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3 Things You Can Do to Protect the Content on Your Blog

The post 3 Things You Can Do to Protect the Content on Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

3 things you can do to protect the content on your blogThis post is based on a guest post from Abhishek of Budding Geek.

One topic that comes up a lot at ProBlogger is plagiarism. More specifically, people want to know how they can protect their blog content from being copied and re-posted without their permission.

In our Facebook group people we often see questions like these:

  • “What software do you use to check for plagiarism?”
  • “What’s the best way to get a site taken down? Someone is scraping my blog and putting it all on their site – including my name.”
  • “I recently discovered that another site had copied one of my articles and republished it without my permission. Does anyone know of a tool for tracking down articles on other sites that are clearly plagiarized from my own?”

Having people copying your content and posting it as their own is bad enough. But when ‘their’ content starts outranking yours in search results, it just adds insult to injury.

Now, I’ve written a post that talks about what to do when someone steals your blog content. But as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So how can you stop people from grabbing your content in the first place?

How they get your content in the first place

Unfortunately, it’s practically impossible to stop someone from copying your content. If a browser can access it (which needs to happen if you want your content to appear on the web), then pretty much anyone can.

And that’s how a lot of people steal content from other people’s websites. They simply view the content in their browser, and then copy and paste it into whatever they’re using to publish ‘their’ content.

However, there’s another way people can steal your content, and that’s by subscribing to your RSS feed. With the right software, they can scan your posts and republish them in a matter of minutes. The software can even replace your main keywords with synonyms automatically.

As I said, you can’t really stop this thing from happening. But you can make the process of copying your content a lot harder, which may make it difficult enough for them not to bother.

How to protect your content

Here are a few ways you can give your content some protection from these plagiarists, and hopefully convince them to stop doing it.

1. Disable text selection on your blog

As I said earlier, a lot of people copy and paste content from other people’s blogs. And so stopping them from using copy and paste on your blog will make that process a lot more difficult.

If your blog is a WordPress site, you can use the WP Content Copy Protection plugin to stop them from using:

  • right-click
  • image drag/drop/save
  • text selection/drag/drop
  • source code viewing
  • keyboard copy shortcuts such as CTRL A, C, X, U, S and P).

2. Watermark your images

If you use images on your blog (and you probably should be to break up the text), then you need to protect them as well.

One of the simplest ways is to add a watermark to your images. Not only does it show you own the copyright for your images, it will also make people think twice about copying them (or even hotlinking to them) as they’ll have your blog’s name all over it.

While you can do this in most graphics packages, there are also online sites such as Watermarkly that will do it for you.

Important note: While you’re free to do this with images you’ve created yourself, check the licensing information before you do it with images you’ve downloaded from somewhere else. The last thing you want is to be guilty of stealing someone else’s content.

3. Manage your RSS feeds

Now let’s look at the second way these people can steal your content – through your RSS feeds.

One simple way to stop it (or at least make it a lot harder to do) is to only offer partial feeds. Yes, it means your readers will have to click a link to see the full post. But it also means the plagiarists will have to do the same, which may put them off.

Another option is to use a WordPress plugin such as Copyright Proof, which:

  • provides a digitally signed and time-stamped certificate of content of each post you publish (to prove you’re the creator and therefore own the copyright)
  • adds a combined certification, copyright, licensing, and attribution notice at end of each post.

As with watermarking your images, it won’t stop your content from being copied. But everyone will see that it’s been taken from your blog without your permission

Over to you?

As I said earlier, you’ll never be able to stop people from stealing your content completely. But hopefully these tips will make stealing yours much tougher, or at least not worth the effort.

Do you have any other tips for protecting your content? Feel free to share them in the comments.


Photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash

The post 3 Things You Can Do to Protect the Content on Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.


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How to Effectively Disavow Links & Protect Organic Ranking

If you’re confused about when, why, and how to disavow links — you aren’t alone.

We all know that backlinks are critical to your SEO success, but the quality of those backlinks can make all the difference in that success.

This post will help you understand when and how to submit a Google disavow file, which is important for protecting your domain.

Let’s dive in — but first, what is the disavow tool?

What is the disavow tool?

The disavow tool gives you the opportunity to ask Google to ignore low-quality backlinks to your website.

When you submit a disavow file to Google, you are asking them to ignore certain links that are pointing to your domain. There is no obligation for them to respect your request, but if they do, those links won’t be used in determining your ranking in search results.

It’s important to understand, however, that disavowing backlinks doesn’t remove them from your backlink profile.

Do you actually need to use the disavow tool?

Google has made it clear that they only want you to use the disavow tool if you need to.

They recommend using it if you have a manual spam penalty, or if you knowingly took part in link-building practices that might be harming you.

In 2019, Google Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller talked about the disavow tool during Google Webmaster Central office hours.

He says, “I think for most websites out there, pretty much the really largest majority of websites, you don’t need to use the disavow tool. That’s why we have the disavow tool so separate from search console so that you don’t get tempted to using the disavow tool because it looks like this normal part of search console that everyone should be using.”

Mueller says, “[The disavow tool] is really something that you only really need to use in really extreme cases.”

To decide if you might benefit from filing a disavow, you’ll need to analyze your backlink profile, which you can learn more about below. But if you knowingly participated in what would be considered unethical backlink practices, chances are a disavow would be helpful.

What is considered a ‘bad’ backlink?

Before we tell you how to do a disavow, it’s important to understand what makes a backlink a bad one.

Google considers any link created to manipulate PageRank or a website’s ranking to be a bad link. They want you to work on creating great content that gets linked to naturally!

If you’ve purposely taken part in any kind of link-building campaign, then chances are you might have bad backlinks.

This could include:

  • Purchased backlinks
  • Link schemes
  • Product for backlinks
  • Link exchanges
  • Footer links

You might look at your backlinks in various tools and see lots of spammy-looking backlinks and think you need to get rid of them — but you don’t need to worry about those.

Google will understand spammy links to some extent and ignore them.

As an example, here are some backlinks from a website pulled from Ahrefs. These are all spam, and none of them have DR ratings:

Ahref's DR rating on spam backlinks

I wouldn’t bother disavowing these since these are probably backlinks that a lot of websites have, and Google is smart enough to know we didn’t create them to manipulate our backlink profile.

When should you create a disavow file?

Google has stated that most websites will not need to disavow links, and only in certain circumstances should it be used.

Below are some examples of when a disavow might be recommended or needed.

1. Manual Action: Unnatural Links To Your Site

This is the one occasion where you will absolutely want to file a disavow. If your website has been hit with a manual penalty due to link building practices, then disavowing links is a must to have that penalty removed.

If your website is connected with Search Console — and it should be — you will be notified if there is a manual action on your website.

At this point, you would begin analyzing the backlinks you have in Search Console and trying to find the links that may be seen as violating Google’s guidelines.

If you find offending backlinks, the first step would be to contact the website owner where the backlink is and ask them to remove it. If that doesn’t work, then you can try using a disavow file.

Once you have removed or disavowed the links, you can select the “Request Review” button in your Manual actions report to ask them to remove the action.  

Google's Request Review button to remove a backlink

2. Link Schemes

If you knowingly participated in link schemes, then you may benefit from adding them to your disavow file. These are links you – or someone you may have hired – paid for. These may be private blog network (PBN) links or even guest posts on websites of no relevance to your niche.

3. Directories

A long time ago, adding profiles to every directory that existed with a link to your website with your “money keyword” as the anchor text was all the rage. Maybe you are guilty of this, or the SEO you hired is – but these are backlinks that should be removed. If you can manually remove them that would be best, but adding them to the disavow is recommended if you cannot remove the link.


Another old tactic was to spam comments on other blogs and add keyword rich anchor text in the comments box or even for the name field.

If you have any backlinks from comments, directories or editorial links with anchor text like “buy red widgets” or “best tennis shoes” it would be recommended to add them to your disavow file if you cannot get the link removed or changed. Normally for these types of links it would be expected to be your first name or brand name.

Finding all of Your Backlinks

To create the most accurate analysis, you will need to retrieve as much backlink data as you can and understand how to analyze that data.

You can use a variety of tools to review your backlinks, and you can choose to download them all to a spreadsheet to manually review them or do an analysis right from within the tool.

Here are a few options of tools to use for finding backlinks:

1. Google Search Console.

In Google Search Console you can go to the links area and click the export external links button and then the more sample links option to get a full list of the backlinks to your website.

2. Semrush, Ahrefs, Moz, or your preferred tool.

Export your list of backlinks and merge it with your Google Search Console file or analyze your data in the software.

3. A Link Audit Tool.

There are a few tools that can really minimize your time in auditing your backlinks like LinkResearchTools.

Semrush also has a backlink audit tool that shows all of your backlinks and gives them a toxicity score based on a variety of factors. You can work right from your dashboard to assess the links and determine if they truly are toxic or not.

If they are, you can then add them to a disavow right from the tool. When you are done reviewing them all you can then download the formatted disavow .txt file and submit it to the tool.

While this is a useful tool, it does not have all of your backlinks in its database! You should still do a manual review using other tools as well.

the disavow list on semrush

Creating A Disavow File

Once you are done assessing your links you can create the disavow.txt file that will be uploaded to Google Search Console.

Creating A Disavow.txt File

Below are some guidelines from Google on how to create your file.

  • The file name must end in .txt
  • File size can be no larger than 2MB and 100,000 lines
  • Each URL should be on its own line
  • If you want to disavow a whole domain you should start the line with domain: 
  • If you want to disavow a URL you can just enter the URL

Below is a sample portion of a disavow file that I recently created as an example.

By adding a # before text you can add comments, these lines will be ignored by Google.

a disavow.txt example file

If you would like to test your disavow file before uploading it you can use the Disavow File Testing Tool which was created by Fili Wiese, a former Google Engineer.

Uploading a Disavow File

Once you have completed your disavow file it can be uploaded to the Disavow Tool in Google Search Console.

Below are a few easy steps to uploading your disavow.

  1. Login to Google Search Console
  2. Go to
  3. Select the property you would like to add a disavow file to
  4. Click the upload disavow list button and find your .txt file to add

Google Search Console's disavow link tool

If you had uploaded a previous disavow.txt file, your new one will override that one. If your file has any issues, you will see error messages and be prompted to upload a corrected version.

While there is no guarantee that submitting a disavow file will help, there have been reports of success when using it.

It will take some time for Google to process the information you uploaded, so you will have to have a bit of patience.

There is no way to really know if the disavow.txt file is doing what you want it to do, but keeping an eye on your rank, organic traffic and impressions could be a good indicator.

SEO Starter Pack

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Your Brief Guide to Using Goal Seek in Excel

Successful marketers make informed decisions quickly using a combination of gut instincts and data analysis. They know the end goal, and figure out what it takes to get there.

One way to fill in those gaps is by using Goal Seek in Excel. The function is helpful when you know your desired result, but you’re not sure how to reach it.

Maybe you want to improve your conversion rate to get more qualified leads but don’t know how many people you need to attract. Or let’s say your marketing team is aiming for an audacious revenue goal and you want to know how many customers you have to bring in with an upcoming campaign. If you’re running a promotion, you likely need to figure out what discount to apply so you don’t wind up with a loss.

Goal Seek is the answer. Understanding how to apply it to your marketing or sales efforts can inform your strategy by letting you calculate the numbers required to achieve your goals.

This post will explain how to use Goal Seek so you can start planning for your next campaign or making projections for the upcoming quarter.

What is Goal Seek in Excel?

Goal Seek is a powerful Excel function for conducting a what-if analysis. Also known as a sensitivity analysis, it helps you understand what can happen when you change one or more variables. Essentially, it’s a way to conduct a reverse calculation within an Excel spreadsheet.

Imagine you’re creating a marketing strategy for the next six months. You can use the Goal Seek Excel function to figure out the following unknowns.

  • What percentage of month-over-month growth do you need to double your reach by the end of the year?
  • How much can you spend on freelance design work without exceeding your outsourcing budget?
  • How much revenue do you need to bring in to break even on (and profit from) your upcoming email marketing campaign?

Finding answers to these questions can prevent unexpected outcomes and missed goals. Instead of wondering “what-if” when building a strategy, you can cut out uncertainty and give yourself a roadmap for success.

Before you finalize any plans, let’s walk through the steps to conduct an analysis.

How To Use Goal Seek In Excel

Setting up a Goal Seek calculation is simple once your data is organized.

In the following example, I want to evaluate the percentage of customers coming in through various marketing channels. The goal is to bring in 50% of customers through marketing efforts by the end of the year.

I first populate the table using the average month-over-month (MoM) growth to see the projections for June to December. I know I have an email campaign planned for the beginning of December, and I want to see how many customers I’d have to bring in to reach my 50% goal.

Step 1: Select the cell with the output you want to change (i.e., % of customers from marketing).

Step 2: Under the Data tab, select What-If Analysis, then Goal Seek.

How to use goal seekImage source

Step 3: A pop-up window will appear. Make sure the cell from Step 1 appears in Set cell.

Step 4: Write your desired value in To value.

Step 5: In the By changing cell box, select the cell you want to change to reach your desired outcome.

How to calculate using goal seekImage source

Step 6: Click OK to see the Goal Seek calculation. The new number will appear in the cell from Step 5, not in the pop-up box.

a status in goal seekImage source

Step 7: If all looks good and you want to keep the calculation, click OK again.

Using Goal Seek, I can tell that if my MoM growth stays the same, I need to attract at least 16 customers through my December email campaign. Yes, this is a simple example. But you can expand it to much more complicated efforts, like projecting sales needed to meet revenue goals or calculating how much net income you’ll earn from a campaign.

Goal Seek Analysis In Excel

Let’s look at another example of Goal Seek analysis. I want to bring in 130 new customers, but I don’t know how many visits I’ll need to reach my goal. Before doing the Goal Seek analysis, I organize my data to find the average MoM visit-to-customer percentage.

Step 1: Select the cell with the output you want to change (In this case, the customer goal).

Step 2: Under the Data tab, select What-If Analysis, then Goal Seek.

Step 3: In the pop-up window, make sure the cell from Step 1 appears in Set cell.

analysis in goal seekImage source

Step 4: Type the number you want to hit into To value (My goal is 130 customers).

How to change a cell boxImage source

Step 5: Select the cell you want to change in the By changing cell box (Mine is for Projected Visits).

Step 6: Click OK to see the Goal Seek analysis. (Now, I know that in order to get 130 customers, I need to attract 5055 visits).

An example of goal seek statusImage source

Once you fill in the missing variable using Goal Seek, you can figure out other variables. For instance, I found that with 5055 visits, I would need 910 leads to reach my desired number of customers. Having these numbers can also help me judge if the marketing and sales efforts for the month are on track to meet the goal.

Goal Seek Function In Excel

In business, uncertainty can spell the downfall of even the most thoughtful strategy. But you can take control of the variables that seem out of your control with the Goal Seek function.

Being proactive and judging the business impact of a marketing campaign or new sales effort can not only gain you respect within your company, but it can help you meet, and even exceed your goals. You’ll be ready when the unexpected happens. And you’ll know how to make informed decisions or tweak the strategy with your new what-if analysis skills.

New Call-to-Action

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MozCon Virtual 2021 Interview Series: Joy Hawkins

We’re thrilled to welcome Joy Hawkins back to the MozCon Virtual stage! Local SEOs know Joy as a GMB expert, and for her work leading Local Search Forum, Local U, and the amazing team at Sterling Sky. 

Ahead of the show, we talked with Joy about her research into Google Posts, what she loves most about her work in local SEO, and what she’s looking forward to at MozCon Virtual 2021. Check out the interview below!

And don’t forget to grab your ticket to see Joy and our other incredible speakers at this year’s MozCon!

Secure Your Seat

Question: 2020 was quite a year, how did the Sterling Sky team adjust? What were some of your favorite projects?

Joy: We were really fortunate. Because we have clients in so many industries, we didn’t have a huge number of cancellations when COVID first hit last year. We had a couple of rough months, but most of our clients that did pause their services ended up unpausing after a few months.

We actually saw a lot of growth in the second half of last year and were able to actually hire six more staff in 2020, two of which had lost their previous jobs because of COVID. So overall, I feel really blessed and saw a lot of good come out of a bad situation.

Question: What do you think was the biggest challenge for local SEOs this past year? What changes or trends stood out to you?

Joy: There have been a lot of technical issues and bugs to deal with when it comes to Google My Business. They launched a ton of new features to try and adapt to the ever-changing environment, and I find whenever that happens, stuff breaks.

Question: Local SEO is constantly changing. How do you and the team stay on top of algorithm updates and changes?

Joy: We track everything. I make a habit of trying to know everything that is going on in the industry, and part of how I do that is by moderating the Google My Business forum and our own forum, the Local Search Forum. I also find the local SEO community is really active on Twitter, so often new things get shared there.

Question: You founded Sterling Sky in 2017. Could you describe what it was like founding and building an agency? Was there anything that surprised you?

Joy: When I started, I thought it was just going to be me, and maybe a few others. I never envisioned having this many staff (19 currently) or clients, so that has definitely been an exciting piece that I never planned.

I remember when I hired my first full-time staff in 2017, I wasn’t even sure I had enough to pay him and had a plan to cut my own salary if needed. Literally, the same month he started, we had an influx of new clients that was unexpected, so it all worked out perfectly.

Question: You are extremely well-respected in the Local SEO industry — what steps did you take to get to where you are today? What recommendations do you have for others looking to elevate their personal brand in the SEO space?

Joy: Never be afraid to help people or share things that you’ve learned. I started in this space by writing articles. It started as my own blog (which morphed into the Sterling Sky blog), but then I started writing for other publications and becoming a lot more active on social media. Forums played a huge role in how I learned and shared knowledge. I also made a habit of attending conferences and meeting the people I looked up to. I’ll never forget the first time I met Mike Blumenthal and how intimidated I was. Networking in this space is really important and MozCon is definitely one of the best places to do that.

Question: What is your favorite part about local SEO work? What is the hardest part?

Joy: I love the challenge. It’s like solving a really difficult puzzle. I’ve always loved strategy board games and doing SEO often feels like that.

The awesome thing about working with SMBs is that changes can get implemented quickly and you don’t have tons of hoops to jump through to get stuff approved. Seeing the impact from our work quickly and watching clients’ leads increase is insanely rewarding.

I’d say the hardest part is dealing with algorithm changes. A huge majority of the time, algorithm updates are a good thing for our clients, but it’s definitely frustrating the times when you feel Google gets it wrong.

Question: At MozCon, you’ll discuss a study you and your team conducted where you analyzed more than 1,000 Google Posts. Why Google Posts? What sparked your interest in this topic?

Joy: Google posts are something I get asked about on almost every webinar I’m on. People always seem to be wondering what they are supposed to post about. I think I get asked if posts impact ranking several times a month.

Question: What insights are you most excited to share with our MozCon audience?

Joy: I think people will be surprised to see what types of posts performed best. It definitely wasn’t the outcome I was expecting. Based on posts that I see regularly on Google My Business listings, I’m not sure everyone is aware of what types of content performs best.

Question: Why should Local SEOs invest in a Google Post strategy?

Joy: It’s a really easy win. You can drive more traffic and conversions with posts with minimal effort. It’s one of those low-hanging-fruit strategies that every business should utilize.

Question: Who in the MozCon lineup are you most excited to watch this year? Anything else you are looking forward to?

Joy: There are so many to choose from. Wil Reynolds has a way of always blowing my mind every time he talks, so I’m definitely excited to hear his. Dana DiTomaso is another of my favorite speakers. She’s one of the smartest people I know in this industry. I’m also very excited to see Noah Learner’s name on the list. I actually met him at a past MozCon and couldn’t get over how much energy he had. I’m not sure where his energy comes from, but I need to find out. I heard him speak recently at one of our LocalU events and was really impressed at his knowledge and ability to analyze data.

A big thank you to Joy for her time! To learn more about Joy’s upcoming presentation, see details on our other speakers, and to purchase your ticket, make sure you click the link below!

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7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Online Conferences

As we anxiously await the return to in-person conferences, with a little ingenuity and virtual elbow grease, we can still forge new professional relationships over an internet connection rather than a cocktail. Read on for tips on how to bring your best self to digital events, and for networking while remote!

Speaking of online conferences, don’t forget to snag your ticket to MozCon Virtual 2021!

Secure Your Seat

1. Set your intention

To get the most out of your online event, you need to go in with an intention. That way you’ll be more likely to gain something from the experience.

Ask yourself, what are you hoping to achieve? Some examples could be:

  • Gain a business opportunity

  • Learn more about how to recover from the latest algorithm update

  • Find ways to increase efficiency within your SEO processes

  • Feel more confident selling your services

2. Schedule accordingly

Many events will provide you with schedules ahead of time — look at them! (Pssst…if you haven’t yet, now is the perfect time to check out the agenda for MozCon Virtual.)

These schedules can help you go into the conference with a clear idea of how you’re going to spend your time. Going in with a plan will allow you to focus on the content of the event and your intentions each day, as opposed to wasting time frantically trying to decide what sessions you’re going to attend.

Choosing your sessions

Once you know what your intentions are and you have the event schedule, determine what will be the most beneficial content for you. This can be especially helpful when the event has multiple tracks, very few break times, etc.

Choosing your sessions may come down to a process of elimination, and it’s much easier to eliminate sessions when you have some sort of goal in mind.

Things to consider when choosing your sessions are:

  • The topic

  • The speaker

  • The time

  • The availability of on-demand videos post-conference

Your intention may be to broaden your horizons this year, so instead of opting to see presentations with the same topics or speakers that you saw last year, you may see someone new discussing something you find interesting but haven’t had time to explore. You may have a tight schedule and not be able to make anything past 3pm. If some of the sessions will be available after the conference, it may be worth checking out topics you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Know when to take a break

When you’re planning out your schedule, you need to make sure you build in time for breaks. This means time to eat, time to decompress, time to refill your coffee cup, and time to do work or home stuff.

Conferences usually have a lot of breaks and that’s for good reason. Ideally, you’re going to be learning a lot. But if you try to learn it all at once without giving your brain a break, very little of it will stick.

So, be sure to listen to your body. If you start to feel foggy or overwhelmed, take a break, grab some water, and move around a bit.

Build in networking time

Something else you want to account for when planning your virtual event agenda is when you’re going to network. Some conferences will have time to network built in, but others won’t.

You’ll want to dedicate time to get to know the other attendees by joining conversations and adding people on social media. This will look a bit different in the virtual space, as you won’t be meeting for coffee or chatting in the lobby, but try to stay creative! Zoom chats and video calls are a great way to connect with new or old friends.

Recap at the end of the day

At the end of each day, take some time to reflect. Think back to what your intention was, what you did throughout the day to fulfill that intention, and what you can put into action moving forward.

This is a great exercise to ensure you’re making the most out of the event. Far too often, we take in all of the information and do nothing with it! That’s why we like to suggest creating at least three action items at the end of each day.

3. Gather the essentials

Okay, it’s the first day of the conference and you’re about to jump in front of the computer. BUT! Before you do that, you need to make sure you have everything you need to be successful.

Get a clean notebook or start a fresh doc

Having a clean slate for notes will help you stay focused while attending any conference (virtual or otherwise). So grab a new, crisp notebook or create a new document file on your computer before you get started.

If you decide to go the computer route, be sure you close all other tabs and turn off notifications! You want to be sure that your attention stays on the conference.

Taking notes during a virtual conference

With that new notebook or document of yours, you’ll want to take the most effective notes possible. With that in mind, here are a few things to take note of:

  • What you learned

  • How can you apply it

  • What can you share with your team

To ensure that you’re on track to capture each of these things, when you go into each session, write your intention for the session at the top of your notes page. Then, divide your pages by “what I learned,” “how to apply,” and “what to share.” This will keep your notes nice and organized and give you a visual cue on whether or not you’re getting what you expected out of the session. It will also make your end-of-day recap much easier.

When it comes to virtual events, one of the biggest benefits is that you often get the slide decks and video bundles afterward. We suggest finding out whether the event you’re attending offers those things before you start taking notes, as it may lighten your note-taking burden a bit.

Have some snacks, water, and coffee (or tea)

Perhaps the most important things to have during a virtual conference are the snacks and drinks! As you know, at MozCon, we take this part very seriously, so we expect nothing less if you attend our virtual event.

Brain food can help you stay focused. Some of our favorite snacks are granola bars, nuts, veggies, and of course, donuts. However, you have full control over the spread this year.

Be sure to also have plenty of water and your favorite caffeinated beverage as well!

4. Look for networking opportunities

Depending on which virtual event you attend, the networking opportunities will look different. Keeping a creative eye out for opportunity is key to your success!

Live chats

Much like during regular conferences, there are bound to be live chats happening. They may happen on the actual event platform, or they may take place on social media. Some events will use a platform like Zoom that allows viewers to chat with each other within the platform, while others may have more of a broadcast format where chats happen on Twitter with a hashtag.

Joining Q&As

A super valuable aspect of conferences is being able to speak to presenters after they give their talk. Sometimes this happens during a predetermined time slot, such as right after the presentation, or it may happen when you catch them in the lobby or at an event later on. Either way, this time to ask questions about their expertise is a huge value-add to the experience.

With conferences going virtual and live chats happening publicly during the presentations, this Q&A time has shifted a bit. Instead of having to wait for the presentation to be over, in some cases, presenters will reply to questions from the live chat as they’re speaking. Some panels are pre-recorded, giving speakers a chance to interact on various platforms during the event itself. Some events will even have specific “presentations” that are more like facilitated Ask Me Anything-style interviews or panels where questions are taken from the audience and posed to the speaker(s).

Networking at MozCon Virtual

Every year, we hear from attendees about how networking is one of their favorite parts of the conference. We made sure to keep it an integral part of this year’s virtual event, too — check out all the ways you can connect with speakers, industry experts, attendees, and thought leaders at MozCon Virtual 2021! Beyond the opportunities for social connection within the conference itself, we will also have a virtual photo booth where attendees can snap a selfie, add some fancy circus-themed backgrounds, frames and stickers, and share them out on social media!

In-session Q&A chat

Mid-presentation, pop into the Q&A chat with your real-time questions and get them answered by speakers. You’ll also be able to chat with other attendees about the content and provide your own insights about the session and topic. Speakers will be available to answer questions during their scheduled session times, so it’s a perfect opportunity to get clarification, further insight, or forge those all-important connections!

Birds of a Feather “table” discussions

Birds of a Feather tables are one of the biggest MozCon hits year after year, and we didn’t want anyone to miss out! We’ll facilitate 30-minute-long group discussions each day of the conference for you to connect with those interested in specific topics via video and audio chat. Each discussion will be led by an industry leader, giving you all the opportunity to say “hey” to the folks whose work you admire and collaborate with them on ideas, theories, obstacles you’ve faced, and more.

MozCon Virtual partners

This year, we have a curated lineup of trusted partners who can’t wait to meet and network with attendees of MozCon, including 97th Floor, Crowd Content, PageOnePower/PAGES SEO Magazine, and Wix!

Attendees will be able to visit and chat with sponsors within the MozCon Virtual platform, and sponsors will also be hosting Birds of a Feather sessions, plus taking part in presentation chats!

5. Get active

No matter where online networking is happening, be sure you’re a part of it! The more you interact, the more likely people are to recognize your name when you reach out after the event. The only caution here is that you have to be sure your interactions are meaningful — don’t just comment with clapping hands. Add something to the conversation.

Add insight

The best thing about people is that we’re all different and have fresh perspectives to bring to the table. Don’t be afraid to add on to someone’s thoughts.

Let’s use a fun example. If someone says that the best mascot hug ever was from Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, you may jump in and ask if they’ve ever met Roger MozBot, famed hugger and robot dancer extraordinaire. Or you could build on the thought by saying something like, “Mickey is a great hugger, I think it’s because he goes over instead of under!”

In both of these instances, you’ve joined the conversation and added value.

Add clarification

Speakers often try to fit a lot of information into a relatively short time frame. That said, questions will likely arise in the live chats. This could very easily be your time to shine! If you’ve got knowledge to share, feel free to answer the question to the best of your ability and try to add clarification.

This is absolutely one of the best ways to position yourself as an expert and form a relationship with someone you’ve never met. It allows you to prove you’re knowledgeable and give the person something they value for free.

Add sources

Whether you are asking a question, answering a question, or just chiming in with added insight, adding resources in conversation is extremely beneficial. This could mean that you recommend a tool, a person, or an article link. These resources for the other viewers can be extremely beneficial and help you establish your credibility.

Now, we don’t suggest trying to come up with a source for everything, but if you have one right off of the top of your head, dropping a link in the chat may really help someone.

BONUS: Add people on social

While this one’s not necessarily about adding value per se, it is about adding. Adding influencers, presenters, or other attendees after interacting with them (even if briefly) may increase your chances of getting a follow-back or accepted request as you’ll still be top of mind. Try to add people no later than 24 hours after your last interaction, and consider sending a friendly “hey!” with a note about what you spoke about to keep the connection fresh.

6. Perfect your follow-up

After connecting with people during the online conference, you’ll want to follow up with them and stay in touch.

The most important part of following up is the first impression. You don’t want to come right out of the gate with a request of any sort. Instead, look to build a relationship first. This could mean shooting a quick follow-up message recapping your conversation with the person, telling them that you appreciated their time and that you look forward to more conversations.

After sending your initial follow-up, be sure to interact with the person at least once a week to stay top-of-mind. This is easiest on social media as you can like, comment, share their content, and ensure that your name is showing up in their notifications. However, direct messages, emails, and even phone calls are sure to be more impactful.

The best thing you can do when following up is to stick to what you’re most comfortable with and be consistent while continuing to add value.

7. Have fun and be yourself!

The number-one thing you have to offer is yourself. Your experiences make you unique and others can learn from that! So when you are attending online events and connecting with others, just remember to be yourself. And of course, have fun! 

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The Modern, Inside Scoop on Google PageRank In 2021

If you have been in SEO for a while, you may remember the days of working hard to increase the PageRank of websites — it was the metric every SEO cared about and wanted to improve.

Improving PageRank meant improving your authority (usually with backlinks), which in turn could result in higher rankings and more traffic. 

But what happened to PageRank? It’s rarely talked about anymore. 

Believe it or not, PageRank is still used as a ranking signal for Google, even if you haven’t heard it mentioned in a while. Here, we’ll explore what you need to know about Google PageRank in 2021.

What is Google PageRank?

Google PageRank is a very complex concept, but we are going to try and break it down to make it easy to understand.

PageRank uses a mathematical formula to score the value of a page based on the quality and quantity of the pages linking it to it. 

The PageRank formula will look at the number of inbound links, external links, and the PageRank of those links to determine authority. The formula will create a score using a logarithmic scale with values ranging from 0-10. 

The higher the PageRank score of a page, the more authoritative that page is.

You can get more in-depth information about the PageRank formula in the original paper that was published back in 1997.

The PageRank Toolbar

Years ago, there used to be a toolbar that could show you the PageRank of any webpage you visited. 

Unfortunately, the toolbar was removed by Google back in 2016 — and the mystery of what your PageRank is has existed ever since. 

The problem with the toolbar was that it created an obsession and caused many SEOs to try and find ways to manipulate it. 

Essentially, the Google team realized that making this score public was adding little value to website owners and decided to stop investing in it. 

The PageRank toolbar

Image Source

Does Google still use PageRank?

Yes, Google does still uses PageRank. 

While it may not be a metric that website owners have access to, it is still used in their algorithms.

A tweet by John Mueller, a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, solidifies that PageRank is still used as a ranking signal.

How important is PageRank?

There is no clear measure of how important PageRank is. With there being over 200 Google ranking factors, they do not provide data on the importance of each factor.

But we do know that backlinks play a very large part in SEO success. So it’s safe to assume that PageRank still plays a part in how highly your pages rank. 

Spending time trying to improve your PageRank is probably not the best use of your time. But building relevant and authoritative backlinks to your website is an undeniably effective SEO strategy, and will likely improve your PageRank as a result.

You may not see the improvement as a metric, but you will see it in your organic traffic.

What influences Google PageRank?

There are some factors you should know about that can positively impact your PageRank. Let’s dive into a few of those, now. 

1. Backlinks

The primary way to improve your PageRank is through backlinks. The more relevant, high authority websites that link to you — the higher your PageRank will be. 

Below are some ways to build valuable backlinks:

  • Build relationships with influencers and community members in your niche.
  • Create original infographics, webinars, videos, and other creative assets that encourage website owners to share and link to your post.
  • Participate in forums and communities that are related to your niche. 
  • Share your content on social networks — tag relevant people if they are part of your content so they can share, too. 
  • Create amazing content! 

Building backlinks is one of the best ways to grow your website, but it needs to be done properly. Be authentic, do not spam groups or communities, and most importantly — create content with which people can engage.

You also want to be sure you have cleaned up any bad backlinks. You can learn more about how to Disavow Links here. 

Getting links from directories or pages that have a lot of links is not as beneficial for improving PageRank. Every link on a page will dilute the value of your link, so while directory-type links can be valuable in other ways, they will not be a big help for improving RageRank.

2. Internal Linking

One of the most underrated SEO tactics is internal linking. By using internal links to pass PageRank from one page to another, you can make a big impact on your rank and traffic. 

As an example — your homepage will usually have the highest PageRank because of the number of websites linking to it. 

Every link from your homepage to another page on your website will boost the authority of the page being linked to. 

Additionally, consider using an SEO tool to identify pages within your website that have high authority, and adding links from those pages to lower-authority pages (when relevant) to give your pages a boost. 

A quick trick is to look at your Google Analytics — usually the pages with the most organic traffic are the highest authority pages. So you can start using those pages to build internal links to less authoritative pages to give them a quick boost, as long as the links are relevant to the content on the page.

3. External Linking

One of the biggest myths I can remember about external links is that linking out from your content can diminish the PageRank of that page.  

This is not true. Remember, the whole premise behind PageRank is links. 

While the number of links on a page might affect the “value” of that link to the page being linked to, it does not harm your own. If you find a resource that is helpful for your viewers, then you should absolutely add a link to that resource.

A study done by Reboot showed that there was a positive correlation between rankings and the outbound links of a page.

How To Check Your PageRank

Unfortunately, there is no way for you to accurately know what your PageRank is. 

There are some websites that claim to provide you with your PageRank, but these are not verified tools so there is no proof they are providing accurate data.

Other tools — like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz — have all created their own version of numerical values that were meant to replicate the PageRank score. 

For example, SEMRush has what they call an “authority score”, which offers a numerical value that can signal how helpful a backlink from a website may be. This score is based on the following:

  • Monthly traffic to a website
  • Average keyword position
  • Backlink data

SEMRush's authority score

But Google doesn’t use these scores in their ranking algorithm. So, while you can use them as a guide to understand your website authority, they do not replace PageRank. 

While most SEOs don’t give much thought to PageRank anymore, and do not try to optimize for it, it’s still worth understanding. Ultimately, if you’re working on building backlinks, improving your internal linking, and using authoritative external links, your PageRank will thank you for it. 

SEO Starter Pack

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