2018 was a great year with many interesting things going on. Google AdWords has been turned into Google Ads, GSC has become a completely new tool. What’s next? Google will get a different name, say, Alphabet? Oh wait, it already happened in 2015…
Anyway, while you’re unpacking your presents and thinking of new goals in the coming year, I’m offering you a kind of round-up of 2018. This is not another post about trends in SEO, digital marketing or paid search. Don’t get me wrong, I like such posts but there are way too many of them.
Here I’ll share with you links to the 2018 articles which are worth reading. The good news? They will still be relevant in 2019 (and maybe 2119) 🙂
This is my personal opinion, and the links are listed in no particular order, even not chronological, just randomly. But I broke them down into topics for your convenience. See, at least some order here!
- Technical SEO Checklist by Cognitiveseo. This is an awesome resource which lists everything about technical SEO from site speed to redirects. The information is not new but it’s well organized and you can come back to it whenever you need an answer.
- Website Migration Guide by MOZ talks about different types of migrations and how to prepare for them. It will be useful not only for SEOs but also for other people involved in the process. They must know that asking for SEO help after migration has already been done and something went wrong is… not a good idea (sigh).
- How We Got a 32% Organic Traffic Boost from 4 On-Page SEO Changes [Case Study] published by Wall Street Oasis on MOZ. Think that content optimization, relevant heading are a past century and are too boring (yes, I met such people), read this awesome case study!
- Google Search Console: The Definitive Guide by Backlinko. Oh, if you know this guy, you understand that it’s not going to be a 300-word post, rather a 30000-word article with lots of useful information and screenshots. But don’t be confused by the screenshots from the old GSC, these are just part of the post. There are also lots of tips on using the new GSC reports.
- How to Curate Sitelinks to Increase Conversions by ConversionXL. While paid search gives you tools to control your sitelinks appearing in Google, organic sitelinks can’t boast of the same flexibility: they are generated automatically based on a number of factors. This post written by Derek Gleason talks about those factors as well as about the ways to influence them. You will also learn how to indicate which particular URLs are shown in the sitelinks.
- 15 Site Architecture Tips for Performance SEO: Master Guide by Zyppy – this is basically everything you need to know about site architecture, including internal linking, hub pages, URL structure, faceted navigation and more.
- Case study: The tale of two internal link tweaks, Search Engine Land. This is another reminder about the importance or internal linking, especially for eCommerce websites.
- Non-Head HTML Tags in Head Section of Pages is written by the SEM post and summarizes John Muller’s recommendation to keep all the non-head tags away from the <head> section of your pages. This is a “good to know” kind of article which can save you lots of time if you face this issue.
- The Magically Moving Meta Robots Tag And The Potential SEO Danger It Brings [Case Study] by Here shows how important it is to check not only a page source code but the rendered code too as some surprises might be waiting for you there.
- How to Build Category Pages that Rank by Zyppy is a great guide, especially for eCommerce websites. The guide will help you to build category pages that rank (who would have thought? 🙂 )
- SEO Friendly Pagination: A Complete Best Practices Guide, Search Engine Journal. Everything you need to know about pagination and why setting up canonicals pointing to the ‘View All’ page is not a good idea.
- Technical SEO in the wild: Real-world issues and fixes, Search Engine Land. I absolutely love this post by Barry Adams! I won’t share any spoilers here, so go and read it if you haven’t already.
- Google bug bounty for security exploit that influences search results – a brilliant post by Tom Anthony. It shows one more time that nothing is perfect, especially when it comes to complicated algorithms, or how a new domain can compete with Amazon and Walmart.
- Interviewing Google’s John Mueller at SearchLove: domain authority metrics, sub-domains vs. sub-folders and more, distilled. The name of the post is really descriptive. So there’s nothing else to add here, just go and read it!
- Getting the Most out of Google Chrome for Technical SEO, traffic think tank. I love different tricks that are available in the tools I already know. Google developers tool is really great for many things, including technical SEO checks.
- Google Correlate: The Best SEO Research Tool You Aren’t Using, Search Engine Journal. It’s funny but I have never heard about Google Correlate before this post. Have you? So thanks to Tylor Hermanson for highlighting it in the post. Google Correlate is a cool tool to play with, look what I drew:
- 3 Essential Excel Formulas to Automate PPC Reports, PPC Hero. Who doesn’t like good tricks and excel formulas? Everybody does! So enjoy 🙂
- Everything You Know About Conversion Rate Optimization Is Wrong by Larry Kim. The post title is intriguing but it’s definitely worth reading if you are connected with CRO in any way.
- How keyword match types work after the new close match variants change, Search Engine Land. Exact match is not that exact, hah? And how to live in a world after this change.
- Improve paid search lead-gen with cohort analysis, Search Engine Land. Have many leads but the sales team is still not happy with their quality? Try this.
- Manual CPC vs Maximize Clicks: Results of a Large Google Ads Experiment, MarketingSyrup. Yes, this is my post which is based on a large scale experiment I conducted this year. It’s worth reading, I promise.
GTM & GA
- Enhanced Ecommerce Guide For Google Tag Manager, Simo Ahava. I absolutely love this guy! He has so many answers, and this guide is one of them. It goes deeper than official Google developers recommendations and suggests tracking all user actions with events instead of page loads which totally makes sense.
- How To Track The Initial Traffic Source with GTM, MeasureSchool. It’s all about attribution, and the last traffic source is usually only part of a user journey, so it’s quite valuable to know the initial traffic source. The guide is very easy even for GTM beginners, the video explains everything in detail.
- Understanding Lookup Table Variable in Google Tag Manager, Optimize Smart. This is one of my favourite blogs with an endless supply of useful GTM and GA info. In this post, Himanshu explains what a lookup variable is and how it can be used.
- 15 Most common Google Tag Manager mistakes, Analytics Mania. Nobody’s perfect, we all make mistakes sometimes. And this post will help you minimize them in GTM.
- Common Google Analytics Mistakes for eCommerce Sites & How to Fix Them, DeepCrawl. Here a tale of common mistakes continues. GA also has lots of things you need to know before configuring your account, property and views correctly like the order in which filers are applied.
- The Definitive Guide To Campaign Tagging in Google Analytics, Annielytics. Ok, this post was written a few years ago but I discovered it in 2018, so I decided to share it with you here. This post is worth reading as it shows how some basic things like UTM tagging can easily go wrong. See ‘Other’ in traffic sources in GA? Read the post!
- Amazon Keyword in Google Analytics Organic Traffic from Bing, MarketingSyrup. Oh wait this is me 🙂 I’m including this post here as this is the most popular post on this blog in 2018.
- 20 Pricing Page Best Practices That Will Increase Your Sales, Optinmonster. Just showing the price is not enough, you need to think how to present it in the best way.
- The Psychology of Link Outreach: 21 Cognitive Biases, Search Engine Journal. Oh, I love this post by Pratik Dholakiya! It’s more than another piece on link building, it’s a great psychology dive-in.
- How to present a recommendation, distilled. Some more psychology here. You can’t live without it if you need to interact with people.
- 9 Common Things that Stunt Business Growth, ConversionXL. While reading this post, you will constantly find yourself thinking “exactly!”, check it out!
- Six Nudges: Creating A Sense Of Urgency For Higher Conversion Rates! by legendary Avinash Kaushik. Avinash suggests 6 strategies that will push the limits of what most of the eCommerce websites are doing to improve conversion rates. He reminds that you already have lots of data that can effectively be used to make more sales.
Here they are!
Knowing some basics as well as reading what other folks in the industry are experimenting with is a good way to build a foundation. That doesn’t mean it’s enough just to read, the next step is doing and experimenting yourself. Hope I’ve helped you with the first stage, the second one is on you!
I cook digital marketing dishes. Take 3 tablespoons of on-page SEO, add 2 pinches of backlinks and sprinkle it all with paid advertising. Season to taste with actionable data from Analytics and bake until golden brown. Serve hot.