SEMrush Round Table: Common SEO Issues

, June 26, 2014

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Recently, we asked a panel of experts about the issues they face with clients as Google continuously cracks down on websites.

We asked seven SEO professionals about the most common problems they face, and how they use tools like SEMrush to solve them.

Patrick HathawayPatrick Hathaway, Senior SEO Consultant at Hit Reach

LinkedIn / Twitter / Google+

What is the main problem your clients face?

Penalties, and the risk of getting a penalty.

Lots of clients come to us with penalties that we help get them out of, and many others have very suspicious looking backlink profiles that require cleanup to avoid future penalties. As we know, links are still a huge part of the algorithm, and every site needs links in order to compete. We need to be very careful when prospecting to make sure we don’t get links from sites that might pass a penalty our way.

Recently, I’ve helped develop a tool called URLProfiler. This allows you to do link prospecting with risk in mind, which is going to become increasingly important as more and more sites get penalized.

Why are SEO tools so indispensable?

Two reasons: data and time. The data that SEO tools provide allows us to better appreciate how and why websites rank, identify opportunities and understand issues. The time element comes in with scaling, as SEO tools can check thousands of things at once, saving an extraordinary amount of time.

If I didn’t have SEO tools to help me, I’d have no data and no time!

How does SEMrush help you?

I fire SEMrush up almost every day for one reason or another. I started off just looking at general trends and spying on competitor search traffic, but the more I use it the more cool features I discover.

My favorite use is it to find out what keywords my competitors rank for that I don’t. Then I can build up a profile of pages that generate a lot of traffic, and identify all the top keywords for each one. This helps build a great business case for developing content to target these groups of search terms.

 

Kristopher-JonesKristopher Jones, Chairman at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Website / LinkedIn / Twitter / Pinterest

What is the main problem your clients face?

As a result of Google’s “Not Provided” policy, it has become increasingly difficult to attribute search traffic and revenue at the keyword level. Because of this it is necessary to rely even more so on tools like SEMrush to better understand the value of search marketing.

Why are SEO tools so indispensable?

Tools like SEMrush represent a treasure trove of information to help search marketers make better decisions about online marketing. I don’t believe search engine optimization is possible without tools.

How does SEMrush help you?

We rely on SEMrush as one of the primary SEO tools we use to make optimization decisions for over 100 medium and enterprise-level clients. One of the features we leverage on a consistent basis is SEMrush data on the relative “value” of keywords. For instance, we look at “keyword value” for organic search and also as a competitive analysis tool to help us better understand how our clients are doing compared to the competition.

 

Matthew-BarbyMatthew Barby, Digital Marketing Consultant

Twitter / Google+

What is the main problem you face with clients?

Being able to scale a lot of the methods/techniques that we find work well. This is an issue that most SEOs face, and solving it is the key to being successful. Whether this is something as simple as the time spent on prospecting for links, scoping out the niche/competition or the outreach process, being able to scale up smaller processes within a campaign is what helps deliver long-term results.

Why are SEO tools so indispensable?

Tools are essential within SEO campaigns, whether that’s within the pitching stage or within the campaign itself. Data is gold. The more I have at my disposal, the more I can deliver in my results.

How does SEMrush help you?

SEMrush is fantastic for gathering large data-sets around any industry. I personally use SEMrush within the initial competitive analysis stage to get an idea of what levels of traffic are coming through to competitors and how much they’re spending on PPC, and then I use this data to benchmark and set realistic KPIs within the campaign.

Being able to manage client expectations and actually offer a realistic forecast for results is tough. With SEMrush data at my disposal, it helps me and my team deliver this information to clients and, ultimately, help us win projects.

 

phil-byrnePhil Byrne, Internet marketing specialist and blogger

Twitter / Google+

What is the main problem you face with clients?

Web marketing moves incredibly quickly! Often this means we have to adapt our web marketing plans to accommodate a new change/opportunity that the online world brings at any given moment. For example, right now we are seeing a growth in the use of native ads.

Why are SEO tools so indispensable?

They help us see what a client’s competitors are doing and where all current campaigns are proving effective to various degrees. From there, we can create a plan for a client that recommends where they should start web marketing for short term effect and where they should focus for mid- to long-term growth of both sales and brand awareness online.

How does SEMrush help you?

SEMrush allows us to see how competition for our clients adapt to the changing online world and, more importantly, what new channels are working for them. In turn, we can look to bring new strategies into our web marketing campaigns, inspired by the things we have learned from our competitors and SEO auditing tools via SEMrush data.

SEMrush is also one of our favorite tools to look at sites that have been hit by a Google penalty and where a sitewide SEO audit can uncover valuable insights into why online visibility may be under-performing. From the timelines and auditing tool within SEMrush we can see when a penalty started to take effect to isolate what may have caused such issues.

 

adam-connellAdam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard

Twitter / Google+

What is the main problem your clients face?

One of the biggest challenges I have faced is gathering competitor intelligence. It’s something a lot of clients don’t consider initially, but there’s so much we can learn from our competitors.

Why are SEO tools so indispensable?

A good example is finding the keywords your competitors are ranking for. The prospect of doing something like this manually is daunting, to say the least. Fortunately, I don’t have to spend days or even weeks trying to do this.

How do you use SEMrush?

SEMrush tells me what keywords my competitors are ranking for, what position they are ranking and an average monthly search volume for that particular keyword. What’s more is I can get this data in seconds and start working through it, with the aim of identifying key opportunities for my clients. This allows me to focus my time where it’s needed — getting results for my clients.

 

pete.campbellPete Campbell, Managing Director at Kaizen Search

Google+

What is the main problem you face with clients?

I’ve found scaling day-to-day SEO tasks when you’re responsible for multiple clients is super tough when you don’t want to compromise on doing an awesome job

How do you use SEMrush?

I’ve built a best-in-class SEO Toolbox, which includes SEMrush. This has saved me hours by delivering really insightful keyword data at the click of a button.

 

Paul RogersPaul Rogers, Group Organic Performance Manager at MageSEO

Google+ / Twitter / Website

What is the main problem your clients face?

My biggest challenge is probably getting changes implemented on our website. Buyagift is a fairly large e-commerce website, so getting things done can be difficult at times. I spend a lot of time with our IT team, but getting issues resolved and adding new functionality is always a challenge because of the workload and our internal processes.

Why are SEO tools so indispensable?

I think that SEO tools are really important, especially the ones that allow you to benchmark against competitors.

How do you use SEMrush?

SEMrush is a great tool. I use it for keyword discovery, which is hugely valuable for the international websites I work on, benchmarking and competitor analysis.

 


 

Be sure to check out these other SEMrush round-up posts on the blog: “SEMrush Round Table: SEO Tips and Tricks for the Holiday Season” and “SEO Around the World.”