Master SEO: Expert Tips To Rank Your Website in 2017

April 17, 2017 in Website Marketing

Notes From Neil Patel’s Advanced SEO Summit 2017

Day one of Advanced SEO Summit was packed with useful tips and tricks to ranking websites in 2017 and beyond. We heard from some of the greatest minds in SEO right now, from Brian Dean to Glen Allsopp and a few more. Here are a few of the most important takeaways from the day…

Bounce Exchange Session notes: How to increase the value of SEO traffic by 200%

This session was all about creating a meaningful marketing funnel that converts visitors into customers. Your website blog and email are some of the most powerful tools in your content marketing arsenal. Here are a rules to live by this year.

  • Longer the content the better
  • Goal is to convert 5% to opt in to an email list. Come up with a way to get that person’s email and then work on your autoresponders. Autoresponders have to be segmented
  • Try lots of different email capture tactics
  • Look at your opt in rate based on the content you have. This should steer your content strategy
  • Great info page – Sign up here and take a look at how they market:

Glen Allsopp: Types of content that get the most backlinks

  • Research, studies and surveys. Anytime someone wants to back up a point they will link to the data that backs up their point
  • In depth interviews with people who are hard to reach and at the top of your industry or vertical (e.g. Richard Branson or Seth Godin)
    • Do something new. Ask things people haven’t ever heard before.
  • Twist Post – Listicles headlines are great but the actual content is usually useless. Use a listicle headline but instead of 5 tips, create 100 tips and/or go in depth like never before
  • Evergreen Guides – Create something people can link back to and reference for years to come. Whether it’s a tutorial or something more in depth, make it extremely valuable and in depth
    • Choose a particular aspect of your industry and cover it like nobody’s business
  • The Core – Attempts to appeal to the reader’s core emotions to drive to a point that might surprise them
  • Comparison Articles – Help people make smarter purchase decisions so people feel like they are winning when they go in
    • e.g. Tools, buyers, purchases
  • The Journey – Talk about your journey and offer behind the scenes (12 startups in 12 months –
  • Item Hype – Write about an item, add a colon, hype up the topic
    • e.g. Open Source Blogging: Feel Free To Steal My Content – 1,000 backlinks, Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 Pounds of Muscle in 4 Weeks – 6,000 backlinks)


Brian Dean – What works for SEO in 2017 

Focus on Getting Long Clicks
Everything you do should be focused on getting long clicks (aka people who click on your site from the search results and then stay on the site)
  • Create bucket brigades, aka words to bridge content and keep people reading. See content for an example.
  • Break up your content into shorter, more readable chunks.
    • Use sub-headers or quote boxes to break up your content
  • Use APP (agree, promise and preview) to structure your content.
    • Agree – Put something in your content that people agree with you (Target people who are looking for specific keywords and then make them go “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel.”)
      • Usually this thing is hard.
    • Promise – Tell them it doesn’t have to be hard
    • Preview – Talk about the nitty gritty about how you are going to help them achieve the promise
  • Use Google AdWords to support your initial rankings. Having two listings on the first page will increase your real estate on the page, thereby increasing your click through rate.
    • When your click through rate goes up, so do your blog rankings. Then you win.
  • Promise quick results. Quicker than the competition means you’re more likely to get the click
  • The more thoroughly you cover a topic, the higher it tends to rank. We’re talking 2,000+ words
    • Longer content also generates more shares

If Your Bounce Rate is Higher Than 50% You Have a Problem. Here’s How to Fix It For Good

November 28, 2016 in Website Marketing

When it comes to web analytics, bounce rate (aka when visitors land on your site and then leave) is a lot like a golf score. The lower it is the happier you are. If you have a normal, well-working website your bounce rate should be below 50%. If you are seeing higher bounce rates your site is suffering for two reasons.

Reason 1: Your website should be a lot like a good party–once they come in there’s so much there they never want to leave. A high bounce rate means people are going to your website and abandoning ship without seeing any other content, filling out any forms, or doing anything that makes them stick. In other words, you’re going to all the trouble to host a party or create a website but you’re not actually winning any long term friends. This makes for a long hard haul on the marketing side.

Reason 2: High bounce rates are also a negative because Google uses bounce rate as an indicator of quality (or lack thereof). When people click to a website link and then leave without going anywhere else Google sees that and says, “Ah, that content must not be that useful to the reader. We’ll rank something else higher in its place.” A bounce rate above 50% won’t kill your SEO but it will knock your site down a few notches (especially if your time on site is also low).

So how do you fix your bounce rate? Here are a few ways to keep people on your website longer (thereby making them more likely to become long term readers)

Step 1. Go into Google Analytics and see if your bounce rate is consistent across all of your website or on any particular pages. Usually high bounce rates are a reflection of overall site architecture, but if you’re lucky you’ll find you only have to tempt people to stay on a couple different pages.

Step 2. When you’ve identified the problem pages, take a step back and take time to evaluate. Reapproach your web pages as if you were landing on them for the first time. Ask yourself, dear first-time-visitor-of-your-site:

First, let’s establish a baseline. Does the page in question work? Does it load quickly (aka in fewer than 3 seconds) and does it give people what they expect? Or are there errors? If visitors aren’t getting the experience they want right off the bat they’re going to leave. Make these fixes before moving on to the next steps on this list.
If everything appears to be working, does the first time visitor understand what is going on? This sounds basic but this is a common problem. When we immerse ourselves in the worlds of our websites it’s easy to assume everyone is picking up where we left off. Make sure that no matter what, newcomers feel like they belong. Show them how to grab on and join you for the ride.
Take a look at your outbound links (aka links to other websites). Are there a lot? Do they distract the reader? Are they the first thing you would click if you were a visitor to the site? At one point I had a client who placed their social media links (along with an irresistible call to action) into the header of their website. The client couldn’t figure out why people were abandoning ship, and yet so many people were interacting with her content on Facebook. We looked deeper into Google Analytics and discovered everyone was leaving their website so they could join them on Facebook. We moved the link to the footer, gave people the content they wanted on her website and bam, the improvements were immediate.
Take a look at how people are arriving at your website or this particular set of pages. (You can do this in the Acquisition tab on the left-hand side of Google Analytics.) This doesn’t happen all that often, but in some cases there’s some kind of spammy referral site or bot attack that is sending worthless visitors to your site in droves. If this appears to be the case these bots are probably killing you web maintenance costs as well as hurting your SEO.
Is the content delivering high caliber value your visitors expect? Is what you’ve written clearly an advertisement that your readers can see through like skimpy lingerie? If so, take the time to revamp your content. Dare to deliver the ultimate guide. Give your readers something they can really dig their teeth into and enjoy.
The final (and perhaps most nuanced) fix to a high bounce rate has to do with tending to your marketing funnel. Ikea is the master of marketing funnels. You go in there for lingonberry soda and walk out with a couch, a new desk chair, some plants, a few cute plush toys, a few organizers and who knows what. They’ve done the work to get you into the store and they take full advantage. Ikea guides your every step, bidding you into the promise of a perfect life lived in 543 square feet. Your website should do the same. Before you hit publish, think about why you want the visitor there in the first place. Consider all the ways you can add value to their experience, tempting them with the irresistible. Then nudge them with elegance. Keep them hooked until they’ve given you their email address or opened their wallet. This isn’t just the start of a lower bounce rate, it’s the first step in fostering friendship, fans and customers. When in doubt, always go back to the marketing funnel. Give your readers a clear path and let them slide right through it.
Step 3. Taking time to answer the questions above should provide you with a clear diagnostic view of where there is room for improvement. The next step is to act. Make adjustments to your website based on the conclusions you’ve reached. Unless the results are clear as day and you’re sure you know what you are doing, make small, incremental changes one at a time. This is critical because it allows you to isolate your changes and study what your users are doing more carefully. It also helps keep your branding somewhat consistent if you have return visitors who expect a certain look, feel and experience when they visit your website.

Step 4. Measure the results. This is critical to closing the loop and finishing your work. When you make changes to your site, note them as an annotation in Google Analytics. This is a best practice for all important changes because six months from now when you look at your analytics you can say, “Yes! That traffic spike is because we made this change or landed that opportunity.”

Step 5. Decreasing your bounce rate, like optimizing your website or staying stylish, is work that never ends. Fortunately for us, we love what we do. Reaching people online and really impacting them is a labor of love. We will never, ever give it up.

That should be a good jumping off point (no pun intended) for getting a handle on your website’s bounce rate. If you have any questions or tips feel free to let me know. I am always delighted to help.

Beware This Brilliant and Sneaky Popup Ad

November 18, 2016 in Website Marketing

As per usual, I had 62 tabs open in Chrome, fluttering about from one article to another, following the link trail that is the endless pursuit of knowledge. Tabs have a way of reproducing like that. When they do I tend to get lost in the whimsy of content hurricanes.

An article about pre-screening engineering talent paves the way for a blog post about machine learning algorithms and then a Wikipedia page about some theory I know I should know but have to look up just in case someone asks at some point in time.

This is my favorite Internet. The web of massive pursuit and insatiable learning. Under normal circumstances it’s an endless forest of wonder, but last night I caught wind of a dirty little advertising trick. If you browse the Internet like tabs are the currency of the new world, watch for this trick.

At some point in my browsing session CasinoSpin365 managed to slip through the cracks of an online advertisement to create a new browser tab like the one captured in the screenshot below. Instead of leading the user to a standard landing page as display ads normally do, the site took a gamble. As you can see, CasinoSpin365 skipped the informational page and instead asked for my Facebook profile information and email address right away. (Email addresses are like online marketing gold, because they give marketers the ability to reach out to the prospect over and over again. As a result, the cost of acquiring an email address is usually much, much higher than that of a display advertisement click.)

In this case, Casino365 bet that the person browsing would be distracted by multiple tabs. They assumed I would  click through and hand over my information without question. After all, this screen is so familiar that pressing the blue button is about as automatic as putting on your right shoe.

But, my friends, this is a sham. In tech we call these kinds of sketchy persuasive practices dark UI patterns. screenshot of a dangerous pop up ad

Look how brilliant this is, all the way through to execution. Most marketing is about creating shiny images people notice. In this case CasinoSpin365 didn’t want to be noticed, so instead of filling in the thumbnail image meant for identifying the entity that is going to authorize your profile, they left it blank. This delivers Facebook’s grey and unassuming default image, one many of us have probably seen many times before.

CasinoSpin365, I both despise and applaud your dark magic. Everyone else, watch out. The marketers are trying to outsmart us.

Season 1. Episode 2 – Clothes Folding Robots

April 8, 2016 in LP Series

0.0 Coordinates.

Back from another run on the East River Trail, drinking coconut milk and eating fried tortilla neons* of two varieties. A main entree (or plato fuerte) of Justin’s almond butter and jam spread elegantly over a lightly crisped tortilla followed by nutella and cayenne pepper roasted marshmallows atop a lightly carmelized/sugar-fried tortilla for dessert. If there ever was a non-Mexican meal that represented me, this might be it.

* Neons are crackers (or cracker-like things) with two or more toppings on them. For example, Breton crackers with fig jam and feta cheese or Wheat Thins with apple slices and smoked gouda. My mom invented this definition of Neons and so even the mention of them makes me feel special. You know, like the President’s coming to dinner.

1.0 Rattling Around in my Head

1.1 Cleanly
I tried Cleanly this week and I’m still deciding whether it should be a part of my regular routine. In case you haven’t heard, Cleanly is pick up and drop off laundry services that you can order from a streamlined and beautifully designed app experience. Another one of those services that lets people pay other people to do the things people’s parents once did for them.

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Season 1. Episode 1 – Don’t Call It a Comeback

April 5, 2016 in LP Series, Scribbles


Home sweet home, editing a content marketing piece completed by my extraordinary new employee, Dor. It rained today and I celebrated with a run along the East River trail. Even though I live alone I still yearn for these jogs of solitude. Nothing beats the experience of bounding down one side of Manhattan (skipping and singing and hollering), surrounded only by tall buildings where people are hidden away to stay dry.

I took a quick detour to slip and slide on a turf field today. If you caught me between conference calls you would have found me soaked through and dripping, diving headfirst with abandon and sailing across the turf with a huge grin smeared across my face.

Meandering Thoughts

The Future of Music Revenue Models
There’s something bubbling in the music industry, and I think Beyonce, Jay Z and Kanye are closest to what’s next. 
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The Patrón on Ice Party

January 19, 2016 in Tenacity for Life

People ice skating

They said winter was coming and we said let’s party.*

Ready to add a little extra sparkle to your 2016? Join me and some of my most treasured found-family/friends/loved ones at Patrón on Ice. The evening of Thursday February 4, 2016 will commence with ice skating at the rink just a couple minutes away from my house.

After we’ve all showcased our finest besti squats for our besties we’ll head home together for hot chocolate, hot toddies, warm winter foods and a very extra special series of flavor toasted marshmallows.

We can’t guarantee it will be the best night of your life, but we can most certainly guarantee a hearty belly laugh or five. Be there. There’s literally no better way to spend your night.

Check out the official event page and RSVP today.

*Because, you know, if anyone can battle the white walkers it’s my friends/found-family/loved ones.

I Couldn’t Read Your (Broken) Letters

November 23, 2015 in Tenacity for Life

Lauren Proctor at The Plaza

I knew subconsciously that we were over and so when you sent them in 2014, I couldn’t read your (broken) letters.

Today I finally grabbed the courage to read everything at once. I realize now that there’s so much I didn’t see. So many things I didn’t consider. I knew everything and nothing. All about the way you brush your hair and walk across the floor late at night. So little about the inner workings that scared you.

Had I been braver I would have looked deeper. I would have read your Even Days project the day you sent it. Instead I let your letters sit.

Now I am making all my plans without you. Trying not to consider what you would have liked or even what you would have thought. Life goes on without the people we love. Sometimes it takes more time than we’d like to admit to realize it. But we continue, and then find life anew.

It All Culminated in This Idea

September 12, 2015 in Digital Nomad, Startup Founder, Tenacity for Life

I believe that in the future more and more people will work for themselves. Many of these indivuals will use the Internet to create location independent businesses. This creates a landscape where anyone can literally work and live anywhere. Some of these people are becoming digital nomads who work while traveling the world. Others just enjoy the liberty of being able to earn a living on their terms.

Problem is, taking the plunge can be scary. A lot of people have an idea but they don’t know what to do or where to start. Or maybe they are already freelancing but they want to figure out how to turn their work into a more sustainable business?

I want to help these people make it happen.
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In Seoul: Blown Away

September 11, 2015 in Digital Nomad, Tenacity for Life

I realize today that we don’t have much time. Time to look at the mountains, to smell home cooked food as it wafts down the block to where we’re sitting. Time to let things sink in or to feel everything. These moments will be gone quickly and all that will be left are the people and things we felt them for.

I’m sitting on the rooftop of a fourth story coffeeshop with big open windows. It feels like I’m in a Jeep Wrangler with the doors and top popped off. All those extra parts (the sides of the car and the roof) are off somewhere sitting in someone’s garage. There’s structure around me but for the most part I feel free from the typical confines of buildings. Covered but not, like the outdoor-acceptable version of naked on the go.
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