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Get Your Seattle Exploration on at MozCon 2016!

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

MozCon is fast approaching us! On September 12-14-just two weeks away-1,400 online marketers will descend on Seattle, ready to learn about SEO, content, Google Tag Manager, conversion rate optimization, and so much more. We've got fewer than 60 tickets left, so grab yours now.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

If you haven't done so, check out all the learning! This post is geared toward the things you can do when MozCon sessions aren't happening.

Places you'll want to go as recommended by Mozzers

While you're in Seattle, we want to make sure you have a fabulous time. Seattle in September is beautiful. It's still sunny outside, and it's the time of year people come to Seattle and then want to move here. So we've complied a list of great activities and restaurants:

Sights

Gasworks Park

"Incredible views of the city, float planes landing overhead, Space Needle in the background, Ivar's Clam Chowder down the street, bikes all over the place."

- Brian Childs

Volunteer Park

"This is my favorite place in all of Seattle! Stroll around the park and stop in the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the conservatory, then climb to the top of the water tower for an incredible view. You can also walk through the graveyard and see Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee's grave. After all that walking, hop over to the adorable and delicious Volunteer Park Cafe."

- Megan Singley

Elliott Bay Trail

"Amazing views, has a mini gravel beach, and lots of park space. Great for running and cycling. I ride my bike along EBT nearly everyday to Moz, and I fall in love with city over and over again."

- James Daugherty

Alki Beach

"Alki is a beautiful walk with a spectacular view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. It's got some good restaurants, and even a little history as the site of the original settlement."

- Maura Hubbell

Discovery Park

"If you've never been to the Pacific Northwest (or even if you have!), Discovery Park on a clear day is a great place to see the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, and to get some quality forest walking done all in one fell swoop. Plus, it's 20 minutes from downtown! (Pro tip: For the easiest view access, park in the lot on W Emerson just before 43rd Ave W.)"

- Rachel Moore

Green Lake

"People of every ilk converge to exercise, feed ducks, play with dogs, and covet the dogs of others."



- Felicia Crawford

Activities, tours, and museums

The Underground Tour

"What a great way to hear about and experience early-Seattle's history!"

- Emily Smollen



Ferry to Bainbridge Island

"Seattle is surrounded by water and mountains. The ferry is the easiest way to experience that scenery. The view of the city is amazing too!"

- Alyson Murphy



The Pinball Museum

"It is special to me because I've only been to Seattle once, as I work remotely in the UK. It was a joy the see how strong the love for pinball is in Seattle. The Pinball Museum houses the world's biggest pinball machine, and it is really something to behold; it's like hugging a dining room table."

- Jo Cameron

Restaurants and bars

Linda's

"Laid back, good music, cheap food, and nice people."

- Nicelle Herron



Cyclops

"If you are a vegetarian (or love vegetarian food), the Happy Hippy Burger is a must. It is not only the best veggie burger in Seattle, but it's the best I have ever had. Cyclops also has great drinks and food for the omnivores, too."

- Chiaryn Miranda

Pie Bar

"This hole in the wall has it all! Pie Bar serves up warm, freshly baked slices of heaven with a pint of bliss. Savory pies, sweet pies, pietinis, craft spirits, and beer...all nestled in an elegant, cozy venue where you won't have to shout over a crowd 3-hipsters-deep to order. And if you're done with your pie and ready for some pinball and arcade games, John John's Game Room is directly next door!"

- Jess Stipe

Oddfellows Cafe

"This hip little eatery has some awesomely tasty foods, a sweet little private back patio, a laidback atmosphere, and awesome drinks. Plus, it's right in the heart of Capitol Hill, one of my favorite 'hoods in the city."

- Tawny Case

Bonus! Lightning suggestions:

The Fat Hen Smith Bottega Italiana Cafe Turko Shorty's Omega Ouzeri Sushi Kashiba Métier Seattle General Porpoise Doughnuts Sizzle Pie Holy Mountain Brewing Herb and Bitter Lionhead Optimism Brewery Meet the Moon Bar Melusine

Brian Childs' recommendation corner

"I put this Google map together for friends visiting the city. Includes lots of breweries, bars, restaurants, and things to do: Get the info!"

Official MozCon evening events

For all our evening events, make sure to bring your conference badge AND your US ID or your passport.

Monday Night MozCrawl

From 7:00pm - 10:00pm, you can head to all the stops at your own pace and in any order. Visit all the stops, fill out your punch card, and return it to the swag store on Tuesday morning to enter to win a golden Roger!

Barca hosted by Unbounce Saint John's hosted by Buffer Comet Tavern hosted by SimilarWeb Linda's Tavern hosted by WordStream Still Liquor hosted by Whitespark Unicorn hosted by BuzzStream

Tuesday MozCon Ignite

If you're looking for networking, this is event for you! Join us at from 7:00-10:00pm at McCaw Hall for a night of networking and five-minute, Ignite-style passion talks from your fellow attendees. This year, our talks will range from information and unique to heartwarming and life changing. You don't want to miss this MozCon night.

7:00-8:00pm Networking 8:00-8:05pm Introduction with Geraldine DeRuiter 8:05-8:10pm Help! I Can't Stop Sweating - Hyperhidrosis with Adam Melson at Seer Interactive 8:10-8:15pm A Plane Hacker's Guide to Cheap *Luxury* Travel with Ed Fry at Hull.io 8:15-8:20pm Life Lessons Learned as a Special Needs Parent with Adrian Vender at Internet Marketing Inc 8:20-8:25pm How to Start an Underground Restaurant in Your Home with Nadya Khoja at Venngage Inc. 8:25-8:30pm Embracing Fear, Potential Failure, and Plain Ol' Discomfort with Daisy Quaker at AMSOIL INC. 8:30-8:35pm How Pieces of Paper Can Change Lives with Anneke Kurt Godlewski at Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC 8:35-8:40pm Is Your Family Time for Sale? with Michael Cottam at Visual Itineraries 8:40-9:20pm Networking with desserts and refreshments 9:20-9:25pm Prison and a Girl that Loves Puppies with Caitlin Boroden at DragonSearch 9:25-9:30pm Embracing Awkward: The Tale of a 5' 10" 6th Grader with Hannah Cooley at Seer Interactive 9:35-9:40pm Finding Myself in Fiction: LGBTQUIA Stories with Lisa Hunt at Moz 9:40-9:45pm Wooly Bits: Exploring the Binary of Yarn with Lindsay Dayton LaShell at Diamond + Branch Marketing Group 9:45-9:50pm How a Cartoon Saved My Life with Steve Hammer at RankHammer 9:50-9:55pm Flood Survival: Lessons from the Streets of ATL with Sarah Lively at Nebo Agency 9:55-10:00pm Hornets, Soba, & Friends: A Race in Japan with Kevin Smythe at Moz

Wednesday Night Bash!

From 7:00-12:00 midnight: Bowling, pool, Jenga, a slow-motion booth, a photo booth, karaoke, cupcakes, food, drinks, and more! You don't want to miss our annual bash.

Rent some bowling shoes and go for a turkey. Sing your heart out just like you recently joined Journey. Snap photos with your friends while wearing silly hats. Show off how much of a ringer you are at pool. Get into a chicken strip-eating contest. Hang out with your new MozCon friends one last time, and celebrate all the learning!

Birds of a Feather lunch tables

If you want to spend your lunchtime getting great advice from your fellow attendees about online marketing or meet people in your specialty, check out our birds of a feather lunch tables:

Monday, September 12

Women in Digital hosted by Heather Physioc at Tentacle Inbound, LLC Search Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations hosted by Sheena Schleicher at Schleicher Marketing Content MArketing for E-Commerce hosted by Kane Jamison at Content Harmony Local SEO hosted by Kristina Kledzik at Rover Topical Analysis hosted by Michael Cottam at Visual Itineraries In-house SEO hosted by Andy Odom at Santander Consumer USA Making CRO Work for Your SEO hosted by Patrick Delehanty at Marcel Digital

Tuesday, September 13

Local Search hosted by George Freitag at Moz Growth Hacking hosted by Brittanie MacLean at Realty Austin Continuing Marketing Education hosted by Rachel Goodman Moore at Moz Marketing Automation hosted by Ed Fry at Hull.io How to Smartly Mix Search and Content to Aid Overall Business Strategy by Ronell Smith at Ronell Smith Consulting E-Commerce SEO hosted by Everett Sizemore at Inflow SERP Features hosted by Jon White at Moz Technical SEO hosted by Bill Sebald at Greenlane Search Marketing

Wednesday, September 14

Google Penalties hosted by Michael Cottam at Visual Itineraries Advanced SEO hosted by Britney Muller at Moz Marketing for USA Manufacturing Companies hosted by Crystal Hunt at Grassroots Fabric Pots Work-Life Balance hosted by Keri Morgret at Inbound.org Local Search hosted by George Freitag at Moz Marketing Automation hosted by Ed Fry at Hull.io Content Marketing hosted by Trevor Klein at Moz

Join the Fitbit Group

Track your steps while networking and cheer on your fellow attendees!

Play Roger Patrol!

Ready for some friendly competition between your fellow attendees? We've built a special MozCon game just for you. You'll play as starship, part of Roger Patrol! Try and beat the top score on Roger Patrol video game by zapping asteroids, destroying evil spaceships, and protecting Roger Mozbot's universe. We'll provide a download link for attendees, and you'll also find three arcade-style boxes of the game throughout the MozCon venue.

Visit our Partner Hub, get your photo taken with Roger, and more arcade-style fun

As you head up to registration, entering MozCon, you won't want to miss all the activities around you and happening when the conference isn't in active session.

Say hello to our Partners

Every sulk through an exhibitor hall with your head down like you're in middle school again? Us too. Which is why at MozCon, we wanted to do something different. Our invite-only partners are not only respectful, but we've vetted their activities and their products to make sure they are useful to you. So say hello, and we promise you might instead get a postcard to send home, a t-shirt, or a special MozCon coin.

Our great partners:

Buffer BuzzStream SimilarWeb Slope STAT Tagboard Unbounce Whitespark Wistia Wordstream Stop each day at the Swag Store!

After the first day, Registration will be transformed into a swag store. You don't want to miss out on these goodies. On Tuesday, you'll be able to pick up your official MozCon 2016 t-shirt. On Wednesday, you'll get your own Lego Roger.

Meet Mozzers to give feedback or Ask an SEO

Make sure to stop by the Moz Hub. We'll be there to answer your questions about Moz Pro and Moz Local. Learn about our latest offerings and updates. Get insights into how best to use the tools.

And by popular demand, we've added Ask an SEO. Mozzers and Associates with expertise in SEO will be there to answer your burning search questions and kickstart you with new ideas for your search campaigns.

Play the Roger claw machine

We're bringing back the plushie claw machine! If you missed out getting one of our plushie Roger Mozbots, or you just need another as a small child or pet decided Roger was their best friend, now's your chance. In order to play, you must visit one of our Partners or the Moz Hub for a special shiny coin. Then take that coin to the claw machine!

Don't worry, we've put a TAGFEE spell on this machine, so you may find it a little easier than the ones in the malls of your childhood. ;)

Take a photo with Roger Mozbot

A MozCon tradition you won't want to miss. Get your annual photo (or maybe it's your first!) taken with the cuddliest robot in the galaxy, Roger Mozbot.

Donate to charity, on us!

Open up your Monday swag kit and inside you'll find $5 Roger bucks. You get to donate this to one of three charities (charities selected by Mozzers):

PAWS - people helping animals International Justice Mission - a global organization that protects the poor from violence in the developing world Seattle Children's Hospital - to prevent, treat, and eliminate pediatric disease

Roger Mozbot will then count the bucks and write a check to each charity.

Push pin world map

Ever play pin the tail on the donkey? Well, this is like that, but pin the spot where you are from, minus the blindfold.

In Seattle on Thursday post-MozCon? We have MozPlex tours.

Every wonder where Roger Mozbot lives? Or heard of the stories of cereal bars and rooms named after starships and robots? Is is true that Mozzers have sit/stand desks? Don't miss out on our Office Tours on Thursday 9/15. Sign up for your time slot.

Even more fun in Seattle

Don't miss our posts from years past, which are full of restaurant, activity, and more recommendations: 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

Activities happening around Seattle from Saturday, September 10 - Sunday, September 18 September 9-11, San Gennaro Festival in Georgetown September 10, Thai Festival Seattle September 11, Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival September 11, Second Saturday Art Walks
Ballard Art Walk Central District Art Walk Madrona Art Walk Georgetown Art Walk Wallingford Art Walk September 11, Historic Tour of the Moore Theater September 15, Columbia City Art Walk September 15, Seattle Center's “Best Damn Happy Hour” September 16, University District Art Walk September 17-18, Fiestas Patrias – Latin American Independence Festival September 17-18, Seattle Mini Maker Faire September 17, Ballard Civic Orchestra's “Celebrating Hispanic Cultural Heritage” September 17, White Center Art Walk September 17, Historic Tour of the Neptune Theater

If you're looking to connect with fellow attendees, please join our MozCon Facebook Group.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!


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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The Two-Part SEO Ranking Model: Let's Make SEO Simple

Posted by EricEnge

There sure is a lot of interest in SEO ranking factors:

There have been major studies done on this, notably by both Moz and Searchmetrics. These are groundbreaking pieces of research, and if you're serious about SEO, you need to understand what these studies say.

That said, these are too complex for most organizations to deal with. They need a simpler way of looking at things. At Stone Temple Consulting (STC) we deal with many different types of organizations, including some of the world's largest companies, and some of the highest-traffic websites in the world. For most of these companies, understanding that there are 200+ ranking factors does more harm than good.

Why, you ask? So many people I talk to are looking for a silver bullet. They want to hear that they should only change their heading tags on the second Tuesday of every month, except during leap years, when they should do it on the first Tuesday, except in February when they should change it on the third Monday. These distractions end up taking away from the focus on the two things that matter most: building great content (and a great content experience) and promoting it well.

Today's post is going to lay out a basic approach that most companies can use to simplify their thinking about SEO, and keep their focus on the highest priorities.

What Google recently said

Here's what Google Dublin's Andrey Lippatsev said in a Hangout that I participated in on March 23, 2016. Also participating in the Hangout was Ammon Johns, who asked Andrey what the two most important ranking factors are:

Andrey Lippatsev: Yes. Absolutely. I can tell you what they are. It is content and links going into your site.

There we go, that's a start. According to Google, it's links and content that are the two biggest. Hopefully, the idea that content is a big factor is obvious, but below I'll break out more what great content really entails. In addition, you can see some backup for the power of links in the study I recently published on links as a ranking factor.

Should we think of the world as consisting only of these two factors? It's quite simplistic, and possibly too much so, but let's try to simplify this even more. How many organizations would dramatically improve their SEO if they focused on creating great content and promoting it effectively? I can tell you that from my experience these are two things that many organizations simply don't do.

Does that mean that we can take our two factors and put them into a (purely) hypothetical ranking score equation that looks like this?

I actually think that this equation is pretty effective, though it has some limitations and omissions that I'll describe in more detail below. You also need to think about the concept of "great content," that will get a high Content Score, in the correct manner.

What is "great content?"

If we step back and think about what makes up great content, it seems to me that there are three major components that matter:

Relevancy Quality The overall content experience

The first part of this is simple. If the content is not relevant to a query, it shouldn't rank for that query, ever. That makes sense, right?

The second part is also pretty simple, and that's the notion of quality. Does it provide information that people are looking for? Is that information relatively unique to your site? Clearly, it makes sense for the quality of the content to matter a lot.

We can combine the notions of quality and relative uniqueness into the notion of material differentiation. Rand covers this brilliantly in his Whiteboard Friday about creating 10X content.

Creating the 220,001st article on how to make French toast is just not going to cut it:

You need to create something new and compelling that also offers a lot of value. That may not be easy, but being the best at something never is.

If you're in a competitive market, it's reasonable to guess that your top competitors are making great, relevant content on topics that matter to their target audience. For the most important queries, it's probable that the top 5 (and maybe more) pieces of content in that space are really, really good (i.e. more comprehensive than other articles on the topic, or brings in new information that others don't have).

The third part encompasses many pieces.

Is your content well-organized and easy to read? Does it effectively communicate its key points? How do people engage with it? If they land on a page on your site that has the answer to their question, can they quickly and easily find that information?

Once again, you'll find that the major competitors that rank in the top of the SERPs all handle this pretty well too.

Let's now take a look at what the role of the content score in ranking might look like:

Note that the Y-axis is "Chances of Ranking," as opposed to "Ranking." Nonetheless, this curve suggests that the Content Score is a big one, and that makes sense. Only the best of the best stuff should rank. It's simple.

Digging a bit deeper on what goes into content quality

But what about title tags? Heading tags, use of synonyms? Page layout and design? Stop and think about it for a moment. Aren't those all either part of creating higher-quality content, or making that content easier to consume?

You bet.

For example, imagine that I wrote this piece of content:

It could be the greatest information in the world, but it's going to be really hard for users to read, and it will probably have terrible user engagement signals. On the other hand, imagine that my content looks like this:

Would you say the quality of one of these pieces of content is higher? I would. The second one is much easier to read, and therefore will deliver more value to users. It will get better engagement, and yes, it will probably get linked to more often.

Why do links get separate treatment?

You could argue that links are just another measurement of content quality, and there is some truth to that, but we give them separate treatment in this discussion for two reasons:

1. They're still the best measurement of authority.

Yes, I know I'm ruffling some feathers now, but this is what my experience after more than 15 years in SEO (and seeing hundreds of SEO campaigns) has taught me. To get and sustain a link, someone has to have a website, has to be willing to modify that website, and they have to be willing to have their site's visitors click on the link to leave their site and go to yours.

That's a pretty material commitment on the linking site's part, and the only incentive they have to do that is if they believe that your content is of value to their site's visitors.

Why not social signals? While I've long argued that they have no impact except for aiding in content discovery, let's for sake of argument say that I'm wrong, and there is some impact here, and explain why social signals can never be a critical part of the Google algo. It's simple: social signals are under the control of third-party companies that can make them invisible to Google on a moment's notice (and remember that Google and Facebook are NOT friends). Imagine Google giving Facebook (or any other 3rd party) the power to break their algorithm whenever they want. Not happening!

2. The power of links should cause different actions on your part.

What is that action? It's called marketing, and within that discipline is the concept of content marketing. Done the right way, these are things you should do to raise the reputation and visibility of your brand.

In fact, this may consume a material amount of your entire company budget. With or without search engines in the world, you've always wanted to do two things:

(1) Make really good stuff, and

(2) market it effectively.

In 2016, and beyond, this will not change.

No doubt, part of attracting great links is to produce great content, but there are other overt actions involved to tell the world about that great content, such as active outreach programs.

Expanding on user engagement

Many have speculated that Google is using user engagement signals as a ranking factor, and that it will increase its investment in these areas over time. For example, what about click-through rate (CTR)? I discuss CTR as a ranking factor here, but to net it out simply, it's just too easy a signal to game, and Google tells us that it uses CTR measurements as a quality control check on other ranking signals, rather than as a direct signal.

You can doubt Google's statements about this, but if you own or publish a website, you probably get many emails a week offering to sell you links via one scheme or another. However, you never get emails offering you CTR ranking schemes. Why is that, you think? It's because even the scammers and spammers don't think it works.

Important note: Rand has done many live CTR tests and a number of these have shown some short-term rankings movement, so CTR could be used in some manner to discover hot trends/news, but still not be a core ranking factor.

What about other user engagement signals? I'd bet that Google is, in fact, doing some things with user engagement signals, though it's hard to be sure what they are. It's not likely to be as simple as bounce rate, or its cousin, pogosticking.

Pogosticking sure seems like a good signal until you realize there are many scenarios where they don't work at all. For example, when users are comparison shopping, they'll naturally hop from site to site.

Finding good user engagement factors that make for really reliable signals is quite hard. Many have speculated that artificial intelligence/machine learning will be used to derive these types of factors. Here are three pieces of content that cover that topic in some detail:

The Machine Learning Revolution: How it Works and its Impact on SEO, an article here on Moz by yours truly SEO in a Two-Algorithm World, a Powerpoint by Rand Fishkin The Past, Present, and Future of SEO, an article by Mike Grehan Information architecture

Having a solid information architecture (IA) that Google can crawl and easily find your content is also a major requirement. In Andrey Lippatsev's response, he undoubtedly presumed that this was in good shape, but it would be wrong to leave this out of this discussion.

At Stone Temple Consulting, we've helped tons of sites improve their organic traffic simply by working on their IA, eliminating excessive page counts, improving their use of SEO tags like rel=canonical, and things of this nature. This is clearly a big factor as well. Usability also feeds into IA, because people need to be able to find what they're looking for on your site.

What I've left out with the two-factor model

First of all, there are other types of results, such as images, videos, and maps results, that are opportunities to get on the first page, but the above discussion is focused on how to rank in regular web search results.

To be fair, even in the regular web results, I've left some things out. Here are some examples of those:

Local links. I'm not referring to "local pack" listings here. If I search on "digital cameras" right now, in the regular web search results, I'll see some listings for stores near me. Clearly, proximity is a very large factor in ranking those pages. Query deserves diversity. An example of this is the query "Jaguar." Chances are that my two-factor algorithm would rank only car sites in the top 10, but Google knows that many people that type that query want information on the animal. So even if the two-factor algo would slant things one way, you'll see some animal-related sites in the top 10. In-depth articles. This is a feature that's hard to spot in the search results, but sometimes Google includes in the bottom of the top 10 results some pieces of content that are particularly comprehensive. These are for queries where Google recognizes there's a decent chance that the user is engaging in extensive research on a topic. Here's an example for the query "constitution":

We conducted a small sample review of 200 SERPs and found that about 6% of the results appeared to be from factors such as these. The two-factor model also doesn't account for personalization, but this post is looking at ranking factors for regular search results other than personalization, which, of course, also has a large impact.

Looking for ranking hacks?

OK, I'm going to give you one. Make your content, and the experience of consuming that content, unbelievably good. That's step one. Stick to your knitting, folks, and don't cop out on the effort to make your content stand out. You have no choice if you want to get sustainably positive results from SEO.

Don't forget the overall site and page usability, as that's a big part of what makes your content consumable. This is a critical part of making great content. So is measuring user engagement. This provides a critical feedback loop into what you're doing, and whether or not it's working for your target audience.

Then, and only then, your focus should turn to marketing that will help drive your reputation and visibility, and help attract links to your content. Here it is in a nutshell:

If your content isn't competitive in relevance and quality, links won't help. If it is, links will make the difference.

Your content has to be elite to have a chance to score highly on any given competitive search result. After that, your superior marketing efforts will help you climb to the top of the heap.


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NEW: Rank Beyond 10 Blue Links with SERP Feature Tracking in Moz Pro

Posted by Dr-Pete

From Featured Snippets to In-depth Articles to Knowledge Panels, Google SERP features have remade the search marketing landscape. After three years of planning and many months of work, I'm thrilled to announce the launch of advanced SERP feature tracking in Moz Pro, available immediately to all customers! Using the most comprehensive data set on the market, Moz Pro now provides advanced analysis of the 16 features listed below:

Try it now under the [Rankings] tab within any campaign (see screenshot below), or read on for a walk-through of the new features. New to Moz Pro? Take a free 30-day trial!

Stage 1: Awareness

At MozCon 2013, I gave a talk called Beyond 10 Blue Links, documenting the diversity of Google features surrounding organic results. Many of us at Moz felt strongly that the world of SERP features could have a profound impact on search marketers, and so we started to catalog Google's changes and collect the data to find out just how much SERPs were evolving.

In early 2014, we built a prototype to better understand how we could help customers track SERP features, but we discovered that most of our customers were unfamiliar with them. None of us knew, at the time, exactly what impact SERP features were having or how we should adjust our tactics. The idea of tracking possibly dozens of types of results was daunting, especially in an industry where most of us already wore too many hats.

So, we kept tracking the data, and we learned along with the industry. We also, I hope, contributed to that education. We built the infrastructure we knew we'd need down the road (much credit to our Silo team), even if we weren't sure when the turn in that road would come. Eventually – and in large part due to the growth of Featured Snippets – we knew that our customers were ready.

Stage 2: Acceptance

As of August, 86% of the SERPs in our 10,000-keyword tracking set had some kind of non-organic feature (a Knowledge Panel, a Featured Snippet, Rich Snippets, a Local Pack, etc.). If you count ads and shopping results, that number goes up to 97% – the days of 10 blue links are long gone.

We recently did an analysis of over 400,000 search result interactions (thanks to Russ Jones) and found that SERPs with rich features send 28% fewer clicks to traditional organic results. At the same time, many of these features, including Featured Snippets, create new opportunities for non-traditional clicks. Either way, the impact on your SEO is very real, and it's essential to understand what you're up against.

The challenge in tracking SERP features, as an SEO, is that which features matter to you can vary wildly with your niche. I've seen a single feature radically impact traffic for some sites, while that same feature may have little or no impact on others. Once you've accepted the reality of SERP features, you have to understand how the landscape looks for your own industries and sites:

One of the first things you'll see on the new SERP Features page is the overview. This graph shows the presence of features across your campaign, as well as the proportion of features that you're listed in (where applicable). At launch, we support the 16 highest-impact desktop SERP features. Click on the pull-down above the graph, and you can pull up a Trended Analysis for any feature. Good news: we've already got a 60-day history available at launch:

It's time to accept that SERP features really do exist, and dive into the details. Scrolling down, you'll see a comprehensive list of your Campaign keywords along with your current ranking, plus the features those keywords displayed the last time we checked them:

The keyword list shows all of your campaign keywords, along with their rankings and a list of icons signaling which features appeared on those SERPs. Blue icons indicate that your site appears in the feature, red icons indicate your competitor is in it, and orange icons mean that you're both listed (this might occur in multi-listing features, such as News Packs).

At the top of the page, you can narrow your list by keyword, label, location, or feature. Let's say you just wanted to see keywords with Featured Snippets. Next to the funnel icon at the top, click [+], then select "SERP Feature" and choose one from the list:

The overview graph and keyword list are both filtered now, and you can explore whatever features are most applicable to your work.

Stage 3: Opportunity

So, what do you do with this knowledge? We've developed an insights system to help you answer that question. For example, if a keyword in your campaign currently displays a Featured Snippet, and you rank in the top 5 organic results, you've got a decent shot at being able to compete for that snippet. So, we call that out:

Click on any keyword with "Insights" to see possible opportunities. At launch, we highlight keywords with Featured Snippets, News Packs, Reviews, Videos, and Site Links (if you're not currently listed in them). We hope to add more insights in the near future.

Bonus: Questions in KWE

Want to put this to the test today? Here's a way to easily start tracking Featured Snippet opportunities. Go to Keyword Explorer, enter a term, view all results, and then, in the first pulldown select [are questions]. You'll get a list of question suggestions related to your chosen search term:

Now, select the questions that interest you, and add them to your Campaign. We'll start tracking Featured Snippets and other SERP features, and soon you'll be discovering new opportunities to stand out from your competition.

Thanks to everyone involved on the Product and Design teams, and special thanks to our Silo team for putting the pieces in place over the past year to make tracking features possible. Please reach out to us with any comments or suggestions, and we hope you enjoy the new features!

Join our Launch Day Twitter Q&A Party!

Try it today and tweet questions (the occasional comment or rave also welcome!) to @Moz with #OwntheSERP. Questions will be answered in real-time throughout the day (ok, technically between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm US-PST) by one of our pros: @RandFish, @Dr_Pete, @BritneyMuller, @JontheExiled.


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9 Reasons Why Your New Business Program Is Failing

A whopping 66% of agencies have no plan in place to develop new business. And among those who say they do have a plan, their strategy might not be as comprehensive as it needs to be to keep the sales pipeline from drying up. 

In fact, it seems like many agencies are leaving their new business development largely to chance. Agencies surveyed for the Mirren-RSW/US 2016 New Business Tools Annual Report frequently cited "keeping our eyes open" as one of their top new business development tools. Simply staying on the lookout for new business is not a complete business development strategy. 

So what factors contribute to a poor business development strategy? And more importantly -- what changes can you make to get your agency back on track?

Here we go over nine new business development mistakes that commonly plague agencies and what you can do to overcome them.

9 Common Business Development Mistakes  1) You don't make new business development anyone's responsibility.

We're not going to sugarcoat it: The process of prospecting, pitching, and closing on new business can easily evolve into a long, grueling, and energy-consuming process. And your time and resources are understandably precious. You want to focus primarily on the clients in front of you, not pour time into a prospect that may not even work out.

But when no one is held accountable for new business and everyone is expected to just help out when they can, it will never really get done right. If it isn't someone's real responsibility, there's no reason for them put it up high on their long list of priorities, or above client work.

A significant majority of agencies don't have a single employee dedicated to new business development, leaving a critical gap in their ability to acquire new clients: 

Data from The Agency Pricing & Financials Report

Even if you can't afford to hire an employee devoted entirely to new business development, your team needs to set aside time and resources to seek out new clients. To start holding yourselves accountable, develop an annual new business plan with goals in alignment with your projected revenue and growth. Once you start to treat new business development as the responsibility it is, rather than a casual side project, you'll begin to see better results. 

2) You don't know who you're marketing to.

Do you know your agency's ideal client profile? If the answer is no, you're probably not targeting the right people in your business development efforts.

Remember that a net cast too widely will almost always come up empty. If you try to market your agency without targeting a specific demographic, your efforts are going to fall flat. You need to know who exactly you're looking for and tailor your efforts to attract these specific types of businesses.

To get started, take a look at your current clients and write down the characteristics that make them a good fit for your services. Make sure your list reflects your clients' actual characteristics, not just characteristics you wish they had. This isn't a wish list. It's a profile for clients who can realistically bring actual revenue and value to your agency.

Once you have a good idea of what kind of client you're in the market for, think about what channels have been most successful in tracking them down. Consider pursuing those spaces more seriously as part of your overall new business development program.

3) You don't know who your competitors are.

Yes, you have competitors. Even if you don't often find yourself aggressively competing for clients with another agency, it's important to realize that other agencies are more likely than not dipping into the same client pool as you. And you can't compete with them until you know who they are and what they offer.

You don't need a private investigator -- just start with a simple Google search. Pretend you're a prospective client and try searching for some long-tail keywords they might use when searching for a new agency. See what other agencies pop up, and take a good look at what they offer. Ask yourself: How does your own presence measure up? Are you differentiating yourself enough to really stand out?

Another straightforward way to get the scoop on your competition is to ask your current clients what other agencies they considered, or who they worked with before coming to you. This will start to give you an idea of your competitors and what you need to do to make your agency's brand and offerings unique.

4) You talk too much about yourself.

Time for a reality check: 79% of marketers think agencies talk too much about themselves in meetings.

It's no secret that agency people like to talk, but when it comes to pitching a prospective client on the benefit of your services, your part should be succinct, brief, and focused intensely on how your agency can specifically benefit the client's brand.

As an exercise, try condensing your entire pitch into a short paragraph. If any piece of information feels even slightly unnecessary or gratuitous, omit it. This will help you organize your thoughts and distill your presentation into a more digestible chunk of information.

During the pitch itself, refrain from launching unprompted into any case studies or an extended history of your agency's core beliefs -- this is all information they probably already have on you. Remember that this is the prospective client's time to ask questions and see if the relationship is a good fit. 

5) You don't fully understand your prospect's context.

It's not enough to simply understand a prospective client's direct needs for a project -- you also need to make an effort to get to know their unique business and industry. This will give your pitch some depth and show the prospect that you're serious about doing business with them.

Before the pitch, take some time to thoroughly research the client's brand. For a deeper look into their particular point of view, you could even consider setting up a meeting or call to interview your prospect.

Try to understand not only what their business functions are, but what the climate of their industry is like. What are other people in their industry working on? Who are they competing against? The more you understand, the more relevant your proposal will be.

6) You don't use a CRM tool to manage new business.

As any agency professional will tell you, time management and efficiency are absolutely key when it comes to staying on top of prospecting. But many agencies are problematically behind the curve in terms of organizing their existing and prospective clients. 44% of agencies don't use a CRM, and 30% of agencies still use Microsoft Excel as their main CRM.  

Why wouldn't you want a tool that can help your team get organized and stay efficient with fewer resources? New business development is often the last thing an agency is able to devote time, people, and money to, but a CRM can help you do more with less. Consider starting off with free or inexpensive project management software, like HubSpot's free CRM, to see if  it can help your team stay on top of your new business goals.  

7) You don't figure out why a pitch was rejected.

Sometimes a pitch doesn't go quite as planned and the prospect turns you down. It happens to the best of us. But the biggest mistake you can make after a rejected pitch is to not solicit critical feedback about what exactly went wrong.

It might seem awkward at first, but understanding why a proposal was rejected is a vital part of building your ongoing business development strategy. Ask the prospect to identify specific areas of the proposal that really turned them off, and see if they're willing to suggest any changes or things they would have liked to see. You aren't going to find a better source of proposal feedback than someone who you've pitched to directly.

8) You don't plan your follow-up strategy in advance.

After a meeting or call with a prospective client, you should have a follow-up plan already in place to maintain a connection with your point of contact and continue the discussion. Follow up is just as important as the proposal in securing new business, but most agencies fail to close the loop, leaving their prospects wondering if they're truly serious about their business. In fact, 53% of marketers say that agencies aren't sufficiently aggressive in following up after a meeting.

Instead of resigning yourself to waiting around, inspire some extra confidence by reaching out after the initial meeting with a brief recap of your conversation and next steps. This will help the prospect keep your proposal fresh in their mind, and give them the opportunity to ask additional questions.

9) You don't know your own deal breakers.

It can be hard to remember during the hustle of the proposal process, but you're there to qualify the prospect just as much as they're there to qualify you. You're on the hunt for profitable clients who will add value to your portfolio, and if a prospect doesn't seem like they'd be a good fit, you're allowed to gracefully bow out.

Make sure you have a solid structure in place to weed out prospects who don't fit your agency's ideal profile. You want to make sure that a client's project would be a worthy use of your time and expertise before you dive in, so consider asking some basic qualification questions before you devote time to a full-scale pitch.

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Making Sense of Google's Updates in Local Search

Posted by George-Freitag

Last week, Casey Meraz did a great breakdown on the state of local, showing where you should be heading with your strategy and answering some tough questions about the future of local search. Today, let's look at all the recent changes that Google itself has been making to its own local product and examine how that will help you understand where they're heading.

This has been a big year for local search, with Google launching a ton of changes related to local, including several changes directly to their local platform, Google My Business. Marketers and brands are naturally scrambling to respond to each of these changes individually, as they should, but what about the larger implications of changes like these?

The running theme with all these changes seems to be the following three things: Google is taking local seriously, Google wants to get more local data through its crawler, and Google really, really wants more reviews. But let's not jump ahead of ourselves. First, let's review some of the major changes that have occurred over the last few months.

What's changed?1. No more descriptions for Google My Business

The most recent change to Google My Business occurred on August 3rd when Google My Business stopped accepting edits to the description. The description will still be editable through Google+, but with the way the rest of the company has been distancing itself from its social platform, that's likely not to stick around for long.

2. Additional categories no longer supported

Additionally, though it got lost in the shuffle a bit, when they removed the descriptions they also removed the following sections from their bulk upload form:

Ad Icon URLAd Landing Page URLAlt Phone. Alt phone is now "Additional phones."Categories. This field has been replaced by "Primary category" and “Additional categories.”City. City is now "Locality."DescriptionEmailFaxPayment TypesState. State is now "Administrative area."3. Google+ metrics removed, additional Google My Business Insights

In a separate announcement, Google also removed Google+ metrics from their dashboard, instead providing more detailed metrics around the source of views to your GMB profile. Google My Business now shows whether customers found a business via search or Google Maps and breaks down actions customers are taking by website visits, driving direction requests, phone calls, or photos.

4. Greater support of reviews for local businesses

And in yet another announcement this month, Google released the ability for all websites to have “Critic Reviews” published directly in Google search results, next to the local businesses results. Days later, Google backed up this announcement by promoting the detailed Schema Markup needed to apply for critic reviews.

For reviews on Google My Business itself, they added the ability to respond to reviews on Google directly through the latest version of its API.

Overview of changes

And this is just within the last couple of months! So, what do all of these changes imply? Well, first off, it means that Google is making some serious changes towards local. And it should. Based on data released in May of 2016, over 50% of its traffic is now mobile and within that, nearly 30% of those searches are local!

Secondly, it means that Google is getting more confident in its own crawl data. Google wouldn't take away a chance to get information from you if it didn't have a good way of getting that same information by itself. We already saw this when Google removed support of Authorship and, years earlier, removed support of the Meta Keywords tag. By further distancing its local product from its social product, Google+, it implies that the data gathered from those sources wasn't valuable. It also means that Google likely hasn't been paying attention to any of this stuff for some time now.

This is pretty in line with everything Google has worked towards with local information. User-generated information, while invaluable, is easily manipulated. Because of this, Google often prefers to use its own data, when available. This is why that irritatingly complicated Local Search Ecosystem is so irritatingly complicated. Google needs to be able to verify its data, verify it again somewhere else, and repeat however many times it needs to to be sure.

How does this affect me?

So what does this mean for marketers and brands? There are a couple of key takeaways. First, it means that Google is becoming increasingly confident in the data that it's getting on its own. On top of that, Google is surfacing more information about an individual business than it ever has before. Information like business hours, reviews, driving directions, social links, and more are all available directly in the search results.

While providing all of this information is potentially great from a user perspective, this is also makes Google tremendously vulnerable from a trust perspective. Every new piece of information that Google surfaces in its search results is a new opportunity for them to get that information wrong, so they're putting themselves at a tremendous risk. They aren't going to do this unless they can be absolutely sure and, as we know, the way they verify information is through their own crawls.

The second big takeaway is that Google is trying harder than ever to get more reviews into its platform. By distancing itself from Google+ they removed one of the biggest barriers for leaving reviews. By promoting Schema and opening up the ability for more people to have their reviews included in search results, Google is making sure that it has as much review data as possible. As demonstrated last year in another study by Casey Meraz, we know that reviews are a huge element in the click-through rate of local results.

What should I do?

Let's talk tactics. Knowing that Google is putting more emphasis on crawl data and that it's looking for more ways to get reviews, your job as a marketer gets pretty clear. You need to get your local information and reviews in all the places Google might look and make it easy for Google to understand.

Learn to love Schema markup

One of the most telling things about Google's updates, in general, is that they've been consistently and reliably promoting Schema usage every chance they get. This means they probably like it. And the great thing about Schema is that it's easier than ever to implement! To facilitate their love affair with Schema, Google created an easy-to-use tool, the Structured Data Markup Helper, that lets you highlight contact information, reviews, and more, then generate the JSON-LD code you can paste right in the of your page. Pair that with their other free tool for testing markup, the Structured Data Testing Tool, and you have everything you need to start using Schema right away.

Make your business listing information accurate

This may seem repetitive in the local space, but that's just because it's true. Even if you enter all the information exactly right in Google My Business, Google still doesn't trust it unless it can verify it against other sources. Use the free Check Listing Tool or any of the other online tools to make sure you're not only listed on all of the most important online sources, but that your information is accurate. And not just mostly accurate - so accurate that Google doesn't have any choice other than to completely trust your data. The one thing that will prevent Google from ever showing your business in their giant local search result is conflicting information about your business on various online sources.

Get your review strategy together

You can't just sit around and hope for reviews anymore. According to a study by BrightLocal, 92% of people look to online reviews when deciding to use a business. We also know that people click on them in Google. And we know that Google is trying to get as many of them as possible in their own search results.

Use Schema markup on your site for all the reviews you have on your own site. Even if Google isn't using those now, they're certainly acting as though they want to start.Monitor your reviews online and have a response strategy. With Google surfacing reviews even more in their results, you need to be sure you properly address negative reviews and take every opportunity to address the concern.Give great customer service. The most frustrating part of an online review strategy is that the majority of it occurs offline. Be nice to your customers and thank them for their time.Earn good links

There are tons of great resources for linkbuilding on the Moz Blog alone, so I won't muddy the waters with more advice. I will say that, while the Google penalties of the previous few years have been rough on linkbuilding, there's still no question it's still one of the most influential ranking factors in SEO as a whole, let alone in local. The only difference is that it has to be good. The one thing the Google penalties proved that Google definitely knows the difference between a good links and a bad link. Good links are good because they mean people are actually interested in your content and are legitimately trying to share it. Of course Google would want to use that as a metric. That's the content you need to make.

Is this all you can do? Of course not. But focusing on the things Google is paying attention to is one of the best ways to make sure you're staying ahead of the curve to make your local strategy as future-proof as possible.

Any other big changes in local that I missed? Have your own tips to stay on Google's good side in local? Share your own thoughts in the comments below!


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7 of the Coolest Experiential Marketing Campaigns We've Ever Seen

Work events are really hit or miss. Let's be honest: How many times have you found yourself anxiously fidgeting with a paper napkin in the corner of a stuffy networking happy hour?

That's why I was not only relieved, but also surprised and delighted, when I attended a holiday party that featured a live, interactive version of an arcade game. An entire room had been curated to look like a video game setting, and people were dressed up as characters from it. There was a giant, real-life scoreboard, boppy electronic music, and best of all, there was no tedious small talk.

It wasn't just another tired work event ... it was an experience. And in our line of work, that sort of thing has a name: Experiential marketing.

While a surprising number of people haven't heard of the concept, it's kind of a big deal -- there's an entire three-day summit dedicated to it, and 65% of brands that use it say that it positively correlates with sales.

But what is it, exactly? And how has it been used effectively? We found seven of the coolest experiential marketing campaigns that really break down how it works, and how those lessons can be applied to marketers everywhere.

What Is Experiential Marketing?

According to Boston-based 451 Marketing, experiential marketing is the act of “creating unique, face-to-face branded experiences.” Instead of just sending a message to your audience -- digitally or otherwise -- you're creating an opportunity to interact with your brand in person.

It might sound a bit like event marketing, which makes sense -- experiential campaigns do tend to be event-centric. But there are also times when they have nothing to do with a specific event, as you'll see from the examples we picked.

And when they are event-centric, they're less dedicated to the type of event -- like a concert, festival, conference, etc. -- and focus more on interaction a specific brand. (If you already have an event in the works, you might want to check out this guide to adding experiential elements to it.)

These campaigns can take an integrated approach. The primary purpose is to experience a brand in a tangible, offline way, but you'll still want an online dialogue around it. When you consider that 49% of folks create mobile video at branded events -- 39% of which is shared on Twitter -- it makes sense to incorporate a digital element. A branded hashtag, for example, can get people talking about the experience.

7 of the Coolest Experiential Marketing Campaigns We've Ever Seen 1) Lean Cuisine: #WeighThis

One night, when I was watching “The Bachelorette” (it's okay -- I judge myself, too) I started tallying how many commercials told women to change something about themselves. The result: I lost count after about two minutes.

That's why it's so refreshing to see brands like Lean Cuisine, whose marketing used to center solely on weight loss, stray from diet-centric messaging. And its #WeighThis campaign is a great example of just that.

As part of the campaign, Lean Cuisine curated a gallery of "scales" in New York's Grand Central Station, and invited women to "weigh in." But here's the catch: The scales were actually small boards where women could write down how they really wanted to be weighed. And rather than focusing on their weight in pounds -- or anything pertaining to body image -- the women opted to be measured by things like being back in college at 55, caring for 200 homeless children each day, or being the sole provider to four sons.

What's particularly cool about this experience is that none of the participants actually interact with a Lean Cuisine product. No one was interrupted, asked to sample something, or stopped to answer questions. In fact, no one was really asked to do anything -- the display itself was enough to make people stop, observe, and then voluntarily interact.

Lean Cuisine figured out what message it wanted to send: “Sure, we make stuff that fits into a healthy lifestyle. But don't forget about your accomplishments. That matters more than the number on the scale.” But instead of blatantly advertising that, it created an interactive experience around the message.

Still, the experience was clearly branded, to make sure people associated it with Lean Cuisine. The company's Twitter handle and a branded hashtag were featured on the display in large text, which made it easy for people to share the experience on social media. And that definitely paid off -- the entire #WeighThis campaign led to over 204 million total impressions.

Takeaways for marketers: Don't interrupt -- especially if you're trying to grab someone's attention in New York City, like Lean Cuisine was. If you create an experience that provides value to the people who pass by it, they're more likely to participate. Figure out the message you really want to your brand to send -- that may or may not be directly tied to an actual product, and it might be something that your brand hasn't said before. Then, build an experience around it. 2) Google: “Building a Better Bay Area”

Corporate philanthropy is definitely on the rise. Between 2012-2014, 56% of companies increased charitable giving, and Google is no exception. But when the search engine giant gave away $5.5 million to Bay Area nonprofits, it let the public decide where that money would go -- in an unconventional, interactive way.

Google allowed people to cast their votes online, but they also wanted to involve the Bay Area community in a tangible way. So they installed large, interactive posters -- in places like bus shelters, food trucks, and restaurants -- that locals could use to vote for a cause.

Source: 72andSunny

In the video below, the narrator notes that this experience reaches “people when they had the time to make a difference." That's a big thing about experiential marketing: It allows people to interact with a brand when they have the time. Maybe that's why 72% percent of consumers say they positively view brands that provide great experiences.

And that concept works in this experience, because it takes advantage of a “you're-already-there” mentality. In San Francisco, finding people waiting for the bus or going to food trucks is pretty much a given. So while they were “already there,” Google set up a few opportunities:

To learn about and vote for local nonprofits To interact with the brand in a way that doesn't require using its products To indirectly learn about Google's community outreach

With the help of the online voting integration -- and a branded hashtag: #GoogleImpactChallenge -- the campaign ended up generating 400,000 votes over the course of about three and a half weeks.

Takeaways for marketers: Create a branded hashtag that participants can use to share the experience on social media. Then, make sure you've integrated an online element that allows people to participate when they learn about it this way. Keep it local! It's always nice when a large corporation gives some love to its community -- in fact, 72% of folks say they would tell friends and family about a business's efforts like these. Remember the “you're already there” approach. Find out where your audience is already hanging out and engage them there, instead of trying to get them to take action where they don't usually spend their time. 3) Misereor: Charity Donation Billboard

When was the last time you used cash to pay for something?

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Tough to remember, right? We're kind of a species of “mindless swipers” -- globally, an estimated 357 billion non-cash transactions are made each year. And knowing how often we whip out our cards, German relief NGO Misereor decided to put our bad habit to good use with its charitable giving billboard.

It was what they called a “social swipe”: Set up in airports, these digital posters would display images of some problems that Misereor works to resolve -- hunger was depicted with a loaf of bread, for example.

But the screen was equipped with a card reader, and when someone went to swipe a card -- for a small fee of 2€ -- the image moved to make it look like the card was cutting a slice of bread.

Even cooler? On the user's bank statement, there would be a thank-you note from Misereor, with a link to turn their one-time 2€ donation into a monthly one.

Needless to say, this experience required a lot of coordination -- with banks, airports, and a mobile payment platform. Because of that, the experience couldn't just be a one-time occurrence. The people who interacted with it were later reminded of it during a pretty common occurrence: receiving a bank statement.

Takeaways for marketers: Visually represent the impact of participating in the experience. People interacting with this display were shown exactly where their money was going -- like slicing bread for a hungry family. (Infographics work nicely here, too -- check out our templates.) Partner with another brand to create an even better experience. In this instance, Misereor worked with Stripe.com for the payment technology, and with financial institutions to get a branded message on users' bank statements. (And stay tuned -- we'll talk more about the value of co-branding here later.) Don't be afraid to nurture your leads. Even if you don't use something like a branded hashtag to integrate the experience with an online element, find a way to remind someone that they participated. 4) Guinness: Guinness Class

One of my favorite types of marketing is the “aspirational” kind -- or as the Harvard Business Review defines it, marketing for brands that “fall into the upper-right quadrant.” Think: Luxury cars, haute couture, and private jets. Things we aspire to owning.

It's that last one -- private jets -- that set apart the Guinness Class experience. For a few weeks, ambassadors dressed in Guinness-branded flight attendant uniforms entered bars across the U.K., where they surprised unsuspecting customers with a chance to win all kinds of prizes.

In order to participate, bar-goers had to order a pint of Guinness. After doing that, they would shake a prize-generating mobile tablet that displayed what they won. They could win everything from passport cases to keychains, but one player per night would get the ultimate prize: A free trip to Dublin -- via private jet, of course -- with four mates.

What we like about this experience was its ability to associate Guinness with something aspirational, like traveling by private jet. And according to Nick Britton, marketing manager for Guinness Western Europe, that held the brand up as one that doesn't “settle for the ordinary.”

That's important -- and can be tricky -- for a brand that's nearly 257 years old: to maintain its authenticity, while also adapting to a changing landscape and audience. But Guinness didn't have to change anything about its actual products in this case. Instead, it created an experience that addressed changing consumer preferences -- for example, the fact that 78% of millennials would rather spend money on a memorable experience or event than buy desirable things.

Takeaways for marketers: Think about the things your target audience might aspire to, and that you'd like to associate with your brand. Then, build an experience around that. If you do require a product purchase in order to participate in the experience, make it convenient. In this case, people had to buy a pint of Guinness to win a prize, but they were already in a bar that served it.
5) GE: Healthymagination

Think experiential marketing is just for B2C brands? Think again -- 67% of B2B marketers say that events make for one of the most effective strategies they use.

That's why it made sense for GE to invite industry professionals to experience its Healthymagination initiative. The point of the campaign was to promote global healthcare solutions, especially in developing parts of the world.

Source: agencyEA

To help people see the impact of this initiative, GE worked with agencyEA to create “movie sets” that represented different healthcare environments where Healthymagination work took place: a rural African clinic, an urban clinic, and an emergency room. The idea was that doctors would share their stories -- live, in front of 700 attendees -- that illustrated how GE's healthcare technology played a major role in each setting.

When people measure the success of experiential marketing, one thing they measure is how much of a dialogue it prompted. And that makes sense -- 71% of participants share these experiences. In GE's case, the point ofHealthymagination was to get people talking about a pretty important, but uncomfortable issue: Access to healthcare in impoverished parts of the world.

But when you create a way for people to become physically immersed in the issue, it also allows them to acknowledge a topic that isn't always easy to talk about. And that can have quite an impact -- this particular campaign, in fact, won a Business Marketing Association Tower Award.

But fear not: That concept also works for not-so-serious, but equally uncomfortable discussion topics. Just look at how well it worked for Charmin.

Takeaways for marketers: Experiential marketing does work for B2B brands. Think about who you're selling to, and create an engagement that would not only attract that audience, but also present an opportunity for them to experience your product or service first-hand. Get uncomfortable. If your business centers around something that's difficult or “taboo” to talk about, creating an experience around it can prompt a conversation. But make sure you keep it respectful -- don't make people so uncomfortable that they have nothing good to say about your brand. 6) Facebook: Facebook IQ Live

Facebook -- who also owns Instagram -- has always understood how much data it has on how people use these platforms. For that reason, it created the Facebook IQ Live experience.

For this experience, that data was used to curate live scenes that depicted the data. Among them was the IQ Mart: A “retail” setting that represented the online shopper's conversion path when using social media for buying decisions. There was also a quintessential Instagram cafe, chock full of millennial-esque photo opportunities and people snapping them -- latte art and all.

The campaign wasn't just memorable. It also proved to be really helpful -- 93% of attendees (and there were over 1500 of them) said that the experience provided them with valuable insights on how to use Facebook for business.

But what makes those insights so valuable? Momentum Worldwide, the agency behind Facebook IQ Live, puts it perfectly: “When we understand what matters to people ... we can be what matters to them." In other words, we can shape our messaging around the things that are important to our target audiences.

And by creating this experience, Facebook was able to accomplish that for its own brand. In creating this experience, it also created a positive brand perception for a few audiences -- including, for example, the people who might have been unsure of how to use the platform for business.

Takeaways for marketers: Build an experience for people who aren't sure about how they would use your product or service. Find ways for them to interact with your brand in a way that creatively spells out how it can benefit them. Bring your data to life. We love numbers, but creating a live installment that illustrates them can help people understand exactly what they mean. And since 65% of people think that live events help them understand a product, this setting is a great place to do it. 7) Zappos: “Google Cupcake Ambush”

To help promote its new photo app, Google took to the streets of Austin, Texas, with a cupcake truck in tow. But people didn't pay for the cupcakes with dollars -- instead, the only accepted currency was a photo taken with said app.

And really, what's better than a free-ish cupcake? We'll tell you what: A free-ish watch or pair of shoes.

That was the answer from Zappos, anyway. That's why the brand playfully “ambushed” Google's food truck experience with one of its own: A box-on-feet -- strategically placed right next to Google's setup, of course -- that, when fed a cupcake, would dispense a container with one of the aforementioned goodies.

In order to reap the rewards of the Zappos box, people had to have a cupcake. So while only one brand came away from the experience with an epic sugar high, both got plenty of exposure. And since 74% of consumers say a branded experience makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted, Google and Zappos both stood to gain new customers from this crowd.

But what we really like about this example is how much it shows the value of experiential co-branding. Because Google and Zappos pursue two different lines of business, they weren't sabotaging each other, but rather they were promoting each other (which is what happens when you pick the right co-marketer).

Takeaways for marketers: Use experiential marketing as a co-branding opportunity: Pick a partner with an audience that would be interested in your brand, but might otherwise be difficult to reach. Make sure your partner would benefit from your audience, too -- you want the experience to be a win-win-win: for you, your co-brand, and the consumer. When you do pick a marketing partner, build an experience that requires an “exchange” of each brand's product or service. That way, the audience is more likely to interact with both of you.

Clearly, taking some very calculated risks worked out pretty well for these brands. So when it comes to creating an experience with your brand, don't be afraid to think outside of the box -- and don't be afraid to work together on it with someone else.

Invest some time into thinking about the ways people could interact with you, even if it seems a little nutty. If it's aligned with what you do and executed thoughtfully, people will be talking -- in the best way possible.

Have you seen a really great experiential marketing campaign? Share with us in the comments.

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Moz is Doubling Down on Search

Posted by SarahBird

Hi Moz community,

We wouldn't be here without you, so I wanted to give you a brief update on some big changes happening at Moz.

Tl;dr: We're focusing our efforts on core SEO such as rank tracking, keyword research, local listings, duplicate management, on-page, crawl, and links. In the future, we'll no longer offer Moz Content or Followerwonk.

How is Moz's strategy changing?

Back in 2012, we started to invest in a broad feature set because we wanted to serve all aspects of inbound marketing. We thought it would increase retention by providing more value to customers, and also align with where we believed the industry was headed. Thus, we invested in many new directions: social media marketing, local SEO, content marketing, keyword research, on-page optimization, topic analysis, a next-generation link index, enterprise sales, customer success, ambitious infrastructure projects, events, education programs, and more.

Increasing the breadth of the product suite added a lot of complexity to the business, but didn't result in the growth we expected. We do, however, have momentum in our core SEO products, especially Moz Local and the new features in Pro.

Moz Local continues to provide a ton of value for customers who care deeply about Local SEO. Our new duplicate management features are cutting-edge. We're seeing passion and enthusiasm like we haven't seen in years about our Keyword Explorer feature in Moz Pro. We believe it's the best of its kind in the market. Our rankings technology has also improved by leaps and bounds with more coming soon. Really soon.

Churn rates are at all-time lows and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is climbing for all of our SEO-focused products.

After a lot of analysis and soul searching, we decided to radically simplify our strategy to re-focus on what we love and what our customers value from us: search. Reducing product complexity also creates space for us to invest in the technical and business infrastructure we need to support growth. We're also increasing investment in product marketing, CRO, SEO, and email marketing.

<3 Search is our hedgehog <3

We believe the search industry is as important as ever, and surprisingly doesn't see near the investment it should, given the clear value of SEO as a channel. Organic results still get 80% of the clicks and a fraction of the marketing spend. Further, with a phone in every pocket, mobile and local searches continue to grow. Organizations ignore search at their peril.

We're passionate about search, we're good at it, and it's driving the growth in our business. Classic hedgehog.

What does this mean for the company?

This is the gut-wrenchingly painful part. The hardest part of my job is asking people who have put their hearts and souls into Moz to part ways. To align the organization with this strategic shift, we will be asking about 28% of Mozzers to leave. They are a part of the Moz family and it is heartbreaking that they will not be working alongside us in the future.

We will do everything we can to give them the Mozziest transition possible, including severance, coaching, and assistance finding new roles. Because I know the caliber of folks we're parting with, I am confident they will go on to do great things.

What does this mean for customers?

Customers will enjoy increased investment in core SEO features, especially in local. We're on a roll with these products; we're out to win this market and we believe we can. We've got updates planned for crawl and rank tracking that we think you'll love. We know we're behind in link technology right now, and we're working on something ambitious. If you love SEO, please keep watching the blog for updates.

The strategy shift means we will not be investing in Followerwonk or Moz Content. Despite our efforts, we're not seeing the growth we hypothesized from these products. We will find a graceful way to sunset Moz Content. We're also looking for a good home for Followerwonk. It is beloved by many, but isn't having the revenue impact we believed possible, and isn't close enough to our core base to make sense in our product offering. More details to come.

Send good vibes.

As you can imagine, this is an emotional time for us internally. Hug a Mozzer near you because we need it this week. We're so grateful for this community's support and look forward to making SEO software you truly love.


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How to Build a Killer Content → Keyword Map for SEO - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

You've got content on your site that doesn't intentionally target any keyword. But how do you identify those opportunities and, most importantly, capitalize on them?

In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand illustrates the process of creating your own content-to-keyword map to discover where to optimize, what content to build, and how to intelligently target keywords when you're auditing a site.

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

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we're going to chat about building a killer content-to-keyword map. Now this is something that pretty much every SEO does when they do an audit of a site, whether that's in-house or as a contractor or an agency consultant.

What we're trying to get here is a picture of: Here are all the keywords that we're trying to target. Here's all the content that we have, and maybe we have keywords for all of that content. Maybe some of that content doesn't have a keyword, those kinds of things. We're trying to map these together so that we know what needs optimization, what new content needs to be built, what keywords need to be targeted to fit with which content, all of these types of things. This is how we identify the priorities and work that an SEO should be doing as they're attacking a new site, attacking a new campaign.

SEO Cartography

So what I've done here is build out a big one, but actually this is not as fully featured as you might imagine some content-to-keyword maps can be. I've seen them with double the number of columns of these, and I'm sure plenty of you who are watching are saying, "Oh man, Rand, I have even more in my map."

Usually this is done in Excel or it's done in Google Spreadsheets. Either one can work fine. Unfortunately, there's no great software to do this right now. You could use a tool like Moz or a tool, if you're on the enterprise side, like Searchmetrics or Conductor to get a lot of this data. You may pull the data from tons of different places, a Screaming Frog here or a Stat over there, whatever it is, OnPage.org.

Columns

But what you're trying to build here is essentially all my keywords mapped to all my URLs. Sometimes you might . . . in fact, if you're doing a comprehensive job, you should find places where you don't have a URL for some keywords because some keywords haven't been targeted yet, but you still want to rank for them. You should probably have some URLs for which you have no keyword. Essentially you haven't intentionally targeted a keyword with that page yet, and this might actually help you prioritize and try and do some of that.

Then you have things like: How much search volume does this get? You're going to try and estimate or use a tool to give you a grade around the title, the content, maybe the URL itself, load speed, and engagement. Engagement could be browse rate or time on site or pages per visit or some combination of all of those things.

You might be looking at internal and external links to the page. Internal links to say, "How well linked to is it internally? Do I have opportunity there?" External links to say, "Am I ranking or not ranking because I don't have external links pointing here?"

I might look at something like a page authority to try and roll those up, Google Desktop and Google Mobile rankings, and the organic visits that that page has received from search engines.

Now, there are a lot more columns that you might consider adding. You could add things like: Anchor text if you want to analyze your internal and external anchor text. Google Search Console click-through rates for some of the keywords here and add that data in. We all know Google Search Console, not phenomenal data, but sometimes can be useful.

You might have more keyword-driven metrics if you're trying to prioritize a big keyword research function, like the things in Keyword Explorer:

Keyword difficulty Click-through rate opportunity Importance Score, your custom Importance Score, your Potential. You might order these differently based on those kinds of things. Page level conversion rate. How much does this contribute to content that converts on my site? How well does it convert directly? Those types of things. Proceed to the route

So now you've got this big content-to-keyword map. "Rand, why am I building this?" Well, look, this map lets you do a bunch of incredibly important, critical things, like:

Identify keywords that have no content mapped to them. Essentially that's saying, "Hey, I better build some content if I want to target this keyword." That's work that you need to do. Identify on-page opportunities to improve. So you might look at the content or title grade for something. You might go match that up to rankings and you might go, "Wait a minute. I'm ranking number 10. My content grade is only 40 out of 100. Damn, I could improve that real fast. I can make that page a lot better by investing in some on-page optimization."

Or for example, you might say, "Huh, I'm doing pretty well on a bunch of these metrics, but boy, that page load speed is really bad. Look, I can see that in the desktop versus mobile ranking. I'm ranking a lot better on desktop than I am on mobile. Maybe that load speed is one of the reasons why." I could look at other on-page improvements like, "Ooh, man, that low engagement. I bet that low engagement is dragging down my potential for rankings." All right, those two. Identify content without intentional keyword targeting. So I might find in here that I have something like /flowers, which offers all of my different flower options here, but I have not intentionally chosen what I'm targeting. Am I selling flowers for delivery? Should I be targeting that? Am I selling flowers for greenhouses or for planting in your backyard? Should I be targeting that? What is my keyword here? Shoot, I have not built one in yet. Oftentimes, when you're auditing a site, you will find tons of URLs that are intentionally targeting no specific keyword but should be. All you need to do is some optimization work to help those URLs target the keywords that they should. Identify link building needs. So I might look in here and I might say, "Huh, my external links, ooh, that's pretty bad, and my rankings kind of reflect that. I need to do some link building. Like, that page is not going to rank. Even though it's doing all right on on-page, it's not going to rank without this.

This whole exercise is designed to help you... Prioritize and focus your work so that you can do the most important things after you do this audit and you can really move the needle with your SEO.

If you have great ideas or you've done great things inside your content-to-keyword maps, I would love to see them. Please, leave them in the comments. Feel free to link to things. Show off your maps if you feel like uploading them. I would love to see the see columns and the ways that you use this map. Hopefully, in the future, maybe I can convince the Moz Pro software guys to build this for you. ;-)

All right, everyone, take care. We'll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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10 CRO Truth Bombs That Will Change the Way You Think

Posted by larry.kim

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has been around since the beginning of the web. Historically, a lot of the time and attention has been spent on the on-page elements - headlines, copy, calls-to-action, forms, and design - to increase conversions.

Although optimizing on-page elements to maximize conversions still can and does have tremendous value, isn't there a better way forward? Absolutely!

There are several ways to increase your conversion rate by as much as 5x. But the smarter way to do it is by influencing the right people before they ever land on your site or persuading them to come back if they left your site before converting.

Here are 10 mind-blowing CRO truth bombs that will change the way you think about landing page optimization forever.

1. The classic A/B test is a fairy tale

Once upon a time, there lived a brilliant conversion rate expert who changed the [font type / line spacing / button color / image / something else] and magically increased conversions by 5 percent. And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

Except, the percentage increase you think you've achieved isn't as real as it seems.

Oh no, it looks like someone has abducted our big CRO gains!

What really happens after a typical A/B test is that:

The early lead disappears. Gains don't persist over time.

When you get good results from A/B tests, it's probably because your offer is new. Once that offer is no longer new, it loses its novelty.

You can't keep selling last year's offer forever. People want something new.

As is the case with ad fatigue, once you reach a certain point, your offer will bring diminishing returns. That's why you can't optimize your way to infinity.

Should you still do A/B testing? Yes! A/B testing is absolutely worth your time. You need to do it.

However, just realize that this isn't a growth strategy - it's table stakes. Improving something by 5 percent 10 times in a year doesn't increase your conversion rate by 50 percent. The gains don't persist.

Also, the more you optimize, the higher the risk of negative returns. If you start out with an offer that has a 0.5 percent conversion rate, there's lots of upside. But once you've got a 6 percent conversion rate, there's better than a 50/50 change your new offer will actually hurt sales.

2. CRO often increases quantity at the expense of quality

In ecommerce, a sale is a sale. But if you're doing lead generation you have to be careful that you aren't exchanging quantity for quality.

Quantity doesn't always translate to quality. In fact, a higher conversion rate can actually ruin your percentage of marketing qualified leads. Here's some data from one of our customers:

Beware of making superficial on-page changes that increase leads at the expense of quality, like promising free iPads or gift cards.

Remember, if you double your leads, you're also doubling the time it takes for someone to follow-up on all those leads.

If you have too many leads, you run the risk of losing some gems in all that noise, and the longer it takes to get to someone, the lower the connect rates and conversion rates.

3. Average conversion rates haven't changed much in years

The importance of CRO has certainly gained a lot attention in the past few years. No doubt you've recently seen some sort of case study where the author details how their company tripled their conversion rate.

If more people are doing CRO, then you'd think it would have a visible impact on outcomes industry-wide, right?

So why are conversion rates still pretty much the same as they were 15 years ago?

According to my WordStream data, the median search conversion rate is 2.35 percent, whereas the top 10 percent of sites - the unicorns - have conversion rates of 11.45 percent or higher:

We run these numbers periodically over the years but they never move. If more and more companies are adopting CRO, why aren't industry average conversion rates moving up?

4. Raise your CTR to raise your conversion rates

Click-through rate (CTR) is the most important conversion metric. Why? Because the higher your click-through rate is, the higher your conversion rate will be.

Here's an example of data from just one large client account. We see this in many accounts, but this is just one illustration. (The data gets murky when you combine accounts, since conversion rates depend on the industry and offer.)

If you can get people excited enough to click on your offer, then that excitement usually will turn into a conversion. So increasing your CTR by 2x will increase your conversion rate by 50%.

Now, it's important to understand that I'm not advocating raising CTR by offering free kittens or other gimmicks. If you just add the word “Free” to your ad, the CTR will increase, but if your offer isn't truly free, the conversion rate will drop.

Instead, I'm advocating finding truly innovative offers with massive differentiation and value that get your target market super excited about signing up for whatever you're selling, right away!

From that perspective, your CTR is a great way to tell whether your offer sucks or if it is actually appealing to people who aren't already biased toward you already (i.e., people who have visited your landing page in the past). Your market is much bigger than the people who are already in your funnel.

What is a good CTR? Check out these Google AdWords industry benchmarks:

Here are three ways you can raise CTR and create unicorn ads:

Focus on high-commercial intent keywords. Use ad customizers to create urgency and fear of missing out. Use emotional triggers in your ad copy. 5. Brand familiarity is ridiculously important

One thing you can't control with on-page CRO is brand awareness. People who are familiar with your brand are more likely to sign up or purchase your product or service.

At Wordstream, we looked at conversion rates, comparing those who were familiar with the company (repeat visitors) versus those who were not and found that repeat visitors were around 2–3x more likely to convert.

Granted, this isn't a perfect measurement of who is familiar or not familiar with your brand. Someone who appears to be a new visitor might already have been exposed to that brand.

Regardless, brand affinity and recall clearly has a huge impact on CRO. This is where the highest leverage is.

6. Boost your conversions with remarketing

If greater brand exposure increases conversion rates, then how can you increase brand exposure? Go nuts with remarketing on the Google Display Network and Facebook.

We've seen it: conversion rates actually double the more times someone sees an ad in a remarketing campaign. Remarketing lets you turn one shot at converting a user into 100 or more possible shots.

With Facebook remarketing, you can target using the extremely valuable combination of behaviors, interests, and demographics to increase engagement and conversions by 3x for a third of the cost-per-click. This is where you want to push your hard offers, such as sign-ups, consultations, and downloads.

7. RLSA will save the day

We've found that RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) campaigns are search ads that target people who search on your desired keywords AND have recently visited your website.

We've found that they typically have 2–5x better ROI than non-RLSA ads due to the fact that they are familiar with your brand. The problem is that RLSA, by definition, only targets people who have visited your site.

The solution: forget unbranded search ads and grow your cookie pools by using social media ads. If you can increase your audience sizes by 10x, you can capture 10x more conversions!

Note: This strategy applies only to certain verticals with very high CPCs where there's a lot of competition and conversion rates are challenging. Get more details in my post, RLSA for Competitive Markets: A Ridiculously Awesome Way Forward in PPC.

8. Increase conversions for pennies with video ads

What's the point of advertising? To bias people.

Video ads deliver on the two most important components of high conversion rates:

Strong brand recall (lots of ad impressions). High CTR (high ad engagement).

Video ads on Facebook provide the highest value at the lowest cost. They are so cheap because they have the highest engagement rates.

People love visual content. Video is one of the best ways to bias people so they'll choose you over some brand they've never heard of.

9. You need to change your offer in a BIG way

We've looked through billions of dollars of ad spend. It turns out that the highest converting offers have very little to do with conventional "CRO best practices."

Here's what actually matters: Your offer needs to be massively different and more valuable from what your competitors are offering.

It doesn't matter how pretty your fonts and images are. Making small changes to your current bad offer won't move the needle. It will just result in small changes to your conversion rate.

If you want to dramatically increase conversion rates, then you need a completely different and better offer.

Want to collect more emails? Rather than publishing yet another whitepaper, which has low differentiation, consider creating something people actually want, such as a calculator or tool, which we've seen have conversion rates as high as 50 percent.

For example, one way that WordStream offers substantially more value is by providing a keyword suggestion tool. People simply type in a keyword and we email them the full results for free in an Excel file. All they need to do is provide their email.

10. You can totally eliminate your landing pages

OK, here's the problem. Only 2 percent of people are clicking on your ads, and only 2 percent of those people who reach your landing page are converting. That's a HUGE drop-off.

Wouldn't it be great if you could skip this landing page step and capture leads directly from ads? Well it is great, and you can do just that!

Thanks to new mobile technologies, like Facebook Lead Ads, you no longer have to send people to a landing page, which will continue to lose 97 percent of prospects. Only one field is needed - email. You can just eliminate that stage entirely from your funnel.

Summary: Unicorn CRO!

In the end, there are three types of unicorn conversion rate activities that impact conversions:

On-page elements: This is historically where much of the focus goes - on "best practices" that are mostly about making changes to images, copy, fonts, user experience, psychology, etc. Brand awareness: Even though this isn't what most people would consider "CRO," brand familiarity has a huge impact on your conversion rates. People are more likely to buy from brands they know and like. "Growth hack": The biggest reason for a low CTR is a boring offer. You need to hit users with the right offer at the right time. (Note: I'm not talking about adding the word "free" to your offer; this may raise your CTR but kill your conversion rate because you'll have to sort though more unqualified leads. No, I'm talking about changing your offer in a powerful way to make your product more appealing to more people - such as how Dropbox offers you extra storage or Uber will give you a free ride or credits for bringing in new customers.)

There's much more to CRO than moving around your on-page elements. Why increase your conversion rate by a measly 5 percent when you could increase it by 5x?

Focus on #1 is a minimum. Focus more on #2 and #3 for insanely great returns.

Start thinking more widely about the conversion lifecycle. Think about not just what's on your landing page, but also what happens before and after they see it - or consider the possibility of eliminating that page altogether.

New technologies such as mobile, remarketing, and RLSA are the future of CRO. The real leverage is less about tweaking on-page elements and more about branding and growth hacking.


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An Essential Training Task List for Junior SEOs

Posted by DaveSottimano

Let's face it: SEO isn't as black & white as most marketing channels. In my opinion, to become a true professional requires a broad skill set. It's not that a professional SEO needs to know the answer for everything; rather, it's more important to have the skills to be able to find the answer.

I'm really pleased with the results of various bits of training I've put together for successful juniors over the years, so I think it's time to share.

This is a Junior SEO task list designed to help new starters in the field get the right skills by doing hands-on jobs, and possibly to help find a specialism in SEO or digital marketing.

How long should this take? Let's ballpark at 60–90 days.

Before anything, here's some prerequisite reading:

Moz Beginner's Guide to SEO Google's SEO Starter Guide Official Google Webmaster Guidelines How does the Internet work? How the Web works What is a domain name? What is the difference between webpage, website, web server, and search engine? What is a web server? Project 1 – Technical Fundamentals:

Master the lingo and have a decent idea of how the Internet works before they start having conversations with developers or contributing online. Have the trainee answer the following questions. To demonstrate that they understand, have them answer the questions using analogies. Take inspiration from this post.

Must be able to answer the following in detail:

What is HTTP / HTTPS / HTTP2? Explain connections and how they flow. Do root domains have trailing slashes? What are the fundamental parts of a URL? What is "www," anyway? What are generic ccTLDs? Describe the transaction between client and server? What do we mean when we say "client side" and "server side?" Name 3 common servers. Explain each one. How does DNS work? What are ports? How do I see/find my public IP address? What is a proxy server? What is a reverse proxy server? How do CDNs work? What is a VPN? What are server response codes and how do they relate to SEO? What is the difference between URL rewriting and redirecting? What is MVC? What is a development sprint / scrum? Describe a development deployment workflow. What are the core functions that power Google search? What is PageRank? What is toolbar PageRank? What is the reasonable surfer model? What is the random surfer model? What is Mozrank, Domain Authority, and Page Authority - and how are they calculated? Name 3 Google search parameters and explain what they do (hint: gl= country). What advanced operator search query will return: all URLs with https, with “cat” in the title, not including www subdomains, and only PDFs? Describe filtering in search results, and which parameter can be appended to the search URL to omit filtering. How can I Google search by a specific date? If we say something is "indexed," what does that mean? If we say something is "canonicalized," what does that mean? If we say something is "indexable," what does that mean? If we say something is "non indexable," what does that mean? If we say something is "crawlable," what does that mean? If we say something is "not crawlable," what does that mean? If we say something is "blocked," what does that mean? Give examples of "parameters" in the wild, and manipulate any parameter on any website to show different content. How should you check rankings for a particular keyword in a particular country? Where are some places online you can speak to Googlers for advice? What are the following: rel canonical, noindex, nofollow, hreflang, mobile alternate?(Explain each directive and its behavior in detail and state any variations in implementation) Explaining metrics from popular search tools Explain SearchMetrics search visibility - how is this calculated? Why would you see declines in SM graphs but not in actual organic traffic? Explain Google Trends Index - how is this calculated? Explain Google Keyword Planner search volume estimates & competition metric - is search volume accurate? Is the competition metric useful for organic? Explain SEMrush.com's organic traffic graphs - Why might you see declines in SEMrush graphs, but not in actual organic traffic? Link architecture By hand, map out the world's first website - http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html (we want to see the full link architecture here in a way that's digestable) Explain its efficiency from an SEO perspective - are this website's pages linked efficiently? Why or why not? Project 2 – Creating a (minimum) 10-page website

If the trainee doesn't understand what something is, make sure that they try and figure it out themselves before coming for help. Building a website by hand is absolutely painful, and they might want to throw their computer out the window or just install Wordpress - no, no, no. There are so many things to learn by doing it the hard way, which is the only way.

Grab a domain name and go setup shared hosting. A LAMP stack with Cpanel and log file access (example: hostgator) is probably the easiest. Set up Filezilla with your host's FTP details Set up a text editor (example: Notepad++, Sublime) and connect via FTP for quick deploy Create a 10-page flat site (NO CMS. That means no Wordpress!) Within the site, it must contain at least one instance of each the following:
,,, , , <button>, <noscript>, <form>, <option>, <button>, <img>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <p>, <span></li> <li>Inline CSS that shows/hides a div on hover</li> <li>Unique titles, meta descriptions, and H1s on every page</li> <li>Must contain at least 3 folders</li> <li>Must have at least 5 pages that are targeted to a different country</li> <li>Recreate the navigation menu from the bbc.co.uk homepage (or your choice) using an external CSS stylesheet</li> <li>Do the exact same as the previous, but make the Javascript external, and the function must execute with a button click.</li> <li>Must receive 1,000 organic sessions in one month</li> <li>Must contain Google Analytics tracking, Google search console setup, Bing webmaster tools, and Yandex webmaster tools setup</li> <li>Create a custom 404 page</li> <li>Create a 301, 302, and 307 redirect</li> <li>Create a canonical to an exact duplicate, and another to a unique page - watch behavior</li> </ul></li> </ul></li> </ol><p>The site must contain at least one instance of each of the following, and every page which contains a directive (accompanying pages affected by directives as well) must be tracked through a rank tracker: </p><ul> <li>Rel canonical</li> <li>Noindex</li> <li>Noindex, follow</li> <li>Mobile alternate (one page must be mobile-friendly)</li> <li>Noarchive</li> <li>Noimageindex</li> <li>Meta refresh</li> </ul><h3>Set up rank tracking</h3><p>The trainee can use whatever tracking tool they like; <a href="https://www.wincher.com/" target="_blank">https://www.wincher.com/</a>; is $6/month for 100 keywords. The purpose of the rank tracking is to measure the effects of directives implemented, redirects, and general fluctuation. </p><h3>Create the following XML sitemaps: </h3><ul> <li>Write the following XML sitemaps by hand for at least 5 URLs: mobile, desktop, Android App, and create one desktop XML sitemap with hreflang annotations</li> <li>Figure out how to ping Google & Bing with your sitemap URL</li> </ul><h3>Writing robots.txt</h3><ul> <li>Design a robots.txt that has specific blocking conditions for regular Googlebot, Bingbot, all user agents. They must be independent and not interfere with each other.</li> <li>Write a rule that disallows everything, but allows at least 1 folder.</li> <li>Test the robots.txt file through the Search Console robots.txt tester.</li> </ul><h3>Crawl the site and fix errors (Use Screaming Frog)</h3><ul> <li>Have the trainee read: <a href="https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/user-guide/">https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/user-guide/</a></li>; <li>Ensure the trainee has a full, registered version of the software </li> <li>Crawl the site and have them correct any errors on the site</li> </ul><h2>Project 3 – PR, Sales, Promotion and Community Involvement</h2><p><em>These tasks can be done on an independent website or directly for a client; it depends on your organizational requirements. This is the part of the training where the trainee learns how to negotiate, sell, listen, promote, and create exposure for themselves.</em> </p><h3>Sales & negotiation</h3><ul> <li>Close one guest post deal (i.e. have your content placed on an external website). <em>Bonus if this is done via a phone call.</em></li> <li>Create & close one syndication deal (i.e. have your content placed and rel canonical'd back to your content). <em>Bonus if this is done via a phone call.</em></li> <li>Close one advertising deal (this could be as simple as negotiating a banner placement, and as hard as completely managing the development of the ad plus tracking)</li> <li>Sit in on 5 sales calls (depending on your business, this may need to be adjusted - it could be customer service calls)</li> <li>Sit in on 5 sales meetings (again, adjust this for your business)</li> </ul><h3>PR</h3><ol> <li>Create a story, write a press release, get the story covered by any publication (bonus if there's a link back to your original release, or a rel canonical)</li> <li>Use a PR wire to syndicate, or find your own syndication partner</li> </ol><h3>Community involvement</h3><ul> <li><a href="https://moz.com/checkout/freetrial" target="_blank">Sign up for a Moz account</a> and answer at least 15 questions in the forum</li> <li><a href="https://www.quora.com/" target="_blank">Sign up for a Quora account</a> and answer at least 5 questions </li> <li>Write 3 blog posts and get them featured on an industry website</li> <li>Speak at an event, no matter how small; must be at least 10 minutes long</li> </ul><h3>YouTube</h3><ul> <li>Create a screencast tutorial, upload it to YouTube, get 1,000 views (they will also need to optimize description, tags, etc.)</li> <li>Here's an example: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXhmF9rjqP4"&gt;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXhmF9rjqP4&lt;/a&gt; (that was my first try at this, years ago which you can use as inspiration)</li> </ul><h3>Facebook & Twitter Paid Ads</h3><ul> <li>On both networks, pay to get 100 visits from an ad. These campaigns must be tracked <strong>properly</strong> in an analytics platform, not only in FB and Twitter analytics!</li> </ul><h3>Adwords</h3><ul> <li>Create 1 campaign (custom ad) with the goal of finding real number of impressions versus estimated search volume from Keyword Planner.</li> <li><strong>Bonus:</strong> Drive 100 visits with an ad. Remember to keep the costs low - this is just training!</li> </ul><h2>Project 4 – Data Manipulation & Analytics </h2><p><em>Spreadsheets are to SEOs as fire trucks are to firefighters. Trainees need to be proficient in Excel or Google Docs right from the start. These tasks are useful for grasping data manipulation techniques in spreadsheets, Google Analytics, and some more advanced subjects, like scraping and machine learning classification.</em> </p><h3>Excel skills</h3><p>Must be able to fill in required arguments for the following formulas in under 6 seconds: </p><ul> <li>Index + match</li> <li>VLOOKUP (we should really be teaching people to index-match, because it's more versatile and is quicker when dealing with larger datasets)</li> <li>COUNTIF, COUNTIFS (2 conditions)</li> <li>SUMIF, SUMIFS (2 conditions)</li> <li>IF & AND statement in the same formula</li> <li>Max, Min, Sum, Avg, Correl, Percentile, Len, Mid, Left, Right, Search, & Offset are also required formulas.</li> </ul><p>Also: </p><ul> <li>Conditional formatting based on a formula</li> <li>Create a meaningful pivot table + chart</li> <li>Record a macro that will actually be used</li> <li>Ability to copy, paste, move, transpose, and copy an entire row and paste in new sheet - all while never touching the mouse.</li> </ul><h3>Google Analytics</h3><ul> <li>Install Google Analytics (Universal Analytics), and Google Tag Manager at least once - ensure that the bare minimum tracking works properly.</li> <li>Pass the <a href="https://google.starttest.com/" target="_blank">GAIQ Exam</a> with at least 90%</li> <li>Create a non-interaction event</li> <li>Create a destination goal</li> <li>Create a macro that finds a value in the DOM and only fires on a specific page</li> <li>Create a custom segment, segmenting session by Google organic, mobile device only, Android operating system, US traffic only - then share the segment with another account.</li> <li>Create an alert for increasing 404 page errors (comparison by day, threshold is 10% change)</li> <li>Install the Google Tag Assistant for Chrome and learn to record and decipher requests for debugging </li> <li>Use the Google Analytics Query explorer to pull from any profile - you must pull at least 3 metrics, 1 dimension, sort by 1 metric, and have 1 filter.</li> <li>Create one Google Content Experiment - this involves creating two pages and A/B testing to find the winner. They'll need to have some sort of call to action; it could be as simple as a form or a targeted click. Either way, traffic doesn't determine the winner here; it's conversion rate.</li> </ul><h3>Google Search Console</h3><ul> <li>Trainee must go through every report (I really mean <em>every</em> report), and double-check the accuracy of each using external SEO tools (except crawl activity reports). The point here is to find out why there are discrepancies between what SEO tools find and what Google Search Console reports.</li> <li>Fetch and render 5 different pages from 5 domains, include at least 2 mobile pages</li> <li>Fetch (only fetch) 3 more pages; 1 must be mobile</li> <li>Submit an XML sitemap</li> <li>Create https, http, www, and non-www versions of their site they built in the previous project and identify discrepancies.</li> <li>Answer: Why don't clicks from search analytics add up compared to Google Analytics?</li> <li>Answer: How are impressions from search analytics measured?</li> </ul><h3>Link auditing</h3><ul> <li>Download link reports for 1 website. Use Google Search Console, Majestic, Ahrefs, and Moz, and combine them all in one Excel file (or Google Doc sheet). If the total number of rows between all 4 exports are over Excel's limit, the trainee will need to figure out how to handle large files on their own (hint: SQL or other database).</li> <li>Must combine all links, de-duplicate, have columns for all anchor texts, and check if links are still alive (hint: the trainee can use Screaming Frog to check live links, or URL Profiler) </li> </ul><h3>Explore machine learning</h3><ul> <li>Use <a href="http://bigml.com" target="_blank">Bigml.com</a> and create a decision tree for classification. Try and predict <em>something.</em> Follow <a href="http://machinelearningmastery.com/bigml-tutorial-develop-your-first-decision-tree-and-make-predictions/" target="_blank">http://machinelearningmastery.com/bigml-tutorial-develop-your-first-decision-tree-and-make-predictions/</a>.</li>; </ul><h3>Scrape something</h3><ul> <li>Use at least 3 different methods to extract information from any webpage (hint: import.io, importxml)</li> </ul><h3>Log file analysis</h3><ul> <li>Let the trainee use whatever software they want to parse the log files; just remember to explain how different servers will have different fields. </li> <li>Grab a copy of any web server access log files that contain at least the following fields: user-agent, timestamp, URI, IP, Method, Referrer (ensure that CDNs or other intermediary transactions are not rewriting the IP addresses).</li> <li>Trainee must be able to do the following: <ul> <li>Find Googlebot requests; double-check by reverse DNS that it's actually Googlebot</li> <li>Find a 4xx error encountered by Googlebot, then find the referrer for that 4xx error by looking at other user agent requests to the same 4xx error</li> <li>Create a pivot table with all the URLs requested and the amount of times they were requested by Googlebot</li> </ul></li> </ul><h3><a href="https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner" target="_blank">Keyword Planner</a></h3><p>The candidate must be able to do the following: </p><ul> <li>Find YoY search volume for any given term</li> <li>Find keyword limits, both in the interface and by uploading a CSV</li> <li>Find the mobile trends graph for a set of keywords</li> <li>Use negative keywords </li> <li>Find breakdown by device</li> </ul><h3><a href="https://developer.chrome.com/devtools" target="_blank">Google Chrome Development tools</a></h3><p>The candidate must be able to do the following: </p><ul> <li>Turn off Javascript</li> <li>Manipulate elements of the page (As a fun exercise, get them to change a news article to a completely new story)</li> <li>Find every request Chrome makes when visiting a webpage</li> <li>Download the HAR file</li> <li>Run a speed audit & security audit directly from the development tool interface</li> <li>Change their user agent to Googlebot</li> <li>Emulate an Apple iPhone 5</li> <li>Add a CSS attribute (or change one)</li> <li>Add a breakpoint</li> <li>Use the shortcut key to bring up development tools</li> </ul><h2>Project 5 – Miscellaneous / Fun Stuff</h2><p><em>These projects are designed to broaden their skills, as well as as prepare the trainee for the future and introduce them to important concepts. </em> </p><h3>Use a proxy and a VPN</h3><ul> <li>As long as they are able to connect to a proxy and a VPN in any application, this is fine - ensure that they understand how to verify their new IP.</li> </ul><h3>Find a development team, and observe the development cycle</h3><ul> <li>Have the trainees be present during a scrum/sprint kickoff, and a release.</li> <li>Have the trainees help write development tickets and prioritize accordingly.</li> </ul><h3>Have them spend a day helping other employees with different jobs</h3><ul> <li>Have them spend a day with the PR, analytics folks, devs... everyone. The goal should be to understand what it's like to live a day in their shoes, and assist them throughout the entire day.</li> </ul><h3>Get a website THEY OWN penalized. Heck, make it two!</h3><ul> <li>Now that the trainee has built a website by hand, feel free to get them to put up another couple of websites and get some traffic pouring in.</li> <li>Then, start searching for nasty links and other deceptive SEO tactics that are against the Webmaster Guidelines and get that website penalized. Hint: Head to fiverr.com for some services.</li> <li><strong>Bonus: </strong>Try to get the penalty reversed. Heh, good luck :)</li> </ul><h3>API skills</h3><ul> <li>Request data from 2 different APIs using at least 2 different technologies (either a programming language or software - I would suggest the <a href="https://www.semrush.com/api-documentation/" target="_blank">SEMrush API</a>and <a href="http://www.alchemyapi.com/products/alchemylanguage" target="_blank">Alchemy Language API</a>). <em>Hints:</em> They can use <a href="https://www.getpostman.com/" target="_blank">Postman</a>, Google Docs, Excel, command line, or any programming language.</li> <li>Google APIs are also fantastic, and there are lots of free services in the <a href="https://console.cloud.google.com/home/dashboard?project=search-console-app-1202&pli=1" target="_blank">Google Cloud Console</a>.</li> </ul><h3>Learn concepts of programming</h3><p>Write 2 functions in 2 different programming languages - these need to be functions that do something useful (i.e. “hello world” is not useful). </p><h4>Ideas:</h4><ul> <li>A Javascript bookmark that extracts link metrics from <a href="https://majestic.com/" target="_blank">Majestic</a> or Moz for the given page</li> <li>A simple application that extracts title, H1, and all links from a given URL</li> <li>A simple application that emails you if a change has been detected on a webpage</li> <li>Pull word count from 100 pages in less than 10 seconds</li> </ul><p>If I were to pick which technology, it would be Javascript and Python. Javascript (<a href="https://nodejs.org/en/" target="_blank">Node</a>, <a href="https://expressjs.com/" target="_blank">Express</a>, <a href="https://facebook.github.io/react/" target="_blank">React</a>, Angular, Ember, etc.) because I believe things are moving this way, i.e. 1 language for both front and back end. Python because of its rich data science & machine learning libraries, which may become a core part of SEO tasks in the future. </p><h3>Do an introductory course on computer science / build a search engine</h3><p>I strongly recommend anyone in SEO to build their own search engine - and no, I'm not crazy, this isn't crazy, it's just hard. There are two ways to do this, but I'd recommend both. </p><ul> <li><a href="https://www.udacity.com/course/intro-to-computer-science--cs101" target="_blank">Complete intro to Computer Science</a> (you build a search engine in Python). This is a fantastic course; I strongly recommend it even if the junior already has a CS degree.</li> <li>Sign up to <a href="https://opensolr.com/" target="_blank">https://opensolr.com/</a>, crawl a small website, and build your own search engine. You'll go through a lot of pain to configure what you want, but you'll learn all about Apache Solr and how a popular search technology works.</li> </ul><h2>Super Evil Genius Bonus Training</h2><p>Get them to pass <a href="http://oap.ninja/" target="_blank">http://oap.ninja/</a>, built by the infamous <a href="https://twitter.com/DeanCruddace" target="_blank">Dean Cruddace</a>. Warning, this <em>is</em> evil - I've seen seasoned SEOs give up after just hours into it. </p><h2>These days, SEO job requirements demand a lot from candidates.</h2><p>Employers are asking for a wider array of skills that range from development to design as <em>standard</em>, not "preferred." </p><p>Have a look around at current SEO job listings. You might be surprised just how much we're expected to know these days: </p><ul> <li>Strong in Google Analytics/Omniture</li> <li>Assist in the development of presentations to clients</li> <li>Advanced proficiency with MS Excel, SQL</li> <li>Advanced writing, grammar, spelling, editing, and English skills with a creative flair</li> <li>Creating press releases and distribution</li> <li>Proficiency in design software, Photoshop and Illustrator preferred</li> <li>Develop and implement architectural, technical, and content recommendations</li> <li>Conduct keyword research including industry trends and competitive analysis</li> <li>Experience with WordPress and/or Magento (preferred)</li> <li>Experience creating content for links and outreach</li> <li>Experience in building up social media profiles and executing a social media strategy</li> <li>Ability to program in HTML/CSS, VB/VBA, C++, PHP, and/or Python are a plus</li> <li>A/B and Multivariate testing</li> <li>Knowledge of project management software such as Basecamp, MS Project, Visio, Salesforce, etc</li> <li>Basic knowledge of PHP, HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript</li> <li>Develop + analyze weekly and monthly reports across multiple clients</li> </ul><p>The list goes on and on, but you get the point. We're expected to be developers, designers, PR specialists, salespeople, CRO, and social managers. This is why I believe we need to expose juniors to a wide set of tasks and help them develop a broad skill set. </p><h2>“I'm a Junior SEO and my boss is making me do this training now, I hate you Dave!”</h2><p>You might hate me now, but when you're making a lot more money you might change your mind (you might even want to cuddle). </p><p>Plus, I'm putting you through hell so that…. </p><ul> <li>You don't lose credibility in front of developers (hint: these are the people who will have to implement your consulting). By using the correct terminology, and by doing parts of the work, you'll be able to empathize and give better advice. </li> <li>You don't limit yourself to specific projects/tasks because of lack of knowledge/experience in other specialisms within SEO.</li> <li>You will become a well-rounded marketer, able to take on whatever Google's Algorithm of Wonder throws at you or jump into other disciplines within digital marketing with a solid foundation.</li> </ul><p>Feel free to ping me on Twitter (<a href="https://twitter.com/dsottimano" target="_blank">@dsottimano</a>) or you can catch me hanging out with the <a href="http://definemg.com/" target="_blank">DMG crew</a>. </p><br /><p><a href="https://moz.com/moztop10">Sign up for The Moz Top 10</a>, 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!</p>,
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Here's How to Use Your Daily Habits For Writing Better Content in Less Time

Posted by Lesley_Vos

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 write every day for my blog as well as other publications. I'm a big fan of guest posting, and every day I do everything I can to reinforce better writing.

The problem: Content creation is time-consuming.

Content marketers deal with multiple tasks: social media content (93%), newsletters (81%), articles for websites (79%), blogs (81%), in-person events (81%), and more. Lack of time is one of top 5 challenges for 51% of content marketers, while 50% face the challenge of producing truly engaging content. 76% of marketers will create more content in 2016 versus 2015.

As a result, we have to find and apply different tactics to become more productive and efficient, as well as optimize our work to achieve better results.

Yes, creating content is hard work. Every time I read works of Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin, or Jon Morrow, I wonder, "How do they write so many articles every week, together with dozens of other tasks to complete?"

Do they "work 80-hour weeks?" Do they have an "army of assistants?"

It seems Neil Patel somehow heard my silent moanings when he wrote How to Write 5 or More Articles a Week and Not Burn Out, explaining the best tactics available for content marketers anytime and anywhere.

His article made me think of using alternative habits for writing more content in less time.

Famous writers didn't hesitate to use their weird habits for more efficient work. So, maybe it makes sense to follow their lead and find benefits in our love for coffee and music for better content writing?

So, I've taken my daily habits and decided to learn how to develop them for writing better content in less time.

#1 - Read the news

I can't help but read the news online. Turns out, this daily habit holds benefits for content writers:

It improves writing skills, encouraging better cognitive skills and brain functioning. Plus, it enriches vocabulary. It provides ideas for new content. It lets them learn from professionals and follow their methods.

To make this work, avoid reading everyone and everything. Make a list of channels and resources that inspire you, as well as educate you.

Learning from experience, I can say Moz, Copyblogger, QuickSprout, and Smart Blogger are the best helpers in my niche. Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel teach me all the aspects of and latest trends in content and Internet marketing, while Brian Clark and Jon Morrow demonstrate the art of writing and encourage me to polish up my writing skills.

And applications such as Digg or Newsbeat have helped me organize my newsfeed in a way that gleans the most from my reading habit.

#2 - Free writing

If your daily habit is getting up early, your free writing is ripe for development.

It's a writing technique described by Julia Cameron and Mark Levy as a way to free the subconsciousness by telling all your worries to a piece of paper. All you need to do is start every day with writing three pages of text.

The topic doesn't matter. Just sit and write.

When developed, the habit of free writing can be a big help, including providing topics for new content and allowing you to create drafts quickly.

To develop this habit and use it for content creation, you should do nothing but write three pages of text every morning. Don't try too hard. Simply allow your thoughts to flow, write quickly, and set some time limits.

I dared to try it after I had read Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. While I'm a night owl, and it's an act of bravery for me to wake up early, I was faithful in writing three pages of text every morning and even discovered the site 750 Words. Working and spending 8–10 hours at a computer regardless the day of a week, I supposed it would be easier for me to free write online.

The most helpful thing about this website was its analytics and charts about every piece I wrote:

It let me analyze my writing and see what I needed to change for faster and more accurate work: I decreased the number of distractions and the level of wateriness in my writing (the tool showed which words I used the most).

My final attempt to fall in love with free writing was a master class by one local artist. Armed with a pen, a notebook, and cappuccino, I was in a good mind to give free writing a chance...

She gave us three tasks:

"You have 5 minutes. Write about the latest problem that worried you and how you solved it." It helped me realize what a slow writer I was. Five minutes wasn't enough time for me to describe the problem, much less speak of the solution. "You have 10 minutes and three topics. Choose one and write about it." Mine was to take a phrase and begin a story with it. It taught me to start my writing with a hook, as it saved time and made me write faster. "You have 15 minutes. Make a to-do list for 2016." The trick was to write 100 items and avoid mentioning the same deed twice. It taught me to concentrate on my train of thought to avoid wateriness and save time for editing my writing afterward.

Now I use free writing when I need to come up with writing ideas. It saves time for brainstorming, and every free writing session gives me 2–3 ideas for future articles. Plus, I write faster now. (Yes, time frames matter.)

The moral of this story: free writing is a daily habit worth developing. Don't give up. Just write.

This technique is a big hit today, and many tools have been developed to use it with comfort. Try 750 Words, Write or Die, or Written? Kitten!

#3 - Drinking coffee

A daily habit of drinking coffee has its scientifically proven benefits, too:

Coffee stimulates productivity. Coffee helps to stay more alert. Coffee increases creativity and mood.

I'm a coffee addict, so I can say with full confidence that it helps with my content marketing endeavors. The trick is to know when and how much coffee to drink for better writing.

I drink two cups per day.

Although the perfect time is between 10 a.m. and noon, and between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., I take my first americano with milk on early mornings. It stimulates my workflow and gets me into the swing of writing.

My second cup comes between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. It works like a charging system to revive spirits and, therefore, support a sufficient level of productivity in the afternoon. After my second cup of coffee, I have the energy to research and write outlines for my content.

#4 - Plan everything in advance

Does your organized nature make your friends smile? Mine still don't understand why I want to be ahead of the game and plan everything two or three months before deadlines.

This habit is my savior:

It leads to better and more organized research. It sets time limits, stimulating you to write faster. It lets you create content plans and schedule like a boss.

With that in mind, I've chosen Trello to make this habit of planning flourish. My favorite thing about this tool is its keyboard shortcuts that allow me to manage tasks with one click. Plus, I use its Google Drive integration and desktop notifications to share and edit content quickly, as well as remember deadlines for planning my time properly.

Besides Trello, Asana, Evernote, or Wunderlist are worth exploring as well.

#5 - Listening to music

This one is my favorite.

Working in an open-plan office with 14 people, half of whom regularly practice idle chitchat, I've found the perfect escape from frustration and, therefore, procrastination: music.

Music helps me concentrate on work, lowers my frustration, helps me write letter-perfect text, and speeds up my writing.

Listening to music in the office has also helped my writing accuracy.

Image via Music Works For You infographic

Following the advice from Neil Patel on "youifying" content (I love that word), I use music to cheer up, gain inspiration, awaken creativity, and put me back on a productive track while writing my articles.

Listening to music also helps me save writing time:

It signals to others that they shouldn't interrupt you. (Headphones work perfect for me!) It stimulates thinking. It makes writing more enjoyable. (Thank you, Karl Frierson!) It raises efficiency. (Jazz is my #1 choice here.)

Numerous studies confirm music's positive influence on productivity and efficiency at work. University of Birmingham, England shares that music makes repetitive work more enjoyable. And according to researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, music boosts moods and helps us focus.

(HubSpot shared six science-based playlists to choose from for listening at work.)

But when it comes to tasks requiring more brainpower, sounds of nature, songs without lyrics, or classical music seem to have the best impact on our productivity.

Are there any daily habits you use for writing content and organizing your time for better productivity? How do they work for you?


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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​The Finalized MozCon 2016 Agenda & Congratulations MozCon Ignite Speakers!

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

All the puzzle pieces have come together, and MozCon 2016 is ready to rock! Over the past week, I've had the pleasure of peeking at our speakers' outlines, and I cannot wait. Whether you're looking to for the latest SEO information, ready to tackle mobile's biggest issues, wanting to push your content to 10x, or generally wanting to absorb everything online marketing, it's going to be so good.

If you're reading this post and remembering you haven't bought your ticket yet, I'll pause:

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

Now let's get to the good stuff:

The MozCon 2016 AgendaMonday

08:00–09:00am
Breakfast

09:00–09:20am
Welcome to MozCon 2016! with Rand Fishkin

Wizard of Moz
@randfish

Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Rand's an un-save-able addict of all things content, search, and social on the web.

09:25–10:10am
Uplevel Your A/B Testing Skills with Cara Harshman

Content Marketer and Storyteller at caraharshman.me
@caraharshman

A/B testing is bread and butter for anyone who aspires to be a data-driven marketer. Cara will share stories about how testers, from one-person agencies to dedicated testing teams, are doing it, and how you can develop your own A/B testing expertise.

Cara Harshman just celebrated her four-year anniversary at Optimizely. Besides managing content strategy, customer case studies, and the blog, she has been known to spend a lot of time writing parody songs for company all-hands meetings.

10:10–10:40am
AM Break

10:45–11:15am
The Big One: Relaunching Your Website with Lauren Vaccarello

VP of Marketing at Box
@laurenv

Change makes us all nervous, and relaunching an entire site can be both thrilling and daunting. Lauren will walk you through how to do it right, from infrastructure and content to design, information architecture, and marketing automation, and share real life triumphs and cautionary tales.

Lauren Vaccarello is a best-selling author and currently runs corporate and field marketing at Box.

11:15–11:45am
The Hidden Talents of Email: Creating Customer-Centric Messages with Justine Jordan

VP Marketing at Litmus
@meladorri

Far from dead, email is a powerful workhorse that belongs in every marketer's optimization toolkit. Justine will show you how to use email to deliver personal, 1-to-1, and contextually relevant messages that delight your subscribers and encourage engagement.

After mastering table-based layouts in college, Justine Jordan fell in love with the unruly art of email design back in 2007. Currently VP of Marketing at Litmus, Justine and her team are passionate about inspiring fellow marketers to create better email.

11:45am–12:15pm
How to Do Reputation Marketing with Rhea Drysdale

CEO at Outspoken Media
@rhea

Dig into the discipline of reputation marketing and strategy. Rhea will show you what the role of a reputation marketer looks like, what analytics to track, and why everyone should be investing in their organization's reputation to diversify and reduce marketing spend and other high business costs.

Rhea Drysdale is the Co-Founder and CEO of Outspoken Media, a reputation marketing agency that offers custom solutions for difficult SEO, content, and reputation problems.

12:15–01:45pm
Lunch

01:50–02:20pm
Rethinking Information Architecture for SEO and Content Marketing with Joe Hall

SEO Consultant at Hall Analysis LLC
@joehall

Information Architecture (IA) shapes the way we organize data, think about complex ideas, and build web sites. Joe will provide a new approach to IA for SEO and Content Marketing, based on actionable insights, that SEOs can extract from their own data sets.

Joe Hall is an executive SEO consultant focused on analyzing and informing the digital marketing strategies of select clients through high-level data analysis and SEO audits.

02:20–02:50pm
Breaking Patterns: How to Rewrite the CRO Playbook with Mobile Optimization with Talia Wolf

CMO at Banana Splash
@Taliagw

Best practices lie. Talia shares how to build a mobile conversion optimization strategy and how to turn more mobile visitors into customers based on A/B testing their emotions, decision making process, and behavior.

As CMO at Banana-Splash and Founder of Conversioner, Talia Wolf helps businesses optimize their sites using emotional targeting, consumer psychology, and real-time data to generate more revenues, leads, and sales. Talia is a keynote speaker, author, and Harry Potter fan.

02:50–03:20pm
Taking the Top Spot: How to Earn More Featured Snippets with Rob Bucci

CEO at STAT Search Analytics
@STATrob

Featured snippets (also known as “answer boxes”) are steadily appearing in the first organic SERP spot, providing big opportunities for SEOs able to snag them. Armed with the latest data and analysis, Rob Bucci will take you on a deep dive into the constantly evolving featured snippet and show you how to earn more for your site.

Coming from Vancouver, Canada, Rob Bucci is the CEO of STAT Search Analytics. He especially loves tackling big data challenges in data mining and analysis. When he isn't doing that, you can find him splashing in the ocean, or taking cookies out of the oven.

03:20–03:50pm
PM Break

03:55–04:25pm
Content Chaos: Building Your Brand through Constant Experiments with Ross Simmonds

Co-Founder at Crate
@TheCoolestCool

A look at how taking risks on content and making investments can work out in a big way for brands and marketers. Whether it's Reddit, Slideshare, Quora, or Instagram, Ross shares some of the lessons he's learned from a variety of different content experiments.

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing consultant and entrepreneur. He's worked with both startups and Fortune 500 companies and is the co-founder of two startups: Crate and Hustle & Grind.

04:25–5:10pm
Social Media: People First, "Rules" Second with Dana DiTomaso

Partner at Kick Point
@danaditomaso

You can follow all the “rules” about perfect post length, perfect time to post, perfect image size, and everything else and still not see any financial impact from social media. Dana doesn't think social media should always revolve around community building and group hugs. When you show the right people what they want to see, when they want to see it, you'll start attributing revenue increases to social media efforts.

Dana DiTomaso is a partner at Kick Point, where she applies marketing into strategies to grow clients' businesses, in particular to ensure that digital and traditional play well together - separating real solutions from wastes of time (and budget).

07:00–10:00pm
Monday Night #MozCrawl

Catch the pub crawl on Monday night, details coming soon! You'll be able to explore some of our favorite haunts and make some new friends. Spread across multiple bars, go at your own pace and visit the stops in any order. Each stop is sponsored by a trusted partner and one by us. You must bring your MozCon badge - for free drinks and light appetizers - and your US ID or passport. See you there!

Official MozCrawl stops and partners coming soon.

Tuesday

08:00–09:00am
Breakfast

09:05–09:50am
You Can't Type a Concept: Why Keywords Still Matter with Dr. Pete Meyers

Marketing Scientist at Moz
@dr_pete

Google is getting better every day at understanding intent and natural language, and the path between typing a search and getting a result is getting more winding. How often are queries interpreted, and how do we do keyword research for search engines that are beginning to understand concepts?

Dr. Pete Meyers is Marketing Scientist for Seattle-based Moz, where he works with marketing and data science on product research and data-driven content. He has spent the past four years building research tools to monitor Google, including the MozCast project.

09:50–10:20am
How to Be Specific: From-The-Trenches Lessons in High-Converting Copy with Joanna Wiebe

Creator and Copywriter at Copy Hackers
@copyhackers

Abstracted benefits, summarized value, and promise-free landing pages keep marketers safe - and conversion rates low. Joanna shares how and why your copy needs to get specific to move people to act.

The original conversion copywriter, Joanna Wiebe is the founder of Copy Hackers and Airstory. She's optimized copy for Wistia, Buffer, Crazy Egg, Bounce Exchange, and Rainmaker, among others, and spoken at CTA Conf, Business of Software... and now MozCon.

10:20–10:50am
AM Break

10:55–11:15am
Server Log Files & Technical SEO Audits: What You Need to Know with Samuel Scott

Director of Marketing and Communications at Logz.io
@samueljscott

Server log files contain the only data that is 100% accurate in terms of how Google and other search engines crawl your website. Sam will show you what and where to check and what problems you may to need to fix to maximize your rankings and organic traffic.

Samuel Scott is a global marketing speaker and Director of Marketing and Communications for log analysis platform Logz.io, as well as a contributor to TechCrunch and Moz.

11:15–11:35am
Digital Marketing Skill Pivot: Recruiting New Talent with Emma Still

Marketing Lead at Seer Interactive
@mmstll

Torn between your marketing work and hiring? Emma shares how to take the skills you already have, flip them on their head, and find people to hire on your growing marketing teams. Spoiler: they've been under your nose the whole time.

Emma Still leads all Marketing efforts for Seer Interactive. Prior to that, she led a team of SEO professionals at Seer, where she leveraged her digital marketing skills to recruit team members to build stronger, more successful digital teams.

11:35–11:55am
Boost SEO Rankings by Removing Internal Links with Alex Stein

SEO Manager at Wayfair
@sonofadiplomat

Learn how to optimize internal link structure for an easy and surprisingly large SEO ranking wins. Alex will cover the math behind how authority flows through your site, how to evaluate links in your global navigation, common mistakes on CMSs, and other tactics to improve your site's most important pages.

Alex Stein is currently SEO Manager at Wayfair.com, an online home goods store. Follow him on Twitter @sonofadiplomat for all things SEO, and he is, in fact, the son of a diplomat.

11:55am–12:15pm
Improve Your UX & SEO through Navigation Optimization with Robyn Winner

SEO Manager at Hornblower Cruises and Events
@robyn_winner

Learn the tactics for creating a navigation that increases your organic visibility, streamlines user experience, and boosts conversion rates as Robyn walks you through the most important steps to getting your navigation in order.

Robyn Winner is a passionate SEOer with a deep love for data analytics, user experience optimization, content strategy development, and her two adorable cats who fill her life with joy and fur... on everything.

12:15–01:45pm
Lunch

01:50–02:35pm
Local Projects to Boost Your Company and Career with Mike Ramsey

President at Nifty Marketing
@mikeramsey

Mike will walk through the projects that his individual team members took on to improve how they handled local links, reviews, reports, and lots of areas in between.

Mike Ramsey is the President of Nifty Marketing, which works with big brands and small businesses on digital marketing. He talks about running agencies, local search, and Idaho a lot.

02:35–03:05pm
Reimagining Customer Retention and Evangelism with Kristen Craft

Director of Business Development at Wistia
@thecrafty

True customer loyalty and retention lies in the experience people have with your brand. Kristen will show you how to leverage video to optimize for experience, foster loyalty, lower churn, and create evangelists.

As Director of Business Development at Wistia, Kristen Craft loves working with Wistia's partner community, building connections with other companies that care about video marketing. Kristen holds degrees in business and education from MIT and Harvard.

03:05–03:35pm
PM Break

03:45–04:15pm
Optimizing the Journey to Deliver Radically Relevant Experiences with Rebekah Cancino

Co-Founder and Content Strategy Consultant at Onward
@rebekahcancino

How do you connect your search rankings to your long-term conversion rates? Customer journey mapping. Rebekah will show you how to bridge the gap between SEO, content, design, and UX with an effective framework your team can use to deliver radically relevant digital experiences when and where it matters most.

Rebekah Cancino spent the last decade helping clients, like Aetna and United Way, overcome some of their toughest content problems. Her consultancy offers workshops and training for in-house teams that bridge the gap between content, design, and technical SEO.

04:15–05:00pm
Putting Trust into Domain Authority with Wil Reynolds

CEO/Founder at Seer Interactive
@wilreynolds

Domain Authority is a trust sentiment, not a pure numeric value. Wil will show real examples of sites that build authority and trust by understanding and then solving users' problems. He'll also give you practical ways to use Google SERPS to uncover the many ways to best solve these problem.

Wil Reynolds - Director of Strategy, Seer Interactive - founded Seer with a focus on doing great things for its clients, team, and the community. His passion for driving and analyzing the impact that a site's traffic has on the company's bottom line has shaped the SEO and digital marketing industries. Wil also actively supports the Covenant House.

07:00–10:00pm
Tuesday Night Networking: MozCon Ignite!

We're thrilled to bring back MozCon Ignite: A networking and passion-talks event for attendees on Tuesday night from 7–10 pm at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. Here you'll meet-and-greet your fellow Community members and hear them give five-minute talks about their hobbies and passion projects. Last year, we heard about everything from how to cook the perfect hot dog to what it's like to lose your short-term memory. Leave that notebook in your hotel and settle in for some fun. Enjoy light appetizers, non-alcoholic drinks, and two alcoholic drink tickets on us. It's going to be a blast! Speakers announced here.

Wednesday

09:00–10:00am
Breakfast

10:05–10:35am
The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling with Kindra Hall

Strategic Storytelling Advisor at Kindra Hall
@kindramhall

Whoever tells the best story wins. In marketing, in business, in life. Going beyond buzzwords, Kindra will reveal specific storytelling strategies to create great content and win customers without a fight.

Kindra Hall is a speaker, author, and storytelling advisor. She works with individuals and brands to help them capture attention by telling better stories.

10:35–11:20am
29 Advanced Google Tag Manager Tips Every Marketer Should Know with Mike Arnesen

Founder and CEO at UpBuild
@mike_arnesen

Google Tag Manager is an incredibly powerful tool and one you're likely not using to its full potential. Mike will deliver 29 rapid-fire tips that'll empower you to overcome the tracking challenges of dynamic web apps, build user segments based on website interactions, scale the implementation of structured data, analyze the consumption of rich media, and much more.

Mike Arnesen has been driven by his passion for technical SEO, semantic search, website optimization, and company culture for over a decade. He is the Founder and CEO of UpBuild, a technical marketing agency focusing on SEO, analytics, and CRO.

11:20–11:50am
AM Break

11:55am–12:25pm
Engineering-As-Marketing for Non-Engineers with Tara Reed

CEO at AppsWithoutCode.com
@TaraReed_

Tara shares how to build useful tools like calculators, widgets, and micro-apps to acquire millions of new users, without writing a single line of code.

Tara Reed is a Detroit-based entrepreneur and founder of AppsWithoutCode.com. As a non-technical founder, she builds her own apps, widgets, and algorithms without writing a single line of code.

12:25–12:55pm
Persuasion, Data, & Collaboration: Building Links in 2016 with Kirsty Hulse

Managing Director at Manyminds
@kirsty_hulse

Securing links can be tough, and it's not about how creative or productive or smart we are, but how persuasive we are. Kirsty will walk you through how to get clients and managers to say yes to your best ideas, how to get interesting, affordable data, how to get experts to collaborate with you, and how to create outreach emails that compel people to cover your campaign.

Kirsty Hulse is the founder of Manyminds Digital, a digital marketing agency made entirely of expert, independent resource. With a decade's experience, she has defined search strategies for some of the world's leading brands.

12:55–02:25pm
Lunch

02:30–03:15pm
Indexing on Fire: Google Firebase Native and Web App Indexing with Cindy Krum

CEO and Founder at MobileMoxie, LLC
@suzzicks

In the future, app and web content will be indistinguishable, and Google's new Firebase platform allows developers to use the same resources to build, market, and maintain apps on all devices, in one place. Cindy will outline how digital marketers can use Firebase to help drive indexing of native and web app content, including Deep Links, Dynamic Links, and Angular JS web apps.

Cindy Krum is the CEO and founder of MobileMoxie, LLC, and author of Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are. She brings fresh and creative ideas to her clients, and regularly speaks at US and international digital marketing events.

03:15–03:45pm
Mind Games: Craft Killer Experiences with 7 Lessons from Cognitive Psychology with Sarah Weise

UX Director at Booz Allen Digital Interactive
@weisesarah

How often are you asked to influence people to click a button? Buy a product? Stay on a page? We like to think of ourselves as logical, yet 95% of our decisions are unconscious. Sarah shares how to weave cognitive psychology concepts into your digital experiences. Steal these persuasive triggers to boost engagement, conversions, leads, and even delight.

Sarah Weise is UX Director at Booz Allen Digital Interactive. She has crafted experiences for hundreds of websites, apps, and products. Over the past decade, she has specialized in creative, lean ways to connect with customers and build experiences that matter.

03:45–04:15pm
PM Break

04:20–05:05pm
Link Building's Tipping Point with Rand Fishkin

Wizard of Moz
@randfish

Links still move the needle - on rankings, traffic, reputation, and referrals. Yet, some SEOs have come to believe that if we "create great content," links will just appear (and rankings will follow). Rand will dispel this myth and focus on how to build the architecture for a link strategy, alongside some hot new tools and tactics for link acquisition in 2016.

Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Rand's an un-save-able addict of all things content, search, and social on the web.

07:00pm–12:00am
Wednesday Night Bash

There ain't no party like a Moz party! It's true. We invite all MozCon attendees to join us on Wednesday night until midnight at the Garage for pool, photos, bowling, karaoke, and more. Let's relax and celebrate with all the new friends we've made.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

Congratulations to our MozCon Ignite speakers!

MozCon Ignite is quickly becoming one of our favorite evening events. Trust me, you don't want to miss this Tuesday night MozCon event where our community comes together to share ideas, heartwarming tales, hilarious fun, and more about their lives outside of business and marketing. All in 5-minute stories. If you don't know what Ignite is, check out this 5-minute Ignite talk about what Ignite presentations are. This year, MozCon Ignite will be at McCaw Hall, home of the Seattle opera.

Our lineup (in alphanumerical order):

Help! I Can't Stop Sweating – Hyperhidrosis with Adam Melson

Seer Interactive
@adammelson

With a love for all things digital, Adam Melson works for Seer Interactive as a team lead and has been there for over eight years. Outside of work, Adam loves running, hanging around his wife and baby, and sweats. A lot. Many people have a sweating problem. He'll go into that problem and solutions for it.

Life Lessons Learned as a Special Needs Parent with Adrian Vender

Internet Marketing Inc
@adrianvender

Adrian Vender is a seasoned digital marketing and analytics consultant, currently acting as the Director of Analytics at IMI. Adrian has a passion for integrating technical solutions to marketing strategies to provide the best opportunity for campaign optimization. When Adrian decides to give up on working for the day, he can get lost in the world of Reddit or in quality family time.

How Pieces of Paper Can Change Lives with Anneke Kurt Godlewski

Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC
@amkurt

After traveling and studying abroad in the Netherlands, Anneke Kurt Godlewski settled in Toledo not only to be close to family, but also because northwest Ohio has the most interesting and compassionate people, which has helped her career in community-based marketing and PR.

Anneke has been called an excellent cook (she's just a great recipe-reader!), and she loves to take photographs, read, write, and give. She's also a freelance writer and currently working on a memoir called The Curvy Catholic, which chronicles keeping faith after bad dates, self-acceptance issues, and crazy motherhood.

Prison and a Girl that Loves Puppies with Caitlin Boroden

DragonSearch
@caitlinboroden

Caitlin Boroden is a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at DragonSearch in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY. She is fascinated by SEO, photography, puppies, and has a slight addiction to Reddit.

My Year of Fuck It! with Daisy Quaker

AMSOIL INC.
@daisyquaker

Daisy Quaker is an Online Marketing Manager at AMSOIL INC. She leads in-house SEO, online advertising, marketing automation, and lead nurturing efforts. She moonlights as co-founder at NezLab. NezLab specializes in Online Advertising (AdWords) audits that help clients maximize the return on their online ad campaigns. She also makes a mean curry and tries to get seven hours of sleep every night.

A Plane Hacker's Guide to Cheap *Luxury* Travel with Ed Fry

Hull.io
@edfryed

Ed Fry is a London-based marketer, employee #1 at inbound.org, and has just joined Hull.io as their first marketer. Outside of marketing, one of his favorite past times involves indulging in tea and scones at 35,000 feet.

Embracing Awkward: The Tale of a 5' 10" 6th Grader with Hannah Cooley

Seer Interactive
@hccooley

Hannah Cooley is an SEO manager at Seer Interactive in San Diego. (Yes, she knows Wil Reynolds. No, she doesn't have his personal phone number.) She may have been the most awkward 6th grader on earth, a phase that never quite went away.

Hornets, Soba, & Friends: A Race in Japan with Kevin Smythe

Moz
@KevSmythe

Kevin Smythe is a trail runner based in Seattle. When not running in the mountains, he's the controller at Moz, crunching numbers to provide balance to his life.

Wooly Bits: Exploring the Binary of Yarn with Lindsay Dayton LaShell

Diamond + Branch Marketing Group
@lindsaydayton

Lindsay Dayton LaShell is an experienced digital marketer, content strategist, and the founder of Diamond + Branch Marketing Group. She wishes she had six arms so that she could drink beer, scritch her dog, answer email, and knit a sock at the same time.

Finding Myself in Fiction: LGBTQUIA Stories with Lisa Hunt

Moz
@gentlethorns

Lisa Hunt is a Moz Helpster: the first to be hired outside of the U.S. and part of our small UK team. Before moving into support, she worked in retail as the manager of a bookshop. She was very disappointed to learn that they don't teach you to read in your first year at primary school and insisted that her mum teach her instead.

Is Your Family Time for Sale? with Michael Cottam

Visual Itineraries
@Michael512

Michael Cottam is an independent SEO consultant from Bend, Oregon. Michael's a full-time single dad of 9-year old Benjamin, and when not saving clients from the wrath and whim of Google, he takes Ben traveling around the world and exploring the great outdoors.

How to Start an Underground Restaurant in Your Home with Nadya Khoja

Venngage Inc.
@nadyakhoja

Nadya Khoja is the Director of Marketing for Venngage and online infographic maker. When she is not working on promoting the tool, she hosts trade-based dinner parties in her apartment in Toronto.

Flood Survival: Lessons from the Streets of ATL with Sarah Lively

Nebo Agency
@sarahinatlanta

Sarah Lively is a Senior SEO Specialist at Nebo Agency where she specializes in building online reputations and helping clients perfect their digital strategies. She is also considered to be an amateur meteorologist and spends most of her spare time studying rain patterns and hiding from storms.

How a Cartoon Saved My Life with Steve Hammer

RankHammer
@Armondhammer

Steve Hammer is the co-founder and president of RankHammer, the 2015 US Search Awards small agency of the year. He's best known for his love of Adwords scripts and eating better than most anyone in Internet marketing.

It's going to be a blast! Thank you to everyone who tossed their hats in the ring. Seriously, it takes courage to try.

Hope to see you all at MozCon! Make sure to buy your ticket, as we sell out in advance every year.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!


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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Giving Duplicate Listing Management the Upgrade it Deserves

Posted by George-Freitag

Duplicate listings have been a plague to local search marketers since local search was a thing. When Moz Local first introduced duplicate closure in the fall of 2014, the goal was to address the horribly time-consuming task of finding and closing all those duplicate listings causing problems in Google, Bing, and various mapping platforms. Though we've consistently been making improvements to the tool's performance (we'll get into this later), the dashboard itself has remained largely unchanged.

Not anymore. Today, we're proud to announce our brand new duplicate management dashboard for Moz Local:

Here's a rundown of the features you can look for in the Moz Local upgrade:

New Duplicates Dashboard providing full visibility and transparency of duplicate listings at each stage of the workflow - open, reviewed, and closed - for all of your listings or any subset Enhanced duplicates workflow making detecting, reviewing, and closing duplicate listings in Moz Local even easier through advanced filters Enhanced duplicate management for faster and more accurate duplicate listing detection, submission, and tracking across all of Moz Local's partner networks

This duplicate management update represents a new standard in the industry and will help our users be more productive and efficient than ever.

A bit of context

Eliminating duplicates and near-duplicates on major data sources and directories has always been one of the most effective ways to increase your presence in the local pack. It's a key part of citation consistency, which was rated as the second most important tactic for getting into local pack results according to the 2015 local ranking factors survey. On top of that, in last May's Mozinar on local search, Andrew Shotland of Local SEO Guide mentioned that he saw a 23% increase in presence in the local pack just by addressing duplicates.

So we know that seeking and destroying duplicates works. The problem is that doing it manually just takes for-e-ver. Anyone who works in local search knows the pain and monotony of combing through Google for variations of a business, then spending more time finding the contact form needed to actually request a closure.

Our duplicate listing feature has always focused on easily identifying potential duplicates and presenting them to marketers in a way that allows them to quickly take action. In the case of the aggregators (like Infogroup and Localeze) and direct partner sites (like Foursquare and Insider Pages), this takes the form of single-click closure requests that are quickly reviewed and sent directly to the source.

For sites that aren't part of our direct network or don't accept closure requests from anyone, like Facebook, we still do our best to point our users in the right direction so they can close the listing manually. Originally, the dashboard took the form of a long list where marketers could scroll down and take action, as needed.

Though this worked great for many of our users, it quickly became problematic for large brands and agencies. Based on data collected from the thousands of brands and locations we track, we know that the average enterprise client can have around 3,500 duplicate listings and, in some cases, that number can be as high as 100,000 duplicates. Even though we estimate our tool can reduce the time spent managing duplicates by around 75%, when you have literally thousands of duplicates to parse through, a single to-do list quickly becomes impractical.

1. New dashboard for full transparency

The first opportunity we saw was to provide you with a bit more transparency into our closure process. Though we always provided some insight related to where we were in the closure process, there was no way to view this at an aggregated level and no way to see how many duplicates had been closed so you could track your progress.

So we fixed that.

Now all Moz Local customers can easily see how many duplicates are still marked as "open," how many are being reviewed, and how many listings have been successfully closed. If you're an agency or consultant, this can be especially useful to demonstrate progress made in identifying and closing duplicates for your clients. If you're a brand, this can be a great way to build a business case for additional resources or show the value of your local strategy.

We also saw another opportunity to improve transparency by further breaking down the reporting by the type of data partner. Moz Local has always been very deliberate in surfacing the relationship we have with our partners. Because of this, we wanted to add another layer of insight based on the nature of the partnership.

Verification Partners include Google and Facebook, since they're sources we use to verify our own data. Though we can't close duplicates directly at this point, they're so influential we felt it was imperative to include the ability to identify duplicates on these platforms and guide you as far as possible through the closure process.

Direct Partners are data sources that we have a direct relationship with and submit business listings instantly through our distribution service. For all major aggregators and most of our direct partner directories, you can use our single-click duplicate closure, meaning that all you have to is click “Close” and we'll make sure it's removed completely from their database, forever.

Lastly, we have our Indirect Partners. These are sources that receive all of our listing data via our direct partners, but we do not submit to directly. Though we can't close listings on these sources automatically, we can still detect duplicates and send you directly to their closure form to help you request the closure.

2. Improve workflow through filters

The second opportunity was to address the long list-view that our users used to identify, evaluate, and take action related to duplicates we discovered. With so many of our clients having hundreds or thousands of listings to manage, it quickly became apparent that we needed some advanced sorting to help them out with their workflow.

So we added that, as well.

Now, if you only want to view the listings that need action, you can just click “Open,” then scroll down and choose to close or ignore any of duplicates in that view. If you then want to see how many duplicates have already been closed and removed from the data partner, you can just click that checkbox. If you want to only see the open duplicate listings for a certain partner, like Foursquare, that's an option as well.

Further, just like everything else in the Moz Local dashboard and Search Insights, reporting strictly follows any filters and labels from the search bar. This can be especially useful if you're an agency that wants to narrow your view to a specific client, or a brand that wants to only view reporting for a single marketing region.

For example, if you only want to see closed duplicates from Infogroup located in Texas that are part of the campaign “hanna-barbera” well, there you go.

All data in any filtered view is easily exportable via CSV so you can repurpose it for your own reporting or research.

Lastly, all of these reports are retroactive, meaning any duplicates you've requested closure or closed in the past will show up in the new duplicates dashboard and be available for advanced sorting and reporting.

3. Enhanced duplicate management

The new interface and reporting features aren't the only things we've improved. Over the last year, our developers have been spending countless hours fine-tuning the duplicate closure process and improving relationships with our data partners.

Early on, the Moz Local team decided that the product should focus on the data sources that have the greatest impact for local businesses, regardless of their relationship with us, directly. As a result, we built the widest and most complex set of partnerships with aggregators, direct and indirect partners, and business directories in the industry. This update not only launches a new dashboard but also marks the kickoff for some huge improvements to our back-end.

Faster closure processing

The challenge that comes with working with a network as diverse as ours is that each of our partners handle duplicate listings in completely different ways. The Moz Local team has always had resources devoted specifically to work with our partners to improve our data submission and listing management processes. For duplicates, however, this meant we needed to help some of our partners enhance their own APIs to accept closure requests or, in some cases, create the API all together!

As part of this update, our development team has implemented new instrumentation and alerts to better identify submission errors sent to our partners, speed up the closure process, and quickly re-submit any closure requests that were not processed correctly.

Shorter review cycles

Additionally, we've shortened our internal review cycle for closure requests. In order ensure the quality of duplicate closures and to be sure our “alternates” feature isn't being used maliciously, we manually review a percentage of closure requests. Through a variety of processes, we are now able to programmatically approve more closures, allowing for faster manual reviews of all other closure requests. As a result, we are now able to automatically approve around 44% of all closure requests instantly.

The future

The most exciting thing about this update is that it's only the beginning. Over the next few months expect to see further integration with our data partners, discovery and progress notifications, increased closure efficiency, and more.

We hope you find our new duplicates dashboard useful and, most importantly, we hope it makes your lives a little bit easier.


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Combining Email and Facebook for a Dynamite Ecommerce Marketing Campaign

Posted by andrewchoco

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.

Most people view email marketing and social advertising as two separate entities, and I'll be honest, I used to think that as well. However, I've discovered that combining multiple different avenues for a coherent marketing campaign yields some pretty impressive results.

We've tried this tactic before at Directive Consulting, combining SEO and PPC; but in this blog post, I'm going to break down a few ways to combine email and social advertising for multi-channel success.

More specifically, you'll learn:

How to create custom and lookalike audiences on Facebook from an email listBest practices for launching email and social campaigns simultaneouslyHow we used this tactic to increase overall sessions and revenueSome additional strategies to take your ecommerce campaigns to the next levelUsing email lists to create Custom Audiences on Facebook

Most (if not all) ecommerce stores require an email address when completing a purchase, and many times you can see what item the person bought. Keeping an organized and segmented email list is the first step to social advertising success. If you're an online clothing store that specializes in creative t-shirts for men and women, create individual lists segmenting categories (e.g., sports, funny, and cute) and gender. If you're using a CRM such as Hubspot, Mailchimp, or Salesforce, you can export these contact lists as .CSV files and then upload those to Facebook under the “Audiences” section using Ads Manager.

When logging onto your Ads Manager or Business Manager account, go to your ad account and select the drop-down hamburger menu in the top left-hand corner.

If "Audiences" doesn't appear in the “Frequently Used” section, hit "All tools" and you'll find it under the “Assets” section.

After clicking on “create custom audience,” you'll need to select the “customer file” section and then “choose a file or copy” and you'll be prompted to upload your .CSV file into Facebook.

Facebook will then match up the emails with actual Facebook users (you can expect anywhere from a 20% - 70% match rate), but with ecommerce those numbers tend to be on the higher side.

Using email lists to create Facebook Audiences

Another great feature of Facebook ads is the ability to create lookalike audiences from previously uploaded email lists. Facebook will match up the corresponding profiles of your email lists with a broader group of people who have similar profiles based on interests, demographics, and behaviors. As long as your email list consists of more than 100 people, Facebook will be able to create a lookalike audience. Obviously, though, the more people you have in the original email list, the more similar the lookalike audience will be (because Facebook will have more data to pull from.)

When you create your lookalike audience, you select a country and choose anywhere from 1% - 10% of a country's population.

But you don't have to stop there. Once you have a lookalike audience (we usually use the 10% option so we capture the most people), you can layer additional targeting on top of the lookalike. For the clothing store example, you could take the audience of 20 million and add additional behavior targeting of men's fashion buyers and online buyers. Now that's a specific audience!

Launching simultaneous campaigns for maximum reach

Now how can you tie together email marketing and social advertising for optimal reach?

Anytime an ecommerce shop launches a promotion or sale, they send out an email blast.

I usually check my email in the morning, see the promotion, and then promptly forget about it five minutes later. It's common knowledge that every opportunity needs multiple touches before they end up converting to a sale, but sending three emails a day promoting a sale is a good way to lose a lot of subscribers.

The solution? Launch a social promotion targeted at your specific email list. Then ramp up the budget to ensure that every person sees your ad at least once during the campaign. A good way to do this is by looking at the estimated reach when creating an ad campaign and making sure your budget is high enough that the estimated reach per day matches up with the amount of people on your email list.

We used this tactic with a client of ours who sells collectable banknotes from countries all around the world.

Their most popular is the Zimbabwean $100 trillion dollar banknote, so they ran a promotion for 10% off. We didn't segment the audiences like I mentioned earlier, because they were only promoting one country's banknote, but we did create two different ad images as well as a carousel ad so we could target everyone in the list with multiple products for the same price.

While you may think this is an obnoxious ad and the red circle and arrow is overkill, this ad actually performed the best out of all of them, generating over 180 clicks in three days with a CTR of 8.7%. Little touches like this really draw in your audience's attention and can lead to much higher engagement.

Carousel ads are great for ecommerce shops because they can show off multiple products without increasing the price of your campaigns. We recently switched over to carousel ads for a client of ours who builds custom fences and had 3,000% more sessions on the site from the carousel ads.

We launched these ads for a three-day period while the sale was running and combed it with an email blast that went out at the beginning of the sale. These are the results we saw when comparing the week of the promotion to the previous week:

We saw our sessions go up, as well as the pages per session and average session duration. We didn't have a single transaction from Facebook the previous week, but had four during the sale, generating enough revenue to easily cover the cost of that campaign.

Another interesting thing we saw was that the email didn't directly lead to any sales. I'm not saying it had no effect on the sales that week, but only launching an email campaign wouldn't have had the same impact as combining these two platforms and working together to create additional touches throughout the sale period.

Additional strategies1. Use lookalike audiences

For the above example, we only targeted our custom audience of email subscribers (the sale was a special promo just for those customers). But taking it even further, creating a broader audience from the lookalike audience would have been a great audience to target, as well.

What better way to introduce your brand and product to a potential customer than immediately offering a sale? You can also further target these audiences to get extremely specific. For our banknote client, our targeted lookalike audience looks something like this:

2. Create a new segmented list for sale buyers

If you're launching a promotion for a sale using this tactic, segment each new email address you receive into its own list titled “sale buyers.” There's a chance these people have been wanting to buy your product all along and finally waited until a sale came along to do it, but more likely, these people are impulse shoppers who made a purchase because of the exclusivity of the deal you're promoting. This now gives you a list of customers that you know make purchases during sales, and you can test out other promotional deals later on. If you don't offer free shipping regularly, have a two-day period when you do, and target these specific people.

3. Use Twitter as another platform to target your audience

Twitter is another social platform that gives you the ability to upload a .CSV of email addresses, and matches up twitter profiles with those corresponding emails.

In the Twitter Ads platform, go to "Tools" and then "Audience manager."

Head over to “Create new audience” and upload your own .CSV, just like you did for Facebook. (A word of warning: You do need 500 or more matches for Twitter to allow you to use the audience for promotions.)

For ecommerce, most people will use their personal email for Twitter as well as buying a product, so this shouldn't be an issue with a big enough email list.

Now it's your turn

Now you're prepared to launch a robust and successful email and social advertising campaign.

Remember, it's important to ensure your budget aligns with the amount of people you're trying to reach, and to use eye-popping images to catch your audience's attention. Let me know in the comments if these tactics worked for you, or if you have any additional strategies for email and social success!


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Should You Be Outsourcing SEO Training for Your Team?

Posted by rachelgooodmanmoore

When first looking to offer something new, most businesses fall in line with one of two schools of thought:

Build it internally Purchase or outsource it

There are pros and cons to both sides of the coin.

Here's an example: Say you're looking to expand the selection of products your company sells. Building a new offering in-house would allow you complete control over the size and shape of the new product. The drawback? Building it yourself usually takes significant internal resources and time. If, instead, you chose to purchase a product from another organization (let's call them Acme Corp) and whitelabel it - or maybe even purchase Acme Corp itself - you'll be able to go to market sooner, but you'll almost certainly have less control over the product you're offering.

The idea of “build internally” or “purchase externally” doesn't just apply to products - it also includes internal programs like market research, sales strategy development, and even professional training. In fact, it includes almost everything that makes up an organization, from its processes to its people.

Think back to the last product (internal or external) your company released. In which camp is your organization? Whether you go the outsourcing or building in-house route depends on your business and the situation at hand. There are arguments for the merits of both, and some organizations employ a mix of multiple strategies.

Let's look at some of the considerations and use cases for why you may want to choose one over the other when it comes to training - in particular, SEO training.

Is SEO training unique?

It's worth examining if (and how) SEO education differs from other flavors of professional training. While SEO training is a different beast than, say, learning to code or how to do business accounting, from my perspective as an online trainer, teaching SEO isn't remarkably different than teaching any kind of digital marketing.

SEO training: a different type of beast.

At basic and intermediate levels, neither SEO nor digital marketing in general are extremely technical (compared to something like learning JavaScript, MySQL, or setting up a Salesforce CRM), nor do they require an MBA or PhD to master. Both are easier with a fundamental understanding of how websites and the Internet work, and both are at their best when backed by real data and at least a dash of creativity.

SEO versus digital marketing training

Do these two actually differ from each other at all? Search engine optimization is a subset of what digital marketing is all about, so they're related. But there are differences, nonetheless. Let's take a closer look:

The training face-off Digital Marketing Education SEO Education Focuses on all aspects of how to attract traffic, convert those visitors into leads, and help transform those leads into customers Mainly focuses on how to best attract visitors Covers ways to attract visitors from all sources Deals almost exclusively with increasing or refining traffic from search engines Deals with topics like email marketing, marketing automation, social media, content creation, and beyond Hones in on topics like keyword research, site architecture, on- and off-page optimization, and analytics (though may also include topics like content creation as they pertain to generating search traffic) Typically measures ROI in terms of marketing or sales-qualified leads generated Most direct ROI numbers are around traffic generated by source (namely search engines or search-influenced sources)

The right column, for our purposes in this article, is how we'll be defining "SEO training."

Now that we're on the same page with what we mean when discussing SEO training, let's dive into the ten-thousand-dollar question*: should you build and run this type of training in-house, or outsource it?

*Yes, some SEO training programs really do cost that much.

Outsourcing: the benefits

Let's start our tour of outsourcing versus building training in-house by examining the pros of hiring an outside trainer or signing up for an SEO training course:

1. Outsourcing saves time.

Whether it's hours devoted to developing an SEO curriculum, putting together lessons, actually teaching, or following up with trainees after your session, building and delivering from-scratch training can take an enormous amount of time and effort.

Outsourcing means you get hours in your day back, and because the training is built by professionals, the end product may be higher quality than something built internally.

2. Outsourcing can save you money.

Note "can" (and not "will") save you money. If you only need training one (or a few) time(s), or if you have a relatively small group of people enrolled, it can be significantly more cost-effective to outsource training.

On the other hand, if you have a large number of people to train or plan on offering a course on a regular basis (for example, as part of new hire onboarding), it may be worth the upfront cost to develop in-house training.

3. Outsourcing lets you put more budget towards day-to-day operations.

It may sound counterintuitive, but companies that “run lean” or dedicate the lion's share of budget to day-to-day operations may not be able to sacrifice the man hours necessary to develop, deliver, and maintain a training program. Outsourcing one is often significantly less expensive for the scale these organizations need.

4. Don't have an internal expert, but need new internal expertise? No problem.

If you're looking to strengthen existing SEO skills or build your company's SEO expertise from the ground up, but aren't ready to hire a search marketing manager just yet, finding a good SEO training course or bringing in an outside trainer can provide the skills you're looking for.

It's also useful for agencies hoping to offer full SEO services or building an SEO pilot program. Bringing in outside help to train up a few team members on key skills means you don't need to invest in a net new hire for a program with an uncertain future.

5. Outsourced training makes it easier to reach a remote or multi-lingual team.

It's as common to hear about companies expanding to open their first satellite office in Beijing as it is to hear that office is in Boston. Thanks to the Internet, today's world is smaller than ever.

If yours is one of the many companies with international workers or a largely remote workforce, it can be hard to deliver training that's equally accessible and applicable to everyone. In situations like this - and especially if you have a multilingual workforce - outsourcing training that's available in various languages can be a great option.

6. Outsourcing may give you access to accreditations or certifications.

Many online and in-person SEO training programs include some sort of certification of completion or proficiency. If that's a priority, you'll want to purchase an in-person or online program from an organization with industry name recognition that offers a certification.

7. Outsourcing gives you access to the best quality educators.

Whether you're a full-fledged Google algorithm guru or just know your way around a site crawl, no one can argue that you've got some SEO chops. You already know the material, so it should be no trouble to whip up some training based on your expertise... right?

Maybe, but maybe not. “Doing” skills are different than teaching skills; being skilled at SEO doesn't automatically correlate to being skilled at teaching SEO. And, perhaps more importantly, teaching doesn't automatically lead to learning. Just because you have knowledge to share doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be as successful as possible when helping your colleagues actually learn.

One of the biggest benefits of outsourced training is that it gives you access to professional educators, not just folks with practical experience who educate in their free time.

Outsourcing: the drawbacks

Now that we've covered some of the benefits of outsourcing training, let's give in-house training the same treatment. What are cons of relying on a 3rd-party provider for your SEO training needs?

1. Only relying on outsourced education doesn't give you any equity.

No, I'm not talking about link equity. The equity I'm referring to here is, metaphorically, the same kind of equity you get from buying a house versus renting an apartment.

As a renter, you're only paying for access to the property - not an actual stake in it. Buying, on the other hand, may take more effort and investment upfront, but it gives you control (and ownership!) over the actual property itself.

What does this metaphor have to do with in-house versus outsourced training? Only relying on outsourced efforts means you're continually paying someone else for access to their educational property. If you have training needs that span over many employees or many years, this can get very expensive. In those cases, while it may initially be more costly to develop training in-house, it's a better long-term investment because of the 'equity' it provides.

2. Outsourcing training doesn't always scale with growing businesses.

Plan ahead for the long-term: If you're growing your organization and plan on having multiple people involved in creating optimized content for your website, it may be a better long-term investment to build in-house training that grows with your team.

3. Outsourced training generally focuses on best practices and one-size-fits-most processes.

Most training programs center on teaching “best practices” or general strategies. If you have a specific process or way of doing SEO, it may be difficult (if not impossible) for an outside trainer to communicate your optimization process - in your terms, using your tools - to your team. For some organizations, that alone may be enough to tilt the scales towards creating all training in-house.

4. Have specific content needs? Building your own curriculum may be your best bet.

Related to having unique processes, having specific content needs also may mean that outsourcing training isn't the best bet for you. Only want to learn about optimizing content for mobile search engines and advanced link building strategies, but don't want to have to pay for access to 30 other courses to get the two you do? While some training providers can build a fully custom program designed around exactly what you want to learn, many may come as standard “packages” with little flexibility around what you can learn as a whole or within each session.

5. Training for large teams often comes with a large price tag.

Almost any type of purchasable training program - be it pre-recorded videos, live sessions, in-person classroom experiences, or otherwise - are priced on a “per seat” basis. If your team either needs access to multiple sessions, you have many team members who'll all need access to the same courses, or both, outsourced training can quickly get pricey.

6. Your access to training materials may be limited.

Some SEO training providers place legal restrictions on re-using the their training materials. This means you may not be able to record sessions, download slides, or distribute useful materials to your team. If sharing the educational love with your coworkers is a deal breaker for you, consider creating and running your SEO training in-house. If you're still leaning towards using an outside provider, be sure to read their FAQs or legal materials before pulling the trigger.

Key questions to ask

While there are many benefits of outsourcing your SEO training needs, depending on your specific needs there may be an equal number of drawbacks. When considering the right training route for your team it's worth taking the time to consider questions like:

How many people need to take this training right now? And over the next one to two years? Do I have the internal expertise (or access to it) to create high quality training myself? Will it cost me more to build training than it's currently worth? Will it take me longer to build training than value it will provide? When do I need my employees trained by? Do I have time to wait, or is there an immediate need? Do I need a general SEO training program, one that focuses on specific topics, or one that details my unique process? Are the outsourced training options available to me worth the price? What do they include? Is it important to get some sort of certification, badge, or other certificate of proficiency upon completion of the training?

The answers to these questions may not give you a black-and-white answer as to whether building training in-house or finding an outside provider is the best choice for you, but they can help make the decision a bit less murky.

Thinking of going the outsourced route for some (or all) of your team's SEO training? Check out Moz Academy's online workshops.


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11 of the Best Olympic Marketing Campaigns, Ads, Commercials & Promotions This Year

The 2016 Summer Olympics are officially over. But for two weeks, billions of eyes from around the world watched athletes attempt to break records and bring home the gold. What a perfect opportunity for marketers, no?

Many brands jumped on the Olympics bandwagon, leveraging its popularity for their own campaigns. Some of these brands created particularly inspiring campaigns, both to viewers and marketers alike -- whether for the emotion they elicit, or for the reminder of exactly how to execute a remarkable ad or marketing campaign.

We rounded up the ones that tugged at our heartstrings as viewers, or inspired us to be better marketers. (Sometimes both.) Check out this list of 11 of the best campaigns from the 2016 Summer Games and what made them so great.

11 of the Best Olympic Marketing Campaigns, Ads, Commercials & Promotions This Year 1) Under Armour: Rule Yourself

The Under Armour brand doesn't just value the success that comes from hard work; it values the hard work and 24/7 dedication that leads to that success. Their emphasis is on self-improvement and self-reliance -- which is why they acquired the fitness tracking platform MapMyFitness back in 2014.

Under Armour's ad campaign for the 2016 Summer Olympics perfectly embodies these deep-seeded values. It focuses on the side of athletic achievement that no one sees. For Michael Phelps, that's the ice baths, cupping therapy, and 12,500 calories he has to eat every day. For an ordinary person, it might be taking the stairs, getting a full night's sleep, or tracking your meals using their MyFitnessPal app. But the message is the same, and it's a powerful one: "It's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light."

2) Procter & Gamble: "Thank You Mom"

For the 2012 Summer Olympics, Procter & Gamble created a campaign called "Thank You, Mom" that showed flashbacks of Olympic athletes from all over the world growing up and practicing their sport with support from their mothers. That same campaign is back again this year, featuring athletes and their mothers from this summer's Games.

This year's campaign shows athletes' mothers helping them through times of stress, cheering them along, and supporting them. Notice the clickable link they added to the video that takes viewers to a web page where they can send a personalized thank-you note to their own moms. Take a look ... and maybe grab a tissue.

3) Panasonic UK: #Superfans

Cheering on your country is a lot easier when you're the one hosting the Olympics, as Great Britain did in London in Summer 2012. With the Games in Brazil this year, Panasonic, a long-time official partner to the British Olympic Association, wanted to help Great Britain keep up the fan-fueled momentum. So in April 2016, they announced a crowdsourced campaign called #Superfans, which invited fans of Team GB to post pictures on social media using the hashtag to encourage engagement.

"It is a great opportunity for us to share our passion for the Olympics as a company and to connect with consumers on an emotional level," said Managing Director of Panasonic UK Andrew Denham. "This is why Panasonic's heritage as a global Olympic partner is so important to me – it adds some real spark and colour to the brand."

All the fan photos posted with the hashtag #Superfans was posted on a dedicated web page on Team GB's official site, and Panasonic UK offered extra incentives like Twitter contests.

Watching @TeamGB today? Make sure you send your support using #Superfans for a chance to win a TV! pic.twitter.com/KgpbVGuL4W

- Panasonic UK (@PanasonicUK) August 13, 2016

Here's a sampling of the fan-sourced content on Twitter:

#superfans assemble @_GBHockey @TeamGB GB ON

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Google's Future is in the Cards

Posted by Dr-Pete

Google is constantly testing new design elements, but over the past few months they've been testing a change that, while it might seem small on the surface, represents a major philosophical shift. The screenshots in this post were all captured on live SERPs but appear to be tests and have not rolled out permanently. Here's an example of the basic change:

Notice how each result (ads and organic) is wrapped in a container and visually separated on a gray background. These containers are called "cards" in Google's vernacular, and they're important, but we'll get to that. Why should we care about a few borders and a background?

Shift #1: Mobile-first design

We've known for over two years that Google was shifting to a mobile-first design philosophy. Earlier this year, Google removed ads from the right-hand column. While this change was partially due to performance, I believe that a big part of it was standardizing the ad environment across platforms (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc.). What's not obvious from the test above is that this card-based design is more than just boxes and backgrounds. Google is testing a serious move toward single-column SERPs. The removal of ads from the right-hand column was only the beginning.

Here's a SERP screenshot for "polar bear" in Google's current desktop design:

Below is the test design, captured back in May. The Knowledge Panel has been moved to the top-left, and the right-hand column is gone. This is not a Knowledge Card of the sort we typically see on the top-left. It is the traditionally right-hand desktop entity, moved and collapsed (with a "More about Polar bear" arrow):

Here's the same search on an Android phone. Notice the card-based format and Knowledge Panel at the top. Obviously, nothing is in the right-hand column, because mobile only has one column:

There are still display differences between mobile and the desktop test, of course, but you can clearly start to see the convergence between the test and the current mobile design.

How will it all fit on the left?

Getting everything on current desktop SERPs into one column poses significant challenges, and Google is experimenting with a few variations. Here's a SERP that has both a Knowledge Panel and a Knowledge Card, for example:

In this case, the Knowledge Card showing the support phone number appears above the Knowledge Panel, and both are above the first organic result. You'll notice some design differences on this example, which was captured in July. Here's another example, with a different, more interesting layout:

This SERP has a local 3-pack, which is at the top (like on current designs), followed by an organic result, and then followed by the Knowledge Panel. This pushes the Knowledge Panel down the page quite a bit, and the #2 organic result down well below the fold. In another example, we saw a Knowledge Panel below four ads and four organic results. So, the traditional top placement may become more flexible.

Here's an example with a Featured Video, followed by a Knowledge Panel, and then the first organic:

The bottom of this same SERP has another interesting feature: a set of three different related searches, each with their own card. On the current design, these live at the bottom of the Knowledge Panel, but here they've been split off from the panel and expanded:

Keep in mind that these are only variations in testing, and that this testing has been ongoing over a period of months. We can piece together Google's intent from looking at multiple tests, but we can't pin down what the final design will look like or when (or even if) it will launch.

Shift #2: Google Now

There's another reason I think the card-based design is potentially interesting. Google Now, Google's predictive search product, was built on the "card" concept. Here's an Android screenshot:

Google Now mixes and matches results of personal interest. On this screen, I've got a Knowledge Graph-style card with an upcoming game time, another KG-style card with a recent box score, and a carousel of news results, all under a topical "Chicago Cubs" section header. Here's another Google Now screen:

Here, I've got another news carousel (note its similarity to mobile search news carousels), and then an individual news story with its own card. Google Now shows that you can create a result using virtually no traditional organic results and mix multiple Knowledge Graphs, news, and other entities in a single, fluid experience.

What does it all mean?

Cards are much more than just a design philosophy. We're used to seeing SERPs in clusters: a column of organic results, a Knowledge Panel, a box of news results, a box of local results, etc. Prior to individually-labelled ads, even AdWords ads came in visually-delineated chunks. With cards, we have to start thinking of each individual information unit as a stand-alone result, and every SERP is a mix of the most relevant results across a wide variety of sources and types.

Viewing SERPs as collection of search information units (SIUs?) also allows Google to easily adapt across a wide range of displays, from desktop all the way down to wearables, which might only have screen space for a single card. Even voice search can be adapted to cards. Currently, if you run a voice search on Android that returns a Featured Snippet, for example, your mobile device will read that snippet back to you. Voice search is returning one card, a single unit of search information.

Cards give Google a great deal of flexibility, and will begin to break traditional design barriers and result groupings. We may see ads leaving top and bottom blocks and being dispersed between other results. We may see a mix of shopping results, say a single product card and a multi-product carousel on the same page. Similarly, we may see multiple news results or carousels across a single page. We may see multiple Knowledge Cards or personalized results, if a search merits that kind of personalization.

The era of cards is the final nail in the coffin of ten blue links. Ultimately, our definition of search engine optimization is going to have to expand beyond traditional results and into any information unit that can drive traffic.


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When and How to Listen to Google's Public Statements About SEO - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

When Google says jump, it's hard not to jump. Often we take the words of Google representatives as edict and law, but it's important to understand subtleties and to allow for clarification with time. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand discusses some angles to consider that will help you stay grounded when the "Big G" makes a statement about SEO.

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. This week we're going to chat about the public statements that Googlers make and how we, as marketers, as SEOs, should be interpreting and understanding those statements.

So I actually wrote down a few things that Googlers have said. These are quotes taken from websites that have quoted them. So they may not be perfect. For example, if you are someone from Google who actually made these statements, you might say, "That's not exactly how I phrased that." Well, it's how the websites quoted you. So Search Engine Roundtable and SEM Post and Search Engine Land, places like that, is where I got these quotes.

When something is missingSo for example, someone from Google says, "301, 302, 307, don't worry about it. Use whatever makes sense for you. They all pass PageRank." So you might have seen over the last few weeks there's been a lot of tweets and stories, blog posts written about how we no longer as SEOs have to worry about the type of 30x redirect that we put in place. If there are 302s, that's fine. Google seems to be passing PageRank through them.

Well, there's actually been a bunch of discussion about this, because the evidence is on the totally other side, that if you have a website with a bunch of redirects that are not 301s, 302s, 307s, and you change them to 301s, which is the permanent redirect status code, it sure looks like Google organic search traffic sends more visits to those redirected pages or to the target of the redirected pages. Why would that be if it didn't matter in the first place? Is it just a bunch of correlation but not causation results because it looks way too consistent? Or is there something else going on here?

Many folks, for example, pointed to the fact that the word "PageRank" might be the operative thing here. In fact, this is one of the things that I would say personally. When Google says they all pass PageRank or they all pass the same amount of PageRank, remember PageRank is Google's original ranking formula from 1997 that Larry and Sergey developed in college. It is not a comprehensive, holistic representation of every possible signal that is in Google's ranking algorithm, 200 or 500+ of them. It's not everything that a machine learning system could possibly interpret. Maybe the machine learning systems that are in place at Google for spam or for relevancy or for importance, for trust, whatever they are have determined that 301s are in fact the better one to use or should be interpreted as a stronger signal. So you've got to be careful when reading a statement like this. It does generate a lot of discussion in our field, but it's not the only case. This has happened for a decade and a half now in the SEO world, where people from Google say things publicly.

When they don't get it right

For example, you might remember a couple years ago, "The mobile-friendly update will be bigger than Panda and Penguin combined." Then, of course, the mobile update rolled out - what was that, June of 2014 - and we all scratched out heads and went, "Gosh, that was not much of an update at all. It seems like things didn't shake up very much." Then Google sort of explained, "Well, a lot of websites did end up updating. Oh, I guess we had a more staggered update rollout of it than we were expecting, and so maybe you didn't see a lot of change." Well, certainly that seems awkward in comparison to that statement.

When we get clear-cut(ts) answers

Another statement, this statement I actually love. I love statements like this from Google. So this is when Eric Enge, from Stone Temple, was interviewing Matt Cutts and he asked Matt about whether a 301 redirect would lose some amount of relevancy or ranking ability when it was being moved over, whether there was any risk to moving a page. Matt replied, "I am not 100% sure whether the crawling and indexing team has implemented that sort of natural PageRank decay, so I'll have to go and check." Then there was a note in the text that said, "Note in a follow-up email Matt confirmed there is some loss of PageRank through a 301." Well, PageRank or link ranking factors, whatever you want to call it.

That's great. This is, "I don't know, but I'll go check with the team that does know." Then a response of, "Yes, the thing that you assumed is in fact the case and I can confirm it." That's awesome. I love, love, love statements like this. I sort of wish we could nudge Google into doing more of that, of the hey, we ask a question and you go, "Well, I think it's this, but I'm going to go check with exactly that team that's responsible for writing the code that implements that piece, so that we can tell you an honest and complete answer." That's terrific.

When they're saying there's a chance

But then you might get statements like this one, which are real tough. "External links to other sites isn't specifically a ranking factor, but it can bring value to your content, and that in turn can be relevant for us in search. Whether or not they are followed doesn't really matter." That is a hard, hard statement to interpret. The first sentence says, "External links. We don't use them. They're not a ranking factor." The second sentence says, "But those links might bring value to your content, and that in turn can be relevant for us in search," which almost seems to contradict the first sentence. Those two things don't go together.

I think this statement was not from Garry. This is John Mueller I think said this one. "Whether or not they are followed doesn't really matter." Okay, so if you are using them, followed or not followed doesn't matter. Tough statement to interpret. I'm not sure what to take away from that. The only thing I think I might be able to do is to say, "I should probably test it. I should figure it out for myself."

Recommendations for analyzing and interpreting Google's words

In fact, I've got some recommendations for you when you are analyzing these words from Google, because it can be really tough to say, "How do I know which statements I can trust? Which one is the external links statement? Which one is the, 'I'll go check and I'll tell you which one is the flat-out wrong statement?' Which one is the, 'Well maybe this is right, but maybe it's just not telling me the whole story.'"

(A) Consider all the ways that the statement could be true while the surface-level info is technically wrong. So, for example, on the external links one, maybe the statement is true that it's not specifically used as a ranking factor or not separately used, but maybe it's used in concert with other signals. That's what was trying to be said there by John, and it just came out in a funny way that the language would be parsed on the surface as very misinterpreted. So if someone from Google says, "A does not equal C," you might say, "Aha, so that means B or D could equal C." There you go.

(B) Give statements some time to be amended or modified, at least a few weeks. For example, you'll remember that the statement about 301s, 302s, and 307s, there was a statement made by Gary from Google and Gary said this. Then just a couple weeks later, he amended the statement to say, "Oh, right, there are also canonicalization issues, which is separate maybe from ranking issues, but probably you don't care, because canonicalization will affect your rankings. 301s do help with canonicalization in Google, whereas 302s and 307s might not help as much," which is sort of saying, "Wait, so they are interpreted differently and there could be some reasons why when I change 302s to 301s rankings and traffic go up. Aha." That statement took a little while to come out, but it did kind of correct the record.

(C) I like data and I like experiments over opinions and public statements. So for example, a few months ago now, the folks at Reboot Online did a great study about external links. They created some fake words and built up a bunch of web pages. Some of the web pages did have external links on them. Some of them didn't. They saw that Google was extremely consistent in always ranking the ones that had external-pointing links that were followed versus external but not followed or no external links or internal links only, that kind of stuff. I think their results were pretty conclusive.

There are all sorts of reasons why this statement might have been wrong. Maybe when John said it, it was correct. Or maybe his second sentence is really the truth here and the first sentence is more, "Well, it's not its own separate, specific thing," and so the interpretation is what matters. In either case, that data, that experimentation, hugely valuable and important for us as an industry and I really like paying attention to those things and then trying to verify and replicate and apply on our own sites.

(D) The last thing I'll say is, look, we need to be empathetic and forgiving. A lot of Googlers are working in a giant, giant corporation, tens of thousands of employees at Google, hundreds of different teams that potentially contribute. Just the ones that we know of, there's Core Ranking folks, there's Web Spam folks, there's Crawling and Indexing folks, and Search Quality folks, and Webmaster Tools folks, and Webmaster Trends Analysts, and all these many different departments. It's not always the case that a Gary or a John or any of the representatives and Andre can go and talk to the engineers who wrote the code and have them pull that right up and say, "Aha, yes, this exactly is what's going on here and here's why and here's how we wrote it." You just don't get that level of clarity and sophistication.

So they have to operate with the knowledge that they have and with the information that they are being told. We, likewise, need to give them some room to amend their statements. We need to follow up ourselves with our own data, and we need to be careful about how we interpret and parse the sentences and phrasing that they give us.

All right, everyone, look forward to your comments and your thoughts about things Google has said over the years, how they've been helpful to you, potentially harmful to you, and hopefully we'll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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Got Email Overload? 14 Email Management Tools for Organizing Your Inbox

Most people have a love-hate relationship with their email inbox. On the one hand, email can be exciting -- whether you're making progress with a client, replacing a meeting with a (much more efficient) email thread, or receiving an invitation to a fun social gathering.

On the other hand, though, email can be overwhelming -- especially if you lose control.

And boy is it easy to lose control. After all, email is one of the top ways we communicate with a lot of the people in our lives, from our best friends to people we've never spoken with before. Many of us get bombarded by new emails on a regular basis, and it's stressful to know that we might be missing out on the truly important stuff amid the flood of less pertinent stuff.

Luckily, there are a lot of tools out there that can help us get more organized. In this post, we'll go through 14 of our favorite tools for organizing your inbox. Try 'em out, and help pave your own way to a more productive and less stressful email experience.

14 Time-Saving Tools for Organizing Email 1) Unroll.me Price: Free

The first step to relieving your inbox from all that email is to unsubscribe from all the newsletters you've subscribed to over the years. But unsubscribing manually from tens, maybe hundreds of newsletters would take forever.

Enter Unroll.me, a free tool that lets you mass unsubscribe from all the newsletters you don't read. You can either wipe the slate clean and unsubscribe from everything at once, or you can pick and choose. Read this blog post to learn more about how it works.

2) FollowUpThen Price: Free; Paid Versions Available

Here's another simple but useful tool, this time for reminding you -- and even your clients, if you want -- to follow up on specific emails.

Here's how it works: Compose an email, and then include [any time]@followupthen.com in the "Bcc," "Cc," or "To" fields of your email. The "any time" wording here is pretty flexible: It can be "tomorrow@followupthen.com," "nextwednesday@followupthen.com," "3hours@followupthen.com," "everyday@followupthen.com," "every3rdwednesday@followupthen.com," and so on.

What happens to that email when you click "send" depends where you put that @followupthen.com email address:

Bcc: You'll get a follow-up regarding the email (without bothering the original recipient). Cc: The tool will schedule a reminder for you and the recipient. To: The tool will send an email to your future self.

Here's a video that explains the tool in more detail:

It works for every email client, and it's free for up to 50 follow-ups per month. You can increase the number of follow-ups and add features like calendar integration for between $2–$9 per month.

3) HubSpot Sales Free Price: Free; Paid Versions Available

Ever wanted to know who opens your emails and when, how many times, and from where? When you download the HubSpot Sales Free Chrome extension, you can opt in to get live notifications whenever someone opens or clicks on the links in your email. It integrates with both Gmail and Outlook.

Another cool feature is the contact information sidebar that pops up when you open an email thread. It includes all the relevant information about the person you're emailing, including past contact history (kind of like LinkedIn's "relationship tab" function), social media content, mutual connections, and so on. Soon, the extension will let you schedule emails to send later.

The free version gets email open notifications -- as well as the ability to schedule emails to be sent later, and a few other functionalities you can learn about here. For unlimited open and click notifications (and a slew of other upgraded functions), you can upgrade to Pro for $50 per month.

4) IFTTT Price: Free

IFTTT, short for "If This Then That," is an amazing productivity tool that helps you connect the apps and devices you use every day with "if this, then that" statements -- which they call "recipes." (Seriously, you can do anything. Including using Liam Neeson's badass quote from Taken to scare someone into returning your phone. You're welcome.)

When it comes to inbox productivity, IFTTT can do wonders for automating some of the more tedious, manual tasks. Here are a few of my favorites:

Get a text message when a specific person emails you. Send email attachments to Dropbox. Save starred emails to Evernote. Schedule reminders tomorrow for the emails you star in your inbox today. Add "receipt" or "order" emails to a Google spreadsheet. Track your work hours by adding an entry into a Google spreadsheet every time you arrive at or leave your office. Turn emails into Trello cards. 5) Google Inbox Price: Free

Google learned a lot about how people use email from Gmail. Instead of revamping Gmail with these new learnings, they decided to start fresh and create an entirely new inbox system: Inbox.

To understand how Inbox work, it's best to think of it less as a classic email tool that simply pools all your new messages into one place, and more as a task-focused message management tool. Every time an email comes in, you can process each one as a task. If you're not ready to respond to an email, you can select "snooze" and tell the app when to display the email again. Or, if the email is something you need to do at a specific location, you can ask Inbox to remind you about that message when you're at a specific location.

Image Credit: Tech Republic

Another thing that makes it different from other email apps? It's mobile-friendly. To use it, you'll have to first install the mobile app on iOS or Android. Only then can you access Inbox from your desktop browser at http://inbox.google.com.

6) Gmail "Special Stars" Price: Free

I couldn't write a blog post about inbox organization without including my go-to strategy for getting to -- and maintaining -- inbox zero. This tool isn't an add-on; it's a methodology developed by Andreas Klinger. It uses two, built-in features in Gmail: "special stars" (a slightly fancier labeling system than Gmail labels) and multiple inboxes. Since writing that post last year, many people have told me it's changed the way they use email and has made their lives a lot easier. I highly recommend it.

Read this blog post to for step-by-step instructions for enabling special stars and using the methodology to get to inbox zero in a few hours.

There's just one, notable caveat: No special stars other than the yellow star are supported by Gmail's mobile app, so you won't be able to see your lists on mobile. If you frequently use mobile devices to sort your emails, try Sortd, which is next on the list.

7) Sortd Price: Free For Now (Private Beta; Access by Invite Only)

Sortd is basically a cleaner version of the Gmail Special Stars methodology I described above, in that you don't need to star, label, or mark your emails in any way. But it does work right in Gmail: It's what their team calls a "Smart Skin for Gmail," meaning that it lives right inside your Gmail inbox so you don't have to leave the app at all.

What it does do is fix the problem of important emails getting lost below the fold -- most importantly, by expanding your inbox into a flexible set of lists, organized cleanly into columns. This allows your emails, to-do lists, and priorities to live together in one place, and lets you easily drag-and-drop emails from column to column.

HubSpot's VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson is a big fan of Sortd. "I think of my inbox as a conveyer belt of sorts -- bringing me a rapid succession of requests, resources, and to-dos," she told me. "Email triage means keeping up with that influx without letting anything slip through the cracks. Before I found Sortd, I was marking any email that needed further action as 'unread' in the hopes of returning back to it to complete the review or follow up. It worked about as poorly as you'd expect."

This is what Anderson's inbox looks like now that she uses Sortd:

"Sortd merges your inbox with a drag-and-drop to do list, so I can quickly evaluate the urgency of an email and then decide what to do with it," says Anderson. "I drag it to the appropriate category of response and rename it to a quick summary of the action needed. Then, I can get a birds eye view of my work for the week."

"What's especially nice is Sortd allows me to add tasks that haven't come in through email, for example a request someone asked of me over chat or in person," she adds. "So my inbox really becomes my central command.  I have a column for immediate action items, tasks for the week, a backlog for next week, and resources that I want to have at my fingertips quickly."

Another advantage to Sortd over special stars? You can use it on mobile if you download the Sortd Mobile Companion App on iOS or Android. (Remember, all special stars but one aren't supported by the Gmail mobile app -- so this is your best option if you like to sort your email on mobile.)

8) SaneBox Price: Monthly ($7-35), Yearly ($59-299), and Bi-Yearly ($99-499) plans available.

If you're looking to automate prioritizing each email as it comes in, you may want to give SaneBox a try. There's nothing to install here: Basically, it works with any email client to create new folders like SaneLater and SaneNews. When a new email comes in to your inbox, SaneBox quickly analyzes it to determine how important it is. This analysis is based on your past interaction with your inbox. If SaneBox finds the new email important, it'll keep it in your inbox. If not, it'll send it to one of those folders.

Later, you'll get a digest of the emails that were sent to those three folders so you can decide whether any of them need your attention when you have the time. Over time, you "train" SaneBox to filter certain types of emails into each of these folders.

Image Credit: SaneBox

SaneBlackHole is a fourth folder that'll help you delete emails and unsubscribe from them in one fell swoop. When you manually drag an email into your SaneBlackHole folder, it'll delete the email and unsubscribe from the source automatically.

There are other cool features in here too, like the "attachments" feature that automatically sends all email attachments into a Dropbox folder.

9) The Email Game Price: Free

If you're overwhelmed by the amount of email in your inbox but dread the thought of clearing it out, and you're a competitive person, The Email Game might be right up your alley. This free tool for Gmail and Google apps gamifies the act of clearing out your inbox.

All you have to do is enter your email address, and the game will begin. It gives you five seconds per email to decide what to do with it: reply, "boomerang" (i.e., archive now and resurface in your inbox at a later, specified time), archive, delete, or skip. You get a certain number of points for each action and you're penalized if you go over time. If you click "reply," then you're given three minutes by default to respond. You can always add time if you really need to, but speed is in your best interest here.


10) Checker Plus  Price: Free

Checker Plus is a Chrome extension for Gmail that helps you manage multiple Gmail accounts at once so you don't have to flip through multiple inboxes. One of the main features is instant email notifications even when Gmail isn't open. So if you're a fan of notifications, then you'll like this one.

Without opening Gmail in your browser, Checker Plus will give you desktop notifications when you get a new email, along with the option to read, listen to, or delete emails.

I'm a big fan of the extension's voice notification feature. If I get an email while I'm busy cooking dinner or something, I can choose to have the extension read the email out loud to me, even if Gmail isn't open. (Just remember to shut this off when you head into the office.)

It's worth noting, by the way, that Checker Plus has pretty extensive online support and documentation. If you're having an issue with the extension, it's not hard to find a solution.

Image Credit: PC World

11) Hiver  Price: Free; Paid Versions Available

If your team (or heck, even your family) uses Gmail as their main email client, then this could be a useful app for collaboration. Hiver lets you share Gmail labels with other users to streamline collaboration. That way, you can share emails with other people -- even if they weren't an original recipient -- by adding a shared Gmail label to that email. A great way to use these labels is by assigning tasks, delegating emails, and tracking their status.

Hiver also lets you create and share email templates with your team, as well as share notes on emails that help you summarize or explain what's going on in an email thread. This can be helpful for anyone working on proposals, tasks, or support tickets.

Hiver's free version lets you share labels, notes, and so on with three other users, and lets you share three labels and ten email templates. For added features and functionality, check out one of the paid plans. 

Image Credit: Hiver

12) Boomerang  Price: Free for Basic; Paid Versions Available

Boomerang is a powerful tool I've been using for years to manage my Gmail inbox. This Chrome extension for Gmail users does two things really well:

It lets you schedule emails to be sent later. It lets you archive emails that will reemerge in your inbox later as an unread message.

The second concept here is similar to that of FollowUpThen, except you have a lot more control over tracking and changing the times at which emails reemerge in your inbox. It's free (for Basic) and works on desktop and mobile, including Android.

13) Mailbird Price: Free; Paid Versions Available

There are other email clients out there, like Mailbox, Boxer, and CloudMagic, but Mailbird manages to stand out.

While it only works for Windows users, this email client unifies your inbox with your apps by rolling your email and all your calendar, task, and messaging apps into an all-in-one interface. And it's a simple user interface, which you can customize in different colors and layouts.

Here's an example of what one layout looks like with email and WhatsApp integration:

Image Credit: IT World

Other popular choices for app integration include Google Calendar and a video conferencing app called Veeting rooms.

Mailbird works for Windows users on desktop and mobile. The Lite version is free, but if you want other, more advanced functionalities -- like the ability to "snooze" your email -- then you'll have to get the paid version for $1/month or $45 for a lifetime subscription. 

14) SimplyFile  Price: Single User License for $49.95

While Outlook doesn't have nearly as many organization tools as other email clients, here's one for Outlook users only that'll help you spend less time filing your email. The tool adds a toolbar (or "ribbon tab") to your inbox, with different, customizable files, which is easily accessible so you can file new emails quickly.

When an email comes in, simply drag it into the appropriate folder. You can organize both messages you're receiving in your inbox, as well as messages you're sending -- which you can file as you send them.

Image Credit: SimplyFile

Which tools do you use to organize your inbox? Share them with us in the comments.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 
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Moz is Doubling Down on Search

Posted by SarahBird

Hi Moz community,

We wouldn't be here without you, so I wanted to give you a brief update on some big changes happening at Moz.

Tl;dr: We're focusing our efforts on core SEO such as rank tracking, keyword research, local listings, duplicate management, on-page, crawl, and links. In the future, we'll no longer offer Moz Content or Followerwonk.

How is Moz's strategy changing?

Back in 2012, we started to invest in a broad feature set because we wanted to serve all aspects of inbound marketing. We thought it would increase retention by providing more value to customers, and also align with where we believed the industry was headed. Thus, we invested in many new directions: social media marketing, local SEO, content marketing, keyword research, on-page optimization, topic analysis, a next-generation link index, enterprise sales, customer success, ambitious infrastructure projects, events, education programs, and more.

Increasing the breadth of the product suite added a lot of complexity to the business, but didn't result in the growth we expected. We do, however, have momentum in our core SEO products, especially Moz Local and the new features in Pro.

Moz Local continues to provide a ton of value for customers who care deeply about Local SEO. Our new duplicate management features are cutting-edge. We're seeing passion and enthusiasm like we haven't seen in years about our Keyword Explorer feature in Moz Pro. We believe it's the best of its kind in the market. Our rankings technology has also improved by leaps and bounds with more coming soon. Really soon.

Churn rates are at all-time lows and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is climbing for all of our SEO-focused products.

After a lot of analysis and soul searching, we decided to radically simplify our strategy to re-focus on what we love and what our customers value from us: search. Reducing product complexity also creates space for us to invest in the technical and business infrastructure we need to support growth. We're also increasing investment in product marketing, CRO, SEO, and email marketing.

<3 Search is our hedgehog <3

We believe the search industry is as important as ever, and surprisingly doesn't see near the investment it should, given the clear value of SEO as a channel. Organic results still get 80% of the clicks and a fraction of the marketing spend. Further, with a phone in every pocket, mobile and local searches continue to grow. Organizations ignore search at their peril.

We're passionate about search, we're good at it, and it's driving the growth in our business. Classic hedgehog.

What does this mean for the company?

This is the gut-wrenchingly painful part. The hardest part of my job is asking people who have put their hearts and souls into Moz to part ways. To align the organization with this strategic shift, we will be asking about 28% of Mozzers to leave. They are a part of the Moz family and it is heartbreaking that they will not be working alongside us in the future.

We will do everything we can to give them the Mozziest transition possible, including severance, coaching, and assistance finding new roles. Because I know the caliber of folks we're parting with, I am confident they will go on to do great things.

What does this mean for customers?

Customers will enjoy increased investment in core SEO features, especially in local. We're on a roll with these products; we're out to win this market and we believe we can. We've got updates planned for crawl and rank tracking that we think you'll love. We know we're behind in link technology right now, and we're working on something ambitious. If you love SEO, please keep watching the blog for updates.

The strategy shift means we will not be investing in Followerwonk or Moz Content. Despite our efforts, we're not seeing the growth we hypothesized from these products. We will find a graceful way to sunset Moz Content. We're also looking for a good home for Followerwonk. It is beloved by many, but isn't having the revenue impact we believed possible, and isn't close enough to our core base to make sense in our product offering. More details to come.

Send good vibes.

As you can imagine, this is an emotional time for us internally. Hug a Mozzer near you because we need it this week. We're so grateful for this community's support and look forward to making SEO software you truly love.


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How to Build a Killer Content → Keyword Map for SEO - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

You've got content on your site that doesn't intentionally target any keyword. But how do you identify those opportunities and, most importantly, capitalize on them?

In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand illustrates the process of creating your own content-to-keyword map to discover where to optimize, what content to build, and how to intelligently target keywords when you're auditing a site.

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

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we're going to chat about building a killer content-to-keyword map. Now this is something that pretty much every SEO does when they do an audit of a site, whether that's in-house or as a contractor or an agency consultant.

What we're trying to get here is a picture of: Here are all the keywords that we're trying to target. Here's all the content that we have, and maybe we have keywords for all of that content. Maybe some of that content doesn't have a keyword, those kinds of things. We're trying to map these together so that we know what needs optimization, what new content needs to be built, what keywords need to be targeted to fit with which content, all of these types of things. This is how we identify the priorities and work that an SEO should be doing as they're attacking a new site, attacking a new campaign.

SEO Cartography

So what I've done here is build out a big one, but actually this is not as fully featured as you might imagine some content-to-keyword maps can be. I've seen them with double the number of columns of these, and I'm sure plenty of you who are watching are saying, "Oh man, Rand, I have even more in my map."

Usually this is done in Excel or it's done in Google Spreadsheets. Either one can work fine. Unfortunately, there's no great software to do this right now. You could use a tool like Moz or a tool, if you're on the enterprise side, like Searchmetrics or Conductor to get a lot of this data. You may pull the data from tons of different places, a Screaming Frog here or a Stat over there, whatever it is, OnPage.org.

Columns

But what you're trying to build here is essentially all my keywords mapped to all my URLs. Sometimes you might . . . in fact, if you're doing a comprehensive job, you should find places where you don't have a URL for some keywords because some keywords haven't been targeted yet, but you still want to rank for them. You should probably have some URLs for which you have no keyword. Essentially you haven't intentionally targeted a keyword with that page yet, and this might actually help you prioritize and try and do some of that.

Then you have things like: How much search volume does this get? You're going to try and estimate or use a tool to give you a grade around the title, the content, maybe the URL itself, load speed, and engagement. Engagement could be browse rate or time on site or pages per visit or some combination of all of those things.

You might be looking at internal and external links to the page. Internal links to say, "How well linked to is it internally? Do I have opportunity there?" External links to say, "Am I ranking or not ranking because I don't have external links pointing here?"

I might look at something like a page authority to try and roll those up, Google Desktop and Google Mobile rankings, and the organic visits that that page has received from search engines.

Now, there are a lot more columns that you might consider adding. You could add things like: Anchor text if you want to analyze your internal and external anchor text. Google Search Console click-through rates for some of the keywords here and add that data in. We all know Google Search Console, not phenomenal data, but sometimes can be useful.

You might have more keyword-driven metrics if you're trying to prioritize a big keyword research function, like the things in Keyword Explorer:

Keyword difficulty Click-through rate opportunity Importance Score, your custom Importance Score, your Potential. You might order these differently based on those kinds of things. Page level conversion rate. How much does this contribute to content that converts on my site? How well does it convert directly? Those types of things. Proceed to the route

So now you've got this big content-to-keyword map. "Rand, why am I building this?" Well, look, this map lets you do a bunch of incredibly important, critical things, like:

Identify keywords that have no content mapped to them. Essentially that's saying, "Hey, I better build some content if I want to target this keyword." That's work that you need to do. Identify on-page opportunities to improve. So you might look at the content or title grade for something. You might go match that up to rankings and you might go, "Wait a minute. I'm ranking number 10. My content grade is only 40 out of 100. Damn, I could improve that real fast. I can make that page a lot better by investing in some on-page optimization."

Or for example, you might say, "Huh, I'm doing pretty well on a bunch of these metrics, but boy, that page load speed is really bad. Look, I can see that in the desktop versus mobile ranking. I'm ranking a lot better on desktop than I am on mobile. Maybe that load speed is one of the reasons why." I could look at other on-page improvements like, "Ooh, man, that low engagement. I bet that low engagement is dragging down my potential for rankings." All right, those two. Identify content without intentional keyword targeting. So I might find in here that I have something like /flowers, which offers all of my different flower options here, but I have not intentionally chosen what I'm targeting. Am I selling flowers for delivery? Should I be targeting that? Am I selling flowers for greenhouses or for planting in your backyard? Should I be targeting that? What is my keyword here? Shoot, I have not built one in yet. Oftentimes, when you're auditing a site, you will find tons of URLs that are intentionally targeting no specific keyword but should be. All you need to do is some optimization work to help those URLs target the keywords that they should. Identify link building needs. So I might look in here and I might say, "Huh, my external links, ooh, that's pretty bad, and my rankings kind of reflect that. I need to do some link building. Like, that page is not going to rank. Even though it's doing all right on on-page, it's not going to rank without this.

This whole exercise is designed to help you... Prioritize and focus your work so that you can do the most important things after you do this audit and you can really move the needle with your SEO.

If you have great ideas or you've done great things inside your content-to-keyword maps, I would love to see them. Please, leave them in the comments. Feel free to link to things. Show off your maps if you feel like uploading them. I would love to see the see columns and the ways that you use this map. Hopefully, in the future, maybe I can convince the Moz Pro software guys to build this for you. ;-)

All right, everyone, take care. We'll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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10 CRO Truth Bombs That Will Change the Way You Think

Posted by larry.kim

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has been around since the beginning of the web. Historically, a lot of the time and attention has been spent on the on-page elements - headlines, copy, calls-to-action, forms, and design - to increase conversions.

Although optimizing on-page elements to maximize conversions still can and does have tremendous value, isn't there a better way forward? Absolutely!

There are several ways to increase your conversion rate by as much as 5x. But the smarter way to do it is by influencing the right people before they ever land on your site or persuading them to come back if they left your site before converting.

Here are 10 mind-blowing CRO truth bombs that will change the way you think about landing page optimization forever.

1. The classic A/B test is a fairy tale

Once upon a time, there lived a brilliant conversion rate expert who changed the [font type / line spacing / button color / image / something else] and magically increased conversions by 5 percent. And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

Except, the percentage increase you think you've achieved isn't as real as it seems.

Oh no, it looks like someone has abducted our big CRO gains!

What really happens after a typical A/B test is that:

The early lead disappears. Gains don't persist over time.

When you get good results from A/B tests, it's probably because your offer is new. Once that offer is no longer new, it loses its novelty.

You can't keep selling last year's offer forever. People want something new.

As is the case with ad fatigue, once you reach a certain point, your offer will bring diminishing returns. That's why you can't optimize your way to infinity.

Should you still do A/B testing? Yes! A/B testing is absolutely worth your time. You need to do it.

However, just realize that this isn't a growth strategy - it's table stakes. Improving something by 5 percent 10 times in a year doesn't increase your conversion rate by 50 percent. The gains don't persist.

Also, the more you optimize, the higher the risk of negative returns. If you start out with an offer that has a 0.5 percent conversion rate, there's lots of upside. But once you've got a 6 percent conversion rate, there's better than a 50/50 change your new offer will actually hurt sales.

2. CRO often increases quantity at the expense of quality

In ecommerce, a sale is a sale. But if you're doing lead generation you have to be careful that you aren't exchanging quantity for quality.

Quantity doesn't always translate to quality. In fact, a higher conversion rate can actually ruin your percentage of marketing qualified leads. Here's some data from one of our customers:

Beware of making superficial on-page changes that increase leads at the expense of quality, like promising free iPads or gift cards.

Remember, if you double your leads, you're also doubling the time it takes for someone to follow-up on all those leads.

If you have too many leads, you run the risk of losing some gems in all that noise, and the longer it takes to get to someone, the lower the connect rates and conversion rates.

3. Average conversion rates haven't changed much in years

The importance of CRO has certainly gained a lot attention in the past few years. No doubt you've recently seen some sort of case study where the author details how their company tripled their conversion rate.

If more people are doing CRO, then you'd think it would have a visible impact on outcomes industry-wide, right?

So why are conversion rates still pretty much the same as they were 15 years ago?

According to my WordStream data, the median search conversion rate is 2.35 percent, whereas the top 10 percent of sites - the unicorns - have conversion rates of 11.45 percent or higher:

We run these numbers periodically over the years but they never move. If more and more companies are adopting CRO, why aren't industry average conversion rates moving up?

4. Raise your CTR to raise your conversion rates

Click-through rate (CTR) is the most important conversion metric. Why? Because the higher your click-through rate is, the higher your conversion rate will be.

Here's an example of data from just one large client account. We see this in many accounts, but this is just one illustration. (The data gets murky when you combine accounts, since conversion rates depend on the industry and offer.)

If you can get people excited enough to click on your offer, then that excitement usually will turn into a conversion. So increasing your CTR by 2x will increase your conversion rate by 50%.

Now, it's important to understand that I'm not advocating raising CTR by offering free kittens or other gimmicks. If you just add the word “Free” to your ad, the CTR will increase, but if your offer isn't truly free, the conversion rate will drop.

Instead, I'm advocating finding truly innovative offers with massive differentiation and value that get your target market super excited about signing up for whatever you're selling, right away!

From that perspective, your CTR is a great way to tell whether your offer sucks or if it is actually appealing to people who aren't already biased toward you already (i.e., people who have visited your landing page in the past). Your market is much bigger than the people who are already in your funnel.

What is a good CTR? Check out these Google AdWords industry benchmarks:

Here are three ways you can raise CTR and create unicorn ads:

Focus on high-commercial intent keywords. Use ad customizers to create urgency and fear of missing out. Use emotional triggers in your ad copy. 5. Brand familiarity is ridiculously important

One thing you can't control with on-page CRO is brand awareness. People who are familiar with your brand are more likely to sign up or purchase your product or service.

At Wordstream, we looked at conversion rates, comparing those who were familiar with the company (repeat visitors) versus those who were not and found that repeat visitors were around 2–3x more likely to convert.

Granted, this isn't a perfect measurement of who is familiar or not familiar with your brand. Someone who appears to be a new visitor might already have been exposed to that brand.

Regardless, brand affinity and recall clearly has a huge impact on CRO. This is where the highest leverage is.

6. Boost your conversions with remarketing

If greater brand exposure increases conversion rates, then how can you increase brand exposure? Go nuts with remarketing on the Google Display Network and Facebook.

We've seen it: conversion rates actually double the more times someone sees an ad in a remarketing campaign. Remarketing lets you turn one shot at converting a user into 100 or more possible shots.

With Facebook remarketing, you can target using the extremely valuable combination of behaviors, interests, and demographics to increase engagement and conversions by 3x for a third of the cost-per-click. This is where you want to push your hard offers, such as sign-ups, consultations, and downloads.

7. RLSA will save the day

We've found that RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) campaigns are search ads that target people who search on your desired keywords AND have recently visited your website.

We've found that they typically have 2–5x better ROI than non-RLSA ads due to the fact that they are familiar with your brand. The problem is that RLSA, by definition, only targets people who have visited your site.

The solution: forget unbranded search ads and grow your cookie pools by using social media ads. If you can increase your audience sizes by 10x, you can capture 10x more conversions!

Note: This strategy applies only to certain verticals with very high CPCs where there's a lot of competition and conversion rates are challenging. Get more details in my post, RLSA for Competitive Markets: A Ridiculously Awesome Way Forward in PPC.

8. Increase conversions for pennies with video ads

What's the point of advertising? To bias people.

Video ads deliver on the two most important components of high conversion rates:

Strong brand recall (lots of ad impressions). High CTR (high ad engagement).

Video ads on Facebook provide the highest value at the lowest cost. They are so cheap because they have the highest engagement rates.

People love visual content. Video is one of the best ways to bias people so they'll choose you over some brand they've never heard of.

9. You need to change your offer in a BIG way

We've looked through billions of dollars of ad spend. It turns out that the highest converting offers have very little to do with conventional "CRO best practices."

Here's what actually matters: Your offer needs to be massively different and more valuable from what your competitors are offering.

It doesn't matter how pretty your fonts and images are. Making small changes to your current bad offer won't move the needle. It will just result in small changes to your conversion rate.

If you want to dramatically increase conversion rates, then you need a completely different and better offer.

Want to collect more emails? Rather than publishing yet another whitepaper, which has low differentiation, consider creating something people actually want, such as a calculator or tool, which we've seen have conversion rates as high as 50 percent.

For example, one way that WordStream offers substantially more value is by providing a keyword suggestion tool. People simply type in a keyword and we email them the full results for free in an Excel file. All they need to do is provide their email.

10. You can totally eliminate your landing pages

OK, here's the problem. Only 2 percent of people are clicking on your ads, and only 2 percent of those people who reach your landing page are converting. That's a HUGE drop-off.

Wouldn't it be great if you could skip this landing page step and capture leads directly from ads? Well it is great, and you can do just that!

Thanks to new mobile technologies, like Facebook Lead Ads, you no longer have to send people to a landing page, which will continue to lose 97 percent of prospects. Only one field is needed - email. You can just eliminate that stage entirely from your funnel.

Summary: Unicorn CRO!

In the end, there are three types of unicorn conversion rate activities that impact conversions:

On-page elements: This is historically where much of the focus goes - on "best practices" that are mostly about making changes to images, copy, fonts, user experience, psychology, etc. Brand awareness: Even though this isn't what most people would consider "CRO," brand familiarity has a huge impact on your conversion rates. People are more likely to buy from brands they know and like. "Growth hack": The biggest reason for a low CTR is a boring offer. You need to hit users with the right offer at the right time. (Note: I'm not talking about adding the word "free" to your offer; this may raise your CTR but kill your conversion rate because you'll have to sort though more unqualified leads. No, I'm talking about changing your offer in a powerful way to make your product more appealing to more people - such as how Dropbox offers you extra storage or Uber will give you a free ride or credits for bringing in new customers.)

There's much more to CRO than moving around your on-page elements. Why increase your conversion rate by a measly 5 percent when you could increase it by 5x?

Focus on #1 is a minimum. Focus more on #2 and #3 for insanely great returns.

Start thinking more widely about the conversion lifecycle. Think about not just what's on your landing page, but also what happens before and after they see it - or consider the possibility of eliminating that page altogether.

New technologies such as mobile, remarketing, and RLSA are the future of CRO. The real leverage is less about tweaking on-page elements and more about branding and growth hacking.


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Here's How to Use Your Daily Habits For Writing Better Content in Less Time

Posted by Lesley_Vos

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 write every day for my blog as well as other publications. I'm a big fan of guest posting, and every day I do everything I can to reinforce better writing.

The problem: Content creation is time-consuming.

Content marketers deal with multiple tasks: social media content (93%), newsletters (81%), articles for websites (79%), blogs (81%), in-person events (81%), and more. Lack of time is one of top 5 challenges for 51% of content marketers, while 50% face the challenge of producing truly engaging content. 76% of marketers will create more content in 2016 versus 2015.

As a result, we have to find and apply different tactics to become more productive and efficient, as well as optimize our work to achieve better results.

Yes, creating content is hard work. Every time I read works of Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin, or Jon Morrow, I wonder, "How do they write so many articles every week, together with dozens of other tasks to complete?"

Do they "work 80-hour weeks?" Do they have an "army of assistants?"

It seems Neil Patel somehow heard my silent moanings when he wrote How to Write 5 or More Articles a Week and Not Burn Out, explaining the best tactics available for content marketers anytime and anywhere.

His article made me think of using alternative habits for writing more content in less time.

Famous writers didn't hesitate to use their weird habits for more efficient work. So, maybe it makes sense to follow their lead and find benefits in our love for coffee and music for better content writing?

So, I've taken my daily habits and decided to learn how to develop them for writing better content in less time.

#1 - Read the news

I can't help but read the news online. Turns out, this daily habit holds benefits for content writers:

It improves writing skills, encouraging better cognitive skills and brain functioning. Plus, it enriches vocabulary. It provides ideas for new content. It lets them learn from professionals and follow their methods.

To make this work, avoid reading everyone and everything. Make a list of channels and resources that inspire you, as well as educate you.

Learning from experience, I can say Moz, Copyblogger, QuickSprout, and Smart Blogger are the best helpers in my niche. Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel teach me all the aspects of and latest trends in content and Internet marketing, while Brian Clark and Jon Morrow demonstrate the art of writing and encourage me to polish up my writing skills.

And applications such as Digg or Newsbeat have helped me organize my newsfeed in a way that gleans the most from my reading habit.

#2 - Free writing

If your daily habit is getting up early, your free writing is ripe for development.

It's a writing technique described by Julia Cameron and Mark Levy as a way to free the subconsciousness by telling all your worries to a piece of paper. All you need to do is start every day with writing three pages of text.

The topic doesn't matter. Just sit and write.

When developed, the habit of free writing can be a big help, including providing topics for new content and allowing you to create drafts quickly.

To develop this habit and use it for content creation, you should do nothing but write three pages of text every morning. Don't try too hard. Simply allow your thoughts to flow, write quickly, and set some time limits.

I dared to try it after I had read Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. While I'm a night owl, and it's an act of bravery for me to wake up early, I was faithful in writing three pages of text every morning and even discovered the site 750 Words. Working and spending 8–10 hours at a computer regardless the day of a week, I supposed it would be easier for me to free write online.

The most helpful thing about this website was its analytics and charts about every piece I wrote:

It let me analyze my writing and see what I needed to change for faster and more accurate work: I decreased the number of distractions and the level of wateriness in my writing (the tool showed which words I used the most).

My final attempt to fall in love with free writing was a master class by one local artist. Armed with a pen, a notebook, and cappuccino, I was in a good mind to give free writing a chance...

She gave us three tasks:

"You have 5 minutes. Write about the latest problem that worried you and how you solved it." It helped me realize what a slow writer I was. Five minutes wasn't enough time for me to describe the problem, much less speak of the solution. "You have 10 minutes and three topics. Choose one and write about it." Mine was to take a phrase and begin a story with it. It taught me to start my writing with a hook, as it saved time and made me write faster. "You have 15 minutes. Make a to-do list for 2016." The trick was to write 100 items and avoid mentioning the same deed twice. It taught me to concentrate on my train of thought to avoid wateriness and save time for editing my writing afterward.

Now I use free writing when I need to come up with writing ideas. It saves time for brainstorming, and every free writing session gives me 2–3 ideas for future articles. Plus, I write faster now. (Yes, time frames matter.)

The moral of this story: free writing is a daily habit worth developing. Don't give up. Just write.

This technique is a big hit today, and many tools have been developed to use it with comfort. Try 750 Words, Write or Die, or Written? Kitten!

#3 - Drinking coffee

A daily habit of drinking coffee has its scientifically proven benefits, too:

Coffee stimulates productivity. Coffee helps to stay more alert. Coffee increases creativity and mood.

I'm a coffee addict, so I can say with full confidence that it helps with my content marketing endeavors. The trick is to know when and how much coffee to drink for better writing.

I drink two cups per day.

Although the perfect time is between 10 a.m. and noon, and between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., I take my first americano with milk on early mornings. It stimulates my workflow and gets me into the swing of writing.

My second cup comes between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. It works like a charging system to revive spirits and, therefore, support a sufficient level of productivity in the afternoon. After my second cup of coffee, I have the energy to research and write outlines for my content.

#4 - Plan everything in advance

Does your organized nature make your friends smile? Mine still don't understand why I want to be ahead of the game and plan everything two or three months before deadlines.

This habit is my savior:

It leads to better and more organized research. It sets time limits, stimulating you to write faster. It lets you create content plans and schedule like a boss.

With that in mind, I've chosen Trello to make this habit of planning flourish. My favorite thing about this tool is its keyboard shortcuts that allow me to manage tasks with one click. Plus, I use its Google Drive integration and desktop notifications to share and edit content quickly, as well as remember deadlines for planning my time properly.

Besides Trello, Asana, Evernote, or Wunderlist are worth exploring as well.

#5 - Listening to music

This one is my favorite.

Working in an open-plan office with 14 people, half of whom regularly practice idle chitchat, I've found the perfect escape from frustration and, therefore, procrastination: music.

Music helps me concentrate on work, lowers my frustration, helps me write letter-perfect text, and speeds up my writing.

Listening to music in the office has also helped my writing accuracy.

Image via Music Works For You infographic

Following the advice from Neil Patel on "youifying" content (I love that word), I use music to cheer up, gain inspiration, awaken creativity, and put me back on a productive track while writing my articles.

Listening to music also helps me save writing time:

It signals to others that they shouldn't interrupt you. (Headphones work perfect for me!) It stimulates thinking. It makes writing more enjoyable. (Thank you, Karl Frierson!) It raises efficiency. (Jazz is my #1 choice here.)

Numerous studies confirm music's positive influence on productivity and efficiency at work. University of Birmingham, England shares that music makes repetitive work more enjoyable. And according to researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, music boosts moods and helps us focus.

(HubSpot shared six science-based playlists to choose from for listening at work.)

But when it comes to tasks requiring more brainpower, sounds of nature, songs without lyrics, or classical music seem to have the best impact on our productivity.

Are there any daily habits you use for writing content and organizing your time for better productivity? How do they work for you?


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​The Finalized MozCon 2016 Agenda & Congratulations MozCon Ignite Speakers!

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

All the puzzle pieces have come together, and MozCon 2016 is ready to rock! Over the past week, I've had the pleasure of peeking at our speakers' outlines, and I cannot wait. Whether you're looking to for the latest SEO information, ready to tackle mobile's biggest issues, wanting to push your content to 10x, or generally wanting to absorb everything online marketing, it's going to be so good.

If you're reading this post and remembering you haven't bought your ticket yet, I'll pause:

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

Now let's get to the good stuff:

The MozCon 2016 AgendaMonday

08:00–09:00am
Breakfast

09:00–09:20am
Welcome to MozCon 2016! with Rand Fishkin

Wizard of Moz
@randfish

Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Rand's an un-save-able addict of all things content, search, and social on the web.

09:25–10:10am
Uplevel Your A/B Testing Skills with Cara Harshman

Content Marketer and Storyteller at caraharshman.me
@caraharshman

A/B testing is bread and butter for anyone who aspires to be a data-driven marketer. Cara will share stories about how testers, from one-person agencies to dedicated testing teams, are doing it, and how you can develop your own A/B testing expertise.

Cara Harshman just celebrated her four-year anniversary at Optimizely. Besides managing content strategy, customer case studies, and the blog, she has been known to spend a lot of time writing parody songs for company all-hands meetings.

10:10–10:40am
AM Break

10:45–11:15am
The Big One: Relaunching Your Website with Lauren Vaccarello

VP of Marketing at Box
@laurenv

Change makes us all nervous, and relaunching an entire site can be both thrilling and daunting. Lauren will walk you through how to do it right, from infrastructure and content to design, information architecture, and marketing automation, and share real life triumphs and cautionary tales.

Lauren Vaccarello is a best-selling author and currently runs corporate and field marketing at Box.

11:15–11:45am
The Hidden Talents of Email: Creating Customer-Centric Messages with Justine Jordan

VP Marketing at Litmus
@meladorri

Far from dead, email is a powerful workhorse that belongs in every marketer's optimization toolkit. Justine will show you how to use email to deliver personal, 1-to-1, and contextually relevant messages that delight your subscribers and encourage engagement.

After mastering table-based layouts in college, Justine Jordan fell in love with the unruly art of email design back in 2007. Currently VP of Marketing at Litmus, Justine and her team are passionate about inspiring fellow marketers to create better email.

11:45am–12:15pm
How to Do Reputation Marketing with Rhea Drysdale

CEO at Outspoken Media
@rhea

Dig into the discipline of reputation marketing and strategy. Rhea will show you what the role of a reputation marketer looks like, what analytics to track, and why everyone should be investing in their organization's reputation to diversify and reduce marketing spend and other high business costs.

Rhea Drysdale is the Co-Founder and CEO of Outspoken Media, a reputation marketing agency that offers custom solutions for difficult SEO, content, and reputation problems.

12:15–01:45pm
Lunch

01:50–02:20pm
Rethinking Information Architecture for SEO and Content Marketing with Joe Hall

SEO Consultant at Hall Analysis LLC
@joehall

Information Architecture (IA) shapes the way we organize data, think about complex ideas, and build web sites. Joe will provide a new approach to IA for SEO and Content Marketing, based on actionable insights, that SEOs can extract from their own data sets.

Joe Hall is an executive SEO consultant focused on analyzing and informing the digital marketing strategies of select clients through high-level data analysis and SEO audits.

02:20–02:50pm
Breaking Patterns: How to Rewrite the CRO Playbook with Mobile Optimization with Talia Wolf

CMO at Banana Splash
@Taliagw

Best practices lie. Talia shares how to build a mobile conversion optimization strategy and how to turn more mobile visitors into customers based on A/B testing their emotions, decision making process, and behavior.

As CMO at Banana-Splash and Founder of Conversioner, Talia Wolf helps businesses optimize their sites using emotional targeting, consumer psychology, and real-time data to generate more revenues, leads, and sales. Talia is a keynote speaker, author, and Harry Potter fan.

02:50–03:20pm
Taking the Top Spot: How to Earn More Featured Snippets with Rob Bucci

CEO at STAT Search Analytics
@STATrob

Featured snippets (also known as “answer boxes”) are steadily appearing in the first organic SERP spot, providing big opportunities for SEOs able to snag them. Armed with the latest data and analysis, Rob Bucci will take you on a deep dive into the constantly evolving featured snippet and show you how to earn more for your site.

Coming from Vancouver, Canada, Rob Bucci is the CEO of STAT Search Analytics. He especially loves tackling big data challenges in data mining and analysis. When he isn't doing that, you can find him splashing in the ocean, or taking cookies out of the oven.

03:20–03:50pm
PM Break

03:55–04:25pm
Content Chaos: Building Your Brand through Constant Experiments with Ross Simmonds

Co-Founder at Crate
@TheCoolestCool

A look at how taking risks on content and making investments can work out in a big way for brands and marketers. Whether it's Reddit, Slideshare, Quora, or Instagram, Ross shares some of the lessons he's learned from a variety of different content experiments.

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing consultant and entrepreneur. He's worked with both startups and Fortune 500 companies and is the co-founder of two startups: Crate and Hustle & Grind.

04:25–5:10pm
Social Media: People First, "Rules" Second with Dana DiTomaso

Partner at Kick Point
@danaditomaso

You can follow all the “rules” about perfect post length, perfect time to post, perfect image size, and everything else and still not see any financial impact from social media. Dana doesn't think social media should always revolve around community building and group hugs. When you show the right people what they want to see, when they want to see it, you'll start attributing revenue increases to social media efforts.

Dana DiTomaso is a partner at Kick Point, where she applies marketing into strategies to grow clients' businesses, in particular to ensure that digital and traditional play well together - separating real solutions from wastes of time (and budget).

07:00–10:00pm
Monday Night #MozCrawl

Catch the pub crawl on Monday night, details coming soon! You'll be able to explore some of our favorite haunts and make some new friends. Spread across multiple bars, go at your own pace and visit the stops in any order. Each stop is sponsored by a trusted partner and one by us. You must bring your MozCon badge - for free drinks and light appetizers - and your US ID or passport. See you there!

Official MozCrawl stops and partners coming soon.

Tuesday

08:00–09:00am
Breakfast

09:05–09:50am
You Can't Type a Concept: Why Keywords Still Matter with Dr. Pete Meyers

Marketing Scientist at Moz
@dr_pete

Google is getting better every day at understanding intent and natural language, and the path between typing a search and getting a result is getting more winding. How often are queries interpreted, and how do we do keyword research for search engines that are beginning to understand concepts?

Dr. Pete Meyers is Marketing Scientist for Seattle-based Moz, where he works with marketing and data science on product research and data-driven content. He has spent the past four years building research tools to monitor Google, including the MozCast project.

09:50–10:20am
How to Be Specific: From-The-Trenches Lessons in High-Converting Copy with Joanna Wiebe

Creator and Copywriter at Copy Hackers
@copyhackers

Abstracted benefits, summarized value, and promise-free landing pages keep marketers safe - and conversion rates low. Joanna shares how and why your copy needs to get specific to move people to act.

The original conversion copywriter, Joanna Wiebe is the founder of Copy Hackers and Airstory. She's optimized copy for Wistia, Buffer, Crazy Egg, Bounce Exchange, and Rainmaker, among others, and spoken at CTA Conf, Business of Software... and now MozCon.

10:20–10:50am
AM Break

10:55–11:15am
Server Log Files & Technical SEO Audits: What You Need to Know with Samuel Scott

Director of Marketing and Communications at Logz.io
@samueljscott

Server log files contain the only data that is 100% accurate in terms of how Google and other search engines crawl your website. Sam will show you what and where to check and what problems you may to need to fix to maximize your rankings and organic traffic.

Samuel Scott is a global marketing speaker and Director of Marketing and Communications for log analysis platform Logz.io, as well as a contributor to TechCrunch and Moz.

11:15–11:35am
Digital Marketing Skill Pivot: Recruiting New Talent with Emma Still

Marketing Lead at Seer Interactive
@mmstll

Torn between your marketing work and hiring? Emma shares how to take the skills you already have, flip them on their head, and find people to hire on your growing marketing teams. Spoiler: they've been under your nose the whole time.

Emma Still leads all Marketing efforts for Seer Interactive. Prior to that, she led a team of SEO professionals at Seer, where she leveraged her digital marketing skills to recruit team members to build stronger, more successful digital teams.

11:35–11:55am
Boost SEO Rankings by Removing Internal Links with Alex Stein

SEO Manager at Wayfair
@sonofadiplomat

Learn how to optimize internal link structure for an easy and surprisingly large SEO ranking wins. Alex will cover the math behind how authority flows through your site, how to evaluate links in your global navigation, common mistakes on CMSs, and other tactics to improve your site's most important pages.

Alex Stein is currently SEO Manager at Wayfair.com, an online home goods store. Follow him on Twitter @sonofadiplomat for all things SEO, and he is, in fact, the son of a diplomat.

11:55am–12:15pm
Improve Your UX & SEO through Navigation Optimization with Robyn Winner

SEO Manager at Hornblower Cruises and Events
@robyn_winner

Learn the tactics for creating a navigation that increases your organic visibility, streamlines user experience, and boosts conversion rates as Robyn walks you through the most important steps to getting your navigation in order.

Robyn Winner is a passionate SEOer with a deep love for data analytics, user experience optimization, content strategy development, and her two adorable cats who fill her life with joy and fur... on everything.

12:15–01:45pm
Lunch

01:50–02:35pm
Local Projects to Boost Your Company and Career with Mike Ramsey

President at Nifty Marketing
@mikeramsey

Mike will walk through the projects that his individual team members took on to improve how they handled local links, reviews, reports, and lots of areas in between.

Mike Ramsey is the President of Nifty Marketing, which works with big brands and small businesses on digital marketing. He talks about running agencies, local search, and Idaho a lot.

02:35–03:05pm
Reimagining Customer Retention and Evangelism with Kristen Craft

Director of Business Development at Wistia
@thecrafty

True customer loyalty and retention lies in the experience people have with your brand. Kristen will show you how to leverage video to optimize for experience, foster loyalty, lower churn, and create evangelists.

As Director of Business Development at Wistia, Kristen Craft loves working with Wistia's partner community, building connections with other companies that care about video marketing. Kristen holds degrees in business and education from MIT and Harvard.

03:05–03:35pm
PM Break

03:45–04:15pm
Optimizing the Journey to Deliver Radically Relevant Experiences with Rebekah Cancino

Co-Founder and Content Strategy Consultant at Onward
@rebekahcancino

How do you connect your search rankings to your long-term conversion rates? Customer journey mapping. Rebekah will show you how to bridge the gap between SEO, content, design, and UX with an effective framework your team can use to deliver radically relevant digital experiences when and where it matters most.

Rebekah Cancino spent the last decade helping clients, like Aetna and United Way, overcome some of their toughest content problems. Her consultancy offers workshops and training for in-house teams that bridge the gap between content, design, and technical SEO.

04:15–05:00pm
Putting Trust into Domain Authority with Wil Reynolds

CEO/Founder at Seer Interactive
@wilreynolds

Domain Authority is a trust sentiment, not a pure numeric value. Wil will show real examples of sites that build authority and trust by understanding and then solving users' problems. He'll also give you practical ways to use Google SERPS to uncover the many ways to best solve these problem.

Wil Reynolds - Director of Strategy, Seer Interactive - founded Seer with a focus on doing great things for its clients, team, and the community. His passion for driving and analyzing the impact that a site's traffic has on the company's bottom line has shaped the SEO and digital marketing industries. Wil also actively supports the Covenant House.

07:00–10:00pm
Tuesday Night Networking: MozCon Ignite!

We're thrilled to bring back MozCon Ignite: A networking and passion-talks event for attendees on Tuesday night from 7–10 pm at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. Here you'll meet-and-greet your fellow Community members and hear them give five-minute talks about their hobbies and passion projects. Last year, we heard about everything from how to cook the perfect hot dog to what it's like to lose your short-term memory. Leave that notebook in your hotel and settle in for some fun. Enjoy light appetizers, non-alcoholic drinks, and two alcoholic drink tickets on us. It's going to be a blast! Speakers announced here.

Wednesday

09:00–10:00am
Breakfast

10:05–10:35am
The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling with Kindra Hall

Strategic Storytelling Advisor at Kindra Hall
@kindramhall

Whoever tells the best story wins. In marketing, in business, in life. Going beyond buzzwords, Kindra will reveal specific storytelling strategies to create great content and win customers without a fight.

Kindra Hall is a speaker, author, and storytelling advisor. She works with individuals and brands to help them capture attention by telling better stories.

10:35–11:20am
29 Advanced Google Tag Manager Tips Every Marketer Should Know with Mike Arnesen

Founder and CEO at UpBuild
@mike_arnesen

Google Tag Manager is an incredibly powerful tool and one you're likely not using to its full potential. Mike will deliver 29 rapid-fire tips that'll empower you to overcome the tracking challenges of dynamic web apps, build user segments based on website interactions, scale the implementation of structured data, analyze the consumption of rich media, and much more.

Mike Arnesen has been driven by his passion for technical SEO, semantic search, website optimization, and company culture for over a decade. He is the Founder and CEO of UpBuild, a technical marketing agency focusing on SEO, analytics, and CRO.

11:20–11:50am
AM Break

11:55am–12:25pm
Engineering-As-Marketing for Non-Engineers with Tara Reed

CEO at AppsWithoutCode.com
@TaraReed_

Tara shares how to build useful tools like calculators, widgets, and micro-apps to acquire millions of new users, without writing a single line of code.

Tara Reed is a Detroit-based entrepreneur and founder of AppsWithoutCode.com. As a non-technical founder, she builds her own apps, widgets, and algorithms without writing a single line of code.

12:25–12:55pm
Persuasion, Data, & Collaboration: Building Links in 2016 with Kirsty Hulse

Managing Director at Manyminds
@kirsty_hulse

Securing links can be tough, and it's not about how creative or productive or smart we are, but how persuasive we are. Kirsty will walk you through how to get clients and managers to say yes to your best ideas, how to get interesting, affordable data, how to get experts to collaborate with you, and how to create outreach emails that compel people to cover your campaign.

Kirsty Hulse is the founder of Manyminds Digital, a digital marketing agency made entirely of expert, independent resource. With a decade's experience, she has defined search strategies for some of the world's leading brands.

12:55–02:25pm
Lunch

02:30–03:15pm
Indexing on Fire: Google Firebase Native and Web App Indexing with Cindy Krum

CEO and Founder at MobileMoxie, LLC
@suzzicks

In the future, app and web content will be indistinguishable, and Google's new Firebase platform allows developers to use the same resources to build, market, and maintain apps on all devices, in one place. Cindy will outline how digital marketers can use Firebase to help drive indexing of native and web app content, including Deep Links, Dynamic Links, and Angular JS web apps.

Cindy Krum is the CEO and founder of MobileMoxie, LLC, and author of Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are. She brings fresh and creative ideas to her clients, and regularly speaks at US and international digital marketing events.

03:15–03:45pm
Mind Games: Craft Killer Experiences with 7 Lessons from Cognitive Psychology with Sarah Weise

UX Director at Booz Allen Digital Interactive
@weisesarah

How often are you asked to influence people to click a button? Buy a product? Stay on a page? We like to think of ourselves as logical, yet 95% of our decisions are unconscious. Sarah shares how to weave cognitive psychology concepts into your digital experiences. Steal these persuasive triggers to boost engagement, conversions, leads, and even delight.

Sarah Weise is UX Director at Booz Allen Digital Interactive. She has crafted experiences for hundreds of websites, apps, and products. Over the past decade, she has specialized in creative, lean ways to connect with customers and build experiences that matter.

03:45–04:15pm
PM Break

04:20–05:05pm
Link Building's Tipping Point with Rand Fishkin

Wizard of Moz
@randfish

Links still move the needle - on rankings, traffic, reputation, and referrals. Yet, some SEOs have come to believe that if we "create great content," links will just appear (and rankings will follow). Rand will dispel this myth and focus on how to build the architecture for a link strategy, alongside some hot new tools and tactics for link acquisition in 2016.

Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Rand's an un-save-able addict of all things content, search, and social on the web.

07:00pm–12:00am
Wednesday Night Bash

There ain't no party like a Moz party! It's true. We invite all MozCon attendees to join us on Wednesday night until midnight at the Garage for pool, photos, bowling, karaoke, and more. Let's relax and celebrate with all the new friends we've made.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

Congratulations to our MozCon Ignite speakers!

MozCon Ignite is quickly becoming one of our favorite evening events. Trust me, you don't want to miss this Tuesday night MozCon event where our community comes together to share ideas, heartwarming tales, hilarious fun, and more about their lives outside of business and marketing. All in 5-minute stories. If you don't know what Ignite is, check out this 5-minute Ignite talk about what Ignite presentations are. This year, MozCon Ignite will be at McCaw Hall, home of the Seattle opera.

Our lineup (in alphanumerical order):

Help! I Can't Stop Sweating – Hyperhidrosis with Adam Melson

Seer Interactive
@adammelson

With a love for all things digital, Adam Melson works for Seer Interactive as a team lead and has been there for over eight years. Outside of work, Adam loves running, hanging around his wife and baby, and sweats. A lot. Many people have a sweating problem. He'll go into that problem and solutions for it.

Life Lessons Learned as a Special Needs Parent with Adrian Vender

Internet Marketing Inc
@adrianvender

Adrian Vender is a seasoned digital marketing and analytics consultant, currently acting as the Director of Analytics at IMI. Adrian has a passion for integrating technical solutions to marketing strategies to provide the best opportunity for campaign optimization. When Adrian decides to give up on working for the day, he can get lost in the world of Reddit or in quality family time.

How Pieces of Paper Can Change Lives with Anneke Kurt Godlewski

Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC
@amkurt

After traveling and studying abroad in the Netherlands, Anneke Kurt Godlewski settled in Toledo not only to be close to family, but also because northwest Ohio has the most interesting and compassionate people, which has helped her career in community-based marketing and PR.

Anneke has been called an excellent cook (she's just a great recipe-reader!), and she loves to take photographs, read, write, and give. She's also a freelance writer and currently working on a memoir called The Curvy Catholic, which chronicles keeping faith after bad dates, self-acceptance issues, and crazy motherhood.

Prison and a Girl that Loves Puppies with Caitlin Boroden

DragonSearch
@caitlinboroden

Caitlin Boroden is a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at DragonSearch in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY. She is fascinated by SEO, photography, puppies, and has a slight addiction to Reddit.

My Year of Fuck It! with Daisy Quaker

AMSOIL INC.
@daisyquaker

Daisy Quaker is an Online Marketing Manager at AMSOIL INC. She leads in-house SEO, online advertising, marketing automation, and lead nurturing efforts. She moonlights as co-founder at NezLab. NezLab specializes in Online Advertising (AdWords) audits that help clients maximize the return on their online ad campaigns. She also makes a mean curry and tries to get seven hours of sleep every night.

A Plane Hacker's Guide to Cheap *Luxury* Travel with Ed Fry

Hull.io
@edfryed

Ed Fry is a London-based marketer, employee #1 at inbound.org, and has just joined Hull.io as their first marketer. Outside of marketing, one of his favorite past times involves indulging in tea and scones at 35,000 feet.

Embracing Awkward: The Tale of a 5' 10" 6th Grader with Hannah Cooley

Seer Interactive
@hccooley

Hannah Cooley is an SEO manager at Seer Interactive in San Diego. (Yes, she knows Wil Reynolds. No, she doesn't have his personal phone number.) She may have been the most awkward 6th grader on earth, a phase that never quite went away.

Hornets, Soba, & Friends: A Race in Japan with Kevin Smythe

Moz
@KevSmythe

Kevin Smythe is a trail runner based in Seattle. When not running in the mountains, he's the controller at Moz, crunching numbers to provide balance to his life.

Wooly Bits: Exploring the Binary of Yarn with Lindsay Dayton LaShell

Diamond + Branch Marketing Group
@lindsaydayton

Lindsay Dayton LaShell is an experienced digital marketer, content strategist, and the founder of Diamond + Branch Marketing Group. She wishes she had six arms so that she could drink beer, scritch her dog, answer email, and knit a sock at the same time.

Finding Myself in Fiction: LGBTQUIA Stories with Lisa Hunt

Moz
@gentlethorns

Lisa Hunt is a Moz Helpster: the first to be hired outside of the U.S. and part of our small UK team. Before moving into support, she worked in retail as the manager of a bookshop. She was very disappointed to learn that they don't teach you to read in your first year at primary school and insisted that her mum teach her instead.

Is Your Family Time for Sale? with Michael Cottam

Visual Itineraries
@Michael512

Michael Cottam is an independent SEO consultant from Bend, Oregon. Michael's a full-time single dad of 9-year old Benjamin, and when not saving clients from the wrath and whim of Google, he takes Ben traveling around the world and exploring the great outdoors.

How to Start an Underground Restaurant in Your Home with Nadya Khoja

Venngage Inc.
@nadyakhoja

Nadya Khoja is the Director of Marketing for Venngage and online infographic maker. When she is not working on promoting the tool, she hosts trade-based dinner parties in her apartment in Toronto.

Flood Survival: Lessons from the Streets of ATL with Sarah Lively

Nebo Agency
@sarahinatlanta

Sarah Lively is a Senior SEO Specialist at Nebo Agency where she specializes in building online reputations and helping clients perfect their digital strategies. She is also considered to be an amateur meteorologist and spends most of her spare time studying rain patterns and hiding from storms.

How a Cartoon Saved My Life with Steve Hammer

RankHammer
@Armondhammer

Steve Hammer is the co-founder and president of RankHammer, the 2015 US Search Awards small agency of the year. He's best known for his love of Adwords scripts and eating better than most anyone in Internet marketing.

It's going to be a blast! Thank you to everyone who tossed their hats in the ring. Seriously, it takes courage to try.

Hope to see you all at MozCon! Make sure to buy your ticket, as we sell out in advance every year.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!


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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Scooped by Damien O'Dwyer
Scoop.it!

Giving Duplicate Listing Management the Upgrade it Deserves

Posted by George-Freitag

Duplicate listings have been a plague to local search marketers since local search was a thing. When Moz Local first introduced duplicate closure in the fall of 2014, the goal was to address the horribly time-consuming task of finding and closing all those duplicate listings causing problems in Google, Bing, and various mapping platforms. Though we've consistently been making improvements to the tool's performance (we'll get into this later), the dashboard itself has remained largely unchanged.

Not anymore. Today, we're proud to announce our brand new duplicate management dashboard for Moz Local:

Here's a rundown of the features you can look for in the Moz Local upgrade:

New Duplicates Dashboard providing full visibility and transparency of duplicate listings at each stage of the workflow - open, reviewed, and closed - for all of your listings or any subset Enhanced duplicates workflow making detecting, reviewing, and closing duplicate listings in Moz Local even easier through advanced filters Enhanced duplicate management for faster and more accurate duplicate listing detection, submission, and tracking across all of Moz Local's partner networks

This duplicate management update represents a new standard in the industry and will help our users be more productive and efficient than ever.

A bit of context

Eliminating duplicates and near-duplicates on major data sources and directories has always been one of the most effective ways to increase your presence in the local pack. It's a key part of citation consistency, which was rated as the second most important tactic for getting into local pack results according to the 2015 local ranking factors survey. On top of that, in last May's Mozinar on local search, Andrew Shotland of Local SEO Guide mentioned that he saw a 23% increase in presence in the local pack just by addressing duplicates.

So we know that seeking and destroying duplicates works. The problem is that doing it manually just takes for-e-ver. Anyone who works in local search knows the pain and monotony of combing through Google for variations of a business, then spending more time finding the contact form needed to actually request a closure.

Our duplicate listing feature has always focused on easily identifying potential duplicates and presenting them to marketers in a way that allows them to quickly take action. In the case of the aggregators (like Infogroup and Localeze) and direct partner sites (like Foursquare and Insider Pages), this takes the form of single-click closure requests that are quickly reviewed and sent directly to the source.

For sites that aren't part of our direct network or don't accept closure requests from anyone, like Facebook, we still do our best to point our users in the right direction so they can close the listing manually. Originally, the dashboard took the form of a long list where marketers could scroll down and take action, as needed.

Though this worked great for many of our users, it quickly became problematic for large brands and agencies. Based on data collected from the thousands of brands and locations we track, we know that the average enterprise client can have around 3,500 duplicate listings and, in some cases, that number can be as high as 100,000 duplicates. Even though we estimate our tool can reduce the time spent managing duplicates by around 75%, when you have literally thousands of duplicates to parse through, a single to-do list quickly becomes impractical.

1. New dashboard for full transparency

The first opportunity we saw was to provide you with a bit more transparency into our closure process. Though we always provided some insight related to where we were in the closure process, there was no way to view this at an aggregated level and no way to see how many duplicates had been closed so you could track your progress.

So we fixed that.

Now all Moz Local customers can easily see how many duplicates are still marked as "open," how many are being reviewed, and how many listings have been successfully closed. If you're an agency or consultant, this can be especially useful to demonstrate progress made in identifying and closing duplicates for your clients. If you're a brand, this can be a great way to build a business case for additional resources or show the value of your local strategy.

We also saw another opportunity to improve transparency by further breaking down the reporting by the type of data partner. Moz Local has always been very deliberate in surfacing the relationship we have with our partners. Because of this, we wanted to add another layer of insight based on the nature of the partnership.

Verification Partners include Google and Facebook, since they're sources we use to verify our own data. Though we can't close duplicates directly at this point, they're so influential we felt it was imperative to include the ability to identify duplicates on these platforms and guide you as far as possible through the closure process.

Direct Partners are data sources that we have a direct relationship with and submit business listings instantly through our distribution service. For all major aggregators and most of our direct partner directories, you can use our single-click duplicate closure, meaning that all you have to is click “Close” and we'll make sure it's removed completely from their database, forever.

Lastly, we have our Indirect Partners. These are sources that receive all of our listing data via our direct partners, but we do not submit to directly. Though we can't close listings on these sources automatically, we can still detect duplicates and send you directly to their closure form to help you request the closure.

2. Improve workflow through filters

The second opportunity was to address the long list-view that our users used to identify, evaluate, and take action related to duplicates we discovered. With so many of our clients having hundreds or thousands of listings to manage, it quickly became apparent that we needed some advanced sorting to help them out with their workflow.

So we added that, as well.

Now, if you only want to view the listings that need action, you can just click “Open,” then scroll down and choose to close or ignore any of duplicates in that view. If you then want to see how many duplicates have already been closed and removed from the data partner, you can just click that checkbox. If you want to only see the open duplicate listings for a certain partner, like Foursquare, that's an option as well.

Further, just like everything else in the Moz Local dashboard and Search Insights, reporting strictly follows any filters and labels from the search bar. This can be especially useful if you're an agency that wants to narrow your view to a specific client, or a brand that wants to only view reporting for a single marketing region.

For example, if you only want to see closed duplicates from Infogroup located in Texas that are part of the campaign “hanna-barbera” well, there you go.

All data in any filtered view is easily exportable via CSV so you can repurpose it for your own reporting or research.

Lastly, all of these reports are retroactive, meaning any duplicates you've requested closure or closed in the past will show up in the new duplicates dashboard and be available for advanced sorting and reporting.

3. Enhanced duplicate management

The new interface and reporting features aren't the only things we've improved. Over the last year, our developers have been spending countless hours fine-tuning the duplicate closure process and improving relationships with our data partners.

Early on, the Moz Local team decided that the product should focus on the data sources that have the greatest impact for local businesses, regardless of their relationship with us, directly. As a result, we built the widest and most complex set of partnerships with aggregators, direct and indirect partners, and business directories in the industry. This update not only launches a new dashboard but also marks the kickoff for some huge improvements to our back-end.

Faster closure processing

The challenge that comes with working with a network as diverse as ours is that each of our partners handle duplicate listings in completely different ways. The Moz Local team has always had resources devoted specifically to work with our partners to improve our data submission and listing management processes. For duplicates, however, this meant we needed to help some of our partners enhance their own APIs to accept closure requests or, in some cases, create the API all together!

As part of this update, our development team has implemented new instrumentation and alerts to better identify submission errors sent to our partners, speed up the closure process, and quickly re-submit any closure requests that were not processed correctly.

Shorter review cycles

Additionally, we've shortened our internal review cycle for closure requests. In order ensure the quality of duplicate closures and to be sure our “alternates” feature isn't being used maliciously, we manually review a percentage of closure requests. Through a variety of processes, we are now able to programmatically approve more closures, allowing for faster manual reviews of all other closure requests. As a result, we are now able to automatically approve around 44% of all closure requests instantly.

The future

The most exciting thing about this update is that it's only the beginning. Over the next few months expect to see further integration with our data partners, discovery and progress notifications, increased closure efficiency, and more.

We hope you find our new duplicates dashboard useful and, most importantly, we hope it makes your lives a little bit easier.


Get Started with Moz Local!


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