This is the second post of a six part series. Here’s a link to the first article.
TL;DR – I’m building a search engine optimization tool (SEO)… It’s almost ready for you to use.
Good news! The app’s done. Behold! The cat calculator:
I got so many requests for a cat calculator that I just went ahead and built it. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to use it to do my taxes. A special thanks to Luigi Benvenuti for making the calculator part.
Why I Chose to Build an SEO Tool For My Web App Challenge
In the first article of this series, I mentioned that I wanted to take advantage of dogfooding. This is when you create a product or service, and then you use this product or service to improve your business. An SEO tool is perfect for this. I’ll be able to use it to enhance this site with meta tags, H1 tags, social media tags, get better search engine rankings, analyze site structure, and just have a general feeling of tranquility knowing that I can generate traffic for my business.
By dogfooding, I will have completed a positive feedback loop:
I build app → I use app → I see bugs, improve effectiveness → App brings traffic and $$ for new apps!
It’s good to create as many positive feedback loops as possible. They can create a huge network that accelerate your success to exponential heights!
I Have Achieved Platform Independence
Since Relentless has only created Shopify Apps in the past, I thought it would be a good idea to create a SaaS model system that allows anyone to use our apps. For this purpose, I created Relentless Cloud. Here’s a screenshot:
Relentless Cloud will allow us to create apps for many different audiences:
- Shopify eCommerce store owners
- BigCommerce store owners
- WooCommerce store owners
- Margento store owners
- Squarespace store owners
- Weebly store owners including Square point of sale users
- EBay store owners
- Wix store owners
- Amazon store owners
- Google Shopping store owners
- Facebook store owners
- Instagram store owners
- Businesses of all shapes and sizes
- Affiliate Marketers
- Other groups I won’t event know about until they start using the app
Instead of settling for a tiny piece of pie so that everyone can have a slice, we’re just going to take the whole pie.
I know it will be a bit of a challenge to gain enough of people’s trust and to provide enough value to justify their paying us, but I see the whole process as another dogfooding opportunity. If we can successfully market to other audiences, we’ll be marketing experts and be positioned to build successful marketing tools.
Relentless Cloud will be the main hub of our business where users can check out our newest apps
What Is SEO All About?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of tools that improves the ranking of your website in search engine results. The people that build search engines are always changing their algorithms to give users the most relevant search results possible. They’ve gotten better at truly finding good content to display in the search engine result pages (SERPs) and better at preventing people from gaming the system with tricks and poor quality content.
To make sure our app delivers the best advice, we’ll have to read up-to-date information on new search engine algorithms– essentially become a search engine optimization company. Shopify’s blog has been a great source of information. By providing solid information that helps store owners sell more, they have proven that they’re a top authority on eCommerce marketing.
So far in my research, I’ve looked at other free SEO tools and found that there’s a lot of variation in scope and maturity of their features. Sometimes the tools don’t run at all or they truncate all but 10 results in the hopes of getting you to sign up for their service. Our tool will use the freemium model– include a useful base product for free with the option of upgrading to access more sophisticated features.
How Does SEO Work?
Since SEO’s goal is to rank your site as high as possible in search engines, you first need to make sure your site’s content is as easily accessible by crawlers as possible. There are a lot of ways to mess this up. Sometimes just fixing these mistakes is enough to get you ranked higher.
Don’t ruin your chances of being ranked. Check that your site follows these rules for optimal site health:
- Your robots.txt file must allow indexing.
- You shouldn’t have any broken links. This includes internal and external links.
- Your site should load in under a second.
- Remove any redirect chains and loops and any unnecessary temporary redirects.
- Remove links to spammy sites.
- Remove the rel=”nofollow” attribute from internal links.
- Don’t let page depth be more than 3 clicks deep.
- Remove orphaned sitemaps.
- Prevent duplicate content created by query parameters by using the same canonical URL.
- Make sure your DNS records are properly configured.
- Get alerts when your website crashes and make your server more robust to prevent this from happening.
- Prevent hackers and nefarious bots from causing havoc in your site
- It’s important to monitor your site’s health on a weekly basis. I just removed a sitemap full of spam links some hacker added to this site back in 2017!
Once you have removed all the blocks and toxic links from your site, these are the next easy tasks that will improve you ranking:
- Add a sitemap.xml file.
- Add structured data using JSON-LD, Schema Microformats, or RDFa.
- Add more links to your pages, so crawlers can find them easily.
- Add alt attributes to images.
- Each page should have one H1 and several H2s.
- Each page should have a unique meta description tag.
- Each page should have a title and a canonical URL tag.
- Each page should have social media meta tags for sharing your content.
- Make sure your site is responsive to help mobile users.
- Consider implementing accelerated mobile pages (AMP) to make your site load faster.
- Make sure an SSL certificate is installed and that the site redirects to your canonical hostname.
- Track your site’s Domain Authority score and compare it to your competitors’ sites.
The final task is the hardest and most time-consuming. It involves studying your site’s “link juice,” link building, and creating quality content.
- Get quality backlinks by helping and teaching people.
- Use keyword research tools to find good keywords to target.
- Use SEO analysis to inform your content marketing strategy.
- Write blog posts that inspire your customers.
- To improve the chance of ranking high in search results with a specific keyword, you should use the most important keywords consistently in your content, title, description, H titles, internal links’ anchor text and backlinks’ anchor text.
- Focus on link reclamation to recover link juice.
- Utilize the skyscraper technique to get articles that tower over the competition 😛
Writing articles is hard. You have to keep in mind that content marketing is a long-term strategy that builds your audience over time. It may take years before people realize how great your content is or for you to realize what kind of content people want from you.
That’s a Lot of Stuff to Remember
Yeah, it is. That’s why it’s so great to have a tool to keep track of it all. A good analysis tool should automate a lot of these tasks for you and guide you to create high performing types of content. It should be smart enough to prioritize the issues that need to be fixed fast and not confuse you with tons of charts and tables.
Eventually, our app will handle all of these tasks. Plus it will allow you to conduct experiments using the freshest ideas in the industry and encourage you to reach your goals with challenges that track your progress and reward you when those goals are met. To aid the conquest for backlinks, one possible feature could rank blog articles and communicate the score securely to potential linkers.
Some other tools that are great for improving your site are Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Facebook. Building integrations into our app for these wonderful tools could be a great addition.
Here are some ideas I have to get the word out about the new app:
- Let people on our email list know about the blog. Telling them to share and tell others about the blog would be good too.
- Create a cool animation that you can’t stop watching
- Negotiate celebrity endorsements (does anyone know any celebrities?)
- After they sign up, send emails with SEO checkup info to users
Your SEO strategy should make it easy for you to identify problems, analyze your online presence, give you useful information for making improvements, and display your progress over time. It should go hand in hand with your content marketing, ad marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and promotional marketing strategies.
Wow! This is getting exciting now! In the comments, let me know what SEO strategies have worked or not worked for you.