Tag Archive | "Opportunities"

Why You’re Missing Crucial Opportunities if You Think You’re ‘Not Creative’

I can’t stand hearing people say they’re “not creative.” That happened to me recently, after I sliced a finger and wound up in Urgent Care. When the doctor heard that my fiancé is a graphic designer, he launched into a well-rehearsed monologue: “Oh, my mom is a graphic designer; she’s so creative! I do some
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4 underutilized schema markup opportunities that impact SEO

Contributor Tony Edwards recommends taking advantage of little-used brand, image, app and person schema that indirectly help position a website for better rankings.

The post 4 underutilized schema markup opportunities that impact SEO appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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How to Target Featured Snippet Opportunities – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Once you’ve identified where the opportunity to nab a featured snippet lies, how do you go about targeting it? Part One of our “Featured Snippet Opportunities” series focused on how to discover places where you may be able to win a snippet, but today we’re focusing on how to actually make changes that’ll help you do that. Give a warm, Mozzy welcome to Britney as she shares pro tips and examples of how we’ve been able to snag our own snippets using her methodology.

Target featured snippet opportunities

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Video Transcription

Today, we are going over targeting featured snippets, Part 2 of our featured snippets series. Super excited to dive into this.

What’s a featured snippet?

For those of you that need a little brush-up, what’s a featured snippet? Let’s say you do a search for something like, “Are pigs smarter than dogs?” You’re going to see an answer box that says, “Pigs outperform three-year old human children on cognitive tests and are smarter than any domestic animal. Animal experts consider them more trainable than cats or dogs.” How cool is that? But you’ll likely see these answer boxes for all sorts of things. So something to sort of keep an eye on. How do you become a part of that featured snippet box? How do you target those opportunities?

Last time, we talked about finding keywords that you rank on page one for that also have a featured snippet. There are a couple ways to do that. We talk about it in the first video. Something I do want to mention, in doing some of that the last couple weeks, is that Ahrefs actually has some of the capabilities to do that all for you. I had no idea that was possible. Really cool, go check them out. If you don’t have Ahrefs and maybe you have Moz or SEMrush, don’t worry, you can do the same sort of thing with a Vlookup.

So I know this looks a little crazy for those of you that aren’t familiar. Super easy. It basically allows you to combine two sets of data to show you where some of those opportunities are. So happy to link to some of those resources down below or make a follow-up video on how to do just that.

I. Identify

All right. So step one is identifying these opportunities. You want to find the keywords that you’re on page one for that also have this answer box. You want to weigh the competitive search volume against qualified traffic. Initially, you might want to just go after search volume. I highly suggest you sort of reconsider and evaluate where might the qualified traffic come from and start to go after those.

II. Understand

From there, you really just want to understand the intent, more so even beyond this table that I have suggested for you. To be totally honest, I’m doing all of this with you. It’s been a struggle, and it’s been fun, but sometimes this isn’t very helpful. Sometimes it is. But a lot of times I’m not even looking at some of this stuff when I’m comparing the current featured snippet page and the page that we currently rank on page one for. I’ll tell you what I mean in a second.

III. Target

So we have an example of how I’ve been able to already steal one. Hopefully it helps you. How do you target your keywords that have the featured snippet?

  • Simplifying and cleaning up your pages does wonders. Google wants to provide a very simple, cohesive, quick answer for searchers and for voice searches. So definitely try to mold the content in a way that’s easy to consume.
  • Summaries do well. Whether they’re at the top of the page or at the bottom, they tend to do very, very well.
  • Competitive markup, if you see a current featured snippet that is marked up in a particular way, you can do so to be a little bit more competitive.
  • Provide unique info
  • Dig deeper, go that extra mile, provide something else. Provide that value.

Examples

What are some examples? So these are just some examples that I personally have been running into and I’ve been working on cleaning up.

  • Roman numerals. I am trying to target a list result, and the page we currently rank on number one for has Roman numerals. Maybe it’s a big deal, maybe it’s not. I just changed them to numbers to see what’s going to happen. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Fix broken links. But I’m also just going through our page and cleaning it. We have a lot of older content. I’m fixing broken links. I have the Check My Links tool. It’s a Chrome add-on plugin that I just click and it tells me what’s a 404 or what I might need to update.
  • Fixing spelling errors or any grammatical errors that may have slipped through editors’ eyes. I use Grammarly. I have the free version. It works really well, super easy. I’ve even found some super old posts that have the double or triple spacing after a period. It drives me crazy, but cleaning some of that stuff up.
  • Deleting extra markup. You might see some additional breaks, not necessarily like that ampersand. But you know what I mean in WordPress where it’s that weird little thing for that break in the space, you can clean those out. Some extra, empty header markup, feel free to delete those. You’re just cleaning and simplifying and improving your page.

One interesting thing that I’ve come across recently was for the keyword “MozRank.” Our page is beautifully written, perfectly optimized. It has all the things in place to be that featured snippet, but it’s not. That is when I fell back and I started to rely on some of this data. I saw that the current featured snippet page has all these links.

So I started to look into what are some easy backlinks I might be able to grab for that page. I came across Quora that had a question about MozRank, and I noticed that — this is a side tip — you can suggest edits to Quora now, which is amazing. So I suggested a link to our Moz page, and within the notes I said, “Hello, so and so. I found this great resource on MozRank. It completely confirms your wonderful answer. Thank you so much, Britney.”

I don’t know if that’s going to work. I know it’s a nofollow. I hope it can send some qualified traffic. I’ll keep you posted on that. But kind of a fun tip to be aware of.

How we nabbed the “find backlinks” featured snippet

All right. How did I nab the featured snippet “find backlinks”? This surprised me, because I hardly changed much at all, and we were able to steal that featured snippet quite easily. We were currently in the fourth position, and this was the old post that was in the fourth position. These are the updates I made that are now in the featured snippet.

Clean up the title

So we go from the title “How to Find Your Competitor’s Backlinks Next Level” to “How to Find Backlinks.” I’m just simplifying, cleaning it up.

Clean up the H2s

The first H2, “How to Check the Backlinks of a Site.” Clean it up, “How to Find Backlinks?” That’s it. I don’t change step one. These are all in H3s. I leave them in the H3s. I’m just tweaking text a little bit here and there.

Simplify and clarify your explanations/remove redundancies

I changed “Enter your competitor’s domain URL” — it felt a little duplicate — to “Enter your competitor’s URL.” Let’s see. “Export results into CSV,” what kind of results? I changed that to “export backlink data into CSV.” “Compile CSV results from all competitors,” what kind of results? “Compile backlink CSV results from all competitors.”

So you can look through this. All I’m doing is simplifying and adding backlinks to clarify some of it, and we were able to nab that.

So hopefully that example helps. I’m going to continue to sort of drudge through a bunch of these with you. I look forward to any of your comments, any of your efforts down below in the comments. Definitely looking forward to Part 3 and to chatting with you all soon.

Thank you so much for joining me on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to seeing you all soon. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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How to Discover Featured Snippet Opportunities – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Winning featured snippets is one of the best ways to get visibility on page one of Google’s SERPs. It’s a competitive environment, though, and there are tons of specific considerations when it comes to increasing your chances of earning that spot. Today’s Whiteboard Friday, number one of an upcoming three-part series, is brought to you by Moz’s resident SEO and mini-pig advocate, Britney Muller. She covers the keyword research you’ll need to do, evaluating your current ranking, and recording relevant data in a spreadsheet with the help of a couple useful tools.

Discover Featured Snippet Opportunities

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Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans, welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going over all things discovering featured snippet opportunities. So this is the first part to three videos. So this will be the discover, but we’re also going to have a target and a measure video as well. So really, really excited. It’s going to be a ton of fun. I’m doing it with you, so you’re not going to be alone. It’s going to be this cool thing we all do together.

Part 1 of 3: Discover, target, measure

So for those of you that don’t know what a featured snippet is, it is one of those answer boxes at the top of search results. So let’s say you do a search like, oh, I don’t know, “Are teacup pigs healthy?” which they’re not, super sad. I love pigs. But you’ll get a featured snippet box like this that tells you like, “No, they’re actually starved.” It gives you all this information. So it’s different than something like “People also ask…” boxes or your typical search results.

Discover Featured Snippet Opportunities

They’re particularly appealing because of the voice search component. So most voice searches come from those featured snippet boxes as well as it just being really appealing in general to have that top spot.

#1 Keyword research

So this process is pretty straightforward. You’re going to start with just your basic keyword research. So you’re also going to focus on questions. A.J. Ghergich did this incredible study write-up, on SEMrush, about featured snippets, where he discovered that around 41% of all featured snippets come from questions, which makes sense. The how questions are really interesting because those results are most likely to result in lists.

Now, lists take both the form of numerical as well as bullets. So something to kind of keep in mind there. But what’s interesting about these lists is that they tend to be a little bit easier to truncate. So if you know that Google is showing 8 results, maybe you go back to your page and you make sure that you have 10. That way it lures people in to click to see the full list. Really interesting there.

#2 Evaluate your current ranking

You also want to evaluate your current ranking for these particular keywords. You want to prioritize keywords based on ones that you rank on page one for. It tends to be much easier to grab a featured snippet or to steal one if you’re also on page one.

#3 Put data into a spreadsheet

Discover Featured Snippet Opportunities

From there, we’re going to put all of this data and more data into a big spreadsheet so that we can really analyze and prioritize some of these opportunities. So some of the metrics I came up with — feel free to share some ideas below — are your keyword, average monthly search volume, current featured snippet URL, that’s this guy over here. What is that domain authority and page authority? You want to make note of those. Is it a featured snippet hub? This is such a cool term, that A.J. came up with in his article, that essentially coins a featured snippet URL that ranks for 10 or more featured snippet boxes. You probably won’t know this right away, so this might stay blank. But once you start seeing more and more of those same URLs, you might think it’s one of those hubs. It’s kind of cool.

Discover Featured Snippet Opportunities

Featured snippet type. Is it a paragraph, a list, or a table? Is there any markup? Is there schema markup? What’s going on, on the page in general? Just sort of scope all that out. What’s your rank? This is actually supposed to be over here. So, again, you want to see if you’re ranking 10 or under on a particular page, hopefully on page 1.

Then is there an image? So the featured snippet images are really interesting, because Google likes to swap them out and remove them and test them and do all this crazy stuff. I got to talk about these images and the tests that I’ve been doing on them on the Two Peas podcast with Brian Childs, part of his MozPod podcast series. It was super fun. I share some secrets in there, so go check it out.

Then what’s the type of image? So typically, you can start to see a theme of a particular niche or industry in their featured snippet images. Maybe they’re all stock photos, or maybe they’re all informational type photos. Maybe they all have the same color. Really interesting to sort of keep an eye on those.

What’s your desired featured snippet URL? This will typically be whatever URL is ranking. But maybe not. Make note of that.

Other notes, you can mention where Google is pulling the featured snippet from that page. I think that stuff is super interesting. You can do all sorts of fun stuff.

Research tools to use

So two primary tools to do all of this research within are Moz Keyword Explorer and SEMrush. Both have some caveats. Moz Keyword Explorer is great because you can do a bunch of keyword research and save them into lists. However, you can’t do keyword research only viewing the keywords that have featured snippets. You can’t do that. You have to do all the keyword research, put it into a list, and then we give you that data.

With SEMrush, it’s pretty cool. You get to filter only by featured snippet keywords. So that, off the bat, is awesome.

However, once you get a keyword list put together in Keyword Explorer, not only do you get that information of whether or not there’s a featured snippet, but right within your list of keywords, you have the ability to add your website and immediately see your rank for all of those particular keywords in your list, making this super, super easy.

I tried to do this with SEMrush. I know they have all of the features necessary to do so. However, it’s just not as easy. You have to use a combination of their different tools within their tool. I hit a couple different limits within Keyword Analyzer, and then by the time I got to position tracking, I lost my search volume from Keyword Magic tool, which was super frustrating.

There might be a better, easier way to do that. Maybe their API are pulling some stuff a little bit differently. Feel free to comment down below. Maybe there’s a better way than either of these. I don’t know. You could also do it pretty manually too. You could use Google Keyword Planner and look some of this stuff up yourself.

But I hope you enjoyed this. Thank you so much for joining me on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to seeing you all soon. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

Facebook Zero Influencers

Earlier this month, marketers were shocked to learn that Facebook would be making more major changes to its News Feed, effectively bringing brand and publisher organic reach to zero by prioritizing high engagement content from family, friends and groups.

In a formal statement posted on his own Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg said:

“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.”

“But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. … Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.”

While the announcement seemed to be the final nail in the organic News Feed coffin, the death of organic reach on Facebook has been a long time coming. Back in April 2015, Facebook announced it was updating News Feeds to strike a better balance between friends, public figures, publishers, businesses and community organizations. Then in late June 2016, Facebook said it would be making further refinements to ensure users don’t miss updates from their friends and families.

Now, after an intense year of political and social upheaval — not to mention the emergence of the fake news engine and the Russian advertising scandal — it’s no surprise that Facebook is re-examining things yet again.

But What Does It All Mean for Marketers?

Naturally, disappointed marketers all over the world are wondering how this change will truly impact their social marketing efforts. From our perspective, the change:

  • Ends the organic reach of the News Feed and increases the importance of adding pay-to-play to your marketing mix — something that will likely require a bigger budget.
  • Bolsters the importance of channel diversification.
  • Makes it more important than ever for you to zero in on who your audience is and what motivates them, so you can share content and create an environment that will pique interest and engagement.
  • Means Instagram will more than likely follow suit in the near future.

The Influencer Implication

Since Zuckerberg’s announcement, there’s been one implication in particular that’s captivated our attention. The way we see it, the value of influencer engagement on Facebook will increase even more.

Our CEO, Lee Odden, has long been an evangelist for working with influencers, believing that influencers can help brands bypass several obstacles. AdBlocking, for example, is in use on over 600 million devices, costing business over $ 22 billion in ad revenue, according to PageFair. Working with credible influencers who are trusted amongst an audience allows brands to bypass the adblocking obstacle and better connect with buyers.

Lee has also talked about other challenges such as distrust of brand advertising. In fact, 69% of consumers don’t trust ads, according to research by Ipsos Connect. And yet another obstacle is information overload. Americans are confronted with an average of 63GB of media on a daily basis (USC/ICTM).

All of these obstacles, according to Lee, are addressed by working with industry influencers. The virtual elimination of organic News Feed visibility for brands and publishers on Facebook is no different and marketers would be smart to think about how influencer engagement can keep organic Facebook visibility alive.

So, to sum it all up: Now that the organic News Feed is effectively dead, new life is being given to influencer marketing opportunities. Here are a few key considerations:

#1 – If you’re not in the influencer marketing game yet, you can no longer afford to wait.

Last year, we saw influencer marketing explode — becoming one of the most talked about topics among marketers and arguably our most-requested digital marketing services among both B2B and B2C clients. In addition, our own research shows that 57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in the next three years.

This quote from Lee sums it up well:

“For any kind of content a business creates and publishes to the world, there is an opportunity for collaboration with credible voices that have active networks interested in what those voices have to say. In many cases, [audiences are] far more interested [in an influencer’s insights] than in what the brand has to say.”

With Facebook reducing branded content and elevating content from individuals, there’s no better time to invest in influencers — which can have an impact across all social platforms.


With #Facebook reducing branded content and elevating content from individuals, there’s no better time to invest in influencers. #influencermarketing
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#2 – Influencers now hold more power than ever to more strategically align themselves with brands of their choice.

Influencer marketing was already poised to be big in 2018, but this change to Facebook’s platform will absolutely spur more brands and businesses to dip their toe into the water. As a result, influencers will see an uptick in requests, giving them more power to be very choosy about which brands they lend their time, insights and audience to.


Influencers have more power to be very choosy about the brand they lend their time, insights and audience to. #influencermarketing
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#3 – Influencer nurturing will be more important than ever.

As illustrated by the previous two points, the Facebook change will lead to an increased adoption of influencer marketing, giving influencers more options. So it’s no surprise that it’ll be time to double-down on your commitment to influencer nurturing.

Now, we’ve always said that when it comes to building relationships and rapport with influencers, it’s critical that you put the time and effort into nurturing — rather than simply reaching out when you have a need. There has to be shared value.

But I think most marketers would admit that they have significant room for improvement in this area — and there’s no time like the present to recommit yourself.


With #Facebook’s recent algorithm change, it’s time to double-down on your commitment to nurturing your influencers. #influencermarketing
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Capitalize on the Opportunity

Let’s face it. This “major change” to Facebook’s platform isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last. As a result, now is the time to fully capitalize on the opportunity by better working with industry influencers. Now is the time to refocus on connecting with your audience — and influencers can help you do just that by adding authenticity, credibility, unique insights and new eyeballs to your content.

What else is in store for influencer marketing in 2018? Check out these rising influencer marketing trends that you need to pay attention to.

What do you think about the latest Facebook News Feed algorithm change? Tell us in the comments section below.


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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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Infinite ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes: Research and SEO Opportunities

Posted by BritneyMuller

A Glimpse Into Google’s Machine Learning?

You’ve likely seen the People Also Ask (Related Questions) boxes in SERPs. These accordion-like question and answer boxes are Google’s way of saying, “Hey, you beautiful searcher, you! These questions also relate to your search… maybe you’re interested in exploring these too? Kick off your shoes, stay a while!”

However, few people have come across infinite PAAs. These occur when you expand a PAA question box to see 2 or 3 other related questions appear at the bottom. These infinite PAA lists can continue into the hundreds, and I’ve been lucky enough to come across 75+ of these gems!

So, grab a coffee and buckle up! I’d like to take you on a journey of my infinite PAA research, discoveries, machine learning hypothesis, and how you can find PAA opportunities.

Why PAAs should matter to you

PAAs have seen a 1,723% growth in SERPs since 7/31/15 via Mozcast! ← Tweet this stat!

Compare that to featured snippets, which have seen only a 328% growth since that timeframe.

Research has also shown that a single PAA can show up in 21 unique SERPs! How ’bout dem apples?! PAA opportunities can take over some serious SERP real estate.

My infinite PAA obsession

These mini-FAQs within search results have fascinated me since Google started testing of them in 2015. Then in November 2016, I discovered Google’s PAA dynamic testing:

The above infinite PAA expanded into the hundreds! This became an obsession of mine as I began to notice them across multiple devices (for a variety of different searches) and coined them “PAA Black Holes.”

I began saving data from these infinite PAAs to see if I could find any patterns, explore how Google might be pulling this data, and dive deeper into how the questions/topics changed as a result of my expanding question boxes, etc.

After seeing a couple dozen infinite PAAs, I began to wonder if this was actually a test to implement in search, but several industry leaders assured me this was more likely a bug.

They were wrong.

Infinite People Also Ask boxes are live

Now integrated into U.S. SERPs (sorry foreign friends, but get ready for this to potentially migrate your way) you can play with these on desktop & mobile:

Why does Google want people to spend more time on individual SERPs (instead of looking at several)? Could they charge more for advertisements on SERPs with these sticky, expansive PAAs? Might they eventually start putting ads in PAAs? These are the questions that follow me around like a shadow.

To get a better idea of the rise of PAAs, here’s a timeline of my exploratory PAA research:

PAA timeline

April 17, 2015 – Google starts testing PAAs

July 29, 2015 – Dr. Pete gets Google to confirm preferred “Related Questions” name

Aug 15, 2015 – Google tests PAA Carousels on desktop

Dec 30, 2015 – Related Questions (PAAs) grow +500% in 5 months

Mar 11, 2016 – See another big uptick in Related Questions (PAAs) in Mozcast

Nov 11, 2016 – Robin Rozhon notices PAA Black Hole

Nov 23, 2016 – Brit notices PAA Black Hole

Nov 29, 2016 – STAT Analytics publishes a research study on PAAs

Dec 12, 2016 – Realized new PAA results would change based on expanded PAA

Dec 14, 2016 – Further proof PAAs dynamically load based on what you click

Dec 19, 2016 – Still seeing PAA Black Holes

Dec 22, 2016 – Discovered a single PAA result (not a 3-pack)

Jan 11, 2016 – Made a machine learning (TensorFlow) discovery and hypothesis!

Jan 22, 2016 – Discovered a PAA Black Hole on a phone

Jan 25, 2016 – Discovered a PAA Black Hole that maxed out at 9

Feb 10, 2017 – PAA Black Holes go live!

Feb 14, 2017 – Britney Muller is still oblivious to PAA Black Holes going live and continues to hypothesize how they are being populated via entity graph-based ML.


3 big infinite PAA discoveries:

#1 – Google caters to browsing patterns in real time

It took me a while to grasp that I can manipulate the newly populated question boxes based on what I choose to expand.

Below, I encourage more Vans-related PAAs by clicking “Can I put my vans in the washing machine?” Then, I encourage more “mildew”-related ones simply by clicking a “How do you get the mildew smell out of clothes” PAA above:

vans-paa.gif

Another example of this is when I clicked “organic SEO” at the very top of a 100+ PAA Black Hole (the gif would make you dizzy, so I took a screenshot instead). It altered my results from “how to clean leather” to “what is seo” and “what do you mean by organic search”:

leather to seo.png


#2 – There are dynamic dead ends

When I reach an exhaustive point in my PAA expansions (typically ~300+), Google will prompt the first two PAAs, as in: “We aren’t sure what else to provide, are you interested in these again?”

Here is an example of that happening: I go from “mitosis”-related PAAs (~300 PAAs deep) to a repeat of the first two PAAs: “What is Alexa ranking based on?” and “What is the use of backlinks?”:

getting sick of me.gif

This reminds me of a story told by Google machine learning engineers: whenever an early ML model couldn’t identify a photograph, it would say a default ‘I don’t know’ answer of: “Men talking on cell phone.” It could have been a picture of an elephant dancing, and if the ML model wasn’t sure what it was, it would say “Men talking on cell phone.”

My gut tells me that G reverts back to the strongest edge cases (the first two PAAs) to your original query when running out of a certain relational threshold of PAAs.

It will then suggest the third and fourth PAA when you push these limits to repeat again, and so on.


#3 – Expand & retract one question to explore the most closely related questions

This not only provides you with the most relevant PAAs to the query you’re expanding and retracting, but if it’s in your wheelhouse, you can quickly discover other very relevant PAA opportunities.

Here I keep expanding and retracting “What is the definition of SEO?”:

exhaust-paa.gif

Notice how “SEO” or “search engine optimization” is in every subsequent PAA!? This is no coincidence and has a lot to do with the entity graph.

First, let’s better understand machine learning and why an entity-based, semi-supervised model is so relevant to search. I’ll then draw out what I think is happening with the above results (like a 5-year-old), and go over ways you can capture these opportunities! Woohoo!


Training data’s role in machine learning

Mixups are commonplace in machine learning, mostly due to a lack of quality training data.

Machine Learning Process SEO

Well-labeled training data is typically the biggest component necessary in training an accurate ML model.

Fairly recently, the voice search team at Google came across an overwhelming amount of EU voice data that was interpreted as “kdkdkdkd.” An obvious exclusion in their training data (who says “kdkdkdkd”?!), the engineers had no idea what could be prompting that noise. Confused, they finally figured out that it was the trains and subways making that noise!

This is a silly example of adding the “kdkdkd” = Trains/Subways training data. Google is now able to account for these pesky “kdkdkdkd” inclusions.


Relational data to the rescue

Because we don’t always have enough training data to properly train a ML model, we look to relational data for help.

Example: If I showed you the following picture, you could gather a few things from it, right? Maybe that it appears to be a female walking down a street, and that perhaps it’s fall by her hat, scarf, and the leaves on the ground. But it’s hard to determine a whole lot else, right?

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 1.21.03 AM.png

What about now? Here are two other photos from the above photo’s timeline:

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 1.23.36 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-01-10 at 1.23.47 AM.png


Aha! She appears to be a U.S. traveler visiting London (with her Canon Ti3 camera). Now we have some regional, demographic, and product understanding. It’s not a whole lot of extra information, but it provides much more context for the original cryptic photo, right?

Perhaps, if Google had integrated geo-relational data with their voice machine learning, they could have more quickly identified that these noises were occurring at the same geolocations. This is just an example; Google engineers are WAY smarter than myself and have surely thought of much better solutions.


Google leverages entity graphs similarly for search

Google leverages relational data (in a very similarly way to the above example) to form better understandings of digital objects to help provide the most relevant search results.

A kind of scary example of this is Google’s Expander: A large-scale ML platform to “exploit relationships between data objects.”

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 11.39.57 PM.png

Machine learning is typically “supervised” (training data is provided, which is more common) or “unsupervised” (no training data). Expander, however, is “semi-supervised,” meaning that it’s bridging the gap between provided and not-provided data. ← SEO pun intended!

Expander leverages a large, graph-based system to infer relationships between datasets. Ever wonder why you start getting ads about a product you started emailing your friend about?

Expander is bridging the gap between platforms to better understand online data and is only going to get better.


Relational entity graphs for search

Here is a slide from a Google I/O 2016 talk that showcases a relational word graph for search results:

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 11.24.47 PM.png

Slide from Breakthroughs in Machine Learning Google I/O 2016 video.

Solid edges represent stronger relationships between nodes than the dotted lines. The above example shows there is a strong relationship between “What are the traditions of halloween” and “halloween tradition,” which makes sense. People searching for either of those would each be satisfied by quality content about “halloween traditions.”

Edge strength can also be determined by distributional similarity, lexical similarity, similarity based on word embeddings, etc.


Infinite PAA machine learning hypothesis:

Google is providing additional PAAs based on the strongest relational edges to the expanded query.

You can continue to see this occur in infinite PAAs datasets. When a word with two lexical similarities overlaps the suggested PAAs, the topic changes because of it:

Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 7.21.58 PM.png

The above topic change occurred through a series of small relational suggestions. A PAA above this screenshot was “What is SMO stands for?” (not a typo, just a neural network doing its best people!) which led to “What is the meaning of SMO?”, to “What is a smo brace?” (for ankles).

This immediately made me think of the relational word graph and what I envision Google is doing:

I hope my parents hang this on their fridge.

My hypothesis is that the machine learning model computes that because I’m interested in “SMO,” I might also be interested in ankle brace “SMO.”

There are ways for SEOs and digital marketers to leverage topical relevance and capture PAAs opportunities.


4 ways to optimize for machine learning & expand your topical reach for PAAs:

Topical connections can always be made within your content, and by adding additional high quality topically related content, you can strengthen your content’s edges (and expand your SERP real estate). Here are some quick and easy ways to discover related topics:

#1: Quickly discover Related Topics via MozBar

MozBar is a free SEO browser add-on that allows you to do quick SEO analysis of web pages and SERPs. The On-Page Content Suggestions feature is a quick and simple way to find other topics related to your page.

Step 1: Activate MozBar on the page you are trying to expand your keyword reach with, and click the Page Optimization:

Beginner's Guide To SEO Mozbar.png

Step 2: Enter in the word you are trying to expand your keyword reach with:

seo-browser-tool.png

Step 3: Click On-Page Content Suggestions for your full list of related keyword topics.

seo-toolbar.png

Step 4: Evaluate which related keywords can be incorporated naturally into your current on-page content. In this case, it would be beneficial to incorporate “seo tutorial,” “seo tools,” and “seo strategy” into the Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

mozbar related keywords seo.png

Step 5: Some may seem like an awkward add to the page, like “seo services” and “search engine ranking,” but are relevant to the products/services that you offer. Try adding these topics to a better-fit page, creating a new page, or putting together a strong FAQ with other topically related questions.


#2: Wikipedia page + SEOBook Keyword Density Checker*

Let’s say you’re trying to expand your topical keywords in an industry you’re not very familiar with, like “roof repair.” You can use this free hack to pull in frequent and related topics.

Step 1: Find and copy the roof Wikipedia page URL.

Step 2: Paste the URL into SEOBook’s Keyword Density Checker:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 6.15.51 AM.png

Step 3: Hit submit and view the most commonly used words on the Wikipedia page:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 6.12.59 AM.png

Step 4: You can dive even deeper (and often more topically related) by clicking on the “Links” tab to evaluate the anchor text of on-page Wikipedia links. If a subtopic is important enough, it will likely have another page to link to:

keyword density links.png

Step 5: Use any appropriate keyword discoveries to create stronger topic-based content ideas.

*This tactic was mentioned in Experts On The Wire episode on keyword research tools.


#3: Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a great free resource to discover questions around a particular topic. Just remember to change your country if you’re not seeking results from the UK (the default).

Step 1: Enter in your keyword/topic and select your country:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 6.39.14 AM.png

Step 2: Explore the visualization of questions people are asking about your keyword:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 6.40.12 AM.png

Doesn’t this person look like they’re admiring themselves in a mirror (or taking a selfie)? A magnifying glass doesn’t work from that distance, people!

Note: Not all questions will be relevant to your research, like “why roof of mouth hurts” and “why roof of mouth itches.”Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 6.40.43 AM.png

Step 3: Scroll back up to the top to export the data to CSV by clicking the big yellow button (top right corner):

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 12.32.56 PM.png

The magnifying glass looks much larger here… perhaps it would work at that distance?

Step 4: Clean up the data and upload the queries to your favorite keyword research tool (Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner, etc.) to discover search volume and SERP feature data, like featured snippets, reviews, related questions (PAA boxes), etc.

Note: Google’s Keyword Planner does not support SERP features data and provides vague, bucket-based search volume.


#4: Keyword research “only questions”

Moz Keyword Explorer provides an “only questions” filter to uncover potential PAA opportunities.

Step 1: Enter your keyword into KWE:

best keyword research tool.png

Step 2: Click Keyword Suggestions:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 12.53.26 PM.png

Step 3: Filter by “are questions”:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 12.51.59 PM.png

Pro tip: Find grouped question keyword opportunities by grouping keywords by “low lexical similarity” and ordering them from highest search volume to lowest:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 12.52.28 PM.png

Step 4: Select keywords and add to a new or previous list:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 1.14.49 PM.png

Step 5: Once in a list, KWE will tell you how many “related questions” (People Also Ask boxes) opportunities are within your list. In this case, we have 18:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 1.27.03 PM.png

Step 6: Export your keyword list to a Campaign in Moz Pro:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 1.33.15 PM.png

Step 7: Filter SERP Features by “Related Questions” to view PAA box opportunities:

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 1.35.02 PM.png

Step 8: Explore current PAA box opportunities and evaluate where you currently rank for “Related Questions” keywords. If you’re on page 1, you have a better chance of stealing a PAA box.

+Evaluate what other SERP features are present on these SERPs. Here, Dr. Pete tells me that I might be able to get a reviews rich snippet for “gutter installation”. Thanks, Dr. Pete!

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 1.36.02 PM.png

Hopefully, this research can help energize you to do topical research of your own to grab some relevant PAAs! PAAs aren’t going away anytime soon and I’m so excited for us to learn more about them.

Please share your PAA experiences, questions, or comments below.

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How to Prioritize Your Link Building Efforts & Opportunities – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

We all know how effective link building efforts can be, but it can be an intimidating, frustrating process — and sometimes even a chore. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand builds out a framework you can start using today to streamline and simplify the link building process for you, your teammates, and yes, even your interns.

Prioritize your link building efforts and opportunities

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. As you can see, I’m missing my moustache, but never mind. We’ve got tons of important things to get through, and so we’ll leave the facial hair to the inevitable comments.

I want to talk today about how to prioritize your link building efforts and opportunities. I think this comes as a big challenge for many marketers and SEOs because link building can just seem so daunting. So it’s tough to know how to get started, and then it’s tough to know once you’ve gotten into the practice of link building, how do you build up a consistent, useful system to do it? That’s what I want to walk you through today.

Step 1: Tie your goals to the link’s potential value

So first off, step one. What I’m going to ask you to do is tie your SEO goals to the reasons that you’re building links. So you have some reason that you want links. It is almost certainly to accomplish one of these five things. There might be other things on the list too, but it’s almost always one of these areas.

  • A) Rank higher for keyword X. You’re trying to get links that point to a particular page on your site, that contain a particular anchor text, so that you can rank better for that. Makes total sense. There we go.
  • B) You want to grow the ranking authority of a particular domain, your website, or maybe a subdomain on your website, or a subfolder of that website. Google does sort of have some separate considerations for different folders and subdomains. So you might be trying to earn links to those different sections to help grow those. Pretty similar to (A), but not necessarily as much of a need to get the direct link to the exact URL.
  • C) Sending real high-value traffic from the ranking page. So maybe it’s the case that this link you’re going after is no followed or it doesn’t pass ranking influence, for some reason — it’s JavaScript or it’s an advertising link or whatever it is — but it does pass real visitors who may buy from you, or amplify you, or be helpful to achieving your other business goals.
  • D) Growing topical authority. So this is essentially saying, “Hey, around this subject area or keyword area, I know that my website needs some more authority. I’m not very influential in this space yet, at least not from Google’s perspective. If I can get some of these links, I can help to prove to Google and, potentially, to some of these visitors, as well, that I have some subject matter authority in this space.”
  • E) I want to get some visibility to an amplification-likely or a high-value audience. So this would be things like a lot of social media sites, a lot of submission type sites, places like a Product Hunt or a Reddit, where you’re trying to get in front of an audience, that then might come to your site and be likely to amplify it if they love what they see.

Okay. So these are our goals.

Step 2: Estimate the likelihood that the link target will influence that goal

Second, I’m going to ask you to estimate the likelihood that the link target will pass value to the page or to the section of your site. This relies on a bunch of different judgments.

You can choose whether you want to wrap these all up in sort of a single number that you estimate, maybe like a 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all valuable, and 10 is super, super valuable. Or you could even take a bunch of these metrics and actually use them directly, so things like domain authority, or linking root domains to the URL, or page authority, the content relevance.

You could be asking:

  • Is this a nofollowed or a followed link?
  • Is it passing the anchor text that I’m looking for or anchor text that I control or influence at all?
  • Is it going to send me direct traffic?

If the answers to these are all positive, that’s going to bump that up, and you might say, “Wow, this is high authority. It’s passing great anchor text. It’s sending me good traffic. It’s a followed link. The relevance is high. I’m going to give this a 10.”

Or that might not be the case. This might be low authority. Maybe it is followed, but the relevance is not quite there. You don’t control the anchor text, and so anchor text is just the name of your brand, or it just says “site” or something like that. It’s not going to send much traffic. Maybe that’s more like a three.

Then you’re going to ask a couple of questions about the page that they’re linking to or your website.

  • Is that the right page on your site? If so, that’s going to bump up this number. If it’s not, it might bring it down a little bit.
  • Does it have high relevance? If not, you may need to make some modifications or change the link path.
  • Is there any link risk around this? So if this is a — let’s put it delicately — potentially valuable, but also potentially risky page, you might want to reduce the value in there.

I’ll leave it up to you to determine how much link risk you’re willing to take in your link building profile. Personally, I’m willing to accept none at all.

Step 3: Build a prioritization spreadsheet

Then step three, you build a prioritization spreadsheet that looks something like this. So you have which goal or goals are being accomplished by acquiring this link. You have the target and the page on your site. You’ve got your chance of earning that link. That’s going to be something you estimate, and over time you’ll get better and better at this estimation. Same with the value. We talked about using a number out of 10 over here. You can do that in this column, or you could just take a bunch of these metrics and shove them all into the spreadsheet if you prefer.

Then you have the tactic you’re going to pursue. So this is direct outreach, this one’s submit and hope that it does well, and who it’s assigned to. Maybe it’s only you because you’re the only link builder, or maybe you have a number of people in your organization, or PR people who are going to do outreach, or someone, a founder or an executive who has a connection to some of these folks, and they’re going to do the outreach, whatever the case.

Then you can start to prioritize. You can build that prioritization by doing one of a couple things. You could take some amalgamation of these numbers, so like a high chance of earning and a high estimated value. We’ll do some simple multiplication, and we’ll make that our prioritization. Or you might give different goals. Like you might say, “Hey, you know what? (A) is worth a lot more to me right now than (C). So, therefore, I’m going to rank the ones that are the (A) goal much higher up.” That is a fine way to go about this as well. Then you can sort your spreadsheet in this fashion and go down the list. Start at the top, work your way down, and start checking off links as you get them or don’t get them. That’s a pretty high percentage, I’m doing real well here. But you get the idea.

This turns link building from this sort of questionable, frustrating, what should I do next, am I following the right path, into a simple process that not only can you follow, but you can train other people to follow. This is really important, because link building is an essential part of SEO, still a very valuable part of SEO, but it’s also a slog. So, to the degree that you can leverage other help in your organization, hire an intern and help train them up, work with your PR teams and have them understand it, have multiple people in the organization all sharing this spreadsheet, all understanding what needs to be done next, that is a huge help.

I look forward to hearing about your link building prioritization, goals, what you’ve seen work well, what metrics you’ve used. We will see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Linking Internally and Externally from Your Site – Dangers, Opportunities, Risk and Reward – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

[Estimated read time: 9 minutes]

Navigating linking practices can be a treacherous process. Sometimes it feels like a penalty is lurking around every corner. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand talks about the ins and outs of linking internally and externally, identifying pitfalls and opportunities both.

Linking Internally and Externally from Your Site: Dangers, Opportunities, Risk and Reward Whiteboard

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 we’re chatting about linking externally and linking internally, and some of the risks and rewards that are involved.

So some of you probably have seen April 11th, Google made this big move. They sent out a bunch of penalties to, well, a noticeably large number of websites — it was covered on a bunch of the SEO forums and in the SEO news — basically saying, this is Google sending out these warnings saying, “You are linking to unnatural looking sites or in unnatural patterns, and we’ve noticed and we think that those links shouldn’t be there. We may be penalizing your site, or we may not be passing PageRank or other types of link mechanisms, link value through your website anymore.”

This isn’t the first time Google has done this. They’ve done it many, many times over the last 10, 15 years. We’ve seen plenty of this. This was just another explosion in that.

It is also the case that we’ve seen some other cool things on the other side of the aisle, which is Google rewarding internal links in a way we had not seen previously. In fact, some cool experiments were done recently — hopefully they’ll be made public soon, and then we can link over to them — around internal links and the power that internal links still have.

So we know that it still matters and it’s still important to consider who we link to and what we link to from our sites and pages. So I thought maybe we’d talk through a few of those scenarios.

1) When you’re linking to external sites and pages.

Let’s say I’ve got my mobile phones compared website here. It is actually a very positive thing to link out to places like the official website of maybe Samsung’s S7, or to link out to the Engadget review if I’m collecting a bunch of reviews and aggregating that data there to give the reference point. This is positive.

However, if I’m linking, let’s say I’m getting some affiliate value or someone’s paid me to link, or I’m linking to the site because it turns out that I own it or someone connected to me owns it and I’m getting some benefit from it, this “mobile info 4 UR life,” maybe that could be a little suspicious.

It is the case, it is true and we’ve seen plenty of evidence to support this. I think ever since Marshall Simmonds from Define came in here many years ago and did his Whiteboard Friday about how The New York Times saw so much benefit from linking out, lots of folks have been investigating that and seen that benefit repeated over and over. So good external pointing links can give a boost to your site’s relevance, to how search engines consider you, and even to your rankings. Linking out is a positive thing.

It’s also the case that sites and pages that link out tend to earn more links back in, which seems obvious. They’re more helpful and relevant to people, they can serve as better resources, and it’s also the case that often that’s a very direct correlation because linking out might drive traffic to other websites who then notice it and say, “Oh yeah, I’d like to check you out. I might link to you.”

Engadget might see my link and say, “Oh, you guys do a great job of that comparison stuff. Maybe we’ll link to one of those in a future blog post that we do.” Or Samsung might see our comparison and say, “Hey, that’s some pretty cool data you’ve got. Do you think we could partner with you on a future research project and maybe we’d link to you from that project?” Very cool things.

That said, manipulative linking is dangerous. This is sort of the inverse of what we classically think of as link penalties, where we’ve gotten links that have pushed us up in the rankings, and they are from bad places, linking out to bad places or to good places for bad reasons, bad reasons being manipulative reasons, someone’s paid you, you’re getting some benefit from it. Google recently, a few months ago, made this announcement around how if bloggers are receiving free items from companies, and then they’re linking back to those products, that could be penalized or could be perceived as violating FTC rules if there’s not an advertisement or advertorial sponsor message on there. So all kinds of things here.

2) Linking to internal pages or other sites you own or control.

All right. Let’s move over to internal links. On internal links, we’ve got a little bit of the same story but with some caveats. So again, my mobile phones compared page is here.

I could be linking off to my own review. I could be linking off to my video category, maybe if I’ve got a video at the bottom of this page. I’m providing navigation. I’m helping visitors go where they want to go. This is a very positive thing. It cannot only help to get those pages indexed and crawled, it may also help them rank higher with a few caveats. So the right internal links, good ones, can have a large positive impact across a big website.

Internal links that tend to perform the best, the ones that help the most tend to be the ones that drive real traffic, and they sort of continue a visitor’s journey. They help people find what they’re looking for, and it’s also the case that the ones that don’t drive traffic, that aren’t perceived as helpful seem to have less of an impact on the pages they link to.

Now, I will point this out. If you’re worried about like, “Oh, should I add one more link on here to another category page, or should I reference another page from here,” you generally don’t need to worry about that. As long as you think that some small portion, even a small portion of your audience would be potentially interested in that and it makes sense from a usability perspective, you should go ahead and add the link. I don’t tend to worry at all about like, “Well, the difference between 52 links on a page and 53 links is those 52 links will get a little bit less PageRank or a little bit less link energy, whatever it is, voting power than the 53rd link.” I would not sweat that at all. Those days are long since gone.

But it is true that internal links tend to have the largest impact on already authoritative sites. If you’ve already got a lot of authority on your site, you can help many of the pages deep in your site structure to get crawled and indexed and to rank better by linking to them. We’ve seen this pretty substantially with some very big websites lately where they’ve gone through these redesigns and had remarkable results.

That said, manipulative links, for example, let’s say I went through and I just wrote a little bot that crawled my entire website, found every instance of the word “LG,” the manufacturer, the phone manufacturer and linked to my LG page. It gets a little manipulative. There’s probably some places where it makes great sense, but every single time the word is mentioned — you’ve probably seen some websites like these, although fewer of them in the last three or four years than in the five years before that when this tactic was really prevalent and Google wasn’t penalizing for it.

We’ve actually seen examples where people removed that, and they made it much more subtle. They only did it on the first instance of the word on a page, and they only did it on category-level pages or blog-level pages, not deeply index pages or paginated versions of things, that kind of stuff. In fact, they saw their rankings rise. I love this. They saw their rankings rise like almost immediately. There was a really a cool example a few years back. I think I might have done a Whiteboard Friday about that (correction: I didn’t do a WB Friday on this topic after all – apologies!).

So with manipulative internal links, especially ones that are stuffed into footers or jammed into every word instance or those kinds of things, Google tends to perceive that as manipulative, which in fact it really is. You’re not doing that for visitor’s benefit. You’re hoping that it helps you with your rankings, and in fact it’s probably doing the opposite.

General rule of thumb: If you can’t find any way to justify how something that you’re doing for SEO also benefits a visitor, maybe you should reconsider it, with a few exceptions. XML sitemaps might be a reasonable one.

It’s the case that oftentimes the ones that are in footers or in structured template areas of a website that tend not to get clicked by people, sometimes a sidebar can do it, sometimes top nav can do it, sometimes even in-content stuff that’s wrapped around can do it, that tends to be the most dangerous places, but it’s not the only kind that gets penalized. In fact, it’s not even always bad.

We’ve seen instances again on very big websites where they’ve done very significant footers and linked off to all their properties that the site or the company owns and controls. We’ve seen it where they use it to get greater indexation, and in fact it’s positive because the footer is well done, because it tends to link to good places, because it’s clearly a high-quality one, and it’s not anchor text stuff. Anchor text is again a big risk here with internal linking.

So this is a very fine line, and it’s a fine meandering line. I can’t give you a clear-cut “never do this, always do this.” It’s a considered process. That’s true for internal linking, and it’s true, maybe a little less true for external linking.

If you’ve got great advice that you’d like to share, or some experiences, or you want us to take a look at some of your internal or external linking practices, feel free to leave a comment. We’ll check them out, and I’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Decoding Keywords To Forecast Marketing Opportunities

Keyword forecasting helps marketers predict keyword-to-content value to find potential customers, create smarter content and predict return on investment. Columnist Thomas Stern explains.

The post Decoding Keywords To Forecast Marketing Opportunities appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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