How Google is Connecting Keyword Relevance to Websites through More than Just Domain Names – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfishWe’re seeing Google continue to move beyond just reading pages, instead attempting to truly understand what they’re about. The engine is drawing connections between concepts and brand names, and it’s affecting SERPs. In today’s Whiteb…

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Outdated SEO Concepts People Still Think are Reality

Posted by katemorris

Blaise Alleyne

It’s on the internet, so it’s true.

The bane of the existence of all search marketers is old or incorrect information given to clients at
any point in time that they still hang on to. This post was inspired by an interaction with a client’s co-workers, people that are not thinking about SEO on a regular basis. This is not to knock them, but to bring to the attention of everyone that there is a continual need for education. These concepts have a way of hanging around.

And this isn’t about just clients either. This is about friends, parents, and partners. Does anyone else still get asked if they make pop-up ads when they try to explain what they do? (Just me? Crap.)

Doing research for this post, I noticed there are a ton of SEO misconceptions out there, and people are talking about them regularly, but many are related to content marketing or online marketing overall. I’m not covering all misconceptions, but those concepts that seem to be stuck to the idea of SEO and will not let go. Then I’ll give you resources to help educate the people that believe these misconceptions and alternate solutions to give them.

Hiding Cat by Aftab Uzzaman

Putting text behind an image

The inspiration. The client is struggling with balancing revenue and content on the page. There is a large image on the page now and we suggested editing the page to add content about the product. The question was asked if we could just put the content behind the image and solve both problems.

My client stepped in and answered the question wonderfully, but it brought to mind how many times I’ve seen overstuffed alt text attributes and content in a noscript tag that doesn’t match what’s in the Flash.

Additional resource

A Comprehensive Guide to Hidden Text

Alternate solution

In this instance, we recommended putting text below the fold for the users that wanted the information and keeping the current image for returning users. Balance that satisfies both user needs and the business goals.

Copying a competitor’s actions

This isn’t as obvious as hiding text, but it’s something that companies refuse to stop doing. It’s the concept that if a competitor is doing something, it must be worth doing. This goes for competitors ranking above a business, but it also covers competitors that the business just dislikes. We all have those competitors we want to “beat” and sometimes that makes us do things that are not fully researched and planned. is my biggest annoyance. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the reasoning “but Amazon does it” by major brands that other businesses look up to. Amazon, like most major companies, tests many things, and there is a different person behind each test. If you work for a large company, you understand what I mean.

Additional resource

Stop Copying Your Competitors, They Don’t Know What They are Doing Either

Alternate solution

Everyone is on the hunt for the best results and bringing in new customers, retaining current customers, and making other stakeholders happy. The way you beat competitors is to listen to your stakeholders (customers, clients, partners, employees, investors) and make decisions based on their feedback as well as what is going on in the market.

Sheer number of links equals ranking

This has been debunked so many times it makes my head swim. That doesn’t change how many people still think that the total number of links (as reported by a third party tool like Moz, Majestic, or AHREFs) is the sole factor in ranking. Want to do better in SERPs? Well, we need to hire someone to build us some links! I’m going to leave one screen shot here (Search: “insurance”) and then we’ll get into resources and solutions for when you have to face this.

Additional resource

Moz Search Ranking Factors

Alternate solution

This is more of an “additional solution,” as links and mentions are still very important, but as seen above, it’s far from the only factor in ranking. It’s best to explain the different ranking factors like content relevance to the query, some social data, query deserves freshness, local, news, personalization, and all of the other things that can impact ranking. Focus on a marketing strategy that will not only result in links, but also send new customers through those links and engage the customers into lifelong evangelists.

A loss in traffic means you’ve been penalized

The next two are focused on the issue of penalties. So many people are afraid of being penalized. I think this goes back to the days of black marks in your school record. That or people are worried about losing revenue. Maybe that.

The media gets involved with SEO when there is a penalty and so that is what most people hear about. FTD and Overstock types of situations. Then disaster strikes and revenue falls unexpectedly. After some digging, they find that website traffic is down. This paired with emails business owners get at least once a quarter (in a good year) from fly by night SEO companies telling them they can help with SEO, promise the moon and warn of penalties.

The only logical conclusion is a penalty! We have all seen it and most reputable agencies pipelines are filled with leads from companies in this exact situation. The thing is that we never know if there is a penalty unless we dive into the situation, but I have seen times where there is no penalty.

Many things could have happened including:

  • A developer added a noindex tag to a section of the site when meaning to add it to one page or they disallowed that section.
  • The site was redesigned with URL changes that can drop the traffic coming into many sites if not done correctly.
  • PPC traffic stopped due to a corporate card expiring and not being updated.

Additional resource

Guide to Common SEO Penalties and How to Recover From Them

Alternate solution

Rather than paying the first person that will call you back, first look into what part of the site lost traffic and where that traffic was coming from in the past few months. Did you lose traffic from organic search, paid search, referral traffic, or social media? Try to narrow down what happened and figure it out from there. If you’re sure it was organic search, look into the date and ask your developers if anything changed about the site. If nothing did, check Google Webmaster Tools for any messages from Google about a penalty. If you’re sure it’s organic search and there are no messages, that’s a good time to contact a reputable agency. 

Duplicate content can incur a penalty

Penalty by Daniele Zanni

I did a talk on this very topic a few years back at Pubcon. So many people don’t take the time to understand what duplicate content is and how to fix it. More importantly, there is a misunderstanding that duplicate content can cause or is a penalty. 

Most clients assume that having duplicate content will incur the “search engine gods’ ” wrath, and that just isn’t true (for the most part; I mean, if your whole site is a copy of someone else’s site …). Duplicate content is a hindrance to site performance most of the time, but most likely not the cause for a substantial drop in traffic and definitely not a penalty from the search engines. 

Additional resource

Google’s Guidelines for Duplicate Content

Alternate solution

Don’t fret. Take the time to visit Webmaster Tools regularly and check out your duplicated title tags and meta descriptions for an easy look into what might be causing duplicate content or crawling issues on your site. Maintenance is the best medicine!

A call to educate

Education by Sean MacEntee

We sometimes live in a bubble where we think people know everything we do and take for granted information like everything above. If someone asked you how to create a P&L Statement, could you? Maybe, maybe not, but you get what I mean. Take the time to answer questions, whether from clients or colleagues if you are in-house. You would be amazed how much more YOU can learn from teaching others. 

So what are your horror stories? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo credits (all images are linked):

  • Internet Open by Blaise Alleyne
  • Hiding Cat by Aftab Uzzaman
  • Penalty by Daniele Zanni
  • Educate by Sean MacEntee

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Ways to Proactively Welcome Women Into Online Marketing

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

A lot of my life’s work has been focused on increasing the visibility of women and other minorities in male-dominated professional fields. I’m not here to give you an intersectional Feminism 101 lesson or explain to you that institutional sexism is indeed alive and systemically present in online marketing. Instead, in the spirit of the Moz blog, I want to give you tips and tricks to make our corner of the world more welcoming to women. Several of these tips can also easily be adjusted and applied to other groups of marginalized people. Some can really just be applied broadly to life. According to our 2013 industry survey, 28.3% of online marketers are women, and at MozCon 2014, 31% of the audience self-identified as female (up 11% from 2013). We’ve been here for a while.

If this post gets your bristles up and you’re ready to yell at me in the comments, I ask you to 
check out the many resources at the bottom to help build the basics to better understanding the “whys” and realizing “yes, this is a thing.”

Equality doesn't mean Justice cartoon

In order to be better marketers and better people, we need to open ourselves up to the experiences of others, particularly to the voices of people whose backgrounds are different than ours. But because of how our cultural biases work, we often must actively and consciously work at creating more welcoming environments. It sucks to think we’re any less than awesome, and even when we consider ourselves non-prejudiced, our behavior can still support systems of sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and more.

Let’s dive in and shake up the industry!

Never assume someone’s gender, especially in online communications. If you’re in doubt, either ask or use a gender-neutral pronoun.

If we had a nickel for every time the all-female-identified community team was emailed or Facebook messaged as “Dear Sirs” because we work for a SaaS technology company, we’d be rolling in nickels Scrooge McDuck-style.

Nothing can instill
imposter syndrome or make someone personally upset like being misgendered. Human culture is so sensitive to displays of gender and identification of gender that a misplaced “sir” or “ma’am” can be incredibly insulting. If the person being misgendered is genderqueer or transgendered, they may be even more sensitive due to the vulnerability of displaying to the world who they are as opposed to who society thinks they should be.

If you’re ever communicating with someone whose gender you’re unsure of, it’s better to ask than to use an errant pronoun. So rip out that “Dear Sir” and replace it instead with “To Whom It May Concern,” or better yet, something more specifically personal. Dump the he, she, or s/he and just use an epicene “they.” If emailing my team, try “Hi, awesome community team…” You’ll probably see better success with your request by not starting out on the wrong foot.

Girls vs. women: Refer to groups of adults with words that imply adulthood, especially in professional settings.

Perhaps one of my top offenses as a professional woman: being labeled as a girl or seeing another woman or group of women labeled as such. The worst is when it’s the “men and the girls” or “the guys and the girls.” Stop infantilizing women!

Again, this elicits imposter syndrome and also makes women appear inferior, as children have more to learn than adults. So please stop referring to us as girls and conjuring up images of pink, pigtails, and Barbie dolls. We’re professionals and grown-ups.

The girls are gushing... tweet

The tweet above was sent out by a company I’ve worked with and expected more from. The webinar was with two women I’ve also worked with and are some of the sharpest, smartest minds out there in our industry. They were talking about online marketing, and it was completely inappropriate for the company hosting the webinar to refer to them as “girls.” (Neither of these women worked or have worked for said company in the past.)

And before anyone mentions the phenomena of the term “geek girls,” let me take a moment to address it. I know there are many organizations that are working hard to bring the achievements of women in all forms of geekdom, including tech, and inviting more women to join that call themselves “geek girls” or have some variation in their name. This is fine. This is their group’s choice for self-identification, branding, and rolls-off-the-tongue alliteration. However, you would never say “All the girls going to Geek Girl dinners…” They’re adult women.

It’s not appropriate to have value judgments about the way a person looks in a professional setting.

Unfortunately, because women are too often seen as objects instead of people, those objects are given value judgements on their appearances. Women shouldn’t be treated like you’re picking out the best sofa for your living room. It doesn’t matter how cute you may think a woman in the industry is, she likely doesn’t want to hear it or doesn’t care.

Constantly judging women based on our appearances damages self-esteem. It entrenches stereotypes about beauty having been a woman’s most important asset
since she was a little girl. It also puts women who don’t fit up to traditional Western beauty standards—maybe they’re plus-sized, women of color, genderqueer, etc.—at a disadvantage to gaining the professional attention of anyone. Think twice before commenting to a woman how beautiful she is. Or, conversely, how unattractive. (Same goes for men, by the way.)

At the end of the day, what matters most is brainpower, so let’s actually act like it.

Hillary Clinton is asked about who designs her clothing, and she asks if men ever get that question.
When I think of highly successful women, who are constantly judged on their attractiveness, Hillary Clinton’s a powerful example. Do we pay the same attention to current US Secretary of State John Kerry’s pantsuits?

For more things not to say to women in a professional setting, I highly suggest reading
Ruth Burr’s Things You Think Aren’t Sexist, But Really Are.

Follow more women on social media.

Particularly on social media that’s public and open like Twitter. With networks like Facebook, many women I know actually don’t “friend” people they have met face-to-face or actually consider friends for safety reasons. Sadly, on networks such as Twitter and even the female-dominated Pinterest,
men are followed at higher rates than women.

In a perfect world, content on social networks would be shared based entirely on merit. We’d only share the funniest tweet, the cutest cat photo, the most insightful post on Google Analytics, or the best hack we learned today. The best people and brands would have millions of followers. We’d have no internal biases.

But the truth is that as the world gets smaller, in that we’re more connected, and as technology serves “smarter” content, we’re only going to see people more like ourselves.
Eli Pariser called this the “filter bubble.” And while he particularly noted the consequences of this in politics and being attuned to world events, this also applies to the experiences of people who are not like you demographically.

For example, over the Memorial Day weekend this past May, Google released a Penguin update. My Twitter stream was full of Penguin talk by male-identified SEOs. What were the women talking about that weekend? #yesallwomen. I couldn’t help but wonder if male SEOs, who followed other SEOs primarily, which is a male-dominated industry, even saw the hashtag actively in their streams? Did they know how big the #yesallwomen hashtag was until they saw news stories? I hope for the best, but realistically think about the bubble.

“The internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see.” — Eli Pariser

So how do we see the world we need to see? How do we work to essentially outsmart these built-in features? On Twitter, it’s actually pretty easy to find and follow people who aren’t like you.

Twitter’s own analytics and our own
Followerwonk will break down the gender of who follows you and whom you follow. Here are some breakdowns of my own Twitter account and those of my fellow Twitter-loving Mozzers, including the genders of the people we follow:

Mozzer Twitter followers gender breakdown

Here’s Twitter’s own analytics on the gender breakdown of who follows me (which I think speaks volumes about our industry as “SEO” is the top interest of people following me):

Gender breakdown of my Twitter followers according to Twitter Analytics

It’s worth noting that Twitter has categorized every account as either male or female. This is problematic because some accounts are companies, not people, and it discounts people who do not identify with either gender or are somewhere in the middle.
Twitter’s using a mix of self-reported demographics (what Followerwonk picked up), name categorization of gender, and natural language processing to look for gender signifiers. My recommendation for Twitter: join Facebook in giving people more gender options and toss those companies out.

Recently, our own Rand Fishkin took a close examination of his followers and those he followed back, in a concerted effort to follow more women on Twitter. Rand was pretty shocked to learn how many more male followers he had than female, and he was perhaps more shocked about my followers, given that my Twitter bio identifies me as a feminist and I tweet more about social justice than online marketing.

Rand wants to have a more gender balanced Twitter following

In addition to following more women, look at the gender balance of people you retweet and whose voices you’re helping amplify.
Twee-Q analyzes your last 100 tweets and shows the gender balance who you’ve been retweeting. Entrepreneur Anil Dash talked about how he spent a year only retweeting women. Even if you don’t follow Dash’s footsteps, it’s pretty eye opening to see just who you’re retweeting.

My twee-q score
I swear I did not stage this equal RTing result. Usually, I skew toward more women than men.

Create inclusive community guidelines or a code of conduct for your site, blog, forums, reviews, social media, events, etc.

As a community manager, I’m a little obsessed with keeping the virtual living room free of hatred, especially on sites directly owned by a brand. I love, for example, that the comments on the Moz Blog are actually valuable to read, unlike almost every other site out there.

It’s hard to backpedal and bring order to your community; we all watched YouTube integrate G+ and Huffington Post hire an army of comment moderators. But most of us aren’t managing a community with millions of incoming comments and forum posts. Community guidelines or a code of conduct give you more room to be explicit about expectations for behavior on your properties.

For example, Moz works in the SEO space. So while it’s not very
TAGFEE to put a spammy link in a comment, it saves argument time that it’s actually outlined in our community etiquette. While not directly tied to stopping discrimination, you can easily see how parallels in explicitly outlining what kinds of speech your brand won’t tolerate. “Be excellent to each other” can just bring on too many arguments from the person you’re moderating.

The allowance of hate-fueled user-generated content sends a signal loud and clear to women, minorities, and allies just what your brand is about, and this feeling is only amplified when we all meet face-to-face.

This year at MozCon, we implemented a
Code of Conduct. For those that don’t know, in the events space, there’s been an increasing awareness of harassment at conferences. One way organizers are combating it and making attendees safer is by explicitly laying out a policy against this behavior and how event organizers will respond to said bad behavior. Again, this should be solvable simply by saying “be TAGFEE”—or whatever other motto your brand chooses—but unfortunately, this is not the case.

Some of you have speculated about what happened to make the MozCon committee decide we needed a code of conduct.
We created the code to be proactive. This is just one more way to improve our conference and be welcoming to marketers of all stripes.

MozCon 2014 attendees having breakfast before the show.

Make your brand voice and design guides inclusive instead of exclusive.

Many people make employment choices, not to mention purchase decisions, based on “culture.” Culture is a nebulous idea, and while it’s formed by the combination of how people in your company act and brand perception, you can start out on the right foot. Culture’s not a top-down dictate, but the signals come from both directions, and a strong brand voice and design guide can help company communication on what’s implicitly acceptable and what’s not.

Most of us work for brands that are gender-neutral. We don’t cater to an exclusively female-identified or male-identified audience. However, we tend to adopt cultural tones that identify our band as a specific gender, and furthermore our industry as exclusive, instead of inclusive.

You’re probably thinking about how Moz’s own Roger Mozbot uses the male pronoun. While Roger’s name and his use of the male pronoun will likely never change, those of us who work on Roger as a mascot strive to make him as gender neutral as possible. He doesn’t use specific masculine language, and despite many requests from our community, he doesn’t have a love interest. Roger’s first love is SEO, after all. He’s beloved by all our community members, not just the male-identified ones.

Not all companies think about these nuances. For example, why is banking portrayed as a masculine industry? Why does it need to support stereotypes that women are bad with money, math, and the financial market? Doesn’t every adult need a bank account, retirement savings, and access to their money? Does the marketing-bias only reflect the hiring bias?

JPMorgan and Chase's hiring page
Who’s getting interviewed here? Who looks most like a banker? Who should apply here?

Brands who do live in a sphere where they can say 80%+ of their audience comes from a particular gender should also pay attention. If none of your competitors are going after that other ~20% of audience share, you have a market opportunity. At the very least, small tweaks to your voice—like using that epicene “they”—or adding a pop color not commonly associated with your industry’s dominant gender can make you the friendly, go-to brand for those who feel like outsiders in your niche.

ExOfficio shows actual customers fishing, not just models in the clothing.

Outdoor and travel clothing brand
ExOfficio is known for their fishing clothing. Fishing is considered a male market, but they do a great job making the same fishing clothing for women too. Sure, they might add in different styling and colors and offer some variations geared toward women’s fashion, but their imagery and their core offering of fishing clothing doesn’t shout out that these are women fishing.

Let’s also look at a cautionary tale of what can happen when brands try to be more inclusive toward women: the pinkification of the market.

While yes, this is marketed toward girls, not women, this fishing set nicely illustrates pinkification. Turning it pink and labeling it with Barbie somehow makes it “for girls.” But what really makes me upset is the language. Behold the “Purse” of fishing, which contains the exact same actual equipment as the Spider-Man one marketed toward boys.

While this may seem a bit consumer-focused, the products you put out the world and the marketing behind them reflect directly if someone can see themselves working at your brand. When I first heard Apple announce the iPad, my gut reaction was to ask if there was a single woman working on the Apple marketing/product team. Because to me,
this MAD TV sketch about the then-newly released iPad (possibly NSFW) said all the things I was thinking.

Conversely, if your employees know this matters, when something bothers them, they’ll likely bring it up. Recently at Moz, our team worked hard on new customer personas. At the end of the day, four were chosen as Moz’s current target market and the rest put on hold as future markets. While the personas were gender-balanced overall, it so happened that three of the four current customer personas were male. Because of Moz’s culture, multiple people approached the persona team questioning this. The team then pivoted to change the names to be gender neutral selections and edit the accompanying art and descriptive text to reflect this.

Publishing an image of your company, what’s the gender balance?

While we’re thinking about how your brand looks to potential employees, what images are out there of your company? Are they only men? Is there only one type of woman?

Recruiting at Moz

Unfortunately, this main image on our recruiting page presents Moz as looking for a certain type of employee: a young, fit, white professional, preferably with light-colored hair. This doesn’t reflect the actual makeup of Moz, especially at 140+ people. But what if this was the only image? What would a potential employee or recruit who didn’t fit that image think?

This can be particularly challenging for small businesses. You also don’t want your employees to feel tokenized for their gender identity or minority status. Perhaps it’s time to think more about what a photo means to applicants.
BarkBox had 30 employees in early 2014, and here’s their simple, yet more welcoming recruiting image:

BarkBox's recruiting image

It only takes a little extra effort to go a long way.

Include women in interviews, quotes, and other articles and events touting industry experts.

There’s simply no excuse for an article or an event full of industry experts and to not have the final lineup include a single woman. While there’s no “magical number” to achieve diversity, it’s simply bad practice when a lineup features only men. If you seriously can’t think of a single woman expert in your field, you’re doing something wrong.

a strong correlation between seeing yourself demographically and dreaming that you could do that job too. We all need inspiration and heroes to look up to and aspire to be like. And great marketers, we come from all kinds of backgrounds and make this industry a better place because of that.

If you’re a white man asked to speak as an industry expert, it’s time to ask who else is being featured or speaking. Turn down engagements that only have male voices. Ask more of authors and conference runners. If you’re the author or event curator, reach out to someone in the industry who’s opinion you respect for ideas of experts you’re not thinking of. I’ll gladly send you my binders full of women marketing experts.

SMX East 2014 speaker lineup
A sample of the speakers at SMX East 2014

When you witness sexist behavior, say something.

I saved this tip for last because it is one of the most powerful. Simply not keeping quiet and speaking up can change the world. We all have to work together.

“People will not listen unless you are an old, white man, so I’m an old white man, and I will use that to help people who need it.” — Sir Patrick Stewart

Unfortunately when women call people out on sexist behavior, it’s not as powerful as men saying the same thing. Same goes for a black person calling a white person out on racist behavior, etc. And when a woman calls a man out, she’s making a “political” statement and suffers real consequences in her life. Despite laws in many countries against these things, complaints of any kind can lead to economic consequences of losing jobs or clients and to safety concerns about harassment both online and offline.

A recent study actually showed that whistle-blowing or any kind of confrontation wasn’t even necessary for economic consequences. Women and people of color who promoted other women and people of color and/or valued diversity in the workplace received lower performance reviews than white men who did the same.

Male-identified friends, if you see someone or a company doing these things, please help and speak up. Please stand up for those who are doing this hard work and please be aware of your own biases.

More resources…

Basic resources:

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
The Male Privilege Checklist by Barry Deutsch
30+ Examples of Heterosexual Privilege in the US by Sam Killermann
Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is by John Scalzi
The Problem When Sexism Just Sounds So Darn Friendly… by Melanie Tannenbaum
Derailing For Dummies
Aamer Rahman from
Fear of a Brown Planet on “Reverse Racism”
8 Things White People Really Need to Understand About Race by James Utt
An open letter to privileged people who play devil’s advocate by Juliana Britto
Yes, All Men: Every Man Needs to Understand Internalized Misogyny and Male Violence by Tom Hawking
Roll up, roll up, to see a man talking about feminism. What could possibly go wrong? by Robert Webb

SEO, tech, and startup specific resources:

Not all men. Not all industries. But nearly always men in my industry by Martin Belam
Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet by Amanda Hess
Women as Entertainment in the SEO Industry by Jane Copland
The Problem with ‘Brogrammers’: Why is Silicon Valley so stubbornly white and male? by Rebecca Burns
Meritocracy [in Tech] is Almost as Real as this Unicorn by Tara Hunt
Death by a thousand cuts: the reality of being a woman in tech by Meg Kierstead
In Tech Marketing Jobs, Women’s Successes Are Rarely Recognized by Laura Sydell
Eve wasn’t invited: Integrating women into the Apple community by Brianna Wu

Further resources:

On being an ally and being called out on your privilege by Andrew David Thaler
TEDxWomen Talk from Anita Sarkeesian about
Online Harassment & Cyber Mobs
Dissent Unheard Of, real and economic impact of speaking out by Ashe Dryden
Dos and Don’ts To Combat Online Sexism by Leigh Alexander
In Which We Teach You How To Be A Woman In Any Boys’ Club by Molly Lambert
The Confidence Gap by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
“Raving Amazons”: Antiblackness and Misogynoir in Social Media by I’Nasah Crockett
Visibility Conundrums of Being Queer by Erica McGillivray

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How to Combine Screaming Frog Data with Google Analytics Data

Posted by Iamoldskool

This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz, Inc.

I love Screaming Frog. It is without doubt the best SEO tool I use on a daily basis (no offense, Moz). The sheer amount of data you can get about your website, or someone else’s website, is incredible. You can find broken links, you can check for your Google Analytics (or any other) code on all pages through the custom search, and you can even go so far as to follow all the redirects and find out the redirect paths in a website.

In this quick guide, I’m going to show how Screaming Frog data can be used to help perform a content audit.

The data in Screaming Frog is incredible, but one thing it can’t do (yet…give it time) is tell you how popular your pages are. For that, you need an analytics package. We’re going to be working with Google Analytics on this one, as it’s probably the most well known (and well used) of the analytics services out there, and we’re going to combine the two data streams into one to give you a full overview of your content and just how popular it is. As this data is from a website I work with (rather than my own), I’m going to hide the URLs in the screenshots for obvious reasons.

Why would you want to do this?

Combining Google Analytics data with your Screaming Frog data has a myriad of advantages. You can get an overall picture of your site and identify any issues that are occurring on popular pages. You can see which pages within your site have no page views at all, or the ones that have very few page views. Maybe there are issues on these pages that become immediately apparent when you combine the two datasets.

Getting your data

Step 1: Screaming Frog

Spider the website you’re working with in Screaming Frog. Just type the URL in the box and click go, and off it goes getting all the data from your website.

Filter the list to just include HTML and hit export:

Step 2: Google Analytics

Head over to Google Analytics and go to the “All Pages” tab:

Set a decent data range of a couple of months so you get some decent data (especially if it’s a low traffic site), and set “show rows” at the bottom to 5,000 so you get as much data as possible.

“Hang on a minute, Jim,” you’re saying….I have a lot more than 5,000 in my list. How do I get the rest? Well, that’s a simple hack. Go to the URL at the top and look at the end of it for the 5000. It will look something like this:

Now just up that figure to cover all of your page views, and you’ll have a huge long list. I have 9,347 on my list, so I’m going to up it to 10,000.

Great. Now export that data to an Excel file:

Now you have the two sets of data in Microsoft Excel format. Next, we’re going to combine these two data sources into one

First step. Open them up and put them both into a single excel file on different worksheets, then label them so you know which is which:

Now, make a third empty worksheet for your compiled data. Here’s a view of the worksheets you should have at this point:

To make this work, we’ll need the URL (page name column) to be the same on both sheets. The Screaming Frog data contains the domain, where as the GA data doesn’t, so use find and replace on the Screaming Frog data to remove the domain up to the first trailing slash. The two data sources should now have URLs that match.

With me so far? Great. Now it’s time to link the data sets together and get that lovely combined data in your third worksheet.

Linking the data

OK. Go to your Screaming Frog worksheet and select all the data and on the formula tab, click define name – give it an easily identifiable name (I would name it the same as your worksheet).

Then do the same with the GA data: Select it > Formula Tab > Define name > Name it the same as the worksheet.

Got both of them defined? Groovy, time to put this data together.

Save your file.

Go to your third worksheet, named “compiled data.”

Then on the data tab, select “From Other Sources” then From Microsoft Query.

It will then ask you to choose your data source, choose excel file from the options and click OK. Then, find your saved Excel file and select it; you’ll be given the option to include your two named data sources.

Select both, and add them to columns in your query. Click next, you’ll then be presented with what looks like an error message (but isn’t really).

Click OK.

Then drag “Page” on the GA Data onto “Address” on the Screaming Frog Data like this

And, you’ll notice all the data from the two data sources below will reorganise itself.

Then, click file > “Return data to Microsoft Excel.”

On the next one, just click ok… and that’s it. You should now have a single worksheet with the combined data from Screaming Frog and Google Analytics to play with and do what you want.

Hope my little tutorial made sense and people find it of use. I’d love to hear what other people use this tutorial to accomplish in the comments :-)

Thanks all!

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5 Hacks for Creating and Promoting the Right Content

Posted by Paddy_Moogan
In my last post on Moz a few weeks ago, I talked about the idea of paying to promote your content using social channels. Today I actually want to go a step backwards in the process and talk about content creation. 
1. …

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Teach Google About Your Entities by Using Topical Hubs – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by gfiorelli1

I’m not so sure it’s correct to say—as is so common lately—that today’s SEO is a new one, especially with regard to on-site SEO.
Many of the things that are necessary today were also necessary in the past: a well-designed information architecture, a great navigation structure, good internal linking, etc.
We should talk instead of a new emphasis we must give to some factors as old as SEO itself.
Today I’ll talk about one of these factors—Topical Hubs—that, although it has been important in the past, is even more so today with Hummingbird and the increasing weight Google gives to semantics and thematic consistency of the sites.

[Disclaimer about my accent in the video: I swear, my English is not so bad, even if it really sounds Italian; just the idea that I was in Seattle shooting a WBF stressed every cell in my body].

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video Transcription

Hola, Moz fans. I’m Gianluca Fiorelli. Finally, you are going to see my face and not just my picture or avatar.

I’m here not to talk about how to snap faces, but about topical hubs. 

What are topical hubs? We are going to discover it. 

Why are we talking about topical hubs? We are going to talk about it because of Hummingbird
. Hummingbird, we know that it’s not a really well-known algorithm, but it has really changed how Google works.

One thing we know is that it is simplifying the results [SERPs]. 

One thing that is not working anymore, that was really, really a goldmine for SEO, was working on long, long tails. You can remember maybe many sites targeting millions of pages about every kind of long queries possible. This is not so anymore because
Hummingbird has simplified [everything]. If query A, query B, and query C are the same when query D, Google will always show query D [SERPs].

In order to optimize your site for this kind of new semantic understanding that Google has of the queries – especially conversational query – we must understand that
we have to think in entities and not in keywords. We have to think about the connection between the entities, and we have to be really sure about the context of the content that we are creating

All these three things then will guide our keyword research.

How can we do this?

We should start our job not from keywords but from entities. 

These are a
few tools that we can use, like directly using the Freebase APIs, which is directly using a Google source (as Freebase is Google), or we can use the AlchemyAPI, which can make our job easier. 

There are also other tools, like 
ConceptNetYahoo Glimmer, and Bottlenose. Bottlenose… I suggest it to you if you are going to create or craft a site about something which is really mainstream, but has concepts stemming especially from social. Bottlenose is really good because it’s taking care also of entity recognition in social media. 

There is RelFinder, which is a really nice tool for free. It is relying on the dBASE, the Wikipedia database.

From there, using these tools, we can understand, for instance, let’s say we are talking about pizza because we are a pizzeria (I’m Italian). 

Using these tools, we can understand what the concepts are related to pizza: What kind of pizza (thin, crunchy, regular pizza, with tomatoes, without tomatoes, Neapolitan or Romana, so many kinds), but also the history of pizza, because Pizza Margherita was named from an Italian queen. 

We can discover also that pizza can be related to geography also because pizza is Italian, but the World Championship of Acrobatic Pizza (which is a sport) is Spanish. 

We can understand many, many entities, many, many facts around the concept of pizza that can populate our site about pizzas.

Let’s say that we are a pizzeria. We have a local site, and we are maybe in Tribeca. We shouldn’t just focus ourselves on the entity search of “pizzas,” but we should start also thinking about entity searches for entities related to Tribeca, so New York Movie Festival, Robert De Niro, etc.

Once we have all of these entities,
we should start thinking about the ontology we want to use, that we can extract from these entities, how to group them and create our categories for the site. 

The categories of a site substantially are our topical hubs.

Going to another kind of website, let’s think of a classical real estate classified site. 

We usually have in every classified site the homepage, then the category and product pages. People always say, “How can we make our category pages rank?”

Consider them to be topical hubs. 

A good site for topical hubs could be a microsite.
We have just to think of our site as if it was a composition of microsites all contextually connected

So the category page in this case should be considered as a new site all about, for instance, Tribeca or all about Harlem, or Capitol Hill in Seattle, or any other neighborhood if we are talking about real estate.

From there, once we have decided our categories, we can start doing the keyword research, but using a trick,
we must credit Dan Shure for the tip, which is to find keywords related to the entities

Now Dan Shure is suggesting to us to do this: going to Keyword Planner and instead of putting a few keywords to retrieve new ones, use a Wikipedia page of the entity related to the content that we are going to optimize. Goggle will start suggesting us keyword groups, and those keyword groups are all related to a specific subset of the entity we are talking about.

So we can start optimizing our page, our content hub, with the keywords Google itself is extracting from the best SERPs of entities (Freebase or Wikipedia). In doing so, we are creating a page which is really well optimized on the keywords side, but also on the entity side, because all of those keywords we are using are keywords that Google relates to specific entities.

But that’s not all, because when we talk about topical hubs, we have to talk, again, about the
context, and the context is not just writing the classic, old SEO text. It’s also giving value to the category page.

So if we have done a good audience analysis, maybe we can understand that in Capitol Hill, there is a certain demographic. So we can organize the content on the hub page focusing on that demographic, and we know that we will have our text talking about the neighborhood, but we also have our initial listings. Maybe we can see, for instance, if a neighborhood is really appreciated, or if the demographic is young families with two kids and so on. Maybe we can add values, like Zillow is doing: has school close to or in the neighborhood, or parks close to the neighborhood, or where to go to eat in the neighborhood, or landmarks in the neighborhood.

All of this content, which is adding value for the user, is also
adding contextual value and semantic value for Google.

tip. When you are optimizing a page, especially category pages, let’s say you have the category page Capitol Hill, Seattle for your real estate site. Tag it with the property sameAs, the Capitol Hill word, and link that sameAs to the Wikipedia page of Capitol Hill. If it doesn’t exist, write yourself a web page about Capitol Hill. You are going to tell Google that your page is exactly about that entity.

So when we have all of these things, we can start thinking about the content we can create, which is contextually relevant both to our entity search (we did a keyword search related to the entities) and also to the audience analysis we did.

So, returning to my pizzeria, we know that we can start doing recipes and tag them with recipe micro data. We can do videos and mark that them with a video object. We can do short forms, and especially we can try to do the long forms and tag them with the article schema and trying to be included in the in-depth article box. We can start writing guides. We can start thinking about UGC and Q&A.

We can try especially to create things about the location where we are set, which in my pizzeria case was Tribeca, creating a news board to talk and discuss about the news of what’s happening in Tribeca, what the people of Tribeca are doing, and if we are lucky, we can also think to do newsjacking, which we know is really strong.

For instance, do you remember the Oscar night when the guy with the pizza was entering on the stage? Well, maybe we could do something similar in Tribeca, because there’s a movie festival there. So, maybe during the red carpet show our person goes to all of the celebrities and starts giving pizza to them, or at least a Coke?

So doing these things we are creating something which is really, really thought about in a semantic way, because we are really targeting our site to all of the entities related to our micro-topic. We have it optimized also on a keyword level, and we have it optimized on a semantic search level. We have created it crossing our search with the audience search.

creating content which is responding both to our audience and Google

And doing so, we are not going to need to create millions of pages targeting long, long tails. 

We just need really strong topical hubs that stem content, which will be able to respond properly to all the queries we were targeting before.

I hope you enjoyed this Whiteboard Friday.

And, again, I beg your pardon for my accent (luckily you have the transcript).

Video transcription by

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The Marketer’s Guide to Facebook Graph Search

Posted by SimonPenson

Social search has long been heralded as the “next big thing.” The opportunity to create the search engine for people is too enticing; the prize being held above all others in the race to build the next Google.

Facebook is widely recognised as the only company other than the search giant itself capable of creating such a product, and it’s one of the key reasons behind its enormous 
price-to-earnings ratio. Few are investing on the strength of the current format; instead they know that the data it has at its fingertips could be world-changing in terms of information retrieval and advertising.

And that project began in earnest, publicly at least, with the launch of Graph Search in 2013.

At the time the product lacked any significant features and after a short fanfare, marketers’ focus shifted elsewhere. The engineers, however, had very clear instructions to iterate, fast, and the results of that work are now starting to float to the surface.

What is graph search?

Graph Search is Facebook’s way of mapping all the data we give the platform together in a really useful way. It is by far the best example of “Social Search” – the premise of creating a search engine based not on websites but on entities – people, places and things.

The company has been quietly iterating it since last year. There’s still a long way to go but the foundations are already there for what promises to be the only true rival to Google in the world of information organization and retrieval and only days ago did they start testing new functionality that allows some users to search through content as well as people, interests and things.

Search operators

So what has changed that makes Facebook’s search engine worth talking about
again for digital marketers?

The answer is the introduction of a large number of much more sophisticated search operators, or ways of searching, layered over the top of a greater connected data set.

To help understand what we mean, we have created this free 
Facebook Graph Search Cheat Sheet, brimming with many of the useful connotations you may want to use to improve your understanding of your customers, or those of your competitors.

This post is about using it specifically to find, learn about, and work with influencers in your space and build out a much more detailed picture of your existing and prospective audiences.

Using Graph Search

Before you can even begin extracting useful information from the platform, however, you need to check to see if you have access to the full search facility. To do that there is a very simple little hack that involves changing your language settings.

Claiming Graph Search

If you are reading this from the US then chances are you will already have Graph Search by default. That is not the case for all. If you fall outside of this and still have the painfully poor old search box you must head into settings to change this.

To do it search for your settings in the top nav.

Next, go to the General account settings and change your language to English (US) and hey, presto: You should now have enabled Graph Search.

Marketing uses

There will undoubtedly be scores more ways for marketers to use Graph Search as the months roll on and functionality improves, but as we examine the options today we can divide them into five key areas:

  1. Audience insight
  2. Influencer discovery
  3. Influencer research
  4. GSO – Graph Search optimization
  5. Advertising

1. Audience insight

Number one on the list has to be the ability it gives you to join the dots in your audience research work. The endless hours I and other marketers spent sitting behind one way screens as part of
ethnography research group work in past decades made true insight very labour-intensive and expensive. It was also only partially effective, as by the time data from these methods was processed it was often weeks, or even months, old.

Not for one moment am I saying, however, that those methods have no value, as getting in front of your audience to see how they really use or interact with your product(s) can be extremely useful. But the data pot is small.

Where you can really start to trust your findings is when the data you are handling is “big,” aggregating the beliefs of tens of thousands of current or potential customers.

So, how does Graph Search help? Let’s look at that in a little more detail.

Initial research

We have already discussed how the functionality of Facebook’s search engine has come on in leaps and bounds and here we can start putting that to use.

We’ve created a free cheat sheet to help you navigate the scores of search operators (
download it here).

Let’s look at a couple of examples in real time now so you can see how it works.

For this run-through we’ve chosen a brand in the UK entertainment space, but we have kept the brand anonymous. The process of running through that data, however, should give you a very good understanding of how to work through this, step-by-step, for your own brand.

To begin with, we can start with something relatively simple: A look at other pages liked by those that like the brand. This helps create a better understanding of the other interests of the audience:

To achieve this, search for: “Pages liked by people who like INSERT BRAND”.

As yet, however, we are not getting into anything especially insightful. To really dive into the exciting data we must find a way of segmenting these random brand and page affinities with broader interest sets.

To do this we can again lean on Graph Search to provide us with that detail.

To achieve this search for: “favorite interests of people who like INSERT BRAND”.

As you can see, there are already some revealing interests coming to the fore, and we’ll look at those in greater detail a little later.

As with any research, however, results can be skewed by small data sets, and so to bulk out those numbers it is possible to combine your brand with others in the same space.

To achieve this search for: “favorite interests of people who like INSERT BRAND and INSERT COMPETITOR”.

Once you have a list of relevant and useful results, the options are almost endless, and it is at this point that you can decide to add extra depth to the areas that matter most.

For instance, for our example brand it is important to understand what drinks and food the audience likes, as they run a large number of “brick-and-mortar” outlets.

To achieve this search for: ‘favorite ‘DRINK/FOOD’ of people who like ‘INSERT BRAND’.

And given that discussions may be ongoing around brand ambassadors it may be useful to extract some information about favourite celebrities, musicians or entertainers.

To achieve this search for: ‘favorite ‘DRINK/FOOD’ of people who like ‘INSERT BRAND’.

The results here can be truly eye opening – and there is still more you can dig into, which we’ll look at a little later.

Quantitative data

The challenge with the above is that while it can give you significant qualitative insight the problem is gauging just how much of your audience shares that same interest.

It’s all well and good creating content to suit individuals, but you may be wide of the mark if you don’t have a fuller view of shared interests.

Thankfully, however, there is a way to get just that.

I’ve written previously here about
extracting social data for use in informing strategy and we can use that same principle here to add the richness we need to give us the confidence necessary to make real decisions.

The science bit

Grabbing that data is easier than you think and while it’s not perfect the result is worth the effort. Here’s how it works.

There are no fancy tools either I’m afraid, just a little bit of simple math, and to help make that process as hassle free as possible we’ve already built
this simple calculator, which should make the process as pain-free as possible.

Step one

Start by jumping onto Facebook’s Ad Centre and click ‘create ad’. You’ll then be presented with this screen. Click on any of these, but we’ll use the Page Likes option here.

Once in the console scroll down until you get to the Audience section.

Start by selecting the geography you wish to look at. You can choose to focus on a global audience by default, but for this study we have chosen the UK. On the right hand side you’ll then be able to see how many people fit the selection. For instance, here we can see that there are 36,000,000 people in the UK on Facebook.

The next step is to add the audience interest. This can be anything from an interest to a brand, so let’s start with our example entertainment brand (BRAND A). The right-hand column now tells us that there are 96,000 people in the UK that ‘Like’ them.

The next step is to start to understand a little more about those interests we saw earlier using Graph Search.

Remember the pole dancing ‘interest’. Who couldn’t? The question is, just how many of those who already show an affinity with the brand ‘Like’ this alternative entertainment activity when compared to the average person?


To do that we simply add pole dancing to our brand audience as you can see below and it gives us the combined audience of 126,000 people.

OK so far? Now comes the math part – and this is where the calculator can come in useful.

Below we can see the formula that sits behind the calculator and this will give us a better understanding of just how much our audience likes pole dancing.

Taking the numbers we have just talked through we can now create a sum that looks a little like this and it tells us that 6.25% of the brand’s audience likes pole dancing.

feels like a high percentage but, feeling is not good enough. We need to know for certain and to truly understand what that means we need to look at the average person and then compare the two.

To do that we work through the same process by first getting the number for the UK Facebook audience and the pole dancing audience separately.

And we can then use this simple formula to work out what percentage of the average Facebook audience likes pole dancing.

The result here is that just 0.1% of the average audience likes this particular interest. The brand audience just got very interesting, as there is a huge over-indexing of this particular interest. We know, therefore, that content around this subject matter will resonate!

The idea from here is to then rinse and repeat this process for multiple interests so you can chart them against each other like this:

This is where we really start to understand our audience. The pink column represents the example brand’s audience and the blue the average Facebook audience. We can clearly see where the over indexing is.

Those are the interests you want to really concentrate on as part of your content plan, as you know there is a high propensity to engage.

Competition ideas

Graph Search can also be used to refine those content ideas. Let’s say, for instance, that you are running a competition to win restaurant vouchers. Rather than generically doing the same thing for everyone in the UK why not look to see if there is a North/South, or state divide?

Below we have used the same process as previously described but also looked at how location affects affinity with different restaurant brands.

The data above suggests there is a definite North/South divide and the marketer would be better offering McDonalds or Nandos vouchers to those in Manchester and Frankie and Benny chain coupons to those in London for better engagement.

2. Influencer discovery

Another area that Graph Search can really help marketers with is in finding key influencers and evangelists – both of which are critical to today’s marketing plans.

There are several ways you can do this.

To begin with let’s take a look at our example brand once more and start uncovering those people with the most potential reach. We are able to use a couple of more advanced Graph Search operators to see whose attention they may already have.

A great place to start is by looking at the blogosphere in a little more detail, and that starts with this search:

We can immediately see here that there are a number of people that run blogs and already like the brand; a brilliant conversation opener when you reach out to them.

And if you struggle to find bloggers who do follow the brand then why not utilize this search instead to see if they follow, or are friends with, people who work for the brand?

We can see here which other options are available to us in this section of Facebook’s data set if we want to refine our search. It doesn’t end here, either, as there are many more nuances available:

And if larger sites are your ultimate targets then a search for journalists is also possible, as below:

While you can also refine by location if your campaign needs to target a country, region or city:

Should you wish to refine that search further still you can target specific publications. Our search here for The Telegraph newspaper in the UK brings up more than 1,000 people, many of whom are key journalists:

And we can then use the internal search tool to refine further by job title:

By using it to find “writers,” it creates this search, and we have a list of 12 people to then connect with via LinkedIn or via a call to the newspaper’s news desk.

3. Influencer research

The value that Graph Search can bring to your marketing plan doesn’t end there either.

Using it to paint your audience understanding picture and discovering influencers in your network is obviously very powerful in itself but you can also use the platform to add further colour to your influencer pitches.

As journalists are pitched to every hour of the day, warming that conversation with some prior intelligence can make the difference between success and failure.

It’s possible to find out a lot about individuals with this same process and give you a much better understanding of the journalist you want to work with as a result.

Take this search for example. Let’s say we want to find out more about the Assistant Editor at The Telegraph magazine, discovered with this little search:

We can then use many of the searches previously mentioned to build a really good picture of his interests, and what makes him tick.

Knowing that he clearly supports Tottenham Hotspur and that he will be excited about the new Inbetweeners movie coming out gives you a brilliant “in” and conversation warmer.

And we can even see where he likes to spend time. Below you can see one of many searches that use Bing’s map functionality to bring extra location-based insight. It gives us the places the Assistant Editor has visited:

It’s this area of Graph Search that could offer the most promise in the long term, and I would be worried if I ran Tripadvisor or any other review-based site, on this evidence.

While review sites are generally based on the general public view Facebook is able to slice and dice to give you the views of anyone from your friends or family to those with similar interests or ages to you—trusted reviews from people you know and or respect.

4. GSO – Graph Search optimization

If Graph Search is going to become more useful then the likelihood is that people will start using it more and that means one thing; the birth of Graph Search optimization, or GSO.

Being at the top of those lists could drive significant traffic to brand pages and understanding how Facebook orders that will be key.

There is very little information on this area at present but logic suggests that the same signals used to order Facebook’s activity wall would apply to Graph Search.

This may mean that Likes and the new links with extra weight given to Likes from people and pages with the largest audiences. The more authoritative the person or brand behind the connection the greater the impact on Graph Search rankings.

If you then throw page actions into the mix, such as content likes, shares and comments as well as app usage and so on, you soon build up a clear picture of how GSO may work.

Could this mean that the digital PR of the future includes work to incentivize key influencers to Like Facebook Pages, or engage with key content? Only time will tell.

And given the fact that the Menlo Park company is already testing a search facility for content, this area will undoubtedly become more important still.

5. Advertising

The value of the insight also extends to social advertising. Given that CPCs are often higher in important commercial niches, it can really pay to understand where else your audience may be interacting.

If, for instance, those you want to target are also very likely to have an affinity with gardening, then creating ad groups to test your advertising in that niche can often result in a reduction in CPCs.

Not all interest sets will work here and in practice it is a good idea to create six or more campaigns targeting the top shared interests and then run them for a day or so to see how they perform.


Graph Search is here to stay and will increasingly become a major weapon in any marketers’ armory as we all look for ways of making our strategies and campaigns smarter and more effective.

The audience insight it gives and ability to drill down into the minutia is what those investing in Facebook see as its real value, and they’ve clearly only just started opening the treasure chest.

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School’s in Session at Moz Academy

Posted by Nick_Sayers

The onset of fall sharpens the air. Kids laboriously lug stacks of books and binders to class. Teachers puzzle over their lesson plans for the year. Lockers that were once empty now overflow with paper, and quiet hallways fill with the chatter of eager minds. School is finally back in session. In the spirit of fall and the start of school, we think it’s a perfect time to open up Moz Academy to our community!

Moz Academy

If you’ve never heard of Moz Academy, let me give you an earful! At Moz, we really want people to be awesome marketers so they can use our products in fun ways and make the Internet way cooler, with less spam and garbage content. We’ve got a ton of terrific instructors at Moz, but Moz Academy has so much SEO knowledge that it’ll make teachers out of all of you!

Over the past year we’ve added more than 30 videos to Moz Academy.
One of my favorite lesson plans shows off how you can use Moz Pro to help with your day-to-day marketing. We’re also proud to offer a comprehensive
Local SEO section that we built with our good friends over at LocalU.

To give you a sense for what we’ve got, we wanted to show you some of our favorite Academy lectures!

First up: Listen to Steve Martin look-alike Cyrus Shepard tell you how to size up your competition in Moz Pro—like a pro.

Next, listen to the mustached master of SEO, Rand Fishkin, instruct us on how to correctly implement redirects.

If you’re into advanced filtering in Google Analytics, listen to Tim Resnik’s explanation of how to segment your search traffic into verticals by pulling a parameter from the URLs in the SERPS.

Our own Jen “Don’t call me J-LO” Lopez, gives us a crash course on measuring your social media efforts.

Finally, Mike Ramsey from Nifty Marketing can help you get a handle on creating local content.

Now that school is back in session we hope you’re excited to start learning again. Please enjoy Moz Academy and share the lessons with folks learning SEO or trying to get a nice refresh.

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Back to Fundamentals: 6 Untapped Keyword Sources that Will Boost Organic Traffic

Posted by neilpatel

I used to perform keyword research in the typical, perfunctory way—go to the Keyword Tool, type in some words, and punch out a list of terms.

Easy. Quick. Simple.

Today, things are different. The much-loved
keyword tool has been replaced, long-tail keywords have the ascendancy, and it’s harder to figure out what users are actually searching for.

The rules have changed, and so have the ways of playing the game. I still use the
Keyword Planner, but I’ve also discovered a medley of not-so-obvious ways to get keywords that improve my organic traffic.

1. Wikipedia

Do you think of Wikipedia as just a massive encyclopedia? Think again.
I use Wikipedia for keyword research.

How to Use Wikipedia for Keyword Research

Image from Search Engine Journal.

My process is pretty simple.

Step 1: Google inurl:Wikipedia and my topic. Or just Google the topic or head term. Wikipedia is often the first organic result.

Step 2: Look at the SERP to identify the most relevant terms and possible keywords within a Wikipedia entry.

Step 3: Open the entry in Wikipedia and identify the most relevant terms from the first few paragraphs, morphing them into longail iterations.

Step 4: Identify other relevant terms from Wikipedia’s table of contents on the topic.

Step 5: Link to other associated Wikipedia to see related subjects, and identify even more keywords.

Wikipedia is the world’s
sixth most popular website, and ranks it at number #4 on Google’s list. It boasts 310,000,000 unique visitors (20% of its traffic), and has 7,900,000,000 pageviews. All of this with absolutely no advertising.

In other words, Wikipedia has one of the best organic SEO strategies on the planet. Obviously, these are keywords that matter. Wikipedia’s popularity shows us that people want information. It’s like the greatest content marketing strategy ever, combining user-generated content with prolific publishing on a grand scale.

Do what Wikipedia does. Use the terms that people search for. You won’t outrank Wikipedia, but you will start to rank organically for the longtail varieties that you discern from Wikipedia.

2. Google autocomplete

When you type stuff into Google’s search bar, Google predicts your query and types it out for you. The feature has been around
for a long time. The more time that goes by, the more intelligent the autocomplete algorithm becomes.

These autocomplete suggestions are all based on real user queries. They vary based on geographic location and language. However, in spite of the variation, autocomplete provides a fairly accurate representation of what people are looking for.

Here is why autocomplete is a killer source of keywords:

Step 1: It indicates some of the most popular keywords.

Step 2: It provides longtail suggestions.

Step 3: The keywords are ranked according to the “freshness layer” algorithm. That means that currently popular search terms will rank higher in the autocomplete list.

How do you use autocomplete for keyword research? Well, you can go about this the good old-fashioned spade and shovel way, like this:

Google 2014-08-11 13-50-24

Step 4: Open Google. To prevent Google from autocompleting previously-searched for terms, log out of Google or open an “incognito” window (Chrome: Shift + Cmnd + N).

Step 5: Type in your main keyword or longtail keyword E.g. “lawnmower.”

Step 6: Write down the suggestions that appear in autocomplete.

Step 7: After you type in your main keyword or head term, type in “A” and write down the autocomplete suggestions.

Step 8: Repeat Step 7 for rest of the alphabet.

Or, you can do it the easy way, with Übersuggest. It’s called”suggest on steroids.” It will do all the work for you. The only downside is that it doesn’t suggest keyword extensions based on search popularity.

Keyword suggestion tool — Google suggest scraper — Übersuggest 2014-08-11 13-53-48

If you can get past the eye-popping UI, Übersuggest is a pretty awesome tool.

Keep in mind that Google is not going to provide suggestions for everything.
As quoted in Search Engine Land, here is what the algorithm will filter out:

  • Hate- or violence-related suggestions
  • Personally identifiable information in suggestions
  • Porn & adult content-related suggestions
  • Legally mandated removals
  • Piracy-related suggestions

3. Google Related Searches

Since Google is the biggest search engine, we’ve got to take our cues from its mighty algorithm, imperfect and agonizing though it may be.

Google’s related searches is a really easy way to snag some instant keyword research.

Step 1:
Search for your keyword in Google.

Step 2:
Scroll to the bottom, and ignore everything in between.

There, at the bottom is a harvest of keywords, ripe for the selection:

lawn mower - Google Search 2014-08-11 14-05-22

The idea is similar to Google suggest. However, instead of providing autocomplete suggestions, Google takes the keyword and mixes it up with other words. These other words may be at the end, at the beginning, or sprinkled throughout. These related searches might not even include the actual keyword, but are simply connected in a tangential way.

Whatever the case, you will undoubtedly find some keyword ideas from this list.


Not a whole lot of people know about You won’t find a lot of information about the company itself, but you will find a ton of keyword ideas.

Here are the instructions. Not too hard. 2014-08-11 14-53-43

The whole point of the glossary is to provide definitions. But along with the many definitions, you’ll get “related terms.” That’s what we’re looking for.

When I type in “Search Engine Optimization,” my head term, here’s what I get: - Definitions for "search engine optimization" 2014-08-11 14-56-26

All of those are potential keywords.

I can take this a step further by looking through the definitions. These can provide even more keyword fodder: - Definitions for "search engine optimization" 2014-08-11 14-57-28

For this particular term, I found 117 definitions. That’s enough to keep me busy for a while.

5. Competitor keywords

Another great way to get keyword ideas is to snag them from the competition.

Not only are you going to identify some great keywords, but you’ll be able to gain these keywords ideas from the top-ranking organic sites in the SERPs.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Google your top keyword.

Step 2: Click the first organic result.

Step 3: View the page source (Chrome: Cmnd + Alt + u)

Step 4: Search for “<Title>”. Identify any non-branded terms as possible keywords.

Step 5: Search for “<h1>”. Identify any potential keywords in the H1 text.

Step 6: Search for “<keywords>”. Identify any potential keywords that they have identified as such. Some websites have this, such as specific Wordpress themed sites, or WP sites using an SEO plugin. Most websites don’t.

Step 7: Look at all the content and locate any additional longtail keywords or keyword variations.

The competitors that are first in the SERP for a given head term or longtail query are ranking high for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is their keyword selection. Sure, they may have good link profiles, but you can’t rank for a keyword unless you actually have that keyword (or some variation thereof) on your page.

6. is king of the ecommerce jungle, no questions asked.

Part of their power is that they have total domination of the organic search results for just about any purchase-related keyword. When your audience circles closer to a transactional search query, Amazon is ranking somewhere.

Why? They’ve got keywords—lots of them. And they have reviews—lots of them. This means one thing for you: Lots of keywords ideas.

Let me make a quick clarification. Not everyone is going to find keyword ideas on Amazon. This works best if you have a physical products, and obviously only if Amazon sells it.

Here’s how to skim the cream off of Amazon’s great keywords.

Step 1: Google your keyword.

Step 2: Locate the Amazon entry in the SERP.

Step 3: Click on the result to see the product/landing page on Google.

Step 4: Locate keywords in the following places.

-”Show results for” menu

-Main header

-Text underneath main header

-”## Results for” text.


-Items listed

Here’s a quick survey of where you can find these keywords. Notice the highlighted text. Bags & Cases: Electronics: Sleeves & Slipcases, Messenger Bags, Shoulder Bags, Backpacks & More 2014-08-11 14-28-16

You’ll find even more keywords once you dive into individual products.

Pay special attention to these areas on product pages:

-”Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”

-”Product Description”

-”Product Ads from External Websites”

-”Customer Questions & Answers.” You’ll find some nice query-like longtail keywords here.

-”Customer Reviews.” Again, this is a great source of longtails.

Let Amazon be your guide. They’re the biggest e-retailer around, and they have some great keyword clout going for them.


Keyword research is a basic skill for any SEO. The actual process of finding those keywords, however, does not require expensive tools, formula-driven methods, or an extremely limited pool of options.

I’ve used each of these methods for myself and my clients with incredible success.

What is your favorite source for finding great keywords? 

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

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Big List of SEO Tips and Tricks for Using HTTPS on Your Website

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

It’s rare that Google reveals any of its actual ranking factors, so it came as a big surprise when representatives
announced they would reward sites using HTTPS encryption with a boost in search results.

HTTPS isn’t like other ranking factors. Implementing it requires complexity, risks, and costs. Webmasters balance this out with benefits that include
increased security, better referral data, and a possible boost in rankings.

Google’s push for HTTPS adoption appears to be working. A recent Moz Poll found
24% of webmasters planning to make the switch.

SEO advantages of switching to HTTPS

In addition to the security offered by HTTPS (which we’ll discuss below) there are additional SEO benefits for marketers to take advantage of.

1. More referrer data

Whenever traffic passes from a secure HTTPS site to a non-secure HTTP site, the
referral data gets stripped away. This traffic shows up in your analytics report as ‘Direct.’ This is a problem because you don’t know where the traffic actually comes from.

If you use HTTP, traffic from sites like
Hacker News shows up as ‘direct’ if your website uses HTTP, because Hacker News uses HTTPS.

Fortunately, there’s a
simple solution: when traffic passes to an HTTPS site, the secure referral information is preserved. This holds true whether the original site uses HTTP or HTTPS.

As more and more sites make the switch, this becomes increasingly important.

2. HTTPS as a rankings boost

On one hand, Google has confirmed the ranking boost of HTTPS. On the other hand, with over 200 ranking, it’s likely you’ll find the effect of any ranking influence to
remain quiet small.

In fact, a recent study by Search Metrics showed
no detectable advantage to sites using HTTPS.

Like most ranking signals, it is very hard to isolate on its own.

In fact, don’t expect HTTPS to act as a silver bullet. If rankings are your only concern, there are likely
dozens of things you can do that will have a bigger impact. Here are several:

3. Security and privacy

Many people argue that HTTPS only provides an advantage if your site uses sensitive passwords. That’s not exactly true. Even regular boring content websites can benefit from HTTPS / SSL encryption.

HTTPS adds security in several ways:

  • HTTPS verifies that the website is the one the server it is supposed to be talking to,
  • Because HTTPS prevents tampering by 3rd parties, it stops Man-in-the-middle attacks, making your site more secure for visitors.
  • HTTPS encrypts all communication, including URLs, which protects things like browsing history and credit card numbers.

My advice is this: Make the switch to HTTPS if doing so is reasonable for your business. Security and trust add to the small ranking gains, making it worth the effort if you can.

Challenges to overcome with HTTPS

1. Mistakes happen

Moving your entire site to HTTPS requires many moving parts. It’s easy to overlook important details.

  • Did you block important URLs in robots.txt?
  • Did you point your canonical tags at the wrong (HTTP) URL?
  • Is your website causing browser bars to display warnings that frighten people away from your site? (Side note: That’s the very first article I wrote for SEOmoz!)

While rare, these problems do happen. Moz has spoken privately with webmasters who have seen both rankings and conversions plummet after implementing HTTPS.

In most cases it’s a simple fix, but beware the risk.

2. Speed issues

Because HTTPS requires extra communication “handshakes” between servers, it has the potential to slow down your website – especially on slower sites.

Add to this the fact that
speed is itself a ranking factor, especially on mobile.

The good news is, if you follow
best practices your site should be more than fast enough to handle HTTPS. New HTTPS friendly technologies like SPDY offer you the opportunity to speed up your website more than ever before.

3. Costs

Many webmasters pay between $100-200 a year for SSL certificates. That’s a significant amount for small websites. It’s also a barrier that most spammers won’t bother with.

On the other hand, it’s completely possible to
switch to HTTPS for free.

4. Not everything is ready for HTTPS

Sometimes, things don’t play well with HTTPS. Older web applications can have trouble with HTTPS URLs. (Fortunately, Moz updated
Open Site Explorer just this year.)

If you run AdSense, you may see
your earnings fall significantly, as Google will restrict your ads to those that are SSL-compliant.

Even Google’s own Webmaster Tools
doesn’t yet support HTTPS migration. The world may be moving toward 100% SSL encryption, but in the meantime be prepared for growing pains.

Growing number of sites using HTTPS

Lots and lots of sites use HTTPS today, but most restrict usage to checkout and registration pages.

Very, very few sites use HTTPS sitewide.

According to the latest statistics from
BuiltWith, only 4.2% of the top 10,000 websites redirect users to SSL/HTTPS by default. While that number appears small, the percentage drops to 1.9% for the top million sites.

This number is likely to increase in the very near future as more websites pursue adoption.

SEO and HTTPS best practices

This post talks about the
SEO implications of switching to HTTPS. If you are looking for a technical guide, there are several we’d recommend:

What type of SSL certificate works best?

Companies offer a myriad and confusing array of SSL certificates. The two primary ones to pay attention to are:

  1. Standard Validation SSL – Standard level of validation. Typically cost between $0-$100.
  2. Extended Validation SSL – Offers the highest level of validation and often costs between $100-500.

From a rankings point of view, it makes
absolutely no difference what type of certificate you use. For now.

John Mueller of Google has stated that Google
doesn’t care what kind of SSL certificate your website uses, but that may change in the future.

From both a security and user experience point of view, the type of certificate you choose can have an impact. Consider how different certificates alter how your website appears in the web browser address bar.

The green bar associated with extended certificates communicates trust, while the warning symbols associated with errors can cause worry with visitors.

SEO checklist to preserve your rankings

  • Make sure every element of your website uses HTTPS, including widgets, java script, CSS files, images and your content delivery network.
  • Use 301 redirects to point all HTTP URLs to HTTPS. This is a no-brainer to most SEOs, but you’d be surprised how often a 302 (temporary) redirect finds its way to the homepage by accident
  • Make sure all canonical tags point to the HTTPS version of the URL.
  • Use relative URLs whenever possible.
  • Rewrite hard-coded internal links (as many as is possible) to point to HTTPS. This is superior to pointing to the HTTP version and relying on 301 redirects.
  • Register the HTTPS version in both Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Use the Fetch and Render function in Webmaster Tools to ensure Google can properly crawl and render your site.
  • Update your sitemaps to reflect the new URLs. Submit the new sitemaps to Webmaster Tools. Leave your old (HTTP) sitemaps in place for 30 days so search engines can crawl and “process” your 301 redirects.
  • Update your robots.txt file. Add your new sitemaps to the file. Make sure your robots.txt doesn’t block any important pages.
  • If necessary, update your analytics tracking code. Most modern Google Analytics tracking snippets already handle HTTPS, but older code may need a second look.
  • Implement HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS). This response header tells user agents to only access HTTPS pages even when directed to an HTTP page. This eliminates redirects, speeds up response time, and provides extra security.

Tips for FeedBurner and RSS

Many sites still use FeedBurner for RSS feeds. Unfortunately, Google stopped supporting it long ago and FeedBurner isn’t compatible with HTTPS.

If you use FeedBurner, you’ll need to migrate your RSS to an HTTPS-compatible service. If you’re technically competent you can do this yourself, or FeedPress has a
very inexpensive RSS migration solution.

Migrating social share counts

When migrating to HTTPS, you often want to preserve you social share counts. These are the numbers that display in social share buttons.

These counts don’t impact your rankings (as far as we know) but they act as strong social proof, and it’s frustrating to migrate a page with thousands of tweets and likes only to see them reset to zeros.

In fact, some social networks will transfer the social counts through their APIs, but it may take
weeks or months for them to show up correctly. Here’s a list of what does and doesn’t eventually transfer over:

  • Facebook: Yes
  • Twitter: No
  • Google +1s: Yes
  • Google shares: No
  • LinkedIn: Yes
  • Pinterest: No

If you want
instant karma, Mike King wrote an excellent tutorial on how to preserve your social share counts by altering the code of your social buttons. We used this method on Moz when we migrated from SEOmoz in order to preserve the counts on our content. 

Example button codes to preserve social shares (edit for your site):

<div class="fb-like" data-href="" data-send="false" data-layout="box_count" </div>

<a href="" class="twitter-share-button" data-counturl="" data-url="" data-count="vertical" data-via="moz">Tweet</a>

<div class="g-plusone" data-size="tall" data-href=""></div>

Keep in mind: This only displays
social shares from the URL you dictate. Because of this, it doesn’t update your counts with any new social shares. This works best with content like older blog posts that are likely not to get many new shares. 

If you expect your content to continue to earn social activity, you may simply want to let the numbers update naturally over time.

Making the leap

Much of the web is now moving towards SSL encryption, and within a few years it may even become the default. SEOs, consultants and agencies that become experts know may be rewarded as the popularity of the protocol grows.

Will you make the switch to HTTPS?

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!

Continue Reading →

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