Using the Flowchart Method for Diagnosing Ranking Drops — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KameronJenkins

Being able to pinpoint the reason for a ranking drop is one of our most perennial and potentially frustrating tasks as SEOs, especially in 2020. There are an unknowable number of factors that go into ranking these days, but luckily the methodology for diagnosing those fluctuations is readily at hand. In this popular Whiteboard Friday, the wonderful Kameron Jenkins shows us a structured way to diagnose ranking drops using a flowchart method and critical thinking.

Flowchart method for diagnosing ranking drops

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Video Transcription

Hey, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins. I am the new SEO Wordsmith here at Moz, and I’m so excited to be here. Before this, I worked at an agency for about six and a half years. I worked in the SEO department, and really a common thing we encountered was a client’s rankings dropped. What do we do?

This flowchart was kind of built out of that mentality of we need a logical workflow to be able to diagnose exactly what happened so we can make really pointed recommendations for how to fix it, how to get our client’s rankings back. So let’s dive right in. It’s going to be a flowchart, so it’s a little nonlinear, but hopefully this makes sense and helps you work smarter rather than harder.

Was it a major ranking drop?: No

The first question I’d want to ask is: Was their rankings drop major? By major, I would say that’s something like page 1 to page 5 overnight. Minor would be something like it just fell a couple positions, like position 3 to position 5.

We’re going to take this path first. It was minor.

Has there been a pattern of decline lasting about a month or greater?

That’s not a magic number. A month is something that you can use as a benchmark. But if there’s been a steady decline and it’s been one week it’s position 3 and then it’s position 5 and then position 7, and it just keeps dropping over time, I would consider that a pattern of decline.

So if no, I would actually say wait.

  • Volatility is normal, especially if you’re at the bottom of page 1, maybe page 2 plus. There’s going to be a lot more shifting of the search results in those positions. So volatility is normal.
  • Keep your eyes on it, though. It’s really good to just take note of it like, “Hey, we dropped. Okay, I’m going to check that again next week and see if it continues to drop, then maybe we’ll take action.”
  • Wait it out. At this point, I would just caution against making big website updates if it hasn’t really been warranted yet. So volatility is normal. Expect that. Keep your finger on the pulse, but just wait it out at this point.

If there has been a pattern of decline though, I’m going to have you jump to the algorithm update section. We’re going to get there in a second. But for now, we’re going to go take the major rankings drop path.

Was it a major ranking drop?: Yes

The first question on this path that I’d want to ask is:

Was there a rank tracking issue?

Now, some of these are going seem pretty basic, like how would that ever happen, but believe me it happens every once in a while. So just before we make major updates to the website, I’d want to check the rank tracking.

I. The wrong domain or URL.

That can be something that happens a lot. A site maybe you change domains or maybe you move a page and that old page of that old domain is still listed in your ranking tracker. If that’s the case, then the rank tracking tool doesn’t know which URL to judge the rankings off of. So it’s going to look like maybe you dropped to position 10 overnight from position 1, and that’s like, whoa, that’s a huge update. But it’s actually just that you have the wrong URL in there. So just check that. If there’s been a page update, a domain update, check to make sure that you’ve updated your rank tracker.

II. Glitches.

So it’s software, it can break. There are things that could cause it to be off for whatever reason. I don’t know how common that is. It probably is totally dependent on which kind of software you use. But glitches do happen, so I would manually check your rankings.

III. Manually check rankings.

One way I would do that is…

  • Go to incognito in Google and make sure you’re logged out so it’s not personalized. I would search the term that you’re wanting to rank for and see where you’re actually ranking.
  • Google’s Ad Preview tool. That one is really good too if you want to search where you’re ranking locally so you can set your geolocation. You could do mobile versus desktop rankings. So it could be really good for things like that.
  • Crosscheck with another tool, like Moz’s tool for rank tracking. You can pop in your URLs, see where you’re ranking, and cross-check that with your own tool.

So back to this. Rank tracking issues. Yes, you found your problem. If it was just a rank tracking tool issue, that’s actually great, because it means you don’t have to make a lot of changes. Your rankings actually haven’t dropped. But if that’s not the issue, if there is no rank tracking issue that you can pinpoint, then I would move on to Google Search Console.

Problems in Google Search Console?

So Google Search Console is really helpful for checking site health matters. One of the main things I would want to check in there, if you experience a major drop especially, is…

I. Manual actions.

If you navigate to Manual Actions, you could see notes in there like unnatural links pointing to your site. Or maybe you have thin or low-quality content on your site. If those things are present in your Manual Actions, then you have a reference point. You have something to go off of. There’s a lot of work involved in lifting a manual penalty that we can’t get into here unfortunately. Some things that you can do to focus on manual penalty lifting…

  • Moz’s Link Explorer. You can check your inbound links and see their spam score. You could look at things like anchor text to see if maybe the links pointing to your site are keyword stuffed. So you can use tools like that.
  • There are a lot of good articles too, in the industry, just on getting penalties lifted. Marie Haynes especially has some really good ones. So I would check that out.

But you have found your problem if there’s a manual action in there. So focus on getting that penalty lifted.

II. Indexation issues.

Before you move out of Search Console, though, I would check indexation issues as well. Maybe you don’t have a manual penalty. But go to your index coverage report and you can see if anything you submitted in your sitemap is maybe experiencing issues. Maybe it’s blocked by robots.txt, or maybe you accidentally no indexed it. You could probably see that in the index coverage report. Search Console, okay. So yes, you found your problem. No, you’re going to move on to algorithm updates.

Algorithm updates

Algorithm updates happen all the time. Google says that maybe one to two happen per day. Not all of those are going to be major. The major ones, though, are listed. They’re documented in multiple different places. Moz has a really good list of algorithm updates over time. You can for sure reference that. There are going to be a lot of good ones. You can navigate to the exact year and month that your site experienced a rankings drop and see if it maybe correlates with any algorithm update.

For example, say your site lost rankings in about January 2017. That’s about the time that Google released its Intrusive Interstitials Update, and so I would look on my site, if that was the issue, and say, “Do I have intrusive interstitials? Is this something that’s affecting my website?”

If you can match up an algorithm update with the time that your rankings started to drop, you have direction. You found an issue. If you can’t match it up to any algorithm updates, it’s finally time to move on to site updates.

Site updates

What changes happened to your website recently? There are a lot of different things that could have happened to your website. Just keep in mind too that maybe you’re not the only one who has access to your website. You’re the SEO, but maybe tech support has access. Maybe even your paid ad manager has access. There are a lot of different people who could be making changes to the website. So just keep that in mind when you’re looking into it. It’s not just the changes that you made, but changes that anyone made could affect the website’s ranking. Just look into all possible factors.

Other factors that can impact rankings

A lot of different things, like I said, can influence your site’s rankings. A lot of things can inadvertently happen that you can pinpoint and say, “Oh, that’s definitely the cause.”

Some examples of things that I’ve personally experienced on my clients’ websites…

I. Renaming pages and letting them 404 without updating with a 301 redirect.

There was one situation where a client had a blog. They had hundreds of really good blog posts. They were all ranking for nice, long tail terms. A client emailed into tech support to change the name of the blog. Unfortunately, all of the posts lived under the blog, and when he did that, he didn’t update it with a 301 redirect, so all of those pages, that were ranking really nicely, they started to fall out of the index. The rankings went with it. There’s your problem. It was unfortunate, but at least we were able to diagnose what happened.

II. Content cutting.

Maybe you’re working with a UX team, a design team, someone who is looking at the website from a visual, a user experience perspective. A lot of times in these situations they might take a page that’s full of really good, valuable content and they might say, “Oh, this is too clunky. It’s too bulky. It has too many words. So we’re going to replace it with an image, or we’re going to take some of the content out.”

When this happens, if the content was the thing that was making your page rank and you cut that, that’s probably something that’s going to affect your rankings negatively. By the way, if that’s happening to you, Rand has a really good Whiteboard Friday on kind of how to marry user experience and SEO. You should definitely check that out if that’s an issue for you.

III. Valuable backlinks lost.

Another situation I was diagnosing a client and one of their backlinks dropped. It just so happened to be like the only thing that changed over this course of time. It was a really valuable backlink, and we found out that they just dropped it for whatever reason, and the client’s rankings started to decline after that time. Things like Moz’s tools, Link Explorer, you can go in there and see gained and lost backlinks over time. So I would check that out if maybe that might be an issue for you.

IV. Accidental no index.

Depending on what type of CMS you work with, it might be really, really easy to accidentally check No Index on this page. If you no index a really important page, Google takes it out of its index. That could happen. Your rankings could drop.So those are just some examples of things that can happen. Like I said, hundreds and hundreds of things could have been changed on your site, but it’s just really important to try to pinpoint exactly what those changes were and if they coincided with when your rankings started to drop.

SERP landscape

So we got all the way to the bottom. If you’re at the point where you’ve looked at all of the site updates and you still haven’t found anything that would have caused a rankings drop, I would say finally look at the SERP landscape.

What I mean by that is just Google your keyword that you want to rank for or your group of keywords that you want to rank for and see which websites are ranking on page 1. I would get a lay of the land and just see:

  • What are these pages doing?
  • How many backlinks do they have?
  • How much content do they have?
  • Do they load fast?
  • What’s the experience?

Then make content better than that. To rank, so many people just think avoid being spammy and avoid having things broken on your site. But that’s not SEO. That’s really just helping you be able to compete. You have to have content that’s the best answer to searchers’ questions, and that’s going to get you ranking.

I hope that was helpful. This is a really good way to just kind of work through a ranking drop diagnosis. If you have methods, by the way, that work for you, I’d love to hear from you and see what worked for you in the past. Let me know, drop it in the comments below.

Thanks, everyone. Come back next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Daily SEO Fix: Investigate Changes in Your Rankings with Moz Pro

Posted by Ola.King

As members of the Moz onboarding team — which gives one-on-one walkthroughs of Moz products to over 500 customers a month — we have our finger on the pulse of what people are asking for when it comes to SEO. We’re here to help you uncover the relevant Moz Pro features for your business.

We know that somewhere along the journey of improving your website and drumming up more traffic (and hopefully conversions), you’ll want to track rankings for your target keywords. Perhaps you started by noticing a traffic drop on your website. Or maybe you’re actively adapting your business in response to new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll ultimately want to know how your page rankings were affected, and start to explore what you can do next.

In this series of Daily SEO Fix videos, the Moz onboarding team takes you through workflows using the Moz Pro tools. We help you coast through your rankings analysis to gain some actionable insights, from tracking your performance against your competitors to making impactful improvements to your pages.

Don’t have a community account or free trial yet? Sign up first, then book your walkthrough to chat with our onboarding team.

Start your free trial


Segment and sort keyword rankings

One constant in SEO is that ranking positions are always changing. Some keywords tend to move around more than others, and they can be tricky to spot. Luckily, Moz Pro has a simple way to focus on these keywords.

In this Daily Fix, Maddie shows you how you can sort out your keywords by ranking gains and losses, so that you can glean some insight into how to make the relevant improvements.


View rankings over time and vs. competitors

They say you can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is also true for SEO.

By tracking your keywords, you can measure the impact of your SEO efforts and identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to optimize your SEO.

Moz Pro allows you to track your ranking performance over time. You can quickly see exactly what page on your site is ranking in the highest position for a particular keyword, as well as other pages that may be ranking for the same keyword. This helps you easily flag potential keyword cannibalization on your site.

In this Daily Fix, Jo on the learning team will shows you exactly how this works.


On-page optimization

There aren’t many things more confusing than seeing pages rank for keywords that have absolutely nothing to do with your business. You’re always signalling something to the search engines — whether you intend to or not. Optimizing your on-page SEO ensures you control that signal.

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages for specific keyword(s) in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.

In this Daily Fix, I show you how to use the page optimization tool to improve your on-page SEO.

Be sure to check out our post on on-page ranking factors if you want more tips.


Compare link profiles

Link building is one of the aspects of SEO that can’t be done in isolation. In order to know how much effort you should dedicate to link building, you first need to look at your competitive landscape.

Moz Pro’s link explorer allows you to compare the link profile of up to five websites. In a snapshot, you get insight into many important metrics like domain authority, spam score, external and follow links, etc. You can easily use the graphs to spot trends in the type of links your competitors are getting, and even click through to see the individual links. In this video, Alicia shows you how.

For more tips on building links, check our beginner’s guide to link building.


All crawled pages

Technical SEO is table stakes, and arguably the most important aspect of your SEO work.

Even if you use the right keywords, create the most optimized pages, and have every authoritative site in the world linking to you, if the crawlers are’t able to index your pages correctly or you’re not following best technical SEO practices, your pages won’t rank as well as they deserve. Moz Pro’s Site Crawl tool helps you ensure that your technical SEO is on point.

In this Daily Fix, Emilie shows you some tips you can use to improve your rankings with Site Crawl.

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!

from Blogger http://springpersonalinjuryattorney.blogspot.com/2020/08/daily-seo-fix-investigate-changes-in.html

What Do Dolphins Eat? Lessons from How Kids Search — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by willcritchlow

We’re bringing back this slightly different-from-the-norm Whiteboard Friday, in which the fantastic Will Critchlow shares lessons from how kids search. Kids may search differently than adults, but there are some interesting insights from how they use Google that can help deepen our understanding of searchers in general. Comfort levels with particular search strategies, reading only the bold words, taking search suggestions and related searches as answers — there’s a lot to dig into. 

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Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. I’m Will Critchlow, founder and CEO of Distilled, and this week’s Whiteboard Friday is a little bit different. I want to talk about some surprising and interesting and a few funny facts that I learnt when I was reading some research that Google did about how kids search for information. So this isn’t super actionable. This is not about tactics of improving your website particularly. But I think we get some insights — they were studying kids aged 7 to 11 — by looking at how kids interact. We can see some reflections or some ideas about how there might be some misconceptions out there about how adults search as well. So let’s dive into it.

What do dolphins eat?

I’ve got this “What do dolphins eat?” because this was the first question that the researchers gave to the kids to say sit down in front of a search box, go. They tell this little anecdote, a little bit kind of soul-destroying, of this I think it was a seven-year-old child who starts typing dolphin, D-O-L-F, and then presses Enter, and it was like sadly there’s no dolphins, which hopefully they found him some dolphins. But a lot of the kids succeeded at this task.

Different kinds of searchers

The researchers divided the ways that the kids approached it up into a bunch of different categories. They found that some kids were power searchers. Some are what they called “developing.” They classified some as “distracted.” But one that I found fascinating was what they called visual searchers. I think they found this more commonly among the younger kids who were perhaps a little bit less confident reading and writing. It turns out that, for almost any question you asked them, these kids would turn first to image search.

So for this particular question, they would go to image search, typically just type “dolphin” and then scroll and go looking for pictures of a dolphin eating something. Then they’d find a dolphin eating a fish, and they’d turn to the researcher and say “Look, dolphins eat fish.” Which, when you think about it, I quite like in an era of fake news. This is the kids doing primary research. They’re going direct to the primary source. But it’s not something that I would have ever really considered, and I don’t know if you would. But hopefully this kind of sparks some thought and some insights and discussions at your end. They found that there were some kids who pretty much always, no matter what you asked them, would always go and look for pictures.

Kids who were a bit more developed, a bit more confident in their reading and writing would often fall into one of these camps where they were hopefully focusing on the attention. They found a lot of kids were obviously distracted, and I think as adults this is something that we can relate to. Many of the kids were not really very interested in the task at hand. But this kind of path from distracted to developing to power searcher is an interesting journey that I think totally applies to grown-ups as well.

In practice: [wat do dolfin eat]

So I actually, after I read this paper, went and did some research on my kids. So my kids were in roughly this age range. When I was doing it, my daughter was eight and my son was five and a half. Both of them interestingly typed “wat do dolfin eat” pretty much like this. They both misspelled “what,” and they both misspelled “dolphin.” Google was fine with that. Obviously, these days this is plenty close enough to get the result you wanted. Both of them successfully answered the question pretty much, but both of them went straight to the OneBox. This is, again, probably unsurprising. You can guess this is probably how most people search.

“Oh, what’s a cephalopod?” The path from distracted to developing

So there’s a OneBox that comes up, and it’s got a picture of a dolphin. So my daughter, a very confident reader, she loves reading, “wat do dolfin eat,” she sat and she read the OneBox, and then she turned to me and she said, “It says they eat fish and herring. Oh, what’s a cephalopod?” I think this was her going from distracted into developing probably. To start off with, she was just answering this question because I had asked her to. But then she saw a word that she didn’t know, and suddenly she was curious. She had to kind of carefully type it because it’s a slightly tricky word to spell. But she was off looking up what is a cephalopod, and you could see the engagement shift from “I’m typing this because Dad has asked me to and it’s a bit interesting I guess” to “huh, I don’t know what a cephalopod is, and now I’m doing my own research for my own reasons.” So that was interesting.

“Dolphins eat fish, herring, killer whales”: Reading the bold words

My son, as I said, typed something pretty similar, and he, at the point when he was doing this, was at the stage of certainly capable of reading, but generally would read out loud and a little bit halting. What was fascinating on this was he only read the bold words. He read it out loud, and he didn’t read the OneBox. He just read the bold words. So he said to me, “Dolphins eat fish, herring, killer whales,” because killer whales, for some reason, was bolded. I guess it was pivoting from talking about what dolphins eat to what killer whales eat, and he didn’t read the context. This cracked him up. So he thought that was ridiculous, and isn’t it funny that Google thinks that dolphins eat killer whales.

That is similar to some stuff that was in the original research, where there were a bunch of common misconceptions it turns out that kids have and I bet a bunch of adults have. Most adults probably don’t think that the bold words in the OneBox are the list of the answer, but it does point to the problems with factual-based, truthy type queries where Google is being asked to be the arbiter of truth on some of this stuff. We won’t get too deep into that.

Common misconceptions for kids when searching

1. Search suggestions are answers

But some common misconceptions they found some kids thought that the search suggestions, so the drop-down as you start typing, were the answers, which is bit problematic. I mean we’ve all seen kind of racist or hateful drop-downs in those search queries. But in this particular case, it was mainly just funny. It would end up with things like you start asking “what do dolphins eat,” and it would be like “Do dolphins eat cats” was one of the search suggestions.

2. Related searches are answers

Similar with related searches, which, as we know, are not answers to the question. These are other questions. But kids in particular — I mean, I think this is true of all users — didn’t necessarily read the directions on the page, didn’t read that they were related searches, just saw these things that said “dolphin” a lot and started reading out those. So that was interesting.

How kids search complicated questions

The next bit of the research was much more complex. So they started with these easy questions, and they got into much harder kind of questions. One of them that they asked was this one, which is really quite hard. So the question was, “Can you find what day of the week the vice president’s birthday will fall on next year?” This is a multifaceted, multipart question.

How do they handle complex, multi-step queries?

Most of the younger kids were pretty stumped on this question. Some did manage it. I think a lot of adults would fail at this. So if you just turn to Google, if you just typed this in or do a voice search, this is the kind of thing that Google is almost on the verge of being able to do. If you said something like, “When is the vice president’s birthday,” that’s a question that Google might just be able to answer. But this kind of three-layered thing, what day of the week and next year, make this actually a very hard query. So the kids had to first figure out that, to answer this, this wasn’t a single query. They had to do multiple stages of research. When is the vice president’s birthday? What day of the week is that date next year? Work through it like that.

I found with my kids, my eight-year-old daughter got stuck halfway through. She kind of realized that she wasn’t going to get there in one step, but also couldn’t quite structure the multi-levels needed to get to, but also started getting a bit distracted again. It was no longer about cephalopods, so she wasn’t quite as interested.

Search volume will grow in new areas as Google’s capabilities develop

This I think is a whole area that, as Google’s capabilities develop to answer more complex queries and as we start to trust and learn that those kind of queries can be answered, what we see is that there is going to be increasing, growing search volume in new areas. So I’m going to link to a post I wrote about a presentation I gave about the next trillion searches. This is my hypothesis that essentially, very broad brush strokes, there are a trillion desktop searches a year. There are a trillion mobile searches a year. There’s another trillion out there in searches that we don’t do yet because they can’t be answered well. I’ve got some data to back that up and some arguments why I think it’s about that size. But I think this is kind of closely related to this kind of thing, where you see kids get stuck on these kind of queries.

Incidentally, I’d encourage you to go and try this. It’s quite interesting, because as you work through trying to get the answer, you’ll find search results that appear to give the answer. So, for example, I think there was an About.com page that actually purported to give the answer. It said, “What day of the week is the vice president’s birthday on?” But it had been written a year before, and there was no date on the page. So actually it was wrong. It said Thursday. That was the answer in 2016 or 2017. So that just, again, points to the difference between primary research, the difference between answering a question and truth. I think there’s a lot of kind of philosophical questions baked away in there.

Kids get comfortable with how they search – even if it’s wrong

So we’re going to wrap up with possibly my favorite anecdote of the user research that these guys did, which was that they said some of these kids, somewhere in this developing stage, get very attached to searching in one particular way. I guess this is kind of related to the visual search thing. They find something that works for them. It works once. They get comfortable with it, they’re familiar with it, and they just do that for everything, whether it’s appropriate or not. My favorite example was this one child who apparently looked for information about both dolphins and the vice president of the United States on the SpongeBob SquarePants website, which I mean maybe it works for dolphins, but I’m guessing there isn’t an awful lot of VP information.

So anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little adventure into how kids search and maybe some things that we can learn from it. Drop some anecdotes of your own in the comments. I’d love to hear your experiences and some of the funny things that you’ve learnt along the way. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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6 Connectors to Spice Up Your Reporting: Introducing Google Data Studio Connectors for STAT

Posted by brian.ho

Data visualization platforms have become a vital tool to help illustrate the success of a body of work. Painting a clear picture of your SEO efforts is as important as ever, whether you’re reporting out to clients or to internal stakeholders at your own company. More and more SEOs are turning to data visualization tools to do so — pulling in data from across multiple SEO tools, blending that data in unique ways, and helping to pull back the curtain on the mystery of SEO.

Platforms like Tableau and Google Data Studio are becoming more commonplace in the SEO community as we seek better ways to communicate with our teams. We’ve heard from a number of folks in the Moz community that having a central dashboard to present data has streamlined their own reporting processes. It’s also made information more digestible for colleagues and clients, as they can see everything they need in one place.

Thanks to the helpful feedback of many, many STAT customers, we’ve been hard at work building six Google Data Studio Community Connectors to help pull STAT data into Data Studio. Fortified by beta testing and your thoughtful input, we’re excited to launch the six connectors today: Historical Keyword Rankings (site and tag level), Share of Voice (site and tag level), and Ranking Distributions (site and tag level).

If you’re already using STAT, dive into our documentation in the Knowledge Base to get all the nitty-gritty details on the connectors. If you’re not yet a STAT customer, why not chat with a friendly Mozzer to learn more?

See STAT in Action

Want to hear a bit more about the connectors and how to implement them? Let’s go!

Historical Keyword Rankings

Tracking daily keyword positions over time is a central part of STAT and the long-term success of your site. The Historical Keyword Rankings connectors send historical highest rank data to Data Studio for every keyword you’re currently tracking in a site or a tag.

You can start out with a simple table: perhaps if you have a group of keywords in a dynamic tag, you might want to create a table of your top keywords ranking on page one, or your top keywords ranking in positions 1-3.

Turn that table into a line graph to understand average rank for the whole site or tag and spot trends:

Find the Site Level Historical Keyword Rankings connector here and the Tag Level Historical Keyword Rankings connector here.

Share of Voice

In STAT, share of voice measures the visibility of a group of keywords on Google. This keyword set can be keywords that are grouped together into a tag, a data view, or a site. Share of voice is calculated by assigning each ranking a click-through rate (CTR) and then multiplying that by the keyword’s search volume.

It’s important to remember that share of voice is based on the concept that higher ranks and higher search volume give you more share of voice.

The default chart type will display a doughnut chart for current share of voice, and a line graph will show share of voice over time:

Find the Site Level Share of Voice connector here and the Tag Level Share of Voice connector here.

Ranking Distribution

Ranking Distribution, available in the Daily Snapshot and Ranking Trends views in the STAT app, shows how your keyword rankings are distributed across the top 119 Google results.

View your top ranking positions as a bar chart to easily eyeball how your rankings are distributed, where shifts are taking place, and where there is clear opportunity for improvement.

Find the Site Level Ranking Distributions connector here and the Tag Level Ranking Distributions connector here.

Getting started with the connectors

Whether you’re a Google Data Studio pro or a bit newer to the tool, setting up the connectors shouldn’t be too arduous. Get started by visiting the page for the connector of your choice. Authorize the connector by clicking the Authorize button. (Tip: Each connector must be authorized separately.)

Once you authorize the connector, you’ll see a parameters table like this one:

Complete the fields using the proper information tied to your STAT account:

  • STAT Subdomain: Fill in this field with the subdomain of your STAT login URL. This field ensures that the GDS connector directs its request to the correct STAT subdomain.
  • STAT API Key: Find your API key in STAT by visiting Options > Account Management > Account Settings > API Key.
  • STAT Site/Tag ID: Retrieve IDs through the API. Visit our documentation to ensure you use the proper API calls.
  • Allow “STAT Site/Tag ID” to be modified in reports: Tick this box to be able to edit the site or tag ID from within the report, without reconfiguring the connector.
  • Include Keyword Tags: Tick this box to add a column to your report populated with the tags the keyword is a member of (only applicable to site and tag historical keyword rankings connectors).
  • Allow “Include Keyword Tags?” to be modified in reports: Tick this box to be able to turn the inclusion of the Keyword Tags column on or off from within the report, without reconfiguring the connector (only applicable to site and tag historical keyword rankings connectors).

Once you’ve filled in the table, click Connect in the top right.

Confirm which columns you’d like to include in the report. Review the columns, and click Create Report.

Once you’ve created a report, the exciting part begins! Whether you’re pulling in your STAT data for a fresh report, adding it into a report with other pieces of data, or using Data Studio’s data blending feature to create compelling views of your search presence — there are so many ways to slice and dice.

Ready to put the connectors into production? We can’t wait to hear how your Google Data Studio reports are strengthened by adding in your STAT data. Let us know how it goes in the comments.

Not yet a STAT user but curious how it might fit into your SEO toolkit? Take a tour of the product from your friendly neighborhood Mozzer:

Learn More About STAT


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from Blogger http://springpersonalinjuryattorney.blogspot.com/2020/07/6-connectors-to-spice-up-your-reporting.html

The Real Short-Term and Long-Term Results of Content Marketing and Digital PR

Posted by amandamilligan

One of the best ways (and in my opinion, the best way) to earn top-quality links is to create your own studies, surveys, reports, etc., and pitch them to online publishers. This is what we do at Fractl, because it’s a tried-and-true way to elevate organic growth:

Over the years, we’ve received a lot of questions about what results to expect. Sure, everyone wants links now, but where does the real growth come in, and how long does it take? And in either case, people want to know what wins they can report on to their superiors, even in the short-term.

There are so many benefits to this combination of content marketing and digital PR, and I’ll walk through what you can realistically expect, and feature examples and data from our experience working with Porch.com.

Short-term benefits

It’s true that content marketing is an investment, which I’ll explain properly in the next section. But there are certainly short-term wins you can celebrate and report on, and that can have an impact on your business.

We started working with Porch.com in early 2018. We created 4-5 content projects per month for them back then, and I’m going to show you two of our early wins — a small win and a big win — so you can get a sense of what’s possible as well as what’s probable.

The small win: “Fixer Upper” by the numbers

This project was my idea, so naturally I think it deserved way more coverage. It was during the heyday of “Fixer Upper” featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines.

We secured top-tier coverage for it on Apartment Therapy, and while I would’ve liked to have seen more media coverage, there are still plenty of wins to identify here (and elements for you to keep an eye out for in your own content):

  • Brand mentions: Porch is mentioned four times in the article (six if you count image credits). Every time your brand is mentioned, you’re upping your brand awareness.
  • Link quality: The article linked to our project three separate times! (Bonus: More links means higher likelihood of referral traffic.) The site has a domain authority of 90, making it a very high-value earned link.
  • Audience relevance: Porch is about connecting people to home renovation contractors. Their audience probably has a ton of overlap with the Apartment Therapy audience, and are presumably interested in improving the look of their homes.
  • Publication readership: Then there’s the matter of the publication’s statistics, which can help you get a sense of potential reach. SimilarWeb is used by tools like Cision and Meltwater to highlight publications’ readership. In this case, Apartment Therapy is ranked #17 in the “Home Garden” category of sites, and has an estimated 9.16 million visitors per month.

So, even in one average-performing project, you can get some great links and brand exposure.

The big win: “Cooking Nightmares”

Okay, “big” win is kind of an understatement. This campaign was a huge win and remained one of our top-performing projects for Porch.

We surveyed people of all ages to determine their cooking skills and confidence, and then broke the results down by generation. People found the results fascinating, and all-in-all, the project garnered about 50 dofollow links.

In measuring this project’s success, you can look at the same qualities I mentioned for smaller wins: brand mentions, link quality, and audience relevance.

But here are some other considerations for bigger wins:

  • Amount of coverage: The project went wild, earning media coverage on Washington Post, USA Today, Bustle, Thrillist, MSN, Real Simple, Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens, and more. This coverage meant more high-quality links and significantly more brand exposure, including to a more general audience.
  • Nature of brand mention: Exactly where and how is your brand mentioned? For example, in the Washington Post coverage and Thrillist coverage, they mentioned Porch.com in the second sentence. Bustle included a description of what Porch.com is: “an online resource for connecting homeowners and contractors,” which not only gets the Porch name out there, but also explains what they do.
  • Writer connections: The more writers who are happy with what you’re pitching, the higher the chance they’ll open your next email. All secured media coverage is a win in this way, but it’s a significant element that’s often overlooked.

There are plenty of short-term wins to this kind of work, but odds are you’re looking for sustained growth. That’s where the long-term benefits come in.

Long-term benefits

On our site, we have a full content marketing case study that details the impact of the work we did for Porch.com in the span of a year.

That includes building links from 931 unique linking domains and adding 23,000 monthly organic visitors to the site.

This is the kind of long-term growth most people are looking for, and the key is that all of this work compounds.

Building authoritative links is critical to off-site SEO, as Google views your site as more of an authority, which subsequently means your on-site content is more likely to rank higher. And when people see your brand mentioned in the media because you’ve completed these interesting studies, they’re more likely to click on your content when they see it later because they’re familiar with you, again signaling that you have quality content.

This is our philosophy on things:

And this doesn’t even include the brand awareness aspect that I mentioned before. Which is why, to really assess the long-term impact of a content marketing and digital PR investment, you can look at the following:

  • Backlink portfolio health: High-quality, relevant links will always be valued, even if they’re older. But newer links can signal to Google that you remain relevant and continue to actively provide value to audiences.
  • Organic brand mentions: When your brand name is consistently in the media, it increases the chances people know who you are. Are your branded searches increasing? What are people searching for related to your brand? Are you appearing more often organically in content?
  • Organic traffic: This is the primary metric many look at, because as I mentioned, earning brand coverage and links from top publishers means you’re building your authority, which improves your chances of ranking in Google and for being trusted by audiences, all of which impact your organic search numbers.

We ended up working with Porch.com for longer than a year, from about January 2018 to March 2020. In total, we earned them 1,894 dofollow links and the brand mentions and awareness that accompanied all of that media coverage.

But I want to show you what it looks like to get to this place of growth, and how it’s not by going viral on a monthly basis. It’s about sustained, ongoing work.

This is what it looked like for our work with Porch:

As you can see, we had some projects that earned a very high number of dofollow links. This often occurs when you’re producing a high volume of content over the course of many months.

However, the bulk of your content will fall in the average. Most of our work earned somewhere between 1 and 50 dofollow links, with top performers in the 50 to 100 range.

To see this spread, you have to keep doing the work. You won’t get all of those projects that earn 50-100 dofollow links right off the bat and in a row, and even if you did, while you’d get a big boost, it wouldn’t last you forever. You have to demonstrate your ongoing effort to provide value.

Conclusion

It’s true that content marketing is a long game, at least in order to see significant growth for your company. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t wins in the short-term. You can absolutely see a lift from a high-performing project and at the very least start setting up a stronger foundation for brand awareness and backlink building.

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!

from Blogger http://springpersonalinjuryattorney.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-real-short-term-and-long-term.html

The Campaign Comeback: What to Do When Content Fails — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Shannon-McGuirk

We’ve all been there: you plan, launch, and eagerly await the many returns on a content campaign, only to be disappointed when it falls flat. But all is not lost: there are clever ways to give your failed campaigns a second chance at life and an opportunity to earn the links you missed out on the first time. In this popular Whiteboard Friday from 2018, MozCon speaker Shannon McGuirk graciously gives us a five-step plan for breathing new life into a dead content campaign.

What to do when content fails.

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

Video Transcription

Hi, Moz fans. Welcome to this edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Shannon McGuirk. I’m the Head of PR and Content at a UK-based digital marketing agency called Aira.

Now, throughout my time, I’ve launched a number of creative content and digital PR campaigns, too many to mention. But the ones that really stick into my head are the campaign fails, the ones that got away from the link numbers that I wanted to achieve and the ones that were quite painful from the client-side and stakeholder-side.

Now, over the last couple of years, I’ve built up a couple of steps and tactics that essentially will help me get campaigns back on track, and I wanted to take you through them today. So, today, I’m going to be talking to you about content campaign comebacks and what to do if your content campaign fails.

Step one: Reevaluate your outreach efforts

Now, take it right back to when you first launched the campaign.

  • Have you contacted the right journalists?
  • Have you gone to the right publications?
  • Be realistic. Now, at this point, remember to be realistic. It might not be a good idea to start going for the likes of ABC News and The Daily Telegraph. Bring it down a level, go to industry blogs, more niche publications, the ones that you’re more likely to get traction with.
  • Do your research. Essentially, is what I’m saying.
  • Less is always more in my eyes. I’ve seen prospecting and media lists that have up to 500 contacts on there that have fired out blank, cold outreach emails. For me, that’s a boo-boo. I would rather have 50 people on that media list that I know their first name, I know the last three articles that they’ve written, and on top of that, I can tell you which publications they’ve been at, so I know what they’re interested in. It’s going to really increase your chances of success when you relaunch.

Step two: Stories vs. statements

So this is when you need to start thinking about stories versus statements. Strip it right back and start to think about that hook or that angle that your whole campaign is all about. Can you say this in one sentence? If you can get it in one sentence, amazing because that’s the core thing that you are going to be communicating to journalists.

Now, to make this really tangible so that you can understand what I’m saying, I’ve got an example of a statement versus a story for a recent campaign that we did for an automotive client of ours. So here’s my example of a statement. “Client X found that the most dangerous roads in the UK are X, Y, Z.” That’s the statement. Now, for the story, let’s spice it up a little bit. “New data reveals that 8 out of 10 of the most dangerous roads in the UK are in London as cyclist deaths reach an all-time high.”

Can you see the difference between a story and a statement? I’m latching it into something in society that’s really important at the moment, because cyclist deaths are reaching an all-time high. On top of that, I’m giving it a punchy stat straightaway and then tying it into the city of London.

Step three: Create a package

So this seems like a bit of a no-brainer and a really obvious one, but it’s so incredibly important when you’re trying to bring your content campaign back from the dead. Think about creating a package. We all know that journalists are up against tight deadlines. They have KPIs in terms of the articles that they need to churn out on a daily basis. So give them absolutely everything that they need to cover your campaign.

I’ve put together a checklist for you, and you can tick them off as you go down.

  • Third-party expert or opinion. If you’re doing something around health and nutrition, why don’t you go out and find a doctor or a nutritionist that can give you comment for free — because remember, you’ll be doing the hard work for their PR team — to include within any press releases that you’re going to be writing.
  • Make sure that your data and your methodology is watertight. Prepare a methodology statement and also get all of your data and research into a Google sheet that you can share with journalists in a really open and transparent way.
  • Press release. It seems really simple, but get a well-written press release or piece of supporting copy written out well ahead of the relaunch timing so that you’ve got assets to be able to give a journalist. They can take snippets of that copy, mold it, adapt it, and then create their own article off the back of it.
  • New designs & images. If you’ve been working on any new designs and images, pop them on a Google shared drive and share that with the press. They can dip into this guide as and when they need it and ensure that they’ve got a visual element for their potential article.
  • Exclusive options. One final thing here that can occasionally get overlooked is you want to be holding something back. Whether that’s some really important stats, a comment from the MD or the CEO, or just some extra designs or images for graphics, I would keep them in your back pocket, because you may get the odd journalist at a really high DA/authority publication, such as the Mail Online or The Telegraph, ask for something exclusive on behalf of their editor.

Step four: Ask an expert

Start to think about working with journalists and influencers in a different way than just asking them to cover your creative content campaigns and generate links. Establish a solid network of freelance journalists that you can ask directly for feedback on any ideas. Now, it can be any aspect of the idea that you’re asking for their feedback on. You can go for data, pitch angles, launch timings, design and images. It doesn’t really matter. But they know what that killer angle and hook needs to be to write an article and essentially get you a link. So tap into it and ask them what they think about your content campaign before you relaunch.

Step five: Re-launch timings

This is the one thing that you need to consider just before the relaunch, but it’s the relaunch timings. Did you actually pay enough attention to this when you did your first initial launch? Chances are you may not have, and something has slipped through the net here.

  • Awareness days. So be sure to check awareness days. Now, this can be anything from National Proposal Day for a wedding client, or it can be the Internet of Things Day for a bigger electrical firm or something like that. It doesn’t really matter. But if you can hook it onto an awareness day, it means that there’s already going to be that interest in the media, journalists will be writing about the topic, and there’s a way in for your content.
  • World events. Again, keep in mind anything to do with elections or perhaps world disasters, such as tornadoes and bad weather, because it means that the press is going to be heavily oversaturated with anything to do with them, and therefore you might want to hold back on your relaunch until the dust is settled and giving your content campaign the best chance of success in round two.
  • Seasonality. Now, this isn’t just Christmas. It’s also Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day. Think about the time of year you’re launching and whether your content campaign is actually relevant at that time of year. For example, back home in the UK, we don’t tend to launch content campaigns in the run-up to Christmas if it’s not Christmas content, because it’s not relevant and the press are already interested in that one seasonal thing.
  • Holidays. Holidays in the sense of half-term and summer holidays, because it means that journalists won’t be in the office, and therefore you’re reducing your chances of success when you’re calling them or when you’re writing out your emails to pitch them.

So there are my five steps for your content campaign comebacks. I know you’ve all been there too, guys, and I would love to hear how you got over some of these hurdles in bringing your content campaigns back to life. Feel free to comment below. I hope you guys join me soon for another Whiteboard Friday. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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from Blogger http://springpersonalinjuryattorney.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-campaign-comeback-what-to-do-when.html

Proximity Third: A Deeper Dive into a Local Ranking Factors Surprise

Posted by MiriamEllis

Image credit: J.B. Hill

What’s the good of a survey if it doesn’t result in at least a few surprises?

I know my own eyebrows leapt skyward when the data first came in from the Moz State of the Local SEO Industry 2020 Survey and I saw that, in a break with tradition, participants had placed user-to-business proximity at a lowly third place in terms of influencing Google local pack rankings. Just a year ago, our respondents had voted it #1.

If you’re feeling startled, too, here’s our chance to take a more granular look at the data and see if we can offer some useful theories for proximity’s drop in perceived dominance.

First, a quick definition of user-to-business proximity

What do local SEOs mean when they speak of user-to-business proximity? Imagine an Internet searcher is standing in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, looking on their phone, laptop or other device for “pizza”. Local SEOs observe that it’s more typical for Google to show that person Pasquale’s Pizzeria, right next to the park, than to show them Yummy Pizza across town in the Glen Park neighborhood.

Make an identical query as you move around your city and you’re likely to see the local pack and mapped results change a little or a lot, depending on the competitiveness, density and diversity of local commerce in your town, relative to where you are standing when you search.

In 2014, the annual survey of world class local SEO experts known as the Local Search Ranking Factors survey rated proximity as having the 8th greatest influence on local pack rankings. By 2017 and in subsequent editions, proximity had hit #1. As mentioned, the 2019 Moz State of the Local SEO Industry report placed it first. But this year, something changed…

Proximity third: the data

Our large survey group of over 1,000 respondents ranked Google My Business elements (keywords in name, categories, etc.) and Google review elements (count, sentiment, owner responses, etc.) as having a greater influence on local pack rankings than does user-to-business proximity.

Now, let’s take a closer look at which participants ordered ranking influence in this way.

GMB elements ranked #1

It’s fascinating to see that, on average, agency workers rated Google My Business elements as having the most influence on local pack rankings. These would be practitioners who are presumably working directly with local clients on a day-to-day basis and continuously studying local packs.

Google review elements ranked #2

Overall, Google review elements rank second, and within this statistic, it’s survey takers who market one small local business who rate the influence of reviews most highly, on average. These would presumably be independent business owners or their in-house marketing staff who are regularly eyeing the local packs to see what seems to move the needle.

Proximity ranked #3

Overall, the proximity of the searcher to the place of business ranks third, and within this group, it’s agency workers who, on average, rate the influence of proximity most highly. So, again, it’s this group of marketing professionals who are contributing to the depiction of proximity being of less influence than GMB factors.

Three theories for making sense of the proximity shift

I was startled enough by the data to begin considering how to account for it. I came up with three different theories that helped make more sense of this to me, personally.

1. Could respondents just be wrong?

Certainly, it’s fair to ask this. I’ll be honest — my first reaction to the data when it crossed my desk was, “Wait…this can’t be right. How can proximity be in third place?”

I thought about how the long-running Local Search Ranking Factors project, which is confined to local SEO experts, has been placing proximity first for several years, and how our survey group is inclusive of every type of job title involved in marketing local businesses. Owners, creative directors, writers, in-house and agency SEOs, and many other types of practitioners contribute to marketing local businesses and participate in our initiative. Could it be that respondents who don’t do day-to-day SEO work swayed this result?

But I stopped asking that question when I saw that it was, in fact, agency workers who had contributed most to this view of GMB factors outweighing proximity. Digital marketing brands offering local SEO as a service can’t be summarily written off as mistaken. So, next, I asked myself what these agency workers could be seeing that would make them rank proximity lower than two other factors.

2. Could “it depends” be making absolutes impossible?

Here’s the thing: sophisticated local SEO practitioners know that there actually is no absolute #1 local ranking factor. What shows up in a local pack depends hugely on Google’s understanding of intent and its varied treatment of different industries and keywords.

For example, Google can decide that for a query like “coffee near me”, the user wants the closest option, and will cluster results in a tight proximity to the searcher. Meanwhile, a customer in any location looking for “used car dealership” may see results skewed to a certain part of town where there’s an auto row filled with such businesses — a phenomenon long ago dubbed the “industry centroid” effect. But, for the user seeking something like “sports arena”, Google can believe there’s a willingness to drive further away and can make up a local pack of businesses all over a city, or even all over a state.

So, the truth is, dubbing any factor #1 is an oversimplification we put up with for the sake of giving some order to the chaos of Google results. Proximity may be the dominant influence for some queries, but definitely not for all of them.

Taking this into consideration, it could well be that our survey’s respondents who work at agencies are observing such a diversity of behavior from Google that they are losing confidence in pinning it all down to proximity as the leading factor. And this leads me to my third theory.

3. Could a desire for control be at play here?

Proximity can be problematic. In a separate question in our survey in which we asked whether Google’s emphasis on proximity was always generating high quality results, only 38.6% of respondents felt satisfied. Most of us are frequently encountering local pack results that may be closest, but not best. This can leave agencies and business owners feeling a bit dubious about Google and even a bit helpless about acting in an environment that often ranks mere nearness over quality.

Unless a business is willing to move to a different location which Google appears to be favoring for core search phrase targets, proximity isn’t really something you can optimize for. In this scenario, what is left to local business marketers that they can control?

Of course — it’s GMB factors and reviews. You can control what you name your business, what categories you choose, your use of Google posts and Q&A, your photos, videos, and description. You can control your review acquisition campaigns and your rate and quality of owner responses.

Seeing respondents weigh GMB elements above proximity made me wonder if the strong desire for being able to have some control over local pack outcomes might subconsciously cause subjects to give a slight bump to factors they can observably influence. I’m not a psychologist, but I know I’m always writing here at Moz about focusing on what you can control. It could be that this internal emphasis might cause me to give more importance to factors other than proximity. Just a theory, but one to consider, and I’d love to hear in the comments if you have different hypotheses!

Can we know the truth?

I was so intrigued by our survey’s results that I ran a very quick Twitter poll to take another snapshot of current sentiment about proximity. Most of my followers are interested in or involved with local SEO, so I was eager to see the outcome of this:

While a robust 66% placed proximity first, an interesting 34% didn’t. In other words, there just isn’t total agreement about this topic. Most revealingly, more than one respected SEO tweeted back at me, “It depends.”

This is why I believe that my second theory above is likely as close to the truth as we’re going to get. All surveys which aggregate anecdotal opinion must take into account the variety of respondents’ experiences. Consider:

  • If my agency specializes in working with convenience stores or coffee shops, proximity may well be ruling my workday because Google draws such a tight net around users for my target keywords.
  • If most of my clients operate tourist attractions or B2B brands, it could be that reviews or the names on Google Business profiles appear to shape my world much more than proximity does.
  • Or, I may have such a wide array of clients, each experiencing different Google behavior, that my overall confidence in putting proximity first has simply eroded the more I observe the variations in the results.

What we can say with certainty is that there has been a year-over-year shift in how participants in the Moz State of the Local SEO Industry 2020 survey rate the influence of proximity. They believe it’s less dominant than it was just a year ago. Knowing this may not change your local pack strategy, because as we’ve noted, you could never do much to influence proximity in the first place.

What takeaway can we glean, then, if there is no absolute #1 local ranking factor upon which all parties agree? I’d boil it down to this: our survey shows that participants are heavily focused on GMB factors and reviews. In your competitive landscape, awareness of these elements is lively, and your ability to compete means taking an active approach to managing what you can control.

Moz Local software offers one smart solution for taking maximum charge of your Google Business Profiles, and I’ll close here with my short list of links to assist you in marketing local businesses in Google’s competitive environment:

Curious about what other insights you’ll find in our survey? Download the full, free Moz State of the Local SEO Industry 2020 report.

Get the Full Report


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from Blogger http://springpersonalinjuryattorney.blogspot.com/2020/07/proximity-third-deeper-dive-into-local.html

Blog Topics: How to find Your Sweet Spot (Even in a Boring Niche)

Posted by DaisyQ

I hate to tell you, but Googling “blog topic ideas” is not going to give you the content you should be creating.

Not all content is created equal. Letting the internet tell you what to blog about leads to mediocrity. Mediocrity is fine in some cases, like forcing yourself to show up at the gym at 5:00 p.m. when you’d much rather call it a day. But if you’re going to try and stand out in the very crowded search results page, you won’t stand a chance.

The reality is, it’s hard

The web is overrun with companies that have bigger budgets than you and can churn out content every day. Meanwhile, you’re lucky to get a blog post out once a month. Where you put your time can make or break your digital efforts. How do you compete? What content will grow your traffic month after month and year after year?

If you’re going to put your time into creating and promoting a blog post, and hope to get results, you owe it to yourself to figure out what you’re best suited to blog about.

Forget the 50 handy tools and blog topic lists

The internet will say: “Just research topics using these 50 handy tools and you’ll get a ton of ideas!” That’s cancelled. Slogging away with topics every week for three-plus years taught me that this advice — though well-intentioned — quickly wears thin. Especially if your topic or industry is niche.

So here’s what I would recommend instead:

  • Figure out what your people care about
  • Find where the magic happens
  • Keyword research your topics
  • Brainstorm, categorize, and prioritize
  • Execute

And that’s what we’ll cover. It may take a little more time, but it will give you ideas and direction you can use for months.

Figure out your people

The best way to find blog topic ideas is to look at your audience. What are their pain points, concerns, and obsessions when it comes to your products? Easier said than done sometimes, but chances are you already have at least an inkling on why they choose you. So start there and backtrack.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have some research or set personas to use. If you aren’t, make do. The point isn’t to get hung up on idealizing your audience, or nailing down that brand of tofu sausage they like. The point is to nail down their pain points and desires and move on.

Think about your best customers: How are you helping them live their best life? What are you helping them solve? What frustrates them about your line of services? When do they realize they need someone like you?

Take the time to understand the people that currently buy from you. So you can find more of them. In some cases, finding your audience is easy. In other instances, your audience is really diverse, or you just want what your neighbor’s having. Getting the perfect audience persona isn’t super important. Just get a good enough portrait, and move on.

Find where the magic happens

I barely passed math in college but one thing I did get was Venn diagrams. Two circles, and the magic is where they intersect, cool.

When mulling over what to blog about, I use this type of diagram to decide what I am best positioned to talk about. On the left would be the audience interests and concerns that you figured out in the previous step. On the right, your expertise. In the middle, you get a set of themes that you can specialize in. This doubles as the position you can take in your customer’s world. If you can pinpoint a mix of exciting, aspirational, and realistic themes here, that’s best.

It’s one thing to know what your audience likes. But chase that, and you’re competing with Medium or Buzzfeed.

It’s another to know what you’re good at talking about. But chase that, and you’re talking to yourself.

The magic is finding the spot where your audience’s interests and yours intersect.

During a recent workshop, a woman asked me, “I’m a photographer, and the people who like to work with me are outdoorsy — so are you saying I should create a blog post on hikes in the area?”

No.

Don’t do that.

There are a lot of websites out there that are way more invested in writing about hikes than you, and chances are they have more authority in that topic.

My reply to her: “How about creating content around the most photographable hikes in the area? You can create one blog post for Instagram, another for portraits, and even another one for engagement photos!”

The point is not to create content just because people care about X, Y, or Z. Ask yourself what you are best equipped to talk about, and how that intersects with your audience’s interests. The more specific, and more unique to you and your audience, the better.

Keyword research your topics

Once you know your sweet spot, think about general topics and plug those into a doc or spreadsheet. Then pull those ideas into your favorite keyword research tool. I generally start with a list that has one root word, and export out different keyword ideas using a few tools. As I get more ideas, I plug those in, export, and build a small but healthy list to work with.

There are a couple of tools worth investing in to get this information (and some free options, too). Because I believe in a simplified approach to tools, I recommend:

  • A keyword research tool like Moz, SEMrush, or Keywordtool.io
  • A content research tool like Answer the Public, or Buzzsumo
  • A bonus tool like Ubersuggest or good old “People Also Ask”

Rank your bounty by monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, and social interest. Then, cherry pick the topics you want to tackle for the quarter.

Don’t be disheartened if your key terms are competitive. It’s the 2020s — anything worth anything is competitive. The goal is to start creating content that will pay off over time, while you grow your domain authority.

Word of caution: the topics you pick should be in your sweet spot and help your readers live their best life.

Brainstorm, categorize, and prioritize

Once you’ve defined the themes that can anchor your content efforts, use these four categories to help you pick topics within those areas. I like to think of this approach as a pyramid where you cover all the obvious “duh” questions before moving on to the sexy stuff.

Think about topics that would apply in each of these four sections, starting with the largest, general foundation category.

  • Evergreen content relates directly to the product or industry. These are the questions people ask day in and day out. At face value, the keywords may seem like small fish — i.e., they only get 800 to 1K monthly searches. But if they are aligned with your topic, then you very much want to answer these questions. If you don’t, someone else will. Ultimately, the goal of content is to bring in website visitors who are researching your product or service.
  • Original research answers a question or provides insight for an area closely tied to what you do. It’s premium content (long form blog posts, supporting guest posts) that takes more resources to create than a typical blog post, but helps build domain authority. This content hopefully helps you get links from reputable sources and is also fun to work in.
  • Trends and timely content are blog posts that aim to generate buzz, capture attention, and may aid in link building, but tend to be short-lived. These are topics that are in your sweet spot and hot right now. Jump on these seasonally.
  • Lifestyle content is blog content on topics that relate to company values and will connect with readers. Yes, it’s nice to show the human side of your business, because people buy from people they like. But I’d rather have a post that answers my questions over a post showing me cute dog photos, you?

What might seem like basic info to you might be a totally new revelation to your potential audience.

I’ve built a blog to attract over 100K monthly visitors, and one thing I learned was that the content that brought us traffic month after month was the basic stuff. The simple, how do I figure out ______ stuff.

And chances are your blog (or website for that matter) lacks this “beginning of the buyer’s journey” content. If you think everybody knows this stuff, they don’t. You’re probably too close to it — I’ve been there, too.

Questions you can ask yourself to get going:

  • What are some common questions that your audience asks? What are the solutions you can give them?
  • How would you explain this concept to your grandma, or a kid?
  • What is a cool trend with __________ that is worth investing in?
  • What do you wish your best customers knew about __________?

Sources of information you can also look at:

  • Trade pubs (for ideas that can be repurposed for the general audience)
  • Events (for ideas that can be super timely and relevant to a select audience)
  • Influencers in your space (for ideas on what your audience gravitates to)

Execution

Ideally you’ll have a mix of topics on the pyramid to choose from, each quarter. Schedule those. I’ve used Google Sheets, or Trello. The cool kids use Airtable — whatever floats your boat and helps you get your content out.

Eyes on the prize

Blog traffic growth should pick up speed over time. If you build your content accordingly, it will. Determine the point where your interests and your audience interests intersect. Find topics that cater to that sweet spot by answering common FAQs. Add original research seasonally, and sprinkle in some trends and lifestyle content.

When you create blog topics that are more in line with your brand and your strengths, and that match what your audience is looking for, you are much more likely to stand out in a crowded space. The internet is hella crowded — to differentiate and appeal to customers, you need to “do you” best.


To help us serve you better, please consider taking the 2020 Moz Blog Reader Survey, which asks about who you are, what challenges you face, and what you’d like to see more of on the Moz Blog.

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Help Us Improve: The 2020 Moz Blog Reader Survey

Posted by morgan.mcmurray

It’s been a few years since we last asked you to tell us what you love (and don’t love so much) about the Moz Blog, and since then our company, our industry, and our world have undergone massive shifts.

With so much having changed, we wanted to be sure we’re still living up to the high standards we set for this blog, and that we’re still providing as valuable an experience as we can for you all. That’s where you come in today.

To help us serve you better, please consider going through the survey below, which asks about who you are, what challenges you face, and what you’d like to see more of on the Moz Blog.

We’ll publish the results along with our takeaways in a few weeks, and will use them to guide our work going forward. From all of us at Moz, thanks in advance for your time!

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Core Web Vitals: The Next Official Google Ranking Factor – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

There’s a new ranking factor in town: Core Web Vitals. Expected in 2021, this Google-announced algorithm change has a few details you should be aware of. Cyrus Shepard dives in this week on Whiteboard Friday.

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

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I’m Cyrus Shepard here at Moz. Today we’re talking about the next official Google ranking factor — Core Web Vitals. Now what do I mean by official ranking factor?

Google makes hundreds of changes a year. Every week they introduce new changes to their algorithm. Occasionally they announce ranking factor changes. They do this in particular when something is important or they want to encourage people, webmasters to make changes to their site beforehand. They do this for important things like HTTPS and other signals.

So this is one they actually announced. It’s confusing to a lot of people, so I wanted to try to demystify what this ranking signal means, what we can do to diagnose and prepare for it, and basically get in a place where we’re ready for things to happen. So what is it? Big first question. 

What are Core Web Vitals?

So these are real-world experience metrics that Google is looking at, that answer things like: How fast does the page load? How fast is it interactive? How fast is it stable? So basically, when visitors are using your web page on a mobile or a desktop device, what’s that experience like in terms of speed, how fast can they interact with it, things like that.

Now it’s joining a group of metrics that Google calls Page Experience signals. It’s not really a standalone. It’s grouped in with these Page Experience metrics that are separate from the text on the page. So these are signals like mobile friendliness, HTTPS, intrusive interstitials, which are those pop-ups that come on and appear.

It’s not so much about the text of the page, which are traditional ranking signals, but more about the user experience and what it’s like, how pleasant it is to use the page, how useful it is. These are especially important on mobile when sometimes the speed isn’t as high. So that’s what Google is measuring here. So that’s what it is.

Where is this going to affect rankings? 

Well, it’s going to affect all regular search results, mobile and desktop, based on certain criteria. But also, and this is an important point, Core Web Vitals are going to become a criteria to appear in Google Top Stories. These are the news results that usually appear at the top of search results.

Previously, AMP was a requirement to appear in those Top Stories. AMP is going away. So you still have to meet the requirements for regular Google News inclusion, but AMP is not going to be a requirement anymore to appear in Top Stories. But you are going to have to meet a minimum threshold of Core Web Vitals.

So that’s an important point. So this could potentially affect a lot of ranking results. 

When is it going to happen? 

Well, Google has told us that it’s going to happen sometime in 2021. Because of COVID-19, they have pushed back the release of this within the algorithm, and they want to give webmasters extra time to prepare.

They have promised us at least six months’ notice to get ready. As of this recording, today we have not received that six-month notice. When that updates, we will update this post to let you know when that’s going to be. So anytime Google announces a ranking factor change, the big question is: 

How big of a change is this going to be?

How much do I have to worry about these metrics, and how big of results are we going to see shift in Google SERPs? Well, it’s important to keep in mind that Google has hundreds of ranking signals. So the impact of any one signal is usually not that great. That said, if your site is particularly poor at some of these metrics, it could make a difference.

If you’re in a highly competitive environment, competing against people for highly competitive terms, these can make a difference. So it probably is not going to be huge based on past experience with other ranking signals, but it is still something that we might want to address especially if you’re doing pretty poorly.

The other thing to consider, some Google signals have outsized impact beyond their actual ranking factors. Things like page speed, it’s probably a pretty small signal, but as users experience it, it can have outsized influence. Google’s own studies show that for pages that meet these thresholds of Core Web Vitals, visitors are 24% less likely to abandon the site.

So even without Core Web Vitals being an official Google ranking factor, it can still be important because it provides a better user experience. Twenty-four percent is like gaining 24% more traffic without doing anything, simply by making your site a little more usable. So even without that, it’s probably still something we want to consider.

Three signals for Core Web Vitals

So I want to jump briefly into the specifics of Core Web Vitals, what they’re measuring. I think people get a little hung up on these because they’re very technical. Their eyes kind of glaze over when you talk about them. So my advice would be let’s not get hung up on the actual specifics. But I think it is important to understand, in layman’s terms, exactly what’s being measured.

More importantly, we want to talk about how to measure, identify problems, and fix these things if they happen to be wrong. So very briefly, there are three signals that go into Core Web Vitals. 

1. Largest contentful paint (LCP)

The first being largest contentful paint (LCP). This basically asks, in layman’s terms, how fast does the page load? Very easy concept. So this is hugely influenced by the render time, the largest image, video, text in the viewport.

That’s what Google is looking at. The largest thing in the viewport, whether it be a desktop page or a mobile page, the largest piece of content, whether it be an image, video or text, how fast does that take to load? Very simple. That can be influenced by your server time, your CSS, JavaScript, client side rendering.

All of these can play a part. So how fast does it load? 

2. Cumulative shift layout (CSL)

The second thing, cumulative shift layout (CSL). Google is asking with this question, how fast is the page stable? Now I’m sure we’ve all had an experience where we’ve loaded a page on our mobile phone, we go to click a button, and at the last second it shifts and we hit something else or something in the page layout has an unexpected layout shift.

That’s poor user experience. So that’s what Google is measuring with cumulative shift layout. How fast is everything stable? The number one reason that things aren’t stable is that image sizes often aren’t defined. So if you have an image and it’s 400 pixels wide and tall, those need to be defined in the HTML. There are other reasons as well, such as animations and things like that.

But that’s what they’re measuring, cumulative shift layout. 

3. First input delay (FID)

Third thing within these Core Web Vitals metrics is first input delay (FID). So this question is basically asking, how fast is the page interactive? To put it another way, when a user clicks on something, a button or a JavaScript event, how fast can the browser start to process that and produce a result?

It’s not a good experience when you click on something and nothing happens or it’s very slow. So that’s what that’s measuring. That can depend on your JavaScript, third-party code, and there are different ways to dig in and fix those. So these three all together are Core Web Vitals and play into the page experience signals. So like I said, let’s not get hung up on these.

How to measure & fix

Let’s focus on what’s really important. If you have a problem, how do you measure how you’re doing with Core Web Vitals, and how do you fix those issues? Google has made it very, very simple to discover. The first thing you want to do is look in Search Console. They have a new report there — Core Web Vitals. They will tell you all your URLs that they have in their index, whether they’re poor, needs improvement, or good.

If you have URLs that are poor or needs improvement, that’s when you want to investigate and find out what’s wrong and how you can improve those pages. Every report in Search Console links to a report in Page Speed Insights. This is probably the number-one tool you want to use to diagnose your problems with Core Web Vitals.

It’s powered by Lighthouse, a suite of performance metric tools. You want to focus on the opportunities and diagnostics. Now I’m going to be honest with you. Some of these can get pretty technical. You may need a web developer who is an expert in page speed or someone else who can comfortably address these problems if you’re not very technical.

We have a number of resources here on the Moz Blog dealing with page speed. We’ll link to those in the comments below. But generally, you want to go through and you want to address each of these opportunities and diagnostics to improve your Core Web Vitals score and get these out of poor and needs improvement into good. Now if you don’t have access to Search Console, Google has put these reports in many, many tools across the web.

Lighthouse, of course, you can run for any page. Chrome Dev Tools, the Crux API. All of these are available and resources for you to find out exactly how your site is performing with Core Web Vitals and go in and we have until sometime in 2021 to address these things. All right, that’s it.

That’s Core Web Vitals in a nutshell. We’ve got more than six months to go. Get ready. At least at a very minimum dive in and see how your site is performing and see if we can find some easy wins to get our sites up to speed. All right. Thanks, everybody.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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from Blogger http://springpersonalinjuryattorney.blogspot.com/2020/07/core-web-vitals-next-official-google.html