Posted by MiriamEllis
Maybe it takes a bit of daring to forecast local search developments in quarters 2, 3, and 4 from the fresh heights of Q1, but the Moz team thrives on challenges. In this post, Rand Fishkin, Dr. Pete Meyers, George Freitag, Britney Muller, and I peer into the future in hopes of helping your local business or local search marketing agency be mentally and tactically prepared for an exciting ride in the year ahead.
|Rand Fishkin, Founder & Wizard of Moz|
My prediction is that the local SEO ranking factors will have a major shakeup, possibly devaluing some of the long-held elements around listing consistency from hard-to-control third parties. I think Google might make this move because, while they perceive the quality and trustworthiness of those third-party local data aggregators to be decent, they don’t want to force small business owners into maintaining contentious relationships or requiring them to learn about these services that control so much of their ranking fate. I’ll be the first to say this is a bold prediction, and I don’t give it super-high odds, but I think even if it doesn’t happen in 2017, it’s likely in the next few years.
|Dr. Peter J. Myers, Marketing Scientist at Moz|
I predict that local SEO will finally see the kind of full-on feature diversification (organic and paid) that has been going on with organic for a few years now. We’ve already seen many changes to local packs and the introduction of local knowledge panels, including sponsored hotel panels. Now Google is testing paid home services, ads in local packs, destination carousels, trip planning guides and, most recently, “Discover More Places” map results. By the end of 2017, “local SEO” will represent a wide variety of organic and paid opportunities, each with their own unique costs and benefits. This will present both new opportunities and new complications.
|George Freitag, Local Search Evangelist at Moz|
I also think we’ll see a new wave of features appear in the local pack over the next year. I believe that voice search will play a large part in this as it will determine the most important features that Google (and Amazon) will incorporate into their results. As both companies start to gather more and more data about the types of complex searches — like “How long will it take me to get there?” or something more ambitious like “Do they have any more of those in my size” — Google and Amazon will start to facilitate businesses in answering those questions by allowing more opportunities to directly submit information. This satisfies both Google’s desire to have even more data submitted directly to them and the searcher’s desire to have access to more information about the businesses, which means it’s something that is definitely worth their time.
|Britney Muller, SEO & Content Architect at Moz|
I predict that we will see Google acquiring more intimate details about local businesses. They will obtain details from your customers (via different incentives) for unbiased feedback about your business. This will help Google provide searchers with a better user experience. We’ve already started seeing this with “Popular Times” and the “Live” features, showing you if current traffic is under or over the typical amount for the specific location. Your location’s level of noise, coziness, bedside manner (for doctors and clinics), and even how clean the bathroom is will all become accessible to searchers in the near future.
|Miriam Ellis, Moz Associate & Local SEO|
I have a half-dozen predictions for the coming year:
Google paid packs will have replaced many free packs by 2017’s end, prompting local business owners to pay to play, particularly in the service industries that will find themselves having to give Google a piece of the pie in exchange for leads.
Local marketers will need to stress voice search optimization to business owners. Basically, much of this will boil down to including more natural language in the site’s contents and tags. This is a positive, in that our industry has stressed natural language over robotic-sounding over-optimization for many years. Voice search is the latest incentive to really perfect the voice of your content so that it matches the voice your customers are using when they search. Near-me searches and micro-moment events tie in nicely to the rise of voice search.
Expect much discussion of attributes this year as Google rolls out further attribute refinements in the Google My Business dashboard, and as more Google-based reviewers find themselves prompted to assign attributes to their sentiments about local businesses.
Ongoing study of the millennial market will cement the understanding that serving this consumer base means devoting resources to aspirational and ethical business practices. The Internet has created a segment of the population that can see the good and bad of brands at the click of a link, and who base purchasing decisions on that data. Smart brands will implement sustainable practices that guard the environment and the well-being of workers if they want millennial market share.
What won’t happen this year is a major transfer of power from the current structure. Google will remain dominant, but Facebook will continue to give them the best run for their money. Apple Maps will become more familiar to the industry. Yelp will keep building beyond the 115 million reviews they’ve achieved and more retail business owners will realize Yelp is even bigger for their model than it is for restaurants. You’ve pretty much got to be on Yelp in 2017 if you are in the retail, restaurant, or home service industries.
Amazon’s ingress into local commerce will almost certainly result in many local business models becoming aware of the giant coming to town, especially in metropolitan communities. I’m withholding judgement on how successful some of their programs (like Amazon Go) will be, but local business owners need to familiarize themselves with these developments and see what’s applicable to them. David Mihm recently mentioned that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon buying a few bankrupt malls this year — that wouldn’t surprise me, either.
Taken in sum, it’s a safe bet that local SEO is going to continue to be a significant force in the world of search in the coming year. Local business owners and the agencies which serve them will be wise to stay apprised of developments, diversifying tactics as need arises.
Now it’s your turn! Do you agree/disagree with our predictions? And how about your forecast? When you look to the future in local, what do you foresee? Please help us round out this post with predictions from our incredibly smart community.
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!
Reblogged 4 minutes ago from feedproxy.google.com
Posted by Maryna_Samokhina
The aim: This post highlights SEO areas that need to be addressed and decided on before the website brief is sent to designers and developers.
Imagine a scenario: a client asks what they should do to improve their organic rankings. After a diligent tech audit, market analysis, and a conversion funnel review, you have to deliver some tough recommendations:
“You have to redesign your site architecture,” or
“You have to migrate your site altogether,” or even
“You have to rethink your business model, because currently you are not providing any significant value.”
This can happen when SEO is only seriously considered after the site and business are up and running. As a marketing grad, I can tell you that SEO has not been on my syllabus amongst other classic components of the marketing mix. It’s not hard to imagine even mentored and supported businesses overlooking this area.
This post aims to highlight areas that need to be addressed along with your SWOT analysis and pricing models — the areas before you design and build your digital ‘place’:
Note: This post is not meant to be a pre-launch checklist (hence areas like robots.txt, analytics, social, & title tags are completely omitted), but rather a list of SEO-affecting areas that will be hard to change after the website is built.
After you identify your classic marketing ‘value proposition,’ next comes working out how you communicate it online.
Are terms describing the customer problem/your solution being searched for? Your value proposition might not have many searches; in this case, you need to create a brand association with the problem-solving for specific customer needs. (Other ways of getting traffic are discussed in: “How to Do SEO for Sites and Products with No Search Demand”).
How competitive are these terms? You may find that space is too competitive and you will need to look into alternative or long-tail variations of your offering.
These are the questions that are a starting point in your research:
This understanding will allow you to build your site architecture around the stages your customers need to go through before completing their goal. Rand offers a useful framework for how to build killer content by mapping keywords. Ideally, this process should be performed in advance of the site build, to guide which pages you should have to target specific intents and keywords that signify them.
Knowing who you are competing against in the digital space should inform decisions like site architecture, user experience, and outreach. First, you want to identify who fall under three main types of competitors:
After you come up with the list of competitors, analyze where each stands and how much operational resource it will take to get where they are:
Decide on whether you want to use HTTPS or HTTP. In most instances, the answer will be the former, considering that this is also one of the ranking factors by Google. The rule of thumb is that if you ever plan on accepting payments on your site, you need HTTPS on those pages at a minimum.
Duplicate content issues may arise when Google can access the same piece of content via multiple URLs. Without one clear version, pages will compete with one another unnecessarily.
In developer’s eyes, a page is unique if it has a unique ID in the website’s database, while for search engines the URL is a unique identifier. A developer should be reminded that each piece of content should be accessed via only one URL.
Developers are under pressure to deliver code on time and might neglect areas affecting page speed. Communicate the importance of page speed from the start and put in some time in the brief to optimize the site’s performance (A three-part Site Speed for Dummies Guide explains why we should care about this area.)
If you are planning on targeting users from different countries, you need to decide whether your site would be multi-lingual, multi-regional, or both. Localized keyword research, hreflang considerations, and duplicate content are all issues better addressed before the site build.
Using separate country-level domains gives an advantage of being able to target a country or language more closely. This approach is, however, reliant upon you having the resources to build and maintain infrastructure, write unique content, and promote each domain.
If you plan to go down the route of multiple language/country combinations on a single site, typically the best approach is subfolders (e.g. example.com/uk, example.com/de). Subfolders can run from one platform/CMS, which means that development setup/maintenance is significantly lower.
Google tends to update their recommendations and requirements all the time. Your platform needs to be flexible enough to make quick changes at scale on your site.
An effective information architecture is critical if you want search engines to be able to find your content and serve it to users. If crawlers cannot access the content, they cannot rank it well. From a human point of view, information architecture is important so that users can easily find what they are looking for.
Where possible, you should look to create a flat site structure that will keep pages no deeper than 4 clicks from the homepage. That allows search engines and users to find content in as few clicks as possible.
Use keyword and competitor research to guide which pages you should have. However, the way pages should be grouped and connected should be user-focused. See how users map out relationships between your content using a card sorting technique — you don’t have to have website mockup or even products in order to do that. (This guide discusses in detail how to Improve Your Information Architecture With Card Sorting.)
Consider what types of content you will host. Will it be large guides/whitepapers, or a video library? Your content strategy needs to be mapped out at this point to understand what formats you will use and hence what kind of functionality this will require. Knowing what content type you will producing will help with designing page types and create a more consistent user interface.
As we see more variation in devices and their requirements, along with shifting behavior patterns of mobile device use, ‘mobile’ is becoming less of a separate channel and instead is becoming an underlying technology for accessing the web. Therefore, the long-term goal should be to create a seamless and consistent user experience across all devices. In the interest of this goal, responsive design and dynamic serving methods can assist with creating device-specific experiences.
As a business owner/someone responsible for launching a site, you have a lot on your plate. It is probably not the best use of your time to go down the rabbit hole, reading about how to implement structured data and whether JSON-LD is better than Microdata. This post gives you important areas that you should keep in mind and address with those you are delegating them to — even if the scope of such delegation is doing research for you (“Give me pros and cons of HTTPS for my business” ) rather than complete implementation/handling.
I invite my fellow marketers to add other areas/issues you feel should be addressed at the initial planning stages in the comments below!
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!Reblogged 4 minutes ago from feedproxy.google.com
Lisa Malat says her brand is focused on initiatives that support the academic and social experience of the students it aims to serve.
Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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Shorter ads will be the focus as the traditional 30-second spot is pushed out.
Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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Learn about 3 Facebook automations that can help you better manage your ad campaigns.
Read more at PPCHero.comReblogged 13 hours ago from feedproxy.google.com
Inbound marketing and sales continue to have a massive impact on the way businesses market themselves and sell their products. More companies than ever before are opting for agencies that offer a full-funnel range of inbound services.
So what specific services does your agency need to offer in 2017 to stay on top of shifting client demands?
Get prepared for a profitable year with our free guide: The 7 Core Services of Inbound Marketing and Sales. To help your agency win new deals and deepen relationships with existing clients, we outline the services you need to succeed.
When you build out your firm’s capabilities to reflect the core services of inbound marketing and sales, your agency will be poised to capitalize on the emerging needs of businesses who have moved their marketing dollars online.
The ROI businesses get from inbound marketing and sales is extremely compelling for clients. So too are the opportunities for marketing agencies who develop services packages to deliver inbound work.
In fact, 73% of HubSpot’s Agency Partners reported seeing an increase of 2X or more in revenue after expanding their offerings to include both marketing and sales services.
Is your agency ready to take on 2017 with the right tools and services to help your clients succeed?
Access the 7 Core Services of Inbound Marketing and Sales guide here, and start producing (and proving) better ROI for your clients.
Reblogged 14 hours ago from blog.hubspot.com
In 2016, Google rolled Panda into its core algorithm. What this means for webmasters is that a website can be hit by (and recover from) a content penalty at any time.
But, more problematically, it also means it’s becoming impossible to diagnose why a website has dropped in rankings. Google ultimately does not want us to understand how its ranking algorithm works, because there will always be people who manipulate it. We now suspect that core signals are rolled out so slowly that SEOs won’t even realise when Penguin or Panda has refreshed.
For this reason, it makes it crucial that we understand how well our website is performing at all times. This blog post is intended to show you how to do a comprehensive content audit at scale, in order to find any gaps which may lead to rankings penalties.
Essentially, there are five types of content gaps a website may suffer from. I’ll explain each one, and show you how you can find every instance of it occurring on your website FAST.
Internally duplicated content is the daddy of content gaps. Duplicating optimised content across multiple pages will cause cannibalisation issues, wherein Google will not know which internal page to rank for the term. The pages will compete for ranking signals with each other, reducing the rankings as a result.
Further to this, if you have enough duplicate content within a directory on your site, Google will treat that entire directory as low quality and penalise the rankings. Should the content be hosted on the root, your site’s entire rankings are under threat.
To find these at scale you have to use Screaming Frog’s custom extraction configuration to pull all your content from your site, then compare in Excel for duplicates. Using this method, I was able to find 6,000 duplicate pages on a site within a few hours.
To configure Screaming Frog you first need to copy the CSS selector for your content blocks on all your pages. This should be relatively simple should your pages follow a consistent template.
Go onto the page, right click on the content and go to inspect element. This will open up the right panel at the exact attribute which you right clicked on. From there, right click again, but on the attribute, go to copy, then select copy selector:
From here you need to go into Screaming Frog. Go into the configuration drop down and select custom, then extraction.
From here this will bring up the below box, which you will then need to select CSSPath as the mode, and then paste your selector into the highlighted field, and change the second drop down to extract text.
Now if I run a crawl on the ASOS website, Screaming Frog is going to extract the above the fold content from all the category pages.
You can specify up to 10 separate paths to extract, so when you have templates with multiple content blocks, for example above and below the products, or category and product & static page templates, you will need to specify them in the same way I have just shown.
Now, it is going to be very unlikely that an entire page’s content, or an entire block of content, will be duplicated. Usually spun content keeps the majority of the content the same but will replace specific keywords. So trying to find duplicate content based on entire blocks of content is pretty futile. Luckily I have created a duplicate content tool for this exact situation.
Fire up the tool and input just the URL and content into the specified columns on the input tab. Essentially what we have to do is split the content down into sentences and compare occurrences this way.
The output will only work if you have a single content column, so if you have had to extract multiple content blocks on each URL simply combine them before you paste into the tool. You can do this with the concatenate function which for example would look like this (should your content be in columns A2 & B2).
=concatenate(A2, “.”, “B2”)
The period in the middle is essential (if your content does not contain periods at the end) because we are going to split the content out by text to columns by full sentences, so will use the period as the delimiter.
Next highlight the column with the content in it, then select text to columns. Select delimited, then select other and specify a period as the delimiter.
Once you have done this you will need to amend the formula in column A3 depending on how many columns of delimited text you have.
In my example I have ten columns so I will edit the formula to display as this:
Drag the formula down so we’re adding ten onto the figure of the preceding cell. This step is necessary as it allows us to group our delimited content by URL on the Output sheet.
From here your Output sheet will auto populate. If you’ve got over 100,000 rows of data, you will need to drag the formulas down until you get errors.
From here I would lock down the formulas by pasting as special to speed up the spreadsheet. Then clear up the Output sheet by removing all errors and 0s.
Finally go into the pivot table spreadsheet and refresh the table to show all URLs sorted by highest amount of duplicate occurrences. You can expand the URL to see exactly which sentences are being duplicated.
In this example I found a ton of pages (6,927 pages) which had heavily duplicated each other within a couple of hours total.
Externally duplicated content is content which has either been purposefully syndicated on multiple websites, or scraped by malicious web robots. A prime example of externally duplicated content is companies copying manufacturers descriptions instead of writing something unique.
When a search engine discovers content which has been duplicated across multiple websites, it will often work out the originator of the content and then throw the rest out of its index. Normally it is pretty good at this, but if our website has issues will crawl budget, or gets its content syndicated by a website with far greater authority, there is a chance that Google will show them over us.
Finding externally duplicated content begins much in the same was as before. Extract your content from the website and use the download to split the data out into individual sentences.
Next, we just need to block quote some of the data and search it into Google (use concatenate to quickly put all your data into block quotes). To automate this process, we have our own tool which can do this for thousands of searches at a time. A good free alternative would be to use URL profiler’s simple SERP scraper.
What you’re essentially doing here is performing a search for a block of your content in Google. If your site doesn’t show up in P.1 for this, then you have a big problem.
Search Engine Watch is heavily scraped. Here I have done a search for a bit of a previous blog post of mine, and Google have found 272 results!
Search Engine Watch is still in first position, which is not an issue, but should you find instances where you are outranked, you’re going to have to rewrite that content.
The impending mobile first algorithm means this issue should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Google have publicly stated that desktop websites will be judged on the content which is displayed on their mobile site first. This means if we have mobile pages without content where it appears on desktop, we’re going to take a hit to our rankings.
To find content gaps it’s the same process as before. You should already have crawled all of your pages from a desktop point of view. Now you just need to go through all the templates again, but in mobile view.
Fire up the webpage and go into inspect element and change device to mobile:
Go into the body of content and copy the selectors in the same way as before and run a crawl on all your URLs again.
Once you are done you can compare content side by side in Excel for gaps. Remember to concatenate your data should you have multiple selectors per page.
Put them in an Excel doc and a simple function will help you spot gaps instantly.
Here all I did was the following function and I’ve got some results instantly:
=IF(B2=C2, “Match”, “No Match”)
The consensus now seems to be that accordions are okay on mobile, so don’t worry about compromising your design to get all your content in. Just make sure it is all there on the page.
Thin content is just as big a concern as duplicate content for the obvious reasons. Without a significant amount of valuable content on a page Google will not be able to understand the topic of the page and so the page will struggle to rank for anything at all. Furthermore, how can a webpage claim to be an authority on a topic if it does not contain any information on it? Google needs content in order to rank a page, this is SEO 101!
Luckily, we are already 90% of the way there to diagnosing all our thin content pages already. If you have completed steps 1-3 you’ll already have the content on your mobile and desktop website by URL.
Now we just need to copy in this formula, changing the cell reference depending on what we’re analysing:
This will give us the word count of the URL (for both mobile and desktop). Then go through and raise any pages with less than 300 words as requiring additional content.
The final type of content gap is a massive bugbear of mine. It is estimated that 80% of our attention is captured by the section of a webpage that is visible on page load.
Google understands that content buried at the bottom of a page is probably never going to get read. As a result, they do not give as much weighting to the content here. No matter how much valuable content you have on a page, if a significant chunk of this is not visible on page load then this is a wasted effort.
In order to diagnose how much above the fold content we have, we will need to rerun our crawls, but this time we only want to extract the content blocks which are visible on page load. From here, just running the above word count formula will be sufficient to diagnose content gaps.
There you have it. What do you do with duplicate/thin content pages once you discover them? I’d recommend every URL should have at least 200-300 words of unique, valuable content on it, with at least 50-100 words appearing above the fold. If you cannot produce that amount of valuable information on the page, then either the page should not exist or the page should not be indexable.Reblogged 20 hours ago from searchenginewatch.com
If you want to reach the right people with the right information at the right time, email automation is a non-negotiable. In fact, 91 percent of marketers say automation is the key to their success:
“Email automation is the lifeblood to our businesses. Whether we are using a ‘Welcome Series’ for new subscribers, an invitation series for people requesting access to our products, an ascension series for transitioning a lead to a buyer…we are constantly using automation to create more touchpoint with the prospect/customer.”— Justin Rondeau, Digital Marketer
(The other nine percent? Probably haven’t tried it yet.)
Email automation can be used to create multiple autoresponder series, as well as robust campaigns that are triggered when an action occurs—like, when someone subscribes to your newsletter.
In fact, automated emails get 100 percent more engagement than a newsletter, with half of the work.
Still looking for ways to integrate automation into your email marketing strategy? From getting started to more advanced email automation, we rounded up our top posts so you can improve your a-game, no matter what your skill level is:
Think email automation is only for big brands? Think again.
Let this post be your guide to creating two basic automation series: one for prospects and one for customers. You’ll even get a checklist of all the tools you can use to make setting up your campaigns even easier.
The only thing you need? An awesome email automation platform, great content and a few hours of time!
Email automation doesn’t have to be intimidating. It can be as simple as setting up your first welcome email.
This post walks you through the steps of creating your first welcome email campaign, from the different types of welcome emails to the best time to schedule your campaign. It’s also jam-packed with tips for writing content that converts your subscribers and what to do after you hit ‘send.’
Wondering how email automation can work for your business? Take it from Ruggero Loda. He’s the founder of Running Shoes Guru, and uses autoresponder emails to stay connected with his list of over 20k+ subscribers.
We’ll walk you through all of the tactics he uses to combine his content with email automation to attract and engage his online community, from how to get people into your autoresponder series to driving revenue.
You’ve got the basics of welcome emails down. Now what?
This post covers how you can use Google Analytics to improve your welcome emails. From identifying your best content to tracking your sources, this is the perfect post for beginners who are ready to start optimizing their campaigns and seeing results.
Creating an email course might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be!
Anyone with a passion and story to tell can create their first profitable email course and this post proves it. It covers all of the questions from:
… and much more! We’ve even compiled a list of really good email course examples to get you inspired.
Personalization is all the rage these days, and we aren’t just talking about a name in the subject line.
Subscribers now expect relevant, tailored content to fit their needs. In fact, personalized emails receive nine percent higher open rates and 41 percent higher click thru rates than content written for a broader audience.
This post takes a deeper dive into how we created multiple automated email campaigns from a single sign up form — with video tutorials to help make it even easier!
With Campaigns from AWeber, you can build relationships with your subscribers and still be able to spend time on the things you love.
If you’re already an AWeber customer, log in to your account and see the power of Campaigns for yourself.
Not a customer? Start using email automation for free today.Reblogged 20 hours ago from blog.aweber.com
This week, two giants gang up on a third: Facebook undermines Microsoft’s LinkedIn as Amazon digs at Microsoft’s Skype. LinkedIn unveils new data-driven features, Facebook comes to your TV screen, and Yik Yak’s founder launches Slack-like app for students. Read the full article at MarketingProfsReblogged 1 day ago from www.marketingprofs.com
At the ProBlogger event on the Gold Coast last year, Darren motivated us all with his rallying cry to find one thing we want to do with our blogs, businesses, and lives. Just one thing that we would prioritise, measure all things against, and work hardest at among all the other things that take up our time.
I’m still considering my one thing. I thought I’d have 2017’s figured out by now, but I don’t. Last year for me was “get back to my roots” – blogging had changed, and mine was no exception. But I wanted to get back to where it all started, what the passion was for me, and that was food and storytelling. So getting back to my roots was my One Thing.
This year I’ve a few ideas about what it can be, but I’m letting them marinate in the background, knowing that when the time is right the answer will appear. And then I’ll know what to put first, above all else, as a guidepost for who and what I want to be this year.
But I’d love to know what is your One Thing? What is it that you are concentrating on this year? Are you wanting to write a book? Do you wish you could take the leap from full time work to full time blogging? Determined to nail email marketing? Prioritising your health? Do please share and let’s discuss.
Reblogged 1 day ago from feedproxy.google.com