SEO Tips For 2016
Project Ignite Podcast by Derek Gehl SEO Tips For 2016: How To Rank In Google TODAY
00:00:00 00:00:00
  • Episode  41
  • Derek Gehl


Adrienne DeVita took back a massive portion of the market share from insurance giants using these ingenious SEO tips for 2017.She’s completely white hat, and she blows me away every time we speak–she’s got so many incredible ideas that she’s willing to share with us today. We talk about how to choose buying keywords and how to arrange them, and how to build up your internal linking structure. She also has a gift for Project Ignite listeners to take and begin to overhaul their SEO strategies.

Transcript Of: SEO Tips For 2017: How To Rank In Google TODAY

Welcome to the Project Ignite podcast–a podcast designed to skip the hype, skip the BS, and bring you real, actionable tips and strategies to help you grow your business and your income on the internet. This is your host, Derek Gehl, and today we’re gonna be diving into a topic that I love–call me a geek, but I love it–that topic is search engine marketing and more specifically, keyword research and SEO tips for 2017 so you can rank better and get more traffic.

If you’re about to turn this off because you’re thinking “uuughh keywords, boring,” it’s not! I promise! Keywords are the foundation of just about anything related to search. Getting the right keywords established and figured out, whether it’s YouTube, PPC, organic search–whatever it is, buying keywords are critical.

To help you uncover the best buying keywords I have a guest today who has taught over 19,000 students online how to make money with SEO and AdWords. Over the past 11 years she’s helped all kinds of companies make millions of dollars in revenue. She was the former senior vice president of marketing for a very well known, national insurance company.

Her role there was to reverse engineer and build the entire SEO strategy and take back market share from massive brands like Geico, or AllState, or Progressive, and help 27,000 local independent insurance agencies across the US today. That is a massive accomplishment.

I’ve spent a lot of time chatting with our guest today and when we started discussing her SEO tips for 2017 she blew my mind. We’re not just talking about what works for corporations, we’re talking about what works for everyone, today.

Today’s guest is Adrienne DeVita.

Adrienne, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Derek, for having me on the show. I’m excited to be here!
Cool. Now, before we get started, can you expand on that little commercial introduction there? Share your journey–how did you get online and become this massive wealth of SEO and AdWords knowledge?

I’m originally from New Jersey, I was in the navy. I joined the navy to go to college, but that didn’t wind up happening. I went to electrical school. Then, I was stationed on a ship, and when I got out of the navy, I wound up in California. I’m in southern California now, I’ve been here for quite some time. I have a technical background but I also have legal and administrative experience. It really set the pace for what my life is today.

So I got my degree, bachelor’s of science and information technology majoring in network and telecommunications. My goals was to get a network job. I landed a job in college, I had a 4.0 GPA, and my instructor thought really highly of me. He asked if I was looking for work, and then said that he wanted me to interview for AT&T.

So I did, and a few months later I landed the job. I monitored 14,000 servers at AT&T, and pestered the senior technical director to move me into networking. I loved that job when I finally got it.

A few years into my job, AT&T started laying people off. I had to commute every night to work, an hour there and an hour back, to train 19 men in India to take my job here and take a 20% pay cut. I saw it coming, and got really frustrated with how long it took me to get my degree. I started teaching myself internet marketing.

I wouldn’t recommend that people do what I did–I took a second mortgage out on my home. I’ve invested over the last 11 years over $300,000 in my own education. I’m a part of some of the most wonderful groups out there, I’m a Stompernet member, I’m a member of Leslie Rohde’s and Dan Thies’ Marketer’s Braintrust, they’re incredible people.

I’m extremely whitehat and I’ve taught some of the bigger folks out there to million dollar launches with PPC Classroom. I have 12 coaches, and with 19,000 students we ran the back-end of PPC Classroom. I just love teaching. It’s my passion, as well as helping clients make millions of dollars locally, nationwide, and globally.

Whoa. Okay. We’ve been chatting for awhile, and you’ve blown my mind with your SEO tips for 2017. I’ve been around this world for so long, I’ve talked to so many SEO people. There’s a lot of people that claim to be SEO experts and there’s people like you who operate on an entirely different level.

I’m gonna have to get you back on this podcast because today we’re talking about keywords and SEO tips for 2017 but there’s so much more we need to talk about!

First of all, when we talk about commercial intent and buying keywords, let’s start at the beginning. We have a whole range of people listening and if we just dive in, people might not be able to follow along.

What is a buying keyword? What is commercial intent?

Well, I’ll go over the site that I forgot to mention: After I stopped teaching I had a multi-million dollar CEO approach me and ask me to get some of the market share back from Geico and Progressive.

We landed an $18m contract and they thought an entire team of SEOs was behind this massive program and all the architecture, but it was just me, sitting in my office, at home. Which is pretty funny.

He believed in me. At first, he wanted to see what I could do. We built two websites locally and I ranked them really easily, which is because ranking locally is a piece of cake. I negotiated a million dollar contract. He had also been one of my students in PPC Classroom, which was interesting.

If anyone goes over to and types in, you’ll see when it was launched and where it is today. I trained a team to take over after my contract was up.

Having that under my belt was really great. I’m also astrictly whitehat person,in addition to being a geek, so if you look at that site, buying keyword versus not buying keywords… You need to know what you’re doing. You need to be using a site that I’ve been using for years called SpyFu. Both owners are amazing, I cannot live without it. I used SpyFu to do the entire Trusted Choice site.

If you look at the rankings and the keywords, there’s commercial intent. I’ve never used a Google keyword planner. For someone like me, it’s kind of pointless. I really want to know the click data. I want to know who my competitors are and how many clicks they’re getting. Search volume is sometimes a good indicator, but if something has less than a 1% clickthrough rate on PPC, why would I want it?

My competitors have tested with their millions of dollars and they’ve told me how much advertisers are paying for this. They’re willing to bid on keywords for years after years. I know that’s a buying keyword. I take all of the data on search volumes and click through rates, I don’t even look at hundreds of searches, only thousands–and then I geo-target it if I want to rank locally.

It’s worked every time for a decade. The Google keyword planner doesn’t give you any of the information that SpyFu gives you. If you get SpyFu and learn to use it properly, you can get buying keywords and then geo them locally or rank globally. SpyFu is only for the US, but I’ve used it to much success in the UK as well.

You have to look at the data for commercial intent keywords rather than using the Google keyword planner. It’s skewed. It rounds things out and lumps additional keywords in ad groups.
SEO Tips For 2016
So I go by clicks, click through rates, advertisers, those are my main keywords as well as advertiser history and how long someone has been paying for that.

What I’m gonna do now is try to summarize the wealth of knowledge you just gave to us.
Sorry! Was that too much?

No! That was awesome.

So basically, when you’re looking at a keyword, you want a keyword that gets results.When you’re looking for those results, you skip over the Google keyword planner altogether and go straight for SpyFu.When you go to SpyFu, you look at a keyword and you can see who is buying ads on it, how long they’ve been buying ads on it, and you can also see how many clicks you will potentially get depending on your ranking.

That part’s organic.
And you’re also looking for a clickthrough rate of 3% or above.
1% minimum depending on the keyword, but it has to be more than 1%. Less than that and I don’t bother with it.
Okay. The philosophy behind this is if someone has been paying for this for months or years, obviously they’re making money on it and it’s a buying keyword with commercial intent. But it has to have enough volume.
And advertisers.
It’s funny because it’s different from how a lot of people look at keyword research. A lot of people focus less on volume because they’re looking more at long tail. So where do you sit on long tail? Or do you go by the philosophy that if you rank for a higher volume one, you can semantically get a lot of the long tail anyway?

Great question! What I do is–I love a keyword with 50,000 or 100,000 monthly searches. So if something has a volume of 30 monthly searches, I don’t waste my time with it regardless of even a 10% click through rate because I’m not going to get enough traction locally. Nationwide, I might go after it, because of that 10% click through rate.

As far as additional buying keywords, you want to plug your competitors landing page right into SpyFu, and there you can glean their other additional keywords for that landing page. You can see how many clicks you’ll get organically, and integrate those into your content.

I can tell you, people go overseas and look for cheap content–and I’ll tell you,content is everything.On page content. You need content. Use Copyscape. Please. I don’t care who you hire, but integrate those additional words into your landing page. Fifteen hundred words of unique copy.

You have your primary and secondary keywords. Your primary is your title tag. Use your subtitle for your secondary keyword. Then put an additional three to five keywords that are all related for LSI indexing and you’ll rank one page just by doing that with some natural content at a high school level of content–nothing too advanced–because Google wants us to write at that level for most of the markets. You’ll rank one page for 10 to 20, 50 to 100 keywords.

Because of the LSI and Google’s language learning, you’ll rank for a keyword that literally isn’t even on that page if you do it right.Make sure to use SpyFu,glean those extra buying keywords that your competitors are using and tested with PPC, and put them into your copy.

Over time, if you do your internal linking properly and your opt-page, social media marketing and content marketing strategies, you’ll build authority and those pages will become so valuable that they’ll bring you in a ton of volume for a couple keywords, not just the ones you wanted to rank.

Okay. I think just naturally here, we’re gonna wind up down a few rabbit holes. This is gonna segway into so much stuff. One of the things you mentioned was local versus global. How does that work? If we find a keyword, what are the activities that you pursue differently for something local versus something you want to rank globally.

Globally, I usually only put an address on the Contact Us page. You don’t put it in the footer or use schema. You’re gonna have different parameters for global, and it depends on where you get your links from. Lots of black hat people, which is not what I am, at all, you want different links from different areas.

I’ve tested this with my UK clients. Some SEOs will say hosting doesn’t matter, but that’s not true. My client in the UK, his brother has a very successful ecommerce site, and their developer said, we’re moving hosting, and we want you to come with us. I told my client, don’t you dare.Do not move hosting from the UK. His brother moved hosting to Ireland, changed nothing else, but he lost all of his traffic from that geo-targeted area of the UK.

So, you have to test, but ask people who know what they’re doing and have experience. Don’t do lots of local citations unless you want to build a local site.When you’re building local,you have to use citations to build trust. You have to add lots of content and build authority. You have to do social. Social media is a dirty word to me because it takes a lot of time, but you need to have 15% – 20% of your links being no-follow.

Press releases are all no-follow, but they can get you links that stick. That’s a different variety of social.Google+,I’ve tested this for my clients and my sites, as soon as you add a page of content–people say, how can I get this indexed quickly? You go into Webmaster tools, to Google Fetch, and have it fetched immediately. Your page will be indexed almost immediately.

Then, take that page, put it into Google+, change the keywords, make it a bit unique, and link that article back to your landing page. Then, your landing page has a link that goes to one of your core service pages, and that’s gonna help that page rank because it’s a Google+ property. I do that for Facebook and Google+. Twitter is penning a deal with Google to make Twitter results show up in Google, so you’ll be seeing more of that. If you start using Twitter, it’s about to start mattering a lot.

Here’s another important SEO Tips for 2017: Local–Google My Business.Get it. Get it done. Optimize your business information, use your keywords, don’t put your keywords in your title tag because that’ll hurt your listing. Get ten reviews or so over three months, and once you do that and you keyword your listing, that’ll help you as well as getting you citations.

It’ll get you in maps, and it’ll get you into the three pack on Google My Business organically. And for local businesses, you have to set up Yelp.You have to. Yelp is 20% to 25% of most businesses now.

Don’t do Yelp PPC. They don’t have their act together yet. You can’t bid on keywords, they only bid on categories, and there’s a natural up-and-down to that. You’re gonna waste your money.

Schemaneeds to be on your local sites. It tells Google where you’re at. It solidifies that. It’ll get you into the three pack on Google My Business and Maps, and you need to add unique content with the internal linking structure. Don’t use keywords and try to rank multiple pages for that one keyword.

Another SEO Tips for 2017: Pick one page, rank it for one single keyword, for one ad word. Don’t build five pages for one keyword. That’s kind of black hat. Also, you want to do your blog posts with a different keyword that links to that page.

It doesn’t have to be on that page because you’ve already told Google what that page is about. So Google will say, oh, it relates to that page, and those group keywords from that content, with a link to your core services page. Then you want to focus on off page stuff. Does that make sense?

I can’t even summarize that. Everyone, you’re going to have to go back and listen to that. Rewind, listen to it. Take notes. That was a local SEO condensed course. That was awesome.
As far as global or nationwide strategies–it’s about where you’re hosted, but also focus backlinks on the US. If someone wants to rank nationwide, they’d probably have to contact me and get a business strategy report to do it right. It really depends on the niche and the market for me to recommend how to rank nationwide.
Since we’re covering all of our bases here, let’s talk a bit about backlinks. There’s the camp saying backlinks don’t matter anymore, but I don’t buy that. Where do you sit on backlinks?

That’s not true at all. I’m using them right now, they’re doing really well. The best way to get backlinks–which I know can be tough, and I never cold call anyone–is to go to people in your niche and offer to give them free content for their site. It’s so valuable.

I don’t give away my best resources SEO tips for 2017, usually, but you have me. I’m gonna tell you where I get my writers. And if they don’t write for me anymore, I’m gonna be really upset.

I’ve got my pen ready! Come on!

The best writers in the business are over at If you want a direct contact, her name is, tell her Adrienne sent you. You won’t get to talk directly with the writers, but Faith will ask you what you’re looking for, and they’re just incredible. That’s who I use. I’ve tried so many different sources and most of them were horrible, so that’s who I use.

As far as backlinks, you need to be on high authority sites. If you want to get on Social Media Today, write a post on social media with some killer keywords, give it to the top people at Social Media Today, and ask if you could get a backlink to one of your inner pages.

You pay $150 for a 1,500 word post–if you wanted to go do a stupid PBN, I don’t do those, I know lots of people do–if you do it this way, and provide value, and it’s a great quality that you control, you’ll get a great backlink.

Don’t worry about the keywords anymore, because it doesn’t matter what the anchor text is off your page anymore. All that matters is the link. You just want the juice. You’ve already optimized your landing page and linking structure. That’s what you need to worry about. Get a brand URL with extraneous keywords.

That’s how it works today. You’ll get the links for a pittance.

I agree. I think it was last year, Google kind of said they didn’t like guest posting. This is guest posting, though.

It is, technically. It’s on a high authority site that you wouldn’t otherwise get. The strategy is to use, and see if they’ve ever been hit by Google. If their traffic is climbing, go to them. Google already likes them.

If the chart says a site’s traffic is down, skip it. I don’t just look for authority, I also look for traffic. You don’t want to get a link on an already existing page because these people share posts so many times that it starts to build page authority over time.

So you retweet it, you share it on Facebook, but you have to do your due diligence. I go for people that I know, that know what they’re doing, that they’re already set up. They can change everything for me over that one post.

That juice will build over 90 days or six months. It won’t work in five minutes, but you won’t have to worry about it sticking, because it will. My guy in the UK, we took half a year to fix up the work done to his site by three bad SEOs that he hired. I hear that all the time. People bring me on and I have to turn their sites around. It’s really expensive to do that, because I have to clean up all of those link farms. These bad SEOs aren’t just overseas in India or the Philippines, there’s also a lot of them here in the US.

It’s disheartening because integrity, and ethics… My morals matter more than money. So, we cleaned up 50,000 backlinks in six months. I told him, do not hire me if you don’t have one year to invest in this. Don’t be impatient. He was impatient, but it’s okay, because I love him, and we’re still really close.

Now, with that patience, they’re making an extra $500,000 per year, and their site has been completely turned around. They were gonna have to shut down their 20 year old family business. Now he has a legacy that he can leave to his daughters.

I love turning businesses around and helping to create profit. I’m working with a client right now on AdWords. Google actually helped him with his AdWords campaign, and I can’t even tell you how painful it is for me to go through and fix it all!

Google offered to help, but they’ve got multiple keywords in multiple campaigns. They’ve got ads that aren’t running. The ads are terrible. Linking to the home page. I was shocked. Another multimillion dollar company that I can add another million to by working on the SEO on the site.

I don’t want to say don’t trust Google, but hire someone that really understands SEO and AdWords.

My philosophy is that I don’t take advice from reps in AdWords. They’ve learned from a manual. They’ve never run their own real campaigns for real businesses. Don’t wanna learn from them.

The next in our list of SEO Tips for 2017 I want to discuss: No follow vs do follow. You’re saying 20% no-follow, 80% do-follow. We don’t have a ton of control over that, but so many links these days are set to no-follow. How do you get 80% of your links set to do-follow? Even my own website, so many of my links are no-follow.

You do a podcast, and lots of social media. Social is predominantly no-follow.You have to diversify.You could go to people in your niche that are benevolent and are willing to help. You did something on Udemy, right? Let’s say you want to approach Udemy, and I want to give an interview about how great Udemy is.

You offer them the podcast to post on their site. If they do, you just ask for a link back. Then, on that page, you have a link to your money making page. So they’ll give you a follow link. You’re providing something of value, whatever your niche is.

Let’s say you own a local restaurant. That’s easy, because you can be on Yelp and Google My Business. You’ll get citations. Those are also follow links. They’re all so valuable. Yahoo, Bing. You’ll want to be in premium directory listings. If you’re a dentist, you’ll want to be in the dentist listings. My dental client gets a lot of backlinks because he donates a lot of money to charities and schools, so he gets lots of links from education sites.

Big SEO Tips for 2017: Whatever your industry, think about something you can do for someone else. In one of the groups I’m in, the idea was to do a press release, which is a no-follow, and talk about something benevolent you did. A lot of those people will link back to you.

The example was, do something with a dog. You rescued an animal, or donated to an animal shelter. Do something benevolent in your community for senior citizens or donate to a food kitchen. Do a press release, and ask people if they’d talk a bit about what you did.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s valuable. Everyone is looking for content. Invest in 3 1,500 word articles per month, talk to people, find out what they need, you have it written, control the keywords in it, and you’ll get three links back per month that will all be follow links.

SEO Strategies For 2016

I think one of the key mindshifts here as well is you’re talking aboutquality, not quantity.One link from a super high authority website is worth an infinite amount of crap links. They’re gonna stick and they’re permanent. When someone says, really? I’d write an article or do something benevolent for one week? Yes! You should!

We’re running out of time here, but here’s a question I get all the time: I’m a small business, just started out, selling my widgets. I’ve got a website with lots of good content. But when I look at my keywords, or search for them, all that’s ranking are really massive websites.

You have your home page, and it depends on how you build your structure, and it depends on your niche. There’s the domain of that competitor’s site, and then there’s the page authority of that site. The domain and homepage both have history. Look at the backlinks that link to that website.

I usually look at the top three to five rankings. You want to get the Google three pack, of course. But if we’re looking at organics, you’re looking at top three to five.Go to SpyFu, look at the backlinks.If they’re using PBNs, you can’t see it. But if a page ranks, we can’t go by PR anymore, but we can look at the authority, and at the backlinks, and what that page is linking to.

You can reverse engineer anything. If that page that’s ranking on page one is a PA10, I know that in six months I’m gonna beat you on a PA10. I’m gonna send four backlinks that are at least DA50 or higher, and I’m going to bump you. I’m probably gonna wind up in the number one position.

There’s so many people on the top three sites that are ranking for a side page, not even their home page. You can beat them so easily if you just look at what’s on that page, and check if they’ve ever been hit by Google… You can beat them. I don’t know why people don’t understand this. It’s a numbers and quality game. You can beat a Yelp page over time or a Yellow Pages book. I got one of my clients over Wells Fargo for a sweepstakes page once. On his subpage and his home page.

Redefine your page. Niche it down.Make your ad group concise. Have a blog where your permalinks are just a root URL. Your blog structure should be permalink title of your article. No keywords in your URL anymore. It’s all about what’s on the page. Your title tag is the most important thing.

URL test this as well–we put numbers in our URL and ranked like crazy. URL doesn’t matter anymore. It’s all about the content, and what Google sees–the bounce rate, time on page, clickthrough rate and so forth.

I always get off track, I’m sorry. Did I answer your question?

Yes, and the next five! We’re all good. Well, I have one more question. I promise. Engagement. How much of an impact is engagement with pages having on rankings?

I know some of the other SEO experts are saying that certain things don’t matter anymore, or Google is saying that it doesn’t matter anymore. Here’s an SEO Tips for 2017 and any year: Whenever Google says that, I know it matters. There’s over 200+ algorithm ranking factors, and if Google wants to hit you with something, all they have to do is put one filter in. When I was working for the insurance company, AllState lost $62m in traffic because Google hit the search term “car insurance.”

There was 183 car insurance sites out there, and when that happened, they were all gone for months. That’s when the Mayhem commercials came out.

AllStates traffic started coming back because a lot of people were watching their Mayhem videos and engagement was high. Keeping people there and giving them value–I believe in Crazy Egg til’ the cows come home.

Go into analytics and look at the flow through, look at the pages that were abandoned, and then put Crazy Egg on the pages that are abandoned, is very important to your time on site.

I’ve seen correlations of rankings where if people stay on the page longer, those pages rank better. Just because Google says something doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t mean it’s true. When there’s high engagement, the call to action happens. They also do have to be quality and have some authority.

I do think call to action, having your mobile number, adding your click to call, please add that code. It’s so easy. Google will add that to your rankings because they’ve seen you take a call to action. All Google cares about is user engagement and making sure that people find what they need.

For everybody listening, I just got more information out of this interview discussing SEO Tips for 2017 than out of SEO courses I’ve paid for in the past. We’re running out of time, so I won’t ask for any more SEO Tips for 2017, despite really wanting to. The last thing I need to know is where can people find out more about you and what you’re working on?

My website is What I’m currently offering with the training I have right now, is what do you want to learn each month for a really low price? I really want to know that. I do Q&A sessions where you can sit and ask me a million questions. But what I really want to be doing is helping SEOs and business owners get back to white hat. Local marketing online is so important to me, and I love teaching.

I also offer a business strategy report. You need to have a competitive strategy report. Ordering a business strategy report and competitive analysis report, it gives you your architecture, keywords, tells you which social media to be working on, gives you your top competitors. What I did especially just for your listeners is that everything I’ve outlined, I’ve put together a special report that you can offer for download along with this podcast so that people can learn about buying keywords and business intent.

That is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing so many SEO Tips for 2017 with our listeners in such a short period of time. I just wind you up and let you go. Fortunately because people are listening they can go back and rewind if they need to.

Thank you again for being with us today.

Thank you so much for having me on today. I really appreciate everything you do in the industry, it’s all very ethical and that’s so important for me to work with people like that. Thank you for having me on, it’s a blessing for me.

Thank you so much.

Alright everyone, that was search engine marketing and Google AdWords expert Adrienne DeVita, and as usual, all of the links in this interview and Adrienne’s download will be up in the shownotes. I had a look at what she prepared for us and it’s absolutely full of information. If you want to grab that, head over to, and you’ll find the links there. I highly recommend if you’re listening to this, make a note to yourself to go and download that.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe on iTunes–just look up Project Ignite, Derek Gehl, or Internet Marketing and I’ll show up! If you’re an Android user, just get us on Soundcloud!

Also, if you like what you hear–please leave a review, leave a rating, tell us what you think. Your feedback is the fuel that gives me the momentum and motivation to keep making this the best info-packed podcast possible for entrepreneurs.

Now, to wrap this up, a reminder. The only way you’re going to get any results with all of the information you got here, is if you add the final essential ingredient to make everything we’ve talked about today work for you: that ingredient is action. Make a list of SEO tips for 2017 that you’re going to apply to your website to start increasing your rankings and start getting more organic and PPC traffic. Go forth, take action and stay tuned for more info-packed episodes of the Project Ignite podcast.

This is your host, Derek Gehl, signing off.

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  1. So much information in such a short time!

    Have I got this right, when doing keyword analysis for a local company you look at the global numbers and if it fits the criteria then you just add you localalised GEO keywords, instead of just looking at the local traffic you are trying to rank for?

    Great episode which I am going to go over and over until it is all absorbed.

  2. This was the most insightful and relevant post/podcast I have heard about SEO of late. It is so loaded with great insights that I am going to review it several times to make sure I digest it all. It’s a keeper! Adrienne knows her stuff! Thanks for an excellent podcast Derek!

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