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  • Posts

    • I am often asked about what tools I use for SEO. There are a lot and some of them are situation based, but this is a quick list of the tools I use frequently on basically every project. Semrush - Obviously. This is one of only two tools that I log into every single day. I use this for assisting with site audits, competitor organic and paid research, keyword research, and content generation/marketing. Next, let’s get the Google tools out of the way: Google Analytics Google Search Console Google Tag Manager Google Optimize - If you are not familiar with this one, I use it primarily for A/B conversion testing. Google Data Studio - I just want to mention that this is one I think is underutilized and underappreciated. With Data Studio you can pull data from Analytics, Search Console, and Google Ads and combine and present it how you want. You can also much more easily segment the data. If you are working with clients, you can make all that data more appealing to the eye and emphasize what you want them to focus on as well (like leads, sales, etc.). Google Chrome Developer Tools - I have shown in other tips how I use this for identifying things like LCP and CLS issues. That is just scratching the surface of what you can do in it. Auditing / Monitoring Tools: Screaming Frog - I know a lot of people like SiteBulb instead. They do pretty much the same thing, but Screaming Frog does it faster and is less resource intensive. ContentKing App - This has recently replaced DeepCrawl for me. It has great monitoring features, but also lets me easily dig through and segment pages. Too much to cover here, but a great tool. Other tools: Jarvis.AI - There are plenty of AI writing tools out there and it seems like new ones popping up each day now. I prefer this one. I use it to boost our content generation. I do not create content in Jarvis and post it straight to websites. Everything gets edited first, but it really speeds things up versus writing from scratch. I do not use it just for writing articles. I use it for helping to generate ad copy and headlines. I use it to help generate title tags and H tags in articles. I don’t often use something it generates for these, but I will have it write 20-25 variations of a title tag, and use those to create something myself. I’m constantly finding new ways to use this. Frase - Love this for generating content briefs for writers and picking apart data, headings, questions, etc. used in top ranking sites for queries. Great tool for writing content. It's AI writer is not great right now, but could improve over time. Answer the Public - Great tool for generating additional ideas for content and keyword research. SEOPress - Because I know someone is going to ask what Wordpress SEO plugin I prefer. I’m not a fan of Yoast and anyone using it is doing so at their own peril, or the peril of their clients. Yoast has a long history of releasing updates with bugs in it, sometimes site and SEO crippling ones. It’s not just the bugs that bother me though, it is the way the company treats its customers and reacts to those issues. SEOPress basically does everything Yoast does, but is less bloated and has never F’d up one of my sites. (On a side note relating to that, except for security patches, when it comes to Wordpress you should never be updating Wordpress versions or plugins when updates are first released. Even in staging areas. Bugs can creep up that you do not catch in staging. Let everyone else be the guinea pigs for a few weeks.) Monday - Although not directly an SEO tool, this is the other tool I log into every single day. I often get asked how I keep on top of everything and manage clients without anything falling through the cracks. This is how. There are plenty of similar tools out there, and even if you are working solo, I would recommend using one. ClickUp and Asana would be my next choices. Octopus.do - Something I have been using a little bit more recently on smaller sites. It helps to visualize the site structure changes I want to make with clients. There are plenty of other great tools out there, but these are the ones I use most frequently.
    • This is a short one (cue the 'That's what she said' jokes) Condense common resources. I was auditing at a site once talking about addiction and addiction rehab. I found 10 posts that mentioned the same 4 addiction rehab/help sites and linked to all 4. Something like… "If you or someone you know suffers from addiction or you think might be suffering from addiction, check out the xyzaddictioncenter.com. There is also an addiction hotline at addictionhotline.com…." And so on. They linked to the same 4 places with the same kind of info. The problem with that is every time you do it, you are passing on link equity from those pages to an external site. Instead of doing that, they could have just created a resource type page and directed people there if they are seeking more information and help. Now instead of having 4 external links on 10 different pages, there are 4 external links on 1 page. Each of those pages will have 1 link pointing to that resource page. If you find that your site is linking to a lot of the same places multiple times on a variety of pages, consider creating some kind of resource or FAQ type page that you can direct those links to instead and cut down on your total links on some of your pages.
    • Spend less of your time, energy, and resources worrying about what Google may or may not do to you.   I get messages all the time from people worrying about some what-if scenario, usually in regards to worry about invoking some Google penalty for something.   If you are an SEO or a business owner that does your own SEO, I want you to write this down. I'm serious. Write it down.   *** Google spends way more resources looking for reasons TO rank your website than looking for reasons NOT to rank your website. ***   Many SEOs tend to spend too much time worrying that Google is out to get them or is just dying to slap them with some sort of a penalty.   If you have good content that answers a particular search query, Google wants to show your page. Never forget that.  Your goal should be to provide them with reasons to show your page.
    • If you are not using Google Tag Manager on your websites, you should be. Google Tag Manager is a free tool that allows you to manage and deploy marketing and tracking tags on your website without the need to modify the code on your website. It’s a one stop shop for deploying Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels, creating new events, tracking form submissions, and a host of other features. A few of the benefits of using Google Tag Manager include: -No need for a developer. Have you ever wanted to add tracking for a new form deployed on a site or want to add a scroll event to a new piece of content to see how far down visitors are reading it? You let your developer know only to be met with a, “I will get that done next week,” response. Of course, that usually means “I will have to follow up with you next week to find out why you did not do this yet.” No more. Once Tag Manager is installed on a site, you can easily do all of this yourself in a few minutes. -No need to code. If you are a DIY’er, the nice thing about Google Tag Manager is you really do not need to know how to code, although for some things a bit of familiarity with javascript can certainly be helpful. Tag Manager comes with a bunch of preset tags for adding things like Google Analytics, Google Ads Conversion Tracking, Google Ads Remarketing, Google Optimize, HotJar, LinkedIn Insight, and a host of other integrations. The only thing I commonly use that is not already ready to go in Tag Manager is the Facebook Pixel, but there is an option for adding custom code where you just copy and paste your Pixel code into the tag. -Easy tracking. You can easily set up tags to track button clicks (all buttons or specific buttons), link clicks, form submissions, scrolling events, PDF downloads, and you can even install schema. Note: Google recommends not using GTM for schema, but it does work. They have honestly never given a great reason for why they do not recommend it. Just be aware it will not work in the schema testing tool, but you can copy and paste your schema code directly into there to test that it works. -Test new products without waiting for a developer. Want to test a new product or service on your site but need your developer to install the code? Not anymore. You can just insert it into Google Tag Manager. -All third-party code is in one place. Need to make a change to one of your tracking scripts? There is no more hunting down the code in your website. Everything is in GTM and easy to find. -Preview and debug mode. This is maybe one of my favorite features of GTM. It has its own preview and debug mode where you can test things before making it live on your site. It will show you what tags are firing and which are not. You can quickly and easily get things running correctly. ***What are tags?*** For those of you not familiar with Google Tag Manager, tags are snippets of code you will be inserting into your site with GTM. Most commonly it is things like tracking pixels. Tags tell GTM what to do. Tags can have multiple triggers and variables. Triggers are what tell GTM when to do what you want it to do. Common triggers in GTM include pageviews, clicks, form submissions, and custom events. Variables can put limitations on your triggers and tags. For example, you might create a tag to fire Universal Analytics tracking, the trigger would be a pageview (you can set this to all pages), and the variable would be your Analytics tracking ID number. Another example, you might create a Universal Analytics event as a tag, the trigger might be a form submission, and it might have a variable identifying a specific form. This is where you can start to get a little more refined in your tracking. Let's say you have a request a quote form on your homepage, but you also have one on a specific request a quote page. You can set up the same tag as mentioned above, but add a variable to the form submission trigger where it only fires on the homepage. Then set up a separate identical tag with a variable to only fire on the request a quote page. Now you can set up separate goals for the events these tags will create and track where different traffic segments are converting. There is a lot more you can do with Google Tag Manager. This is just scratching the surface of it. If you are just getting started with it, I highly, highly recommend the MeasureSchool YouTube channel. You will not find better tutorials on GTM anywhere.
    • I detest anything that generates two menus in a google cached page. I used to use Divi, which I found extremely intuitive and simple to use for the most part. I stopped using it after raising the double menu issue with one of the top support guys, I honestly forget his name but I am sure he is in some of the videos explaining Divi features.  All I wanted from them was to give me some kind of fix through their support forum (which other than this was always SUPER helpful), since it is built into the theme. We went back and forth for a week until I received a message from him stating that he had talked to their SEO guys and they have assured him it is not a problem.  In the last message I sent I told him he should fire anyone that told him that and I dropped both the conversation and the Divi theme.
    • Ever wonder if a red “buy now” button will convert better on your page than a yellow one? Are you curious if a different call to action would drive more people into your funnel than the one you are using? I think most people understand the value of A/B testing to improve conversions, but I’m always amazed at how few people actually do it. I think some people think it is too hard to implement. Others think it will be expensive to get their developer to set it up. Few people realize that Google actually gives you a completely free tool to set up A/B testing that is simple to use. It’s called Google Optimize, and it has been right in your face all this time. When you are in Analytics (or Tag Manager and Data Studio) and hit the drop down menu to switch accounts, you will see icons for Analytics, Tag Manager, Optimize, and Data Studio. There is also an icon for Google Surveys, but I never use that. Just like Google Analytics, Tag Manager, and Data Studio, Google Optimize is 100% free. The interface is very similar to Tag Manager. There is a script that needs to be installed in the header of any page you want it to run on, similar to Analytics and Tag Manager. GTM has a tag already set up for Google Optimize that you can use. When you create your first “Experience” (as Optimize calls them) you will be given a few options to choose from. The most commonly used is the A/B test, but you can also do a Multivariate test, Redirect test, Personalization, or Banner template. The Banner template lets you add a notification to the top of your site. The Personalization allows you to target certain visitors. Want to show something to Facebook visitors that organic search visitors do not see? This will allow you to do that. To set up your first A/B test, you will need to select the page you want to run your test on, connect your Google Analytics account to Optimize, and install a Chrome extension. The extension allows you to use an editor on your page to identify what you want to change for your testing. Add your first variant, hit the Edit button and you are off and running. This will take you to the page editor. It works very similar to a lot of the common page builders you will find out there on Wordpress or other platforms. You can select an element and change its size, color, background, font, etc. Pretty much anything as far as the styling goes, you can change. You can move segments around the page. You can also change content. Want to try a different heading? Instead of using “Get a Quote” on a button, do you want to test “Get Started”? You can change the words on your page however you want. Once you are done, hit “Save” and then “Done”. That takes you back into Google Optimize. You will see you have an option to change the weightings of when your experiment runs. Most of the time, you would use a 50/50 test, but let’s say you have a page that converts really well and makes a significant portion of your income. You may not want to jeopardize that, so you could have 75% of your visitors see the original page and only 25% see the test version. You have options for page targeting where you can run the test on more than one page. Next you will need to connect the test to a goal in Google Analytics. Going even deeper, there are audience options you can choose. This includes simple things like targeting people by device, new vs. returning visitors, using a site visitors geography, browsers, etc. You can also get a little more advanced and only run the experiment on visitors that come to the page by a UTM parameter. Want to target people coming from 1 particular Google Ads group inside a campaign, but not run the same experiment on other ad groups inside the same campaign that use the same landing page? Use UTM parameters. Or maybe you want to run a test on people who visit your homepage from Google My Business versus organic searches. Again, use UTM parameters to do it. Google Optimize gives you a really easy way to run A/B tests on your page and improve your conversions. Once you see how simple it is, it can become kind of addicting running tests all the time.  
    • I think they clearly want to force people into the $999/mo plan. $499 for 100 sites or $999 and you get a 1000. Seems like a no brainer. It does seem like a lot for a yearly subscription. On the other hand, if you are running a web development agency with monthly subscription costs and you really like building in Elementor, it's pretty easy to cover the costs.
    • I just checked the pricing and it is the same from the date you posted this. That is a lot of money for bloated code and double menu's! Someone must be buying at this price though. Like Mr T says, I pity the fool!  
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