Tag Archive | "We’re"

Why We’re Doubling Down on the Future of SEO – Moz + STAT

Posted by Dr-Pete

Search is changing. As a 200-person search marketing software company, this isn’t just a pithy intro – it’s a daily threat to our survival. Being an organic search marketer can be frustrating when even a search like “What is SEO?” returns something like this…

…or this…

…or even this…

So, why don’t we just give up on search marketing altogether? If I had to pick just one answer, it’s this – because search still drives the lion’s share of targeted, relevant traffic to business websites (and Google drives the vast majority of that traffic, at least in the US, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe).

We have to do everything better

The answer isn’t to give up – it’s to recognize all of this new complexity, study it, and do our jobs better. Earlier this year, for example, we embarked on a study to understand how SERP features impact click-through rates (CTR). It turns out to be a difficult problem, but even the initial insights of the data were useful (and a bit startling). For example, here’s the average organic (SERPs with no features) curve from that study…

Various studies show the starting point at various places, but the shape itself is consistent and familiar. We know, though, that reducing everything to one average ignores a lot. Here’s a dramatic example. Let’s compare the organic curve to the curve for SERPs with expanded sitelinks (which are highly correlated with dominant and/or branded intent)…

Results with sitelinks in the #1 position have a massive 80% average CTR, with a steep drop to #2. These two curves represent two wildly different animals. Now, let’s look at SERPs with Knowledge Cards (AKA “answer boxes” – Knowledge Graph entities with no organic link)…

The CTR in the #1 organic position drops to almost 1/3 of the organic-only curve, with corresponding drops throughout all positions. Organic opportunity on these SERPs is severely limited.

Opportunity isn’t disappearing, but it is evolving. We have to do better. This is why Moz has teamed up with STAT, and why we’re doubling down on search. We recognize the complexity of SERP analytics in 2018, but we also truly believe that there’s real opportunity for those willing to do the hard work and build better tools.

Doubling down on RANKINGS

It hurts a bit to admit, but there’s been more than once in the past couple of years where a client outgrew Moz for rank tracking. When they did, we had one thing to say to those clients: “We’ll miss you, and you should talk to STAT Search Analytics.” STAT has been a market leader in daily rank tracking, and they take that job very seriously, with true enterprise-scale capabilities and reporting.

For the past couple of years, STAT’s team has also been a generous source of knowledge, and even as competitors our engineering teams have shared intel on Google’s latest changes. As of now, all brakes are off, and we’re going to dive deep into each other’s brains (figuratively, of course – I only take mad science so far) to find out what each team does best. We’re going to work to combine the best of STAT’s daily tracking technology with Moz’s proprietary metrics (such as Keyword Difficulty) to chart the future of rank tracking.

We’ll also be working together to redefine what “ranking” means, in an organic sense. There are multiple SERP features, from Featured Snippets to Video Carousels to People Also Ask boxes that represent significant organic opportunity. STAT and Moz both have a long history of researching these opportunities and recognize the importance of reflecting them in our products.

Doubling down on RESEARCH

One area Moz has excelled at, showcased in the launch and evolution of Keyword Explorer, is keyword research. We’ll be working hard to put that knowledge to work for STAT customers even as we evolve Moz’s own toolsets. We’re already doing work to better understand keyword intent and how it impacts keyword research – beyond semantically related keywords, how do you find the best keywords with local intent or targeted at the appropriate part of the sales funnel? In an age of answer engines, how do you find the best questions to target? Together, we hope to answer these questions in our products.

In August, we literally doubled our keyword corpus in Keyword Explorer to supercharge your keyword research. You can now tap into suggestions from 160 million keywords across the US, Canada, UK, and Australia.

Beyond keywords, Moz and STAT have both been market leaders in original industry research, and we’ll be stronger together. We’re going to have access to more data and more in-house experts, and we’ll be putting that data to work for the search industry.

Doubling down on RESULTS

Finally, we recognize that SERP analytics are much more than just a number from 1–50. You need to understand how results drive clicks, traffic, and revenue. You need to understand your competitive landscape. You need to understand the entire ecosystem of keywords, links, and on-page SEO, and how those work together. By combining STAT’s enterprise-level analytics with Moz’s keyword research, link graph, and technical SEO tools (including both Site Crawl and On-demand Crawl), we’re going to bring you the tools you need to demonstrate and drive bottom-line results.

In the short-term, we’re going to be listening and learning from each other, and hopefully from you (both our community and our customers). What’s missing in your search marketing workflow today? What data do you love in Moz or STAT that’s missing from the other side? How can we help you do your job better? Let us know in the comments.

If you’d like to be notified of future developments, join our Moz+STAT Search Analytics mailing list (sign-up at bottom of page) to find out about news and offers as we roll them out.

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!

Moz Blog

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Moz Acquires STAT Search Analytics: We’re Better Together!

Posted by SarahBird

We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that Moz has acquired STAT Search Analytics!

It’s not hard to figure out why, right? We both share a vision around creating search solutions that will change the industry. We’re both passionate about investing in our customers’ success. Together we provide a massive breadth of high-quality, actionable data and insights for marketers. Combining Moz’s SEO research tools and local search expertise with STAT’s daily localized rankings and SERP analytics, we have the most robust organic search solution in the industry.

I recently sat down with my friend Rob Bucci, our new VP of Research & Development and most recently the CEO of STAT, to talk about how this came to be and what to expect next. Check it out:

You can also read Rob’s thoughts on everything here over on the STAT blog!

With our powers combined…

Over the past few months, Moz’s data has gotten some serious upgrades. Notably, with the launch of our new link index in April, the data that feeds our tools is now 35x larger and 30x fresher than it was before. In August we doubled our keyword corpus and expanded our data for the UK, Canada, and Australia, positioning us to lead the market in keyword research and link building tools. Throughout 2018, we’ve made significant improvements to Moz Local’s UI with a brand-new dashboard, making sure our business listing accuracy tool is as usable as it is useful. Driving the blood, sweat, and tears behind these upgrades is a simple purpose: to provide our customers with the best SEO tools money can buy.

STAT is intimately acquainted with this level of customer obsession. Their team has created the best enterprise-level SERP analysis software on the market. More than just rank tracking, STAT’s data is a treasure trove of consumer research, competitive intel, and the deep search analytics that enable SEOs to level up their game.

Moz + STAT together provide a breadth and depth of data that hasn’t existed before in our industry. Organic search shifts from tactics to strategy when you have this level of insight at your disposal, and we can’t wait to reveal what industry-changing products we’ll build together.

Our shared values and vision

Aside from the technology powerhouse this partnership will build, we also couldn’t have found a better culture fit than STAT. With values like selflessness, ambition, and empathy, STAT embodies TAGFEE. Moz and STAT are elated to be coming together as a single company dedicated to developing the best organic search solutions for our customers while also fostering an awesome culture for our employees.

Innovation awaits!

To Moz and STAT customers: the future is bright. Expect more updates, more innovation, and more high-quality data at your disposal than ever before. As we grow together, you’ll grow with us.

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!

Moz Blog

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Business Intelligence: If only more of our customers were like Larry David

We can’t read customers’ minds, but we can listen attentively to their complaints because they are valuable customer intelligence. It might not matter to us, but if it matters to them it is important. And understanding what customers are thinking is vital to a brand’s success.

MarketingSherpa Blog

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Were You Really Hit By A Search Engine Penalty, Or Is It Something Else?

Often, I’ll speak to prospective clients who think they’ve been hit by an algorithm update or a penalty. They’ve lost a lot of organic traffic, so they immediately think that a search engine change is to blame. Unfortunately, I’ve also run into many situations where SEOs are…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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

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Penguin 2.0/4 – Were You Jarred and/or Jolted?

Posted by Dr. Pete

The long-awaited Penguin 2.0 (also called "Penguin 4") rolled out on Wednesday, May 22nd. Rumor has been brewing for a while that the next Penguin update would be big, and include significant algorithm changes, and Matt Cutts has suggested more than once that major changes are in the works. We wanted to give the dust a day to settle, but this post will review data from our MozCast Google weather stations to see if Penguin 2.0 really lives up to the hype.

Short-Term MozCast Data

First things first – the recorded temperature (algorithm "flux") for May 22nd was 80.7°F. For reference, MozCast is tuned to an average temperature of about 70°, but the reality is that that average has slipped into the high 60s over the past few months. Here's a 7-day history, along with a couple of significant events (including Penguin 1.0):

MozCast Temperatures (for 7 days around Penguin 2.0)

By our numbers, Penguin 2.0 was about on par with the 20th Panda update. Google claimed that Penguin 2.0 impacted about 2.3% of US/English queries, while they clocked Panda #20 at about 2.4% of queries (see my post on how to interpret "X% of queries"). Penguin 1.0 was measured at 3.1% of queries, the highest query impact Google has publicly reported. These three updates seem to line up pretty well between temperature and reported impact, but the reality is that we've seen big differences for other updates, so take that with a grain of salt.

Overall, the picture of Penguin 2.0 in our data confirms an update, but it doesn't seem to be as big as many people expected. Please note that we had a data collection issue on May 20th, so the temperatures for May 20-21 are unreliable. It's possible that Penguin 2.0 rolled out over two days, but we can't confirm that observation.

Temperatures by Category

In addition to the core MozCast data, we have a beta system running 10K keywords distributed across 20 industry categories (based on Google AdWords categories). The average temperature for any given category can vary quite a bit, so I looked at the difference between Penguin 2.0 and the previous 7 days for each category. Here they are, in order by most impacted (1-day/7-day temps in parentheses):

  • 33.0% (80°/60°) – Retailers & General Merchandise
  • 31.2% (81°/62°) – Real Estate
  • 30.8% (90°/69°) – Dining & Nightlife
  • 29.1% (89°/69°) – Internet & Telecom
  • 26.0% (82°/65°) – Law & Government
  • 24.4% (79°/64°) – Finance
  • 23.5% (81°/65°) – Occasions & Gifts
  • 20.8% (88°/73°) – Beauty & Personal Care
  • 17.3% (70°/60°) – Travel & Tourism
  • 15.7% (87°/75°) – Vehicles
  • 15.5% (84°/73°) – Arts & Entertainment
  • 15.4% (72°/62°) – Health
  • 15.0% (83°/72°) – Home & Garden
  • 14.2% (78°/69°) – Family & Community
  • 13.4% (79°/70°) – Apparel
  • 13.1% (78°/69°) – Hobbies & Leisure
  • 12.0% (74°/66°) – Jobs & Education
  • 11.5% (88°/79°) – Sports & Fitness
  • 7.8% (75°/70°) – Food & Groceries
  • -3.7% (70°/73°) – Computers & Consumer Electronics

Retailers and Real Estate came in at the top, with just over 30% higher than average temperatures. Consumer Electronics rounded out the bottom, with slightly lower than average flux, oddly. Of course, split 20 ways, this represents a relatively small number of data points for each category. It's useful for reference, but I wouldn't read too much into these breakdowns.

"Big 20" Sub-domains

Across the beta 10K data-set, we track the top sub-domains by overall share of SERP real-estate. Essentially, we count how many page-1 positions each sub-domain holds and divide it across the entire data set. These were the Big 20 sub-domains for the day after Penguin 2.0 hit, along with their SERP share and 1-day change:

  1. 5.66% (+0.29%) – en.wikipedia.org
  2. 2.35% (-0.75%) – www.amazon.com
  3. 2.22% (+3.11%) – www.youtube.com
  4. 1.49% (+6.05%) – www.facebook.com
  5. 1.35% (-8.11%) – www.yelp.com
  6. 0.84% (+4.77%) – twitter.com
  7. 0.58% (+0.37%) – www.webmd.com
  8. 0.58% (+1.87%) – pinterest.com
  9. 0.52% (+1.24%) – www.walmart.com
  10. 0.49% (+4.54%) – www.tripadvisor.com
  11. 0.47% (+0.45%) – www.foodnetwork.com
  12. 0.47% (-0.44%) – allrecipes.com
  13. 0.44% (+1.98%) – www.ebay.com
  14. 0.41% (-0.76%) – www.mayoclinic.com
  15. 0.38% (+1.72%) – www.target.com
  16. 0.37% (-4.37%) – www.yellowpages.com
  17. 0.37% (+0.58%) – popular.ebay.com
  18. 0.36% (+2.12%) – www.huffingtonpost.com
  19. 0.33% (+3.27%) – www.overstock.com
  20. 0.32% (-0.32%) – www.indeed.com

By percentage change, Yelp was the big day-over-day loser, at -8.11%, and Twitter picked up the highest percentage, at +4.77%. In absolute positions, YouTube picked up the most page-1 rankings, and Yelp was still the biggest loser. Overall, the Big 20 occupied 20.00% of the page-1 real estate the day after Penguin 2.0, up from 19.88% the previous day, picking up a modest number of ranking positions.

3rd-Party Analyses

I'd just like to call out a few analyses that were posted yesterday based on unique data, since there are bound to be a lot of speculative posts in the next few weeks. SearchMetrics posted its Penguin 2.0 biggest losers list, with porn and gaming sites taking the heaviest losses (Search Engine Land provided additional analysis). GetStat.com showed a jump in Top 100 rankings for big brands, but relatively small changes for most sites, and most of those changes on pages 3+ of SERPs.

Most reports yesterday showed relatively modest day-over-day changes (solid evidence of an algorithm update, but not a particularly big update). One exception was Dejan SEO's Australian flux tracker, Algoroo, which showed massive day-over-day flux. We believe that at least two other major algorithm updates have rolled out in May in the US, so it's possible that multiple updates were combined and hit other countries simultaneously. This is purely speculative, but no other reports seem to suggest changes on the scale of the Australian data.

The May 9th Update

I'd like to also call out an unconfirmed algorithm update in early May. There was a period of heavy flux for a few days at the beginning of the month, which was backed up by webmaster chatter and other 3rd-party reports. Temperatures on May 9th reached 83.3°F. The MozCast 7-day graph appears below:

May 9th Algo Update

The temperature spike on May 5th is unconfirmed, and may have been a test across a small number of data centers (unfortunately, our 10K data for that day was running a separate test and so we can't compare the two data sets). Reports of updates popped up across this time period, but our best guess is May 9th. Interestingly, traffic to MozCast tends to reveal when people suspect an update and are looking for confirmation, and the traffic pattern shows a similar trend:

MozCast May Traffic

Traffic data also suggest that May 5th was probably an anomaly. Private data from multiple SEOs shows sites gradually losing traffic over a couple of days in this period. Unfortunately, we have no clear explanation at this time, and I do not believe that this was directly related to Penguin 2.0. Google did roll out a domain crowding update at some point in the past couple of weeks, which may be connected to the early May data, but we don't have solid evidence either way. At this point, though, I strongly believe that the data indicates a significant algorithm update around May 9th.

Were You Hit by Penguin 2.0?

It's important to keep in mind that all of this is aggregate data. Algorithm updates are like unemployment rates. If the unemployment rate is 10%, the reality for any individual is still binary – you either have a job or you don't. You can weather 20% unemployment if you have a job (although you may worry more), and 5% unemployment is little comfort if you're jobless. I don't want to suggest any lack of empathy for those hit by Penguin 2.0 by suggesting that the update was relatively small, but overall the impact seems to be less jarring and jolting than many people feared. If you were hit, please share your story in the comments.

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!

SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

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We’re Going Google…

In the search ecosystem Google controls the relevancy algorithms (& the biases baked into those) as well as the display of advertisements and the presentation of content. They also control (or restrict) the flow of marketable data.

For example, a publisher might not get keyword referral data on organic search, but Google passes that data on via advertisements & passes a large amount of data on through their ad network to other ad networks. Consider this:

a DoubleClick tag on the site sent data to two other companies that collect it for various purposes — Rubicon and Casale Media, representing a “hop.” In a subsequent hop, Casale transferred the IMDB data to BlueKai, Optimax and Brandscreen, while Rubicon pushed it to TargusInfo, RocketFuel, Platform 161, Efficient Frontier and the AMP Platform. AMP then sent the data on to AppNexus and back to DoubleClick.

For about a decade being relevant & focused created efficiencies that more than offset any “size = quality” biases that the Google engineers created. However across many verticals that window is closing & it is never a good idea to wait until it is fully closed to adjust. ;)

This shift from relevancy to “size = quality” can be seen in the stock performance of mid-market companies like BankRate & Quinstreet.

Those companies were laser focused on the markets that have significant consumer intent & traffic value, but Google has eroded the affiliate base & ad networks of many of the direct marketing plays for a couple years straight now.

If Google’s algorithmic biases are strong enough to literally move the market on companies worth hundreds of millions to billions of Dollars, one is naive to swim against the tide. The market is becoming more bifurcated.

This is why it is so hard to find a great SEO to recommend for small businesses. If that SEO really knows what they are doing & understands the market dynamics, then they probably won’t serve the small business end of the market very long, or if they do, they will do so in a way where their continued flow of payments is not tied to performance. It is hard to have a sustainable business operating in a closed ecosystem if you are swimming in the opposite direction of that ecosystem.

In terms of our membership site here, a good slice of our customer base is the expert end of the market.

It is a tiny sliver of the market, but it is a segment that is somewhat well aligned with independent affiliate types & the sort of direct marketing relevancy-minded folks that Google has spent a couple years trying to marginalize as they cater to branded advertisers. We could try to shift our site to make it more mass market, but I prefer to run a site where we both learn & teach, and fear that moving to lower the barrier to entry and push more mass market will destroy what makes the membership site unique & valuable in the first place.

In early Google research they warned about relevancy shifting toward the interest of advertisers.

Currently, the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users. For example, in our prototype search engine one of the top results for cellular phone is “The Effect of Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver Attention”, a study which explains in great detail the distractions and risk associated with conversing on a cell phone while driving. This search result came up first because of its high importance as judged by the PageRank algorithm, an approximation of citation importance on the web [Page, 98]. It is clear that a search engine which was taking money for showing cellular phone ads would have difficulty justifying the page that our system returned to its paying advertisers. For this type of reason and historical experience with other media [Bagdikian 83], we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers.

Perform that same cellular phone search today & that original cited page is nowhere to be found. Today that same search includes Wal-Mart, T-mobile, Samsung, Amazon.com, Best Buy & other well known brands. Search for the more common phrase cell phones & you get the same brands plus local results and shopping results. Awareness is replacing precision.

I think Gabe Newell described it best:

Closed platforms increase the chunk size of competition & increase the cost of market entry, so people who have good ideas, it is a lot more expensive for their productivity to be monetized. They also don’t like standardization … it looks like rent seeking behaviors on top of friction

As Google makes search more complex & mixes in more signals, it is becoming harder to win at the game if your operation is singularly focused on SEO & it is becoming easier to win if your business already has a strong footprint in many other channels which bleeds into your search profile. The following chart is conceptual, but it aims to get the issue across.

If one company is spending significant capital & effort trying to combat the Panda algorithm & another company automatically sees a ranking boost from Panda, then the company with the boost is typically going to see greater ROI from any further investments in SEO.

Having spilled all the above digital ink, back in 2007 we decided to shift away from an ebook model to run a membership site. On and off over the years we have done a bit of consulting outside of running this site, but haven’t put significant emphasis on it over the past couple years as we were pushing hard to keep up with the algorithms & keep this site growing. With all the above shifts in place we recently decided to offer SEO consulting again.

Some FAQs on that front…

  • If we work with you, who will be working on our project? The same people who write on the blog & run the community: Peter Da Vanzo, Eric Covino & Aaron Wall.
  • How many clients will you work with? Just a handful at any given time. We prefer to have a deep integration with a few clients rather than a bulk model.
  • Who are ideal clients? Those who know the value of search traffic & already have some general awareness & momentum in the marketplace. Examples of companies we have worked with in the past include: large ecommerce companies, tier 1 web portals, strong start ups & hedge funds invested in the web. Many of these clients already had an in-house SEO team & some were just actively beginning to leverage search.
  • I have a tiny company with a small budget. Could I still work with you? In some cases there might be a fit, but if you feel our consulting is beyond your budget you can of course still join our membership website. Consulting is for those who want a deeper engagement than we can provide through our current membership site model.
  • Can you name some past clients? For the most part, no. Our consulting projects typically come with nondisclosure agreements.
  • Can you fill out an RFP? Most likely not. If you are still shopping around for an SEO, we are probably not going to be a great fit. But if you have known of us for years & know you want to work with us, do get in touch.

SEO Book.com

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If You Were a Social Network, Which Would You Be? [Decision Tree]

which social network are you quizintroductory3

With more and more social networks popping up over the years, marketers continue to ask, “why do we need another one?!” Truth is, each network (at least the ones that last) truly does serve its own purpose, because they each have a distinct audience! But instead of sitting down and trying to figure out which is right for your business … let’s just have a little fun?

Have you ever wondered which social network fits your personality? Follow the flowchart below to see where your persona aligns with five of the most popular social networks. And when answering, try to really get in touch with your inner social media self. You know, be real … just like you are on social media ;-)

social personas flowchart which social network are you hubspot


So, spill it. Which social network are you?




HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

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Facebook Radically Changes ‘Reach’ Metric: How You Were Affected

social reach facebookintroductory3

Have you checked out your Facebook Insights lately? Did you notice that your ‘Reach’ number was a little out of whack? Did you freak out?

If you didn’t get Facebook’s notice that they changed the way they calculate your reach, then your freak-out is justified. That’s right, Facebook has changed its definition of Reach (thanks, Marketing Pilgrim, for breaking the news to us). This means you should be looking at your Facebook Insights analytics a little bit differently now. Let’s break down what the changes are, and how it affects your Facebook marketing strategy.

Read the full story

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We’re looking for an SEO Consultant (product manager)

Author (displayed on the page): 

Wordtracker has had a strong presence in the SEO community since before Google was a search engine.

We’re best known for our Keywords tool. But, if you’ve used the tool recently, you’ll know that it’s showing its age.

Which is why we are looking for an experienced SEO to help us build a new suite of SEO tools that will help our users with all aspects of their search marketing. Our aim is not only to make keyword research simpler, but also link building, analytics, and PPC.

This is an exciting opportunity for you to lead the development of SEO tools that will be used by thousands of people around the world. You will be responsible for generating product ideas, outlining a clear development plan, and building a community around our products.

For the right person, this will be a career-making role. You will get great exposure and be able to establish yourself as a leading figure in the search marketing community.

The ideal candidate will be:

  • An in-house SEO with an in-depth understanding of search marketing …
  • Or an SEO specialist in an agency

Either way, you must have an entrepreneurial approach and a passion for creating new SEO products.

You should have:

  • A desire to work and develop within a fast-moving environment where SEO is at the heart of the business
  • A long-term position under your belt, with first-hand SEO responsibility, and several years’ experience
  • A track record of delivering results either on client side or agency side – we’ll be looking for evidence of your achievements
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • First rate communication skills, written and oral
  • A good sense of humour and the desire to work in a small, fast moving team

Our audience consists of SEO agencies and small and medium-sized business. So, you must be as comfortable explaining SEO concepts to novices as you are when talking to the professionals.

At Wordtracker we offer a great company culture and an established technical infrastructure. You’ll be working with one of the best and brightest Rails development teams in London. It’s a casual environment with flexible working hours. We work hard, occasionally putting in long days, but also have fun.

You will be based in a modern open plan office – with exposed brickwork, lots of space and plenty of natural light – in north London (Kentish Town, about five minutes walk from the tube).

You will be provided with staff fruit box and snacks, lunch on Friday, and more importantly a contributory pension, which all add up to Wordtracker being a great place to work.

The successful applicant will report to the company’s CEO.

Salary: £35,000-£40,000 plus a generous holiday allowance (23 days a year).

If you feel you have what it takes to make this role a success please send your CV along with a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the role to justin@wordtracker.com

Wordtracker Blog

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The Five Linking Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Posted by Josh Gill

External linking is an essential part of an effective SEO strategy. It is also, arguably, one of the most challenging aspects. Take a look at five common mistakes SEOs make when developing a linking strategy.

#1- Judging a Site’s Authority by PageRank Alone:
Good link building strategies aim at getting a links from a diverse array of websites and as with most things in life, all websites are not created equal. How do you judge a good website?

The answer is authority. PageRank is a popular metric used to judge a sites authority. However, pagerank can be misleading. It is unclear exactly how a sites pagerank affects a sites position in the SERP. PageRank is also only updated about once a quarter, if that. Don’t completely ignore pagerank but be aware of its limitations and use additional factors to measure a sites authority. SEOmoz has two helpful metrics, mozRank and mozTrust. Also look at how humans view a site, start by looking over the comments, user ratings or anything else that will tell you how internet users judge the site.

Here are some additional questions to ask yourself:

  • Does the site feel like a trusted site?
  • Does the site have readers who take the content seriously?
  • The site has authority, but is it a relevant site to my website/client/topic?

#2 Building Links with Only One Keyword or Keyword Phrase:
The goal of successful link building strategy is a natural link profile. If 1,000 people link to your site it’s probably safe to assume that they won’t all use the same keyword phrase.

While most SEOs may know this, if you aren’t conscious of it with each link you will, like most SEOs, use your primary keyword as much as possible. Keep track of the anchor text that you are using, make sure that there is a mixture of anchor text containing: brand name, website address, secondary keyword phrases, click here etc. This also opens up the opportunity to link with secondary keywords to interior pages of your site.

#3 Aiming for a Billion Links!
How many links does a site need to be competitive? Your competitive research holds the key to determine this. If your top competitors average 1,000 links, aim for what you need to be competitive. Set your goal number of links 2-5 percent more than your competition.

This way you can maximize the efficiency of your SEO activities and properly scale your link building techniques. If you don’t set a goal number based on competition you could be spending too much time on link building instead beefing up the on page optimization or focusing on social media.

#4 Only Link to Your Homepage:
Attract links to a variety of pages on your site. If you have a good internal linking structure linking to any page will increase the overall pagerank of the system; strengthening all the pages in your website. Additionally, it will help you rank for more keywords and drive more traffic to your site. It also forces you to think of the user; will linking to an internal page provide more value to the target audience for the content.

#5 Analyze Competitors Backlinks Who Don’t Rank for your Target Keywords:
Often the top five competitors in an industry may not be the top five sites in the SERP. Conduct a search for your terms, analyze and review the linking activities of the sites that show up in the top five positions.

For the overall marketing direction it is good to review the on and offline marketing activities of the industry leaders. But only through focused, competitive research based on the most visible sites in the SERP, will you get a sense of what linking activities your site needs to be competitive.

External linking is constantly changing, but if you focus on building a balanced link profile that helps Internet users find the valuable content on your website then you will come out ahead in the long run. Kelvin Newman wrote a link building book called Clockwork Pirate that offers a complete list of linking techniques and the best way to approach them.

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