Google Link Spam Update Is Here

Google said it began rolling out a new algorithm update for Google Search named the link spam update. This update “is even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages,” Google wrote. It will roll out from yesterday, July 26th, over a two week period or so.

So Google writes this long blog post named “a reminder on qualifying links and our link spam update.” The whole blog post is mostly a reminder on what types of links is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. There is more of an emphasis on this blog post around links with a “commercial nature.” But it goes through best practices, affiliate links and how they should use nofollow or rel=sponsored, it talks about sponsored and guest posts, and more.

Then Google announces at the bottom of the blog post the new link spam update with this paragaph:

In our continued efforts to improve the quality of the search results, we’re launching a new link spam fighting change today — which we call the “link spam update.” This algorithm update, which will rollout across the next two weeks, is even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages. Sites taking part in link spam will see changes in Search as those links are re-assessed by our algorithms.

Some points here:

  • Link Spam Update is the name (not with a date, like Link Spam Update July 2021)
  • Started Monday, July 26th
  • Will take two weeks to roll out
  • Global and multilingual update
  • Nullify spammy links but not penalize them (just not count them versus not penalize the site)
  • Ignoring links will feel like a penalty
  • Nofollow is fine, you do not need to use rel sponsored
  • Google won’t say how much this will impact the search results

So if you see a drop in your rankings over the next couple of weeks, it might be related to this link spam update. Was this related to what we saw over the weekend? I am not sure, but when I was writing it, I thought, wow – the black hat link builder types of communities are noticing this much more than others. Again, Google said it started rolling out on Monday and what I wrote about was spotted on the previous Friday and Saturday.

In any event, I’ll keep an eye on the SEO chatter and let you know what I see with this update. Right now, the chatter and tracking tools are not showing much. At least not yet… Stay tuned.

How to Set the Right SEO Goals with 3 Examples

As SEOs, we tend to generalize goals because there is so much outside our control. “We can’t promise results.”
The problem is that without a clear vision of what a win is, we’re unlikely to achieve results at all.

The same is true if we set vague and arbitrary goals.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to set the right SEO goals using the SEO goal pyramid.

  • What SEO goals are
  • Why SEO goals are important
  • How to set SEO goals
  • 3 SEO goal examples
  • What are SEO goals?

What are SEO goals?

SEO goals are specific and measurable objectives that you aim to achieve over a period of time. Each goal should contribute to the purpose of SEO: reach more prospective users through organic search and turn them into customers.

Why are SEO goals important?

SEO goals are important because they bring focus and clarity to your strategy by providing a clear target. If you don’t have SEO goals, you’re shooting in the dark. That’s never a good idea because you’re unlikely to achieve something unless you aim for it.

How to set SEO goals

Marketers often make the mistake of setting arbitrary SEO goals like “get more traffic.”

The main issue with this type of goal is that it completely disregards the what and the how. What are you going to do to make it happen? How are you going to get there?

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Create an outcome goal. This is the thing you want to achieve and the timeframe you want to achieve it in. Think of it as the tournament you’re trying to win.
  2. Break the outcome goal down into performance goals. These are smaller goals that each contribute towards the outcome. Think of these as the individual matches in the tournament.
  3. Break performance goals into process goals. These are even smaller goals that are 100% within your control. Continuing with the soccer analogy, this is who you’re going to play and where you’re going to play them.

The idea is to break things down into stepping stones to make your overall goal more achievable. As you complete process goals, you’re well-positioned to meet your performance goals. As you complete your performance goals, you’re likely to achieve your outcome goal.

Let’s take a closer look at what each step entails and create our first framework.

1. Create an outcome goal

Your outcome goal should directly align your SEO efforts with company goals, so ask yourself:
What SEO outcome contributes towards the company’s broader goals?

Looking at mission statements, frequently asked questions in meetings, etc., can help answer this. If you get stuck, ask your boss or client.

Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of saying “get more traffic.” While getting more traffic may help the company achieve its goals, it’s far too broad. Your outcome goal needs to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

So, a better goal than “get more traffic” would be to “rank in the top 3 for [high-value keyword] in 6 months.”

This goal is specific and relevant because ranking for [high value keyword] will increase revenue. It’s measurable because you can track keyword rankings with any good rank tracking tool, such as Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker. It’s achievable because you already assessed keyword difficulty. And it’s time-based because you specified the timeframe.

2. Set performance goal(s)

Performance goals are the goalposts you set for yourself, so start by answering the question:
What short-term wins will most likely get us to our outcome goal?

You can have one or multiple performance goals. What they are will depend on your outcome goal and bandwidth. Just be careful not to fall into that same trap of setting arbitrary goals like “increase backlinks.” This may help you achieve your outcome, but it isn’t SMART. There’s no way of knowing when or if you’ve achieved the goal.

Continuing with our example outcome goal of “rank in the top 3 for [high-value keyword] in 6 months,” a SMART performance goal might be to “get 40 high-quality backlinks to the page within six months.”

It’s specific because we’re aiming for a certain number of backlinks.

It’s measurable using the referring domains graph in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

It’s achievable because it’s realistic. There are tasks within our control that will get us one step closer to achieving the goal.

It’s relevant because we know backlinks are a ranking factor, and there’s evidence that our target page is underperforming in terms of backlinks.

It’s time-based because it has a set ending point of six months.

Most importantly, achieving this performance goal will help position us well for achieving our outcome goal.

3. Set process goal(s)

Process goals are measurable actions that are 100% under your control. It’s where you answer the question:
What will I need to do to achieve our performance goal(s)?

Continuing our example, we have an outcome goal to rank in the top 3 for keyword “x” within six months. And we have a performance goal to get 40 high-quality backlinks to the page.

What will we need to do to get 40 high-quality backlinks to the page within six months?

Let’s say that we plan to run a ‘skyscraper’ campaign. If we get a 5% conversion rate on average from our outreach emails, we can work backwards to create a process goal that will put us in an excellent position to achieve our performance goal.

Let’s do the math:
40 backlinks / 5% average conversion rate = 800 emails
800 emails / 6 months = ~133 emails/month

So our process goal is to send 133 ‘skyscraper’ outreach emails per month for six months.

3 SEO goal examples

Because your SEO goals should align with company goals, I can’t say precisely what SEO goals to set. Your industry, how established your brand is, and the competitiveness of your niche all factor into the equation—among other things.

But what I can do is walk through a few more examples to get you comfortable using the SEO goal framework.

  1. Increase organic share of voice by 20% in 12 months
  2. Increase organic engagement rate by 10% in 6 months
  3. Achieve $10,000 in sales from organic traffic in month 6

Example SEO goal #1: Increase organic share of voice by 20% in 12 months

Search engine optimization is a highly competitive form of marketing. Essentially we are all vying for a spot (and attention) within a limited field of space.

You may hear your boss or clients saying, “just crush the competition.”

What does this mean? How will this be achieved? What determines whether or not we are successful?

“Crush the competition” is far too broad.

Using the SEO goal framework, you can turn “crush the competition” into a specific, measurable goal.

The first step is to align SEO efforts with company goals. What outcome contributes towards the company’s broader goal of “crushing the competition? In this case, something like “increase organic share of voice by 20% in 12 months” would be a SMART outcome goal.

It’s specific because we’re specifying a percentage in a timeframe—not an open-ended goal.

It’s measurable using the Competitors Overview report in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker.

It’s achievable because 20% in 12 months is far from a ‘pie in the sky’ proposal.

It’s relevant to company goals because it’s essentially our site’s organic search visibility compared to competitors.

And it’s time-based because we specified a timeframe.

Now for the second step: setting performance goals.

Remember, this should also be a SMART goal. To keep things simple, we’ll set just one: “win 50 featured snippets for high-volume tracked keywords in 12 months.”

Featured snippets are pieces of information that generally display at the top of search results for a search query. Getting more featured snippets is a simple way to get more SERP visibility and clicks.

Here’s how to find the best featured snippet opportunities:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker
  2. Select your project
  3. Choose the Overview report
  4. Filter for keywords with featured snippets that you don’t rank for
  5. Filter keywords where you rank in positions 2–5
  6. Sort the keywords by traffic volume from highest to lowest

You’re in the home stretch now. The third and final step is to break out performance goal(s) into process goals by outlining the how.

Because it’s often possible to win featured snippets with a simple on-page change, a process goal would be to “make on-page changes to 50 pages to increase our chances of winning the snippet.” We can measure progress by tracking the number of owned featured snippets in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker:

Example SEO goal #2: Increase organic engagement rate by 10% in 6 months

You may be thinking user engagement is a CRO metric. But remember, Google’s own SEO Starter guide says, “any optimization should be geared toward making the user experience better.”

Historically, SEOs measured engagement using bounce rate and time on page. These are poor metrics to use because they often don’t align with user behavior.

For example, let’s say that you sit down to read a ~2K word blog post. This website says that even a slow reader would get through that in 20 minutes. If you close the browser as soon as you’re done, that session would technically count as a bounce.

Luckily, Google Analytics 4 has a more robust metric we can use to measure UX: Engagement rate.

Engagement rate more accurately measures whether a user interacted with your website or left, so a good outcome goal would be to “increase organic engagement rate by 10% in 6 months.”

It’s specific because it specifies a percentage and timeframe.

It’s measurable using the User Acquisition report in GA4

It’s achievable because there are things within our control we can change to impact this metric.

It’s relevant because we want to improve UX, and engagement rate measures this more accurately than bounce rate or time on page.

It’s time-based because we specified a timeframe (6 months).

Now for the performance goal(s).

Let’s keep things simple again and just set one: “increase the number of unique user scrolls by 30% on low scroll pages that have high-value to our company.”

To find the pages where we need to improve UX, we can check the Engagement Pages and screens report in GA4, filter to organic users, and view the table by unique user scrolls.

Given our performance goal, our process goal may be rewriting introductory paragraphs on low scroll pages so that more people are sold on the article and stick around to read it. Again, this can be measured manually.

Example SEO goal #3: Achieve $10,000 in sales from organic traffic in month 6

Making more money is the ultimate goal of SEO. To stand the best chance of this happening, we need to convert the vague goal of “make more money” into a SMART outcome goal like “achieve $10,000 in sales from organic traffic in month 6.”

This goal is specific because we’ve specified the amount and timeframe.

It’s easily measurable with Google Analytics.

It’s achievable because our hypothetical site isn’t particularly seasonal and is already doing ~$9K/month in sales from organic—so this is only an increase of ~11%.

It’s relevant because, again, making more money is the ultimate goal of SEO.

It’s time-based because we specified a timeframe.

Now for the game plan: performance goal(s):

Keeping things simple and setting just one performance goal again, we’ll go for “increase organic traffic to high-value pages by 20% in 6 months.”

The simplest way to find “high-value pages” is to ask which products are the most profitable for the company. Consider the cost of production, cost of shipping, rate of returns, etc.

Measuring whether we meet our performance goal is easy enough in Google Analytics. Just head to Behaviour > All Pages, compare periods, segment by organic traffic, and look at the entrances metric:

Finally, the process goal(s)…

I can’t outline exactly what the process goals will be as these will vary depending on what type of product or service, search intent, business resources, etc.

Here are just a few examples of actionable process goals that may help increase organic traffic:

  • write product schema for target pages
  • optimize products in an organic product feed
  • optimize all images on the target pages

Because process goals are tasks that you or your team carries out, completing the goal is measured manually using your personal project management style.

For example, if the process goal is to optimize all images on every high-value page, we would manually check that each image has an optimized file name, descriptive alt text, and meets file size requirements.

Final thoughts

Setting SEO goals may seem like an impossible task, but a strong framework is all you need to get started.

If you stay on track and complete your process tasks, you have a good chance at meeting your performance goals. When you meet your performance goals, you are very well positioned to hit your outcome goal.

Success is in the details.

How Does Geofencing Technology Work?

If you’re pleasantly surprised with the local ads you’ve seen lately, geofencing technology could be to blame. Competitor geofencing is a marketing strategy that has taken businesses by storm.

Geofencing technology allows businesses to target their most qualified audience by simply providing virtual boundaries. When target customers step into that boundary, they activate ads or push notifications for a specific business — enticing potential customers within that boundary to visit a storefront.

It sounds like a story straight out of a science fiction magazine, but it’s actually real life — and more and more businesses use the technology every day. Geofencing technology can be used on Facebook, with PPC ads, and so much more.

But how does it work?

In this post, we’ll take a look into the world of geofencing technology and talk about how it can work for your business.

What is geofencing technology?

A location-based marketing strategy, geofencing technology uses GPS signals to determine when a target customer enters a boundary.

Businesses set boundaries around locations where they want to target customers near their physical locations, and they can be set up virtually anywhere.

Geofencing is an extremely granular marketing strategy that allows businesses to target customers based on where they are in relation to that business. Typically, businesses set up geofences around a particular business, specific event, or even a conference. It all depends on who the business wants to target.

To provide a geofencing example, if a business has a sale, and they want to let potential customers know, they could set up an automated text message for when that customer enters the geofence.

If there is a specific event that attracts potential customers in your target market, you can set up a geofence around that event and target attendees with your ads, push notifications, or text messages.

What is a geofence?

When a business decides to use geofencing technology, it means they’re looking to specifically target an audience within a certain boundary.

That boundary is completely invisible and is created using GPS technology. It’s easiest to image when thought of as a fence because on a GPS map, that’s what it looks like!

How does geofencing target my specific audience?

Geofencing targets your most qualified audience by serving them ads for your products and services when they step inside your geofence. Those advertisements could take the form of push notifications, text messages, or PPC ads served in a web browser.

Example of geofencing with push notifications

Let’s say that you’ve just opened a women’s boutique and created a shopping app to go with it. When users download your app and you also have a geofencing campaign, you can opt to serve them push notifications when they’re in your area.

A push notification is a message that appears on your smartphone screen via an app — but the app doesn’t have to be open to receive push notifications.

For example, if you’re having a sale on jeans, and someone with your app walks by, a push notification will appear that lets them know about your promotion.

Example of geofencing with text messages

If you obtain your customers’ contact information, including their phone number, you can target them with text messages, too.

If you’re using geofencing technology, you can send an automated text message to your customers when they’re in your geofence location.

It could be to let them know about a sale you’re having, what’s new in your store, or just reminding them that they’re close to one of your locations.

Example of geofencing with PPC ads

A typical PPC campaign is a great way to reach target customers. Platforms like Google Ads offer location targeting, which is similar to geofencing — just without the virtual boundaries.

Ads work very similarly for geofencing — except the ads become available when a potential customer physically crosses into one of the geofences.

For example, let’s say you own a seafood restaurant. A couple walks down your block, and they’re in search of the best crab legs in town.

You know you’re one of the few seafood restaurants in the area, and you want to target the keyword “crab legs” in your ads.

Your restaurant uses geofencing technology to place a box around a three-block radius in every direction from your location. This means that your ads are served to patrons who search for keywords that you target while they’re in your vicinity.

However, just because you target specific keywords in your campaign doesn’t mean that your customers will automatically see your ads. You first have to determine how much you’re willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad that targets a specific keyword, and if it’s less than your competitors, your ad won’t be visible to passersby.

So in short, geofencing serves ads to your target customers within your invisible boundary — if you outbid your competitors for a specific keyword.

How accurate is geofencing?

To ensure that geofences are as accurate as possible, the technology utilizes a combination of GPS, cellular data and Wi-Fi data.

In environments where cell phone towers and Wi-Fi routers are everywhere — urban environments provide a good example — the accuracy of geofencing can reach anywhere from 100 to 200 meters.

In rural areas where there aren’t as many towers or Wi-Fi hotspots, accuracy can reach a few hundred meters.

Keep in mind that geofencing will always work best when you enable a smartphone’s Wi-Fi enabled and activate GPS services.

How expensive is geofencing technology?

Many businesses are quick to adopt this new form of marketing, but one of the first questions they have is “how much does it cost?”

Being that geofencing is a newer strategy to the market, it’s difficult to put an exact price tag on the service. Not to mention, every agency is different and tends to charge different amounts for services.

However, there are a few things that can help you determine how much a geofencing campaign will cost your company.

How much do you want to pay per month for ads?

If you’re opting to use PPC ads for your geofencing campaign, you’ll need to decide how much you’re willing to spend on ads per month.

If you’re targeting keywords that are more specific and long-tail, you’ll likely pay much less than you would if you want to target more general keywords. That’s because there’s a much higher concentration of general keywords, which means more competition and a higher cost-per-click.

A good estimate for monthly ad spend for a geofencing campaign is anywhere from $1000 to upwards of $10,000, depending on your industry and competition.

How many business locations do you have?

The cost of your geofencing campaign can also fluctuate depending on how many locations your business has. If you have five main locations that you want to target with geofencing, you’ll pay for each of those locations.

That being said, the fewer locations you have, the cheaper the campaign.

How to prove SEO ROI and overall business impact

Creating a winning SEO proposal for a new lead is hard work. You need to assess their SEO potential, identify the right strategy for them, and showcase the business value you can create. And then you need to explain it in a way that is meaningful for the client.

A lot of proposals tend to jump directly to how the agency can do that for the lead, yet an important step is missing.

To make your business case compelling, the first thing you need to do is understand what success looks like for your potential client. Then you can speak their language, whether that’s revenue, transactions, conversions, or traffic.

Kevin Gibbons, CEO and founder of Re:signal and SEOmonitor Masterclass educator, points out that what you should do is tie your activity back towards key business outcomes. If you can’t understand and explain exactly what success means and why they need SEO, then there will be no real alignment.

That’s where, Gibbons adds, a reliable forecasting methodology makes the difference. Or as he puts it, a forecast done well will help you define:

  • The WHY = What success can look like for the business and its growth potential.
  • The HOW = The key areas of the market that the client can grow into.
  • The WHAT = The necessary actions your agency can take to achieve those business outcomes.

If the what is pretty straightforward, the why and the how become just as straightforward with the right forecast in place:

Set a realistic business development direction

If you don’t have the bigger picture behind your SEO proposal set, you won’t know where you end up. “The forecast is a great sense check on WHY you are doing this in the first place,” says Gibbons.

This is the step in which creating a forecasting scenario gives you the right overview of the size of the opportunity. You not only get to evaluate if it’s the right lead for your agency but also if SEO is the right choice for the lead’s current business potential.

“You need to give them confidence that the results are realistic. If you’re a new retail brand with very little organic visibility and poor brand awareness/reputation, it’s very unlikely you’re going to be able to start ranking competitively for “sportswear” or ”skirts” overnight,” Gibbons explains.

“Your forecast model should take into account your current opportunity versus the size of the market and break it down into achievable bite sizes so that eventually you can eat that elephant – but you start one achievable bite at a time,” he adds.

SEOmonitor’s forecasting methodology allows you to model the data taking into account all the right inputs that influence your targeted keywords, to create a realistic scenario:

  • The CTR value — the average CTR curve for the top 10 positions on each individual combination of SERP features and devices.
  • The inertial trend of the non-brand organic traffic, based on search seasonality only (as if the website’s rankings would stand still).
  • The Year-over-Year search trend of the keywords included in the Forecast.
  • The ranking improvements of long-tail keywords (that are not part of the forecast) and their impact on traffic.

Clarify the client’s growth opportunities

The “why” that fuels your forecast and the SEO proposal is also based on how you curate your initial market and search landscape analysis.

Narrowing down your keyword list and understanding where the SEO opportunities lie will be the solid foundation for your scenarios. If your forecasting input lacks the quality it needs, your estimates will be misleading.

You need to know where you’re heading, the strategic way:

From keyword research to keyword strategy

You can think of the whole framework like this:

  • The keyword research is the input that you need to curate, organize and prioritize.
  • The keyword strategy is the output — the narrowed-down, categorized keyword groups that inform your action plan and your forecasting foundation.

This framework will help you maximize the impact of your SEO efforts and keep you from wasting resources for both your agency and your client.

But, to do so, you need a correct diagnosis of the client’s status quo and the problem you’re trying to address with SEO.

Map the client’s business

The client’s website categories and buyer personas are crucial for your understanding of the business. You can address their product or service categories as a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis and pinpoint the ones that are the most prolific in comparison to their competitors in the search landscape.

There might be the case that the client wants you to focus on certain categories, but you can be proactive in showing them where their strengths lie.

This view combined with the buyer journey will offer you the basis for evaluating demand and search intent — important for setting the right diagnosis. To better grasp the demand, you can think about what search queries the target audience used and reverse engineer the SERPs and the features Google highlights.

Let’s take an example.

Say your client is a small fashion designer with a fairly new website. It won’t make sense to battle big retailers (e.g. GAP and friends) on broad keywords like “dresses” or “jeans” from the get-go. Yet, the designer’s strength lies in customization, so you spot an opportunity for such things as “custom cocktail dresses” or “custom black dress”. Answering the search intent at every step of the journey with content marketing will prove an important part of your diagnosis and action plan: awareness (“little black dress for body shape”), interest (“best black dress”), and consideration (“custom black dress price”).

Map the client’s SEO opportunities

Apart from matching website categories with demand, there are numerous ways of spotting the SEO opportunity.

You can start with the high-opportunity keywords uncovered in your research phase — the keywords with the lowest difficulty to reach the top positions and the highest potential traffic once there.

You can evaluate the desired keywords that have missing landing pages or cannibalization issues and start fixing those immediately.

Then, there’s the problem of timing: spotting seasonal keywords and using them when their peak approaches is another low-hanging fruit, provided you get their timing right. Some, like holiday and actual season-related products and services, are straightforward. It’s the industry-specific ones that will give you the advantage.

Again, for the sake of clarity, let’s take an example.

Your client is an online bookshop preparing for the summer season. Of course, such queries like “best summer holiday reads” or “books to take on the beach” will be addressed. Yet, there might be high-opportunity keywords related to an exclusive event or book with the writer’s autograph, or new editorial launches for the summer months that will be seasonal and industry-specific.

A robust rank tracker can help you work efficiently in prioritizing and segmenting your keywords accordingly, with advanced filtering capabilities to highlight keywords with issues, keywords with low difficulty, high opportunity, and so on. It will save you hours of manually sifting through your initial keyword list.

Set a shared definition of success

Once you’ve uncovered the most relevant keywords out of your research and you found your answers to the diagnostic question, it’s time to test the viability of your SEO proposal.

That’s again where forecasting comes in handy in qualifying both the lead and the size of the opportunity. You can create multiple scenarios with your team and calibrate your keyword strategy until you have a realistic, solid proposal — sharing the final version with your client will further the trust and pave the way for setting expectations.

As we’ve said in the beginning, you should always have a shared definition of what success means for the SEO campaign: additional traffic, additional conversion, revenue, etc. That way, you make sure you track what matters for your client and you both evaluate the SEO performance with the right lens.

The keyword strategy and forecasting exercise are great opportunities to uncover new business potential, as well. This, in turn, positions your agency as a business partner, not just the people executing the SEO tasks.

In conclusion

To prove the ROI of your SEO proposal you need a good understanding of the client’s business and market, the right keyword strategy in place which becomes the basis of a realistic forecasting scenario.

All of these processes ensure that both you and the client speak the same language and know where you want to go in order to achieve business goals and growth targets.

After hundreds of hours of research with our agency clients and many years refining the know-how inside the product, SEOmonitor’s team decided it’s time to distill all that knowledge into a series of masterclasses.

We’ve launched SEOmonitor Masterclass for agency people to further their knowledge with business frameworks applied to their environment and processes. The first two on SEO Forecasting and Keyword Strategy can be freely accessed at

Both masterclasses include assignments, key takeaways, case studies, and demos for agencies to study and use in their own processes. After completing them, you’ll be able to leverage strategic frameworks for your agency, maximize the impact of your SEO efforts, and make better decisions for your future SEO campaigns.

Join our learning community today and help us bring more transparency to the SEO industry!

Why Startups Can’t Ignore SEO Anymore

Building a website is laying the foundation of your startup’s marketing strategy. However, a foundation alone is not enough. It’s what you build on that foundation that really matters. Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most rewarding but highly competitive digital marketing channels. Due to its competitiveness, it may come across as a distant dream for many startups, often causing them to make the mistake of ignoring it altogether. Here are a few reasons why startups must incorporate SEO into their marketing strategy.

Effective SEO begins at the planning phase of the startup marketing strategy

Having a robust marketing plan gives your startup a clear direction, and it’s crucial for the company’s growth. Some of the most important aspects of any marketing plan are setting up goals and objectives, identifying your target markets, budgeting, competitor analysis, and setting priorities by focusing on strengths. SEO strategy is not one size fits all, and it’s doomed to fail if pursued in that manner. Therefore, a marketing plan must be in strategic alignment with creating an SEO strategy specific to your startup’s goals and objectives.

SEO aims to improve your website’s rankings on search engines like Google to increase the organic traffic to your website. But getting any traffic to your website might not be the goal and objective of your startup. Therefore, aspects of your marketing plan determine your SEO strategy. The SEO strategy serves as the framework for structuring your website and generating content that translates your startup’s goals and objectives. Even the domain name you choose is related to SEO – all the more reason to include it in the pre-website marketing planning phase.

Web design: do it once and do it right

Time is crucial for startups, and a sense of urgency is a commendable trait, but that shouldn’t be the cause of any complacency. Unfortunately, complacency is precisely what will transpire if SEO is not part of your website design and will cause issues down the road. Search Engines are highly user-centric. They thrive on providing high-quality, valuable results to their user’s search queries, and they rank websites on top that are deemed valuable by a search engines’ highly sophisticated automated algorithms. Search engines’ web crawlers crawl the internet to discover, index, and rank websites according to their relevance and quality.

Technical SEO is a big part of website design and a crucial piece of the puzzle. Its optimization helps make your website crawlable by search engine bots. And each of its optimized aspects indicates the value of your website to search engine rank algorithms, which in return increases the chances of elevating your website’s rankings. The technical SEO elements you must know about and have as part of your web design are webpage loading speed, website security, mobile-friendliness, responsive web design, no duplicate content, XML sitemap, no broken links, improper use of robot.txt files and structured data.

SEO is not an entity of its own

Improving organic visibility for your website seems a plain and simple objective of SEO. But the different factors needed to achieve that objective are much broader, and their implementation can have a positive impact on various aspects of your startup. As mentioned above, technical SEO has all the elements that increase your website user’s experience.

Link building and online mentions are a substantial part of SEO strategy and a ranking factor. SEO strategists build links and mentions using PR, content marketing, local citations, directories, influencer marketing, and guest blogging. These strategies can get your startup exposure that results in engagement and earns your startup backlinks from various authoritative websites relevant to your startup. Backlinks and mentions display a vote of confidence in your startup products both to your target audience and to the search engine ranking algorithms.

Keyword research is market research

You can learn a great deal about your potential customers by doing keyword research. For instance, you can learn what questions they are searching for related to your products and services, and which of your products and services has the most and least searches per month. These are very powerful insights, especially for the startup. It helps you discover new topics that matter to your potential customers and reveals valuable information about your products and services.

Keyword Research is at the core of SEO strategy. By learning popular keywords and phrases used by your potential customers to search for products and services related to your startup, you can incorporate them into your content to get relevant keywords and drive high traffic to your website.

You can also target keywords or long-tail keywords with low search volumes that are less competitive to improve your page rankings quickly compared to the highly searched competitive keywords that are hard to rank on search engines. All of this is a crucial part of your SEO strategy.

Building brand awareness, trust and credibility

Achieving top rankings on search engines for keywords related to your products and services is tantamount to reaching the pinnacle of brand awareness, trust, and credibility. That’s not possible when you are just getting started. But the SEO strategies you deploy go hand-in-hand with building that brand awareness, trust, and credibility. These three factors are critical both to the search engines and to your potential customers.

How to clean up your Gmail inbox with this mass delete trick

I tend to collect email like some might collect Star Wars action figures. OK, that’s not a perfect analogy because mostly I collect email because I think I might need it later, but never do. That generally equates to me having way too many emails sitting in my inbox, most of which I’ve read and don’t need anymore.

And that can cause problems, especially in the Gmail mobile application. When you have thousands (or tens of thousands) of emails, the Gmail app search function can get bogged down. Because of that, I tend to go eliminate the problem every few months (or every year, when I get too busy and forget the whole “every few months” thing).

The problem with the Gmail app is there’s no easy way to do a mass delete. Even when you try with the web-based version, you’ll find you can only select 100 emails at a time. When your inbox is overflowing, that’s not a good enough option.

So, what do you do? I’m going to show you a handy trick for mass deletion. Unfortunately, this only works on web-based Gmail. The good news is that your mobile Gmail app will thank you for taking care of this.

What you’ll need
The only thing you need is a Google account. Of course, you’ll also need an inbox filled with previously read emails that you don’t need to keep. That’s important here: If you have certain emails that you need to keep, either mark them as unread or move them to another folder, otherwise they will be deleted.

You’ve been warned.

How to mass delete in Gmail

Open Gmail and type is: read in the search bar. At this point, you should only see those emails you have already read (or at least the first 100). With your read email on display, check the box (Figure A) to select all of the messages.

Figure A


Make sure to select all unread messages.

If you have a ton of unread messages, you will have only selected the first 100 (because… Google). To select all of those unread messages, you must click the Select All Conversations That Match This Search link (Figure B). Note: This link will only appear if you have more than 100 unread messages.

Figure B


Make sure to select all of your read emails (not just the first 100).

One word of warning: If you see an email listed (after selecting all unread emails) that you don’t want to be deleted, if you uncheck it you will revert the Select all conversations that match this search option. In other words, you need to make sure you’ve collected those read emails you want to save into a different folder (or marked them as unread) before going through this. Now, we need to delete all of those read emails by clicking the Trash icon (Figure C).

Figure C


The Trash icon is the farthest on the right.

After clicking the Trash icon, you’ll be prompted to OK the bulk delete of the read email. Click OK and every one of those read emails will be sent to the trash. Depending on how many read emails you are deleting, this can take some time. In the end, you’ll have a much cleaner Gmail inbox.

And that’s how you mass delete email in Gmail. Enjoy that reclaimed space and more efficient Gmail app search.

Why Digital Marketing is Critical to Your Organization

We are in a time where digital media has clearly replaced many traditional forms of marketing that worked in the past. eMarketer reports that digital overtook TV ad spending at the end of 2016. Companies can no longer ignore the need for a digital and social media marketing strategy. Digital marketing has the advantage of being faster, cheaper and more effective than traditional marketing. An email or social media campaign can connect a marketing message to a targeted subset of consumers for the fraction of the cost of a TV ad or print campaign.

One of the main benefits of digital marketing is the ease with which results can be tracked. Response rates for digital campaigns can be monitored in real-time. With the right analytics, companies can measure their customers’ responses in fine-grained detail.

These advances in digital marketing have highlighted the need for the appropriate technical skills.

Why it’s important to have digital marketing skills

In order for businesses to successfully execute digital marketing strategies they need to recruit, hire and train people with the right skills.

In a world where life has gone digital, marketing has to follow. Digital Marketing is one of the hottest fields in the world today, with tons of high-paying jobs available for skilled candidates.

The ideal candidate is often a hybrid who is strong in a number of areas, no matter what their specialty is. While specific strengths might be in analytics, social media, content creation or demand generation, it helps if everyone on a team has a grasp of the work being done across the company and is able to collaborate. No matter what their specialized skills are, digital marketers should understand how the different areas work together. This means that the strongest members of any marketing team are those with the skills and training across a wide range of digital marketing.

Hiring managers must evaluate the blend soft and hard skills they need in order to build a successful team. Managers need marketing departments where individual contributors think outside the box, with a combination of skills and qualities that allow them to be agile team players.

The pace of change is accelerating. Both individuals and managers need to continually review and assess their digital marketing expertise and quickly address any shortfall to avoid falling behind due to a digital marketing skills gap.

The marketing skills gap

Research conducted by Fractl and Moz (in which they reviewed over 75,000 job listings on found that marketing skills are in fact in high demand but hiring managers are struggling to find talent. “Many believe this rapid rate of change has caused a marketing skills gap, making it difficult to find candidates with the technical, creative, and business proficiencies needed to succeed in digital marketing,” Kelsey Libert wrote in a blog post on the report. In a study conducted by Bullhorn, 64% of recruiters reported a shortage of skilled candidates for available marketing roles.

A survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit and Marketo highlights the gap between what marketers used to do and what they need to do today. The skills marketing professionals felt the need to develop include digital engagement and technology (39%), strategy and planning (38%), and data analysis (32%).

The Economist states that successful marketers need the ability to combine the technical orientation of a project manager and data scientist with the big-picture view of a business strategist.

How to bridge the digital marketing skills gap

For job seekers with a desire to land a digital marketing job, a clear understanding of where they might have a shortfall, and what skills they need to backfill, is an essential first step.

Candidates should decide if they want to acquire ‘softer’ creative content creation skills, demand generation skills, or ‘hard’ analytics skills.

Companies require skilled professionals in every area of digital marketing. Digital video requires people with skills in scripting, shooting, and editing videos. Websites and social media platforms need people with SEO, SQL, HTML, CSS and CMS expertise (if you are not familiar with these acronyms check out the course listings!). Data Analysis is considered by many companies to be among the most important skill in digital marketing. eMarketer report that measuring content performance is a top priority for nearly two-thirds of marketers. Competent professionals need to understand the options for the measurement and the analysis of data, even if they are not the specialist running the numbers.

There are a growing number of training opportunities available for employees to acquire the appropriate skills.

While no single training delivery model works best for every learner, a learner centric model must be utilized. We’ve found that a “blended learning delivery model” coupled with 24×7 access to teaching assistants in combination with project based learning opportunities and quizzes/assessments increases competencies and proficiency.

Designed by expert authors, our Digital Marketing courses combine high-quality training in SEO, Social Media Marketing, and PPC with practical advice to ensure professional success. Also, check out our Post Graduate Digital Marketing Certification Program to learn more about digital marketing.

Covid-19 Has Reshaped The Healthcare Startup Space

While healthcare technology has been an attractive space for investors and entrepreneurs over the last decade, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed in many ways how we think about healthcare. It brought to light the need for accessible remote medicine and the need for quick and reliable testing.

Startups in the space now face an altered landscape, complete with new trends and new opportunities. Here’s a look at three recent healthcare technology startups that have either launched or pivoted to take advantage of pandemic-driven trends.

Kry goes global

Before the pandemic, healthcare companies spent years trying to push telehealth as the next evolution of healthcare delivery. While in some markets they began to succeed, in big healthcare markets like the US, it never gained significant traction. Despite efforts to drive adoption, the use of telehealth services by patients in the US had only reached 28% by 2019, even though it’s a more cost effective option.

However, the pandemic reversed these trends. Due to social distancing and quarantine rules, millions of Americans turned to telehealth for the first time. This created new opportunities. One company, Swedish telehealth startup Kry, took notice and made a pivot by launching a free online health consultation app called Livi Connect, which offered Americans on demand telehealth services.

The gambit worked and Kry saw its usage double throughout the pandemic, leading to a Series D cash infusion this April. Their experience points to a new opening for telehealth startups in the US, which should be able to capitalize on the growing acceptance of the technology. With estimates that the market that will be worth $298.9 billion by 2028, there is still opportunity for new entrants.

Happy Seniors meets senior care challenges

Among the hardest hit during the pandemic were senior care facilities. As home to the elder who were most vulnerable to the virus, they were ground zero for its spread, and the pandemic uncovered some serious deficiencies in how many of those facilities were run.

One of the lingering effects of the crisis in the senior care industry is what experts are calling a “pandemic of despair” among residents, where they continue to face psychological trauma from the virus. It’s a problem that a startup called Happy Seniors aims to solve.

The startup is working to combat loneliness among seniors by implementing direct messaging between caregivers and family members, and a one-tap solution for ordering special gifts for delivery right to their loved one’s door.

In addition, they’ve built a digital management platform that helps senior care facility managers gain unprecedented insight into their operations. The system enables seamless communication among staff members, solicits and tracks feedback from residents, and alerts managers to operational difficulties before they get serious.

Happy Seniors CEO Alex Bubnov says, “COVID dramatically impacted senior citizens and their loved ones, as there were no dedicated tools or products that could help seniors stay connected to their family. Many seniors were just by themselves during these difficult times. With Happy Seniors, family members will be able to stay in touch with their senior relatives 24/7 and remain an essential part of their social lives. The platform is designed to help alleviate loneliness and isolation for seniors in addition to keeping and improving the connection to old friends and family members.”

Happy Seniors reflects a burgeoning trend to modernize the senior care space. In a market worth around $740 billion, there are ripe opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Ava joins Covid-19 surveillance efforts

Early on in the pandemic, one of the great challenges facing public health experts was finding ways to track and measure the spread of Covid-19 among the general population. While there was still a shortage of PCR testing available to help, a variety of medical device manufacturers looked to fill the void. One of them was Ava, a female fertility-focused wearable device startup.

Their flagship product, which is a bracelet designed to track fertility cycles, recently went into clinical trials to test its ability to detect pre-symptomatic cases of Covid-19 using machine learning algorithms. In early tests, the device was 71% effective at spotting infections, which is already better than many of the rapid antigen tests in regular use today.

Ava’s foray into Covid-19 detection models reflects that device manufacturers see an opening and demand for at-home diagnostics, even when it’s not their primary focus. It’s one of the reasons why Apple tested turning its watch into a mobile EKG machine even before the pandemic.

Wearables already have much higher penetration rates than conventional at-home diagnostic products and companies, and nimble startups in the space can take advantage of that.

The bottom line

The pandemic opened doors in the healthcare space and accelerated already existing trends. Smart entrepreneurs can find opportunities to capitalize on this, and more importantly, improve healthcare outcomes.

10 Emerging Business Opportunities In The Internet Of Things Sector

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been gaining more and more traction over the past few years as connected devices and smart home and office gadgets dominate the market. According to Statista, the IoT market revenue worldwide is projected to climb to over one trillion dollars by 2030.

With this increased revenue comes a number of new ways for businesses to leverage IoT technology. Below, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members shared some business opportunities they see emerging in the IoT sector. Keep an eye out for these 11 growing trends in the B2B IoT space.

1. Voice-Powered Technologies

With the growing popularity of IoT devices, the interaction of business with customers is also changing. Take for instance Siri, Alexa and Cortana — who are advanced voice technologies — to perform countless searches as the customer orders. This one area of IoT is going to expand gigantically in the future. So, the tech-savvy business is in a role to grab this opportunity. This voice technology is also going to end the role of customer representatives and virtual assistants. These automated voice technologies can be used to improve customer service, create a high, end-to-end experience and give more efficiency. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

2. Retail Data Tracking And Analysis

Recent technological advancements have opened the door to IoT. Your watch, smart speaker and digital thermostat are all connected and the data they acquire can be used to improve your business. Because of the ubiquity of these devices, they can easily be leveraged to provide data from the world of retail. Tracking customer behavior within brick and mortar establishments can become invaluable for business owners. Data can be received from the cash register, store cameras and mobile customer apps and then integrated to form solutions for customer service. For example, if the data indicates peak levels of customer activity at certain times of the day or week, you can use this information to optimize your staffing needs or prepare your inventory accordingly. – Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

3. Cybersecurity

Every endpoint that is connected to the internet is exposed to increased risk and vulnerability. There are many new niche cyber companies emerging and they all claim to protect you and your business in the best way. Choosing the right cyber firm is like “merging houses with someone,” so finding that right provider within all these emerging new businesses will be key for any business. From that, industries such as insurance are adjacent. More and more businesses look to insure their cyber exposure, which comes at a cost. Coverage is very quickly increasing and becoming more selective. These are industries that we’ll see growth in the near future. – Fabi Hubschmid, Markaaz

4. Internet Telephony

I work in the office communication space and the office desk telephone has become a super versatile communications hub. To even call some of these devices desk phones or hard phones no longer seems appropriate because making phone calls is only one out of hundreds of features that these phones provide. In the near future, I see even more engagement on that front, where proactive use of social media based on location and proximity will trigger marketers and representatives to engage before there are questions and problems. – Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

5. Real Estate

With e-commerce booming, there are lots of opportunities to invest in industrial buildings. However, many investors are unaware of what most industrial businesses need. If you want to invest, make sure the building has adequate IoT devices. I own an e-commerce business and my building has automated management of inventory. We have IoT sensors and RFId tags installed in inventory systems. We also have smart shelves and temperature-monitoring sensors. These devices have made a significant difference in streamlining our business infrastructure and in the value of the building itself. Anyone looking for new business opportunities could find many opportunities in the real estate side of the IoT boom. – Shu Saito, All Filters

6. Seasonal Retail

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more people using their IoT devices to do seasonal shopping this year. More consumers own smart speakers than ever before and most people already use them for shopping. As operating systems refine their voice search software, we will see more people use this technology to shop for loved ones. This will create new jobs for SEO specialists, e-commerce marketing experts and much more. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

7. Patient Health Monitoring

Patient monitoring in healthcare will emerge. The ability to monitor a patient without them having to come into the office or hospital will surely cut down on overall costs and improve quality of care since in most cases, it can be done in real-time. This is already being done to a certain extent but you’ll likely see an expansion of it, considering its potential. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

8. Virtual Medical Care

The use of IoT in the health sector is worth mentioning because medical services are using it to offer medical care at a distance. So now it’s possible to perform operations or monitor the health condition of patients from remote places, even when the doctor isn’t present physically with the patient. In a way, the use of IoT in medical services has revolutionized the way the health care system works. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

9. Inventory Management

IoT can play a significant role in improving the inventory management of retail companies. Storing and tracking goods is one of the most expensive tasks there is in running an e-commerce or physical retail store. IoT devices can track when a stock is down and automatically send an order for replacements. This creates efficiency, saves space and also lowers expenses. The savings are reflected in the final price the customer pays without reducing profits. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

10. Senior Care

I think that an important area where IoT can be applied is in looking after the elderly and other people who need care. IoT devices can be used to ensure that they have all their needs related to food and other articles kept in stock without ever running out. Such devices can also help with security and monitoring the health and wellness of people who struggle to care for themselves. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

Planning For The World Of Hybrid Work

As the boundaries between work and home continue to blur, companies are contemplating a range of models to keep teams engaged. While a growing number of organizations are bringing employees back to the office after more than a year at home, others have decided to continue to allow people to work remotely. Then there are hybrid scenarios—a new way of working to support the future of work that was in place long before the pandemic—that continue to give workers the continued flexibility they crave balanced with the need for in-person collaboration and connection. It’s a real-time opportunity for companies to learn how to foster a culture that’s remote and high-touch all at once.

Sustaining organizational culture has never been more challenging. People have felt isolated, and the lack of impromptu interactions means the chance to integrate and generate ideas must take on a different flavor. Yet the pandemic has also served as a road test for the policies and technology advancements and investments that have made collaborative work possible without face-to-face interaction. Our Deloitte analysis shows that at least 100 digital remote collaboration tools were released to market or enhanced in the first eight months of 2020, and according to a recent Return to Workplaces survey of 275 executives, 68% expect to implement a hybrid model of working between physical and virtual work.

When people aren’t sharing physical space, they still need effective ways to work together. In transitioning to hybrid working, leaders cannot lose sight of the value of high-touch collaboration, and there are practical, attainable ways to prepare teams and organizations for this shift.

Create work environments that promote collaboration

Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends survey shows that executives clearly see a future where multiple scenarios—including those involving both in office and remote work—are the norm. Nearly half of respondents (47%) said that their organizations planned to focus on multiple scenarios in the future, up from 23% before the pandemic. One way business leaders are doing this is by creating immersive environments where teams can collaborate effectively at a distance. For instance, there’s an emerging category of tools that aims to enable workers to connect, share experiences, and participate in simulated real-life scenarios using augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies. In such platforms, users encounter a 3D-shared environment where they can see representations of themselves and colleagues and conduct meetings.

Companies that have made investments in such technologies stand to emerge stronger in the post-pandemic recovery: 76% of executives who said their organizations had done very well at embedding advanced technologies into core business strategies to become more agile, also said they are weathering the events of 2020 better than their peers, according to a recent Deloitte survey.

In a hybrid work model, physical spaces are being reimagined to foster better collaboration and achieve outcomes otherwise challenging in a fully virtual environment. For example, office spaces are transforming to accommodate smaller office footprints, while emphasizing spaces that are geared toward networking and culture-building. This can be achieved by campus-style hubs and an emphasis on training space, where colleagues can get together and individual spaces or offices become team spaces.

The need to support high-touch collaboration for remote workers will remain even as numbers of workers return to in-person and hybrid work models. This will require much greater flexibility in workplace planning—the process of identifying and filling predicted gaps in supply and demand for an organization’s key talent—not to mention new opportunities for workers to achieve work-life integration.

Gaining ground: New skills for the workplace

Remote and hybrid environments have enabled organizations to engage with workers on far more flexible terms. The 2021 Deloitte Global Resilience Report showed that nearly three-quarters (72%) of organizations that had implemented processes to easily redeploy people to different roles leading up to 2020 were better equipped to weather the circumstances of the pandemic.

In the survey of more than 2,200 C-suite executives, which examined how they’re managing this “new normal,” we asked whether they had already implemented or were planning to put in place a number of actions or programs to make their workforces more adaptable. That included implementing processes to easily redeploy workers to other roles or projects, offering training or rotational programs to enable reskilling, and providing workers with flexible work options.

Notably, adaptability was the workforce trait executives said was most critical to their organizations’ futures (54% of respondents). Technology savvy came in second with 40% of senior leaders saying it was the most important workforce trait.

Remote and hybrid work environments are enabling organizations to engage with workers on far more flexible terms. Whether your organization returns to pre-pandemic norms or looks dramatically different after the crisis, you can be assured the motivations of your stakeholders have changed. Consider how the following can help your company adapt to the shift to hybrid work:

  • Introducing new digital collaboration platforms
  • Allowing for more flexibility in how and where work gets done
  • Setting new scheduling and meeting norms
  • Identifying leadership and talent gaps that are standing in the way of hybrid work and activating a plan to address them
  • Ensuring well-being is included in the design of virtual workspaces (e.g., apps to increase mindfulness or master distractions)

The global recovery that began taking shape in the first half of 2021 has laid the groundwork for a dynamic second half of the year. Companies that listen to their employees’ needs and build balanced, hybrid work environments can be better positioned to break down siloes between physical and remote workplaces, meet market demands, and retain talent. A focus on integration and collaboration, while leading with head and heart, can allow leaders to navigate a new world of work that may be here to stay, long after the masks come off.

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