2. Targeted Keyword Discovery: Ideally you’ll want to do keyword research based on what the audience wants, not solely on what content the site already has (or plans to have sans audience targeting), which may be limited. I can do keyword research on health conditions and drugs (content I have on my site) and determine what the general population is searching for and optimize my current content, or I can cast my net wide and look at what my target audience wants first, then do my keyword research. You may find there are needs that your site is not meeting. Knowing my senior audience is interested in primarily in prescription drug plans and cheap blood pressure medication, I can first make sure I’m providing that content, and then further determine the top keywords in these areas (in the next article Step 2), and use those terms in relevant and high visibility areas on my site.
Search algorithms change constantly — sometimes several times a day. However, the thing that has changed the most over time is the way people search. We just try to keep up. If you continue to provide a solid user experience, strategic content structure, and make sure your site is technically sound, search engines should help people find you. For example, in 2019, HubSpot removed unused 3rd party scripts across HubSpot domains and centralized a list of stakeholders who could add and remove them, significantly reducing the amount of unused javascript that was slowing down the loading time of our webpages, negatively impacting user experience.
The fundamentals of SEO haven’t changed much over the years, but the problems to solve are constantly changing. Historically, we’ve had to create content that meets the needs of both our audience and search algorithms, and the two didn’t always align. Now, with major advancements in Google’s ability to process natural language, most recently through the BERT update, you can focus more on what the user wants — there is less of a tradeoff between pleasing the algorithm and the user. They generally want the same thing. 
Calculating the CTR of two different ads is easy – predicting how they’ll perform over the long term is much harder without running a lengthy A/B test. Perry Marshall's SplitTester tool allows you to enter numerical CTR data to predict the ongoing performance of the two ads. Great for estimating statistical significance if you don’t have enough time for a full A/B test.
Thanks so much for this entry, Laura! I loved the way your post is so practical, straightforward, newbie-friendly - and most importantly, how it emphasizes the bottom line at all times. It's easy to get "lost in the fog" of SEO with so many looming tasks and forget the main purpose, so it's wonderful to have a straightforward outline of what to do and why certain tasks need to be done. I look forward to reading your future insights!
Use your keyword list to determine how many different pillar pages you should create. Ultimately, the number of topics for which you create pillar pages should coincide with how many different products, offerings, and locations your business has. This will make it much easier for your prospects and customers to find you in search engines no matter what keywords they use.
Thanks for your 2019 tips. As a startup business I’m researching heavily on all SEO matters and you’re giving me the confidence to succeed. Just one question if I may. I’m creating a platform that will have 50,000 pages… As it’s practically impossible to create backlinks to all individual pages, do backlinks count from the domain, for example blog posts. Thanks, Matt
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.

Brian. You talk about how all these variables matter in getting this article to rank #1 for “list building” and how competitors have way more links than you, but then you also consider your DA and your PA together, you have almost the highest score out of the top 10 rankings; and when you consider you are more topical authority, then that explains why Hugpages (all purpose site) is not ranking higher. Maybe its not all as complicated as you suggest.
Make this the year that you truly get to know your users. Work hard to deliver the information they’re looking for. To learn how others are approaching their SEO goals, you can access over 70 data points and trends from over 3,400 marketers around the world. Dive deeper into HubSpot's survey data by clicking the download button on the banner below. 
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