How to check DNS propagation

If you’ve changed the nameservers of your domain, it typically takes some time for these changes to globally propagate. This website is my go-to tool for checking the global propoagation:

https://www.whatsmydns.net/#NS/

You just insert your domain name and it’ll show you the nameservers that have propagated already to different places in the world.

Here’s an example of what it looks like:

Why I love SiteGround’s “Always Online” Feature

(First of all: I’m not a SiteGround affiliate, and this isn’t a sponsored post—I’m in no way compensated or incentivized to say this, and I don’t benefit at all if you sign up for SiteGround. I’m just sharing this because I think it’s valuable information for you, my reader.) If you’re looking for WordPress hosting, it’s definitely worth checking out SiteGround, for a variety of reasons. But today, I want to share just one of them, which might not seem like much at first, but is actually worth a lot: the Always Online feature.

What the Always Online feature does is basically ensures that your website is, well, always online.

Even if your actual website is down for whatever reason, SiteGround will still load the latest version of your website it cached. This can be worth a lot, in fact, it could have been worth many thousands of dollars for me if I’ve had this years ago.

One of my WordPress sites got hacked a few years ago, and the hackers installed malware on it. This site was hosted on Hostgator, and what Hostgator does in such a case is that they will suspend your page, and instead show a page like this:

This was an affiliate site that was earning somewhere between $400 – $800 a month. I wasn’t actively working on this anymore, and I was busy with other projects, and fixing the hack turned out to be a much messier affair than I anticipated, so basically I let time pass and eventually forgot about the site.

Had I been on SiteGround, they’d simply have kept showing the old version of my page, and I’d have kept earning with this page.

Especially as you grow your portfolio of sites you run, or if you’re building sites as sidehustles, these things matter—you often won’t have (or make) the time to fix WordPress installs when something goes wrong, and if this happens with multiple sites, it can become very costly.

I’ve migrated a % of my site portfolio to SiteGround, and if you’re looking for a reliable, quality, low-cost WordPress hosting solution, I can definitely recommend it. You can learn more about SiteGround’s Always Online feature here.

How to improve Google E-A-T

Some actionable tips from a Clearscope webinar on how to establish E-A-T in the eyes of Google. This is an outtake from a Clearscope webinar.

Reference authoritative sources:

  • .org, .gov, .edu
  • sites with long-term authority (10+ years)
  • only update content if nature of the content lends itself to that (don’t just make minor tweaks and update the publishing date)
  • have trusted authors & trusted reviewers (especially in medical topics, money topics, etc)
    • e.g. author who has degree in that subject matter
    • have a author page that showcases authority, expertise and credibility
    • advisory board that lends credibility

AI Video Editing Software: Wisecut Appsumo deal (Lifetime for $69)

Wisecut is kinda the “Descript for video”. (Even though yes, Descript does have video editing features too!) But Appsumo’s Wisecut for life deal is pretty sweet: for these prices is pretty dope, especially if you don’t do video editing every month, but still often enough to save yourself boatloads of cutting out “uhm” and word gaps

Consumer sites that crush SEO

I always find it interesting to check on sites in different industries that do SEO really well. There’s a lot to be learned venturing out of the bubble you’re in as a marketer, and I’m very much in the B2B bubble.

So here’s some consumer sites that stood out for me in terms of their SEO game:

Gainful

Gainful is selling protein powder and other supplements. They’re standing out in the market by being “tasteful” in their design and language, coming across a bit more sophisticated than your typical BULK UP YOUR MUSCLES BIGGER LARGER HARDER FASTER kinda protein.

Here some of their top-performing keywords:

(Btw when you look at the monthly search volume and keyword difficulty ratios, as someone in B2B, it makes me drool.)

On their homepage, the main CTA is to take their quiz, which is a really well-designed 5 minute quiz that asks some interesting question about your current state, goals, challenges and preferences to find out what products are best suited for you.

Headspace

I totally underestimated this thing. A meditation app, I thought. Well, turns out they’re completely and utterly dominating SEO for a TON of very competitive, high-volume + high-difficulty keyword phrases:

If their SEO team is all hooked up to the Headspace app, that might be the most compelling argument for me to start using it too.

WealthSimple

In personal finance, WealthSimple is BIG. When you visit their website, you get the “uhhh wow” effect. Beautifully clear design that feels honest.

You can also immediately see that they’re playing a big game: top organic keywords with some pretty tough keyword difficulty scores.

Let’s look at another site in the finance space…

Nerdwallet

Nerdwallet has been playing a big game in SEO for a long time.

Alright. This is like stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson when he was 25. Holy fuckeroli.

Bankrate

Another big brand in the personal finance space. They’re killing it with different kinds of interactive calculators.

Another one where I look at the keyword data and go: Ok, nope. I’m out.

Ikea

Obviously a company that’s selling merchandise worth tens of billions of dollars every year is can afford to build a massive web presence, but there’s plenty of retailers that haven’t succeeded at this. If you look at Ikea’s rankings though, it’s massively impressive:

Ranking in the top 3 for “desk”, “chair”, “sofa”, “sofa bed”, “dresser”, “bed frame” just to pick a few here.

Untappd

Basically a social network for beer lovers. They’re swooping up lots of high-volume, low competition keywords, massively tapping into UGC with reviews of different drinks.

Keywords with a volume of 26k and a keyword difficulty of zero. It almost makes me want to set up a beer site.

Walk Score

Another interesting site. They want to promote walkable neighbourhoods. If you want to live in a place where you can live your life without needing a car is great, then Walk Score helps you do that, as well as find apartments in that area.

As you can see, they’re swooping up lots of low competition keywords.

Active.com

If you’re looking for local events and activities, active can help you find those. Here’s another site that’s just crushing it with interactive calculators. I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with their website—it’s not a beautiful UI and overall the experience isn’t great. They also have an app, so I wonder how much that plays into their success.

High-volume, high keyword difficulty.

Zomato

Looking for a great place to grab food nearby? Zomato helps you find them.

Low difficulty, high-volume, but they’re also competing against Google Maps, which is a tough and risky game to play. Wonder what the average CTR for many of their terms is.

3 Ways To Get Word Count for SERPs

Sometimes you want to know the word count for pages ranking for a given keyword. Obviously you can manually go through each and copy+paste the text, but you got better things to do with your time.

thruuu

This is my favorite free way of getting word counts, and a lot of other interesting data from the SERPs. You put in your search phrase, and it’ll generate a report. This is the overview:

But once you scroll down you get more in-depth insights and tools. I won’t go into all of these here since this posts is focused on getting word counts of pages ranking for a given keyword phrase quickly, but one feature of thruuu that I thought was very cool is the H2 tool (which is great for creating outlines):

As you see, it scrapes all the H2s of all the top 10 posts, and then analyzes, orders, and groups them, and even auto-creates a suggested outline that you can copy.

I’d definitely encourage you to sign up for thruu—you get 10 free monthly credits, and the pricing for more credits is very reasonable and well worth the money.

SerpWorx Chrome extension

SerpWorx is the most convenient way I know to get a word count overview of the SERPs. However, except for their free 5-day trial (just email + password required, no credit card), you at least can test the tool before you buy it.

It shows you the Word Count for any given page, and the average word count for this given SERP—which is great. Lots of other useful metrics as well (plus it plays well with Ahrefs).

A monthly subscription for SerpWorx costs $30.

Bulk Web page Word Count checker

You can copy+paste the URLs of top 10 ranking pages for a given keyword phrase and paste it into this Bulk Web page Word Count checker. In this case I typed in art supplies.

Now this will require you to enter a list of the URLs for which you want to know the word count. If you’ve got an Ahrefs account, you can simply do a quick keyword search and then there’s a section where the top 10 ranking URLs are just listed, so you can select & copy them all at once. Here’s the list I got when searching for art supplies:

I then copied these URLs into the bulk word count checker:

Then it’ll get to work and a few moments later give you a table with the following results:

Finally, there are tools like Surfer SEO or Clearscope which do provide word counts for any reports you generate, but obviously these are a bit pricier.

Ahrefs Site Explorer Overview improvements + Titlepocalypse tracking

There’s a number of improvements Ahrefs rolled out last month, but my favorite is the new features you find in the Site Explorer overview.

For example, you can now see estimated paid traffic, referring domains, and number of pages in the top 100 SERPs, rather than just organic traffic.

Ahrefs’ new Site Explorer overview graph

In addition to that, you can also compare different domains.

Google Title Changes Now Tracked in Ahrefs

Google started rewriting page titles in their SERPs, which in the SEO community has come to be lovingly called the Titlepocalypse (yup, it’s mostly site owners who’ve seen traffic decline due to these changes that refer to it this way). Ahrefs will now monitor these changes and show when Google rewrites the titles. (I’m not sure how exactly they’ll do this since Google seems to be rewriting the titles also not just based on the page itself, but also on the query the user searched for, and other dynamic factors, but I’m assuming they’ll go with the most common one.)

Increased Search Traffic Estimations

They also did updates to the keyword database, the one I found most noteworthy is that they’ve reverse-engineered more broad matches, which helps make keyword estimates more accurate. You’ll notice increases in Ahrefs search traffic estimations.

Here’s a full roundup of their updates:

What’s the Best Thesaurus Tool for Marketers?

When you’re lost for words, here are some cool thesaurus tools:

Thesaurus.com

Duh, yeah. Obviously. But also, great, so it definitely deserves it’s place here.

OneLook thesaurus

I love how fast and simple this thesaurus is. It’s also very, very powerful. Look at this:

One thing that’s extra-cool about it is the filter function:

So you can filter for synonyms that rhme with a given ford, that have only 2 syllables, that start with a particular letter, etc etc.

RelatedWords

This to me is actually one of my favorite ones, because it kind of works the way my brain works. You type in a word and it spits out… well, related words, that are sometimes synonyms or antonyms, but often also words that are neither, but yet in some way related.

In many cases, it’s the antidote to my “it’s on the tip of my tongue” problem.

(And just in case you’re wondering… it continues even further, but for the sake of giving you an idea of what that site is like, I guess this suffices.)

DescribingWords.io

Now this is a sistersite of RelatedWords.org and ReverseDictionary.org, and it’s pretty hit and miss. But I still have fun with it at times.

(And yes, the list goes on much longer, but go try for yourself—you’ll get a feel for the tool when you play around with it.)

And of course, you can click on any of these words for a quick definition:

Overall a nifty tool!

ReverseDictionary.org

This one too is very hit and miss, but I do like it because you come across these words that you’d never come up with otherwise. I mean, uxorious? I don’t think I’ve ever even read that word.

Think of it as a tool that converts sentences into words, or a kind of search engine for words.

A fun tool.

Rewordify.com

This tool simplifies texts. You enter a text, and it then tries to find unnecessarily complicated words and replaces them with simpler words.

It also provides some really cool stats:

And it gives you a great breakdown of parts of speech:

If you wanna go super-word-geek level 10, you can also switched to advanced view:

And there are even more teaching tools that enable you to learn words. When I discovered this, I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about it earlier, because quite frankly… it’s fantastic.

WordHippo

A quirky tool that goes: “What’s another word for ___”

It has a straight out synonyms section:

And a “See Also” section that lists commonly asked related questions

But my favorite feature is the “Nearby Words” list:

They also have a “how to use ___ in a sentence” section which will list a lot of sample sentences:

And rhymes, antonyms, and another cool one: word forms.

There’s a lot you can do with WordHippo—give it a go!

Wordtune

This is a dope Chrome extension that helps you rewrite sentences or paragraphs for different tones (casual, formal, etc). You simply install it in Chrome, highlight a section of text, and then hit the magic “Rewrite” button, and it’ll start generating rewritten versions.

Note that this is a paid tool, although they do have a freemium version with limited functionality.

PowerThesaurus

This is a powerful thesaurus, and it’s faster than thesaurus.com—but it’s still cluttered with a lot of ads. I do use it quite frequently though.

One thing I like about it is that you can hover over any word, click “pronounce” and it’ll play an audio of the pronounciation very fast and seamless.

You can also click on the little toggle on the side of any given word to expand on the definition, and the overlap of definitions with the words you originally searched for.

It also has a feature that allows you to view idioms that express that word:

Or you can list phrases that are synonym to what you typed in:

Hopefully this satisfied all your thesaurus needs!

Dropbox Capture – A new Loom Alternative

Dropbox just released a beta version of Capture—which is basically a Loom alternative.

Loom is great, but with the free plan you’re limited to 25 videos and 5 minutes per video. Personally, I don’t use Loom enough to spend $100 a year on it, so I end up deleting Loom videos—which is fine for the kinds of Loom videos where I just want to show someone a quick way of doing something specific.

Every once in a while though I want to show a specific process that will be used by multiple people for a long period of time, or I give a project walkthrough that includes meaningful context which will matter for future reviews for long-term initiatives, and then deleting these videos is not an option.

I’ve used YouTube for these videos that I want to be permanent in the past, but then you end up with having your videos across multiple platforms. If Dropbox’s capture holds up, it will be my default option for video walkthroughs. So far my experience using it was pretty smooth, so I do recommend you give it a try!