Web Publishing Notes (May 2019 Roundup)

Even though I’m super busy these days, growing and managing my content sites, I want to make sure I stay up to date on industry trends. One of the best ways to do that is to follow my favorite web publishing blogs.

When I find a gem, I take notes and share them here in a monthly roundup.

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read all of the blogs I would like to. I do follow a bunch of them, skim the titles in my RSS feed and then skim through some of the posts. Many are interesting and useful but I’ve decided to limit the number of posts mentioned in the roundups to those I actually think I’ll need to get back to in the future.

My point is, this is by no way or means a comprehensive list. Just a public version of my notes.

The Why, When, and How of Republishing Blog Posts

By Content Marketing Institute

Link to post

Kim Moutsos shares the thought process behind CMI’s policy of re-publishing old blog post. Utilizing frequent content audits, the CMI team looks for old pieces that still have decent traction in terms of search traffic. They then update the post as may be necessary and publish it as a new post, with an updated URL. Most times, they redirect the old post to the new.

Moutsos explains that since their URL structure contains a date, they have to keep updating the URL too. In other words, they actually delete the old post and create a new one, with a 301 redirect.

My take: I’m about to run an audit on a couple of my sites, seeking out underperforming content and updating it. I will also keep an eye out for content which may need updating and this is where the CMI system will come in handy, so I’ll probably return to that post. I do wonder why they don’t change their URL structure though. Getting rid of dates in the URL seems like an easy thing to do, including a formula-based 301 redirect.

Surviving an Audit by Amazon Associates

By Niche Site Project

Link

Super affiliate Doug Cunnington shares the story of a full Amazon audit which he has been subjected to recently. The post includes a very detailed analysis of what was wrong (or potentially wrong) with the sites and which steps were taken to fix all issues on time. Cunnington passed the audit (“whew!” for him) and now he’s sharing his experience, checklists, and templates.

My take: Always good to keep Amazon’s rules in mind but I’m mentioning this post here for future reference. Just in case, and hopefully, never to be used! I’m pretty sure I’m compliant on all counts on most of my sites, with the exception of one old site. Which I keep telling myself that I need to fix someday, or just get rid of.

Long-Tail Keywords: The Last Guide You’ll Ever Need [2019 Edition]

By Authority Hacker

Link

In this updated version to a thorough guide on long-tail keyword research, Niall Roche makes the case for focusing on long-tail keywords. He then reviews the various techniques for finding these, using step-by-step illustrated guides.

My take: This is a great guide for beginners but I could find some helpful nuggets there myself. There are a couple of tools and techniques there that I’d like to test out for my sites.

I do think Roche creates a bit of a false impression when referring to any 4-word combo as long tail. His examples of “low protein dog food” or “dog food for seniors” are anything by low-competition. Long-tail is about more than just the number of words and each industry has its own high-competition terms, regardless of the number of words there.

Search Intent: The Overlooked ‘Ranking Factor’ You Should Be Optimizing for in 2019

By Ahrefs Blog

Link

Search intent rules. I was originally going to include this post about keyword difficulty in the roundup, just because of the reference it made to search intent. And then, right on the last day of the month, Joshua Hardwick published an awesome guide right on the topic of search intent, so I just had to include that instead.

Hardwick’s post has it all. A detailed analysis of what search intent means, what types of content people look for and how we can try and figure out the search intent to serve users exactly what they want. Essentially, the types of user intent are –

  1. Informational
  2. Commercial Investigation
  3. Transactional

(There is also navigational intent, but that one is pretty self-explanatory and thus irrelevant. IMO you have to be an idiot to try and compete over these phrases)

What Ahrefs suggests here is to take a good hard look at current search results in order to figure out what Google thinks that users mean when they search for a phrase. Their detailed example of how they managed to finally break through the glass ceiling of the search “backlink tool” is fascinating. Basically, the only way to get into the top 5 search results for that phrase was by figuring out this simple fact:

When people type in “backlink tool” into Google, they really mean “FREE backlink tool”. Which is really cool when you think about it. Google sort of reads their mind and understands the real need behind the query. No amount of on-page or off-page optimization could get Ahref’s page into the top five spots because the tool they offered cost money. Only once they adapted the page by offering a free (or freemium) version, did they win the first search result.

My take: Nothing new about the concept, obviously, but I think this is a great guide on a topic that is pretty much the top consideration in my SEO efforts. What’s more, I have an active subscription with Ahrefs for another week, so I’m going to be making the most of testing some of the ideas Hardwick suggests for improving search intent evaluation.

That’s it for this month’s roundup. Looking at this now, I realize my choice of posts is probably related to my own plans for June:

  1. Adding the next 400 topics to my content plans across all sites.
  2. Wrap up the audits of my larger sites in order to generate a plan for improving old content.

By the way, in case you’re wondering about the featured image for this post. Instead of searching for stock photos, I decided to use photos from our family trips in various locations, as they relate to the month in question. So, this is Pier 39 in San Francisco, May 2011.

For me, these images are more than happy memories. They also keep me motivated. I love what I do, but I also want to make enough money so we can keep exploring the world together as a family.

Here’s to a busy and prolific June!

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