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SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020 – Search Engine Journal

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1. Search-Intent Oriented Content

The web has a content problem. There’s just too much of it.

Search Google for literally anything, and the total number of results will be in the hundreds of millions – and it’s an everyday thing.

What’s more, nobody expects all of those results to be good.

However, users expect to see something good on the Page 1 of Google.

Can you imagine digging through those millions of results to find only a dozen that deserve to be displayed there?

That’s what Google does every day, over 79,000 times per second.

Now, users might not occupy themselves with how Google is getting it done. But you, as a website owner, are different: you need to know the ins and outs of online search because you have content to promote.

How does Google decide which pages deserve to be at the top?

There are over 200 major ranking factors, but it all boils down to one thing: who’s the best at being helpful to users. Or, in SEO terms, at satisfying user search intent.

So how do you pull that off?

Have a Clear Grasp of What Exactly You Are Offering to Your Users

There was a reason you created your site in the first place. This reason is the foundation of your entire plan.

It could be selling products, or spreading information such as news and research, or maybe entertaining visitors with your original content.

What makes the “why” behind your creation so important?

If you can name it with clarity, then it brings you to the next step of the plan: the kind of people you want to come to your site.

Your relationship with them is going to decide your site’s fate – they are your target audience.

Once the “why” and the “who” are decided, they are followed by the “how”. The reason there are many different types of websites is because some of them are better suited for specific tasks than others.

For example, ecommerce stores are the best for selling products, and blogs are great for sharing articles.

If you aren’t using the best way to present your content to users, you should rethink this part before everything else.

Many site owners stumble on this first step because they don’t think about what they are doing.

Be better than that.

Pick Keywords That Will Lead Users to Your Content

Users try out all sorts of search phrases in Google, and only a precious few of them will be any good for your site.

The trick is to find those few phrases and turn them into your chosen keywords. So, how do you know you’ve found what you need?

  • They clearly reflect what you have to offer. Short, vague keywords like “buy boots” won’t be of any use to you. Even if a miracle lets you outrank the big brands, you’ll still risk bringing in users who don’t want the kind of product you have. Try optimizing for more specific phrases like “winter boots for women”.
  • They have a high search volume. The more people use a search phrase in a given area, the more people you can turn into your users. Keywords with a low search volume can also be useful, but only when you use many at once to make up for their individual low potential.

You can find search intent-oriented keywords with the Get Suggestions tool.

Proceed to Create High-Quality Content

In spite of how hard it is, people are getting better at making great content, and the quality standards keep rising.

Fortunately, the core principle remains the same: give users the best version of the thing they are looking for.

How do you make such content?

  • Research what the users want, as accurately and in-depth as you can. Users always want more details. If they can get those details from you, then you already have an advantage.
  • Make your content visually appealing. As humans are visual creatures, you should know how to make a good first impression and make it last.
  • Provide the best user experience you can. Let nothing on your site get on the users’ nerves. You are supposed to be helping them and making them feel welcome.
  • Address the users’ pain points. If you revive their problems in their heads, it will make them hungrier for the solutions you are about to offer.
  • Give detailed solutions to the users’ problems. Often users don’t know about all the pitfalls they can encounter on the way to their goal. Be sure to include solutions to those issues too: that’s what real experts do.
  • Seal the deal with a call-to-action.

And if you connect relevant pieces of content on your site with links, you can turn the user journey into a cycle, ensuring they’ll keep using your site (at a later time, if not immediately).

It will be even easier for them the next time, since they are already familiar with the whole process. Example: “people also buy” on ecommerce sites.

2. Keyword Research & Optimization

Have you figured out how to make your users’ dream content?

Great job! You have a good reason to be proud of yourself if you have pulled it off.

Now it’s time for the next step: helping users find your content in search engines. This part requires keywords.

In the previous section, it was said that your content needs to be tailored to users’ search intent. The same applies to keywords.

Phrasing reflects what exactly users are looking for, so keywords phrased with a specific intent in mind are the best at bringing in the audience you need.

Examples:

  • Plumber in my city: Your site is for users from your city who need plumber’s services.
  • How to remove rust off my sink: You provide instructions for removing rust stains from metal surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Sell my old books: You buy books (and likely other things too) from people who don’t need them anymore.

What’s the best way to find such keywords?

Most likely, you will be starting with some ideas of your own. But you won’t know if those ideas are good unless you somehow test them out.

That’s where SEO tools come in. This is a job for a keyword finder like Get Suggestions.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

Just enter what you have in mind and press Search. The Google global searches column will show the search volume for every keyword in the table.

Sort the table by this column to make it easier to find the best keywords.

If you plan to rank in and get traffic from a particular region, you can narrow your keyword search down to a specific geographical area in the Settings (or by clicking on Add location).

In this case, the Google global searches will be called Google local searches.

Note the All keywords filter. Clicking on it opens a menu where you can opt to show only regular keywords or only question keywords.

The Question keywords filter is particularly useful if you want to optimize your site for voice search.

There are a couple more ways to find keywords.

  • From Google Search Console: If you have connected your WebCEO project to your Google Search Console account, it will start drawing data from Google. Then you can check out the Keywords from Google Search Console tool for all the various queries that bring your website traffic after being found in search. It will also show the usefulness of each query through statistics such as click-through rates and average ranking positions taken from global data over the past 30 days.
  • From your competitors: This is a two-step process. What keywords do your competitors use to optimize their sites? First, enter their URL address in the Spy on Competitors tool to find out. Add the keywords you’d like to rank for yourself to the keyword basket, then open the Competitor Rankings by Keyword report to check their rankings for those keywords. If you see someone rank poorly for a good keyword, start using it yourself – it’s an easy way to outrank them.

That covers keyword research.

Once you have a list of keywords you want to use, it’s time to optimize your site for them. Make sure to include everything from your list at some point!

  • Page URL addresses.
  • Titles.
  • Meta descriptions.
  • Image filenames, ALT attributes and captions.
  • H1-H4 headings.
  • Anchor texts of internal links.
  • Other text.

3. Competitor Research

How do you measure a site’s success?

You can judge it by its rankings, traffic, conversions, and the revenue it makes.

Ultimately, this SEO strategy is supposed to make you more successful than your rivals in the niche.

I bet you already have your eye on a few competitor websites that you want to beat. And that will be much easier if you can view their metrics whenever you want, too.

There’s also the possibility they aren’t really your rivals, and you need to be fighting someone else.

What’s the word for beating someone at their game only to find out you have won nothing?

“Awkward” is the nicest thing that comes to mind.

Let’s remove all awkwardness from your path to stardom.

Our starting point is the Dangerous Competitors tool.

Click on the Settings button.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

  • Keywords tab: Enter the keywords you intend to rank for.
  • Search engines tab: Select the search engines where you want to rank.
  • Mirrors & Subdomains tab: Enter the URLs of your site’s mirrors and subdomains (if you have any). It will let the tool know that they shouldn’t be considered competitor sites.
  • Competitors tab: Enter the URLs of the competitors you already know.
  • Search results tab: Check the boxes of all types of search results you want to scan.
  • Local searches tab: Select regions like states, counties or provinces to show keyword demand for (if you want to rank somewhere in particular and not just globally).

Once you’ve finished filling everything out, click Save.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

The tool will generate a graph and a table. Look for the sites that are above yours in the table. They can be your real, most dangerous competitors.

Note the “most likely” part. To be completely sure, visit those sites personally and see if they really specialize in the same field as you.

Irrelevant sites may appear if they happen to rank for the keywords you’ve entered without actually sharing a target audience with your site.

With this, you have discovered your true rivals. Fight them with every trick in the book:

  • Creating content.
  • Promoting content.
  • Providing a superb user experience.
  • Building a cordial relationship with users.
  • Optimizing your site.

And watch the metrics which reflect your progress: there’s no better way to find out if something is wrong.

  • Rankings: compare your ranking positions to theirs for your chosen keywords in the Competitor Rankings by Keyword
  • Backlinks: check the Competitor Link Profile report for everyone’s link profile statistics, including the total number of backlinks and domain authority.
  • Traffic: the Competitor Traffic report has everyone’s traffic data for the last 12 months.

Another hugely important matter: competitor backlinks.

If you can look them up, you can find a huge number of sites where you can build backlinks to your own site.

How do you do that?

Just feed your rivals’ URLs to the Competitor Backlink Spy.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

Then sort the table by the Domain Trust Flow column to put all the best potential link sources where you can see them.

4. Page Speed Optimization

Something has been bothering me for the longest time. So, electricity travels at the speed of light, right?

The Internet runs on electricity, and data packets move at the same speed. Then how come there isn’t even a single website which can load at the speed of light? It’s unfair.

Of course, humans cannot comprehend such tremendous speeds anyway. So we are perfectly fine with the next best thing, which we usually describe as “in the blink of an eye”.

That’s how fast we want websites to load, and we get really upset when it doesn’t happen.

Fortunately, some people are slow blinkers. That must be why most users are comfortable with a couple of seconds of loading time. Any more can cause a problem.

Scan your site with the Page Speed Insights tool to check its loading speed. If the score is low (100 is excellent), there are plenty of ways to make your site load faster:

  • Host your site on a fast server.
  • Host your site on a CDN.
  • Optimize your images’ dimensions.
  • Save your images in the right format.
  • Compress images.
  • Use fewer elements.
  • Merge elements.
  • Use gzip compression.
  • Leverage browser caching.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

5. Technical Audit

Errors are a nuisance no matter where you encounter them. Users won’t be appreciative if you let your website go.

Would you let garbage pile up in your office where everyone can see it?

Of course you wouldn’t; it would be disrespectful to the people who visit you.

The place where you receive your customers should be kept clean and run like a well-oiled machine. Websites are the same.

What kind of issues on your site could be hurting user experience?

  • Broken links
  • Broken images
  • Broken redirects
  • Server errors
  • Missing meta tags
  • Indexing issues
  • Crawling issues
  • Orphaned pages
  • Dead-end pages
  • Schema markup errors

Look at how many things can go wrong when you are not even looking. But you can’t possibly keep an eye on your site every waking hour.

Good thing there are fully automated tools for such tasks, isn’t it?

I can recommend a couple. The first is the Technical Audit tool.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

You can use it to detect the most common technical issues with your site, and then you can just proceed to fix them.

To make your job easier, you can (and it’s heavily recommended) set this tool to scan your site automatically as often as you want.

Once a week is good, but if you’d rather do it more or less often, it’s up to you. It’s all in the Scan Schedule.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

You can even set the tool to send you alerts when you get site errors.

For that, click on Reports -> Email Alerts in the top menu.

The other tool of importance is the On-Site Issues Overview.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

This tool detects SEO errors on your site, such as issues with meta tags (short, repeating or outright missing). It, too, can be set for automatic regular scans and email alerts.

What else do you need to keep your site free of errors?

The Robots.Txt File

If you don’t have one in the first place, the On-Site Issues Overview tool will tell you, but there may also be issues with the file itself.

Be sure to check that it’s formatted correctly and that it allows search engines to crawl your site’s content, and prevents them from crawling pages you don’t want to appear in search.

Sitemap

If you haven’t uploaded a sitemap, its absence can be picked up by the On-Site Issues Overview, too.

Use a validating tool to make sure your sitemap is formatted correctly.

Also, if your site has more than 50,000 pages, you are going to need at least two sitemaps.

Schema Markup Validator

If you are using structured data on your site, you should always test your marked-up pages for errors before rolling them out.

Google has a free Structured Data Testing Tool you can use anytime.

SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020

Want to See Steps 6-10?

To see the complete list of the most effective SEO tips and tactics, please download the SEO Strategy Guide: Beat Your Competition in 2020 below.

This guide was created exclusively for WebCEO users who wish to make the next decade one of their biggest triumphs. Sign up now to enter a bright future!

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Saving the dinosaurs: Startups drive to electrify fossil-fuel cars

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You can save your prized Aston Martin DB6, Porsche 911 or Mustang from the museum of combustion engine history. Or your Fiat 500 and Renault Clio, for that matter.

That’s the message from a growing cohort of European and American startups seeking to carve out roles in the auto transition by converting the roaring dinosaurs of the fossil-fuel age into clean electric vehicles (EVs).

At the high end, companies like Britain’s Lunaz sell a “remanufactured” Aston Martin DB6 for 1 million pounds ($1.3 million), or Dutch firm Voitures Extravert, which sells a reengineered 1960s Porsche 911 for 300,000 euros ($337,000).

At the lower end, startups like France’s Transition-One have developed no-frills kits designed to electrify mass-market models like the Fiat 500 and Renault Clio in a few hours for about 8,000 euros. They are betting they can provide drivers with a cheaper and greener road to zero emissions than scrapping their car and buying a new one.

EV conversion is a cottage industry that’s emerged over the past five years, and been turbo-charged by advances in battery technology and electric motors in the past two. The market is largely untested, and several industry players interviewed by Reuters described an exciting, if precarious, scene.

“It’s pretty revolutionary at the moment,” said Mark Roberts, a 30-year McLaren veteran who is now chief creative officer at British startup Charge Cars. “Almost every month there are new companies popping up and you don’t know who’ll fade away after a year or so or who’ll be there for the duration.”

Next year Charge Cars will launch production of 499 electric versions of 1960s Mustangs, built from the ground up using car bodies produced under license from Ford and starting at 300,000 pounds apiece. The company, which initially set out to convert classic cars, has spent five years developing an electric replica model instead.

“Traditional manufacturers like Porsche can afford to screw up,” says CEO Vadim Shageleev. “We’re a startup, so we can’t.”

Established startups like his have attracted attention from traditional auto suppliers and manufacturers seeking technical input as they transition to electric – Michelin, for instance, has partnered with Charge Cars to test new technologies.

But there may be little room for error as a host of new EV conversion startups strive for scale to help them weather the increasing regulatory standards and costs that have begun to be introduced in countries like France.

“New regulations will wipe out a lot of smaller players because they won’t be in position to meet the standards,” said Chris Hazell, founder of Britain’s Zero EV, another startup working on mass-producing conversion kits for Porsche 964s and other classic models. His company will expand to the United States next year.

CLASSIC TO GARBAGE

There are various proposed routes to scale.

Lunaz, for example, sees classic cars like the Aston Martin DB6 as a good start.

The three-year-old company and its competitors at this end of the EV conversion industry aim to capitalise on the world’s large population of classic vehicles, with an estimated 5 million in the United States alone.

Lunaz typically buys a classic car on the open market or takes a customer’s existing vehicle, strips it down to the bare metal, rebuilds it, gives it a fresh paint job, new interior and an electric drive system and software with a range of about 250 miles.

But Lunaz sees its future in commercial vehicles, and is building a new factory at Silverstone in central England, home to the British Grand Prix, to convert more than 1,000 diesel garbage trucks a year into upgraded electric models.

“Classic cars were the lightning rod to get us to market,” founder David Lorenz said. “But if you want to have a real impact, you’ve got to have scale.”

Lorenz told Reuters the company was scoping out sites for a U.S. plant and one in continental Europe, and was considering going public within a few years.

‘THROW THESE CARS AWAY?’

In France, by comparison, the race is heating up among mass-market converters who spy an opportunity in the country’s anti-road pollution plans, which outpace much of Europe.

All diesels older than 2011 will be banned in large cities from the start of 2025, affecting millions of car owners. Paris wants to go faster and implement the ban from 2024.

New vehicle retrofitting laws introduced in the country last year, which startups say require government testing of about 100,000 euros per generic model to be converted, have intensified the need for scale.

Orleans-based converter Transition-One plans to start selling conversion kits for six models including the popular Fiat 500 and Renault Clio for those diesel owners who cannot afford a new EV. The kits consist of battery, electric motor, power electronics, and new instrument cluster, and typically have a range of about 140 km.

The cost to customers could be close to 5,000 euros including government subsidies, said CEO Aymeric Libeau, who said he aimed to produce kits “at scale” next year, having waited for the retrofitting laws to materialise, with the gear to be installed by independent mechanics certified by Transition-One.

Arnaud Pigounides, CEO of Paris-based REV Mobilities, estimates converting a car to electric cuts emissions 60% versus scrapping an old vehicle and producing a new one, in a country home to around 40 million passenger cars.

Pigounides said his company, which offers to convert a range of cars and commercial vans for around half the price of a new vehicle, has orders to convert 370 cars and 1,500 vans.

“The big question is: do we throw all those cars away or do we convert them?” he added.

‘HOW DO WE DO 10,000?’

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of British vehicle charging company Connected Kerb, said only “mass market” options in the EV conversion industry could make a real difference to the environment, rather than classic cars.

“The cost of producing a new car is huge, so if you can reuse what’s there it’s a fantastic idea,” he said. “But the challenge is doing it at sufficient scale to actually have a meaningful impact.”

For four-year-old startup Electrogenic, based down the road from Lunaz, the plan to reach significant size is to tap into rural Britain’s four-wheel drive market, specifically the Land Rover Defenders popular among farmers.

Co-founder Steve Drummond said the company was developing a kit for old Land Rover Defenders for 20,000 pounds that local mechanics can install. He added that Britain’s 36,000 farms need four-wheel drive EVs but there are no equivalent new models on the market.

Across the world in California, meanwhile, Zero Labs is aware of the limits of its current business performing electric “restomods” to rebuild classic Ford Broncos and Land Rovers.

The company’s vehicles start at $350,000, but it can only convert around 50 a year – so it is developing electric platforms that licensed auto shops can use to convert classic cars.

“We asked ourselves how do we do 10,000 a year?” CEO Adam Roe said. “Our platforms are going to be our scale product.”

 

(Reporting By Nick Carey; Additional reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Apple tells suppliers demand for iPhone 13 lineup has weakened – Bloomberg News

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Apple Inc has told its component suppliers that demand for the iPhone 13 lineup has slowed, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, signaling that some consumers have decided against trying to get the hard-to-find item.

 

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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Apple may have a problem with iPhone demand as well as supply – The Verge

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Apple is indicating to its iPhone 13 component suppliers that it may not order as many units as expected due to a drop in demand, according to a report in Bloomberg.

While the company had already cut orders for the year to 80 million — down from a target of 90 million — it was reportedly planning to make up for much of the drop next year. Now, though, Apple is said to have told manufacturing partners that this may not happen and they might not see the expected boost in orders.

Like almost every other technology company, Apple has been dealing with supply issues brought on by the global semiconductor shortage. CEO Tim Cook said the company’s last quarterly earnings took an estimated $6 billion hit due to the shortage as well as the impact of COVID-19 on manufacturing in Southeast Asia, and Apple was expecting an even bigger impact on this current holiday quarter.

If Bloomberg’s report is accurate, though, it suggests that the iPhone 13 range might not meet Apple’s initial expectations even without the supply crunch. The original plan to assemble 90 million units for 2021 reflected a forecast of increased demand, as Apple usually orders around 75 million iPhones for the year of each launch.

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