This Week In SEO 78
Long Tail, Dmoz, Proximity, and More!


Long Article About Long Tail Keywords

Ahrefs: the only thing they do better than writing great content is messing up my ability to write the HTML code for a link…

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Here is a recent article they posted that should answer all of your long tail questions, like:

How do I use to discover long tail traffic?

Ok, the post is a little… biased. Here are some things you will really discover, though:

What exactly is a long tail keyword? Isn’t it a keyword of 3+ words?

…our data shows that “length in words” is not necessarily a prerequisite of a “long-tail keyword.” 9.3% of keywords with a search volume over 1M have 3+ words.

What percentage of keywords searched for in Google have less than 50 searches per month?


It’s a good article, and I like how it very easily debunks commonly-repeated SEO advice (like the 3+ words = long tail) that do more harm than good for both site owners and SEO companies.


Proximity as a Ranking Factor

A recent Moz production (coinciding with their Mozcon/Local U) was a Local SEO Ranking Factor Survey.

The winning (a.k.a. most important) ranking factor in 2017 was…


What does this mean for you and your local business:

Your local SEO game might be top notch, but all the link building, co-citation, and meta description optimizing in the world may not help you if your competitor is closer in physical distance to the searcher than your business’s location.

kanye shrug
sorry, bro

But, as this article points out, it’s not the only ranking factor. Not only is it not the only ranking factor, but in looking at the search results, it does not always override other factors:

I think there is only one conclusion; there are other factors that determine what businesses are in which buckets, or even better that there are factors that determine which sub-set of results that Google is then going to order by proximity. Those are things like traditional relevance and prominence signals. Things such as keywords in the business name, links, reviews, and others that you would typically expect to influence search results.


Are We There Yet: On the Time it Takes to Rank

It’s not a huge surprise that the most common (and most quickly-asked) question between any client and SEO agency is:

How long will it take to rank for my keywords

A perfectly reasonable question! Unfortunately, the answer is complicated and something between ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and (ಥ_ಥ).

This blog post does a good job of breaking down why:

You need to allow time to do the audit
You need to allow time to get the work implemented
You need to allow time for Google to recrawl everything
Building links takes a lot of time if you’re doing it scalably as you build the rest of your business

But, basically:

It takes time.

waiting for SEO


Dmoz Demise

On March 14th, DMOZ shut down for good.

It was a long time coming.

What was once the pinnacle of link building just sort of… ran out of steam and went away.


Aaron Wall had a brutal–but accurate–summary of why this decline happened:

As the tech oligarchs broadly defund publishing, the publishers still need to eat. Aggregate information quality declines to make the numbers work. Companies which see their ad revenues slide 20%, 30% or 40% year after year can’t justify maintaining the labor-intensive yet unmonetized side projects.

ghost town
Dmoz, basically

This story is not just the whisper-like ending of a once-dominant site, but the slow, inevitable death of publishing in this age of attention-as-a-currency media.

Fantastic post. I highly recommend you go and read all of it.


Exact Match Domains: Not Inherently Bad

via a tweet from Gary Illyes:

Did you think exact match domains were bad?

A lot of people do, in my experience.


Quick history lesson:

Back in 2012, Google hit us with the EMD update.

The purpose was to prevent low quality and spammy sites from using the power of an exact match domain name to outrank better sites.

But, exact match domains really do help sites rank, in my experience. The site either has to be quality to take advantage of this (or sometimes it just seems the filter Google applies to this can take a while to really kick in).

I wanted to share this with you to clear up a lot of the incorrect assumptions I often hear.




Rapid-Fire SEO Insights

This week’s theme: content… again!

Important stuff, content. There have been a few really great articles published on content (esp as it relates to ranking), so I wanted to share them with you all at once. Should keep you busy for a while…

10x Content Ideation & Process

There are two ways to succeed in content marketing:

Be the first one to break a story. Or be the best one to tell it.

This article is about the second way.

The Ultimate Content Creation Guide

5300 words of content strategy–especially useful if you have the money to hire a team.

Content Brainstorming

Power-up your outreach efforts by combining link building prospect outreach with content-idea brainstorming. Sounds complicated? It is! Read all about it.

Fred, Link Building in 2017, Local Search, & More
TWS77: Local Organic Results, Canonical Errors, Facebook Algorithm, & More

Learn How To Rank Your Site

Get our simple, straightforward guide on how to rank your site.

Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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