Friday, 13 November 2020

The 4 Best Technical SEO Companies of 2020

No matter how great the content on your website is, your hard work could amount to nothing without proper technical SEO. 

Technical SEO gives your site structure, makes it super easy for search engine bots to crawl and index, and helps Google understand what each page is about. 

URL structuring, robots.txt, redirect codes, canonical tags, .htaccess files, load time, and many others. It all matters.

Do all those things sound unfamiliar to you? No? 

Well, you don’t need to.

Tons of companies already know this stuff and it’s really easy to work with them.

That’s where this guide comes in. 

Our team at Neil Patel Digital researched, reviewed, and listed the top technical SEO companies on four criteria: 

  • Outstanding customer reviews.
  • Awards, impressive clientele, and a long history of delivering stellar technical SEO work.
  • Thought-leadership—consistently publishing of insightful articles and trends on the topic.
  • A strong reputation amongst other SEO professionals.

From these criteria, we found technical SEO companies you can trust and what they’re good for:

The 4 Top Technical SEO Companies in The World

  1. Neil Patel Digital – Best for Technical Content Structuring
  2. Webris – Best for Technical SEO Audits
  3.  – Best for Enterprise Technical SEO
  4. Orainti – Best for Ecommerce Brands

Without further ado, let’s dive into what makes us trust and bet our reputation on these companies. 

1. Neil Patel Digital – Best For Technical Content Structuring

It’s been touted over and again that content is king. While there’s truth in this, what most people never take into consideration is content structuring. 

Neil Patel Digital is the go-to SEO company for excellent content structuring.

Well, don’t take my word for it. Let me show you why. 

From our years of extensive search engine optimization experience, we found that for content marketing to work and power long-term SEO strategy, it must have the right structure. 

This is a key piece of our comprehensive SEO program.

And what have we to show for doing this, you ask? 

The result of doing this speaks for itself: 

Over 3 million visitors per month on this blog. All built from scratch.

Content was a huge part of this but the site wouldn’t be nearly as large without the right structure and technical SEO.

You can get access to this vast technical SEO expertise by working with the Neil Patel Digital team.

Today, we’ve developed a content marketing program with content structuring (in the form of content clusters) to help clients get technical SEO right from day one.

2. Webris – Best for Technical SEO Audits

Almost all great endeavors begin with taking in-depth audits of what’s already existing. 

Technical SEO is no exception. 

You won’t achieve much in your effort to optimize your site for search engine bots’ crawling and indexing without first doing a proper audit of your site’s structure. 

And Webris is the company we recommend for technical SEO audits.

If you a do quick Google search for “technical SEO audit,” you’ll find this excellent content piece by Webris:

Ranking on Google’s top spot for this search term is another way of saying that earned its stripes on this list. 

No company can earn that by accident. 

This proves that Webris walks the talk when it comes to technical SEO audits and is a reliable option if you’re just getting started. 

Founded by Ryan Stewart, the core strengths of Webris is technical SEO audits and conversion-focused UX. This company boasts of an incredibly talented team of advanced technical SEO consultants. 

Major brands like Shopify and Accenture trust Webris and have worked with them.

3. – Best for Enterprise Technical SEO prides itself on “Technical Excellence” and that’s for a good reason. This company breathes technical SEO before anything else:

Massive enterprise sites can have all sort of crazy technical problems.

If you’re running one of these sites, you need a team that’s worked with that type of complexity before.

In this case, is the best option.

With offices in Boston, Leeds, and London,’s clients include Cloudflare, Hartley Botanic, Brex, Travel Supermarket, and many others.

4. Orainti – Best for Ecommerce Brands

Orainti specializes in providing technical and strategic SEO services for brands in competitive industries. 

This company approaches digital marketing and search engine optimization with a technical mindset, which justifies its inclusion in this highly-vetted list. 

And they work mostly with ecommerce brands selling internationally. 

International ecommerce businesses  have tons of unique challenges like dealing with multilingual sites, getting product and category pages ranked properly, and avoiding duplicate content. 

Orainti comes highly recommended for this.

Aleyda Solis is the Founder of Orainti. She is a veteran SEO practitioner, speaker, and author who has earned recognition and awards for her technical SEO expertise by organizations such as Forbes and European Search Awards. 

Orainti boasts an impressive portfolio of top brands, including Zillow, Under Armour, Sage, Eventbrite, and others.

5 Characteristics That Make a Great Technical SEO Company

What separates the good technical SEO shops from the great ones? What would you specifically look for when choosing someone to work with? 

Here’s what I look for.

1. A Complete Implementation Process that Includes Technical SEO

Technical SEO brings structure to your site. It helps search engine bots crawl, index, and rank your website correctly, which is essential for driving traffic. 

Also, it helps to boost your site’s load time. 

However, this doesn’t mean that once you have an excellent technical SEO, everything search engine optimization will fall in place automatically. 

The best technical SEO companies have a complete SEO program including manual site review, technical SEO implementation, content strategy, and others.

If you’re really good at SEO already and just need a quick SEO audit to double check everything, you could get value at working with a specialist. But for everyone else, I recommend working with someone that understands the complete SEO strategy. It’s the only way to build a site with tons of traffic.

2. Thought leadership

It takes lots of experimentation to implement technical SEO strategies that move the needle. Companies that embark on this kind of excruciating work always like to document their experience and findings.

Working with SEO thought leaders increases the odds of a successful project.

After all, if someone can successfully teach technical SEO, they can also help your business directly.

Publishing cutting-edge content about technical SEO is a great sign that they’ll deliver amazing results. 

3. An Impressive Client Portfolio

An excellent way to see if the expertise and processes used by a technical SEO company works is by looking at its client portfolio.

There is nuance here.

Having a ton of major brands is great. But that doesn’t mean that you can get help with your exact situation.

Ideally, the technical SEO company has worked with similar companies like your own.

4. Real Life Results

The nice thing about technical SEO is that it’s extremely practical. Technical problems come up that tanks traffic. Then technical SEO experts fix those problems.

It’s cut and dry.

Any great technical SEO company should have plenty of case studies where they turned around a site after it got hit. The more obscure the technical problem, the more likely they’ll be able to find weird problems on your own site.

Sometimes, these case studies are published on their site. But a lot of companies don’t like sharing the best stories. So ask their team as you talk to them. They should be able to give you plenty of examples during a call.

5. A Diversified Team

Covering every last technical SEO requirement is way too big of a task for a single person. You’ll need a fully-staffed team to do it all. Especially on major sites.

Go through the company’s team pages and LinkedIn employees, then look for lots of depth and expertise across the entire team.

What to Expect from a Great Technical SEO Company 

If you’re like most people who only realize the need for technical SEO late on, you’ll probably be wondering what you should expect from one. 

The most significant things to expect are what follows. 

1. A discovery session

After you reach out to a technical SEO company, they’ll want to get on a call to understand what you’re looking for. 

It’s the only way to understand the goals that you have for your site.

If a technical SEO company wants to jump straight into an audit without even getting on the phone, it’s a sign they’re running an “audit mill” and aren’t going to spend much time on your project.

Find a company that wants to go really deep and understand the full picture.

2. A one-time audit proposal

Most technically SEO companies will perform a one-time audit for a flat fee. 

Since this is a standard part of their practice, they can usually jump into this right away.

Assuming their fee works with your budget, you could have someone get started within a week. That’s how easy it is to get going.

Before starting the audit, ask them for everything that they’ll check. It should include everything like canonical problems, indexing issues, duplicate content, other Google Search Console errors, everything.

If the list doesn’t feel extremely comprehensive, get a few quotes from other companies.

3. Completing the audit

Once you’ve agreed to move forward with an audit, the company will get started.

These usually take a few weeks to complete, depending on the size of your site.

Of course, you’ll need to give them access to your Google Analytics, Google Search Console, WordPress account, and possibly your web host.

During the audit, there shouldn’t be much work for you or your team. The company performing the audit may have questions but they can do the vast majority of the work on their own.

4. Implementation proposal

Most technical SEO audits only include the discovery of site issues. The project doesn’t usually include the work that’s required to fix any problems.

This is because most problems don’t have easy fixes.

For example, if your site has terrible site speed that’s impacting your rankings, you’ll need to do a ton of front-end work in order to fix it. That will also involve your marketing team and possibly other agencies.

So once the audit is complete, expect to see a proposal that includes implementing any solutions.

Something to watch for here: a great technical SEO company will know the limits of it’s expertise. When they find problems outside their capabilities, they’ll tell you and advise you to work with someone else on fixing them. Site rebuilds and content marketing are good examples of this.

If a technical SEO agency tells you that it can fix every single problem, double check and make sure they truly have real expertise in those areas.

Should I take Technical SEO Seriously?


Technical SEO is like the frame of your house. Only with good bones can your content and marketing drive traffic to your site. 

But, as things add up, and you have hundreds or thousands of pages on your site, something is going to break. 

Search engines have a harder time crawling your site, content isn’t indexed, and your site speed slows way down.

Even if you start with a great foundation, you need a healthy rebuild every few years.

If you haven’t done a deep technical SEO audit recently, now’s the time.

The post The 4 Best Technical SEO Companies of 2020 appeared first on Neil Patel.


How to Use Quizzes in Your Marketing Strategy

quizzes in marketing

Using quizzes in your marketing strategy is one of the most underrated marketing moves.


They are incredibly effective at generation leads, engaging your audience, and much more.

But, it isn’t enough for me to just convince you to implement quizzes in your marketing strategy, so I’m going to show you exactly how to create an effective quiz, how to distribute it, and how to follow it up with marketing automation.

At the end, we’ll cover several brands successfully using quizzes in their marketing strategy so you can walk away with a little more insight.

Part I: Creating Your Quiz

There’s more to a quiz than you might actually think. Did you know that six out of ten people only read a headline? That means we’re going to have to make a pretty good first impression, so let’s talk about the title first.

Title Selection & Quiz Types

The very first step to creating a quiz would be coming up with the title for it. Once you’ve got that down, you’re going to want to figure out what type of quiz you want to make.

Here are a few of the most common quiz titles;

  • The “Actually” Title: Believe it or not, adding the word “actually” can turn a simple question into a challenge. Compare “How much do you know about the Golden State Warriors” against “How much do you actually know about the Golden State Warriors” and you’ll see what we mean. No one likes to back down from a challenge, right?
  • “The Which (Blank) Are You?” Title: This one’s a classic. Due to our innate inquisitive nature, sometimes we just have to know which Marvel superhero we are before we die. It’s just one of those things we have to cross off our bucket list.
  • The “Celebrity Personality” Title: This is your typical personality quiz with the substitution of celebrities to give it that added pizazz. Because of the use of celebrities, they’re more likely to get someone’s attention sheerly through being starstruck.

Choosing The Quiz Type

The quiz titles above will give you a few ideas of quiz types, but here’s a few more to consider:

  • The Personality Quiz – We like to hear good things about ourselves, so because of the “self-serving bias,” personality quizzes work so well. This type of quiz categorizes people into personalities that compliment them based on their answers. If you’re a brand that focuses on product sales, you could use a personality quiz to place individuals into categories with personalized product recommendations based on the answers they gave.
  • The Knowledge Test: The knowledge test simply challenges anyone’s knowledge on a given subject. You could ask your audience how much they know about your brand, the products it offers, or any of today’s trending topics.

Crafting Quiz Questions

Now that you’ve got a general idea of what kind of quiz you want to create along with a title to go with it, it’s time to bring it to life by filling it up with questions!

Here are some things to keep in mind when formulating your questions:

  • Infuse Personality into Your Quiz: Breathe some life into your quiz by injecting your personality into it. Approach your audience as if you were talking to them in person. Make your audience feel comfortable so that they’ll be more likely to opt-in later.
  • Use Images for Your Questions: There’s nothing wrong with having text-only questions, but don’t be afraid to use images either. Using pictures keeps things interesting and relevant, it also makes your quiz feel more like a trivia game.
  • Keep It Short: People don’t have the longest attention spans, so keep things simple and sweet. Aim between 6 to 10 questions for your quiz, in general, this will only take your audience about two to three minutes to complete.

Designing A Lead Capture: Do’s and Don’t’s

After coming up with the questions for your quiz, it’s time to create a lead capture form. The purpose of lead capture is to gather contact information so that you can grow an email list.

You can then follow these leads up through marketing automation, which we’ll get into later. For now, here are some helpful do’s and don’t’s you should follow when creating your lead capture:

Do: Incentivize Your Lead Capture Form

Give your audience a reason to provide you with their contact information. Offer incentives like a free eBook or an entry to a free giveaway. Standard incentives include infrequent updates about your brand or a weekly newsletter. Find what works best to encourage your audience to join your mailing list.

Don’t: Ask For Information You Won’t Use

What’s the point in asking your audience for their phone number if you aren’t going to call them? Make sure you only ask for information that your brand will use; the most basic being a first and last name, and an email address.

Otherwise, you risk annoying your audience and having them bounce from your quiz.

Do: Be Honest About Your Marketing Strategy

It won’t always be clear to your audience that after you get their contact information, you’ll be contacting them. It’s a good rule of thumb to let your audience know that you’ll be getting in touch with them soon, so don’t be all hush-hush about your marketing strategy.

Be honest with your audience. Give them a quick heads up about what’s to come, like this:


Creating Shareable Results

Now onto the results! This is the moment your audience has been waiting for. You want to make sure your results are something they’re going to like and share with others, so creating share-worthy results will be your priority.

Here are a couple of pointers that will help you create results worth sharing:

  • Be Honest and Positive: Positive emotions are more likely to promote sharing, so create results that compliment your audience into sharing what they got. At the same time, be honest with your results. Don’t tell your audience that they’re something they aren’t.
  • Use Share-Worthy Images: Just like how we used images for your questions, we’re going to want to make sure we use images for your results. This time around, you want to use some pretty interesting pictures; ones that are worth sharing. This is what’s going to attract attention when people share their results on social media.
  • Create A Call-To-Action: Don’t let your interaction with the audience end at the results. Provide a call-to-action for your audience. It can be something as simple as a link to your website, or maybe even personalized links to product recommendations.

Part II: Distributing Your Quiz

Now it’s time to put your quiz through the ultimate test by promoting it on social media. Your major outlets for social networks would be Facebook and Twitter, but if you wanted to take it a bit further, you can also use paid advertising on Facebook to give your quiz that extra boost.

Share Your Quiz on Facebook and Twitter

When sharing your quiz on Facebook or Twitter, be sure you check off each of these to get the most out of promoting your quiz:

  • Be sure to use an attractive image to represent your quiz.
  • Make sure you have a captivating headline for your quiz.
  • Share both the image and the caption with a shortened link to track results.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Paid Advertising on Facebook

The process of promoting your quiz through Facebook via paid advertising can be a fairly lengthy operation, so to save you guys some time, we’ve truncated the whole process into a more time-friendly summary.

  • Selecting Your Target Audience: You have your choices of selecting a target audience by location, demographics, behaviors, and connections. You can even break these categories down even further. Let’s take location for example. We can narrow down the location to country, state/province, city, and zip code. Why would we want to do this? Maybe your brand wants to target an audience within its immediate vicinity. We don’t know. It’s up to you how you want to set the parameters for your target audience. So give it a try.
  • Creating A Custom Audience: Creating a custom audience consists of working with a list you’ve uploaded ahead of time. Facebook then generates an audience based on that list of previous customers you’ve already worked with.

Part III: Marketing Automation Follow-Ups

Here’s the fun part: following up on the leads you’ve collected. With the help of marketing automation, this may not take as much effort on your end as you might’ve thought.

We’re going to follow-up on your leads the very moment people opt-in, and in the course of two weeks, we’re going to show you how to nurture these leads until you can finally convert them into paying customers.

Here’s a four-step sequence that your marketing automation email follow-ups should live and die by:

Thank Your Audience for Taking Your Quiz First

Immediately after someone opts-in, send him or her an email that telling them “Thank you for taking our quiz!” This will remind your audience that they’ve opted-in, and it’ll also help assert your brand. It’ll give people a head’s up that you’ll be getting in touch with them soon.

Encourage Your Audience to Retake Your Quiz

After a couple of days, we’re going to pick up where your audience left off: their quiz results. Inform your audience about the other results they could have gotten. This may prompt your audience to retake your quiz, and maybe to even share their new results.

This is the perfect transition from your “thank you” email to sending out different content.

Build Trust with Case Studies or Testimonials

After a week, now would be a good time to build trust between you and your leads. Introduce testimonials or customer case studies to familiarize your audience with your brand and what other people think about it. This not only makes your brand look good, but it also lets your audience get more comfortable with who your brand is and what it stands for.

Convert Your Leads into Paying Customers

After two weeks, it’s time to convert those leads. Your audience should be familiar with your brand by now. Use incentives, like a webinar signup or coupons and discounts to encourage your leads to buy into your brand.

The rest is up to you and your expertise in converting leads into customers. These marketing automation follow-ups did most of the work for you, so it’s your turn to close the deal.

Part IV: Examples of Quiz-Use in Every Industry

It’s time to take a quick look at several examples of brands from different industries and how they implemented quizzes in their marketing strategy. Seeing these examples should give you a solid foundation when it comes to considering the use of quizzes in your own marketing strategy.

Retail: Z Gallerie

Z Gallerie is known for its commitment to providing furnishings, art, and accessories to both professional and amateur interior designers alike. They created the quiz “What is your Z Gallerie Style Personality?” to provide a personalized experience for every potential and current customer.


Z Gallerie used a personality quiz as a way of bringing results that offered personalized product recommendations as a part of their marketing strategy. This method brought in a massive amount of leads per day which they followed-up with marketing automation.

It allowed Z Gallerie to continually recommend products tailored specifically to each person based on their individual quiz results. Now that’s online shopping done right.

Software: Cloud Sherpas

Cloud Sherpas specialized in cloud advisory and technology services for the world’s leading brands. (They’ve since been acquired by Accenture.)

Cloud Sherpas used their quiz to gauge each individual’s level of maturity, which helped determine the more qualified leads for their marketing strategy. They also promoted their blog on Facebook with the quiz attached.

cloud sherpa marketing quizzes example

Cloud Sherpas’ quiz brings in 3-4 qualified leads a day. Nothing like quality over quantity, am I right?

Marketing: The Foundation

The Foundation focuses on building businesses with entrepreneurs through the idea of building backward. It’s an incredibly interesting concept, and with it, they created the quiz “Do You Have An Entrepreneurial Mind?” based on an existing eBook they had which covered the basic types of business owners.

The Foundation used a quiz in its marketing strategy by pairing it with a Facebook ad campaign. This combination was able to cut their cost per lead from $6.00 to $3.80, and collected over 16,000 leads and millions in revenue. That’s quite the turnout if you ask us.


Nonprofit: Pin Cancer

Pin Cancer’s call-to-action is the rallying of the US wrestling community to fight against, you guessed it: cancer. Their noble efforts have prompted the aid of their quiz “Which USA World Team Member Are You?” as a means of driving social traffic and raising awareness on cancer.

On a site that normally sees 200 visits per day, Pin Cancer had the best day ever when their quiz went up, driving social traffic up to 6,000 in a single day and bringing in 3,800 new email subscribers. Talk about turning the tables on cancer!


Who knew implementing quizzes into your online marketing strategy could be so effective? We’ve just covered a lot of material, but hopefully, you got a lot out of it.

Just to recap, we went over the entire quiz creation process, so you should be familiar with how to create your own quiz by now. Distributing your quiz will really put it to the test, but as soon as you generate those leads, you know exactly how to nurture them until conversion.

Don’t let quizzes fly under your radar any longer; try using them in your marketing strategy to see just how far your brand can get.

Have you used quizzes in your marketing strategy? What were the results? 

The post How to Use Quizzes in Your Marketing Strategy appeared first on Neil Patel.


How to Buy a Domain Name

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Buying a domain name is one of the first steps to launching a website. 

But finding the perfect domain for your site and registering that domain can feel like a tall task if you’ve never been through this process. Fortunately, domain registration isn’t that difficult—you just need to follow a few simple steps.

Throughout my career, I’ve bought a lot of domains—too many to count. Some of those experiences were significantly better than others.  

This guide will explain my two favorite ways to buy a domain; one of those methods will even get you a free domain. I’ll also cover the differences between these options in greater detail and explain how to buy a premium domain. Let’s dive in.

How to Buy a Domain Name With Bluehost

Bluehost is a web hosting provider. In fact, they are one of the most reputable and reliable web hosts on the market today. More than two million sites across the globe are hosted by Bluehost.

But Bluehost also provides domain registration services. If you use Bluehost for web hosting, you’ll get a free domain for one year. 

Since you need a hosting plan anyways, you can use Bluehost as a one-stop-shop to bundle hosting and domain registration into a single package. This is a great option for beginners starting a new website from scratch. 

Step #1 – Navigate to

The first step is easy. Just make your way over to the Bluehost website.

From here, scan the menu and select “Hosting” at the top of the screen. 

I’ll say it again; click HOSTING. Do not click on the “Domains” menu option. 

If you click on the latter, you won’t be bundling your hosting plan with domain registration, which defeats the purpose of using Bluehost (and you won’t get the domain for free).

Step #2 – Choose a Hosting Plan

The hosting menu will expand and present you with three different options:

  • Shared Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting
  • VPS Hosting

Shared hosting will be the best option for 99% of people starting a new website. So go ahead and select that from the expanded drop-down menu. 

You’ll still be able to bundle your hosting plan and domain registration (and get a free domain) if you select dedicated or VPS, but most of you won’t need to worry about that right now; stick with shared hosting.  

Bluehost offers four different shared web hosting plans to choose from—Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro:

If you’re launching a small personal site, the Basic entry-level plan starting at $3.95 per month should be fine for you. For those of you launching a site for your business, I’d go with the Choice Plus plan, at a minimum. 

The extra features that come with this plan are worth the few extra bucks per month. 

To continue, just click the “Select” button under the plan that fits your needs.

Step #3 – Register Your Domain

Once you choose a web hosting plan, Bluehost will automatically prompt you to set up your domain. You’ll be presented with two different options here:

  • Create a new domain
  • Use a domain you own

You’ll want to use the “Create a new domain” option to search for available domains.

Simply enter the domain you want to buy into the search bar and choose your domain extension (.com, .net, .blog, .biz, .info, .store, .co, .us, etc.). 

In the vast majority of cases, you’re going to want a .com extension. The only reason why I’d consider an alternative domain extension is if the .com domain is taken. For example, if you try to create a domain using or, those will obviously be unavailable. But a different extension might be available for purchase.

So if you’re set on a name, you could always get an alternative extension in the meantime while you figure out how to buy the .com extension. I’ll explain how to buy domains that have already been registered in greater detail later in this guide (although you probably won’t be able to buy Nike or Apple).

Another reason to consider an alternative domain extension is the price. Lots of these extensions will be cheaper than a .com domain.

For a small blog, side project, or personal site, that’s fine if you want to save a few dollars. But businesses should always register a .com domain.

Step #4 – Finalize Your Contract

Once you’ve chosen an available domain name, simply create your Bluehost account and select your plan terms.

Definitely make sure you get “Domain Privacy + Protection” located in the “Package Extras” section. Otherwise, your name, email, phone number, and address will all become available on a public database. It’s well worth the extra $0.99 per month. 

The other options, like SiteLock Security and Codeguard Basic, are up to you. I’d get them, but there are alternative third-party services out there that you can use for site backups and security. I think it’s just easier to get them now.

That’s it! 

Once you enter your payment details, your hosting plan and new domain purchase will be finalized. Your domain name is free for the first year of your contract. 

How to Buy a Domain Name With Namecheap

The market is flooded with domain registrars. But Namecheap is definitely my favorite. It’s super easy for anyone to buy a domain using this registrar, even if it’s your first time.

This method is a bit more straightforward than using Bluehost, only because you’re not bundling any other services—Namecheap is strictly for buying a domain. 

The entire process can be completed in just three quick steps.

Step #1 – Visit

Obviously, the first thing you need to do is make your way over the Namecheap website.

From here, you can search for your domain directly from the homepage.

Enter your desired domain name into the search bar, which can be found in the center of the screen. 

Make sure that “Register” is toggled above that search bar. The “Transfer” option is made for people who have an existing domain and want to switch registrars—that’s not for you. 

Click the search icon to continue. 

Step #2 – Choose Your Extension

As a domain registrar, Namecheap offers an extensive list of domain extensions. 

You’ll have the option to choose from things like .fun, .vip, .studio, .health, .xyz, .lol, .design, and hundreds of other extensions. But in most cases, choosing a .com extension will be your best bet. 

Just click the “Add to cart” button next to the extensions you want and then checkout.

Step #3 – Confirm Your Order

When you’re buying a domain directly from a domain registrar, you can skip all of the extras. You won’t need an SSL certificate, professional email, or anything else. You’ll be able to get that from your web hosting provider.

Definitely make sure you have WhoisGuard enabled. This protects your personal information from being available to the public. Some domain registrars make you pay extra for this, but Namecheap offers it free forever. 

Turn on “auto-renew” for your domain registration as well. Otherwise, you’ll have to renew it manually every year, which puts you at risk for the registration lapsing. 

It’s that easy! 

Once you confirm the order, you’ll be asked to create a Namecheap account. After you enter your payment details and finalize the purchase, the domain is yours. 

Ways to Buy a Domain Name

Generally speaking, there are two main ways to buy a domain name. Both of which have been covered above—domain registrars and hosting providers. 

There are pros and cons to each method, and the process for each one is very different.

I’ll quickly explain the differences between these options so you can figure out which one is the best choice for your website. 

Buying a Domain From a Standalone Domain Registrar

In most cases, going directly to a domain registrar like Namecheap will be your best option. As the name implies, these platforms specialize in domain registration. 

Buying domains directly from a standalone registrar will be faster than alternative methods. That’s because you’re not bundling other services, so the process is more direct.

Domain registrars also make it easier to buy domains in bulk. So if you’re in the market for more than a single domain, definitely go with a registrar. 

If you want alternative extensions, domain registrars will offer significantly more options. While I typically don’t recommend anything other than a .com domain, some of you might want to browse through hundreds of alternative extensions. 

Transferring domain names with a registrar is also easier than using a service that doesn’t specialize in domain registration. So if you want to transfer your domain or think you might want to transfer it in the future, use a domain registrar.

It’s usually cheaper to buy domains directly from a registrar. For starters, the domain itself will likely be less expensive. But the best registrars, like Namecheap, include WhoisGuard protection for free with the purchase of a domain. You probably won’t get that from a hosting company. 

The downside of getting your domain from a registrar is that there’s an extra step in the process. You’ll still have to get web hosting elsewhere. 

Buying a Domain From a Web Hosting Company

For the most part, domain registration and web hosting should be kept separately. Bluehost is the exception to this rule. So if you want to bundle your domain name with a hosting plan, Bluehost is really the only option to consider.

There are a couple of main reasons why you’d go this route.

For beginners who are new to the world of web hosting and domain registration, getting everything under one roof is just easier. It’s less steps, and you can manage your hosting plan and domain name from a single account. 

Furthermore, Bluehost gives you a free domain name for one year. You’ll never get a deal like that from a domain registrar. 

But getting a domain from a hosting provider isn’t ideal if you want to buy domains in bulk. It’s fine for a single domain, but beyond that, it gets messy. You also won’t have as many options for alternative extensions (if you want something unique). 

Most web hosting providers will also charge you extra for domain privacy + protection, whereas you can get this for free from a domain registrar. 

How to Buy a Premium Domain

Premium domains are a great way to stand out online. They are great for branding and marketing purposes as well.

What is a premium domain?

A premium domain is typically short, memorable, and easy to spell. High-quality domains have a high search volume and are closely associated with an industry, service, or topic. They also have TLDs (top-level domains) like .com, .org, or .net. 

Premium domains are in high demand. So they’ll typically cost a bit more to register. The process of buying a premium domain can be different as well since it’s not always clear if the domain is actually for sale. Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say you try to register a premium domain from a domain registrar or hosting company. Just because it says “unavailable,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be acquired. These are the steps for buying a premium domain:

Step #1 – Determine if the Domain Seems Attainable

If a domain is unavailable from a registrar, try going directly to that website and see what you find. If there’s an active website or business using that domain, it might be tougher to acquire. 

But if you don’t see an active site, there’s a good chance that domain will be for sale.

Here’s an example for

Clearly, not much is happening on this site. So if you wanted this premium domain, there is a pretty good indication here that it’s for sale. 

In some cases, you’ll even see text like “buy this domain” or information that says “this domain might be for sale.” All of these are good signs that the domain is attainable.

Step #2 – Find Out Who Owns the Domain

There are two ways to complete this step:

  • Figure it out on your own
  • Hire a domain broker to do it for you

Doing it on your own can be tricky. You could run a quick WHOIS lookup, but most people won’t have their personal information listed. Using Google to your advantage can be helpful. Some domains might be linked to another website or social media profile. You could potentially find the owner that way.

Personally, I’d recommend using a broker. Sedo is one of my favorite domain marketplaces and brokerage sites.

Brokers can almost always find out who owns the domain because they have such a massive network. They’ll determine if the domain is actually for sale and how much the seller is asking for. Your broker can even handle the negotiations on your behalf.

The downside of using a broker is that you’ll have to pay a brokerage fee. But in most cases, you’ll only have to pay if the sale actually goes through.

Other great places to find a premium domain online include:

If a domain is for sale, you’ll be able to get the ball rolling with Sedo or one of the other options listed above.

Step #3 – Negotiate and Buy

Often times, the listing price of a premium domain can be negotiable. If you think it’s a fair price and fits well within your budget, you can speed up the buying process by offering the asking price in full.

If a domain is in high-demand, this also increases your chances of securing it before someone else makes a better offer.

But in some cases, domains can be outrageously priced. You need to ask yourself if it’s actually worth the cost. Sometimes you might be better off just looking for another domain. Unless a certain domain is crucial to the success of your business, it can be tough to justify a five or six-figure listing price. 

Don’t be afraid to walk away during the negotiation process. If it’s not meant to be, you can move on or try again at a later time. This is also another reason why it’s helpful to have a broker.

Step #4 – Transfer the Domain

Once the domain has been purchased, the final step is transferring it to your domain registrar. Again, I recommend for this because it’s so easy. 

Make sure you turn on the auto-renewal after the transfer. Otherwise, you’ll have to worry about manually renewing your domain each year. If you forget and the name lapses, your premium domain could be up for grabs on the open market.

The process is officially complete when you see the domain sitting inside of your domain registrar account. Now you can finally rest easy knowing that you’ve secured your premium domain.

How to Buy a Domain Name That’s Not For Sale

Not every premium domain will be available on a brokerage site or domain marketplace. But if you really want to pursue a specific domain, you still might have a chance.

Similar to the steps we took in


How to Use Instagram Filters in Paid Social Media Campaigns

How to Use Instagram Filters in Paid Social Media Campaigns

One billion – that’s how many people use Instagram each month.

With such a huge, highly engaged audience, you can bet the competition between brands is tough. This is why small details can make all the difference, and Instagram filters could play a part in making your social media campaigns more successful.

What are Instagram Filters?

Everywhere you look, marketing advice says you need high-quality images to succeed on platforms like Instagram. But what if you’re not a professional photographer?

This is where Instagram filters can be a game-changer for your marketing and particularly your paid social media campaigns—they can make your images look as sleek as if they’d been professionally shot.

Here’s an example of an unfiltered image vs. its filtered twin:

Unfiltered instagram photo of boats on water
Instagram photo of boats on water using clarendon filter

Not only do Instagram filters make things look cleaner, but they also allow you to edit your image with one click. Where most editors make you alter contrast, saturation, and so forth individually, Instagram lets you pick a pre-set filter that suits your image—though you can tweak them if you’d like.

While these filters have been around since 2011, they’ve taken off in recent years. With the added capabilities of augmented reality (AR) technology—which adds imaginary images to those of the real world—they can significantly impact your social media campaigns.

Why Should You Use Instagram Filters in Your Paid Posts?

Social media platforms are competitive, and standing out from the crowd isn’t easy. If you’re going to get the best cost per click with your paid social media campaigns, then your brand needs to grab attention and drive engagement.

When you run an Instagram ad, you don’t have much real estate to work with, so you’ve got to find ways to draw your audience in with the limited space you have.

If you can combine innovative use of filters with creative images and excellent text, then you could achieve exceptional results— as Opel did with their “Opel Adam” campaign. In just two weeks, the campaign achieved a 2.5x increase in registrations and significantly lowered Opel’s cost per registration.

It’s possible to achieve the same results for your business, but you’ve got to make the most of the tools available to you.

If only 18% of Instagram posts use a filter, this means you’ve got an opportunity to make your content stand out over the other 82%. Research shows that AR filters have an average dwell time of 75 seconds, which is four times that of even video content—so using it can make a huge difference.

Social media platforms crave engagement, and if your advertisements give them that, you may find you reach more people for less—and Instagram filters are one of the best tools to help you achieve this.

How to Use Instagram Filters for Your Paid Campaigns

Turning your posts into paid campaigns through the Instagram app couldn’t be easier. All you need is a business or creator account, and then you can get set up with your paid ads.

  1. Click the profile icon in the bottom right-hand corner.
  2. Select promotions.
  3. Choose a post to promote. Instagram will prompt you to use your top post, but you can select any of your previous posts to promote.
  4. Select where to send people— your profile, website, or direct messages.
  5. Define your audience. The easiest option is to choose “automatic,” which targets people similar to your followers, but you can create your own.
  6. Choose your budget, setting your daily cost and how long you want the campaign to run for.
  7. Review and publish.


how to use instagram filters for your paid campaigns

To create a promotion through the app, you need to have already created your post or story. Luckily, Instagram makes it exceedingly easy to snap an image on the go, add a great filter, and promote it within seconds.

Tips for Picking the Right Instagram Filter for Your Campaign 

The right Instagram filter might be a quick way to give your images the professional touch, but the wrong filter can have the opposite effect. When you’re choosing your filter, keep these three points in mind:

  • Your images reflect your brand
  • Consistency works well on social media
  • Don’t go filter crazy

Your images help define your brand, so the filters you choose matter. Your filters should reflect the mood of the product or service you’re promoting, and you need to stay consistent with this.  

A great example of this is JetBlue’s Instagram account. You can easily spot how consistency has allowed them to develop their own simple yet effective style by using similar image styles, colors, and more.

Screenshot of JetBlues use of Instagram filters

While the right filter can make things look amazing, “over filtering” can have the opposite effect. You don’t want to alter things so much that they look surreal. Instagram filters are optimized to please, so it’s often worth sticking to the tried and tested rather than over-editing.

If you’re looking for inspiration, Canva studied the most popular filters, and Clarendon, Gingham, and Juno came out on top.

Instagram Filters for Posts

Adding filters to your Instagram posts couldn’t be easier. In five simple steps, you can post amazing images that grab your audience’s attention.

  1. Click the + button at the center of your home screen.
  2. Select the image you want to use from your library, or select “photo” or “video” to create a new one. Click next.
  3. Choose your filter from the list at the bottom of the screen. Remember, you can add more by clicking manage at the end of the reel.
  4. Add your caption, tag people in your posts, post your location, and choose other social platforms you would like to post to.
  5. Hit share.
Guide to Adding Instagram Filters for Posts

Instagram Filters for Stories 

Instagram stories allow you to post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. One-third of the most viewed Instagram stories are created by businesses, so they are an excellent way to make your posts go further.

The process of posting stories with filters is just as simple as with posts, but you’ll notice a lot more options when it comes to AR filters.

For a live video or image:

  1. Select your profile icon.
  2. Hit the + button in the top left-hand corner.
  3. Select “story” from the pop-up menu.
  4. Use your camera to take live video or images, or select an existing one from your library by clicking on the image in the bottom left-hand corner.
  5. Choose between your front-facing and rear-facing camera if you’re taking a live image.
  6. Select your filter from the reel at the bottom.
  7. Tap the center button to take a picture or hold the button to take a video.
  8. Use the editing buttons in the top right-hand corner to add extra filters, overlay text, or download to your library.
  9. Hit “send to” and select where to share your story.
A step by step guide to adding Instagram filters for stories

Bonus Instagram Filter Tip

If you’re scrolling through Instagram and see a filter you like, you can save it to use on your own stories.

  1. Go to the profile of the person with the filter you like.
  2. Click the smiley face emoji to see all their filters.
  3. You can save it by clicking the down arrow or try it on.
  4. When you’re trying on the filter, click the drop-down menu.
  5. From here, you can save the effect or send it immediately as a story.
  6. The next time you send a story, the filter will be ready for you to use.

Instagram Filters for Faces

When you created your first story pin, you likely noticed there are a lot of things you can do to your face with AR.

AR allows you to add computer-generated effects over the live image you see on your camera. For example, if you want to see what you look like wearing sunglasses, there’s an AR filter for that. The sunglasses appear on your face and follow you as you move.

There are endless Instagram filters with AR, which gives you more options to engage your audience. However, as with any Instagram filters, it’s essential to find the ones that suit your brand.

Some companies have had great success with AR filters on Instagram, such as this one by Ray-ban. But if you’re going to use these filters, then you’ve got to make sure you stay on-brand.

Rayban Instagram Filter of woman with antlers

To create a story with AR filters, simply follow these steps:

  1. Select your profile icon.
  2. Hit the + button in the top left-hand corner.
  3. Select “story” from the pop-up menu.
  4. Choose between front- and rear-facing camera.
  5. Slide between the filters at the bottom and watch as your face is brought to life with AR.
  6. For more effects, slide to the end of the reel and select “browse effects.”
  7. Choose a filter.
  8. Click the middle button to take a photo, hold to take a video.
  9. Click send and then select where to share.
Instagram filters for faces

Other Instagram Features to Help Your Paid Campaign

One of the reasons Instagram is so popular with advertisers is because it gives you lots of tools to give your paid campaign extra oomph. The beautiful thing about it is it’s so easy for anyone to add filters, gifs, text, and music to their images.

While a recent study found that images without text overlay generally perform better than those with text, marketing is all about finding the message that engages your audience, so it’s worth experimenting to find the formula that works for you.

These Instagram features give you added options when it comes to reaching and engaging your target audience.

Adding Gifs

Gifs provide a great middle-ground between static images and video. They were talked about as a big marketing trend, and while AR has taken over somewhat, they’re still a handy tool for your paid Instagram campaigns.

A gif is a quick and easy way to add something extra to your story, and once again, Instagram makes it exceptionally easy to do:

  1. Select your profile icon.
  2. Hit the + button in the top left-hand corner.
  3. Select “story” from the pop-up menu.
  4. Choose between front and rear-facing cameras or open your library via the icon in the bottom left-hand corner.
  5. Take a picture, or choose an image from your library.
  6. Choose the square smiley face at the top of the screen.
  7. Select gifs, or use the search bar to find a specific gif.
  8. Make your gif bigger or smaller by pinching in or out with two fingers and drag it into position.
  9. Select “send” to and choose who you want to see your story.

Adding Text

Instagram might be a very visual platform, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t use for text. The right use of text can help give your posts and stories context, grabbing people’s attention and linking the image to your brand.

Text is a vital part of Instagram because this is where you make use of one of the most important features: hashtags.

Hashtags not only help people find your posts, but they also boost engagement and allow you to zero in on what’s popular in your industry. The statistics show that Instagram posts with even just one hashtag can see an increase in engagement of 12.6%. So with only a little extra text, you can give your campaigns a better chance of success.

You can also use text overlay on your stories. You’re in control of your text’s font, color, and look, which means you have another way of giving your images a professional look.

To add text overlay to your stories, simply:

  1. Select your profile icon.
  2. Hit the + button in the top left-hand corner.
  3. Select “story” from the pop-up menu.
  4. Select your image or video.
  5. Click the “Aa” in the top right-hand corner.
  6. Type your text.
  7. Choose your font, color, and effects, using the tools at the top of the screen.
  8. Hit “done.”
  9. Select “send to” and choose your audience.

Adding Music

Music has always played an important part in advertising. Music helps make advertisements more memorable, evokes emotion, builds the story, and accentuates the brand, so it can be an essential tool.

While some people will use Instagram with the sound off, Instagram makes it so easy to add features such as music that you don’t lose anything by using them.

Again, make sure whatever you choose fits your brand and is going to engage your audience.

Here’s how you can add music to your Instagram stories:

  1. Select your profile icon.
  2. Hit the + button in the top left-hand corner.
  3. Select “story” from the pop-up menu.
  4. Choose between front and rear-facing cameras or open your library via the icon in the bottom left-hand corner.
  5. Take a picture or choose an image from your library.
  6. Choose the square smiley face at the top of the screen.
  7. Click the music icon.
  8. Choose your song.
  9. Edit which part of the song you want to showcase, clip duration, and how you want to credit the song.
  10. Click “done.”
  11. Move the music sticker, making it bigger or smaller to suit your image.
  12. Hit “send to” and select your audience.

Instagram Filter Features Within Other Photography Apps

You might be thinking, “I want my Instagram posts to stand out, so why would I use the most common filters such as Clarendon?” While many brands find success with Instagram’s filters, you have other options if you choose to go that route.

To help you with this, there are lots of photography apps that have cura


How Do Sessions Work in Google Analytics? — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Tom.Capper

Google Analytics data is used to support tons of important work, ranging from our everyday marketing reporting, all the way to investment decisions. To that end, it's integral that we're aware of just how that data works. In this Best of Whiteboard Friday edition, Tom Capper explains how the sessions metric in Google Analytics works, several ways that it can have unexpected results, and as a bonus, how sessions affect the time on page metric (and why you should rethink using time on page for reporting).

Editor’s note: Tom Capper is now an independent SEO consultant. This video is from 2018, but the same principles hold up today. There is only one minor caveat: the words "user" and "browser" are used interchangeably early in the video, which still hold mostly true. Google is trying to further push multi-device users as a concept with Google Analytics 4, but still relies on users being logged in, as well as extra tracking setup. For most sites most of the time, neither of these conditions hold.

How do sessions work in Google Analytics?

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hello, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I am Tom Capper. I am a consultant at Distilled, and today I'm going to be talking to you about how sessions work in Google Analytics. Obviously, all of us use Google Analytics. Pretty much all of us use Google Analytics in our day-to-day work.

Data from the platform is used these days in everything from investment decisions to press reporting to the actual marketing that we use it for. So it's important to understand the basic building blocks of these platforms. Up here I've got the absolute basics. So in the blue squares I've got hits being sent to Google Analytics.

So when you first put Google Analytics on your site, you get that bit of tracking code, you put it on every page, and what that means is when someone loads the page, it sends a page view. So those are the ones I've marked P. So we've got page view and page view and so on as you're going around the site. I've also got events with an E and transactions with a T. Those are two other hit types that you might have added.

The job of Google Analytics is to take all this hit data that you're sending it and try and bring it together into something that actually makes sense as sessions. So they're grouped into sessions that I've put in black, and then if you have multiple sessions from the same browser, then that would be a user that I've marked in pink. The issue here is it's kind of arbitrary how you divide these up.

These eight hits could be one long session. They could be eight tiny ones or anything in between. So I want to talk today about the different ways that Google Analytics will actually split up those hit types into sessions. So over here I've got some examples I'm going to go through. But first I'm going to go through a real-world example of a brick-and-mortar store, because I think that's what they're trying to emulate, and it kind of makes more sense with that context.

Brick-and-mortar example

So in this example, say a supermarket, we enter by a passing trade. That's going to be our source. Then we've got an entrance is in the lobby of the supermarket when we walk in. We got passed from there to the beer aisle to the cashier, or at least I do. So that's one big, long session with the source passing trade. That makes sense.

In the case of a brick-and-mortar store, it's not to difficult to divide that up and try and decide how many sessions are going on here. There's not really any ambiguity. In the case of websites, when you have people leaving their keyboard for a while or leaving the computer on while they go on holiday or just having the same computer over a period of time, it becomes harder to divide things up, because you don't know when people are actually coming and going.

So what they've tried to do is in the very basic case something quite similar: arrive by Google, category page, product page, checkout. Great. We've got one long session, and the source is Google. Okay, so what are the different ways that that might go wrong or that that might get divided up?

Several things that can change the meaning of a session

1. Time zone

The first and possibly most annoying one, although it doesn't tend to be a huge issue for some sites, is whatever time zone you've set in your Google Analytics settings, the midnight in that time zone can break up a session. So say we've got midnight here. This is 12:00 at night, and we happen to be browsing. We're doing some shopping quite late.

Because Google Analytics won't allow a session to have two dates, this is going to be one session with the source Google, and this is going to be one session and the source will be this page. So this is a self-referral unless you've chosen to exclude that in your settings. So not necessarily hugely helpful.

2. Half-hour cutoff for "coffee breaks"

Another thing that can happen is you might go and make a cup of coffee. So ideally if you went and had a cup of coffee while in you're in Tesco or a supermarket that's popular in whatever country you're from, you might want to consider that one long session. Google has made the executive decision that we're actually going to have a cutoff of half an hour by default.

If you leave for half an hour, then again you've got two sessions. One, the category page is the landing page and the source of Google, and one in this case where the blog is the landing page, and this would be another self-referral, because when you come back after your coffee break, you're going to click through from here to here. This time period, the 30 minutes, that is actually adjustable in your settings, but most people do just leave it as it is, and there isn't really an obvious number that would make this always correct either. It's kind of, like I said earlier, an arbitrary distinction.

3. Leaving the site and coming back

The next issue I want to talk about is if you leave the site and come back. So obviously it makes sense that if you enter the site from Google, browse for a bit, and then enter again from Bing, you might want to count that as two different sessions with two different sources. However, where this gets a little murky is with things like external payment providers.

If you had to click through from the category page to PayPal to the checkout, then unless PayPal is excluded from your referral list, then this would be one session, entrance from Google, one session, entrance from checkout. The last issue I want to talk about is not necessarily a way that sessions are divided, but a quirk of how they are.

4. Return direct sessions

If you were to enter by Google to the category page, go on holiday and then use a bookmark or something or just type in the URL to come back, then obviously this is going to be two different sessions. You would hope that it would be one session from Google and one session from direct. That would make sense, right?

But instead, what actually happens is that, because Google and most Google Analytics and most of its reports uses last non-direct click, we pass through that source all the way over here, so you've got two sessions from Google. Again, you can change this timeout period. So that's some ways that sessions work that you might not expect.

As a bonus, I want to give you some extra information about how this affects a certain metric, mainly because I want to persuade you to stop using it, and that metric is time on page.

Bonus: Three scenarios where this affects time on page

So I've got three different scenarios here that I want to talk you through, and we'll see how the time on page metric works out.

I want you to bear in mind that, basically, because Google Analytics really has very little data to work with typically, they only know that you've landed on a page, and that sent a page view and then potentially nothing else. If you were to have a single page visit to a site, or a bounce in other words, then they don't know whether you were on that page for 10 seconds or the rest of your life.

They've got no further data to work with. So what they do is they say, "Okay, we're not going to include that in our average time on page metrics." So we've got the formula of time divided by views minus exits. However, this fudge has some really unfortunate consequences. So let's talk through these scenarios.

Example 1: Intuitive time on page = actual time on page

In the first scenario, I arrive on the page. It sends a page view. Great. Ten seconds later I trigger some kind of event that the site has added. Twenty seconds later I click through to the next page on the site. In this case, everything is working as intended in a sense, because there's a next page on the site, so Google Analytics has that extra data of another page view 20 seconds after the first one. So they know that I was on here for 20 seconds.

In this case, the intuitive time on page is 20 seconds, and the actual time on page is also 20 seconds. Great.

Example 2: Intuitive time on page is higher than measured time on page

However, let's think about this next example. We've got a page view, event 10 seconds later, except this time instead of clicking somewhere else on the site, I'm going to just leave altogether. So there's no data available, but Google Analytics knows we're here for 10 seconds.

So the intuitive time on page here is still 20 seconds. That's how long I actually spent looking at the page. But the measured time or the reported time is going to be 10 seconds.

Example 3: Measured time on page is zero

The last example, I browse for 20 seconds. I leave. I haven't triggered an event. So we've got an intuitive time on page of 20 seconds and an actual time on page or a measured time on page of 0.

The interesting bit is when we then come to calculate the average time on page for this page that appeared here, here, and here, you would initially hope it would be 20 seconds, because that's how long we actually spent. But your next guess, when you look at the reported or the available data that Google Analytics has in terms of how long we're on these pages, the average of these three numbers would be 10 seconds.

So that would make some sense. What they actually do, because of this formula, is they end up with 30 seconds. So you've got the total time here, which is 30, divided by the number of views, we've got 3 views, minus 2 exits. Thirty divided 3 minus 2, 30 divided by 1, so we've got 30 seconds as the average across these 3 sessions.

Well, the average across these three page views, sorry, for the amount of time we're spending, and that is longer than any of them, and it doesn't make any sense with the constituent data. So that's just one final tip to please not use average time on page as a reporting metric.

I hope that's all been useful to you. I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below. Thanks.

Video transcription by

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!