Great article, Brian. Like that you’re finally talking about Domain Authority (DA). It’s essential to make skyscraper technique work as well. Also, a great pointer on comments as I have personally seen articles perform well because of comments. Do you recommend closing the comments as well a few days after the article is published? Kinda like Copyblogger does now.
Laura,Great post.  This touches something I wish more SEOs practiced: conversion optimization. I think most SEOs think of what they do as a service for, instead of a partnership with clients.  The end result should never be raw traffic, but value obtained through targeted, CONVERTING traffic.You make excellent points about market research, product input, content creation, and other functions many SEOs and SEMs neglect.More and more SEO providers focus only on assembly line basics and worn out techniques instead of challenging themsleves to learn product marketing, usability, and conversion optimization.Your advice on market research is extremely valuable.Great start to a promising series.  I look forward to more!
Really its just a matter of getting creative - grab a cup of caffeine and think for a minute about what resources you have to try to get some insight on your visitors (or target markets) and their needs before you dive in.  Think about how much time it might take you (or what the cost of the reports would be if you are going to buy some market research reports), and tack that onto your billing as an optional service.
Start obsessing over search from your users’ point of view. Drill into their intent. Historically, the name of the SEO game was finding the intersection where high volume and low competition keywords meet. That is still true, but the beauty of the improvements in natural language processing (NLP) is our ability to find pockets of intent around those keywords. 
If you havent see it already, check out the links in shor's comment below - there are some great resources in there. In some cases you can also consider surveying your current audience or customers through email, on-site surveys or SurveyMonkey.  Be sure to ask for some profiling information that you can use for determining specific persona needs like age, sex, location, etc. (Probably best not to make it sound like a creepy text chat like I just did though...)  :)
I am happy to also ask for a plug for my family’s apparel website in the opener of said post if you think this post suggestion is a good idea. Shameless I know…..LOL! But hey maybe it will get your fans to keep submitting ideas. There might be something here to channel your fan base to get us to help your business. Think it over…..You really have reached Malcolm Gladwell Tribe status. And have done a great job with that. At this point whatever you asked the tribe to do they would deliver for you.
Your blog provides a great way to build a personal relationship with customers and prospects — and to gather their email addresses. Consistently end blogs with a call to action that encourages readers to sign up for your email messages. Require blog visitors to provide an email list in order to leave comments, and set it up so that they have to actively opt out if they don’t want their email address included on your mailing list.
For example, let’s say I have a health site. I have several types of articles on health, drug information, and information on types of diseases and conditions. My angle on the site is that I’m targeting seniors. If I find out seniors are primarily interested in information on prescription drug plans and cheap blood pressure medication, then I know that I want to provide information specifically on those things. This allows me to hone in on that market’s needs and de-prioritize or bypass other content.

Search engines are getting better and better at understanding search intent, which means they are providing  more unique and granular search results that better address the user’s specific ask. The content on your website needs to provide a solution to a user’s problem, whether it’s a long-form article or a one-word answer. In the most recent HubSpot Research survey, 64% of marketers actively invest in SEO. While I’d like to see that number increase significantly, I like that SEO is becoming more of a priority across all industries.

You might be doing all the right things to generate leads -- landing pages, gated content, contests, and more. The problem might be that the design or copy itself isn't driving the engagement you need. A/B test (also known as "split test") different aspects of your list-building campaigns with different versions of the same content. This includes the call-to-action text, the color of the gated offer, the time of day you're posting to social media, and even where on your website these signup forms are placed. Sometimes a small change can drive hundreds more conversions.
Stop building your SEO strategy around algorithm updates. In search, Google’s goal is the user’s goal. Instead of chasing an algorithm that won’t stand still, place your attention on content that aligns with your user’s intent. For example, HubSpot placed a heavy emphasis on winning featured snippets for important keywords because of its real estate and the great user experience they provide for the user. Here’s how we did it. 
Wow, brilliant strategy! I am thrilled to learn something new and effective that isn’t “black hat”. And yes, this does require work, but that’s precisely what it should require. I would rather see sites ranking high because they contribute terrific content (i.e. useful/interesting infographics) to their niche vs. the person exploiting the latest loophole. But that’s just my opinion 🙂
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