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On-page SEO + Off-page SEO = Wonder Twins!

By korbodo No Comments »

I’m probably dating myself, but as a kid I remember watching the Super Friends fight crime on TV every Saturday morning. Of the various leotard-clad heroes, the Wonder Twins were among my favorites. With their wonder twin powers activated, one could change into anything water or mineral-based; the other could change into any animal or creature. Working together, they could keep any evil villain at bay.

It’s analogous to on-page and off-page SEO: they’re different, and they’re better together.

For non-branded keywords, particularly nouns, you’ll often see that sites like Wikipedia, IMDB and Amazon do really well. Not only do they have quality content, but lots of people agree and link to them. It’s not too surprising when they rank for searches where the match is a bit of a stretch.

For long-tail keywords, it’s even more critical to balance both on and off-page because the “big guys” aren’t a factor. Tools like PageCritic compare how the top ranked pages use a keyword phrase, often uncovering gaping holes (e.g. not using any part of the keyword phrase in the title) that will get you thinking “how the heck are they ranking?”

That’s where the off-page SEO analysis comes in. Chances are, once you run a report for that site that isn’t using the keyword phrase very well, you’ll uncover a mix of inbound links from relevant & reputable sites to the irrelevant & disreputable. You’ll also want to look at the internal link structure to see what their anchors are.

If the site is for a plumber, finding inbound links from relevant sites about home repair or local directories makes sense, whereas links from a cocktail mixology expert do not. Chances are the poor plumber has no idea those mixology links are there. So, you can do two things: 1) note all the relevant links as ones to go after and 2) if you’re an SEO Agency, use the sources of irrelevant links to find other potential “link building victims” to save! It’ll be your good deed of the day.

Next, look at the internal links for that site – in particular, look at what anchors or links they’re using when they refer to their own content. Those links are another signal to the search engines telling them what the content on the other end of the link is about. They may give you some ideas about what words you should be using on your own site’s links.

Of course I’ve been eating our own dogfood and using WebPosition’s InLinks Beta to do link analysis lately (and loving it!), but the tool is less important than taking the time to understand the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, both on-page and off.

PS, as a childhood Super Friends devotee, can someone please put together a nicely indexed list of all the things the Wonder Twins activated and turned themselves into? Please?

Explain SEO to your parents (and their friends)

By korbodo No Comments »

Last weekend I had dinner with my folks and they had some friends over.

“What do you do?” they asked.

“I help people’s websites show up in Google and other search engines,” I said.

“So how do you make that happen?”

I’ll spare you what I ACTUALLY said, and instead give you this little deck to send family members and friends who are still trying to understand what the heck you do hunched in front of the glow of the monitor every day. Enjoy!

Can’t see the video? Try THIS.

You asked for it! PageCritic Beta II

By Webposition SEO Team No Comments »

Thank you to all our customers who sent in feedback about the new PageCritic Beta! The number one feature request we received was “just tell me what to look at!” – so we got cracking on it.

If you haven’t taken it for a spin yet, WebPosition‘s PageCritic provides a wealth of detailed data comparing the on-page keyword use on your page (live or unpublished) to the top ranked pages for a given keyword phrase. So much data, however, that you told us it took too long to analyze and pull out the nuggets of wisdom to act on. Message received.

Today we’re announcing the Top Findings feature for PageCritic: a prioritized list of on-page SEO findings. We look at how much impact to search engine rankings that part of the page has, how big the gap is between you and your top 20 competitors for keyword usage in that part of the page, how highly each competitor is ranked and weight the findings accordingly.

Part of what’s so fascinating about these findings is that sometimes the message is to “back off” on your on-page keyword use, or that you’re maxed out on on-page optimization and it’s time to crank up your off-page efforts.

Here’s an example of Top Findings in action. We created a PageCritic critique for the keyword phrase “best eco-friendly bags”, using a website on the 2nd page (reusethisbag.com) and leaving the default search engine (Google.com) in place.

And here are the Top Findings (click to see full size):

Top Findings from a PageCritic Critique, highlighting on-page SEO differences

What do we see? In several parts of the page, the keyword weight is much higher than the competition – most importantly, in the Body of the page. That means that for the number of words in a given part of the page, the keyword is being used at a higher rate than the competition.

You’ll see that the word “Body” looks like a link – because it is! Each section of the page has its own nitty-gritty comparison against the top 5 ranked pages for the term. Let’s dive in and see the details on this (click to see full size):

Keyword Usage in the body of the page, compared to the competition.

One nice feature about PageCritic is that you can simply run your mouse over the URL in the table on the right and the corresponding data points on the left are highlighted, allowing us to hone in on two points of interest – the word count and the weight. See how the word count is the smallest? And the weight is way up there? That means that although the frequency (the number of times words in the keyword phrase were found) is in line with the competition, it’s on a much smaller amount of content to begin with, pushing the weight up.

Ahh, you might say, but the #5 site has a similar weight! And you’d be right. Two things: first, the body of that page also has twice as many words along with higher keyword prominence; second, on-page SEO is only one part of a multi-faceted puzzle. Our mission with PageCritic is to point you to those areas where you are most likely to find on-page SEO opportunities – without having to review each and every competitor page yourself!

We hope you enjoy this new feature, and let us know if you have some interesting findings you’d like to share!

Learn more at WebPosition.com

PageCritic Beta Announcement

By Webposition SEO Team No Comments »

We’re pretty excited to be bringing you news of the PageCritic Beta, and even more excited that all WebPosition Standard and Premium subscribers automatically have access to see it for themselves and to start kicking the tires.

PageCritic analyzes how the keyword phrase you’re optimizing for is used on your webpage. It finds the top competition for the keyword and looks at how the keyword phrase is being used on those pages, too.  Better yet, you can use PageCritic to analyze pages you haven’t released yet and compare them to the competition they’ll have when they’re published. In the Slideshare presentation below, we use an example site to show you how to create a critique, and start seeing how to identify on-page optimization opportunities.

Enjoy! (Full-screen view recommended)

When On-Page SEO Doesn’t Matter

By korbodo No Comments »

Gerry McGovern’s article “How Google fails at SEO, and why it doesn’t matter” contrasts the on-page SEO of Google’s homepage to that of Yahoo’s, and makes the good point that Google’s success is not just about on-page SEO. Providing value to the searcher and answering their questions is more likely to help you attract, convert and retain a loyal following. But it got us thinking of some of the other factors we look at in SEO, and how Google stacks up to Yahoo and Bing on those fronts.

Google vs. Yahoo vs. Bing: Inbound Links
One measure is counting the number of roads that lead to Rome, or the inbound links. Using a few measures such as Yahoo’s Site Explorer, SeoMoz’s Open Site Explorer and Blekko‘s /seo slashtag, we can see that Google completely crushes the competition.

  Google.com Yahoo.com Bing.com
Yahoo’s Site Explorer 2,043,383,285 1,449,256,115 50,423,427
Google’s “link:” operator 18,700 4,670 4,800
SeoMoz’s Open Site Explorer 45,741,998 9,620,352 1,421,268
Blekko’s /seo slashtag 47,844,678 3,964,300 2,336,509


Rankings for Search Engine Keywords
Another measure is to see how these sites rank for keyword phrases that people might use to find them. Using WebPosition Reporter, we created a keyword ranking report (use “rank#1″ as the password to view the details) that shows how the major search engines perform. Here is a summary:

  Google.com Yahoo.com Bing.com
search engine 4 10 2
best search engine 19 not in top 50 not in top 50
top search engine not in top 50 not in top 50 not in top 50
search the web 9 2 7


Now, low ranks for “top search engine” could be because the searcher is looking for an article or review and not an actual engine, and that article would most likely link to the engines, but it’s interesting nonetheless. We’ll run this report again to see if the results change, and let us know if there are other keyword phrases you’d like us to add in when we do!

Link Diversity: The Spice of Link Building

By Webposition SEO Team 2 Comments »

We all know about the importance of building inbound links, but link diversity is just as important as generating the links themselves.  And for good reason.

Better Search Rankings
Imagine that a job candidate’s references were all family members.  Wouldn’t the candidate’s references carry more weight if they were a mix of colleagues and supervisors?  The same goes for your natural link portfolio.  Inbound links are essentially ‘votes’ for your site, and a diverse link portfolio indicates authority and trustworthiness, which search engines are often happy to reward accordingly.

Conversely, search engine algorithms can tell if a significant portion of your inbound links come from one single site…and penalize your search rankings for it.

Protection For Your Efforts
As with monetary investments, putting all of your eggs in one basket is not usually the best idea.  But diversifying your link portfolio can help protect your site against search algorithm updates, the closing of sites that have linked to yours and other changes that can derail your link building efforts.

Increased Web Traffic
If your inbound links stem from a limited source, you can pump only so much water out of that proverbial well.  By varying your inbound links, your site will be exposed to a broader audience, which creates more opportunity to generate high-quality inbound links and reach potential customers.

Building quality inbound and outbound links can be challenging enough, but putting in the extra time and effort to create a natural link portfolio that consists of diverse inbound links can pay off in your search engine ranking.  In an upcoming post, we’ll go into more detail about what constitutes link diversity and how to achieve it, so stay tuned.

SEO 101: Back to the Basics

By Webposition SEO Team No Comments »

Keeping up with the latest in SEO requires the same dedication demanded of those who train for triathlons.  Seriously, just thinking about it almost makes you reach for a sports drink.

But professional pride drives most of us to not only stay knowledgeable about the newest methods, but to also implement them.  And because search engines continually update their algorithms, we often must also adjust our efforts accordingly to maintain the page rank we’ve already worked so hard to earn…all while answering the numerous demands from multiple business stakeholders that often have little to no understanding about SEO in general.  (Take another sip of your sports drink.)

Let’s be honest, modifying our strategies for whatever reason has become a reflex, but it doesn’t always benefit our overall SEO efforts.  Our strategies quickly grow so complex that if they were posted to the Internet, they could rank in the Top Ten Results for “How in the world did we end up here?”

If keeping up with it all has made your strategies too convoluted, it may be time to revisit those tried-and-true SEO 101 basics that have proven effective time and time again.  Offer users solid content, and optimize your keywords on and off the page.  Build a site that users want to keep visiting and that other sites want to link to.  The most successful SEO efforts are built upon a foundation that’s stood the test of time and changing search algorithms.

Top 5 Mistakes When Choosing Keywords

By Webposition SEO Team No Comments »

Researching keywords is one thing, but choosing the right keywords is another.  Choose the wrong ones and search engines don’t know to offer your website to users who want to find it.  And that means missed opportunities.

To help you stay on the straight and narrow, here are the Top 5 Mistakes to avoid when choosing keywords.

5.    Insider Jargon
You know what the buzzword means, but average users probably won’t.  Think about it.  Most users will search “garbage removal” instead of  “sanitation” to find someone to haul away their unwanted junk.

4.    Too General
You’ll have tough competition for a decent ranking and a wide range of users.  Google “stuff” and you’ll get almost 400,000,000 results ranging in topic such as social politics, comedy and so on.  It makes earning a top ranking and attracting the right traffic difficult.

3.    Single Word
One word can generate so many results that getting a decent ranking is a monumental and expensive feat.  Googling “money” returns about 900,000,000 results.   That’s a lot of competition for just one term.

2.    Too Obscure
Choose keywords that are too obscure, and you’ll end up with little competition for rankings but also terms that few users will search.  “Happymoneymaker” may generate less than 34,000 results, but not many users will query it.

1.    Popular but Less Relevant
“Cute slippers” may be a popular search phrase, but your target audience may just be looking for your “bunny slipper patterns”.  Don’t forgo potential customers in favor of more popular but less relevant keywords.

Keyword Research is Never Done
Your keyword list should always be a work in progress.  Track your keyword performance to monitor which ones perform and which ones don’t so you can refine your list and maximize its effectiveness.  WebPosition offers an easy way to track how your keywords perform across search engines, and you can try Webposition for free for 30 days.

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