Web Publishing Notes (January 2019 Roundup)

One of my resolutions for 2019 is to try and read more blogs about web publishing. Yes, it’s time-consuming but it’s the only way to keep evolving and improving – by learning from the experience of others.

I found myself making notes as I was reading and so I decided to just turn it into a blog post here. Hopefully, these summaries + comments will help others as well.

1. Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide by Authority Hacker

Joshua Hardwick discusses the importance of internal linking and suggests a work plan that includes the following steps –

  1. Check the site for broken links and links to redirected URL’s and fix those.
  2. Look for links to unimportant pages and delete those.
  3. Find important pages that are too far removed from your main page and bring them forward (linking-wise).
  4. Find and link orphan pages.
  5. Adjust your internal linking structure so that link juice flows the way you want it to.

https://ahrefs.com/blog/internal-links-for-seo/

My take:

This is actually something I really need to pay attention to. I have several sites where internal linking needs to be optimized so I’m definitely coming back to this guide when I do that.

2. SEO Strategy for 2019 by Backlinko

Brian Dean didn’t post anything new in January but he did update his classic “SEO strategy guide”. And a refresher’s course on Backlinko’s is always a good idea.

The changes/updates aren’t dramatic. It’s the same basic skyscraper approach that Brian has always advocated. Find a keyword that’s underserved and create a better resource that’s optimized for user-intent. Then build links.

As far as I can tell, the new update focuses on promoting not just the specific content item, but your site and your brand as a whole.

https://backlinko.com/seo-strategy

My take:

I think Brian’s strategy is fantastic for people who manage a single site or have the resources to outsource brand-awareness creation. I’m not at that point yet. I do relate to the basic approach of creating killer content that’s truly useful to the user.

3. Social media promotion vs. longtail keyword targeting by GrowAndConvert

Benji Hyan shares the experience accumulated by the GAC team comparing two content promotion methods:

  1. Community content promotion – aka social media promotion.
  2. Pain point SEO – basically, creating multiple content items targeting longtail search queries.

For 2019, they’ve decided to invest less in what they call Pain point SEO and instead focus on link building as the primary content promotion tactic, boosted by more social media promotion.

https://growandconvert.com/content-marketing/content-promotion-tactics/

My take:

GAC focuses on promoting product-oriented sites and pages for clients. As Benji explains, they can’t rely solely on long-term techniques and need to deliver faster results.

I’ll stick to “pain point SEO” and keep on trudging very patiently, creating multiple content items to cover as many queries as possible.

4. Refreshing old content by Animalz

Jimmy Daly makes the compelling case for needing to refresh old content to prevent a decline in traffic to that post. He suggests three ways to refresh old content –

  • Expanding the post by adding more information
  • Updating to the current calendar year (for posts with the year in the title)
  • SEO review and optimization for current standards
  • Merging old content units with new on-topic ones
  • Launching a new promotion campaign

https://www.animalz.co/blog/content-refresh/

My take:

Only one of my niche blogs is over a year old. I’ve already done an in-depth audit in the summer on that site and merged old content where needed. There are a couple of “2018” posts which I need to update though.

5. Tools to Optimize Your Old Content by Content Marketing Institute

Writing for CMI, Ann Smarty also takes on the topic of refreshing old content. She suggests three online tools that can help put a fresh face on old content –

  • Text Optimizer – a tool that analyzes Google snippets for the query and suggests on-topic key phrases to work into your post.
  • Serpstat – a script that compares your site vs. the competition for specific keywords (something that Ahref and SEMrush do as well).
  • Featured Snippet Tool – a confusingly-named tool that actually brings up the related searches for a term.

https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2019/01/optimize-content-search-tools/

My take:

I’m going to give the first two tools a try the next time I check for old posts that need some sprucing up.

As for the third, it’s something that I already apply when creating an outline for a post. It’s something that Jim and Ricky from Income School teach in their course as well. I actually found a cool way to do that very quickly by using the “Keywords everywhere” chrome extension.

6. Content Density vs. Content length by Siege Media

Ross Hudgens makes a point for content density being more important than the actual number of words. He shares an interesting infographic showing how blog posts are actually shrinking in length. Super long posts with over 2,000 words were on the decline in 2018, compared to the previous couple of years.

https://www.siegemedia.com/creation/content-density-not-content-length

My take:

First, I really loved how Ross practiced what he preached by delivering this message in a short post!

Other than that, I’m really happy to see that this is an industry trend. Makes me feel more comfortable about being a tough editor, requesting writers to avoid fluff and repetition and mercilessly pruning any word, sentence or paragraph that isn’t helpful to the reader. Word count be damned.

7. How to Find Long Tail Keywords with No Competition? By Fast Stacks Blog

Jon updated a great article which suggests targeting very long-tail key phrases. The post also showcases two longtail keyword research methods:

  • Using keywordshitter.com to auto-complete certain phrases + your keyword.
  • Keyword seeding by using a certain set of qualifying adjectives along with your keyword.

https://fatstacksblog.com/long-tail-keywords-no-competition/

My take:

Yup. That’s what I do, basically. My only caveat here is that you really need to watch out for long-tail phrases that get almost zero searches. And it’s hard to trust Google’s volume estimates (which is what keyword research services rely on).

I agree with Jon though that some searches with strong buyer’s intent may still be worth pursuing even if the overall search volume is low – as long as you can monetize them with really good affiliate links.

8. Six ways to boost your blog traffic in 2019 by Problogger

Darren Rowse suggests using these six content promotion techniques in 2019:

  • Focusing on Shareable content with social media in mind
  • Creating a highly valuable “mega post”
  • Publishing a series of blog posts on a topic
  • Guest posting on other blogs
  • Focusing on your email list
  • Picking a fight, i.e. making a stand in a controversial topic

https://problogger.com/boost-your-blog-traffic/

My take:

I actually included this post here because I disagree with pretty much all of it. And I’m not just saying that to pick a fight either. I actually found it quite amazing that I couldn’t relate to a single technique suggested in this post.

That’s it for this month’s crop of posts

I know this is far from being an extensive coverage of the most important items published this month in industry-related blogs. Life’s too short for that.

I’m actually feeling very proud of myself for spending half a day doing this and sticking to my resolution!

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