For centuries, the myth of the starving artist has dominated our culture, seeping into the minds of creative people and stifling their pursuits. But the truth is that the world’s most successful artists did not starve. In fact, they capitalized on the power of their creative strength. In Real Artists Don’t Starve, Jeff Goins debunks the myth of the starving artist by unveiling the ideas that created it and replacing them with fourteen rules for artists to thrive.
If you are using Responsive Web Design, use meta name="viewport" tag to tell the browser how to adjust the content. If you use Dynamic Serving, use the Vary HTTP header to signal your changes depending on the user-agent. If you are using separate URLs, signal the relationship between two URLs by tag with rel="canonical" and rel="alternate" elements.

Ha! I love this post, which took an entire evening to read, because I needed to follow up on a lot of the links that branch out from here. I am a beginner but I was delighted to see you last section on how succint, strong, active and snappy writing helps to reduce bounce rate 😉 I think you might add using humor to the mix. You use it a lot, too. (And I’m only half joking).

I did want to ask you about the section on “Don’t Focus on Long Tail Keywords”. This is topical for me as I actually have a tab opened from a recent post on the MOZ blog from Rand Fishkin that details reasons why you should focus on long tail keywords. I know you have said that “they have their place”, but as I say as a newbie to all of this, ever so slightly differing opinions from two authoritative people in the industry (that’s you and Rand of course 🙂 frazzles my brain somewhat and I’m not sure whether to turn left or right!
One of my best pieces of advice when it comes to SEO for small businesses is to truly spend some time understanding your audience and their intent. Even if your website is perfectly optimized, if it’s done for the wrong audience, you will not see good traffic. Google is taking audience intent into account more and more, as updates like RankBrain try to understand the semantics of a search query and not just the literal definition of the words. If you can comprehensively answer the questions your audience is asking, your site will rank highly in Google organically.
Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result. While there's no minimal or maximal length for the text in a description meta tag, we recommend making sure that it's long enough to be fully shown in Search (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search), and contains all the relevant information users would need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.

After you hit “Get ideas,” you will see the number of average monthly searches for the term you entered, plus other related search terms that you may want to use as keywords on your website. Create a list of the keywords and search terms you want to rank for, and fold them in to your website copy and content as naturally as possible. As Google sees your website using these keywords, it will view your site as a relevant and quality search result.
Thank you Brian. This is SOLID stuff. I appreciate your mindset for SEO and SEM. What’s the use of SEO and all of this backlinking effort if it can’t stand the test of time? Plus these back links are like little promotions, little ads throughout the internet vs. just a backlink. Plus it makes a lot of sense to maximize promotion efforts to have our on page stuff liked by search engines but also have our on page stuff maximize clarity to what the user is looking for getting them excited to share and link back. Man I’ve got a lot of work to do! Thank you!
Good stuff, Brian. The tip about getting longer (4-line) descriptions is awesome. I hadn’t noticed that too much in the SERPs, although now I’m on a mission to find some examples in my niche and study how to achieve these longer descriptions. I also like the tip about using brackets in the post’s title. One other thing that works well in certain niches is to add a CAPITAL word somewhere in the title. Based on some early tests, it appears to improve CTR.

Expertise and authoritativeness of a site increases its quality. Be sure that content on your site is created or edited by people with expertise in the topic. For example, providing expert or experienced sources can help users understand articles’ expertise. Representing well-established consensus in pages on scientific topics is a good practice if such consensus exists.
If you find any broken links on topically related websites, you can immediately contact the website owner and inform him about it. Since you will do him a favor by pointing out a broken link, you can also kindly request a replacement with a link to your relevant resource. Of course, the replacement – your article – must be informative and useful for their audience.

Another example when the “nofollow" attribute can come handy are widget links. If you are using a third party's widget to enrich the experience of your site and engage users, check if it contains any links that you did not intend to place on your site along with the widget. Some widgets may add links to your site which are not your editorial choice and contain anchor text that you as a webmaster may not control. If removing such unwanted links from the widget is not possible, you can always disable them with “nofollow" attribute. If you create a widget for functionality or content that you provide, make sure to include the nofollow on links in the default code snippet.


Basically, what I’m talking about here is finding websites that have mentioned your brand name but they haven’t actually linked to you. For example, someone may have mentioned my name in an article they wrote (“Matthew Barby did this…”) but they didn’t link to matthewbarby.com. By checking for websites like this you can find quick opportunities to get them to add a link.
As keywords are essentially the backbone of on-page SEO, you need to pay a lot of attention to them. There is no reason not to include them in your URLs.  The inclusion has its benefits. When you assimilate the targeted keyword into the URL, you are ensuring that Google’s has another reason and way to consider your article as more relevant for a particular phrase.
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All sites have a home or "root" page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content. Do you have enough pages around a specific topic area that it would make sense to create a page describing these related pages (for example, root page -> related topic listing -> specific topic)? Do you have hundreds of different products that need to be classified under multiple category and subcategory pages?
Google updates its search algorithm frequently. For example, on February 23rd, 2016, Google made significant changes to AdWords, removing right-column ads entirely and rolling out 4-ad top blocks on many commercial searches. While this was a paid search update, it had significant implications for CTR for both paid and organic results, especially on competitive keywords.
To prevent users from linking to one version of a URL and others linking to a different version (this could split the reputation of that content between the URLs), focus on using and referring to one URL in the structure and internal linking of your pages. If you do find that people are accessing the same content through multiple URLs, setting up a 301 redirect32 from non-preferred URLs to the dominant URL is a good solution for this. You may also use canonical URL or use the rel="canonical"33 link element if you cannot redirect.
Links to online articles and websites improve the richness of online text and increase its search engine optimization. You can reference almost any website by copying and pasting the link into your email, text message, or document. The procedure may differ slightly depending upon the computer, device or program you are using. If the address is very long, you can use a link shortening service.
If I have 2 pages that are on the same topic and basically the same info re-written with the same image, but both are very popular pages, what is your advice? Over the last 9 years the 2 pages have gotten more than a million pageviews combined, almost equally between them. Should I permanently redirect one to the other, or try to improve them each and distinguish them slightly more so that they cover a different angle of the same topic?

Robots.txt is not an appropriate or effective way of blocking sensitive or confidential material. It only instructs well-behaved crawlers that the pages are not for them, but it does not prevent your server from delivering those pages to a browser that requests them. One reason is that search engines could still reference the URLs you block (showing just the URL, no title or snippet) if there happen to be links to those URLs somewhere on the Internet (like referrer logs). Also, non-compliant or rogue search engines that don't acknowledge the Robots Exclusion Standard could disobey the instructions of your robots.txt. Finally, a curious user could examine the directories or subdirectories in your robots.txt file and guess the URL of the content that you don't want seen.


Killer post, Brian. Really want to know how to create those charts you keep using throughout your posts. I searched Google for them but couldn’t find them so I’m guessing they’re custom designed but with what tool is the question… Would love to see a flat architecture diagram for blogs and non-ecommerce sites. Look forward to your upcoming Blab with Dmitry.
The world is mobile today. Most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. The desktop version of a site might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. As a result, having a mobile ready site is critical to your online presence. In fact, starting in late 2016, Google has begun experiments to primarily use the mobile version of a site's content42 for ranking, parsing structured data, and generating snippets.
For example, a plumber could first find a service that has search volume on Google, but may not be talked about that in-depth on their competitor’s websites. In this example, a service like “leak detection” may be listed with a small blurb on your competitor’s sites, but none of them have elaborated on every angle, created FAQs, videos, or images. This represents an opportunity to dominate on that topic.
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