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I had the wonderful opportunity to attend SMX Advanced in mid-June 2014 (this post is late I know, but I’ll still make it worthwhile). In my mind, conferences like SMX Advanced serve a few important purposes:



  • Reaffirming your knowledge and understanding of SEO.
  • Allowing you to commiserate with other SEO Professionals about the evil doings of Google.
  • Meeting all the SEOs whose blogs you follow and work you respect.
  • Socializing with other SEOs (usually over a beer or two) about your/their most recent SEO triumph.
  • Deciphering the double talk and misdirection of Matt Cutts (he’s now on sabbatical…I know).

Every so often during a search marketing conference you will get ahold of some golden nuggets of information that you can take back to work and kill it at your job. Here are some game changers for many of the tasks I do on a regular basis.


1. Freshen Up Your Stale Keyword Research Practices With SEMRush

SEMRush is a great tool that I already loved and used well before attending SMX Advanced. I mainly used it to see how many keywords my clients’ sites ranked for or if a client was affected by a major algorithm update or manual link penalty. However, I was completely overlooking the Domain vs. Domain feature that comes with even the basic paid version.

The Domain vs. Domain feature allows you quickly show keyword overlap between your site and competitors’ sites, or keywords that your site uniquely ranks for. SEMRush renders a nifty Venn diagram with clickable circles that list out the keywords your site doesn’t rank for yet. Below is an example comparing Zappos, Nike, and Reebok. If I was representing Reebok, I would click on the very small portion of the Venn diagram where all circles coincide. From there, I would look at the keyword rankings of Reebok and the competitors to pinpoint some major opportunities. Basketball shoes, running shorts and walking shoes for women could be those opportunities.




2. Show Unique Links For Your Link Audit Spreadsheet

It’s no secret that link audits are cumbersome. First, you have to pull link reports from Google Webmaster Tools, Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, and any other tool you use. Then, you have to consolidate a bunch of spreadsheets that will for sure contain duplicate links. Excel has a simple feature then can help deal with duplicate links by showing only unique links.

Spreadsheet Containing Duplicate Links


How To Activate An Advanced Filter To Show Unique Backlinks


Spreadsheet Showing Only Unique Backlinks


This isn’t going to change everything you know about SEO, but should help with some of the mind-numbingly large spreadsheets you have to deal with on a regular basis. Needless to say, you can find a bunch of cool ways to use this Excel feature for other SEO tasks such as keyword research, vetting out linking opportunities, etc.


3. Improve Your Chances Of Schema Markup Showing Up In SERPs

Your markup is not going to show up all the time. According to Jeff Preston from Disney, sites whose markup actually shows up in the SERPs are usually doing a very good job of keeping their site “healthy,” aka authoritative. In fact, authoritative sites are more likely to have their markup show up.

If your schema markup is not showing up, consider doing a Google Fetch in Webmaster Tools to expedite a recrawl of your site. If your markup still doesn’t show up after a few days, you might want to consider evaluating your site’s page load times, content quality, and manual action placements in Google Webmaster Tools. Getting your site healthy is important if you’re going to have your markup rendered in the SERPs.

  • Schema.org Markup Can Also Be LongtailYes, that’s right. Schema markup is getting more longtail, so check to see if you’re marking up as much as possible.

Here’s an example of SERPs for “Chicken Taco Recipe”:


Now, here’s an example of SERPs for Chicken Tacos > Less than 30 minutes cook time > Less than 300 calories > Include tortillas:


  • Resources For Schema.org & Other Structured DataWordPress has a RichSnippet plugin called All in One Schema. There are a bunch of other cool testing tools and resources if you go to bit.ly/structureddatatools.

Hopefully this blog post does a decent job of relaying the actionable things I learned at SMX Advanced that can directly impact your productivity. Again, check out the Domain vs. Domain feature in SEMRush and see if it helps you identify new keyword opportunities to hone in on for the campaign. The unique record advanced filter in Excel will quickly remove superfluous information and make your link audit spreadsheets much more manageable. Lastly, the structured data tools that I provided links to can help you do some longtail Schema.org optimizations (after you improve your site’s health of course). Let me know how it goes!



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