Tag Archive | "Improved"

Effective Landing Pages: 30 powerful headlines that improved marketing results

Get oodles of examples of effective headlines in this MarketingSherpa blog post to help spark ideas as you brainstorm your own headlines
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Parallel tracking, more custom parameters coming to Microsoft Advertising for improved tracking

Parallel tracking, currently in beta, will be rolling out soon.



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Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Writing Nuts and Bolts: Fast Starts, Mindful Tools, and Remarkably Improved Habits

This week, we had a nuts-and-bolts focus on getting more of the right things done in your writing and business…

The post Writing Nuts and Bolts: Fast Starts, Mindful Tools, and Remarkably Improved Habits appeared first on Copyblogger.


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5 Ways We Improved User Experience and Organic Reach on the New Moz Help Hub

Posted by jocameron

We’re proud to announce that we recently launched our brand-new Help Hub! This is the section of our site where we store all our guides and articles on how to use Moz Pro, Moz Local, and our research tools like Link Explorer.

Our Help Hub contains in-depth guides, quick and easy FAQs, and some amazing videos like this one. The old Help Hub served us very well over the years, but with time it became a bit dusty and increasingly difficult to update, in addition to looking a bit old and shabby. So we set out to rebuild it from scratch, and we’re already seeing some exciting changes in the search results — which will impact the way people self-serve when they need help using our tools.

I’m going to take you through 5 ways we improved the accessibility and reach of the Help Hub with our redesign. If you write software guides, work in customer experience, or simply write content that answers questions, then this post is worth a look.

If you’re thinking this is just a blatant excuse to inject some Mozzy news into an SEO-style blog post, then you’re right! But if you stick with me, I’ll make sure it’s more fun than switching between the same three apps on your phone with a scrunched-up look of despair etched into your brow. :)

Research and discovery

To understand what features we needed to implement, we decided to ask our customers how they search for help when they get stuck. The results were fascinating, and they helped us build a new Help Hub that serves both our customers and their behavior.

We discovered that 78% of people surveyed search for an answer first before reaching out:

This is a promising sign, and perhaps no surprise that people working in digital marketing and search are very much in the habit of searching for the answers to their questions. However, we also discovered that a staggering 36% couldn’t find a sufficient answer when they searched:

We also researched industry trends and dug into lots of knowledge bases and guides for popular tools like Slack and Squarespace. With this research in our back pockets we felt sure of our goal: to build a Help Hub that reduces the length of the question-search-answer journey and gets answers in front of people with questions.

Let’s not hang about — here are 5 ways we improved organic reach with our beautiful new Help Hub.

#1: Removing features that hide content

Tabbed content used to be a super cool way of organizing a long, wordy guide. Tabs digitally folded the content up like an origami swan. The tabs were all on one page and on one URL, and they worked like jump links to teleport users to that bit of content.

Our old Help Hub design had tabbed content that was hard to find and wasn’t being correctly indexed

The problem: searchers couldn’t easily find this content. There were two reasons for this: one, no one expected to have to click on tabs for discovery; and two (and most importantly), only the first page of content was being linked to in the SERPs. This decimated our organic reach. It was also tricky to link directly to the tabbed content. When our help team members were chatting with our lovely community, it was nearly impossible to quickly send a link to a specific piece of information in a tabbed guide.

Now, instead of having all that tabbed content stacked away like a Filofax, we’ve got beautifully styled and designed content that’s easy to navigate. We pulled previously hidden content on to unique pages that we could link people to directly. And at the top of the page, we added breadcrumbs so folks can orient themselves within the guide and continue self-serving answers to their heart’s content.

Our new design uses breadcrumbs to help folks navigate and keep finding answers

What did we learn?

Don’t hide your content. Features that were originally built in an effort to organize your content can become outdated and get between you and your visitors. Make your content accessible to both search engine crawlers and human visitors; your customer’s journey from question to answer will be more straightforward, making navigation between content more natural and less of a chore. Your customers and your help team will thank you.

#2: Proudly promote your FAQs

This follows on from the point above, and you have had a sneak preview in the screenshot above. I don’t mind repeating myself because our new FAQs more than warrant their own point, and I’ll tell you why. Because, dear reader, people search for their questions. Yup, it’s this new trend and gosh darn it the masses love it.

I mentioned in the point above that tabbed content was proving hard to locate and to navigate, and it wasn’t showing up in the search results. Now we’re displaying common queries where they belong, right at the top of the guides:

FAQ placement, before and after

This change comprises two huge improvements. Firstly, questions our customers are searching, either via our site or in Google, are proudly displayed at the top of our guides, accessible and indexable. Additionally, when our customers search for their queries (as we know they love to do), they now have a good chance of finding the exact answer just a click away.

Address common issues at the top of the page to alleviate frustration

I’ve run a quick search in Keyword Explorer and I can see we’re now in position 4 for this keyword phrase — we weren’t anywhere near that before.

SERP analysis from Keyword Explorer

This is what it looks like in the organic results — the answer is there for all to see.

Our FAQ answer showing up in the search results

And when people reach out? Now we can send links with the answers listed right at the top. No more messing about with jump links to tabbed content.

What did we learn?

In addition to making your content easily accessible, you should address common issues head-on. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable to highlight issues right at the top of the page, but you’ll be alleviating frustration for people encountering errors and reduce the workload for your help team.

You can always create specific troubleshooting pages to store questions and answers to common issues.

#3: Improve article quality and relevance to build trust

This involves using basic on-page optimization techniques when writing or updating your articles. This is bread and butter for seasoned SEOs, although often overlooked by creators of online guides and technical writers.

It’s no secret that we love to inject a bit of Mozzy fun into what we do, and the Help Hub is no exception. It’s a challenge that we relish: to explain the software in clear language that is, hopefully, a treat to explore. However, it turns out we’d become too preoccupied with fun, and our basic on-page optimization sadly lagged behind.

Mirroring customers’ language

Before we started work on our beautiful new Help Hub, we analyzed our most frequently asked questions and commonly searched topics on our site. Next, we audited the corresponding pages on the Help Hub. It was immediately clear that we could do a better job of integrating the language our customers were using to write in to us. By using relevant language in our Help Hub content, we’d be helping searchers find the right guides and videos before they needed to reach out.

Using the MozBar guide as an example, we tried a few different things to improve the CTR over a period of 12 months. We added more content, we updated the meta tags, we added jump links. Around 8 weeks after the guide was made more relevant and specific to searchers’ troubleshooting queries, we saw a massive uptick in traffic for that MozBar page, with pageviews increasing from around ~2.5k per month to ~10k between February 2018 and July 2018. Traffic from organic searches doubled.

Updates to the Help Hub content and the increased traffic over time from Google Analytics

It’s worth noting that traffic to troubleshooting pages can spike if there are outages or bugs, so you’ll want to track this over an 8–12 month period to get the full picture.

What we’re seeing in the chart above is a steady and consistent increase in traffic for a few months. In fact, we started performing too well, ranking for more difficult, higher-volume keywords. This wasn’t exactly what we wanted to achieve, as the content wasn’t relevant to people searching for help for any old plugin. As a result, we’re seeing a drop in August. There’s a sweet spot for traffic to troubleshooting guides. You want to help people searching for answers without ranking for more generic terms that aren’t relevant, which leads us to searcher intent.

Focused on searcher intent

If you had a chance to listen to Dr. Pete’s MozCon talk, you’ll know that while it may be tempting to try to rank well for head vanity keywords, it’s most helpful to rank for keywords where your content matches the needs and intent of the searcher.

While it may be nice to think our guide can rank for “SEO toolbar for chrome” (which we did for a while), we already have a nice landing page for MozBar that was optimized for that search.

When I saw a big jump in our organic traffic, I entered the MozBar URL into Keyword Explorer to hunt down our ranking keywords. I then added these keywords in my Moz Pro campaign to see how we performed over time.

You can see that after our big jump in organic traffic, our MozBar troubleshooting guide dropped 45 places right out of the top 5 pages for this keyword. This is likely because it wasn’t getting very good engagement, as people either didn’t click or swiftly returned to search. We’re happy to concede to the more relevant MozBar landing page.

The troubleshooting guide dropped in the results for this general SEO toolbar query, and rightly so

It’s more useful for our customers and our help team for this page to rank for something like “why wont moz chrome plugin work.” Though this keyword has slightly fewer searches, there we are in the top spot consistently week after week, ready to help.

We want to retain this position for queries that match the nature of the guide

10x content

Anyone who works in customer experience will know that supporting a free tool is a challenge, and I must say our help team does an outstanding job. But we weren’t being kind to ourselves. We found that we were repeating the same responses, day in and day out.

This is where 10x content comes into play. We asked ourselves a very important question: why are we replying individually to one hundred people when we can create content that helps thousands of people?

We tracked common queries and created a video troubleshooting guide. This gave people the hand-holding they required without having to supply it one-to-one, on demand.

The videos for our SEO tools that offer some form of free access attract high views and engagement as folks who are new to them level up.

Monthly video views for tools that offer some free access

To put this into context, if you add up the views every month for these top 4 videos, they outperform all the other 35 videos on our Help hub put together:

Video views for tools with some free access vs all the other 35 videos on the Help Hub

What did we learn?

By mirroring your customers’ language and focusing on searcher intent, you can get your content in front of people searching for answers before they need to reach out. If your team is answering the same queries daily, figure out where your content is lacking and think about what you can do in the way of a video or images to assist searchers when they get stuck.

Most SEO work doesn’t have an immediate impact, so track when you’ve made changes and monitor your traffic to draw correlations between visitors arriving on your guides and the changes you’ve made. Try testing updates on a portion of pages and tracking results. Then rolling out updates to the rest of your pages.

More traffic isn’t always a good thing, it could indicate an outage or issue with your tool. Analyzing traffic data is the start of the journey to understanding the needs of people who use your tools.

#4: Winning SERP features by reformatting article structure

While we ramped up our relevance, we also reviewed our guide structure ready for migration to the new Help Hub CMS. We took paragraphs of content and turned them into clearly labelled step-by-step guides.

Who is this helping? I’m looking at you, 36% of people who couldn’t find what they were looking for! We’re coming at you from two angles here: people who never found the page they were searching for, and people who did, but couldn’t digest the content.

Here is an example from our guide on adding keywords to Moz Pro. We started with blocks of paragraphed content interspersed with images. After reformatting, we have a video right at the top and then a numbered list which outlines the steps.

Before: text and images. After: clearly numbered step-by-step guides.

When researching the results for this blog post, I searched for a few common questions to see how we were looking in the search results. And what did I find? Just a lovely rich snippet with our newly formatted steps! Magic!

Our new rich snippet with the first 4 steps and a screenshot of our video

We’ve got all the things we want in a rich snippet: the first 4 steps with the “more items” link (hello, CTR!), a link to the article, and a screenshot of the video. On one hand, the image of the video looks kind of strange, but it also clearly labels it as a Moz guide, which could prove to be rather tempting for people clicking through from the results. We’ll watch how this performs over time to figure out if we can improve on it in future.

Let’s go briefly back in time and see what the original results were for this query, pre-reformatting. Not quite so helpful, now, is it?

Search results before we reformatted the guide

What did we learn?

By clearly arranging your guide’s content into steps or bullet points, you’re improving the readability for human visitors and for search engines, who may just take it and use it in a rich snippet. The easier it is for people to comprehend and follow the steps of a process, the more likely they are to succeed — and that must feel significantly better than wading through a wall of text.

#5: Helping people at the end of the guide

At some point, someone will be disappointed by the guide they ended up on. Maybe it doesn’t answer their question to their satisfaction. Maybe they ended up in the wrong place.

That’s why we have two new features at the end of our guides: Related Articles and Feedback buttons.

The end of the guides, before and after

Related Articles

Related Articles help people to continue to self-serve, honing in on more specific guides. I’m not saying that you’re going to buckle down and binge-read ALL the Moz help guides — I know it’s not exactly Netflix. But you never know — once you hit a guide on Keyword Lists, you may think to yourself, “Gosh, I also want to know how to port my lists over to my Campaign. Oh, and while I’m here, I’m going to check on my Campaign Settings. And ohh, a guide about setting up Campaigns for subdomains? Don’t mind if I do!” Guide lovers around the world, rejoice!

Feedback buttons

I know that feedback buttons are by no means a new concept in the world of guides. It seems like everywhere you turn there’s a button, a toggle, or a link to let some mysterious entity somewhere know how you felt about this, that, and the other.

Does anyone ever actually use this data? I wondered. The trick is to gather enough information that you can analyze trends and respond to feedback, but not so much that wading through it is a major time-wasting chore.

When designing this feature, our aim was to gather actionable feedback from the folks we’re looking to help. Our awesome design, UX, and engineering teams built us something pretty special that we know will help us keep improving efficiently, without any extra noise.

Our new feedback buttons gather the data we need from the people we want to hear from

To leave feedback on our guides, you have to be logged in to your Moz account, so we are sure we’re helping people who engage with our tools, simple but effective. Clicking “Yes, thank you!” ends the journey there, job done, no need for more information for us to sift through. Clicking “No, not really” opens up a feedback box to let us know how we can improve.

People are already happily sending through suggestions, which we can turn into content and FAQs in a very short space of time:

Comments from visitors on how we can improve our guides

If you find yourself on a guide that helps (or not so much), then please do let us know!

The end of an article isn’t the end of the line for us — we want to keep moving forward and building on our content and features.

What did we learn?

We discovered that we’re still learning! Feedback can be tough to stomach and laborious to analyze, so spend some time figuring out who you want to hear from and how you can process that information.


If you have any other ideas about what you’d like to see on the Help Hub, whether it’s a topic, an FAQ, or snazzy feature to help you find the answers to your questions, please do let us know in the comments below.

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Study: Google Assistant most accurate, Alexa most improved virtual assistant

While one new study on voice assistants compares the quality of different providers’ answers, the other drills into Google’s data sources for 22 verticals.

The post Study: Google Assistant most accurate, Alexa most improved virtual assistant appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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New and Improved Local Search Expert Quiz: What’s Up with Local SEO in 2016?

Posted by Isla_McKetta

Think you’re up on the latest developments in local SEO?

One year ago we asked you to test your local SEO knowledge with the Local Search Expert Quiz. Because the SERPs are changing so fast and (according to our latest
Industry Survey) over 42% of online marketers report spending more time on local search in the past 12 months, we’ve created an updated version.

Written by local search expert Miriam Ellis, the quiz contains 40 questions designed to test both your general local SEO knowledge and your industry awareness. Bonus? The quiz takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Ready to get started? When you are finished, we’ll automatically score your quiz.

Rating your score

Although the Local Search Expert Quiz is
just for fun, we’ve established the following guidelines for bragging rights:

  • 0–14 Newbie: Time to study up on your citation data!
  • 15–23 Beginner: Good job, but you’re not quite in the 3-pack yet.
  • 24–29 Intermediate: You’re getting close to the centroid!
  • 30–34 Pro: Let’s tackle multi-location!
  • 35–40 Guru: We all bow down to your local awesomeness.

Resources to improve your performance

Didn’t get the score you hoped for? We’ve included all the correct answers and references here. Or, brush up on your local SEO knowledge with this collection of free learning resources:

  1. The Moz Local Learning Center
  2. Glossary of Local Search Terms and Definitions
  3. Guidelines for Representing Your Business on Google
  4. Local Search Ranking Factors
  5. Blumenthal’s Blog
  6. Local SEO Guide
  7. Whitespark Blog

You can also learn the latest local search tips and tricks by signing up for the MozCon Local one-day conference, subscribing to the Moz Local Top 7 newsletter, or reading
local SEO posts on the Moz Blog.

Don’t forget to brag about your local search expertise in the comments below!

This post has been edited to include a link to the answer sheet.

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My Single Best SEO Tip for Improved Web Traffic

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

Howdy Moz Fans,

After more than 5 years — including an 18-month hiatus as a Moz associate — tomorrow marks my last day working as a Mozzer.

Make no mistake — I love this job, company, and community. Moz has taught me to be a better marketer. Both Rand Fishkin and Sarah Bird (and many others) have taught me more about emotional intelligence and how to treat others than I thought possible of myself. Moz has introduced me to amazing coworkers and industry folk around the world. I’m truly grateful for this experience.

Since my first YouMoz post was accepted for publication by Jen Lopez before I even worked here, I’ve done my best to share SEO tips and tactics to help people advance their marketing and improve online visibility. These posts are truly the thing I’m most proud of.

Time for one last SEO tip, so I hope it’s a good one…

SEO white lies

The beauty of SEO is that, instead of pushing a marketing message onto folks who don’t want to hear what you have to say, you can reverse-engineer the process to discover exactly what people are looking for, create the right content for it, and appear before them at exactly the moment they are looking for it. It’s pull vs. push.

Works like magic. Customers come to you.

Let’s begin this process by telling a lie.

“Content is king.”

Bull hockey. The king doesn’t rule jack squat. A truer statement is this: If content is king, then the user is queen, and she rules the universe. Let’s say that again, because this is important.

“The user is queen, and she rules the universe.”

Google only cares about your content inasmuch as it answers the user’s search query. Search results are not a collection of “good” content; they are a ranked list of content that best satisfies what the user is looking for.

Here’s a typical process many SEOs use when building content:

  1. Conduct keyword research to discover what people are searching for relative to your niche.
  2. Pick a series of high-volume, low-competition phrases
  3. Build content around these phrases and topics
  4. Launch and market the page. Build some links.
  5. Watch the traffic roll in. (Or not)
  6. Move on to the next project.

The shortcoming of this approach is that 1–4 are often hit or miss. Google’s Keyword Planner, perhaps the best available keyword tool available, is famous for not surfacing most long-tail keywords. Additionally, creating the exact content and building the right links in order for Google to rank you for precise pages is challenging as well.

Unfortunately, this where most people stop.

My advice: Don’t stop there.

This whole process relies on traditional SEO signals to rank your content higher. Signals like keyword usage and PageRank (yes, it’s a real ranking factor). While these factors remain hugely important, they miss the point of where SEO has already moved.

In our latest Ranking Factors Expert Survey, we asked over 150 top search marketers to rate which factors they see gaining and losing significance in Google’s algorithm. The results showed that while most traditional SEO features were expected to either retain or decrease in influence, we found that user-based features were expected to increase.

In addition to signals like mobile-friendliness, site speed, overall UX, and perceived quality, the factors I want to focus on today include:

  1. Page matches the searcher’s intent: In other words, the page has a high probability of being what the user is actually looking for.
  2. Search engine results clickstream data: This may include measuring the search results that users actually click, as well as the pogo-sticking effect.
  3. Task completion: The user is able to complete the task they set out to do. In other words, their questions have been completely answered.

What I am going to talk about is how to improve all three of these factors for underperforming pages at the same time, using a single technique.

Here’s the tip: Optimize for how users are actually using the page — as opposed to how you optimized the page ahead of time — and you’ll see significantly better traffic.

Once you begin receiving traffic from search engines, you have an incredible amount of data regarding real search visits. If your page receives any traffic at all, Google has already guessed what your content is about — right or wrong — and is sending some traffic to you. In all reality, there is a gap between the traffic you thought you were optimizing for when you created the page, and the traffic you are actually getting.

You want to close that gap. We’ll ask and answer these 3 questions:

  1. Is my content matching the intent of the visitors I’m actually receiving?
  2. Based on this intent, is my search snippet enticing users to click?
  3. Does my page allow users to complete their task?

Here’s how we’re going to do it. I present your SEO homework.

1. Identify your low-to-mid performing pages

This process works best on pages with lower or disappointing traffic levels. The reason you want to stay away from your high-performing pages is the adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

That’s not to say that high-performing pages can’t be improved, but whenever you make changes to a page you risk ruining the things that work well, so for now we’re going to focus on our under-performers.

The simplest way is to use analytics to identify pages you believe are high quality — and target good keyword phrases — but receive less traffic than you’d expect based on site averages.

For this example I’ll use Google Search Console for my data, although you could use other platforms such as Bing Webmaster or even features found in Moz Pro.

Here’s a picture of our traffic and search queries for Followerwonk. While it’s a good amount of traffic, something looks off with the second URL: it receives 10x more impressions than any other URL, but only gets a 0.25% click-through rate. We’ll use this URL for our process.

2. Discover mismatches between user intent and content

Next, we want to discover the keyword phrases that surface our URL in search results. Here’s how you do it in Search Console.

After you complete #3 above by clicking on the URL you wish to analyze, you’ll find a page of data isolating that URL, but it will lack keywords. Now hit the “Queries” tab to filter keywords filtered for this specific URL.

For our Followerwonk URL, we discover an interesting result. The phrase “twitter search” generated a million search impressions, but only 724 clicks. Google believes we deserve to rank for this query, but obviously the page doesn’t offer what people are looking for

Or does it?

The Followerwonk Bio Search page offers advanced Twitter bio search, complete with lots of advanced options you can’t find on Twitter. It’s reasonable that tons of people searching for “twitter search” would find enormous value in this page. So why the disconnect?

A quick screenshot reveals the heart of the problem.

That’s it — the entire page. Very little explanatory text makes it difficult to quickly grasp what this page is about. While this is an awesome page, it fails in one key aspect for its highest volume search query.

The page fails to satisfy user intent. (At least in a quick, intuitive way.)

So how can we fix this? Let’s move on to the next steps.

3. Optimizing for user intent

Now that we understand how users are actually finding our page, we want to make it obvious that our page is exactly what they are looking for to solve their problem. There are 5 primary areas this can be accomplished.

  1. Title tag
  2. Meta description
  3. Page title and headers
  4. Body text
  5. Call to action

Rewriting the title tags and descriptions of underperforming pages to include the keyword queries users perform to find your URL can lead to a quick increase in clicks and visits.

Additionally, after you get these clicks, there’s a growing body of inconclusive evidence that higher click-through rates may lead to higher rankings. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. The whole point is that you get more traffic, one way or another.

The key is to take this data to optimize your search snippet in a way that entices more and better traffic.

Earning the click is only half the battle. After we get the visitor on our site, now we have to convince them (almost immediately) that we can actually solve the problem they came here to find. Which leads to…

4. Improving task completion

Consider this: A user searches for “best restaurants in Seattle.” You want your pizza parlor to rank #1 for this query, but will this satisfy the user?

Likely not, as the user is probably looking for a list of top restaurants, complete with reviews, hours, maps, and menus. If you can offer all — like TripAdvisor, Opentable, and Yelp — then you’ve helped the user complete their task.

The key to task completion is to make solving the user’s problem both clear and immediate. On our Followerwonk page, this could be accomplished by making it immediately clear that they could perform an advanced Twitter search, for free, along with an expectation of what the results would look like.

A standard for task completion can be found by answering the following question: After the user visits this page, will they have completely found what they are looking for, or will they need to return to Google for help?

When the query is satisfied by your website, then you’ve achieved task completion, and likely deserve to rank very highly for the targeted search query.

5. Submit for reindexing

The beauty of this process is that you can see results very quickly. The easiest thing to do is to submit the page for reindexing in Google, which can help your changes appear in search results much faster.

You may see changes submitted this way reflected in search results within minutes or hours. Usually it’s not more than a day or two.

6–7. Measure results, tweak, and repeat

Now that your results are live, you want to measure present performance against past. After a few days or weeks (whenever you have enough data to make statistically significant decisions) you want to specifically look at:

  • Rankings, or overall impressions
  • Clicks and click-through rate
  • Engagement metrics, including bounce rate, time on site, and conversions

Warning: You may not get it right the first time. That’s okay. It’s fine to iterate and improve (as long as you don’t destroy your page in the process). In fact, that’s the whole point!

If you follow this process, you may see not only increases in traffic, but improved traffic coming to your site that better aligns what you offer with what the visitor is searching for.

The best content that aligns with user intent is what search engines want to deliver to its users. This is what you want to broadcast to search engines. The results can be rewarding.

Transitions

What’s next for me? In the near term, I’m starting a boutique online publishing/media company, tentatively named Fazillion. (Our aim is to produce content with heart, as we ourselves are inspired by sites like Mr. Money Mustache, Wait but Why, and Data is Beautiful.)

I can’t express enough how much this company and this community means to me. Moving on to the next adventure is the right thing to do at this time, but it makes me sad nonetheless.

Coincidentally, my departure from Moz creates a unique job opening for a talented SEO and Content Architect. It should make a wonderful opportunity for the right person. If you’re interested in applying, you can check it out here: SEO Content Marketer at Moz

Happy SEO, everybody! If you see me walking down the street, be sure to say hi.

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


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Announcing the New & Improved Link Intersect Tool

Posted by randfish

Y’all remember how last October, we launched a new section in Open Site Explorer called “Link Opportunities?” While I was proud of that work, there was one section that really disappointed me at the time (and I said as much in my comments on the post).

Well, today, that disappointment is over, because we’re stepping up the Link Intersect tool inside OSE big time:


Literally thousands of sweet, sweet link opportunities are now yours at the click of a button

In the initial launch, Link Intersect used Freshscape (which powers Fresh Web Explorer). Freshscape is great for certain kinds of data – links and mentions that come from newly published pages that are in news sources, blogs, and feeds. But it’s not great for non-news/blogs/feed sources because it’s intentionally avoiding those!

For example, in the screenshot above, I wanted to see all the pages that link to SeriousEats.com and SplendidTable.org but don’t link to SmittenKitchen.com.

That’s 671 more, juicy link opportunities thanks to the hard work of the Moz Big Data and Research Tools teams.

How does the new Link Intersect work?

The tool looks at the top 250,000 links our index has pointing to each of the intersecting targets you enter, and the top 1 million links in our index pointing to the excluded URL.

Link Intersect then runs a differential comparison to determine which of the 250K links to each of the intersecting targets are from the same URL or root domain, and removes any of those links that point to the top million links to the excluded URL/root/sub domain.

This means it’s possible for sites and pages with massive quantities of links that we won’t show every intersecting link we know about, but since the sorting is in Page Authority order, you’ll get the highest quality/most important ones at the top.

You can use Link Intersect to see three unique views on the data:

  • Pages that link to subdomains (particularly useful if you’re interested in shared links to sites on hosted subdomains like blogspot, wordpress, etc or to a specific subdomain section of a competitor’s site)
  • Pages that link to root domains (my personal favorite, as I find the results the most comprehensive)
  • Root domains that link to the root domains (great if you’re trying to get a broad sense of domain-level outreach/marketing targets)

Note that it’s possible the root domains will actually expose more links that pages because the domain-level link graph is easier and faster to sort through, so the 250K limit is less of a barrier.

Like most of the reports in Open Site Explorer, Link Intersect comes with a handy CSV Export option:

When it finishes (my most recent one took just under 3 minutes to run and email me), you’ll get a nice email like this one:

Please ignore the grammatical errors. I’m sure our team will fix those up soon :-)

Why are these such good link/outreach/marketing targets?

Generally speaking, this type of data is invaluable for link outreach because these sites and pages are ones that clearly care about the shared topics or content of the intersecting targets. If you enter two of your primary competitors, you’ll often get news media, blog posts, reference resources, events, trade publications, and more that produce content in your topical niche.

They’re also good targets because they actually link out! This means you can avoid sifting through sites whose policies or practices mean they’re unlikely to ever link to you – if they’ve linked to those other two chaps, why not you, too?!

Basically, you can check the trifecta of link opportunity goodness boxes (which I’ve helpfully illustrated above, because that’s just the kind of SEO dork I am).

Link Intersect is limited only by your own creativity – so long as you can keep finding sites and pages on the web whose links might also be a match for your own site, we can keep digging through trillions of links, finding the intersects, and giving them back to you.

3 examples of Link Intersect in action

Let’s look at some ways we might put this to use in the real world:

#1: I’m trying to figure out who links to my two big competitors in the world of book reviews

First off, remember that Link Intersect works on a root domain or subdomain level, so we wouldn’t want to use something like the NYTimes’ review of books, because we’d be finding all the intersections to NYTimes.com. Instead, we want to pick more topically-focused domains, like these two:

You’ll also note that I’ve used a fake website as my excluded URL – this is a great trick for when you’re simply interested in any sites/pages that link to two domains and don’t need to remove a particular target.

#2: I’ve got a locally-focused website doing plumbing and need a few link sources to help boost my potential to rank in local and organic SERPs

In this instance, I’ll certainly look at pages linking to combinations of the top ranking sites in the local results, e.g. the 15 results for this query:

This is a solid starting point, especially considering how few links local sites often need to perform well. But we can get creative by branching outside of plumbing and exploring related fields like construction:

Focusing on better-linked-to industries and websites will give more results, so we want to try to broaden rather than narrow our categories and look for the most-linked-to sites in given verticals for comparisons.

#3: I’m planning some new content around weather patterns for my air conditioning website and want to know what news and blog sites cover extreme weather content

First, I’m going to start by browsing some search results for content in this field that’s received some serious link activity. By turning on my Mozbar’s SERPs overlay, I can see the sites and pages that have generated loads of links:

Now I can run a few combinations of these through the Link Intersect Tool:

While those domain names make me fear for humanity’s intelligence and future survival, they also expose a great link opportunity tactic I hadn’t previously considered – climate science deniers and the more politically charged universe of climate science overall.


I hope you enjoy the new Link Intersect tool as much as I have been – I think it’s one of the best things we’ve put in Open Site Explorer in the last few months, though what we’re releasing in March might beat even that, so stay tuned!

And, as always, please do give us feedback and feel free to ask questions in the comments below or through the Moz Community Q+A.

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New and Improved Custom Reports Added to Moz Analytics

Posted by Miranda.Rensch

Hello everyone! Miranda here. I’m a Product Manager at Moz and I’m excited to announce that we’ve added custom, automated reporting to Moz Analytics. This is something that already existed in PRO (the predecessor to Moz Analytics), but the new version has some cool upgrades I’d like to point out, so here goes a quick walk-through.

Walk-through of the new custom reports

With the new version of custom reports, you can select (almost) any visualization or data list from within Moz Analytics to be included in a custom PDF and emailed regularly.

To access the new reports, just go into any campaign and click “Custom Reports” in the top right and then click “Create / Schedule Report” to get started.

Next, you’ll begin filling in the details of your report. You can give it a name and a description to appear at the top of the PDF:

In the “Add Modules” step you use a left navigation similar to the normal Moz Analytics experience so you can quickly navigate to your favorite data / visualizations and click the + sign to select them. In the next step you’ll be able to organize them and add notes.

In the “Design Report” step, you can re-order your modules, add notes, and if you have access to branded reports, add your brand logo to be printed on the PDF.

In the next step you can preview your report. Click “Generate PDF Report” to view and save as an actual PDF.

Finally, you can schedule the report to be emailed regularly to you and any others that you specify. You can now also customize the text of the email that gets sent out!

When you’ve finished setting up your report, you can see all active reports on the main Custom Reports page. From there you can see the next scheduled send date and edit your reports.

Other new stuff in Moz Analytics

While we’re at it, we’d like to mention a few other improvements in Moz Analytics:

Crawl diagnostics updates

We made some improvements to the design to make it easier to find the issues exposed by our custom crawler. You can now see a breakdown of your top High, Medium, and Low priority issues at the bottom of the Crawl Diagnostics overview page.

You will also see the issue counts included in the issue drop-down.

We’ve also made sure that all of the crawl data is included in the .csv export. We are still working on making views of duplicate pages and titles visible outside of the .csv.

Keyword opportunities improvement

With this smaller update, we added a button to the keyword opportunities report in the rankings section, allowing you to quickly add an attractive keyword to your list for rank tracking.

Fresh Web Explorer alerts

In case you missed it, we also recently released a big update to Fresh Web Explorer that lets you create and save custom alerts. Use it to get prompt alerts when someone publishes content mentioning your brand, your competitors, or even discover interesting link and outreach opportunities. Cyrus even wrote a whole blog post about it.

What’s next for Moz Analytics?

Here are some of the projects that are currently in-progress and up next for Moz Analytics. This is just the top of our list, but we’d love to know what you think! Please let us know in the comments or on our feature request forum.

  • Monthly timeframes: We are still working on adding monthly timeframe options into custom reports and the rest of the Moz Analytics app. We hope to have that in by the end of the year. Also, we are aware that there are some issues currently with monthly custom reports in PRO causing them to be delayed. We hope to build these monthly reports into the new version of custom reports in a more scalable way and we apologize for the issue in PRO.

  • Lots of bug / UX fixes: We’re working on continually responding to feedback and bugs in the new application. We’ve gotten to many, but not all of them. Thank you for your patience!

  • Contextual help: We’re working on ways to bring help guides and videos directly into the app so that when you need help you can find it quick.

  • Add individual keyword history to Custom Reports: There are a couple of modules that can’t be added to custom reports yet—Analyze a Keyword (individual keyword history), Grade a Page, and Analyze Page Issues. We hope to make those available in the next few months as well.

  • Per-page PDF downloads: We are currently working on allowing PDF downloads of any page in the app. We hope to have that done in the next month or so.

  • Customized timeframe options: We’re in the process of researching our ability to provide more customized timeframe options. It’s a bit complicated due to the variety of data we include in our app, but we’re looking at our options.

  • Multi-user accounts: We’re working on supporting multiple users per account.

  • You tell us! If you have any other feedback or ideas for how this software could be better and save you more time, please let us know on our feature request forum!

That’s all! If you have any questions or comments, chances are other people will too, so why not ask it on the Moz Q&A forum! Looking forward to hearing your feedback. If you’d like to volunteer a half-hour to give more in-depth feedback about this section or reporting in general, please email miranda@moz.com.

Happy reporting!
Miranda Rensch
Product Manager @ Moz

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Must-Have Social Media Meta Tag Templates for Improved Sharing and SEO

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

At Moz, we strive to include social media metadata in all new pieces of content that we publish. This allows us to optimize for sharing Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinerest by defining exactly how titles, descriptions, images and more appear in social streams.

Think of it as conversion rate optimization for social exposure.

The implications for SEO are also significant. We know from experience and studies that the right data, including optimized images, helps content to spread, which often leads to increased links and mentions.

Knowing exactly which social meta tags to include can be confusing even to experienced webmasters. This post by Micheal King is a huge help, and WordPress publishers who use Yoast’s SEO plugin are well ahead of the game. For the rest of us, consider the different structures supported by the major social platforms:

  • Twitter Cards: Summaries, Images, Galleries, Apps, Video, Audio, and Products
  • Pinterest Rich Pins: Products, Recipes, Movies, and Articles
  • Google+: Articles, Blog, Book, Event, Local Business, Organization, Person, Product, and Reviews
  • Facebook: Articles, Photos, Audio, Video, and more

To help ease this problem, I created four social media tag templates that you can fill out, customize for your own use, and share with your team and others.

How to use these templates

Simply copy and paste the template into the text editor of your choice. Make sure to replace any orange or green text with your own data, and customize, eliminate or add any tags you find necessary.

The first three of these templates are optimized using a typical “article” markup and data, ideal for blog posts and most written content. The final template contains markup for product pages.For other post types, such as book or recipes, refer to documentation linked at the end of this post for reference on what to customize.

When you are done, don’t forget to test and apply for approval.

1. The Minimal Template

This slimmed back version runs lean and fast. It contains a bare minimum of data for optimized sharing across Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

Title tags and meta descriptions are included even though they aren’t technically social media meta tags. This is because they can be used by Google+ and other social media platforms, and it is best practice to include them on every page you publish.

Minimum Social Media Tag Template: Article

<!– Place this data between the <head> tags of your website –>
<title>Page Title. Maximum length 60-70 characters</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Page description. No longer than 155 characters.” />

<!– Twitter Card data –>
<meta name=”twitter:card” value=”summary”>

<!– Open Graph data –>
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Title Here” />
<meta property=”og:type” content=”article” />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.example.com/” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://example.com/image.jpg” />
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Description Here” />

2: The Standard Template

The standard template represents a more robust implementation of social tags and is meant to work across all platforms. In addition to all of the features of the mimimal template above, the standard template includes the following:

  • The basic Twitter Summary card
  • Twitter thumbnail image
  • Facebook Page Insights

Standard Social Media Tag Template: Article

<!– Place this data between the <head> tags of your website –>
<title>Page Title. Maximum length 60-70 characters</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Page description. No longer than 155 characters.” />

<!– Twitter Card data –>
<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary”>
<meta name=”twitter:site” content=”@publisher_handle“>
<meta name=”twitter:title” content=”Page Title“>
<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”Page description less than 200 characters“>
<meta name=”twitter:creator” content=”@author_handle“>
<– Twitter Summary card images must be at least 200x200px –>
<meta name=”twitter:image” content=”http://www.example.com/image.jpg“>

<!– Open Graph data –>
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Title Here” />
<meta property=”og:type” content=”article” />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.example.com/” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://example.com/image.jpg” />
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Description Here” />
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”Site Name, i.e. Moz” />
<meta property=”fb:admins” content=”Facebook numeric ID” />

3: The Full Monty

This is the monster! In addition to all the data contained in the standard template, the full template contains:

  • Google Authorship and Publisher Markup. Although this data doesn’t change your content appearance in Google+, it potentially add links to your Google+ pages in search results.
  • Schema.org article markup
  • Twitter Summary card with large image
  • Expanded Open Graph article data

Full Social Media Tag Template: Article

<!– Update your html tag to include the itemscope and itemtype attributes. –>
<html itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Article”>

<!– Place this data between the <head> tags of your website –>
<title>Page Title. Maximum length 60-70 characters</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Page description. No longer than 155 characters.” />

<!– Google Authorship and Publisher Markup –>
<link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/[Google+_Profile]/posts”/>
<link rel=”publisher” href=”https://plus.google.com/[Google+_Page_Profile]“/>

<!– Schema.org markup for Google+ –>
<meta itemprop=”name” content=”The Name or Title Here“>
<meta itemprop=”description” content=”This is the page description“>
<meta itemprop=”image” content=”http://www.example.com/image.jpg“>

<!– Twitter Card data –>
<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary_large_image”>
<meta name=”twitter:site” content=”@publisher_handle“>
<meta name=”twitter:title” content=”Page Title“>
<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”Page description less than 200 characters“>
<meta name=”twitter:creator” content=”@author_handle”>
<!– Twitter summary card with large image must be at least 280x150px –>
<meta name=”twitter:image:src” content=”http://www.example.com/image.html“>

<!– Open Graph data –>
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Title Here” />
<meta property=”og:type” content=”article” />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.example.com/” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://example.com/image.jpg” />
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Description Here” />
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”Site Name, i.e. Moz” />
<meta property=”article:published_time” content=”2013-09-17T05:59:00+01:00” />
<meta property=”article:modified_time” content=”2013-09-16T19:08:47+01:00” />
<meta property=”article:section” content=”Article Section” />
<meta property=”article:tag” content=”Article Tag” />
<meta property=”fb:admins” content=”Facebook numberic ID” />

Bonus: The Product Template

For merchants, product markup is very popular, and usually easy for developers to implement in their shopping cart software. The product template differs from article markup in only a few ways:

  • Modified <html> tag to reflect schema.org product data
  • Twitter Product Card includes required data labels
  • Open Graph data includes price and currency data

Product Social Media Tag Template

<!– Update your html tag to include the itemscope and itemtype attributes. –>
<html itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Product”>

<!– Place this data between the <head> tags of your website –>
<title>Page Title. Maximum length 60-70 characters</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Page description. No longer than 155 characters.” />

<!– Schema.org markup for Google+ –>
<meta itemprop=”name” content=”The Name or Title Here“>
<meta itemprop=”description” content=”This is the page description“>
<meta itemprop=”image” content=”http://www.example.com/image.jpg“>

<!– Twitter Card data –>
<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”product”>
<meta name=”twitter:site” content=”@publisher_handle“>
<meta name=”twitter:title” content=”Page Title“>
<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”Page description less than 200 characters“>
<meta name=”twitter:creator” content=”@author_handle”>
<meta name=”twitter:image” content=”http://www.example.com/image.html“>
<meta name=”twitter:data1″ content=”$ 3“>
<meta name=”twitter:label1″ content=”Price“>
<meta name=”twitter:data2″ content=”Black“>
<meta name=”twitter:label2″ content=”Color“>

<!– Open Graph data –>
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Title Here” />
<meta property=”og:type” content=”article” />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.example.com/” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://example.com/image.jpg” />
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Description Here” />
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”Site Name, i.e. Moz” />
<meta property=”og:price:amount” content=”15.00” />
<meta property=”og:price:currency” content=”USD” />

Tools for testing and approval

A. Twitter Validation Tool

https://dev.twitter.com/docs/cards/validation/validator


Before your cards show on Twitter, you must first have your domain approved. Fortunately, it’s a super-easy process. After you implement your cards, simply enter your sample URL into the validation tool. After checking your markup, select the “Submit for Approval” button.

B. Facebook Debugger

https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug


You don’t need prior approval for your meta information to show on Facebook, but the debugging tool they offer gives you a wealth of information about all your tags and can also analyze your Twitter tags.

C. Google Structured Data Testing Tool

http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets


Webmasters traditionally use the structured data testing tool to test authorship markup and preview how snippets will appear in search results, but you can also use see what other types of meta data Google is able to extract from each page.

D. Pinterest Rich Pins Validator

http://developers.pinterest.com/rich_pins/validator/

Like Twitter, Pinterest requires an approval process to enable Rich Pin functionality. Use the Rich Pin Validator tool to test your data markup and apply for approval at the same time.


Tips and best practices

Optimizing for images

The image you link to in your social data does not actually have to be on the page, but it should represent your content well. The image allows you to controll what people see when they share your content, so it’s important to use quality images.

Every social platform has different standards for sizing. Typically, it’s easier to keep it simple and choose one image size that will work for all services.

  • Twitter thumbnail: 120x120px
  • Twitter large image: 280x150px
  • Facebook: Standards vary, but an image at least 200x200px works best. Facebook recommends large images up to 1200px wide.

In short, larger images offer you the most flexibility. When in doubt, test each page using the appropriate tool below to see exactly how your images will appear in snippits.

The importance of Open Graph data

If you could choose only one type of meta data to include, your best bet is Open Graph. That’s because all the platforms can use it as a fallback, including Twitter to a large degree.

Facebook page insights

The meta property “fb:admins” requires that you enter your numeric Facebook id number, and gives you access to analytics about how your website content is shared on Facebook. Read more about Page Insights, including how to set it up and discover your numeric id.

Further resources

Use these templates as a starting point, but you can customize them in millions of ways. A few valuable resources to aid your journey:

What are your best tips for optimizing your content for sharing? Let us know in the comments below.

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