or small SEO company, it’s another $20 (roughly) per additional account, or you can upgrade to their bigger plans.

1) Once you have created an account, add a project.

Add New Campaign


2) Next, enter your domain.

enter account information


3) Choose the amount of pages you want to crawl. If you have a big website, obviously you want to crawl more pages.

Page Crawl


4) Start the crawl. Give it a few minutes. You’ll be notified via email once the crawl is finished.

start crawl


5) Click on TL*IDF

click tl IDF


6) Enter your keyword

*Pro tip – I like to optimize my pages for 4-5 main keywords, so you can rinse and repeat this process with the same page multiple times.

enter keyword


7) After a few seconds you will be sent to the results page.  You will want to click “Two-word combinations”. This will filter results and give you better keyword phrases for your page or article.

results page

You have two other functions here. The Zoom Tool and the Proof Keyword Filter. The Zoom Tool allows you to zoom into the current keywords, and the Proof Keyword Filter allows you to filter only the top keywords. Try to stick with 10-20 keywords as a general rule of thumb.


8) After you click the Two-Word Combinations, it will look as so:



10) Next, you will want to click the “Compare with URL”. This will be the URL from your want to compare with the competition.

Comare with compare 2



11) Next Click on “Detailed Results” in the left sidebar.



**Below you will see, the tool gives levels and TF*IDF scores. What I suggest it to try to stay right in the middle of the light blue areas.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 1.19.08 PM


12) Notice below, I have marked all of the keywords not within the content.

results with marks


From here what I like to do is spread out the results a bit and make a list of the most relevant keywords I am missing within my content/article. I give that list to my writers, and have them incorporate them within the content. I’ll also try to incorporate them within the title tag, description tag, and alt tags as well.

Once the content is finished, I like to throw it into “Text Assistant”, to see if there are any additional keywords or phrases I may have missed.

test assistant


Rinse and repeat until you feel your content matches that of the competition. If you follow these steps your page or article will be well on it’s way to ranking better. Remember, every little thing helps with SEO.



Here is just one example of a page I fixed using this method. This is with zero link building and happen over a 30 day period:

Ranking example

Here is that same page 60 days later:

TL*IDF Example

**These are highly competitive keywords in a specific SEO niche.

Here is another project I started 30 days ago. The only links I built to this site were local citations 6 months ago. I will update in 30 days.

Example 2 of TL*IDF


Looking for a content audit? Contact us today to find out more.


Are You Using Schema Markup to Boost SEO?

Posted on: June 10th, 2015 by John


As a business owner, you know how crucial it is for your website to rank successfully in search engine results.

But believe it or not, the vast majority of websites aren’t aware of this one advantage that’s been around for years.

In fact, most people don’t know what it’s for or even what it is. And that is exactly why we want to tell you about why you need Schema.

What is Schema?

Schema is a type of code/microdata that gives users more relevant results on SERPs and makes it easier for search engines to effectively interpret data on your website. The Schema project was started as a collaboration between the worlds largest search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yandex) to help create a common set of structured data markup on web pages.


We all know that website content gets indexed and returned in search results. But when you add the Schema markup to the picture, things get structured a little differently.


You see, Schema allows for search engines to interpret what your content actually means.



This is how explains it:


“Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string “Avatar” in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means—”Avatar” could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.”


Take a look at the samples from


Let’s start with a concrete example. Imagine you have a page about the movie Avatar—a page with a link to a movie trailer, information about the director, and so on. Your HTML code might look something like this:

<span>Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954)</span>
<span>Science fiction</span>
<a href=”../movies/avatar-theatrical-trailer.html”>Trailer</a>

To begin, identify the section of the page that is “about” the movie Avatar. To do this, add the itemscope element to the HTML tag that encloses information about the item, like this:

<div itemscope>
 <span>Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954) </span>
 <span>Science fiction</span>
 <a href=”../movies/avatar-theatrical-trailer.html”>Trailer</a>

By adding itemscope, you are specifying that the HTML contained in the <div>…</div> block is about a particular item.

But it’s not all that helpful to specify that there is an item being discussed without specifying what kind of an item it is. You can specify the type of item using the itemtype attribute immediately after the itemscope.

<div itemscope itemtype=””>
 <span>Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954)</span>
 <span>Science fiction</span>
 <a href=”../movies/avatar-theatrical-trailer.html”>Trailer</a>

This specifies that the item contained in the div is in fact a Movie, as defined in the type hierarchy. Item types are provided as URLs, in this case



Basically, Schema was invented for the users.

It helps them gain the information they need. That way, when they see your website show up on SERPs, they’ll be looking at your “digital business card.” The data will display everything they need to know about your website: what you do, where you are, what your services/products costs, what you’re all about, and so on.


Why is Schema important?

Schema improves the ranking of just about every kind of content. No matter what kind of data you have on your site, there’s bound to be an itemscope and itemtype you can use. Implementing the markup to your website will give you dramatically positive results. One study found that websites that implemented Schema ranked 4 times better than those that didn’t. Yet even with that data, still only 0.3 percent of websites use Schema markups. But that’s exactly why using it will be to your advantage.


How do I Use Schema on my Website?

Before you get scared off by the idea of coding, we’ve got some good news. Using Schema is relatively easy, though it does require a little extra time to set up. To make things simple for you, has this guide that will walk you though the process as you get started. You can also use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Once your markup is complete, you should use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to double check that everything is set up and working properly.

And remember: The more content you mark up, the better.

So have you tried using Schema markups or or other types of microdata? Let us know how you use it, and leave questions and comments below!

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