Tag Archive | "Explorer"

Tracking Your Link Prospecting Using Lists in Link Explorer

Posted by Dr-Pete

I’m a lazy marketer some days — I’ll admit it. I don’t do a lot of manual link prospecting, because it’s a ton of work, outreach, and follow-up. There are plenty of times, though, where I’ve got a good piece of content (well, at least I hope it’s good) and I want to know if it’s getting attention from specific sites, whether they’re in the search industry or the broader marketing or PR world. Luckily, we’ve made that question a lot easier to answer in Link Explorer, so today’s post is for all of you curious but occasionally lazy marketers. Hop into the tool if you want to follow along:

Open Link Explorer

(1) Track your content the lazy way

When you first visit Link Explorer, you’ll see that it defaults to “root domain”:

Some days, you don’t want to wade through your entire domain, but just want to target a single piece of content. Just enter or paste that URL, and select “exact page” (once you start typing a full path, we’ll even auto-select that option for you):

Now I can see just the link data for that page (note: screenshots have been edited for size):

Good news — my Whiteboard Friday already has a decent link profile. That’s already a fair amount to sort through, and as the link profile grows, it’s only going to get tougher. So, how can I pinpoint just the sites I’m interested in and track those sites over time?

(2) Make a list of link prospects

This is the one part we can’t automate for you. Make a list of prospects in whatever tool you please. Here’s an imaginary list I created in Excel:

Obviously, this list is on the short side, but let’s say I decide to pull a few of the usual suspects from the search marketing world, plus one from the broader marketing world, and a couple of aspirational sites (I’m probably not going to get that New York Times link, but let’s dream big).

(3) Create a tracking list in Link Explorer

Obviously, I could individually search for these domains in my full list of inbound links, but even with six prospects, that’s going to take some time. So, let’s do this the lazy way. Back in Link Explorer, look at the very bottom of the left-hand navigation and you’ll see “Link Targeting Lists”:

Keep scrolling — I promise it’s down there. Click on it, and you’ll see something like this:

On the far-right, under the main header, click on “[+] Create new list.” You’ll get an overlay with a three-step form like the one below. Just give your list a name, provide a target URL (the page you want to track links to), and copy-and-paste in your list of prospects. Here’s an example:

Click “Save,” and you should immediately get back some data.

Alas, no link from the New York Times. The blue icons show me that the prospects are currently linking to Moz.com, but not to my target page. The green icon shows me that I’ve already got a head-start — Search Engine Land is apparently linking to this post (thanks, Barry!).

Click on any arrow in the “Notes” column, and you can add a note to that entry, like so:

Don’t forget to hit “Save.” Congratulations, you’ve created your first list! Well, I’ve created your first list for you. Geez, you really are lazy.

(4) Check in to track your progress

Of course, the real magic is that the list just keeps working for you. At any time, you can return to “Link Tracking Lists” on the Link Explorer menu, and now you’ll see a master list of all your lists:

Just click on the list name you’re interested in, and you can see your latest-and-greatest data. We can’t build the links for you, but we can at least make keeping track of them a lot easier.

Bonus video: Now in electrifying Link-o-Vision!

Ok, it’s just a regular video, although it does require electricity. If you’re too lazy to read (in which case, let’s be honest, you probably didn’t get this far), I’ve put this whole workflow into an enchanting collection of words and sounds for you:

I hope you’ll put your newfound powers to good. Let us know how you’re using Tracking Lists (or how you plan to use them) in the comments, and where you’d like to see us take them next!

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Faster, Fresher, Better: Announcing Link Explorer, Moz’s New Link Building Tool

Posted by SarahBird

More link data. Fresher link data. Faster link data.

Today, I’m delighted to share that after eons of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and love, Moz is taking a major step forward on our commitment to provide the best SEO tools money can buy.

We’ve rebuilt our link technology from the ground up and the data is now broadly available throughout Moz tools. It’s bigger, fresher, and much, much faster than our legacy link tech. And we’re just getting started! The best way to quickly understand the potential power of our revolutionary new link tech is to play with the beta of our Link Explorer.

Introducing Link Explorer, the newest addition to the Moz toolset!

We’ve heard your frustrations with Open Site Explorer and we know that you want more from Moz and your link building tools. OSE has done more than put in its time. Groundbreaking when it launched in 2008, it’s worked long and hard to bring link data to the masses. It deserves the honor of a graceful retirement.

OSE represents our past; the new Link Explorer is our fast, innovative, ambitious future.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Link Explorer beta:

  • It’s 20x larger and 30x fresher than OSE (RIP)
  • Despite its huge index size, the app is lightning fast! I can’t stand waiting so this might be my number-one fav improvement.
  • We’re introducing Link Tracking Lists to make managing your link building efforts a breeze. Sometimes the simple things make the biggest difference, like when they started making vans with doors on each side. You’ll never go back.
  • Link Explorer includes historic data, a painful gap in OSE. Studying your gained/lost linking domains is fast and easy.
  • The new UX surfaces competitive insights much more quickly
  • Increases the size and freshness of the index improved the quality of Domain Authority and Spam Score. Voilà.

All this, and we’re only in beta.

Dive into your link data now!

Here’s a deeper dive into my favorites:

#1: The sheer size, quality, and speed of it all

We’re committed to data quality. Here are some ways that shows up in the Moz tools:

  • When we collect rankings, we evaluate the natural first page of rankings to ensure that the placement and content of featured snippets and other SERP features are correctly situated (as can happen when ranking are collected in 50- or 100-page batches). This is more expensive, but we think the tradeoff is worth it.
  • We were the first to build a hybrid search volume model using clickstream data. We still believe our model is the most accurate.
  • Our SERP corpus, which powers Keywords by Site, is completely refreshed every two weeks. We actively update up to 15 million of the keywords each month to remove keywords that are no longer being searched and replace them with trending keywords and terms. This helps keep our keyword data set fresh and relevant.

The new Link Explorer index extends this commitment to data quality. OSE wasn’t cutting it and we’re thrilled to unleash this new tech.

Link Explorer is over 20x larger and 30x fresher than our legacy link index. Bonus points: the underlying technology is very cost-efficient, making it much less expensive for us to scale over time. This frees up resources to focus on feature delivery. BOOM!

One of my top pet peeves is waiting. I feel physical pain while waiting in lines and for apps to load. I can’t stand growing old waiting for a page to load (amirite?).

The new Link Explorer app is delightfully, impossibly fast. It’s like magic. That’s how link research should be. Magical.

#2: Historical data showing discovered and lost linking domains

If you’re a visual person, this report gives you an immediate idea of how your link building efforts are going. A spike you weren’t expecting could be a sign of spam network monkey business. Deep-dive effortlessly on the links you lost and gained so you can spend your valuable time doing thoughtful, human outreach.

#3: Link Tracking Lists

Folks, this is a big one. Throw out (at least one of… ha. ha.) those unwieldy spreadsheets and get on board with Link Tracking Lists, because these are the future. Have you been chasing a link from a particular site? Wondering if your outreach emails have borne fruit yet? Want to know if you’ve successfully placed a link, and how you’re linking? Link Tracking Lists cut out a huge time-suck when it comes to checking back on which of your target sites have actually linked back to you.

Why announce the beta today?

We’re sharing this now for a few reasons:

  • The new Link Explorer data and app have been available in beta to a limited audience. Even with a quiet, narrow release, the SEO community has been talking about it and asking good questions about our plans. Now that the Link Explorer beta is in broad release throughout all of Moz products and the broader Moz audience can play with it, we’re expecting even more curiosity and excitement.
  • If you’re relying on our legacy link technology, this is further notice to shift your applications and reporting to the new-and-improved tech. OSE will be retired soon! We’re making it easier for API customers to get the new data by providing a translation layer for the legacy API.
  • We want and need your feedback. We are committed to building the very best link building tool on the planet. You can expect us to invest heavily here. We need your help to guide our efforts and help us make the most impactful tradeoffs. This is your invitation to shape our roadmap.

Today’s release of our new Link Explorer technology is a revolution in Moz tools, not an evolution. We’ve made a major leap forward in our link index technology that delivers a ton of immediate value to Moz customers and the broader Moz Community.

Even though there are impactful improvements around the corner, this ambitious beta stands on its own two feet. OSE wasn’t cutting it and we’re proud of this new, fledgling tech.

What’s on the horizon for Link Explorer?

We’ve got even more features coming in the weeks and months ahead. Please let us know if we’re on the right track.

  • Link Building Assistant: a way to quickly identify new link acquisition opportunities
  • A more accurate and useful Link Intersect feature
  • Link Alerts to notify you when you get a link from a URL you were tracking in a list
  • Changes to how we count redirects: Currently we don’t count links to a redirect as links to the target of the redirect (that’s a lot of redirects), but we have this planned for the future.
  • Significantly scaling up our crawling to further improve freshness and size

Go forth, and explore:

Try the new Link Explorer!

Tomorrow Russ Jones will be sharing a post that discusses the importance of quality metrics when it comes to a link index, and don’t miss our pinned Q&A post answering questions about Domain Authority and Page Authority changes or our FAQ in the Help Hub.

We’ll be releasing early and often. Watch this space, and don’t hold back your feedback. Help us shape the future of Links at Moz. We’re listening!

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Moz’s Link Data Used to Suck… But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Earlier this week we launched our brand-new link building tool, and we’re happy to say that Link Explorer addresses and improves upon a lot of the big problems that have plagued our legacy link tool, Open Site Explorer. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand transparently lists out many of the biggest complaints we’ve heard about OSE over the years and explains the vast improvements Link Explorer provides, from DA scores updated daily to historic link data to a huge index of almost five trillion URLs.

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

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


Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week I’m very excited to say that Moz’s Open Site Explorer product, which had a lot of challenges with it, is finally being retired, and we have a new product, Link Explorer, that’s taking its place. So let me walk you through why and how Moz’s link data for the last few years has really kind of sucked. There’s no two ways about it.

If you heard me here on Whiteboard Friday, if you watched me at conferences, if you saw me blogging, you’d probably see me saying, “Hey, I personally use Ahrefs, or I use Majestic for my link research.” Moz has a lot of other good tools. The crawler is excellent. Moz Pro is good. But Open Site Explorer was really lagging, and today, that’s not the case. Let me walk you through this.

The big complaints about OSE/Mozscape

1. The index was just too small

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

Mozscape was probably about a fifth to a tenth the size of its competitors. While it got a lot of the quality good links of the web, it just didn’t get enough. As SEOs, we need to know all of the links, the good ones and the bad ones.

2. The data was just too old

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So, in Mozscape, a link that you built on November 1st, you got a link added to a website, you’re very proud of yourself. That’s excellent. You should expect that a link tool should pick that up within maybe a couple weeks, maybe three weeks at the outside. Google is probably picking it up within just a few days, sometimes hours.

Yet, when Mozscape would crawl that, it would often be a month or more later, and by the time Mozscape processed its index, it could be another 40 days after that, meaning that you could see a 60- to 80-day delay, sometimes even longer, between when your link was built and when Mozscape actually found it. That sucks.

3. PA/DA scores took forever to update

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

PA/DA scores, likewise, took forever to update because of this link problem. So the index would say, oh, your DA is over here. You’re at 25, and now maybe you’re at 30. But in reality, you’re probably far ahead of that, because you’ve been building a lot of links that Mozscape just hasn’t picked up yet. So this is this lagging indicator. Sometimes there would be links that it just didn’t even know about. So PA and DA just wouldn’t be as accurate or precise as you’d want them to be.

4. Some scores were really confusing and out of date

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

MozRank and MozTrust relied on essentially the original Google PageRank paper from 1997, which there’s no way that’s what’s being used today. Google certainly uses some view of link equity that’s passed between links that is similar to PageRank, and I think they probably internally call that PageRank, but it looks nothing like what MozRank was called.

Likewise, MozTrust, way out of date, from a paper in I think 2002 or 2003. Much more advancements in search have happened since then.

Spam score was also out of date. It used a system that was correlated with what spam looked like three, four years ago, so much more up to date than these two, but really not nearly as sophisticated as what Google is doing today. So we needed to toss those out and find their replacements as well.

5. There was no way to see links gained and lost over time

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

Mozscape had no way to see gained and lost links over time, and folks thought, “Gosh, these other tools in the SEO space give me this ability to show me links that their index has discovered or links they’ve seen that we’ve lost. I really want that.”

6. DA didn’t correlate as well as it should have

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So over time, DA became a less and less indicative measure of how well you were performing in Google’s rankings. That needed to change as well. The new DA, by the way, much, much better on this front.

7. Bulk metrics checking and link reporting was too hard and manual

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So folks would say, “Hey, I have this giant spreadsheet with all my link data. I want to upload that. I want you guys to crawl it. I want to go fetch all your metrics. I want to get DA scores for these hundreds or thousands of websites that I’ve got. How do I do that?” We didn’t provide a good way for you to do that either unless you were willing to write code and loop in our API.

8. People wanted distribution of their links by DA

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

They wanted distributions of their links by domain authority. Show me where my links come from, yes, but also what sorts of buckets of DA do I have versus my competition? That was also missing.

So, let me show you what the new Link Explorer has.

Moz's new Link Explorer

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

Wow, look at that magical board change, and it only took a fraction of a second. Amazing.

What Link Explorer has done, as compared to the old Open Site Explorer, is pretty exciting. I’m actually very proud of the team. If you know me, you know I am a picky SOB. I usually don’t even like most of the stuff that we put out here, but oh my god, this is quite an incredible product.

1. Link Explorer has a GIANT index

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So I mentioned index size was a big problem. Link Explorer has got a giant index. Frankly, it’s about 20 times larger than what Open Site Explorer had and, as you can see, very, very competitive with the other services out there. Majestic Fresh says they have about a trillion URLs from their I think it’s the last 60 days. Ahrefs, about 3 trillion. Majestic’s historic, which goes all time, has about 7 trillion, and Moz, just in the last 90 days, which I think is our index — maybe it’s a little shorter than that, 60 days — 4.7 trillion, so almost 5 trillion URLs. Just really, really big. It covers a huge swath of the web, which is great.

2. All data updates every 24 hours

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So, unlike the old index, it is very fresh. Every time it finds a new link, it updates PA scores and DA scores. The whole interface can show you all the links that it found just yesterday every morning.

3. DA and PA are tracked daily for every site

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

You don’t have to track them yourself. You don’t have to put them into your campaigns. Every time you go and visit a domain, you will see this graph showing you domain authority over time, which has been awesome.

For my new company, I’ve been tracking all the links that come in to SparkToro, and I can see my DA rising. It’s really exciting. I put out a good blog post, I get a bunch of links, and my DA goes up the next day. How cool is that?

4. Old scores are gone, and new scores are polished and high quality

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So we got rid of MozRank and MozTrust, which were very old metrics and, frankly, very few people were using them, and most folks who were using them didn’t really know how to use them. PA basically takes care of both of them. It includes the weight of links that come to you and the trustworthiness. So that makes more sense as a metric.

Spam score is now on a 0 to 100% risk model instead of the old 0 to 17 flags and the flags correlate to some percentage. So 0 to 100 risk model. Spam score is basically just a machine learning built model against sites that Google penalized or banned.

So we took a huge amount of domains. We ran their names through Google. If they couldn’t rank for their own name, we said they were penalized. If we did a site: the domain.com and Google had de-indexed them, we said they were banned. Then we built this risk model. So in the 90% that means 90% of sites that had these qualities were penalized or banned. 2% means only 2% did. If you have a 30% spam score, that’s not too bad. If you have a 75% spam score, it’s getting a little sketchy.

5. Discovered and lost links are available for every site, every day

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So again, for this new startup that I’m doing, I’ve been watching as I get new links and I see where they come from, and then sometimes I’ll reach out on Twitter and say thank you to those folks who are linking to my blog posts and stuff. But it’s very, very cool to see links that I gain and links that I lose every single day. This is a feature that Ahrefs and Majestic have had for a long time, and frankly Moz was behind on this. So I’m very glad that we have it now.

6. DA is back as a high-quality leading indicator of ranking ability

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So, a note that is important: everyone’s DA has changed. Your DA has changed. My DA has changed. Moz’s DA changed. Google’s DA changed. I think it went from a 98 to a 97. My advice is take a look at yourself versus all your competitors that you’re trying to rank against and use that to benchmark yourself. The old DA was an old model on old data on an old, tiny index. The new one is based on this 4.7 trillion size index. It is much bigger. It is much fresher. It is much more accurate. You can see that in the correlations.

7. Building link lists, tracking links that you want to acquire, and bulk metrics checking is now easy

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

Building link lists, tracking links that you want to acquire, and bulk metrics checking, which we never had before and, in fact, not a lot of the other tools have this link tracking ability, is now available through possibly my favorite feature in the tool called Link Tracking Lists. If you’ve used Keyword Explorer and you’ve set up your keywords to watch those over time and to build a keyword research set, very, very similar. If you have links you want to acquire, you add them to this list. If you have links that you want to check on, you add them to this list. It will give you all the metrics, and it will tell you: Does this link to your website that you can associate with a list, or does it not? Or does it link to some page on the domain, but maybe not exactly the page that you want? It will tell that too. Pretty cool.

8. Link distribution by DA

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

Finally, we do now have link distribution by DA. You can find that right on the Overview page at the bottom.

Look, I’m not saying Link Explorer is the absolute perfect, best product out there, but it’s really, really damn good. I’m incredibly proud of the team. I’m very proud to have this product out there.

If you’d like, I’ll be writing some more about how we went about building this product and a bunch of agency folks that we spent time with to develop this, and I would like to thank all of them of course. A huge thank you to the Moz team.

I hope you’ll do me a favor. Check out Link Explorer. I think, very frankly, this team has earned 30 seconds of your time to go check it out.

Try out Link Explorer!

All right. Thanks, everyone. We’ll see you again for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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How to Do a Keyword-Driven Content Audit (with Keyword Explorer)

Posted by Dr-Pete

As content marketers, we frequently suffer from What Have You Done For Me Lately Syndrome (WHYDFMLS). As soon as we’re done with one piece of content, we’re on to the next one, barely stopping to check analytics for a couple of days. Analytics themselves are to blame, in part. Our default window into traffic-based analytics is somewhere in the realm of 30 days, leading us to neglect older content that’s still performing well but may not be competing day-to-day with the latest and greatest.

I’m a big believer in digging back into your hidden gems and looking for content that’s still performing but may be due for an update, rewrite, or even just testing a better title/headline. How do we find this content, which is often buried in our this-week-focused analytics?

Let’s think like SEOs. One approach is to find older content that’s still ranking for a solid number of keywords, but may be out of date or under-performing. This is content that’s still driving traffic, but we may be overlooking. We don’t have to fight an uphill battle to get it ranking – we just have to better tap the potential this content is already demonstrating.

Step 0 – The “Exact Page” filter

Before we begin, I’m going to jump to the end. You may know that we recently launched Keywords By Site in Keyword Explorer, which allows you to peer into a keyword “universe” of millions of searches to see how a given domain is ranking. What you may not know is that you can also look up a specific page with the “Exact Page” filter. Go to the Keyword Explorer home page, and it’s the last entry in the pull-down:

Here’s a zoom-in. I’ve entered a popular post from my personal website:

Click the search (magnifying glass) button and you’ll get back something like this:

Even for my small blog, I’ve got a healthy list of keywords here, and some ranking in the top 50 that have solid volume. I also know that this post still gets decent traffic, even though it was written in 2009. If I were still active in the usability space, this would be a prime candidate for a rewrite, and I’d know exactly what keywords to target.

This is all well and good when you have an exact page in mind, but how do you audit an entire site or blog when you don’t know what’s performing for you? I’m going to outline a 6-step process below.

Step 1 – Get all rankings

Let’s say I want to find some buried content treasure right here on the Moz Blog. In the Keyword Explorer menu, I’ll select “root domain” and enter our root domain, “moz.com”:

I’ll get a similar report as in Step 0. Under “Top Ranking Keywords”, I’m going to select “See all ranking keywords”. In this case, I get back a table of more than 53,000 keywords that moz.com currently ranks

for. Not too shabby. These are not just keywords I actively track, but all of the keywords moz.com ranks for in Keyword Explorer’s “universe” of roughly 40 million keywords.

Step 2 – Export keywords

So, how does a keyword list help us to better understand our content? Above the keyword table, you’ll see two options, “Export CSV” and “Add to…”:

I’m going to choose the export – we’re going to want the whole, beautiful mess for this job. What I’ll get back is a file with every keyword and the following columns:

  • Keyword
  • Minimum Volume
  • Maximum Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty
  • Top Rank
  • Top Ranking URL

That last column is the important one. The export contains the top ranking URL for moz.com for each of the keywords (note: your maximum export size does vary with your Moz Pro membership level). This is where we can start forging the content connection.

Step 3 – Filter pages

I ended up with 30K keyword/URL pairings in the CSV. So that the viewers at home can follow along, I’m going to do the next few steps in Google Sheets. The first thing I want to do is filter out just what I’m interested in. In the “Data” menu, select “Filter”. You’ll see green arrows appear next to each column header. Click on the one next to “Top Ranking URL” (the last column). I’m going to use “Filter by condition” with “Text contains” and isolate all ranking URLs with “/blog/” in them:

This leaves me with 13,266 keyword/URL pairings. Personally, I like to copy and paste the filtered data to a new worksheet, just because working with filtered data tends to be a bit unpredictable. So, now I’ve got a separate worksheet (named “Filtered”) with just the keywords where the Moz blog ranks.

Step 4 – Pivot pages

If you haven’t used pivot tables, I’d strongly encourage you to check them out. Annie Cushing has a great Excel tutorial on pivot tables, and I’ll walk you through a couple of basics in Google Sheets. Generally, you use pivot tables when you want to group data and calculate statistics on those groups very quickly. In this case, what I want to do is group all of the matching URLs in my data set and get the counts. In other words, how many keywords is each unique blog post ranking on?

After selecting all of the data on that new “Filtered” tab, click the “Data” menu again, and then “Pivot tables…” at the bottom. This opens up a new sheet with a blank table. On the right are some slightly cryptic options. Under “Rows”, I’m going to add “Top Ranking URL”. This tells Google Sheets that each row in the pivot table should be a unique (grouped) URL from the top ranking URLs. Next, I’ll select the “Values”::

The COUNTA() function just tells Google Sheets to return the total count for each URL (for some reason, COUNT() only works on numeric values). As a bonus, I’ve also selected the SUM() of Max Volume. This will total up the volume for all of the ranking keywords in our data set for each URL.

Pivot table results can be a bit hard to work with (in both Excel and Google Sheets), so I’m going to copy and paste the data (as values only) into a new sheet called “Audit”.

Step 5 – Find candidates

Let’s get to the good stuff. When I group the URLs, I’m left with 1,604 unique blog posts in this particular data set. I can easily sort by posts ranking for the most keywords or posts with the most potential search volume (under “Data” / “Sort range”). I’m going to stick to raw keyword count. Here’s just a sample:

Obviously, there’s a ton here to dig into, but right away I noticed that two of the posts in the top 10 seemed to have some connection to graphics and/or image search. This stood out, because it’s not a topic we write about a lot. Turns out the first one is a video from May 2017, so not a great candidate for an update. The second, however (highlighted), is a tools post from early 2013. This post was surprisingly popular, and given how many new tools have come out in the past 4-1/2 years, is a perfect candidate to rewrite.

Here’s a link to the full Google Sheet. Feel free to make a copy and play around.

Step 6 – Back to Step 0

Remember that “Exact URL” option I talked about at the beginning of this post? Well, now I’ve got a URL to plug back into that feature and learn more about. Our data dump showed 170 ranking keywords, but when I target that exact URL, I’m likely to get even more data. Here’s just a sample:

Sure enough, I get almost double that count (348) with an exact URL search, and now I have an entire treasure trove to sort through. I sorted by volume (descending) here, just to get a sense of some of the more interesting keywords. I can, of course, repeat Step 6 with any of the URLs from Step 5 until I narrow down my best prospects.

Next steps (for the adventurous)

If I were going to rewrite the post I found, I’d want to make sure that I’m targeting two sets of keywords: (1) the important keywords I currently rank highly on (don’t want to lose that traffic) and (2) higher volume keywords I have the potential to rank on if I target them better. I might target, for example, a few choice keywords where I currently rank in the top 20 results and have a Page Authority that’s better than (or, at least, not too far from) the listed Keyword Difficulty.

Of course, you can also feed any of these keywords back into Keyword Explorer for more suggestions. Ideally, you’re looking for a handful of solid keyword concepts to target. The goal isn’t to stuff every variation into your rewritten post. The goal is to create a better, newer, more useful post that also happens to intelligently incorporate highly relevant keywords.

Bonus: Walk-through video

If you’d like to learn more about the Keyword Explorer features discussed in this post, I’ve created a short (roughly 2 minute) walk-through video:

Give it a try and let me know what you find. While I’ve chosen to focus on Keyword Explorer in this post (hey, we have to pay the bills), this same process should work with a handful of other popular keyword research tools, as well.

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How to Use Keyword Explorer to Identify Competitive Keyword Opportunities

Posted by hayleysherman

You may have heard by now that Moz launched a new feature within Keyword Explorer last week. We heard your requests, and we’re super-excited for you to check out the new addition. The tool has been expanded to allow you to search by URL: an easy way to understand what keywords an exact URL, subdomain, or entire domain is ranking for.

As Rand pointed out, this feature of Keyword Explorer is multifunctional and can solve a lot of different problems. For this blog post, I’ll cover a workflow for identifying low-hanging fruit when it comes to your competitors’ keywords.

The question of “How do I utilize competitive data to my advantage?” is one we hear a lot as SEOs. How do we know what a competitor is ranking for, and how can we use that to help direct our own strategy? Many great SEO tools out there tap into what can be described as a keyword universe — a database of keywords the tool maintains that a given site can rank for. In this universe of keywords, you can search to see how your site performs. You can also search any other site to see how it performs, which is where the competitive data comes into play. Our new feature does just that.

If you want to follow along, hop into Keyword Explorer! The search bar will allow you to:

  • Search by keyword (as you always have!)
  • Search by root domain
  • Search by subdomain
  • Search by exact page

Follow along in Keyword Explorer

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 2.21.54 PM.png

Find keyword opportunities at the intersection point

For this example, I’ll use local Seattle doughnut shop Top Pot Doughnuts. Since we know the doughnut game can be a competitive one, Top Pot might want to get an idea of the keywords that a few other Seattle shops are ranking for. The competitors I’ve used are in a similar geographical area and sell similarly delicious products.

Start by entering the URL into Keyword Explorer. To keep it broad, I’d recommend beginning with the “root domain” function. You’ll be pulled into a Site Overview for your domain — including the number of ranking keywords each site has, the top positions the keywords sit in, as well as the Page Authority and Domain Authority of the site you searched for. You’ll see a sneak peek of the top ranking keywords beneath that.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 10.07.45 AM.png

Drop two competitors into the two boxes up at the top, and click “Compare sites.” The tables will populate with data on the two competitors’ sites, and the top ranking keywords for all three.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 10.09.57 AM.png

Click through to the full report of Top Ranking Keywords. You’ll see a Venn diagram and two columns added in with competitors’ data. Click on any of the overlapping areas in the Venn Diagram to see the keywords that you and one or both competitors have in common.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 10.22.56 AM.png

We’ve now entered into an ideal spot in that keyword universe we talked about earlier — a list of keywords that your site is ranking for that your competitors are also ranking for. This is the intersection point where you can find perfect keyword opportunities. Where is the competitor doing well that you are not?

(Side note: You’re not starting from scratch here, because you’re already ranking for these keywords. This means there’s a great opportunity for improvement in an area where you likely have some content or some authority.)

A great next step is to click on the header to sort by one of your competitor’s highest rankings. Identify the keywords that each competitor is ranking best for — those might be an area for you to focus on. Are these keywords applicable to what you do? If the answer is yes, there are a couple good courses of action: Add them straight into a Moz Pro campaign to start tracking your ranking progress, or add them into a Keyword Explorer list for further investigation.

Add To A Kw List.gif

If you do add these into a Keyword List, you might want to pop into the list and sort by metrics like Difficulty or Organic CTR. This will help you determine how to prioritize the new keywords.

Tracking and taking action in Moz Pro

Once you’ve discovered these competitive keywords, push them into a Moz Pro campaign! That way, you can measure a baseline for keyword performance and get ready to track your improvements against it over time. You can either add them to a campaign manually in the Add & Manage Keywords section, or add them to a campaign directly from Keyword Explorer.

Stay organized by labeling your keywords. You may want to label them by product, service, or even by the name of the competitor that was ranking for them back in Keyword Explorer. Once a label (or multiple labels) are in place, you can filter by those labels within the campaign to see which keywords are seeing movement, and which ones you may still need to spend more time on.

Jump into the SERP features section of your campaign, and filter by label to view the new keywords you’ve added in. Do any of the new keywords have a featured snippet opportunity? Use that knowledge to dictate how you structure the content for those topics. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Not to worry. Here’s a great glossary of SERP features, what they mean, and how to become featured.)

And there you have it! We hope Keyword Explorer’s new addition will help you through the journey of keyword research, from start to finish. Let us know how this flow is working for you.

Start exploring Keywords by Site

Can’t get enough keyword research in your life? Check out our workshops through Moz Training for a deeper dive into best practices and strategies.

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NEW in Keyword Explorer: See Who Ranks & How Much with Keywords by Site

Posted by randfish

For many years now, Moz’s customers and so, so many of my friends and colleagues in the SEO world have had one big feature request from our toolset: “GIVE ME KEYWORDS BY SITE!”

Today, we’re answering that long-standing request with that precise data inside Keyword Explorer:

This data is likely familiar to folks who’ve used tools like SEMRush, KeywordSpy, Spyfu, or others, and we have a few areas we think are stronger than these competitors, and a few known areas of weakness (I’ll get to both in a minute). For those who aren’t familiar with this type of data, it offers a few big, valuable solutions for marketers and SEOs of all kinds. You can:

  1. Get a picture of how many (and which) keywords your site is currently ranking for, in which positions, even if you haven’t been directly rank-tracking.
  2. See which keywords your competitors rank for as well, giving you new potential keyword targets.
  3. Run comparisons to see how many keywords any given set of websites share rankings for, or hold exclusively.
  4. Discover new keyword opportunities at the intersection of your own site’s rankings with others, or the intersection of multiple sites in your space.
  5. Order keywords any site ranks for by volume, by ranking position, or by difficulty
  6. Build lists or add to your keyword lists right from the chart showing a site’s ranking keywords
  7. Choose to see keywords by root domain (e.g. *.redfin.com including all subdomains), subdomain (e.g. just “www.redfin.com” or just “press.redfin.com”), or URL (e.g. just “https://www.redfin.com/blog/2017/10/migration-patterns-show-more-people-leaving-politically-blue-counties.html”)
  8. Export any list of ranking keywords to a CSV, along with the columns of volume, difficulty, and ranking data

Find your keywords by site

My top favorite features in this new release are:

#1 – The clear, useful comparison data between sites or pages

Comparing the volume of a site’s ranking keywords is a really powerful way to show how, even when there’s a strong site in a space (like Sleepopolis in the mattress reviews world), they are often losing out in the mid-long tail of rankings, possibly because they haven’t targeted the quantity of keywords that their competitors have.

This type of crystal-clear interface (powerful enough to be used by experts, but easily understandable to anyone) really impressed me when I saw it. Bravo to Moz’s UI folks for nailing it.

#2 – The killer Venn diagram showing keyword overlaps

Aww yeah! I love this interactive venn diagram of the ranking keywords, and the ability to see the quantity of keywords for each intersection at a glance. I know I’ll be including screenshots like this in a lot of the analyses I do for friends, startups, and non-profits I help with SEO.

#3 – The accuracy & recency of the ranking, volume, & difficulty data

As you’ll see in the comparison below, Moz’s keyword universe is technically smaller than some others. But I love the trustworthiness of the data in this tool. We refresh not only rankings, but keyword volume data multiple times every month (no dig on competitors, but when volume or rankings data is out of date, it’s incredibly frustrating, and lessens the tool’s value for me). That means I can use and rely on the metrics and the keyword list — when I go to verify manually, the numbers and the rankings match. That’s huge.

Caveat: Any rankings that are personalized or geo-biased tend to have some ranking position changes or differences. If you’re doing a lot of geographically sensitive rankings research, it’s still best to use a rank tracking solution like the one in Moz Pro Campaigns (or, at an enterprise level, a tool like STAT).


How does Moz’s keyword universe stack up to the competition? We’re certainly the newest player in this particular space, but we have some advantages over the other players (and, to be fair, some drawbacks too). Moz’s Russ Jones put together this data to help compare:

Click the image for a larger version

Obviously, we’ve made the decision to be generally smaller, but fresher, than most of our competitors. We do this because:

  • A) We believe the most-trafficked keywords matter more when comparing the overlaps than getting too far into the long tail (this is particularly important because once you get into the longer tail of search demand, an unevenness in keyword representation is nearly unavoidable and can be very misleading)
  • B) Accuracy matters a lot with these types of analyses, and keyword rankings data that’s more than 3–4 weeks out of date can create false impressions. It’s also very tough to do useful comparisons when some keyword rankings have been recently refreshed and others are weeks or months behind.
  • C) We chose an evolving corpus that uses clickstream-fed data from Jumpshot to cycle in popular keywords and cycle out others that have lost popularity. In this fashion, we feel we can provide the truest, most representational form of the keyword universe being used by US searchers right now.

Over time, we hope to grow our corpus (so long as we can maintain accuracy and freshness, which provide the advantages above), and extend to other geographies as well.

If you’re a Moz Pro subscriber and haven’t tried out this feature yet, give it a spin. To explore keywords by site, simply enter a root domain, subdomain, or exact page into the universal search bar in Keyword Explorer. Use the drop if you need to modify your search (for example, researching a root domain as a keyword).

There’s immense value to be had here, and a wealth of powerful, accurate, timely rankings data that can help boost your SEO targeting and competitive research efforts. I’m looking forward to your comments, questions, and feedback!


Need some extra guidance? Sign up for our upcoming webinar on either Thursday, October 26th or Monday, October 30th.

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Moz Keyword Explorer vs. Google Keyword Planner: The Definitive Comparison

Posted by BritneyMuller


Keyword research, the blueprint to any successful SEO strategy

If you’ve been doing keyword research for a while, you’ve probably fallen into a routine. And that routine has likely been recently disrupted… thanks, Google.

If you’re new to keyword research, getting comfortable with new keyword research tools will come more easily to you. Lucky pups. But us change-averse old dogs can still learn new tricks when we need to. Are you ready to see which tool is right for you? –Woof.

My hesitations about writing this article:

  • I’m new to Moz and don’t want to be crucified for criticizing our own keyword research tool. This concern has only been met with acceptance and encouragement, so…*fingers crossed* they don’t change their minds. Love you guys!
  • My methods of keyword research revolve around finding qualified traffic for increasing conversions, not just any large search volume numbers (to make traffic look good).
  • I fear that this will come across as a Moz Keyword Explorer soft sell. It’s not. It’s a very honest comparison of Moz Keyword Explorer versus Google’s Keyword Planner. It’s a post that I’ve been wanting to read for a while.

Here are some great guides if you need a Moz Keyword Explorer refresher, or a Google Keyword Planner refresher.

< << TL;DR Skip to the conclusion here >> >

Google Keyword Planner’s recent change

Any habits we’ve held onto with Google Keyword Planner were disrupted early September when they decided to stop providing average monthly search volume data (unless you’re in that special group of higher-paying ad buyers who can still access the more precise search volume data). Instead, we now see huge swings of min-max search volume, which really starts to muddy the keyword research waters. Google recently came forward to explain that this change was done to deter scrapers from pulling their search volume data.

For a more comprehensive write-up on this change, read Google Keyword Unplanner by Russ Jones. He explains a little more about how this change affects various data sources and what Moz has been doing to mitigate the impact.

But, showing is better than telling. So let’s take a look for ourselves:

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 9.07.27 AM.png

A 900,000 average monthly search volume swing is crazy! In fact, Google now only provides one of seven volume sizes: 0–10, 10–100, 100–1000, 1000–10000, 10000–100k, 100k–1MM and 1MM+.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer also gives ranges, but they’re not nearly as vast (or as arbitrary). The machine-learning model behind Keyword Explorer is designed to predict monthly fluctuations in search volume. It’s mathematically tied to the most accurate keyword data available, and you can see exactly how, and how accurate Moz gets in this Clickstream Data to the Rescue article.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 10.04.36 AM.png

Which is why I wanted to know:


What are quality keywords?

Quality keywords successfully target your demographic during their acquisition phase (education – purchase), have a specific searcher intent, low-medium organic competition, and medium-high search volume (this will vary based on what part of the acquisition funnel you’re targeting).

However, it’s important to keep in mind that some longer-tail queries (with little to no search volume) can be highly profitable as well.


Tier 1 keyword research setup

Google Keyword Planner:

This is my familiar ol, kooky friend that has been acting very strange lately (anyone else noticing all of the delays and glitches?). I’m a little worried.

Anywho, here’s how I begin keyword research within Keyword Planner:

keyword-planner.gif

  1. Enter in your keyword under “Search for more keywords using a phrase, website or category.”
  2. Make sure the region is set to United States (if wanting to research nationally).
  3. Set keyword options to “broad.” –Settle down, we’ll go back and change this to “closely related” after our first swoop.
  4. Sort keyword volume by highest to lowest and change the “show rows” to 100.
  5. IMPORTANT: Always scroll top to bottom! Otherwise, new keywords will populate from the bottom that you’ll miss.
  6. Select keywords with unique intents as you scroll down the first 100 rows, click “next,” and start again from the top until through all keyword results.

Moz Keyword Explorer:

My hip new friend that I’m not sure I can trust just yet. However, multiple trusted friends vouch for her integrity and… I really dig her style.

Here’s how I begin keyword research within Keyword Explorer:

keyword-explorer.gif

  1. Enter your keyword into the Keyword Explorer search bar.
  2. Navigate to “Keyword Suggestions” on the left-hand menu.
  3. Set “Display keyword suggestions that” to “include a mix of sources.”
  4. Set “Group Keywords” to “no.”
  5. Sort keyword list by highest search volume to lowest.
  6. Scroll down and select keywords with unique searcher intent.

Either way, this will give you one giant list of 1,000 keywords, which can be tough to pace through (compared to the 100 keyword chunks in GKP). A progress bar of sorts would be nice.

The thing that’s taken the most getting used to is not seeing a competition/difficulty metric adjacent to the search volume. The whole goal of keyword research is to discover opportunity gaps that offer mid-to-high search volume with low competition. If you’re anything like me, you’ve ran hundreds if not thousands of strange SEO tests and are very aware of what you can achieve “competition”-wise (domain-dependent) and what you can’t. (Or when a higher-competition keyword should take the form of a longer SEO plan.)

*It’s important to note that the KWP “Competition” metric is an advertising metric.

Despite this metric occasionally leading to an SEO correlation, it’s often misleading and not an accurate representation of how competitive the organic results are.

The KWE “Difficulty” metric, on the other hand, is an organic search metric. It also leverages a smarter CTR curve model to show when weaker pages are ranking higher (in addition to other ranking signals).

That being said, having to wait to find out the competition metric of a keyword until after I add it to a list is frustrating. I can’t help but feel that I’m not selecting keywords as strategically as I could be. Hopefully, Moz will add a historical competition metric up front (adjacent to search volume) sometime in the near future to help us better select ripe keyword opportunities.

The relevancy metric doesn’t do much to help my research because I’m already relying on the keywords themselves to tell me whether or not they’re relevant/have a unique user intent.

(I told you guys I would be honest!)

Label by keyword type:

Navigational: Searchers seeking a destination on the web.

Example: “University of Minnesota tuition”

Informational: Searchers researching, getting quick answers, often times using what, who, where, how, etc. modifiers.

Example: “what is a conker”

Commercial Investigation: Searchers investigating beyond an informational query. Comparing brands, searching for “best,” researching potential clients, etc.

Example: “ppc experts in london”

Transactional: Searchers looking to purchase something, comparing rates, seeking prices for things, etc.

Example: “affordable yoda action figure”

Transactional and Commercial Investigation types tend to be most profitable (depending on business model). For example, a blog could do very well from Informational-type keywords.

If you want a more in-depth understanding of keyword types; read Rand’s Segmenting Search Intent. <– An oldie, but a goodie!!

Compare results & answer:

  • Which tool provided better long-tail results?
  • Which tool provided better top-of-funnel queries?
  • What percentage of “keyword types” did each tool provide?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each tool?

For whatever reason, “student loans” painted an accurate picture (of what I’ve found to be true across other competitive keywords) for each prospective tools’ wheelhouse. So, “student loans” will serve as our point of reference throughout this comparative analysis.


Tier 1 keyword research overview:

Moz Keyword Explorer Google Keyword Planner
Term: “student loans” “student loans”
Region: United States United States
Spectrum: Include a mix of sources Broad
Group Keywords: No -
Total Results: 1000 700
#Keywords With Intents: 43 40


+ Moz Keyword Explorer results:

Keyword Modifier Type Min Volume Max Volume Difficulty Opportunity Importance Potential
student loan consolidation consolidation Commercial Investigation 11501 30300 60 83 3 79
student loan calculator calculator Informational 11501 30300 75 100 3 76
student loan - Informational 118001 300000 82 84 3 82
federal student loan federal Navigational 30301 70800 63 48 3 76
student loan refinance refinance Commercial Investigation 11501 30300 55 83 3 77
student loan repayment calculator repayment calculator Informational 11501 30300 67 100 3 74
student loan interest rates interest rates Commercial Investigation 6501 9300 53 54 3 69
student loan hero hero Navigational 1701 2900 49 19 3 53
student loan forgiveness forgiveness Commercial Investigation 70801 118000 62 86 3 86
student loans information information Informational 501 850 90 55 3 39
applying for student loans applying for Informational 4301 6500 72 55 3 60
fafsa student loans fafsa Navigational 2901 4300 98 56 3 28
bad credit student loan bad credit Commercial Investigation 1701 2900 44 83 3 70
student loan websites websites Commercial Investigation 851 1700 79 53 3 48
where to get student loan where to get Informational 501 850 76 55 3 47
citibank student loans pay citibank pay Navigational 201 500 29 94 3 64
how to get a school loan how to get a Informational 201 500 68 55 3 45
how to find my student loans how to find my Navigational 101 200 54 58 3 48
how to check student loans how to check Navigational 101 200 63 55 3 45
discover private student loan discover private Navigational 101 200 53 21 3 36
check my student loan balance check my balance Navigational 101 200 55 100 3 52
apply for student loan online apply for online Transactional 101 200 68 53 3 41
look up student loans look up Commercial Investigation 101 200 53 90 3 51
student loan now now Transactional 51 100 72 86 3 42
stafford student loans login stafford login Navigational 51 100 76 60 3 36
federal student loan lookup federal lookup Navigational 11 50 55 100 3 46
how to view my student loans how to view my Informational 11 50 57 64 3 39
how do i find out who has my student loan how do i find out who has my Informational 11 50 59 86 3 42
apply for additional student loans apply for additional Commercial Investigation 11 50 73 64 3 34
what student loans do i owe what do i owe Informational 11 50 50 41 3 34
student loan application status application status Navigational 0 10 72 100 3 33
what is federal student loans what is federal Informational 0 10 78 58 3 25
who services federal student loans who services federal Informational 0 10 68 100 3 22
apply for student loan by phone apply for by phone Transactional 0 10 86 86 3 11
national student loan locator phone number national locator phone number Informational 0 0 58 29 3 11
i owe student loans who do i call i owe who do i call Informational 0 0 50 94 3 26
where do i find my student loan interest where do i find my interest Informational 0 0 78 58 3 11
how to find my student loan account number how to find my account number Informational 0 0 55 100 3 25
how much federal student loans do i have how much federal do i have Navigational 0 0 80 46 3 8
where do i pay my government student loans where do i pay my government Navigational 0 0 77 55 3 11
student loans lookup lookup Navigational 0 0 55 100 3 26
student loans payment history payment history Navigational 0 0 66 46 3 14
how many school loans do i have how many do i have Navigational 0 0 68 90 3 21

Additional tool features:

The Importance metric: …is powerful! However, I’ve left all my results at a neutral Importance (3) so you can see downloaded results without any customization (and to keep things fair, because I’m not prioritizing GKP keywords).

If you choose to use this metric, you set a priority level for each keyword (1=not important, 10=most important) that will then influence the keyword’s Potential score. This allows you to more easily prioritize a keyword plan, which is very helpful.

keyword-importance.gif

Group keywords with low lexical similarity: While this can save you time, it can also lead to missing keyword opportunities. In my example below, if I select “student loans” (and not “Select 821 keywords in group”), I would miss all of the nested keywords.

Use this feature carefully:

group-keywords.gif


+ Google Keyword Planner results:

Keyword Modifier Type Avg. Monthly Searches (exact match only) Competition Suggested Bid
student loan forgiveness forgiveness Commercial Investigation 100K – 1M 0.58 3.38
student loan refinance refinance Commercial Investigation 10K – 100K 0.96 34.57
student loan consolidation consolidation Commercial Investigation 10K – 100K 0.98 22.52
private student loans private Commercial Investigation 10K – 100K 0.99 28.51
student loans without a cosigner without a cosigner Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.98 23.85
parent student loans parent Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.96 10.27
best private student loans best private Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.93 21.33
bad credit student loans bad credit Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.97 4.02
best student loans best Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.93 18.61
compare student loans compare Commercial Investigation 100 – 1K 0.98 23.8
medical student loans medical Commercial Investigation 100 – 1K 0.91 10.16
student loans from banks from banks Commercial Investigation 100 – 1K 0.97 13.09
student loans for international students for international students Commercial Investigation 100 – 1K 0.88 14.01
no credit check student loans no credit check Commercial Investigation 100 – 1K 0.98 5.74
nursing student loans nursing Commercial Investigation 100 – 1K 0.94 15.53
alternative student loan options alternative options Commercial Investigation 10 – 100 1 30.32
best student loan consolidation program best consolidation program Commercial Investigation 10 – 100 0.91 36.91
student loan bankruptcy bankruptcy Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.42 9.48
student loan deferment deferment Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.35 10.31
student loans Informational 100K – 1M 0.98 25.97
student loan calculator calculator Informational 10K – 100K 0.42 5.41
types of student loans types of Informational 1K – 10K 0.82 13.61
student loan options options Informational 1K – 10K 0.99 23.63
how to consolidate student loans how to consolidate Informational 1K – 10K 0.84 13.79
student loan default default Informational 1K – 10K 0.28 8.18
student loan help help Informational 1K – 10K 0.96 15.48
where to get student loans where to get Informational 100 – 1K 0.97 17.19
average student loan average Informational 100 – 1K 0.33 18.59
private education loans private Informational 100 – 1K 0.98 16.76
what is a student loan what is Informational 100 – 1K 0.6 8.75
how do you get a student loan how do you get Informational 100 – 1K 0.94 5.22
no credit student loans no credit Informational 100 – 1K 0.98 7.85
about student loans about Informational 10 – 100 0.92 14.9
information on student loans information Informational 10 – 100 0.94 14.08
iowa student loan iowa Navigational 10K – 100K 0.23 9.08
great lakes student loans great lakes Navigational 10K – 100K 0.18 7.05
fafsa student loans fafsa Navigational 1K – 10K 0.61 7.41
student loan interest rates interest rates Transactional 1K – 10K 0.7 10.11
low interest student loans low interest Transactional 100 – 1K 0.98 21.07
need student loan today need today Transactional 10 – 100 1 9.8
i need a student loan now i need now Transactional 10 – 100 0.99 13.7

Tier 1 conclusion:

Google Keyword Planner largely uncovered Commercial Investigation and Informational queries. GKP also better identified a broader set of top-of-funnel keyword opportunities: student loan help, parent student loans, types of student loans, etc.

Moz Keyword Explorer largely uncovered Informational and Navigational queries. MKE better identified longer-tail keyword opportunities: how to get a school loan, apply for student loan online, apply for student loan by phone, etc.


Tier 2 keyword research setup

“closely related search terms” vs. “only include keywords with all of the query terms”

keyword-planner-closely.gif

Google Keyword Planner: Perform same setup, but select “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms.”

keyword-explorer-include.gif

Moz Keyword Explorer: Perform same setup, but select “only include keywords with all of the query terms.”

Note: Your .csv download will still say “Broad” for Google Keyword Planner, even though you’ve selected “Closely related”… Told you she was acting funny.


Tier 2 keyword research overview:

Moz Keyword Explorer Google Keyword Planner
Term: “student loans” “student loans”
Region: United States United States
Spectrum: Only include keywords with all of the query terms Closely related
Group Keywords: No -
Total Results: 1000 700
#Keywords With Intents: 66 30


+ Moz Keyword Explorer results:

Keyword Modifier Type Min Volume Max Volume Difficulty Opportunity Importance Potential
student loan - Informational 118001 300000 82 84 3 82
student loan forgiveness forgiveness Commercial Investigation 70801 118000 62 86 3 86
student loan calculator calculator Commercial Investigation 11501 30300 75 100 3 76
citi student loan citi Navigational 11501 30300 34 94 3 86
student loan consolidation consolidation Commercial Investigation 11501 30300 60 83 3 79
private student loan loan Commercial Investigation 11501 30300 62 80 3 77
student loan refinance refinance Commercial Investigation 11501 30300 55 83 3 77
student loan repayment calculator repayment calculator Commercial Investigation 11501 30300 67 100 3 74
student loan interest rates interest rates Transactional 6501 9300 53 54 3 69
application for student loan application for Commercial Investigation 4301 6500 64 54 3 63
apply for student loan apply for Commercial Investigation 4301 6500 60 53 3 64
student loan forgiveness for teachers forgiveness for teachers Commercial Investigation 4301 6500 58 100 3 71
bad credit student loan bad credit Commercial Investigation 1701 2900 44 83 3 70
student loan hero hero Navigational 1701 2900 49 19 3 53
student loan servicing servicing Commercial Investigation 1701 2900 70 90 3 62
discovery student loan discovery Navigational 851 1700 47 28 3 51
fsa student loan fsa Navigational 851 1700 90 58 3 41
student loan providers providers Commercial Investigation 501 850 66 53 3 51
where to get student loan where to get Informational 501 850 76 55 3 47
check student loan balance check balance Navigational 201 500 54 46 3 49
department of education student loan servicing center department of education servicing center Navigational 201 500 78 58 3 42
student loan status status Navigational 201 500 61 86 3 54
us student loan debt us debt Informational 201 500 66 56 3 49
all student loan all Informational 101 200 58 56 3 45
discover private student loan discover private Navigational 101 200 53 21 3 36
how do i find my student loan how do i find my interest Informational 101 200 59 86 3 51
student loan management management Commercial Investigation 101 200 57 53 3 45
student loan resources resources Commercial Investigation 101 200 49 83 3 52
where is my student loan where is Informational 51 100 61 55 3 42
student loan corporation citibank corporation citibank Navigational 11 50 36 94 3 45
student loan enquiries enquiries Commercial Investigation 11 50 61 100 3 43
fafsa student loan consolidation fafsa consolidation Navigational 11 50 99 53 3 1
federal student loan options federal options Commercial Investigation 11 50 75 54 3 34
federal student loan terms federal terms Commercial Investigation 11 50 81 90 3 31
get a student loan today get a today Transactional 11 50 66 83 3 41
need student loan now need now Transactional 11 50 71 83 3 37
student loan overview overview Informational 11 50 79 94 3 35
student loan payment history payment history Navigational 11 50 55 100 3 46
student loan website down website down Informational 11 50 42 90 3 44
apply for student loan by phone apply for by phone Commercial Investigation 0 10 86 86 3 11
apply online for student loan apply online for Commercial Investigation 0 10 68 53 3 28
citibank student loan promotional code citibank promotional code Navigational 0 10 38 94 3 28
student loan corporation sallie mae corporation sallie mae Commercial Investigation 0 10 63 100 3 23
dsl student loan dsl Navigational 0 10 51 90 3 38
how do i take out a federal student loan how do i take out a federal Informational 0 10 80 55 3 22
how to pay student loan online how to pay online Informational 0 10 52 55 3 32
student loan management app management app Commercial Investigation 0 10 43 83 3 26
my student loan account number my account number Informational 0 10 65 64 3 18
student loan servicing center pennsylvania servicing center pennsylvania Navigational 0 10 52 88 3 38
where to pay my student loan where to pay my Informational 0 10 68 100 3 22
student loan counseling center counseling center Commercial Investigation 0 0 58 83 3 23
deadline for student loan application deadline for application Informational 0 0 68 60 3 16
educated borrower student loan educated borrower Commercial Investigation 0 0 54 83 3 24
get subsidized student loan get subsidized Commercial Investigation 0 0 64 90 3 22
how do i find my student loan account number how do i find my account number Informational 0 0 55 100 3 26
how much student loan can i have how much can i have Informational 0 0 71 55 3 14
how to check the status of a student loan from direct loans how to check the status of a Informational 0 0 86 90 3 11
how to find out who is my student loan lender how to find out who is my lender Informational 0 0 60 60 3 19
how to get your student loan money how to get your money Informational 0 0 39 56 3 22
student loan information eligibility information eligibility Commercial Investigation 0 0 85 86 3 11
is financial aid a student loan is financial aid a Informational 0 0 72 60 3 15
national student loan data system for parents national data system for parents Commercial Investigation 0 0 53 22 3 10
national student loan database contact number national database contact number Navigational 0 0 57 64 3 20
nslds student loan login nslds login Navigational 0 0 73 46 3 11
subsidized loan and unsubsidized student loan subsidized and unsubsidized Commercial Investigation 0 0 57 94 3 24
what is a national direct student loan what is a national direct Informational 0 0 66 64 3 17

+ Google Keyword Planner results:

Keyword Modifier Type Avg. Monthly Searches (exact match only) Competition Suggested bid
student loan application application Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.98 22.37
student loan bankruptcy bankruptcy Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.42 9.48
how to get a student loan how to get Informational 1K – 10K 0.92 10.59
student loan help help Informational 1K – 10K 0.96 15.48
student loan deferment deferment Commercial Investigation 1K – 10K 0.35 10.31
alaska student loan alsaska Navigational 1K – 10K 0.54 2.21
south carolina student loan south carolina Navigational 1K – 10K 0.45 23.59
texas guaranteed student loan texas guranteed Navigational 1K – 10K 0.5 17.34
student loan interest rates interest rates Transactional 1K – 10K 0.7 10.11
student loan consolidation rates consolidation rates Transactional 1K – 10K 0.94 17.44
student loan refinance refinance Commercial Investigation 10K – 100K 0.96 34.57
student loan consolidation consolidation Commercial Investigation 10K – 100K 0.98 22.52
student loan calculator calculator Informational 10K – 100K 0.42 5.41
student loan gov gov Navigational 10K – 100K 0.28 16.42
iowa student loan iowa Navigational 10K – 100K 0.23 9.08
student loan forgiveness forgiveness Commercial Investigation 100K – 1M 0.58 3.38
what is a student loan what is Informational 100 – 1K 0.6 8.75
how can i get a student loan how can I get Informational 100 – 1K 0.97 7.71
how to get a private student loan how to get a private Informational 100 – 1K 0.96 14.82
student loan app application Navigational 100 – 1K 0.83 11.89
student loan cancellation cancellation Transactional 100 – 1K 0.41 4.5
student loan tax tax Transactional 100 – 1K 0.25 47.05
medical student loan consolidation medical consolidation Commercial Investigation 10 – 100 0.93 0
federal student loan options federal options Commercial Investigation 10 – 100 0.75 7.45
student loan consolidation faq consolidation faq Commercial Investigation 10 – 100 0.76 15.94
how to figure out student loan interest how to figure out interest Informational 10 – 100 0.38 10.52
how to apply for a student loan online how to apply Informational 10 – 100 1 20.61
how much is my student loan payment how much is my Informational 10 – 100 0.22 20.96
need a student loan now need now Transactional 10 – 100 0.99 12.02
need student loan today need today Transactional 10 – 100 1 9.8

Tier 2 conclusion:

Google Keyword Planner largely uncovered a pretty even percentage of all 4 keyword types (30% Informational, 20% Navigational, 30% Commercial Investigation, and 20% Transactional). GKP also continued to provide a broader set of top-of-funnel keyword opportunities: student loan bankruptcy, student loan gov, student loan help, how to get a student loan, etc.

Moz Keyword Explorer largely uncovered Commercial Investigation and Informational queries. MKE also continued to provide a broader set of long-tail keyword opportunities: student loan forgiveness for teachers, student loan providers, student loan status, how do i find my student loan, etc.


Where this is the end of the road for Google results, Moz has some other filters up its sleeve:

keyword-research-filters.gif

Let’s explore the other available Moz keyword filters and examine the discovered keyword results (keywords with unique intent).

Exclude your query terms to get broader ideas: 25 keywords

Most results are longer-tail queries around college tuition, educational expenses, private school tuition, etc. This evenly resulted in Informational, Navigational, and Transactional keyword results:

Based on closely related topics: 35 keywords

One of the more evenly distributed (search volume) results in this example. Most keyword results are around other types of loans or grants: payday loan, pell grants, auto loan, private loans, etc.

Based on broadly related topics and synonyms: 74 keywords

Results are mostly three words or longer and revolve around more specific types of loans; great lakes student loans, wells fargo student loans, student loan chase, etc.

Related to keywords with similar results pages: 187 keywords

Results are mostly long-tail Commercial Investigation queries around loan payments, student loan consolidation, student loan forgiveness for teachers, student loan payment help, etc.

Are questions: 111 keywords

Last, but certainly not least. The crème de la crème of an FAQ page.

Results reveal long-tail student loan questions (mostly Informational), like: can you file bankruptcy on student loans, do student loans affect credit score, are student loans tax deductible, where can i get a student loan, etc.


TL;DR

Conclusion:

Google Keyword Planner has limited search volume data, but continues to provide a broader set of top-of-funnel keywords (high volume, low competition <– ad metric). Despite the “closely related” filter resulting in a more even percentage of all 4 keyword types, it provided fairly similar results (35.4% duplicate) to “broad.” Commercial and Informational keyword types were most commonly found.

Moz Keyword Explorer provides more accurate search volume data, while providing a broader set of long-tail keywords (mid-to-low volume, low competition). The many keyword filters provide a wide range of keyword results (17% duplicate in first two filters) and keyword types depending on which keyword filter you use. However, Informational, Commercial Investigation, and Navigational keyword types were most commonly found.

Pros:

Moz Keyword Explorer: Google Keyword Planner:
The keyword search volume accuracy (IMO) is the most impressive part of this tool. The ability to view monthly trends, mobile versus desktop searches, and geo-popular areas is wonderful.
Better UX. Can add negative keywords/keywords to not include in results.
Keyword suggestion filters reveal far more keyword results. Sorting by 100 keywords is a nice cadence.
The “are questions” filter is incredibly useful for things like FAQ pages and content marketing ideas. Google Sheet download integration.
Saved keyword lists (that can be refreshed!? Say whaa!?) Average keyword bid (for further competition insight).
Detailed SERP data for SERP feature opportunities. Monthly keyword trend data (on hover).
Organic competition metric. Ability to target specific hyper-local areas.
Ability to prioritize keywords which influences the Potential metric (for smarter keyword prioritization). International (multilingual) keyword research options.

Cons:

Moz Keyword Explorer: Google Keyword Planner:
The Min Volume | Max Volume | Difficulty | Opportunity | Importance | Potential can be overwhelming. Search volume ranges are widely skewed and bucketed.
No Google Sheet download integration. Individuals who start adding keywords from the bottom up of a list (scrolling up) will miss newly populated results.
No “select all” option. Broad & Closely Related filters tend to provide very similar results.
The list of 1,000 keyword results can be daunting when doing lots of keyword research. No SERP feature data.
Inability to target specific local regions. Can’t save lists.
English-only International keyword results. Clunky, slow UX.

Which is right for you?

I’d consider where you want to target people in your sales funnel, and where you need to improve your current website traffic. If you have wide top-of-funnel traffic for your product/service and need to better provide long-tail transactions, check out Moz Keyword Explorer. If you need a brief overview of top-level searches, take a look at Google Keyword Planner results.

Which do I use?

I’m a little ashamed to say that I still use both. Checking Google Keyword Planner gives me the peace of mind that I’m not missing anything. But, Moz Keyword Explorer continues to impress me with its search volume accuracy and ease of list creation. As it gets better with top-of-funnel keywords (and hopefully integrates competition up front) I would love to transition completely over to Moz.

Other keyword research tips:

I’ve also been a big fan of ubersuggest.io to give your initial keyword list a boost. You can add your selected keywords directly to Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer for instant keyword data. This can help identify where you should take your keyword research in terms of intent, sub-topic intents, geographic, etc.

Answer the Public is also a great resource for FAQ pages. Just make sure to change the location if you are not based in the UK.

Would love your feedback!

  • Please let me know if you can think of other ways to determine the quality of keywords from each tool.
  • Any other pros/cons that you would add?
  • What other tools have you been using for keyword research?

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6 Cool Ways to Supplement Your Open Site Explorer Data

Posted by richardbaxterseo

And so it ends. By the time this post goes live, Yahoo Site Explorer will be gone. Let’s take a moment to silently reflect on the passing of a once great SEO tool.

Thankfully, there are a heap of Yahoo Site Explorer alternatives, with arguably more powerful features available than Y!SE ever had. Today, we’re going to take some fresh link data from your favourite link information mining tool of choice and supplement the hell out of it with even more data. Yey – let’s build a better Yahoo Site Explorer replacement.

A Special Thank You

This (long overdue) post wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of one of the SEO industry’s most unsung heroes – Niels Bosma. He’s the genius behind SEO Tools for Excel, which has opened up another level of SEO data analysis for Excel geeks all over the globe.

I’ve written about Niel’s amazing work over at SEOgadget before, so check out these links for a primer on the basics or an introduction on how to find lost links and get SEOmoz API data into Excel. When you’re done, we’re good to take it to the next level.

Here's the finished product, click the image for a massive, full screen image of this awe-inspiring spreadheet.

the finished article

#1 – How Many Likes, Google+’s and Tweets Were Received to My Linking URL?

Let’s start nice and easy with a count of the number of Likes, Google+’s and Tweets received by a URL. What’s not to love about a page that received a lot of social love? These two queries will churn happily through your link data until you’ve got more social than you can shake a stick at.

Retrieve the Google+ count for a URL:

=GooglePlusCount()

Get the number of Tweets to a URL:

=TwitterCount()

Get the number of Facebook Likes to a URL:

=FaceBookLikes()

#2 – Are My Links Live and Accessible to Search Engines?

When you’re looking at link data, you’re looking at an internet that has been and gone. At least, you’re looking into the past – and we all know that link decay is an everyday part of the evolution of the internet. To take a super accurate snapshot of your link data, you really need to know if your link is still live.

On that note, check out this clever little formula:

=IF(XPathOnUrl(C2,"//a[contains(@href,'seogadget.co.uk')]")="","NOT FOUND","FOUND")

Translated, it means, “If you found a href link on this page with seogadget.co.uk in all or part of the href, say ‘FOUND’. If the response to that query was a blank cell, say ‘NOT FOUND’.” So you know, the SEO tools XPathOnUrl function returns nothing when no result is found.

#3 – Did Google Even Cache that Link?

In his post on automating SEO, Russ pointed out that not all of your backlinks may have been indexed by Google, and that you should identify them and link to them to get them discovered. That’s a very nice idea Russ! Russ’s solution was excellent, but required some fancy scripting work.

Assuming you’re not tracking new referrers with snazzy custom filters in Google Analytics, here’s an easy way to do it with Linkstant and the =HttpStatus function.

linkstant

First, grab all of the new referring URLs. I do that with Scraper for Chrome. Export the URLs and then in a new Excel tab, put this URL in to cell A1:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?gcx=w&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=cache:

A cache: request will respond with a 404 if the URL is not cached. So, a simple concatenate, followed by a "=HTTPstatus" will give you a list of URLs that Google has cached.

This is probably not the best way, but it works just the way you'd expect it to, most of the time:

=CONCATENATE($ A$ 1,[@URL])

Where $ A$ 1 is our cache request URL.

Next, use this function to get the http status of the URL:

=HttpStatus([@Column1])

Grabbing the HTTP status of your URL list will give you a list of results like this:

a list of URL links that may or may not be indexed at Google

#4 – Get Search Volume Data for Your Inbound Anchor Text

An interesting way to identify links that might be a little above the radar, penalty-potential wise is to look at the search volume for the inbound anchor text used in the link. I mean, if you’ve got a lot of massively overcooked, highly competitive anchors from PageRank 0 sites, you’ve got a problem.

If you’ve got an Adwords API key, then it’s a piece of cake to use the Adwords API Extension for Excel – simply take a copy of all anchor text in the data, copy it to a separate table, de-duplicate it and run this array formula:

=arrayGetAdWordStats(KW,"EXACT","GB","WEB")

Then, do a VLOOKUP back in your main table and you’ll have search volumes for every anchor text used in your inbound links.

#5 – Extract the Domain From the Linked to URL

In my link data I really like to know if there are any potential problems with the domain I’m getting links from. PageRank 0 links, with extremely competitive anchor text could spell trouble, or at least some less than savvy link purchases. We're spending a lot of our time lately cleaning up this sort of thing, and this method makes it a whole lot easier.

Check out this formula as a very simple way to extract the characters up to, but not including the first trailing slash in a URL (assumes there's a "http://" at the beginning of the URL):

=MID([@URL],8,FIND("/",[@URL],8)-8)

If some of your links are from homepages (which often they are), simply add this extension to display the full URL, should there be no trailing slash in the URL:

=IFERROR(MID([@URL],8,FIND("/",[@URL],8)-8),MID([@URL],8,LEN([@URL])))

#6 – Get PageRank for the Linking URL and Domain

Yes, you heard that right. The old school link auditor in me can’t shy away from the fact that while PageRank is pretty useless as an overall proxy to rankings, it will come in handy if you’re trying to get a sense of the overall quality of the backlinks of a website. Like I mentioned above, a lot of PageRank 0 links from cruddy sites, with highly competitive inbound anchor text might be something you should make yourself aware of.

Here’s how:

=GooglePageRank()

What Could You Build?

There are a few more tricks left that you should go and explore in SEO Tools. I also happen to know there’s an SEO Tools v3.0 coming very soon, and it will kick ass! Though I’m really grateful for Yahoo Site Explorer, I’m not going to miss it. It’s sort of like an Overture Keyword Tool situation. When that disappeared, there was outrage, now, silence.

Have fun rolling your own tools and, as always I'd love to hear how you're getting on! – follow SEOgadget on Google+

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