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 mentioned: "many times clients have already done this work.  Ask them for copies of their market research reports when you start a project.  It will save you a ton of time and effort!"  We do this with most of our clients, like you said we have found that around 75% of the have some kind of Market research done, that saves you a lot of time and helps setting up the right SEO Strategy. 
The All in One SEO Pack plugin has more than one million active installs. You won’t have to look far to find competitors, but there’s a reason why so many people use this tool. Not only is it free and simple, but it’s results can’t be denied. It will definitely help your website, from an SEO perspective, which is something all new businesses are interested in.
People like more choices, so consider creating subscription levels that let people sign up to receive content that’s relevant to them. For example, if you sell widgets and tax advice, provide three options on your opt-in form that allow users to sign up to receive info about widgets, info about tax advice or both. Further customize by allowing them to designate how frequently they’d like to hear from you — weekly, monthly or only when something really special is going on. People may be more likely to sign up for your email list if they have some control over the content they’ll receive.
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. 
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.
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.
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.
Social media marketing is not as difficult as it sounds, especially when you rely on tools like Hootsuite. With this particular tool, you can schedule and manage social media profiles for more than 30 platforms. Imagine doing this by hand, without a central dashboard to guide you. It would be enough to frustrate even the most experienced entrepreneur, let alone a new business owner. Let Hootsuite operate like the social media marketing manager it is.
See your site how the spider sees it with one of our most useful Internet marketing tools. This one-stop glimpse of your site's most basic information can give insight into minor adjustments that can have a major impact. Use this tool to evaluate your internal links, meta information, and page content. By adjusting these elements, you can structure your site to reach its maximum potential.
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. 
I recently come across a case study where a newly found business was able to climb up high in search results without building links. Their strategy was to create a buzz for their main business term across social media platforms and they made people talk about it as well as visit their respective pages. In 2019, Do we have to look at various means through which we can improve our rankings without building links? What are your thoughts? I am sure Rank Brain also listen to what people talk about a brand or business than just identifying it through backlinks.
Instead, in this instance, we started at wireframe stage, plopping in keywords and meta tags. Of course, the site really needed those things, and although it launched technically “optimized”, it wasn’t enough to provide a better product than our top competitor(s). A product that people want to visit, revisit, email to friends, share on social networks, and link to more than our competitors. It wasn’t even enough to move up in the rankings.
Do you have an older list that you suspect has mostly decayed? Create an engaging opt-in message and send it to your old list encouraging contacts who wish to re-opt-in -- promising to remove all contacts who don't respond. Though it might seem counterintuitive to remove folks from your email lists in order to grow them, emailing only engaged contacts could improve your deliverability and increase the odds of your email getting shared with those outside your current contacts database.
I second Rand's comment!  Congrats on moving from the corporate world to the independent consultant.  This is my goal for the near future.  I too have been testing the waters of independent consulting, but it doesn't quite pay the bills yet!  Sometimes I feel like I should find a mentor who has been where I am now and is where I want to go.  Perhaps i'll find a few in this community over time!
One thing we hear time and again about our own tools is how valuable the benchmark performance data is, and that’s one area where AdGooroo shines. As well as the usual ad spend estimate modeling and other tools, AdGooroo also lets you look at snapshots of specific brands in your vertical – very interesting if you’re looking to adjust your PPC strategy.
Good stuff Brian! One thing I like to do for Step #9 is use Search Console as a guide to improving my content. If I write an article about “green widgets” but Search Console says it’s getting a lot of impressions and clicks for “blue-green widgets” then I’ll try to use that info to make my article more relevant and useful for those readers. That alone is a great way to continually update your content to reflect your “momentum” in Google. Thanks for the updated guide!
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