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Digital Marketing

SEO Is Not an On/Off Switch — Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Dr-Pete

When business is struggling, budgets are tight, and resources limited, your company might be tempted to cut back or cut off SEO efforts to save time and money until things stabilize. But halting SEO altogether — even for a short time — is actually a bad idea, as it means more work for you and your business in the long run. 

Dr. Pete is here with a brand new Whiteboard Friday to tell you why SEO should not be treated like an on/off switch, and provide some suggestions on what to do instead. 

SEO is not an on/off switch

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Video Transcription

Hey, everybody, Dr. Pete from Moz here. I want to welcome you to my first recording from Whiteboard Friday Studio Chicago, aka my basement. I want to thank the content team, first of all, for getting me set up with the equipment, but especially for their patience. I am not an AV guy, so this has taken a little while longer than I had hoped. You’ve already seen some remote Whiteboard Fridays from Russ and Britney and Cyrus, and they’re doing a great job. So hopefully we can have some fun, and now I know the ropes and can get this going a little easier. 

So I want to talk about a serious topic today. Obviously, we’re going through some tough times. Budgets can be tight, and when that happens, you’re tempted to scale back marketing. Obviously, we’re in the business of selling SEO tools, and we don’t want you to do that because that’s where our food comes from and the roofs over our heads. I’ll be transparent about that. But I do think there are some real dangers to treating SEO like it’s an on/off switch. So I want to talk about the reality of that, and what can happen, and some of what to do to mitigate that. 

You can’t do more with less

A friend reached out to me and she said, “My boss is worried about budgets, and he wants to cut back paid search, and he wants to cut back content, and cut back social, but get the same results. What do we do?” Before the pandemic, I might have laughed at that. But it’s a serious question and a serious situation, and the reality is there’s no magic to this. We can’t expect to do more with less.

It’s a nice thing to say. But especially when people are struggling, and when our workers are having problems, and they’re stressed, and their time is being taken up doing mundane things — like grocery shopping — that are three times harder now, we can’t expect them to do more with less, and we can’t expect to do nothing and get results. So what do we do, and how do we deal with this problem?

You can’t treat organic like paid



So first of all, I just want to say that I think sometimes we look at the situation like this. If we scale back marketing, we can just wait until times are better, and then we can push it back up. So we turn on our search marketing. We get the traffic and things are great. We shut it off. Okay, that sucks. We don’t get the traffic, but we’re not paying. Turn it back on and boom the traffic is back. 

That’s not how it works, not even close. 

This is more like how paid search works. I don’t want to oversimplify. I used to work in paid search. Obviously, you’re optimizing and improving and adding negative keywords and doing A/B testing and all these things to hopefully get better and better performance. But, generally speaking, one of the advantages of paid search is that when you turn it on, the leads come. You get traffic right away that day. When you turn it off, you get nothing. The money is not there. You don’t get the leads. Okay, that’s rough, but you expect that, right? But you turn it back on, the leads come back that day. So this is the double-edged sword in a sense. It’s not that one is better than the other, but this is how paid search works. It’s a machine that you can flip off and on. 

That’s not how organic works. Organic does take time. So what happens is you turn it on, and you see this gradual ramp-up. Finally, it starts to peak and level off, and then you turn it off. Let’s say budgets are tight.

Okay, I understand that you’re not producing new content and you’re not optimizing. It’s not a thing you can just turn off frankly. But you still see positive results. You still see that traffic until this starts to trail off over time. Now that’s a good thing about SEO. It doesn’t immediately turn off. You still continue to get that traffic.

But the problem with SEO is when you turn it back on and when the money comes back, you’re going to have to go through this ramp-up again. The curve may be different shapes, and it may not go all the way down and it may not go back to where it was. But it’s going to take time. There’s going to be a lag, and it could be weeks or it could be months. So I think we make two mistakes. One we’ve already discussed.

One is number two ironically, that this is going to take time to come back. So if you count on just turning the switch back on and things recovering, you’re going to be disappointed, right? That’s going to take time. So it’s not just a situation of a pandemic. Let’s say you close down for remodeling or let’s say you had some kind of flooding or some kind of damage or something you needed to do to shut down for a month or two.

You can’t expect that, when you turn things back on, it will immediately come back. So you may have to get ahead of that. You may have to start spending again before things pick up. I know that’s a difficult thing, but you have to anticipate this lag. You have to be realistic about that. The other problem, though, is I think sometimes we hit this point, and we shut off our efforts.

We cut down content production. We don’t optimize. We switch agencies, whatever we do. We don’t see an immediate drop, and so we start to say maybe this isn’t really working. I think it’s a bit like exercise. I have this habit certainly over the years. You get motivated.

You do really well for a few weeks or a couple of months. You’re feeling good, and you start to plateau. You get a little frustrated, and then you stop. For a while, you still feel good, right? You have these dividends. That’s how it works, and that’s how organic search works. So you think, well, maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Maybe it wasn’t really helping me. Until two or three or six months later, when you realize how much worse you feel. Then by then, to start back up again takes effort, right? You don’t feel good when you start exercising again after that six weeks of sitting around. So it takes a couple of months to get back to where you were. So I don’t want you to go through that, and I want you to be a bit careful about that.

What you can do

So what can we do? By the way, I have no artistic skills. This is from my 10-year-old daughter. Any drawings you see on my Whiteboard Fridays will be probably from her. So thank you, Jordan. So a couple suggestions I have that are general.

1. Have a pulse

First of all, and I mean this quite literally, you need to continue to have a pulse.

If you shut down your business or your marketing, you may just think, “Well, okay, we’re going to get less leads. We’re going to get less of a good thing, but nothing bad is going to happen”. 

But the problem is this may be the only place people see you, and this may be where they come looking for you. So if you disappear, and especially in an environment like the pandemic where businesses are going under, people may look at that and say, “Oh, I guess they’re not around anymore. I guess they’re gone.”

They might not come back. They might not come looking for you again. I think there’s a very real danger of that, especially for small local businesses. So you want to make sure that your presence at least continues to exist. You have that pulse. 

It doesn’t have to be as frequent — you don’t have to do as much work, you don’t have to put out as much content, you don’t have to be as active on social — but I think you have to at least show people that you’re still alive and kicking so that they know to come back when things improve. Otherwise, they might just forget and go somewhere else. 

2. Tell your story

I think it’s okay, especially during times like this — and really any time that something is kind of going wrong — if you’re remodeling, you’re going to be closed for a couple months. That’s a real negative thing that’s hard. It’s okay to be personal. It’s okay to tell some of that story. 

My kids’ orthodontist, they’re a family-owned business locally here. They were really great when they were closed. They were closed for a couple of months, about two or three months. They were as responsible as I think they could be about it. They communicated their plans, but they talked to us. They sent emails. They told us about their story. They told us about being a family-owned business and why this was hard and why they thought it was the right thing to do. So when they reopened, there was a real trust there, and I was willing to send my oldest back and get her checked out and get the normal stuff done, that I might not have been if I wasn’t sure what was going on.

But I knew their procedures. I knew their story. I empathized with them, and I think that was a big deal. That’s something you should do. It’s okay to tell that, “Hey, this is hard. This is what’s going on. Here’s what’s going on with us. We hope you come back. We’re still here.”

3. Try new things

Then I think this is an interesting time to try new things. And maybe that sounds counterintuitive because when you have less money, trying something new seems like a bad idea.

But it’s okay to try new things. Maybe not as well as you normally would have. Ironically, this is a problem we’ve had with Whiteboard Friday. I’ve been remote my whole time at Moz, and so I’ve had to fly to Seattle to do recordings. So you see very few Whiteboard Fridays from me. There’s a handful over the years and one that gets repeated a bit. Because we have a studio there, we were afraid that the quality might not be as good.

It might not be up to par. It might hurt our brand, honestly. But when the pandemic came, we said, “Hey, you know what? Now we have no choice. The studio is closed. We can’t go into the office for a while.” Actually, currently we’re moving the office, so again we’re delayed. So it opened up this opportunity to try something new, try something different. Even with equipment, it costs less than one of us flying out there and staying for a few days one time.

So it made sense, and we realized that during this time people were going to naturally be forgiving. If we could get to 70% or 80% quality and improve back up over time, it was going to be okay. So I encourage you to do that. Try some formats you might not have tried before. Try some video. Use some basic equipment. We did home recordings for MozCon this year.

It was great. We had some basic equipment, Logitech web cam, a clip-on USB mic, much less sophisticated than what I’m using right now, a couple of ring lights. Maybe 200 bucks’ worth of equipment and a backdrop that really I thought looked great. It was really professional once we got used to it. Try podcasting.

Try something you haven’t tried before. Don’t worry about it being perfect, because I think this is a time that people will be okay with that. You can try some new things and hopefully come out stronger and come out with a new thing and resume what you were doing and maybe be ahead of where you were. So again, I just don’t want you to think that if you turn this thing off, you can flip it back on.

Be realistic. Don’t disappear. Try something new. Tell people what you’re going through. Be human. I hope you all get through this okay and that things are going all right. It’s great to see you. Thank you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Categories
Digital Marketing

Diversity and Inclusion in SEO: BIPOC and LGBTQ+ SEOs Share Their Experiences

Posted by NicoleDeLeon

People around the world are having important discussions about systemic racism, overt and covert bias, and how we can all do better.

Understanding the problem is the first step. To get a sense of conditions within the SEO community, we asked people to take our Diversity and Inclusion in SEO survey as part of our ongoing project to study the state of SEO.

Due to the subject matter and the way we reached out, our respondents were not a snapshot of the industry as a whole. We were very pleased to have 326 SEOs complete the survey, including a significant number of female, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ participants. These are important voices that need to be heard, but as we analyzed the data, we were careful not to generalize the industry as a whole without accounting for potential sampling bias. We addressed this by looking at groups separately — straight white cisgender men, BIPOC women, LGBTQ+ men, and so forth.

We recognize that intersectionality is common. Many of the SEOs who shared their stories with us don’t fit neatly into a single group. We addressed that by counting people in each category that applied to them, so a gay Black man’s answers would be factored into both the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC analyses.

Who participated?

Of the 326 SEOs who participated, 231 respondents (70.9%) described themselves as white. Among the rest, 32 SEOs described themselves as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish; 28 Black or African American; 18 Asian or Asian American; 11 Middle Eastern or North African; eight Indian or South Asian; four Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; and three American Indian or Alaska Native. (Some people were counted in more than one category.)

Our respondents included 203 SEOs who identify as women (including one transgender woman), 109 who identify as men (including two transgender men), and 11 who consider themselves nonbinary, genderqueer, two-spirit, or gender nonconformist. Three people preferred not to share their gender.

With regard to sexual orientation, 72.8% described themselves as heterosexual, 25.2% as LGBTQ+, and 2% preferred not to say.

About two-thirds (218 SEOs) of the participants were from the U.S., and about one in 10 (35 SEOs) were from the United Kingdom. The rest came from 26 other countries across the globe. The average age was 34.5 with 6.9 years of experience in SEO. (Please see the methodology section at the end for more details.)

How is the SEO community doing with diversity and inclusion?

We started our study by asking SEOs how our industry compares with the rest of the business world when it comes to discrimination and bias. More than half of our participants (57.7%) had a different career or significant job experience in another field before working in SEO, so we figured they’d be in a position to know.

Overall, most people (58.7%) think SEO is about the same as other professions. But among those who disagree, more think it’s worse (26%) than better (15.2%).

Surprisingly, there was also no statistically significant difference between BIPOC and white respondents when we asked about prevalence of bias in the industry. However, when we asked how big a problem it is, things got interesting.

Both BIPOC and white SEOs felt much more positively about their own companies than the industry as a whole.

Slightly more than 40% of both BIPOC and white SEOs said discrimination is “not a serious problem at all” within their own companies. However, almost three-quarters of BIPOC SEOs (74.0%) and more than two-thirds of white SEOs (67.5%) said bias is a “moderately serious” or “extremely serious” problem in the SEO industry.

Emotions ran high in the comments for this section. Jamar Ramos, 38, the black male chief operations officer of Crunchy Links in Belmont, California wrote, “White men on SEO Twitter are the f***ing worst. They are defensive, uncouth, and destructive for the industry. So scared of losing power they will drive EVERY BIPOC from SEO if they could.”

Another Black SEO, a 29-year-old woman at a Chicago agency, commented, “As a Black woman (and queer at that), I have definitely not seen a woman like me. I always (somewhat) joked around that I’ll be the Queen of SEO, but underneath those words was because I saw not only women underrepresented in the industry, but other minority subsects of being a woman underrepresented as well, such as being a Black woman and/or a queer Black woman. Where are we?!!”

Other perspectives were represented, as well. Said another 28-year-old Black female SEO, “I’m thrilled to work in an industry where there is the freedom to find multiple agencies that are welcoming to all, and the additional freedom to strike out on my own if I ever felt I should.” Many comments in later sections backed up these sentiments, with endorsements of the SEOs’ own companies and their diversity and inclusion policies.

How bad is it? Frequency of racial or ethnic bias in SEO

Our respondents were more diverse than the SEO industry as a whole, so we expect that their experiences would be a bit different, as well. Also, our survey was based on self-reporting, which can be inconsistent. That said, overall, 48.7% of our respondents told us they never experience racial or ethnic bias. Among the others, 6.7% experience racial or ethnic bias at least once a week, 10.9% at least once a month, 9.2% every couple of months, and 24.4% said it was rare but did happen on occasion.

Knowing that 7 out of 10 of our respondents were white, we broke the data down by the SEOs’ self-reported ethnic backgrounds to get a clearer idea about the extent of racial or ethnic bias. Here’s what we found.

Asian and Asian American SEOs were the most likely to say they experience ethnic bias at least once a week, followed by Hispanic or Latino SEOs.

Most Black or African American SEOs said discrimination was a monthly or bi-monthly experience for them. Not surprisingly, white SEOs were the least likely to experience racial or ethnic bias, although about a third said they do get discriminated against based on their heritage or cultural identity.

We’d like to know more about the racial and ethnic discrimination white SEOs are facing. Unfortunately, we focused on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ issues in this survey and did not include questions about religion, so we don’t know what role that might play. We also did not address ageism or disability issues. With each study we publish, we realize how much more we have to learn. We will be sure to explore those issues in future studies.

Gender and LGBTQ+ bias in SEO

There are a lot of forms of LGBTQ+ and gender bias. We let our survey participants interpret the phrase for themselves when asking how often they experience it. Overall, 94.1% of LGBTQ+ SEOs experience bias at least some of the time, and more than a third do so at least once a month. However, 72.5% of the heterosexual SEOs also said they feel gender discrimination at least some of the time.

The impact of bias

About 4 in 10 SEOs said they experienced bias in the past year. We asked them what impact it has had on their productivity, career trajectory, and happiness. Here’s what they said:

  • 69.1% feel “Bias in the workplace has had a negative impact on my productivity and sense of engagement.” (38.3% strongly agreed; 30.8% slightly agreed)
  • 72.1% feel “Bias in the workplace has had a negative impact on my career advancement and earnings.” (39.3% strongly agreed; 32.8% slightly agreed)
  • 74.6% feel “Bias in the workplace has had a negative impact on my happiness, confidence, or well-being.” (42.6% strongly agreed; 32.0% slightly agreed)

The cost of bias

How do discrepancies in pay, being passed over for promotion, and other forms of discrimination add up over the course of a career? There are many variables when comparing incomes. For example, pay can vary based on years of experience, size of company, and specific expertise.

We did the best we could to compare the incomes of SEOs with similar career profiles. Ultimately, we chose to focus on SEO generalists working in the United States, which gave us the largest pool of responses. We broke them down by gender, ethnicity, and age. Our sample sizes for men ranged from 8 to 22 people in each subcategory. Our sample sizes for women ranged from 13 to 35 for each subcategory.

These were small groups, so the results are far from definitive. But the consistency of a disparity merits conversation. Here’s what we found.

For male SEO generalists working in the United States:

  • In their 20s, white male SEOs reported earning an average of $75,312 per year. BIPOC male SEOs in their 20s reported earning an average of $63,500 per year (18.6% less).
  • In their 30s, white male SEOs reported earning an average of $95,833 per year. BIPOC male SEOs in their 30s reported earning an average of $89,091 per year (7.6% less).
  • In their 40s, white male SEOs reported earning an average of $115,937 per year. BIPOC male SEOs in their 40s reported earning an average of $90,417 per year (28.2% less).

For female SEO generalists working in the United States:

  • In their 20s, white women SEOs reported earning an average of $75,384 per year. BIPOC women SEOs in their 20s reported earning an average of $61,250 per year (23% less).
  • In their 30s, white women SEOs reported earning an average of $86,571 per year. BIPOC women SEOs in their 30s reported earning an average of $86,094 per year (0.6% less).
  • In their 40s, white women SEOs reported earning an average of $109,375 per year. BIPOC women SEOs in their 40s reported earning an average of $101,094 per year (7.6% less).

What does on-the-job bias look like?

“Where are you really from?”
“Are you the new diversity hire?”
“But you all look alike.”
“You’re Asian, so you’re good at math, right?”
“You don’t speak Spanish?”
“Do you play basketball?”
“I think what she was trying to say was…”

It can happen to anyone, but people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and women hear things like this often. A microaggression is a subtle behavior directed at a member of a marginalized group. It can be verbal or nonverbal, delivered consciously or not, and can pose a cumulative, damaging effect to the receiver.

Columbia University defines racial microaggressions as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities” that contain “hostile, derogatory, or negative” content or subtext. The result, according to a City University of New York study, can be “anxiety and depressive symptoms over and above the effects of non-race-specific stress.”

Minority racial and ethnic groups are often targets of microaggressions, but these offenses can be directed at any marginalized group in addition to people of color, including women, people with disabilities, individuals in the LGBTQ+ community, those with mental illness, single parents, and people in lower economic classes.

Many SEOs reported experiencing a cascade of microaggressions and similar offenses. A 46-year-old white woman in the U.K. with more than 15 years of experience in the field wrote, “I don’t feel I get taken at all seriously as a female SEO — to the extent that I stopped attending events years ago. It’s a total boys club, to the point of afterparties at strip clubs. As a woman, I’ve had male SEOs expect me to do all the legwork because my time is less important, and then they try and take credit for my work. When I called them out, I was met with bullying. It’s a disgusting situation to still be in after this long in the industry.”

The most common microaggression reported during the past year, by more than 4 in 5 SEOs (81.4%) in our poll, was being interrupted or spoken over. Second on the list, however, was an actively offensive action: Nearly 6 in 10 reported having an idea taken by someone else (57.5%).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 44.1% of respondents reported being paid less than similarly qualified employees. A 2016 Pew Research center report supported the data on this enduring travesty with regard to race and gender. Additionally, Census Bureau data from as recently as 2018 showed that women of all races still earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Among the 48.4% of respondents who report being talked down to or treated as less capable than similarly qualified employees, several made poignant comments to back up their responses.

A 26-year-old biracial woman at a small Midwestern agency said, “I am constantly having to prove my case or strategies, even when the target audience I am marketing/optimizing for looks more like me than my colleagues. I am questioned constantly and asked to prove my work, despite being the only person at the company with the knowledge and skills to produce the work.”

And one technical SEO said, “I am a white, cisgendered woman, so I have a lot of privilege, but I still have clients who feel the need to verify my recommendations with their own ‘research’ (rudimentary Google search) or by checking my advice against the opinion of white men, many of whom have less experience than I do (‘My nephew learned about SEO in college, and he says …’).”

Other common verbal microaggressions reported by survey respondents include being addressed unprofessionally (41.3%), hearing crude or offensive jokes about race and ethnicity (36.1%), or about sexual orientation or gender identity (38.5%).

Drilling down: specific microaggression experiences by group

We asked SEOs in our survey about the types of microaggressions they’ve been exposed to in the field, and found that some types of microaggressions are more commonly experienced by certain groups. We sorted respondents into six groups based on gender, ethnicity, and LGBTQ+ orientation to see how different issues affected each demographic. In some cases, we found surprising results.

At least half of SEOs in each group registered the most common microaggression: being interrupted or spoken over. In all, 91.1% of straight, white, cisgender women and 90.7% of LGBTQ+ women report this happening to them, while a surprising 82.5% of straight, white, cisgender men share the experience. Men in the BIPOC group reported barely half as many incidences of this microaggression in their experience.

All three categories of women were most likely to report a pay gap and having their ideas stolen. Reports from straight, white, cisgender women (65.8%), LGBTQ+ women (60.5%), and BIPOC women (59.3%) were remarkably consistent, falling within just slightly more than six percentage points of one another.

Meanwhile, men in the BIPOC group were most likely to say they’d been passed over for a promotion (41.7%), followed closely by LGBTQ+ men (40%), and women (37.2%).

Bad-faith banter

Conversations on the job were fertile ground for verbal microaggressions of different types. What some might consider harmless banter may not be harmless at all. We explored jokes and other verbal interactions that SEOs reported as disrespectful and hurtful.

We defined four different categories and found that the most common complaint occurred among straight, white, and cisgender women, 68.4% of whom reported “being talked down to or treated as less capable than similarly qualified employees.”

The other two most common complaints involved hearing “offensive jokes about race or ethnicity.” A total of 58.3% of BIPOC men reported hearing such jokes, but interestingly, even more LGBTQ+ men (60%) said they’d been exposed to this kind of inappropriate humor. And 37% of BIPOC women endured the same treatment.

A disappointing wealth of examples of this egregious behavior was described in the comments.

A 32-year-old white SEO who identifies as gender nonconformist described the time a “past employer, during the interview process, told me he wanted to make it clear to his (service industry) customers he wasn’t going to send any Black people to their homes. This job was rampant with racism and misogyny. I took the job out of desperation and got out as soon as I could.”

Another SEO, a 37-year-old Black woman, wrote, “When starting out, I worked at a boutique agency where many people felt comfortable telling Black and Asian jokes to me. I was on time for a business trip meetup at 5 a.m. and one employee joked that he didn’t realize Black people could get up that early. I left as soon as I could get another job that wouldn’t ding my résumé.”

Slightly more than 53% of LGBTQ+ women and men responded that they’d heard offensive jokes about gender identity or sexual orientation, the highest in that category. Likewise, LGBTQ+ men (20%) and women (14%) were most likely to have been asked how they got hired.

Mixed messages at work

Next, we considered four categories in which employees are implicitly singled out because of their membership in a marginalized group.

On the one hand, we asked whether group members had been singled out to promote an appearance of diversity — through tokenism or by assigning them to resolve problems of bias. The dubious value that such a request (under the best of circumstances) might signify, though, is negated by their opposite and often accompanying tendencies: targeting certain people or groups with suspicion (by being monitored more closely) or with criticism for their being “too sensitive” to discriminatory language/behavior.

LGBTQ+ men were most likely to report instances of tokenism (26.7%) and being labeled “too sensitive” (33.3%) to discrimination. BIPOC women ranked next in those categories, with 22.2% and 29.6%, respectively. Similarly, one-third of BIPOC women (33.3%) reported being supervised more closely than similarly qualified employees.

The comments for this section were rife with examples, like the one from a 36-year-old Hispanic/Latino male who described “being asked to ‘woke-check’ social content to see if anything in it might trigger a backlash from the immigrant community.”

Unsurprisingly, straight, white, cisgender men and women ranked in the bottom half of those reporting in each of the four categories. But men and women in other categories reported varying results. Nearly three times as many LGBTQ+ men (26.7%) as women (9.3%) said they’d experienced tokenism. Meanwhile, BIPOC women were far more likely than men — 29.6% to 8.3% — to report being labeled “too sensitive” for calling out discriminatory behavior or language.

We specifically asked BIPOC respondents to our survey how often they’d experienced three common forms of microaggression, dividing participants into four groups:

  • Middle Eastern/North African
  • Black/African American
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Asian/Asian-American

All four groups reported that the most common of the three microaggressions we asked about was being complimented for being articulate or “well-spoken” — indicating an implied and unfounded expectation that they wouldn’t be. Three-quarters (75%) of Middle Eastern/North African respondents and two-thirds (66.7%) of Black/African American survey participants said this had happened to them.

In addition, nearly half (47.6%) of Hispanic/Latino group members surveyed said they’d been asked where they’re “actually” from. This was at least 20 percentage points higher than for any of the other three groups. The results appear to reflect a bias against immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and a baseless distrust of their status as citizens or legal residents.

The third question explored what researchers have identified as a tendency to view members of other racial or ethnic groups as interchangeable: a bias that can lead to stereotyping and discrimination. In this instance, Black/African American participants were significantly more likely (44.4%) to indicate they’d been mistaken for someone else of their race or ethnicity.

How diverse are SEOs’ workplaces?

Representation of diverse populations is a huge issue in the microcosm of the SEO industry, as well as the macrocosm of business and society in general. We were interested in how SEOs viewed diversity in the rosters at their workplaces, both in the rank-and-file employee roster and in executive or leadership positions.

Survey respondents were nearly evenly split between working for an agency and working in-house at a company (45.9% and 42.2%, respectively), while the remainder split the difference between freelancing (5.3%) and consulting (6.6%) in the SEO field.

Overall diversity levels never exceeded 15.3% for organizations of any size, hitting that level for companies with 2-10 employees and again for businesses with 251-1,000 workers. Companies with 11-25 workers turned in a percentage of 12.1%.

Percentages were lowest at the largest corporations, with the worst showing (5%) at companies with 5,001-10,000 workers. Companies with more than 10,000 employees (6.5%) and with 1,001-5,000 workers (6.9%) did only slightly better. One-person companies were also relatively less likely to be diverse than other small or midsize businesses, at 7.5%.

To further plumb the depths of representation in various SEO employment situations, we asked survey respondents to estimate the level of diversity in their organizations, including at leadership levels. We asked the same question for racial and ethnic diversity and for gender and LGBTQ+ diversity.

BIPOC diversity

In exploring diversity levels for SEOs with regard to race and ethnicity, we found a fairly even split between those that were rated “somewhat” or “very diverse” (slightly more than 54%) and those that were “not very” or not at all diverse (roughly 46%). At the extremes, roughly 16% were very diverse, and just slightly less were not diverse at all.

But, as mentioned, leadership is less diverse: Fully half (50.4%) of companies said they had no diverse individuals in leadership roles, and just over 7% reported more than half of their leadership was diverse. In total, 82.5% of respondents said diverse individuals comprised less than 25% of their company’s leadership or less.

At major tech companies such as Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft, the bulk of racial and ethnic diversity in 2017 was represented by Asian employees, with Black and Hispanic employees making up just small slivers of the workforce.

Gender and LGBTQ+ diversity

When it comes to gender or sexual orientation, diversity results are slightly higher than those for race and ethnicity. More than 6 in 10 respondents (61.8%) answered that their companies were either very (20.9%) or somewhat (40.9%) diverse, compared with just 12% who said they were not diverse at all.

More specifically, however, the data seems to indicate less diversity.

For women, a 2018 report by the National Center for Women & Technology found that their share of the workforce at tech-related companies was 26%, far shy of the 57% for the U.S. workforce in general. Meanwhile, Black, Latina, and Native American women made up just 4% of computing jobs, even though they accounted for 16% of the overall population.

The numbers for LGBTQ+ leadership in our survey were even less encouraging: More than 4 in 10 survey participants (41.7%) said their leadership teams did not include any LGBTQ+ members, while a mere 4.4% said that more than a quarter of those team members were LGBTQ+ individuals.

An interesting finding: 37.4% of those who responded said they were not sure about the LGBTQ+ membership composition of their leadership teams. This would seem to indicate that many team members choose not to share their sexual orientation, suggesting a bigger-than-expected separation between private and professional life.

How important is diversity in SEOs’ workplaces?

In answer to the question, “Is diversity and inclusion a priority in your company,” the comments varied widely. Some respondents simply answered “No” — or if it was, they weren’t aware of it.

At the other end of the spectrum were comments along the lines of “We don’t need to try; our team is just naturally diverse and inclusive.” (As with other responses, the survey cannot address the accuracy of self-assessment.) Several other comments indicated that the company strived to hire the best person for the job, “regardless of any stereotype.”

Other responses were slightly more specific. Several said their companies had only started focusing on diversity in response to the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd’s death in police custody.

Others indicated that their companies have an established focus on gender equality, but had only recently begun to address BIPOC or LGBTQ+ issues. A 34-year-old gay white man at a large company wrote, “Diversity and inclusion is a priority for the gender pay gap, but doesn’t include or reference race or LGBT. There’s a women’s mentor program to help promote women to higher roles, and there’s a women’s network to raise visibility.”

When asked whether diversity was a priority at their company, nearly half (49.7%) of the SEOs indicated that it was — nearly three times as many as those who said it wasn’t (17.2%). One in five (20.34%) weren’t sure, and 12.8% checked “Other” and were asked to elaborate with specific responses. Roughly 19% of those questioned elected not to answer.

What steps do companies take to encourage diversity and inclusion?

The prevalence of “Yes” answers was encouraging. Many of these were followed up with detailed descriptions of initiatives and programs in place to promote diversity and inclusion at the respondents’ workplaces.

For example, a 29-year-old Black woman who described her company as “very diverse” detailed the organization’s initiatives like this: “We have a diversity and inclusion council with men and women of all different backgrounds from across the world. We have a North American task force; we publish our diversity data; we do outreach to educational institutions including HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities] to source talent; and we have anti-racism and inclusion training.”

Also, a 28-year-old woman who identifies as American Indian or Alaska Native in Austin, Texas, commented, “Our leadership has recently made great strides to take action to ensure diversity and inclusion is a topic our entire company is knowledgeable about. We are also taking actions to raise awareness about inequality in the tech industry in a landmark report about BIPOC in tech as well as finding ways to volunteer with a BIPOC kids coding organization.”

The number and breadth of diversity and inclusion initiatives our SEOs described were also encouraging. These ranged from interactive activities such as diversity training sessions and workshops to company communication efforts like informative newsletters and the publication of diversity data.

When it comes to personnel management, some businesses are further seeking to instill diversity and excise bias in their criteria for recruiting, hiring, and promoting. And, especially important in response to the on-the-job-learning aspects specific to the SEO field, participation in internships and mentoring programs is also a growing and well-supported option.

A 28-year-old Black nonbinary SEO described several initiatives at her large agency, saying, “They have a group focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. They are updating their practices around recruiting and interviewing to remove any unconscious racial biases. And, providing mandatory anti-racist training for all employees.”

For more detailed information on the measures companies are enacting to improve diversity and inclusion within their organizations, continue to the section below.

What are some solutions?

Diversity and inclusion data can look discouraging overall, but anecdotal responses told us that a breadth of measures are being taken to address disparities in representation, discriminatory practices, and inherent bias in everyday operations. Here are several of the initiatives cited by survey takers to enhance diversity and inclusion in the SEO workplace.

1. Initiatives at the corporate level

Employee participation in and consultation with advisory panels and task forces was a commonly cited effort, in addition to compiling and distributing informative resources like newsletters and reading lists. Several respondents described opt-in cultural activities designed to facilitate diversity, such as setting up Slack channels around particular affinities or topics, establishing employee book clubs, and spotlighting diversity in holiday celebrations.

One SEO generalist in the U.K., a 37-year-old white woman, described several activities of her company’s diversity organization, among them “[organizing] events around different holidays so everyone feels included. We celebrate Eid and Diwali, for example, and everyone in the company is encouraged to share and request days organized around things that are important to them. It’s a great initiative and I’ve learned so much from people openly sharing and discussing.”

2. Employee resource groups

Affinity-based employee resource groups, or ERGs, were cited as extremely valued resources for SEOs. These groups foster safe and informed forums in which different groups can gather to discuss issues, devise requests, suggest solutions, and share information.

One SEO manager, a 58-year-old white trans woman with nearly 15 years in the business, commented, “I am a five-time elected board member of the LGBTQIA ERG diversity group, Pride. We have seven ERGs here at [my company].”

Depending on the workplace and its demographics and company culture, ERGs may center on shared issues of gender, age, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ+ orientation, disability, mental health, neurodiversity, religion, parenting, military or veteran status, international communities, women in leadership, and more.

Naturally, any group is most effective and receives greater respect and resources when it’s sponsored and promoted by leaders at the executive level — whether or not the leaders share the demographics of the group.

3. Personal education and growth

Each individual has a responsibility to self-educate on topics related to bias and discrimination, diversity, equity, and inclusion surrounding the struggle of groups historically targeted for exclusion and injustice.

4. Allies in leadership

The support and advocacy of leaders at the executive level is not only the only ingredient necessary for changing company cultures overall. The vocal and steadfast support of allies from other groups is essential — and, unfortunately, often still lacking.

One SEO consultant, a 49-year-old woman who is biracial Latina and white, put it quite succinctly: “I see a lot of women in the SEO industry speaking out about the lack of diversity and inclusion, but very few men in the industry. Whenever one of these conversations gets going on Twitter, most of the men in SEO whom I follow suddenly get very quiet. The industry is only going to change when men also start taking action and speaking out about how the industry treats everyone other than men. Silence is complicity.”

5. Speaking up: see something, say something

Many people witness incidents of bias but struggle with how to respond. Especially if a company has not formalized a set of procedures for addressing such conflicts, employees are left to figure it out on their own.

As we know, there is no standardized societal guidebook for how to deal with discriminatory situations, especially in the U.S., where attitudes can be polarized and discussions difficult to initiate or sustain. Consequently, people chose a variety of responses to these situations, as evidenced by these findings:

As part of our survey, we asked participants whether they’d witnessed discrimination or bias against someone in their workplace during the past year based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. In all, 43.2% replied that they had, so we asked these participants to go further by telling us what they did in response.

Of that group, more than 4 in 10 (42.9%) took no action because they didn’t feel comfortable getting involved. This was true even though the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission has declared that workers “have a right to work free of discrimination” based on “race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older) or genetic information.”

One reason may be fear of retaliation, which the EEOC found was the most common issue cited by federal employees in discrimination cases. The same is likely true in the private sector. Respondents may fear the outcome if their employer fails to act on their report, and/or the accused discovers the source of the complaint.

In light of this, it was encouraging to find in our survey that 41.2% of witnesses to workplace discrimination told their supervisor. (Another option, reporting the conduct to Human Resources, was not included as a choice among our survey answers).

The most common answer: 56.3% confided in a colleague. This might indicate that these respondents weren’t comfortable going to an in-house supervisor, but also that they felt distressed enough about the situation that they wanted to tell someone.

Among other responses, slightly more than one-third (33.6%) spoke out in the moment, while others addressed the situation later, either with the target of the discrimination (37.8%) or the perpetrator (21%). In the accompanying comments, several reported following up later with both the target and the perpetrator.

6. Mentoring someone from a different background

SEO is a peculiar field in that there isn’t a well-defined path into the industry. The majority of SEOs are self-taught or learn on the job, figuring things out as they go. Or they have a mentor. One in three SEOs surveyed (33.1%) said mentors were their most significant source of SEO knowledge early in their careers.

Our survey asked four questions that went to the question of diversity among mentors. The first two asked whether respondents had worked with a mentor 1) of their own gender and/or 2) of the same race/ethnicity as theirs.

The results were interesting. While only 41.9% reported working with a mentor of their own gender, more than two-thirds (69.5%) said they’d worked with one of the same race/ethnicity. This would seem to indicate more diverse interaction among genders than exists between people of different races and ethnicities.

The next two questions asked whether respondents had worked with a BIPOC mentor and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. In terms of diversity, the results of the first question were disappointing, while answers to the second were encouraging.

A total of 10.8% said they’d worked with a BIPOC member, but that was far short of the U.S. population for that category, according to the U.S. Census. Black Americans alone accounted for 13.4% of the U.S. population in 2019, according to Census Bureau estimates, with Hispanic/Latino individuals checking in at 18.5%.

By contrast, 10.4% of respondents in our survey said they’d worked with a mentor from the LGBTQ+ community. That’s nearly double the percentage of LGBTQ individuals in tech-heavy California during 2019, according to the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute, which placed the figure at 5.3%.

Methodology

These insights were the result of a month-long survey of 326 SEO professionals conducted by North Star Inbound from August 24 to September 28, 2020. We promoted the survey on Twitter, our own blog, and by email. We’re grateful to Moz and Search Engine Land for also sharing the link.

In terms of gender, the SEOs described themselves as follows:

  • 203 identify as women
  • 109 identify as men
  • 1 is a trans woman
  • 2 are trans men
  • 11 are nonbinary, genderqueer, two-spirit, or gender nonconformist
  • 3 preferred not to say

With regard to sexual orientation:

  • 72.8% said they were heterosexual
  • 11.5% said they were bisexual
  • 4.1% said they were pansexual
  • 3.9% said they were gay
  • 3.3% said they were lesbian
  • 1.1% said they were asexual
  • 1.9% preferred not to say

The SEOs described their race or ethnicity as follows: (Participants were able to check more than one box)

  • 233 White
  • 30 Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish
  • 25 Black or African American
  • 13 Asian or Asian American
  • 7 South Asian/Indian subcontinent
  • 5 Middle Eastern/North African/Arabian peninsula
  • 4 Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • 2 American Indian or Alaska Native

The SEOs who completed the survey came from the following countries:

  • 218 from the U.S.
  • 35 from the U.K.
  • 11 from Canada
  • 9 from Germany
  • 8 from Taiwan
  • 6 from Spain
  • 2 each from Australia, Brazil, France, India, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, and Switzerland
  • 1 each from Argentina, Austria, China, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Mauritius, Peru, Portugal, and Turkey

The survey respondents’ average number of years in SEO was 6.9. The median number of years was 5. The average age was 34.5, and the median age was 32.

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!

source https://moz.com/blog/seo-diversity-inclusion

Categories
Digital Marketing

3 Digital PR Tenets for Excellent Outreach

Posted by amandamilligan

Content creation and promotion is our bread and butter at Fractl, but most of the questions we get are tied to the promotions side of the process.

People ask us: How are you able to secure media coverage on sites like CNBC, USA Today, and more?

It’s not easy, I’ll tell you that. It takes a lot of time and resources, and over the years we’ve established a set of tenets that guide our digital PR process.

I hope sharing them with you will help you refine your own strategy.

1. Research and relevancy are non-negotiable

When we surveyed 500 writers in 2019, we asked them about their biggest pitching pet peeves.

PR pros and journalists have a mutually beneficial relationship. We provide them a source for their posts, and they share what we produce widely with their audience.

Why is it important to avoid peeving off journalists?

The thing is, journalists receive dozens of pitch emails a day.

That’s why it’s so imperative that you craft the best possible email to them every time. You’re competing with tons of other content providers for the same spot on their editorial calendar.

As it turns out, they’re most annoyed when pitches aren’t relevant to them.

While this is great insight into how to surpass many of the other pitches that land in these writers’ inboxes, it’s still tough to know how to tangibly put this into action.

Based on our experience, here are our tips for making sure your pitches are relevant to the person you’re pitching:

  • What is the person’s beat? It’s often more specific than it may seem. For example, instead of digital marketing, they might only write about social media. Or instead of general health, they may write about health but only in conjunction with psychology. Make sure you’ve studied exactly what they cover so you’re not pitching something useless to them.
  • Do they ever cover external studies or the type of content you’re pitching? If they stick to opinion or investigative journalism, whatever you’re sending them might not be up their alley.
  • Can their website or platform support your content type? Not every site can embed interactives or videos. Or maybe the publisher is just sick of posting a certain content type like infographics. See what’s been published in the past and if your content fits in with what they’re regularly writing about.

While you’re doing this research, it doesn’t hurt to see how often that particular writer publishes. If it’s once a day, you have a much higher chance of getting coverage than if they’re a contributing writer who only writes for that publication once a month.

2. Personalization matters

People appreciate being seen, and recognizing that you’ve done your homework to make sure they’re actually a good fit to write about your content (as discussed in the previous section).

Adding a touch of personalization can go a long way in making it very clear you’re taking the pitch seriously, and also that you’re just two people having a conversation. (Wouldn’t you rather reply to someone you get a good first impression from?)

In a recent study, we sent 100 pitch emails, half with personalizations and half without them, asking for quotes to include in an article. We found that personalized emails received a higher rate of positive-sentiment responses.

Replies to personalized emails were 83.3% positive compared to replies to non-personalized emails, which were 60% positive.

We had a feeling this was the case because we get responses like this one from writers at Bustle and HubSpot, respectively:

“I have to commend you for great PR tactics here. I open so few of these, much less respond, so mentioning my cat AND sending a pic of yours AND including info that’s relevant to my beat gives you an A++. “

“Thanks for reaching out and showing OutKast some love. This is actually the only time I’ve ever responded to a pitch email.”

The media relations specialists knew that the former writer loved cats and the latter writer loved Outkast because they followed them on Twitter.

If you have a list of target publications or writers you’d like to reach out to, make sure you’re:

  • Following them on social channels to start building connections and getting a sense of who they are as people
  • Keeping tabs on their recent writings, not only for research purposes but to see if anything personally resonates with you that you can remark on

There’s no need to dig up stuff they’ve posted in the past — that’s when things start to get weird. Do your due diligence, but don’t make it an investigative mission. Remember: The goal here is to simply connect with another human being, and to show them you put in the work to pitch something they’d actually appreciate.

3. Emails should be short and straightforward

Some PR specialists worry that personalizing will make their emails too long and detract from their succinctness.

But personalization only needs to be a sentence or two, so it doesn’t put a huge dent in your overall word count, which, according to that same survey of publishers, should be about 100-300 words.

After leading with a personalized intro, it’s important to get right to the meat of what you’re pitching and why.

Make sure to include:

  • A link to the full content project (don’t ask if they want to see it — just provide everything they need)
  • Why you think the project is a good fit for their readers
  • Bullet points explaining the key relevant takeaways that would appeal to their audience

Take the guesswork out of it. A writer should already be intrigued by the time they click to read your full project, which ideally will sell them on including your information in their stories.

Conclusion

Perhaps the most important point of all doesn’t even relate to the pitching itself but to what you’re pitching. The truth is, no amount of excellent pitching can salvage a subpar piece of content. It’s why we don’t often offer our digital PR expertise as its own standalone service, unless we’re confident the content being provided to us is up to par.

You need high-quality content, well targeted outreach, concisely crafted emails, and a personalized approach, but with this winning combination, you can be earning top media coverage and backlinks for your brand.

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!

source https://moz.com/blog/digital-pr-tenets

Categories
Digital Marketing

Overcoming Blockers: How to Build Your Red Tape Toolkit — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by HeatherPhysioc

Have you ever made SEO recommendations that just don’t go anywhere? Maybe you run into a lack of budget, or you can’t get buy-in from your boss or colleagues. Maybe your work just keeps getting de-prioritized in favor of other initiatives. Whatever the case, it’s important to set yourself up for success when it comes to the tangled web of red tape that’s part and parcel of most organizations.

In this helpful — and still relevant — Whiteboard Friday episode from autumn 2018, MozCon speaker Heather Physioc shares her tried-and-true methods for building yourself a toolkit that’ll help you tear through roadblocks to get your work implemented.

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

Video Transcription

What up, Moz fans? This is Heather Physioc. I’m the Director of the Discoverability Group at VML, headquartered in Kansas City. So today we’re going to talk about how to build your red tape toolkit to overcome obstacles to getting your search work implemented. So do you ever feel like your recommendations are overlooked, ignored, forgotten, deprioritized, or otherwise just not getting implemented?

Common roadblocks to implementing SEO recommendations

#SEOprobs

If so, you’re not alone. So I asked 140-plus of our industry colleagues the blockers that they run into and how they overcome them.

  • Low knowledge. So if you’re anything like every other SEO ever, you might be running into low knowledge and understanding of search, either on the client side or within your own agency.
  • Low buy-in. You may be running into low buy-in. People don’t care about SEO as much as you do.
  • Poor prioritization. So other things frequently come to the top of the list while SEO keeps falling further behind.
  • High bureaucracy. So a lot of red tape or slow approvals or no advocacy within the organization.
  • Not enough budget. A lot of times it’s not enough budget, not enough resources to get the work done.
  • Unclear and overcomplicated process. So people don’t know where they fit or even how to get started implementing your SEO work.
  • Bottlenecks. And finally bottlenecks where you’re just hitting blockers at every step along the way.

So if you’re in-house, you probably said that not enough budget and resources was your biggest problem. But on the agency side or individual practitioners, they said low understanding or knowledge of search on the client side was their biggest blocker.

So a lot of the time when we run into these blockers and it seems like nothing is getting done, we start to play the blame game. We start to complain that it’s the client who hung up the project or if the client had only listened or it’s something wrong with the client’s business.

Build out your red tape toolkit

But I don’t buy it. So we’re going to not do that. We’re going to build out our red tape toolkit. So here are some of the suggestions that came out of that survey.

1. Assess client maturity

First is to assess your client’s maturity. This could include their knowledge and capabilities for doing SEO, but also their organizational search program, the people, process, ability to plan, knowledge, capacity.

These are the problems that tend to stand in the way of getting our best work done. So I’m not going to go in-depth here because we’ve actually put out a full-length article on the Moz blog and another Whiteboard Friday. So if you need to pause, watch that and come back, no problem.

2. Speak your client’s language

So the next thing to put in your toolkit is to speak your client’s language. I think a lot of times we’re guilty of talking to fellow SEOs instead of the CMOs and CEOs who buy into our work. So unless your client is a super technical mind or they have a strong search background, it’s in our best interests to lift up and stay at 30,000 feet. Let’s talk about things that they care about, and I promise you that is not canonicalization or SSL encryption and HTTPS.

They’re thinking about ROI and their customers and operational costs. Let’s translate and speak their language. Now this could also mean using analogies that they can relate to or visual examples and data visualizations that tell the story of search better than words ever could. Help them understand. Meet them in the middle.

3. Seek greater perspective

Now let’s seek greater perspective. So what this means is SEO does not or should not operate in a silo. We’re one small piece of your client’s much larger marketing mix. They have to think about the big picture. A lot of times our clients aren’t just dedicated to SEO. They’re not even dedicated to just digital sometimes. A lot of times they have to think about how all the pieces fit together. So we need to have the humility to understand where search fits into that and ladder our SEO goals up to the brand goals, campaign goals, business and revenue goals. We also need to understand that every SEO project we recommend comes with a time and a cost associated with it.

Everything we recommend to a CMO is an opportunity cost as well for something else that they could be working on. So we need to show them where search fits into that and how to make those hard choices. Sometimes SEO doesn’t need to be the leader. Sometimes we’re the follower, and that’s okay.

4. Get buy-in

The next tool in your toolkit is to get buy-in. So there are two kinds of buy-in you can get.

Horizontal buy-in

One is horizontal buy-in. So a lot of times search is dependent on other disciplines to get our work implemented. We need copywriters. We need developers. So the number-one complaint SEOs have is not being brought in early. That’s the same complaint all your teammates on development and copywriting and everywhere else have.

Respect the expertise and the value that they bring to this project and bring them to the table early. Let them weigh in on how this project can get done. Build mockups together. Put together a plan together. Estimate the level of effort together.

Vertical buy-in

Which leads us to vertical buy-in. Vertical is up and down. When you do this horizontal buy-in first, you’re able to go to the client with a much smarter, better vetted recommendation. So a lot of times your day-to-day client isn’t the final decision maker. They have to sell this opportunity internally. So give them the tools and the voice that they need to do that by the really strong recommendation you put together with your peers and make it easy for them to take it up to their boss and their CMO and their CEO. Then you really increase the likelihood that you’re going to get that work done.

5. Build a bulletproof plan

Next, build a bulletproof plan.

Case studies

So the number-one recommendation that came out of this survey was case studies. Case studies are great. They talk about the challenge that you tried to overcome, the solution, how you actually tackled it, and the results you got out of that.

Clients love case studies. They show that you have the chops to do the work. They better explain the outcomes and the benefits of doing this kind of work, and you took the risk on that kind of project with someone else’s money first. So that’s going to reduce the perceived risk in the client’s mind and increase the likelihood that they’re going to do the work.

Make your plan simple and clear, with timelines

Another thing that helps here is building a really simple, clear plan so it’s stupid-easy for everybody who needs to be a part of it to know where they fit in and what they’re responsible for. So do the due diligence to put together a step-by-step plan and assign ownership to each step and put timelines to it so they know what pace they should be following.

Forecast ROI

Finally, forecast ROI. This is not optional. So a lot of times I think SEOs are hesitant to forecast the potential outcomes or ROI of a project because of the sheer volume of unknowns.

We live in a world of theory, and it’s very hard to commit to something that we can’t be certain about. But we have to give the client some sense of return. We have to know why we are recommending this project over others. There’s a wealth of resources out there to do that for even heavily caveated and conservative estimate, including case studies that others have published online.

Show the cost of inaction

Now sometimes forecasting the opportunity of ROI isn’t enough to light a fire for clients. Sometimes we need to show them the cost of inaction. I find that with clients the risk is not so much that they’re going to make the wrong move. It’s that they’ll make no move at all. So a lot of times we will visualize what that might look like. So we’ll show them this is the kind of growth we think that you can get if you invest and you follow this plan we put together.

Here’s what it will look like if you invest just a little to monitor and maintain, but you’re not aggressively investing in search. Oh, and here, dropping down and to the right, is what happens when you don’t invest at all. You stagnate and you get surpassed by your competitors. That can be really helpful for clients to contrast those different levels of investment and convince them to do the work that you’re recommending.

6. Use headlines & soundbites

Next use headlines, taglines, and sound bites. What we recommend is really complicated to some clients. So let’s help translate that into simple, usable language that’s memorable so they can go repeat those lines to their colleagues and their bosses and get that work sold internally. We also need to help them prioritize.

So if you’re anything like me, you love it when the list of SEO action items is about a mile long. But when we dump that in their laps, it’s too much. They get overwhelmed and bombarded, and they tune out. So instead, you are the expert consultant. Use what you know about search and know about your client to help them prioritize the single most important thing that they should be focusing on.

7. Patience, persistence, and parallel paths

Last in your toolkit, patience, persistence, and parallel paths. So getting this work done is a combination of communication, follow-up, patience, and persistence. While you’ve got your client working on this one big thing that you recommended, you can be building parallel paths, things that have fewer obstacles that you can own and run with.

They may not be as high impact as the one big thing, but you can start to get small wins that get your client excited and build momentum for more of the big stuff. But the number one thing out of all of the responses in the survey that our colleagues recommended to you is to stay strong. Have empathy and understanding for the hard decisions that your client has to make. But come with a strong, confident point of view on where to go next.

All right, gang, these are a lot of great tips to start your red tape toolkit and overcome obstacles to get your best search work done. Try these out. Let us know what you think. If you have other great ideas on how you overcome obstacles to get your best work done with clients, let us know down in the comments. Thank you so much for watching, and we’ll see you next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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source https://moz.com/blog/overcoming-seo-blockers

Categories
Digital Marketing

Page Authority 2.0: An Update on Testing and Timing

Posted by rjonesx.

One of the most difficult decisions to make in any field is to consciously choose to miss a deadline. Over the last several months, a team of some of the brightest engineers, data scientists, project managers, editors, and marketers have worked towards a release date of the new Page Authority (PA) on September 30, 2020. The new model is exceptional in nearly every way to the current PA, but our last quality control measure revealed an anomaly that we could not ignore.

As a result, we’ve made the tough decision to delay the launch of Page Authority 2.0. So, let me take a moment to retrace our steps as to how we got here, where that leaves us, and how we intend to proceed.

Seeing an old problem with fresh eyes

Historically, Moz has used the same method over and over again to build a Page Authority model (as well as Domain Authority). This model’s advantage was its simplicity, but it left much to be desired.

Previous Page Authority models trained against SERPs, trying to predict whether one URL would rank over another, based on a set of link metrics calculated from the Link Explorer backlink index. A key issue with this type of model was that it couldn’t meaningfully address the maximum strength of a particular set of link metrics.

For example, imagine the most powerful URLs on the Internet in terms of links: the homepages of Google, Youtube, Facebook, or the share URLs of followed social network buttons. There are no SERPs that pit these URLs against one another. Instead, these extremely powerful URLs often rank #1 followed by pages with dramatically lower metrics. Imagine if Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James each scrimaged one-on-one against high school players. Each would win every time. But we would have great difficulty extrapolating from those results whether Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Lebron James would win in one-on-one contests against each other.

When tasked with revisiting Domain Authority, we ultimately chose a model with which we had a great deal of experience: the original SERPs training method (although with a number of tweaks). With Page Authority, we decided to go with a different training method altogether by predicting which page would have more total organic traffic. This model presented several promising qualities like being able to compare URLs that don’t occur on the same SERP, but also presented other difficulties, like a page having high link equity but simply being in an infrequently-searched topic area. We addressed many of these concerns, such as enhancing the training set, to account for competitiveness using a non-link metric.

Measuring the quality of the new Page Authority

The results were — and are — very promising.

First, the new model obviously predicted the likelihood that one page would have more valuable organic traffic than another. This was expected, because the new model was directed at this particular goal, while the current Page Authority merely attempted to predict whether one page would rank over another.

Second, we found that the new model predicted whether one page would rank over another better than the previous Page Authority. This was especially pleasing, as it laid to rest many of our concerns that the new model would underperform on old quality controls due to the new training model.

How much better is the new model at predicting SERPs than the current PA? At every interval — all the way down to position 4 vs 5 — the new model tied or out-performs the current model. It never lost.

Everything was looking great. We then started analyzing outliers. I like to call this the “does anything look stupid?” test. Machine learning makes mistakes, just as humans can, but humans tend to make mistakes in a very particular manner. When a human makes a mistake, we often understand exactly why the mistake was made. This isn’t the case for ML, especially Neural Nets; we pulled URLs with high Page Authorities under the new model that happened to have zero organic traffic, and included them in the training set to learn for those errors. We quickly saw bizarre 90+ PAs drop down to much more reasonable 60s and 70s… another win.

We were down to one last test.

The problem with branded search

Some of the most popular keywords on the web are navigational. People search Google for Facebook, Youtube, and even Google itself. These keywords are searched an astronomical number of times relative to other keywords. Subsequently, a handful of highly powerful brands can have an enormous impact on a model that looks at total search volume as part of its core training target.

The last test involves comparing the current Page Authority to the new Page Authority, in order to determine if there are any bizarre outliers (where PA shifted dramatically and without obvious reason). First, let’s look at a simple comparison of the LOG of Linking Root Domains compared to the Page Authority.

Not too shabby. We see a generally positive correlation between Linking Root Domains and Page Authority. But can you spot the oddities? Go ahead and take a minute…

There are two anomalies that stand out in this chart:

  1. There is a curious gap separating the main distribution of URLs and the outliers above and below.
  2. The largest variance for a single score is at PA 99. There are an awful lot of PA 99s with a wide range of Linking Root Domains.

Here is a visualization that will help draw out these anomalies:



The gray spaces between the green and red represent this odd gap between the bulk of the distribution and the outliers. The outliers (in red) tend to clump together, especially above the main distribution. And, of course, we can see the poor distribution at the top of PA 99s.

Bear in mind that these issues are not sufficient to make the new Page Authority model less accurate than the current model. However, upon further examination, we found that the errors the model did produce were significant enough that they could adversely influence the decisions of our customers. It’s better to have a model that is off by a little everywhere (because the adjustments SEOs make are not incredibly fine-tuned) than it is to have a model that is right mostly everywhere but bizarrely wrong in a limited number of cases.

Luckily, we’re fairly confident as to what the problem is. It seems that homepage PAs are disproportionately inflated, and that the likely culprit is the training set. We can’t be certain this is the cause until we complete retraining, but it is a strong lead.

The good news and the bad news

We are in good shape insofar as we have multiple candidate models that outperform the existing Page Authority. We’re at the point of bug squashing, not model building. However, we are not going to ship a new score until we are confident that it will steer our customers in the right direction. We are highly conscientious of the decisions our customers make based on our metrics, not just whether the metrics meet some statistical criteria.

Given all of this, we have decided to delay the launch of Page Authority 2.0. This will give us the necessary time to address these primary concerns and produce a stellar metric. Frustrating? Yes, but also necessary.

As always, we thank you for your patience, and we look forward to producing the best Page Authority metric we have ever released.

Visit the PA Resource Center

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!

source https://moz.com/blog/new-page-authority-timing

Categories
Digital Marketing

My 8 Best Local SEO Tips for the 2020 Holidays

Posted by MiriamEllis



Image credit: DoSchu

“No place like home for the holidays.” This will be the refrain for the majority of your customers as we reach 2020’s peak shopping season. I can’t think of another year in which it’s been more important for local businesses to plan and implement a seasonal marketing strategy extra early, to connect up with customers who will be traveling less and seeking ways to celebrate at home.

Recently, it’s become trendy in multiple countries to try to capture the old Danish spirit of hygge, which the OED defines as: A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.

While this sometimes-elusive state of being isn’t something you can buy direct from a store, and while some shoppers are still unfamiliar with hygge by name, many will be trying to create it at home this year. Denmark buys more candles than any other nation, and across Scandinavia, fondness for flowers, warming foods, cozy drinks, and time with loved ones characterizes the work of weaving a gentle web of happiness into even the darkest of winters.

Whatever your business can offer to support local shoppers’ aspirations for a safe, comfortable, happy holiday season at home is commendable at the end of a very challenging 2020. I hope these eight local search marketing tips will help you make good connections that serve your customers — and your business — well into the new year.

1) Survey customers now and provide what they want

Reasonably-priced survey software is worth every penny in 2020. For as little as $20/month, your local business can understand exactly how much your customers’ needs have changed this past year by surveying:

  • Which products locals are having trouble locating
  • Which products/services they most want for the holidays
  • Which method of shopping/delivery would be most convenient for them
  • Which hours of operation would be most helpful
  • Which safety measures are must-haves for them to transact with a business
  • Which payment methods are current top choices

Doubtless, you can think of many questions like these to help you glean the most possible insight into local needs. Poll your customer email/text database and keep your surveys on the short side to avoid abandonment.

Don’t have the necessary tools to poll people at-the-ready? Check out Zapier’s roundup of the 10 Best Online Survey Apps in 2020 and craft a concise survey geared to deliver insights into customers’ wishes.

2) Put your company’s whole heart into affinity

If I could gift every local business owner with a mantra to carry them through not just the 2020 holiday shopping season, but into 2021, it would be this:

It’s not enough to have customers discover my brand — I need them to like my brand.

Chances are, you can call to mind some brands of which you’re highly aware but would never shop with because they don’t meet your personal or business standards in some way. You’ve discovered these brands, but you don’t like them. In 2020, you may even have silently or overtly boycotted them.

On the opposite side of this scenario are the local brands you love. I can wax poetic about my local independent grocery store, stocking its shelves with sustainable products from local farmers, flying its Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ flags with pride from its storefront, and treating every customer like a cherished neighbor.

For many years, our SEO industry has put great effort into and emphasis on the discovery phase of the consumer journey, but my little country-town grocer has gone leaps and bounds beyond this by demonstrating affinity with the things my household cares about. The owners can consider us lifetime loyal customers for the ways they are going above-and-beyond in terms of empathy, diversity, and care for our community.

I vigorously encourage your business to put customer-brand affinity at the heart of its holiday strategy. Brainstorm how you can make meaningful changes that declare your company’s commitment to being part of the work of positive social change.

3) Be as accessible and communicative as possible

Once you’ve accomplished the above two goals, open the lines of communication about what your brand offers and the people-friendly aspects of how you operate across as many of the following as possible:

  • Website
  • Local business listings
  • Email
  • Social channels
  • Forms
  • Texts/Messaging
  • Phone on-hold marketing
  • Storefront and in-store signage
  • Local news, radio, and TV media

In my 17 years as a local SEO, I can confidently say that local business listings have never been a greater potential asset than they will be this holiday season. Google My Business listings, in particular, are an interface that can answer almost any customer who-what-where-when-why — if your business is managing these properly, whether manually or via software like Moz Local.

Anywhere a customer might be looking for what you offer, be there with accurate and abundant information about identity, location, hours of operation, policies, culture, and offerings. From setting special hours for each of your locations, to embracing Google Posts to microblog holiday content, to ensuring your website and social profiles are publicizing your USP, make your biggest communications effort ever this year.

At the same time, be sure you’re meeting Google’s mobile-friendly standards, and that your website is ADA-compliant so that no customer is left out. Provide a fast, intuitive, and inclusive experience to keep customers engaged.

With the pandemic necessitating social distancing, make the Internet your workhorse for connecting up with and provisioning your community as much as you can.

4) Embrace local e-commerce and product listings

Digital Commerce 360 has done a good job charting the 30%+ rise in online sales in the first half or 2020, largely resulting from the pandemic. The same publication summarizes the collective 19% leap in traffic to North America’s largest retailers. At the local business level, implementing even basic e-commerce function in advance of the holiday season could make a major difference, if you can find the most-desired methods of delivery. These could include:

  • Buy-online, pick up in-store (BOPIS)
  • Buy-online, pick up curbside
  • Buy online for postal delivery
  • Buy online for direct home delivery by in-house or third-party drivers

Here’s an extensive comparison of popular e-commerce solutions, including which ones have free trials, and the e-commerce column of the Moz blog is a free library of expert advice on optimizing digital sales.

Put your products everywhere you can. Don’t forget that this past April, Google surprised everybody by offering free product listings, and that they also recently acquired the Pointy device, which lets you transform scanned barcodes into online inventory pages.

Additionally, in mid-September, Google took their next big product-related step by adding a “nearby” filter to Google Shopping, taking us closer and closer to the search engine becoming a source for real-time local inventory, as I’ve been predicting here in my column for several years.

Implement the public safety protocols that review research from GatherUp shows consumers are demanding, get your inventory onto the web, identify the most convenient ways to get purchases from your storefront into the customer’s hands, and your efforts could pave the way for increased Q4 profits.

5) Reinvent window shopping with QR codes

“How can I do what I want to do?” asked Jennifer Bolin, owner of Clover Toys in Seattle.

What she wanted to do was use her storefront window to sell merchandise to patrons who were no longer able to walk into her store. When a staff member mentioned that you could use a QR code generator like this one to load inventory onto pedestrians’ cell phones, she decided to give it a try.

Just a generation or two ago, many Americans cherished the tradition of going to town or heading downtown to enjoy the lavish holiday window displays crafted by local retailers. The mercantile goal of this form of entertainment was to entice passersby indoors for a shopping spree. It’s time to bring this back in 2020, with the twist of labeling products with QR codes and pairing them with desirable methods of delivery, whether through a drive-up window, curbside, or delivery.

“We’ve even gotten late night sales,” Bolin told me when I spoke with her after my colleague Rob Ousbey pointed out this charming and smart independent retail shop to me.

If your business locations are in good areas for foot traffic, think of how a 24/7 asset like an actionable, goodie-packed window display could boost your sales.

6) Tie in with DIY, and consider kits

With so many customers housebound, anything your business can do to support activities and deliver supplies for domestic merrymaking is worth considering. Can your business tie in with decorating, baking, cooking, crafting, handmade gift-giving, home entertainment, or related themes? If so, create video tutorials, blog posts, GMB posts, social media tips, or other content to engage a local audience.

One complaint I am encountering frequently is that shoppers are feeling tired trying to piecemeal together components from the internet for something they want to make or do. Unsurprisingly, many people are longing for the days when they could leisurely browse local businesses in-person, taking inspiration from their hands-on interaction with merchandise. I think kits could offer a stopgap solution in some cases. If relevant to your business, consider bundling items that could provide everything a household needs to:

  • Prepare a special holiday meal
  • Bake treats
  • Outfit a yard for winter play
  • Trim a tree or decorate a home
  • Build a fire
  • Create a night of fun for children of various age groups
  • Dress appropriately for warmth and safety, based on region
  • Create a handmade gift, craft, or garment
  • Winter prep a home or vehicle
  • Create a complete home spa/health/beauty experience
  • Plant a spring garden

Kits could be a welcome all-in-one resource for many shoppers. Determine whether your brand has the components to offer one.

7) Manage reviews meticulously

Free, near-real-time quality control data from your holiday efforts can most easily be found in your review profiles. Use software like Moz Local to keep a running tally of your incoming new reviews, or assign a staff member at each location of your business to monitor your local business profiles daily for any complaints or questions.

If you can quickly solve problems people cite in their reviews, your chances are good of retaining the customer and demonstrating responsiveness to all your profiles’ visitors. You may even find that reviews turn up additional, unmet local needs your formal survey missed. Acting quickly to fulfill these requests could win you additional business in Q4 and beyond.

8) Highly publicize one extra reason to shop local this year

“72% of respondents…are likely or very likely to continue to shop at independent stores, either locally or online, above larger retailers such as Amazon.” — Bazaarvoice

I highly recommend reading the entire survey of 12,000 global respondents by Bazaarvoice, quantifying how substantially shopping behaviors have changed in 2020. It’s very good news for local business owners that so many customers want to keep transacting with nearby independents, but the Amazon dilemma remains.

Above, we discussed the fatigue that can result from trying to cobble together a bunch of different resources to check everything off a shopping list. This can drive people to online “everything stores”, in the same way that department stores, supermarkets, and malls have historically drawn in shoppers with the promise of convenience.

A question every local brand should do their best to ask and answer in the runup to the holidays is: What’s to prevent my community from simply taking their whole holiday shopping list to Amazon, or Walmart, or Target this year?

Whatever your business can offer to support local shoppers’ aspirations for a safe, comfortable, happy holiday season at home is commendable at the end of a very challenging 2020. I hope these eight local search marketing tips will help you make good connections that serve your customers — and your business — well into the new year.

My completely personal answer to this question is that I want my town’s local business district, with its local flavor and diversity of shops, to still be there after a vaccine is hopefully developed for COVID-19. But that’s just me. Inspiring your customers’ allegiance to keeping your business going might be best supported by publicizing some of the following:

  • The economic, societal, and mental health benefits proven to stem from the presence of small, local businesses in a community.
  • Your philanthropic tie-ins, such as generating a percentage of sales to worthy local causes — there are so many ways to contribute this year.
  • The historic role your business has played in making your community a good place to live, particularly if your brand is an older, well-established one. I hear nostalgia is a strong influencer in 2020, and old images of your community and company through the years could be engaging content.
  • Any recent improvements you’ve made to ensure fast home delivery, whether by postal mail or via local drivers who can get gifts right to people’s doors.
  • Uplifting content that simply makes the day a bit brighter for a shopper. We’re all looking for a little extra support these days to keep our spirits bright.

Be intentional about maximizing local publicity of your “extra reason” to shop with you. Your local newspaper is doubtless running a stream of commentary about the economic picture in your city, and if your special efforts are newsworthy, a few mentions could do you a lot of good.

Don’t underestimate just how reliant people have become on the recommendations of friends, family, and online platforms for sourcing even the basics of life these days. In my own circle, everyone is now regularly telling everyone else where to find items from hand sanitizer to decent potatoes. Networking will be happening around gifts, too, so anything you get noticed for could support extensive word-of-mouth information sharing.

I want to close by thanking you for being in or marketing businesses that will help us all celebrate the many upcoming holidays in our own ways. Your efforts are appreciated, and I’m wishing you a peaceful, profitable, and hyggelig finish to 2020.

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!

source https://moz.com/blog/holiday-2020-local-seo-tips

Categories
Digital Marketing

How to Detect and Improve Underperforming Content: A Guide to Optimization

Posted by SamuelMangialavori

Content, content, and more content! That’s what SEO is all about nowadays, right? Compared to when I started working in SEO (2014), today, content is consistently one of the most popular topics covered at digital marketing conferences, there are way more tools that focus on content analysis and optimization, and overall it seems to dominate most of SEO news.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a nice Google Trends graph that may change your mind:

Google Trends screenshot for “content marketing” as a topic, set for worldwide interest.

But why is it that content is now dominating the SEO scene? How vital is content for your SEO strategy, actually? And most importantly: how can you be content with your site’s content? Puns aside, this post aims to help you figure out potential causes of your underperforming content and how to improve it.

Why content is key in SEO in 2020

Content is one of the most important factors in SEO. Just by paying close attention to what Google has been communicating to webmasters in the last few years, it’s clear that they’ve put a strong emphasis on “content” as a decisive ranking factor.

For instance, let’s have a look at this post, from August 2019, which talks about Google’s regular updates and what webmasters should focus on:

“Focus on content: pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”

The article goes on, listing a series of questions that may help webmasters when self-assessing their own content (I strongly recommend reading the entire post).

That said, content alone cannot and should not be enough for a website to rank well, but it is a pretty great starting point!

Underperforming content: theory first

What is underperforming content?

When I say “underperforming content”, I’m referring to content, either on transactional/commercial pages or editorial ones, that does not perform up to its potential. This could be content that either used to attract a good level of organic traffic and now doesn’t, or content that never did generate any organic traffic despite the efforts you might have put in.

Over 90% of content gets no traffic from Google. Ninety bloody percent! This means that nine pages out of 10 are likely not to receive any organic traffic at all — food for thought.

What are the causes of underperforming content?

There could be many reasons why your content is not doing well, but the brutal truth is often simple: in most cases, your content is simply not good enough and does not deserve to rank in the top organic positions.

Having said that, here are the most common reasons why your content may be underperforming: they are in no particular order and I will highlight the most important, in my opinion.

Your content does not match the user intent

    Based on my experience, this is a very important thing that even experienced marketers still get wrong. It may be the case that your content is good and relevant to your users, but does not match the intent that Google is showcasing in the SERP for the keywords of focus.

    As SEOs, our aim should be to match user intent, which means we first need to understand the what and the who before defining the how. Whose intent we are targeting and what is represented in the SERP will define the strategy we use to get there.

    Example: webmasters who hope to rank for a “navigational or informational” keyword with a transactional, page or vice versa.

    Your content isn’t in the ideal format Google is prioritizing

      Google may be favoring a certain type of format which your content doesn’t conform to, hence it isn’t receiving the expected visibility.

      Example: you hope to rank with a text-heavy blog post for a “how to” keyword where Google is prioritizing video content.

      Your content is way too “thin” compared to what is ranking

        It doesn’t necessarily have to be a matter of content length (there is no proven content length formula out there, trust me) but more relevance and comprehensiveness. It may be the case that your content is simply not as compelling as other sites out there, hence Google prioritizing those over you.

        Example: you hope to rank for heavily competitive informational keywords with a 200-words blog post.

        Your content isn’t as up-to-date

          If your content is very topical, and such a topic heavily depends on information which may change with time, then Google will reward sites that put effort into keeping the content fresh and up-to-date. Apart from search engines themselves, users really care about fresh content — no one wants to read an “SEO guide to improve underperforming content” that was created in 2015!

          Example: certain subjects/verticals tend to be more prone to this issue, but generally anything related to regulations/laws/guidelines which tend to change often.

          Your content is heavily seasonal or tied to a past event/experience

            Self-explanatory: if your content is about something that occurred in the past, generally the interest for that particular subject will gradually decrease over time. There are exceptions, of course (god save the 90s and my fav Netflix show “The Last Dance”), but you get the gist.

            Example: topics such as dated events or experiences (Olympics 2016, past editions of Black Friday, and so on) or newsworthy content (2016 US election, Kanye running for president — no wait that is still happening…).

            Your tech directives have changed the page’s indexation status

              If something happens to your page that makes it fall out of Google’s index. The most common issues could be: unexpected no-index tag, canonical tag, incorrect hreflang tags, page status changes, page removed with Google Search Console’s remove tool, and so on.

              Example: after some SEO recommendations, your devs mistakenly put a no-index tag on your page without you realizing.

              Your page is victim of duplication or cannibalization

                If you happen to cover the same or similar keyword topic with multiple pages, this may trigger duplication and/or cannibalization, which ultimately will result in a loss of organic visibility.

                Example: you launch a new service page alongside your current offerings, but the on-page focus (metadata, content, linking structure) isn’t different or unique enough and it ends up cannibalizing your existing visibility.

                Your page has been subject to JavaScript changes that make the content hard to index for Google

                  Let’s not go into a JavaScript (JS) rabbit hole and keep it simple: if some JS stuff is happening on your page and it’s dynamically changing some on-page SEO elements, this may impact how Google indexes your content.

                  Example: fictitious case where your site goes through a redesign, heavy JS is now happening on your browser and changing a key part of your content that now Google cannot render easily — that is a problem!

                  Your page has lost visibility following drastic SERP changes

                    The SERP has changed extensively in the last few years, which means many more new features that are now present weren’t there before. This may cause disruption to previous rankings (hence to your previous CTR), or make your pages fall out of Google’s precious page one.

                    Also, don’t forget to consider that the competition might have gotten stronger with time, so that could be another reason why you lose significant visibility.

                    Example: some verticals have been impacted more than others (jobs, flights, and hotels, for instance) where Google’s own snippets and tools are now getting the top of the SERP. If you are as obsessed with SERP chances, and in particular PAA, as I am and want more details, have a read here.

                    Your content doesn’t have any backlinks

                      Without going into too much detail on this point — it could be a separate blog post — for very competitive commercial terms, not having any/too few backlinks (and what backlinks represent for your site in Google’s eyes) can hold you back, even if your page content is compelling on its own. This is particularly true for new websites operating in a competitive environment.

                      Example: for a challenging vertical like fashion, for instance, it is extremely difficult to rank for key head terms without a good amount of quality (and naturally gained) backlinks to support your transactional pages.

                      How to find the issues affecting your content

                      We’ve covered the why above, let’s now address the how: how to determine what issue affects your page/content. This part is especially dedicated to a not-too savvy SEO audience (skip this part and go straight to next if you are after the how-to recommendations).

                      I’ll go through a list of checks that can help you detect the issues listed above.

                      Technical checks

                      Google Search Console

                      Use the URL inspection tool to analyze the status of the page: it can help you answer questions such as:

                      • Has my page been crawled? Are we even allowing Google to crawl the page?
                      • Has my page been indexed? Are we even allowing Google to index the page?

                      By assessing the Coverage feature, Google will share information about the crawlability and indexability of the page.

                      Pay particular attention to the Indexing section, where they mention user-declared canonical vs google-selected canonical. If the two differ, it’s definitely worth investigating the reason, as this means Google isn’t respecting the canonical directives placed on the page — check official resources to learn more about this.

                      Chrome extensions

                      I love Chrome extensions and I objectively have way too many on my browser…

                      Some Chrome extensions can give you lots of info on the indexability status of the page with a simple click, checking things like canonical tags and meta robots tags.

                      My favorite extensions for this matter are:

                      JavaScript check

                      I’ll keep it simple: JavaScript is key in today’s environment as it adds interactivity to a page. By doing so, it may alter some key HTML elements that are very important for SEO. You can easily check how a page would look without JS by using this convenient tool by Onley: WWJD.

                      Realistically speaking, you need only one of the following tools in order to check whether JavaScript might be a problem for your on-page SEO:

                      All the above tools are very useful for any type of troubleshooting as they are showcasing the rendered-DOM resources in real-time (different from what the “view-source” of a page looks like).

                      Once you’ve run the test, click to see the rendered HTML and try and do the following checks:

                      • Is the core part of my content visible?
                        • Quick way to do so: find a sentence in your content, use the search function or click CTRL + F with that sentence to see if it’s present in the rendered version of the page.
                      • Are internal links visible to Google?
                        • Quick way to do so: find an internal link on the page, use the search function or click CTRL + F with that sentence to see if it’s present in the rendered version of the page.
                      • Can Google access other key elements of the page?
                        • Check for things such as headers (example below with a Brainlabs article), products, pagination, reviews, comments, etc.

                      Intent and SERP analysis

                      By analyzing the SERP for key terms of focus, you’ll be able to identify a series of questions that relate to your content in relation to intent, competition, and relevance. All major SEO tools nowadays provide you with tons of great information about what the SERP looks like for whatever keyword you’re analyzing.

                      For the sake of our example, let’s use Ahrefs and the sample keyword below is “evergreen content”:

                      Based on this example, these are a few things I can notice:

                      • This keyword triggers a lot of interesting SERP features (Featured Snippet, Top Stories, People also ask)
                      • The top organic spots are owned by very established and authoritative sources (Ahrefs blog, Hubspot, Wordstream etc), which makes this keyword quite difficult to compete for

                      Here are quick suggestions on what types of checks I recommend:

                      • Understand and classify the keyword of analysis, based on the type of results Google is showing in the SERP: any ads showing, or organic snippets? Are the competing pages mainly transactional or informational?
                      • Check the quality of the sites that are ranking in page one: indicative metrics that can help you gather insights on the quality of each domain (DA/DR) are helpful, the number of keywords those pages are visible for, the estimated traffic per page, and so on.
                      • Do a quick crawl of these pages to bulk check the comprehensiveness of their content and metadata, or manually check some if you prefer that way.

                      By doing most of these checks, you’ll be able to see if your content is underperforming for any of the reasons previously mentioned:

                      • Content not compelling enough compared to what is ranking on page one
                      • Content in the wrong format compared to what Google is prioritizing
                      • Content is timely or seasonal
                      • Content is being overshadowed by SERP features

                      Duplication and cannibalization issues

                      Check out my 2019 post on this subject, which goes into a lot more detail. The quick version of the post is below.

                      Use compelling SEO tools to understand the following:

                      • whether, for tracked keywords of interest, two or more ranking URLs have been flip-flopping. That is a clear sign that search engines are confused and cannot “easily decide” on what URL to rank for a certain keyword.
                      • whether, for tracked keywords of interest, two or more ranking URLs are appearing at the same time (not necessarily on page one of the SERP). That is a clear signal of duplication/cannibalization.
                      • check your SEO visibility by landing page: if different URLs that rank for very similar keyword permutations, chances are there is a risk there.
                      • last but not least: do a simple site search for keywords of interest in order to get an initial idea of how many pages (that cover a certain topic) have been indexed by Google. This is an insightful preliminary exercise and also useful to validate your worries.

                      How to fix underperforming content

                      We’ve covered the most common cases of underperforming content and how to detect such issues — now let’s talk about ways to fix them.

                      Below is a list of suggested actions to take when improving your underperforming content, with some very valuable links to other resources (mostly from Moz or Google) that can help you expand on individual concepts.

                      Make sure your page can be crawled and indexed “properly”

                        • Ensure that your page does not fall under any path of blocked resources in Robots.txt
                        • Ensure your page is not provided with a no-index meta robots tag or a canonical tag pointing elsewhere (a self-referencing canonical tag is something you may want to consider but not compulsory at all).
                        • Check whether other pages have a canonical tag pointing to your URL of focus. Irrelevant or poorly-done canonical tags tend to get ignored by Google — you can check if that is the case in the URL Inspection tool.
                        • Ensure your site (not just your page) is free from any non-SEO friendly JavaScript that can alter key on-page elements (such as headers, body content, internal links, etc.).
                        • Ensure your page is linked internally on the site and present in your XML sitemap.

                        Understand search intent

                        • Search intent is a fascinating topic in and of itself, and there are a lot of great resources on the subject if you want to delve deeper into it.
                        • Put simply, you should always research what the SERP looks like for the topic of interest: by analyzing the SERP and all its features (organic and non), you can get a much better understanding of what search engines are looking for in order to match intent.
                        • By auditing the SERP, you should be able to answer the following questions:
                          • What type of content is Google favoring here: transactional, navigational, informational?
                          • How competitive are the keywords of focus and how authoritative are those competitors ranking highly for them?
                          • What content format is Google showcasing in the SERP?
                          • How comprehensive should my content be to get a chance to rank in page one?
                          • What keywords are used in the competitor’s metadata?
                          • What organic features should I consider addressing with my content (things like featured snippets, people also ask, top images, etc.)?
                        • Hopefully all the questions above will also give you a realistic view of your chances of ranking on Google’s first page. Don’t be afraid to switch your focus to PPC for some very competitive keywords where your real possibility of organic rankings are slim.

                        Map your pages against the right keywords

                          • This is a necessary step to make sure you have a clear understanding of not only what keywords you want to rank for, but also what keywords you are eligible to rank for.
                          • Don’t overdo it and be realistic about your ranking possibilities: mapping your page against several keywords variations, all of which show very different SERPs and intents, is not realistic.
                          • My suggestion is to pick two or three primary keyword variations and focus on getting your content as relevant as possible to those terms.

                          Write great metadata

                            • Title tags are still an incredibly important on-page ranking factor, so dedicate the right time when writing unique and keyword-rich titles.
                            • Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor anymore, but they still play a part in enticing the user to click on a search result. So from a CTR perspective, they still matter.
                            • SEO keyword research is the obvious choice to write compelling metadata, but don’t forget about PPC ad copies — check what PPC ad copies work best for your site and take learnings from them.
                            • Don’t change metadata too often, though: make sure you do your homework and give enough time to properly test new metadata, once implemented.

                            Make the right content amends

                              • Based on the intent audit and keyword mapping insights, you’re now ready to work on your actual page content.
                              • By now, you’ve done your homework, so you just need to focus on writing great content for the user (and not for Google).
                              • Readability is a very important part of a page. Tricks that I’ve learned from colleagues over the years are the following:
                                • Read the content out loud and try to objectively assess how interesting it is for your target audience.
                                • Make sure to use enough spacing between lines and paragraphs. People’s attention span these days is very short, and chances are people will skim through your content rather than dedicating 100% of their attention to it (I’m sure some of YOU readers are doing it right now!).
                                • Make sure your tone of voice and language match your target audience (if you can write things in plain English vs. highly technical jargon, do so and don’t over-complicate your life).
                              • Make sure you’ve thought about all internal linking possibilities across the site. Not only for the same type of page (transactional page to transactional page, for instance) but also across different types (transactional page to video/blog post, if that helps people make a decision, for example).
                              • Optional step: once everything is ready, request indexing of your page in Google Search Console with the URL inspection tool.

                              Final thoughts

                              Underperforming content is a very common issue and should not take you by surprise, especially considering that content is considered among (if not the) most important ranking factors in 2020. With the right tools and process in place, solving this issue is something everyone can learn: SEO is not black magic, the answer tends to be logical.

                              First, understand the cause(s) for your underperforming content. Once you’re certain you’re compliant with Google’s technical guidelines, move on to determining what intent you’re trying to satisfy. Your research on intent should be comprehensive: this is what’s going to decide what changes you’ll need to make to your content. At that point, you’ll be ready to make the necessary SEO and content changes to best match your findings.

                              I hope this article is useful! Feel free to chat about any questions you may have in the comments or via Twitter or LinkedIn.


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

                              Take the Survey

                              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!

                              source https://moz.com/blog/improve-underperforming-content

                              Categories
                              Digital Marketing

                              Accessible Machine Learning for SEOs — Whiteboard Friday

                              Posted by BritneyMuller

                              Machine learning — a branch of artificial intelligence that studies the automatic improvement of computer algorithms — might seem far outside the scope of your SEO work. MozCon speaker (and all-around SEO genius) Britney Muller is here with a special edition of Whiteboard Friday to tell you why that’s not true, and to go through a few steps to get you started. 

                              To see more on machine learning from Britney and our other MozCon 2020 speakers, check out this year’s video bundle. 

                              Get my MozCon 2020 video bundle

                              Accessible Machine Learning

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

                              Video Transcription

                              Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to this special edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are taking a sneak peek at what I spoke about at MozCon 2020, where I made machine learning accessible to SEOs everywhere.

                              This is so, so exciting because it is readily at your fingertips today, and I’m going to show you exactly how to get started. 

                              So to kick things off, I learned about this weird concept called brood parasites this summer, and it’s fascinating. It’s basically where one animal tricks another animal of the same species to raise its young.

                              It’s fascinating, and the more I learned about it, the more I realized: oh my gosh, I’m sort of like a brood parasite when it comes to programming and machine learning! I latch on and find these great models that do all the work — all of the raising — and I put in my data and my ideas, and it does things for me.

                              So we are going to use this concept to our advantage. In fact, I have been able to teach my dad most of these models that, again, are readily available to you today within a tool called Colab. Let me just walk you through what that looks like. 

                              Models to get you started

                              So to get started, if you want to start warming up right now, just start practicing clicking “Shift” and then click “Enter”.

                              Just start practicing that right now. It’s half the battle. You’re about to be firing up some really cool models. 

                              

                              All right. What are some examples of that? What does that look like? So some of the models you can play with today are things like DeOldify, which is where you repair and colorize old photos. It’s really, really fun. 

                              Another one is a text generator. I created one with GTP-2 — super silly, it’s this excuse generator. You can manipulate it and make it do different things for you. 

                              There’s also a really, really great forecasting model, where you basically put in a chunk of time series data and it predicts what the future might have in store. It’s really, really powerful and fun.

                              You can summarize text, which is really valuable. Think about meta descriptions, all that good stuff. 

                              You can also automate keyword research grouping, which I’ll show you here in a second. 

                              You can do really powerful internal link analysis, set up a notebook for that.

                              Perhaps one of the most powerful things is you can extract entities and categories as Google perceives them. It’s one of my favorite APIs. It’s through Google’s NLP API. I pull it into a notebook, and you basically put the URLs you want to extract this information from and you can compare how your URL compares to competitors.

                              It’s really, really valuable, fun stuff. So most importantly, you cannot break any of this. Do not be intimidated by any of the code whatsoever. Lots of seasoned developers don’t know what’s happening in some of those code blocks. It’s okay.

                              Using Colab

                              We get to play in this environment. It’s hosted in Google Drive, and so there’s no fear of this breaking anything on your computer or with your data or anything. So just get ready to dive in with me. Please, it’s going to be so much fun. Okay, so like I said, this is through a free tool called Colab. So you know how Google basically took Excel and made Google Sheets?

                              They did the same thing with what’s known as Jupyter Notebooks. So these were locally on computers. It’s one of the most popular notebook environments. But it requires some setup, and it can be somewhat clunky. It gets confused with different versions and yada, yada. Google put that into the cloud and is now calling it Colab. It’s unbelievably powerful.

                              So, again, it’s free. It’s available to you right now if you want to open it up in a new tab. There is zero setup. Google also gives you access to free GPU and TPU computing, which is great. It has a 12-hour runtime. 

                              Some cons is that you can hit limits. So I hit the limits, and now I’m paying $9.99 a month for the Pro version and I’ve had no problems.

                              Again, I’m not affiliated with this whatsoever. I’m just super passionate about it, and the fact that they offer you a free version is so exciting. I’ve already seen a lot of people get started in this. It’s also something to note that it’s probably not as secure or robust as Google’s Enterprise solution. So if you’re doing this for a large company or you’re getting really serious about this, you should probably check out some other options. But if you’re just kind of dabbling and want to explore and have fun, let’s keep this party going. 

                              Using pandas

                              All right. So again, this is basically a cloud hosted notebook environment. So one thing that I want to really focus on here, because I think it’s the most valuable for SEOs, is this library known as “pandas”.

                              Pandas is a data frame library, where you basically run one — or two — lines of code. You can choose your file from your local computer, so I usually just upload CSVs. This silly example is one that I really did run with Google Search Console data.

                              So you run this in a notebook. Again, I’m sharing this entire notebook with you today. So if you just go to it and you do this, it brings you through the cells. It’s not as intimidating as it looks. So if you just click into that first cell, even if it’s just that text cell, “Shift + Enter”, it will bring you through the notebook. 

                              So once you get past and once you fire up this chunk of code right here, upload your CSV. Then once you upload it, you are going to name your data frame. 

                              So these are the only two cells you need to really change or do anything with if you want. Well, you need to. 

                              So we are uploading your file, and then we are grabbing that file name. In this case, mine was just “gsc-example.csv”. Again, once you upload it, you will see the name in that output here. So you just put that within this code block, run this, and then you can do some really easy lines of code to check to make sure that your data is in there.

                              So one of the first ones that most people do is “df”. This is your data frame that you named with your file right here. So you just do “df.head()”. This shows you the first five rows of your data frame. You can also do “df.tail()”, and it shows you the last five rows of your data frame.

                              You can even put in a number in here to modify how many rows you want to explore. So maybe you do “df.head(30)”, and then you see the first 30 rows. It’s that easy just to get it in there and to see it. Now comes the really fun stuff, and this is just tip of the iceberg.

                              So you can run this really, really cool code cell here to create a filterable table. What’s powerful about this, especially with your Google Search Console data, is you can easily extract and explore keywords that have high click-through rate and a low ranking in search. It’s one of my favorite ways to explore keyword opportunities for clients, and it couldn’t be easier.

                              So check that out. This is kind of the money part right here. 

                              If you’re doing keyword research, which can take a lot, right, you’re trying to bucket keywords, you’re trying to organize topics and all that good stuff, you can instantly create a new column with pandas with branded keyword terms.

                              So just to walk you through this, we’re going “df[“Branded”]”. This is the name of the new column we’re going to create. We have this query string “contains,” and this is just regex, (“moz|rand|ose”). So any keywords that contain one of those words gets in the “Branded” column a “True”.

                              So now that makes filtering and exploring that so much faster. You can even do this in ways where you can create an entirely different data frame table. So sometimes if you have lots and lots of data, you can use the other cell in that example. All of these examples will be in the notebook.

                              You can use that and export your keywords into buckets like that, and there’s no stall time. Things don’t freeze up like Excel. You can account for misspellings and all sorts of good stuff so, so easily with regular expressions. So super, super cool.

                              Conclusion

                              Again, this is just tip of the iceberg, my friends. I am most excited to sort of plant this seed within all of you so that you guys can come back and teach me what you’ve been able to accomplish. I think we have so much more to explore in this space. It is going to be so much fun. If you get a kick out of this and you want to continue exploring different models, different programs within Colab, I highly suggest you download the Colab Chrome extension.

                              It just makes opening up the notebook so much easier. You can save a copy to your drive and play with it all you want. It’s so much fun. I hope this kind of sparked some inspiration in some of you, and I am so excited to hear what all of you think and create. I really appreciate you watching.

                              So thank you so much. I will see you all next time. Bye.

                              Video transcription by Speechpad.com


                              Ready for more?

                              You’ll uncover even more SEO goodness in the MozCon 2020 video bundle. At this year’s special low price of $129, this is invaluable content you can access again and again throughout the year to inspire and ignite your SEO strategy:

                              • 21 full-length videos from some of the brightest minds in digital marketing
                              • Instant downloads and streaming to your computer, tablet, or mobile device
                              • Downloadable slide decks for presentations

                              Get my MozCon 2020 video bundle

                              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!

                              source https://moz.com/blog/accessible-machine-learning-seo

                              Categories
                              Digital Marketing

                              Accessible Machine Learning for SEOs — Whiteboard Friday

                              Posted by BritneyMuller

                              Machine learning — a branch of artificial intelligence that studies the automatic improvement of computer algorithms — might seem far outside the scope of your SEO work. MozCon speaker (and all-around SEO genius) Britney Muller is here with a special edition of Whiteboard Friday to tell you why that’s not true, and to go through a few steps to get you started. 

                              To see more on machine learning from Britney and our other MozCon 2020 speakers, check out this year’s video bundle. 

                              Get my MozCon 2020 video bundle

                              Accessible Machine Learning

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

                              Video Transcription

                              Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to this special edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are taking a sneak peek at what I spoke about at MozCon 2020, where I made machine learning accessible to SEOs everywhere.

                              This is so, so exciting because it is readily at your fingertips today, and I’m going to show you exactly how to get started. 

                              So to kick things off, I learned about this weird concept called brood parasites this summer, and it’s fascinating. It’s basically where one animal tricks another animal of the same species to raise its young.

                              It’s fascinating, and the more I learned about it, the more I realized: oh my gosh, I’m sort of like a brood parasite when it comes to programming and machine learning! I latch on and find these great models that do all the work — all of the raising — and I put in my data and my ideas, and it does things for me.

                              So we are going to use this concept to our advantage. In fact, I have been able to teach my dad most of these models that, again, are readily available to you today within a tool called Colab. Let me just walk you through what that looks like. 

                              Models to get you started

                              So to get started, if you want to start warming up right now, just start practicing clicking “Shift” and then click “Enter”.

                              Just start practicing that right now. It’s half the battle. You’re about to be firing up some really cool models. 

                              

                              All right. What are some examples of that? What does that look like? So some of the models you can play with today are things like DeOldify, which is where you repair and colorize old photos. It’s really, really fun. 

                              Another one is a text generator. I created one with GTP-2 — super silly, it’s this excuse generator. You can manipulate it and make it do different things for you. 

                              There’s also a really, really great forecasting model, where you basically put in a chunk of time series data and it predicts what the future might have in store. It’s really, really powerful and fun.

                              You can summarize text, which is really valuable. Think about meta descriptions, all that good stuff. 

                              You can also automate keyword research grouping, which I’ll show you here in a second. 

                              You can do really powerful internal link analysis, set up a notebook for that.

                              Perhaps one of the most powerful things is you can extract entities and categories as Google perceives them. It’s one of my favorite APIs. It’s through Google’s NLP API. I pull it into a notebook, and you basically put the URLs you want to extract this information from and you can compare how your URL compares to competitors.

                              It’s really, really valuable, fun stuff. So most importantly, you cannot break any of this. Do not be intimidated by any of the code whatsoever. Lots of seasoned developers don’t know what’s happening in some of those code blocks. It’s okay.

                              Using Colab

                              We get to play in this environment. It’s hosted in Google Drive, and so there’s no fear of this breaking anything on your computer or with your data or anything. So just get ready to dive in with me. Please, it’s going to be so much fun. Okay, so like I said, this is through a free tool called Colab. So you know how Google basically took Excel and made Google Sheets?

                              They did the same thing with what’s known as Jupyter Notebooks. So these were locally on computers. It’s one of the most popular notebook environments. But it requires some setup, and it can be somewhat clunky. It gets confused with different versions and yada, yada. Google put that into the cloud and is now calling it Colab. It’s unbelievably powerful.

                              So, again, it’s free. It’s available to you right now if you want to open it up in a new tab. There is zero setup. Google also gives you access to free GPU and TPU computing, which is great. It has a 12-hour runtime. 

                              Some cons is that you can hit limits. So I hit the limits, and now I’m paying $9.99 a month for the Pro version and I’ve had no problems.

                              Again, I’m not affiliated with this whatsoever. I’m just super passionate about it, and the fact that they offer you a free version is so exciting. I’ve already seen a lot of people get started in this. It’s also something to note that it’s probably not as secure or robust as Google’s Enterprise solution. So if you’re doing this for a large company or you’re getting really serious about this, you should probably check out some other options. But if you’re just kind of dabbling and want to explore and have fun, let’s keep this party going. 

                              Using pandas

                              All right. So again, this is basically a cloud hosted notebook environment. So one thing that I want to really focus on here, because I think it’s the most valuable for SEOs, is this library known as “pandas”.

                              Pandas is a data frame library, where you basically run one — or two — lines of code. You can choose your file from your local computer, so I usually just upload CSVs. This silly example is one that I really did run with Google Search Console data.

                              So you run this in a notebook. Again, I’m sharing this entire notebook with you today. So if you just go to it and you do this, it brings you through the cells. It’s not as intimidating as it looks. So if you just click into that first cell, even if it’s just that text cell, “Shift + Enter”, it will bring you through the notebook. 

                              So once you get past and once you fire up this chunk of code right here, upload your CSV. Then once you upload it, you are going to name your data frame. 

                              So these are the only two cells you need to really change or do anything with if you want. Well, you need to. 

                              So we are uploading your file, and then we are grabbing that file name. In this case, mine was just “gsc-example.csv”. Again, once you upload it, you will see the name in that output here. So you just put that within this code block, run this, and then you can do some really easy lines of code to check to make sure that your data is in there.

                              So one of the first ones that most people do is “df”. This is your data frame that you named with your file right here. So you just do “df.head()”. This shows you the first five rows of your data frame. You can also do “df.tail()”, and it shows you the last five rows of your data frame.

                              You can even put in a number in here to modify how many rows you want to explore. So maybe you do “df.head(30)”, and then you see the first 30 rows. It’s that easy just to get it in there and to see it. Now comes the really fun stuff, and this is just tip of the iceberg.

                              So you can run this really, really cool code cell here to create a filterable table. What’s powerful about this, especially with your Google Search Console data, is you can easily extract and explore keywords that have high click-through rate and a low ranking in search. It’s one of my favorite ways to explore keyword opportunities for clients, and it couldn’t be easier.

                              So check that out. This is kind of the money part right here. 

                              If you’re doing keyword research, which can take a lot, right, you’re trying to bucket keywords, you’re trying to organize topics and all that good stuff, you can instantly create a new column with pandas with branded keyword terms.

                              So just to walk you through this, we’re going “df[“Branded”]”. This is the name of the new column we’re going to create. We have this query string “contains,” and this is just regex, (“moz|rand|ose”). So any keywords that contain one of those words gets in the “Branded” column a “True”.

                              So now that makes filtering and exploring that so much faster. You can even do this in ways where you can create an entirely different data frame table. So sometimes if you have lots and lots of data, you can use the other cell in that example. All of these examples will be in the notebook.

                              You can use that and export your keywords into buckets like that, and there’s no stall time. Things don’t freeze up like Excel. You can account for misspellings and all sorts of good stuff so, so easily with regular expressions. So super, super cool.

                              Conclusion

                              Again, this is just tip of the iceberg, my friends. I am most excited to sort of plant this seed within all of you so that you guys can come back and teach me what you’ve been able to accomplish. I think we have so much more to explore in this space. It is going to be so much fun. If you get a kick out of this and you want to continue exploring different models, different programs within Colab, I highly suggest you download the Colab Chrome extension.

                              It just makes opening up the notebook so much easier. You can save a copy to your drive and play with it all you want. It’s so much fun. I hope this kind of sparked some inspiration in some of you, and I am so excited to hear what all of you think and create. I really appreciate you watching.

                              So thank you so much. I will see you all next time. Bye.

                              Video transcription by Speechpad.com


                              Ready for more?

                              You’ll uncover even more SEO goodness in the MozCon 2020 video bundle. At this year’s special low price of $129, this is invaluable content you can access again and again throughout the year to inspire and ignite your SEO strategy:

                              • 21 full-length videos from some of the brightest minds in digital marketing
                              • Instant downloads and streaming to your computer, tablet, or mobile device
                              • Downloadable slide decks for presentations

                              Get my MozCon 2020 video bundle

                              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!

                              source https://moz.com/blog/accessible-machine-learning-seo

                              Categories
                              Digital Marketing

                              How to Turn One Piece of Content into Multiple for SEO

                              Posted by liambbarnes

                              As most SEO specialists have learned, you must create quality content to grow organically. The same thing can be said for businesses that are building a social media presence or a new newsletter following.

                              But as people consume more and more content each day, they become less receptive to basic content that doesn’t provide a new perspective. To counter this issue, you must make sure that your content is native to each platform you publish on.

                              However, that doesn’t mean that you need to start from scratch. There’s a way to take one content idea and turn it into multiple, which can scale across multiple platforms and improve your brand awareness.

                              It takes time to write a brand-new blog article every day, especially when you’re an in-house team with a low number of resources and budget. The biggest challenge here is building a content strategy at scale.

                              So, how do you create a lot of great content?

                              You start with video.

                              If you have a video on a relevant topic, it can be repurposed into various individual pieces of content and distributed over a period of time across the right channels. Let’s walk through the process.

                              Using video to scale content

                              Did you know that the average person types at 41 words per minute (WPM), but the average person speaks at about 150 WPM? That is about 3.5 times faster speaking rather than typing. 

                              In fact, this article was transcribed.

                              For every article you write about, you must do extensive research, write out your first draft, edit, make changes, and more. It can consume an entire workday.

                              An easier way to do this? Record yourself on Loom or another video software, save it, and send the video file to an audio/video transcription service. There are so many tools, like Rev.com or TranscribeMe, that do this for relatively cheap.

                              Of course, even if you’re relying on text-to-speech, there’s still editing time to take into account, and some would argue it will take MORE time to edit a text-to-speech transcription. There isn’t a “best way” to create content, however, for those who aren’t strong writers but are strong speakers, transcription will be a powerful way to move at a quicker pace.

                              The step-by-step process 

                              Once you write out your content, how do you ensure that people read it?

                              Like any other content strategy, make sure that the process of planning, creating, and executing is written down (most likely digitally in a spreadsheet or tracking tool) and followed.

                              Let’s break down how to get the most out of your content.

                              1. Grab attention with your topic

                                Sometimes, content ideation can be the most challenging part of the process. Depending on the purpose of your content, there are various starting points.

                                For example, if you’re writing a top-of-funnel blog article where the goal is to drive high amounts of organic traffic, start by performing keyword research to craft your topic. Why? You need to understand what your audience searches for and how to ensure you’re in the mix of search results. 

                                If you’re creating a breakdown of your product or service, you may want to start by interviewing a subject matter expert (SME) to gain real-life details on the product/service and the solutions it provides to your target audience. Why? Note what they’re saying are the most important aspects or if there is a new feature/addition for the audience. These points can be tied into a topic that might pique the target reader’s interest.

                                2. Create an outline for the blog

                                  When you’re building out your blog structure, record a video similar to how you would write a blog article.

                                  In this case, by creating an outline for the article with the questions that you ask yourself, it’ll be easier to format the transcription and the blog after you record.

                                  3. Pick your poison (distribution strategy)

                                  Now that you’re ready to begin recording your video, decide where your content will be distributed.

                                  The way you’ll distribute your content heavily influences the way you record your video, especially if you’re going to be utilizing the video as the content itself (Hello, YouTube!).

                                  For example, if you run a business consultancy, the videos that you record should be more professional than if you run an e-commerce surf lifestyle brand. Or, if you know you’re going to be breaking the video up, leave time for natural “breaks” for easy editing later on.

                                  By planning ahead of time, you give yourself a better idea of where the content will go, and how it will get there.

                                  4. Your time to shine

                                  There are numerous free video recording software available, including Zoom and Loom.

                                  With Zoom, you can record the video of yourself speaking into your camera, and you will get an audio file after you hang up your call.

                                  With Loom, you can use the chrome extension, which allows you to record yourself in video form while sharing your screen. If you have additional content, like a Powerpoint presentation or a walk-through, this might be the tool for you.

                                  Regardless of the way that you record, you need an audio file to transcribe and transform into other content formats later on.

                                  5. Transcribe your video

                                  The average writer transcribes one hour of audio in around four hours, but some of the best transcribers can do it in as little as two hours.

                                  To put that into perspective, the average one-hour audio file is about 7,800 words, which would take the average writer around three and a half hours to write.

                                  Additionally, you have to add research time, internal linking, and many other factors to this, so on average it’ll take around an hour to write 1,000 words of a high-quality blog post.

                                  Transcription shortens the length of this process.

                                  When looking to transcribe your audio, you can send files out to transcription tools including Rev or TranscribeMe. Once you send them the audio file, you’ll typically receive the audio file back in a few hours (depending on the demand).

                                  6. Alter transcription into blog format

                                  You’ll receive the transcribed content via email, broken out by speaker. This makes it much easier to format post-transcription.

                                  If you properly outlined the blog prior to recording, then this editing process should be simple. Copy and paste each section into the desired area for your blog and add your photos, keywords, and links as desired.

                                  7. Chop your video into digestible parts

                                  Here’s where things get interesting.

                                  If you’re using your video for social media posts, shorten the video into multiple parts to be distributed across each platform (and make sure they’re built to match each platform’s guidelines).

                                  Additionally, quotes from the video can be used to create text graphics, text-based social posts, or entire articles themselves.

                                  Think of the watering holes that your target audience consumes information on the internet:

                                  • Google
                                  • LinkedIn
                                  • Instagram
                                  • Facebook
                                  • Twitter
                                  • YouTube

                                  Each platform requires creating a different experience that involves new, native content. But that doesn’t mean you have to start at zero.

                                  If you have a 10-minute-long video, it can be transcribed into a 2,500-word blog that takes about 10-15 minutes to read.

                                  Boom. You have another resource to share, which can also include proper keywords so it ranks higher on the SERP.

                                  Let’s say you end up editing the video down to about five minutes. From here, you can make:

                                  • A five minute video to post on YouTube and your blog
                                  • Ten 30-second videos to post across several social media platforms
                                  • Twenty 100-word posts on LinkedIn
                                  • Thirty 50 to 60-word posts on Twitter

                                  Woah.

                                  Not to mention there are other platforms like Reddit and Quora, as well as email marketing, that you can also distribute your content with. (Turn one of the 100-word LinkedIn posts into the opening in your latest newsletter, and attach the full video for those who want to learn more!)

                                  By starting off with an all-encompassing video, you extend your content capabilities from a regular blog article into 50+ pieces of content across multiple social media platforms and search engines.

                                  For example, Lewis Howes (and many other brands and marketers) are famous for utilizing this method.

                                  As you can see below, Howes had an interview for his podcast with Mel Robbins, which is scaled across YouTube and podcast platforms, but he took a quote from her in the interview and scaled it across Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

                                  When you build out your content calendar, simply copy and paste certain sections into an excel spreadsheet, and organize them based on date and platform. Make sure they make sense on the platform, add an extra line or two if you need to, and work your magic.

                                  This will save you hours of time in your planning process.

                                  8. Distribute

                                    Now that you have created your various forms of content, it’s time to make sure it appears before the right eyes.

                                    Having a consistent flow of relevant content on your website and social media platforms is a crucial part of empowering your brand, building credibility, and showing that you’re worth trusting as a potential partner.

                                    As you repurpose older content as well, you can repeat this process and pull together another 50+ pieces of content from a previously successful article.

                                    Improving organic search visibility

                                    “Discoverability” is a popular term in marketing. Another way to say it is “organic search visibility”. Your brand’s search visibility is the percentage of clicks that your website gets in comparison to the total number of clicks for that particular keyword or group of keywords.

                                    Normally, you can improve your visibility through writing a piece of content that reflects a target keyword the best and build links to that page, which improves your rankings for that keyword and long-tail variations of that keyword.

                                    However, as you begin to grow your business, you may begin heavily relying on branded search traffic.

                                    In fact, one of the biggest drivers of organic traffic is branded traffic. If you don’t have an authoritative brand, it’s challenging to receive backlinks naturally, and therefore more difficult to rank organically.

                                    One of the biggest drivers of brand awareness is through social media. More than 4.5 billion people are using the internet and 3.8 billion are using social media.

                                    If you want more people to search for your brand, push relevant social media campaigns that do just that.

                                    But even further than that, we are seeing more and more social media platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter showing up as search results and snippets. For example, below is the SERP for the keyword “how to make cookies”, where a series of YouTube videos show up:

                                    And this SERP for the keyword “Moz“ has the most recent Tweets from Moz’s Twitter.

                                    Writing content that ranks will continue to be important — but as Google keeps integrating other forms of social media into the SERPs, make time to post on every social media platform to improve search visibility and make your brand discoverable. 

                                    But, duplicate content?

                                    Duplicate content can be defined as the same content used across multiple URLs, and can be detrimental to your website’s health. However, from what we have seen through multiple conversations with marketers in the SEO world, there is no indication that websites are getting penalized for duplicate content when reposting said content on social media platforms.

                                    Conclusion

                                    Say goodbye to the time drain of creating one piece of content at a time. The most effective way to create a successful content marketing strategy is to share thought-provoking and data-driven content. Take advantage of this process to maximize your output and visibility.

                                    Here are some final tips to take away to successfully launch a content marketing strategy, using this method:

                                    1. Consistently analyze your results and double down on what works.
                                    2. Don’t be afraid to try new tactics to see what your audience is interested in (Check out a real-world content strategy I helped get results for here).
                                    3. Analyze the response from your audience. They’ll tell you what is good and what is not!

                                    Have other ideas? Let me know in the comments! 

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                                    source https://moz.com/blog/turn-one-content-piece-into-multiple-seo