Tag Archive | "Announcing"

Announcing the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey

Posted by Whitespark

It has been another year (and a half) since the last publication of the Local Search Ranking Factors, and local search continues to see significant growth and change. The biggest shift this year is happening in Google My Business signals, but we’re also seeing an increase in the importance of reviews and continued decreases in the importance of citations.

Check out the full survey!

Huge growth in Google My Business

Google has been adding features to GMB at an accelerated rate. They see the revenue potential in local, and now that they have properly divorced Google My Business from Google+, they have a clear runway to develop (and monetize) local. Here are just some of the major GMB features that have been released since the publication of the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors:

  • Google Posts available to all GMB users
  • Google Q&A
  • Website builder
  • Services
  • Messaging
  • Videos
  • Videos in Google Posts

These features are creating shifts in the importance of factors that are driving local search today. This year has seen the most explosive growth in GMB specific factors in the history of the survey. GMB signals now make up 25% the local pack/finder pie chart.

GMB-specific features like Google Posts, Google Q&A, and image/video uploads are frequently mentioned as ranking drivers in the commentary. Many businesses are not yet investing in these aspects of local search, so these features are currently a competitive advantage. You should get on these before everyone is doing it.

Here’s your to do list:

  1. Start using Google posts NOW. At least once per week, but preferably a few times per week. Are you already pushing out posts to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? Just use the same, lightly edited, content on Google Posts. Also, use calls to action in your posts to drive direct conversions.
  2. Seed the Google Q&A with your own questions and answers. Feed that hyper-relevant, semantically rich content to Google. Relevance FTW.
  3. Regularly upload photos and videos. (Did you know that you can upload videos to GMB now?)
  4. Make sure your profile is 100% complete. If there is an empty field in GMB, fill it. If you haven’t logged into your GMB account in a while, you might be surprised to see all the new data points you can add to your listing.

Why spend your time on these activities? Besides the potential relevance boost you’ll get from the additional content, you’re also sending valuable engagement signals. Regularly logging into your listing and providing content shows Google that you’re an active and engaged business owner that cares about your listing, and the local search experts are speculating that this is also providing ranking benefits. There’s another engagement angle here too: user engagement. Provide more content for users to engage with and they’ll spend more time on your listing clicking around and sending those helpful behavioral signals to Google.

Reviews on the rise

Review signals have also seen continued growth in importance over last year.

Review signals were 10.8% in 2015, so over the past 3 years, we’ve seen a 43% increase in the importance of review signals:

Many practitioners talked about the benefits they’re seeing from investing in reviews. I found David Mihm’s comments on reviews particularly noteworthy. When asked “What are some strategies/tactics that are working particularly well for you at the moment?”, he responded with:

“In the search results I look at regularly, I continue to see reviews playing a larger and larger role. Much as citations became table stakes over the last couple of years, reviews now appear to be on their way to becoming table stakes as well. In mid-to-large metro areas, even industries where ranking in the 3-pack used to be possible with a handful of reviews or no reviews, now feature businesses with dozens of reviews at a minimum — and many within the last few months, which speaks to the importance of a steady stream of feedback.

Whether the increased ranking is due to review volume, keywords in review content, or the increased clickthrough rate those gold stars yield, I doubt we’ll ever know for sure. I just know that for most businesses, it’s the area of local SEO I’d invest the most time and effort into getting right — and done well, should also have a much more important flywheel effect of helping you build a better business, as the guys at GatherUp have been talking about for years.”

Getting keywords in your reviews is a factor that has also risen. In the 2017 survey, this factor ranked #26 in the local pack/finder factors. It is now coming in at #14.

I know this is the Local Search Ranking Factors, and we’re talking about what drives rankings, but you know what’s better than rankings? Conversions. Yes, reviews will boost your rankings, but reviews are so much more valuable than that because a ton of positive reviews will get people to pick up the phone and call your business, and really, that’s the goal. So, if you’re not making the most of reviews yet, get on it!

A quick to do list for reviews would be:

  1. Work on getting more Google reviews (obviously). Ask every customer.
  2. Encourage keywords in the reviews by asking customers to mention the specific service or product in their review.
  3. Respond to every review. (Did you know that Google now notifies the reviewer when the owner responds?)
  4. Don’t only focus on reviews. Actively solicit direct customer feedback as well so you can mark it up in schema/JSON and get stars in the search results.
  5. Once you’re killing it on Google, diversify and get reviews on the other important review sites for your industry (but also continue to send customers to Google).

For a more in-depth discussion of review strategy, please see the blog post version of my 2018 MozCon presentation, “How to Convert Local Searchers Into Customers with Reviews.”

Meh, links

To quote Gyi Tsakalakis: “Meh, links.” All other things being equal, links continue to be a key differentiator in local search. It makes sense. Once you have a complete and active GMB listing, your citations squared away, a steady stream of reviews coming in, and solid content on your website, the next step is links. The trouble is, links are hard, but that’s also what makes them such a valuable competitive differentiator. They ARE hard, so when you get quality links they can really help to move the needle.

When asked, “What are some strategies/tactics that are working particularly well for you at the moment?” Gyi responded with:

“Meh, links. In other words, topically and locally relevant links continue to work particularly well. Not only do these links tend to improve visibility in both local packs and traditional results, they’re also particularly effective for improving targeted traffic, leads, and customers. Find ways to earn links on the sites your local audience uses. These typically include local news, community, and blog sites.”

Citations?

Let’s make something clear: citations are still very valuable and very important.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s look at what’s been happening with citations over the past few surveys:

I think this decline is related to two things:

  1. As local search gets more complex, additional signals are being factored into the algorithm and this dilutes the value that citations used to provide. There are just more things to optimize for in local search these days.
  2. As local search gains more widespread adoption, more businesses are getting their citations consistent and built out, and so citations become less of a competitive difference maker than they were in the past.

Yes, we are seeing citations dropping in significance year after year, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need them. Quite the opposite, really. If you don’t get them, you’re going to have a bad time. Google looks to your citations to help understand how prominent your business is. A well established and popular business should be present on the most important business directories in their industry, and if it’s not, that can be a signal of lower prominence to Google.

The good news is that citations are one of the easiest items to check off your local search to do list. There are dozens of services and tools out there to help you get your business listed and accurate for only a few hundred dollars. Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Ensure your business is listed, accurate, complete, and duplicate-free on the top 10-15 most important sites in your industry (including the primary data aggregators and industry/city-specific sites).
  2. Build citations (but don’t worry about duplicates and inconsistencies) on the next top 30 to 50 sites.

Google has gotten much smarter about citation consistency than they were in the past. People worry about it much more than they need to. An incorrect or duplicate listing on an insignificant business listing site is not going to negatively impact your ability to rank.

You could keep building more citations beyond the top 50, and it won’t hurt, but the law of diminishing returns applies here. As you get deeper into the available pool of citation sites, the quality of these sites decreases, and the impact they have on your local search decreases with it. That said, I have heard from dozens of agencies that swear that “maxing out” all available citation opportunities seems to have a positive impact on their local search, so your mileage may vary. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The future of local search

One of my favorite questions in the commentary section is “Comments about where you see Google is headed in the future?” The answers here, from some of the best minds in local search, are illuminating. The three common themes I pulled from the responses are:

  1. Google will continue providing features and content so that they can provide the answers to most queries right in the search results and send less clicks to websites. Expect to see your traffic from local results to your website decline, but don’t fret. You want those calls, messages, and driving directions more than you want website traffic anyway.
  2. Google will increase their focus on behavioral signals for rankings. What better way is there to assess the real-world popularity of a business than by using signals sent by people in the real world. We can speculate that Google is using some of the following signals right now, and will continue to emphasize and evolve behavioral ranking methods:
    1. Searches for your brand name.
    2. Clicks to call your business.
    3. Requests for driving directions.
    4. Engagement with your listing.
    5. Engagement with your website.
    6. Credit card transactions.
    7. Actual human foot traffic in brick-and-mortar businesses.
  3. Google will continue monetizing local in new ways. Local Services Ads are rolling out to more and more industries and cities, ads are appearing right in local panels, and you can book appointments right from local packs. Google isn’t investing so many resources into local out of the goodness of their hearts. They want to build the ultimate resource for instant information on local services and products, and they want to use their dominant market position to take a cut of the sales.

And that does it for my summary of the survey results. A huge thank you to each of the brilliant contributors for giving their time and sharing their knowledge. Our understanding of local search is what it is because of your excellent work and contributions to our industry.

There is much more to read and learn in the actual resource itself, especially in all the comments from the contributors, so go dig into it:

Click here for the full results!

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Announcing: The Copyblogger Book Club!

I’ve wanted to start a Copyblogger book club for a long time now. My team and I read dozens (maybe hundreds) of writing, marketing, and strategy books every year. And every year, a few stand out as being particularly useful. Now that we’ve started the Killers and Poets Facebook group for our community, we have
Read More…

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Faster, Fresher, Better: Announcing Link Explorer, Moz’s New Link Building Tool

Posted by SarahBird

More link data. Fresher link data. Faster link data.

Today, I’m delighted to share that after eons of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and love, Moz is taking a major step forward on our commitment to provide the best SEO tools money can buy.

We’ve rebuilt our link technology from the ground up and the data is now broadly available throughout Moz tools. It’s bigger, fresher, and much, much faster than our legacy link tech. And we’re just getting started! The best way to quickly understand the potential power of our revolutionary new link tech is to play with the beta of our Link Explorer.

Introducing Link Explorer, the newest addition to the Moz toolset!

We’ve heard your frustrations with Open Site Explorer and we know that you want more from Moz and your link building tools. OSE has done more than put in its time. Groundbreaking when it launched in 2008, it’s worked long and hard to bring link data to the masses. It deserves the honor of a graceful retirement.

OSE represents our past; the new Link Explorer is our fast, innovative, ambitious future.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Link Explorer beta:

  • It’s 20x larger and 30x fresher than OSE (RIP)
  • Despite its huge index size, the app is lightning fast! I can’t stand waiting so this might be my number-one fav improvement.
  • We’re introducing Link Tracking Lists to make managing your link building efforts a breeze. Sometimes the simple things make the biggest difference, like when they started making vans with doors on each side. You’ll never go back.
  • Link Explorer includes historic data, a painful gap in OSE. Studying your gained/lost linking domains is fast and easy.
  • The new UX surfaces competitive insights much more quickly
  • Increases the size and freshness of the index improved the quality of Domain Authority and Spam Score. Voilà.

All this, and we’re only in beta.

Dive into your link data now!

Here’s a deeper dive into my favorites:

#1: The sheer size, quality, and speed of it all

We’re committed to data quality. Here are some ways that shows up in the Moz tools:

  • When we collect rankings, we evaluate the natural first page of rankings to ensure that the placement and content of featured snippets and other SERP features are correctly situated (as can happen when ranking are collected in 50- or 100-page batches). This is more expensive, but we think the tradeoff is worth it.
  • We were the first to build a hybrid search volume model using clickstream data. We still believe our model is the most accurate.
  • Our SERP corpus, which powers Keywords by Site, is completely refreshed every two weeks. We actively update up to 15 million of the keywords each month to remove keywords that are no longer being searched and replace them with trending keywords and terms. This helps keep our keyword data set fresh and relevant.

The new Link Explorer index extends this commitment to data quality. OSE wasn’t cutting it and we’re thrilled to unleash this new tech.

Link Explorer is over 20x larger and 30x fresher than our legacy link index. Bonus points: the underlying technology is very cost-efficient, making it much less expensive for us to scale over time. This frees up resources to focus on feature delivery. BOOM!

One of my top pet peeves is waiting. I feel physical pain while waiting in lines and for apps to load. I can’t stand growing old waiting for a page to load (amirite?).

The new Link Explorer app is delightfully, impossibly fast. It’s like magic. That’s how link research should be. Magical.

#2: Historical data showing discovered and lost linking domains

If you’re a visual person, this report gives you an immediate idea of how your link building efforts are going. A spike you weren’t expecting could be a sign of spam network monkey business. Deep-dive effortlessly on the links you lost and gained so you can spend your valuable time doing thoughtful, human outreach.

#3: Link Tracking Lists

Folks, this is a big one. Throw out (at least one of… ha. ha.) those unwieldy spreadsheets and get on board with Link Tracking Lists, because these are the future. Have you been chasing a link from a particular site? Wondering if your outreach emails have borne fruit yet? Want to know if you’ve successfully placed a link, and how you’re linking? Link Tracking Lists cut out a huge time-suck when it comes to checking back on which of your target sites have actually linked back to you.

Why announce the beta today?

We’re sharing this now for a few reasons:

  • The new Link Explorer data and app have been available in beta to a limited audience. Even with a quiet, narrow release, the SEO community has been talking about it and asking good questions about our plans. Now that the Link Explorer beta is in broad release throughout all of Moz products and the broader Moz audience can play with it, we’re expecting even more curiosity and excitement.
  • If you’re relying on our legacy link technology, this is further notice to shift your applications and reporting to the new-and-improved tech. OSE will be retired soon! We’re making it easier for API customers to get the new data by providing a translation layer for the legacy API.
  • We want and need your feedback. We are committed to building the very best link building tool on the planet. You can expect us to invest heavily here. We need your help to guide our efforts and help us make the most impactful tradeoffs. This is your invitation to shape our roadmap.

Today’s release of our new Link Explorer technology is a revolution in Moz tools, not an evolution. We’ve made a major leap forward in our link index technology that delivers a ton of immediate value to Moz customers and the broader Moz Community.

Even though there are impactful improvements around the corner, this ambitious beta stands on its own two feet. OSE wasn’t cutting it and we’re proud of this new, fledgling tech.

What’s on the horizon for Link Explorer?

We’ve got even more features coming in the weeks and months ahead. Please let us know if we’re on the right track.

  • Link Building Assistant: a way to quickly identify new link acquisition opportunities
  • A more accurate and useful Link Intersect feature
  • Link Alerts to notify you when you get a link from a URL you were tracking in a list
  • Changes to how we count redirects: Currently we don’t count links to a redirect as links to the target of the redirect (that’s a lot of redirects), but we have this planned for the future.
  • Significantly scaling up our crawling to further improve freshness and size

Go forth, and explore:

Try the new Link Explorer!

Tomorrow Russ Jones will be sharing a post that discusses the importance of quality metrics when it comes to a link index, and don’t miss our pinned Q&A post answering questions about Domain Authority and Page Authority changes or our FAQ in the Help Hub.

We’ll be releasing early and often. Watch this space, and don’t hold back your feedback. Help us shape the future of Links at Moz. We’re listening!

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


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Announcing 5 NEW Feature Upgrades to Moz Pro’s Site Crawl, Including Pixel-Length Title Data

Posted by Dr-Pete

While Moz is hard at work on some major new product features (we’re hoping for two more big launches in 2017), we’re also working hard to iterate on recent advances. I’m happy to announce that, based on your thoughtful feedback, and our own ever-growing wish lists, we’ve recently launched five upgrades to Site Crawl.

1. Mark Issues as Fixed

It’s fine to ignore issues that don’t matter to your site or business, but many of you asked for a way to audit fixes or just let us know that you’ve made a fix prior to our next data update. So, from any issues page, you can now select items and “Mark as fixed” (screens below edited for content).

Fixed items will immediately be highlighted and, like Ignored issues, can be easily restored…

Unlike the “Ignore” feature, we’ll also monitor these issues for you and warn you if they reappear. In a perfect world, you’d fix an issue once and be done, but we all know that real web development just doesn’t work out that way.

2. View/Ignore/Fix More Issues

When we launched the “Ignore” feature, many of you were very happy (it was, frankly, long overdue), until you realized you could only ignore issues in chunks of 25 at a time. We have heard you loud and clear (seriously, Carl, stop calling) and have taken two steps. First, you can now view, ignore, and fix issues 100 at a time. This is the default – no action or extra clicks required.

3. Ignore Issues by Type

Second, you can now ignore entire issue types. Let’s say, for example, that Moz.com intentionally has 33,000 Meta Noindex tags (for example). We really don’t need to be reminded of that every week. So, once we make sure none of those are unintentional, we can go to the top of the issue page and click “Ignore Issue Type”:

Look for this in the upper-right of any individual issue page. Just like individual issues, you can easily track all of your ignored issues and start paying attention to them again at any time. We just want to help you clear out the noise so that you can focus on what really matters to you.

4. Pixel-length Title Data

For years now, we’ve known that Google cut display titles by pixel length. We’ve provided research on this subject and have built our popular title tag checker around pixel length, but providing this data at product scale proved to be challenging. I’m happy to say that we’ve finally overcome those challenges, and “Pixel Length” has replaced Character Length in our title tag diagnostics.

Google currently uses a 600-pixel container, but you may notice that you receive warnings below that length. Due to making space to add the “…” and other considerations, our research has shown that the true cut-off point that Google uses is closer to 570 pixels. Site Crawl reflects our latest research on the subject.

As with other issues, you can export the full data to CSV, to sort and filter as desired:

Looks like we’ve got some work to do when it comes to brevity. Long title tags aren’t always a bad thing, but this data will help you much better understand how and when Google may be cutting off your display titles in SERPs and decide whether you want to address it in specific cases.

5. Full Issue List Export

When we rebuilt Site Crawl, we were thrilled to provide data and exports on all pages crawled. Unfortunately, we took away the export of all issues (choosing to divide those up into major issue types). Some of you had clearly come to rely on the all issues export, and so we’ve re-added that functionality. You can find it next to “All Issues” on the main “Site Crawl Overview” page:

We hope you’ll try out all of the new features and report back as we continue to improve on our Site Crawl engine and UI over the coming year. We’d love to hear what’s working for you and what kind of results you’re seeing as you fix your most pressing technical SEO issues.

Find and fix site issues now

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Announcing MozCon Local 2017!

Posted by George-Freitag

Now that location-based searches are growing about 50% faster than any other type of search on mobile, what are you going to do to make sure you’re working on the front lines of this new, local-focused world? Well, you can start by joining us in Seattle for MozCon Local 2017 on February 27–28 for a day full of in-depth workshops from LocalU followed by an all-day conference from the top local speakers and brands.

You’ll come away with another level of understanding related to local strategy, citations, reviews, SEO local link building, content creation, and more, along with some incredible, tactical advice to get you improving your local game the second you get home (or at least your first day back in the office). Plus, you’ll be able to interact directly with speakers both during Q&A sessions and around the conference, and spend time getting to know your fellow local marketers.

So whether you’re a marketer with a portfolio chock-full of local accounts or a brand with hundreds or thousands of locations, MozCon Local 2017 is where you need to be.

Buy your MozCon Local 2016 ticket!


Some of our great speakers (lots more coming!)

Darren Shaw

Whitespark

Darren Shaw is the president and founder of Whitespark, a company that builds software and provides services to help businesses with local search. He’s widely regarded in the local SEO community as an innovator, one whose years of experience working with massive local data sets have given him uncommon insights into the inner workings of the world of citation-building and local search marketing. Darren has been working on the web for over 16 years and loves everything about local SEO.

Mike Blumenthal

GetFiveStars

Mike grew up sweeping floors in his family retail business at age 7 and saw the challenges of local marketing up close from an early age. Before co-founding GetFiveStars.com and LocalU.org he had been doing what we now know as Local SEO since 2005 and writing at his blog Understanding Google Local since 2006. He loves researching and understanding the issues that confront bricks and mortar storefronts and helping owners, agencies, and franchises tackle the challenges of the ever changing local marketing world.

Heather Physioc

VML

Heather Physioc is Assoc. Director of Organic Search at global digital ad agency VML, performing search engine optimization services for multinational brands like Electrolux/Frigidaire, Colgate-Palmolive, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Bridgestone, Wendy’s and Bayer Animal Health. She has worked in digital marketing for 10 years. Physioc earned her Bachelor’s of Journalism in Strategic Communication (Advertising) from the University of Missouri, and is currently pursuing an Executive Master’s of Business Administration from Rockhurst University. She has spoken at AACS, WordCamp, KCSEMA, SEMPO Cities, PRSA Mid-Missouri and Omaha, TEDxKCWomen and more.

Willys DeVoll

Google

Willys Devoll is a content strategist for Google My Business and a member of the AdWords Content Strategy and Development team. He has also worked as a technical writer and content developer on Google for Work. In the past, DeVoll worked for Major League Baseball Advanced Media in communications, and at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, where he contributed to research in the Literary Lab.

Rand Fishkin

Moz

Rand Fishkin uses the ludicrous title, Wizard of Moz. He’s founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org.

MozCon Local 2017 takes place at the Hyatt in downtown Seattle. In addition to coming home with a ton of knowledge, you’ll also be coming home with some great swag to show off! Monday’s workshops will have a snack break and networking time, and for Tuesday’s conference your ticket includes breakfast, lunch, and two snack breaks. FINALLY, on the last night we’ll have a networking party so you meet speakers, thought leaders, Mozzers, and other attendees. Networking without the ‘net!

We’re expecting around 200 people to join us, including speakers, Mozzers, and Local U staff. MozCon Local sold out last year, and we expect this year to sell out, as well, so you’ll want to buy your ticket now!

Purchase your ticket now!


Our best early-bird prices:

Local U Workshop + MozCon Local Conference – Monday & Tuesday, February 27–28, 2017

$ 1,048 $ 748 for Early Bird Moz Subscriber & Local U Forum Members

$ 1,498 $ 1,148 for Early Bird General Admission

MozCon Local Conference – Tuesday, February 28, 2017

$ 599 $ 399 for Early Bird Moz Subscribers & Local U Forum Members

$ 899 $ 699 for Early Bird General Admission

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


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Rainmaker Rewind: Announcing a Breakthrough Educational Collaboration between Copyblogger and U.C. Davis

Rainmaker FM rewind

This week on Rainmaker Rewind, Sonia Simone shares an exciting announcement on Copyblogger FM that you don’t want to miss.

James Garvin of U.C. Davis joins Sonia to chat about the evolution and future of online education, as well as a new collaboration between Copyblogger and U.C. Davis!

And, as always, be sure to check out the other great episodes that recently aired on Rainmaker FM.

  1. Copyblogger FM. Sonia Simone and James Garvin reveal the collaboration between Copyblogger and U.C. Davis and what it means for online education going forward: Announcing: A Breakthrough Educational Collaboration between Copyblogger and U.C. Davis
  2. The Digital Entrepreneur. Joanna Penn hops on the show to discuss her online entrepreneur journey and share her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: How Joanna Penn Designed the Lifestyle (and Career) of Her Dreams
  3. Confessions of a Pink-haired Marketer. In this episode, Sonia Simone answers a few questions about B2B and B2C marketing sent in by her Twitter followers: Q&A from Twitter, Independence Day Version!
  4. Elsewhere. On Write With Impact, Pamela Wilson chats with Glenn Leibowitz about writing and publishing her first book: Pamela Wilson on Write With Impact
  5. Youpreneur. Chris Ducker welcomes back New York Times best-selling author Tucker Max to explain “Book in a Box” and the process of writing a book: Catapulting Your Personal Brand by Launching a Book, with Tucker Max
  6. The Missing Link. Carrie Dils joins Jabez LeBret to talk about teaching and taking courses online and how it affects your digital business: What Lynda.com Can Do for Your Business, with Carrie Dils
  7. Zero to Book. Pamela Wilson and Jeff Goins explore the philosophical part of being an author and discuss the reasons why people start writing in the first place: What’s Driving You as an Author? How to Pinpoint Your Internal and External Goals
  8. The Showrunner. Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor share their thoughts on why you should consider auditing your own podcast and what you can gain from doing it: 5 Steps for Conducting a Useful Podcast Archive Audit (in 30 Minutes or Less)
  9. Hack the Entrepreneur. Jon Nastor also welcomes Carrie Dils to the network this week. The two talk about her journey from freelancer to entrepreneur and the benefits of teaching courses online: Building Something Out of Nothing

And, one more thing …

If you want to get Rainmaker Rewind sent straight to your favorite podcast player, subscribe right here on Rainmaker FM.

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Announcing: Copyblogger.FM

Introducing Copyblogger.FM

AKA the Episode Where Sonia Seizes All the Power …

If you’re reading this on New Year’s Eve, you’re probably a diehard. (Which we love, by the way.)

You might have been reading and listening to Copyblogger content for a long time now. And you may well know our original podcast, The Lede.

It started life as Internet Marketing for Smart People (audio edition) with Robert Bruce and Brian Clark, then over time morphed into The Lede, most recently hosted by Jerod Morris and Demian Farnworth.

In 2016, the show is transforming once again, and The Lede becomes Copyblogger.FM.

And I (ahem) kicked all those jokers off the platform and am taking over.

Last time I saw Farnworth, he was demolishing his console with his lightsaber, but I’m sure he’ll get past it. We’re here for you, bro.

Announcing: Copyblogger.FM

What’s the new show about?

Copyblogger.FM is about content marketing, first and foremost. We’ll be covering:

  • Emerging trends
  • Interesting disasters
  • Enduring best practices
  • Worthwhile news
  • Practical strategies and tactics

We’ll also let you peek behind the scenes at the content strategies for the Copyblogger blog and Rainmaker Digital as a company, so you can learn from our experiments and observations.

And I may go on a rant once in a while.

If you’re already subscribed to The Lede, Copyblogger.FM will use the same feed, so you can just keep listening to the new incarnation without doing anything special.

If you’d like to try it out, you can find us here: Copyblogger.FM.

Serious thanks to our great team

Kidding aside, I want to thank Jerod and Demian (and Robert and Brian) for all of the hard work and insights they’ve delivered over the years. They’ve created something valuable, and I promise I will work hard to keep building on what they’ve created.

They will, of course, be showing up on the new version of the show with their wisdom and occasional shenanigans. We’ll also see lots of Pamela Wilson, our EVP of Educational Content, who will be sharing behind-the-scenes news about Copyblogger.

The team and I are greatly looking forward to seeing you there!

The Cornerstone Content Challenge

Have you signed up yet for our January Content Challenge?

We’re going to be walking folks just like you through a powerhouse strategy to make your site more authoritative, more attractive to your audience, and just plain more awesome. We’ve got tutorials, a free webinar, and even a pop-up forum to help you get it done. And it’s all free.

Join us for the Copyblogger Content Challenge.

Footnote: By the way, yes, I’ll still be producing my own show, Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer, which is focused more on who we are as individuals and how that plays out in our work and business lives.

That one is around 80 percent rant and 20 percent strategy; on Copyblogger.FM, we plan to reverse that ratio.

About the author

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Rainmaker Digital. Get lots more from Sonia on her podcast, Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer, or come hang out with her on Twitter.

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Announcing Moz’s New Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

Posted by Trevor-Klein

I’m thrilled to announce the next in Moz’s series of beginner’s guides:
The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.

Content marketing is a field full of challenges. Creating content that provides great value to your audience what we’ve come to call 10x content is difficult enough, but content marketers also regularly encounter skeptical employers and clients, diminutive budgets, and you guessed it a noted lack of time to get it all done. You’re not alone. You’re fighting the good fight, and we’re here to back you up. So is Carl.

Meet Carl, the Content Cat. He’ll show up in every chapter of the guide for a little levity and to remind you that you’re in good company.

There’s no denying the importance of content marketing. In its annual study of more than 5,000 marketers, the Content Marketing Institute showed that about 70% of all marketers, B2B and B2C, are creating more content than they did one year ago. Nearly half of B2C marketers have a dedicated content marketing group in their organizations. While this guide is written primarily for those who are relatively new to content marketing, we’d certainly recommend that more advanced marketers take a look through, as we often find veteran teams are missing some key fundamentals.

Say no more; show me the guide!

What you’ll learn

The guide has nine chapters, and we’ve organized them in the order we think folks should think about them when they’re approaching content marketing. Start with planning and goals, move through ideation and execution, then wrap up with analysis and revisions to the process.

1. What is content marketing? Is it right for my business?

Before we dive too deep into strategy and tactics, there’s something we need to clear up: What in the world is content marketing, anyway? Look it up in 10 different places, and you’ll get 10 different answers to that question. In this chapter, we break it down and offer a look into whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment of your time (spoiler alert: It is).


2. Content strategy

Arguably the most important part of any content marketing effort, your content strategy is what keeps you aligned with your company’s goals, ensuring you’re putting your time and effort into areas that will help move needles and earn you the recognition you deserve. There’s more to it than meets the eye, though, and this chapter paints a holistic picture to get you started.


3. Content and the marketing funnel

Most folks who are new to content marketing assume that it belongs right at the top of the marketing funnel. We’d like to bust it out of that pigeonhole. The truth is that content belongs at every stage of the funnel, from brand awareness and early acquisition to retention of loyal customers. This chapter shows you which kinds of content typically work well for each major phase of the funnel.


4. Building a framework and a content team

There are some things you’ll need to figure out before you even start coming up with ideas for your content. What tools will you use to create it? What processes and standards will you put in place? Who will you work with, and how can you get them aligned with your goals? Setting the framework for your future success will save you from major headaches, and this chapter aims to make sure there’s nothing you’re overlooking.


5. Content ideation

We’ve all had it happen. We need to write something be it a blog post, a whitepaper, even an email and when we sit down to make it happen, nothing. No ideas come to mind. Coming up with ideas for content that really resonates is deceptively difficult, but there are many tricks that’ll help get the proverbial gears turning. We’ll go through those in this chapter.


6. Content creation

After all that planning, it’s finally time to dive in and do the hard work of actually creating your content. From getting the formatting right and working with design/UX teams to the most important cliche you can remember — to focus on quality, not quantity — this chapter will help you make the most effective use of your time.


7. Content promotion

You’ve done it. You’ve put together a wonderful piece of 10x content, and can’t wait to see the response. Only one thing stands in your way: Getting it in front of the right people. From working with industry influencers to syndication and social promotion, there are a great many ways to connect your content with your audiences; it’s just a matter of choosing the right ones. This chapter aims to point you down the right path.


8. Analysis and reporting

Nobody (seriously, nobody) is able to perfectly target their audiences. We make assumptions based on what we know (and can surmise) about the things readers will find valuable. The only way we can get better is by taking a look at how our past content performed. That’s easier said than done, though, and data can often be misleading. This chapter shows you the basics of measurement and reporting so you can get an accurate picture of how things are going.


9. Iteration, maintenance, and growth

Like all aspects of marketing, content should be iterative. You should take a close look at how your past work resonated with your audience, learn from what went right (and what went wrong), and revise your approach next time around. It also pays to revisit your processes from time to time; as your organization and your audience grow, the tactics that served you well at the beginning could well be holding you back now. This chapter explores how you can scale your content efforts without sacrificing the quality you’ve worked so hard to instill.


Let’s get started!

Thanks

The biggest thanks and the majority of the credit for this guide go to Isla McKetta. She was an immense help with early planning, and wrote the lion’s share of the guide. Derric Wise led the UX efforts, illustrating much of the guide and bringing Carl the Content Cat to life. Huge thanks also go to both Kevin Engle and Abe Schmidt for their fantastic illustrations. Thanks as well to Lisa Wildwood for her keen editing eyes, and to Ronell Smith and Christy Correll for their additional reviews. This guide never would have happened without all of you. =)

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


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Announcing The 2015 Cost of Online Business Report [Infographic]

2015 Cost of Online Business Report - A Copyblogger Survey

Here’s a neat fact to start your day: Copyblogger has a goat keeper among its readers. We know because he took our 2015 Cost of Online Business survey.

Now, more than likely it’s a prank. A prank by some misfit in Boca Raton.

But I have to confess: part of me wants there to be a goat keeper (somewhere exotic) who is a faithful reader of Copyblogger. An enterprising shepherd who dreams of growing his herd — with content marketing.

Ah, to dream.

But whether or not the goat keeper is real doesn’t really matter. It is, however, just one of dozens of interesting discoveries we made during our 2015 Cost of Online Business survey.

Discoveries like:

  • More than a quarter of respondents identified as a Small Business Owner.
  • Most website owners are struggling to make a living online.
  • Yet more and more people are choosing to enter the online business realm.
  • Generating traffic is the biggest challenge of running an online business.

And 53 additional interesting results.

Results that will help us create content that solves your online business problems and develop new products that better serve your needs. Not to mention allowing us to upgrade our current products based on what matters most to you.

Naturally, we wanted this information to serve you better. But we thought you needed it, too.

How can you accurately evaluate your current strategies and tactics — and their associated costs — if you don’t know what other folks are doing and what’s working for them?

You need to know your options.

The survey results in three ways

We’ve decided to provide the results from the survey in multiple formats.

First, in the superb infographic below designed by our very own Lauren Mancke.

This infographic touches upon the highlights from the 2015 Cost of Online Business survey. At a quick glance you can see the state of the cost of doing business online.

Second, you can listen to a short episode of The Lede where Jerod and I talk about the methodology behind the survey, results that stood out, and lessons learned (one really big one for me).

Finally, you can dig a little deeper (which we highly recommend you do) by grabbing our free 58-page ebook, The 2015 Cost of Online Business Report, at the end of this post. The report has all the results from the 57-question survey, plus analysis and commentary by Jerod and me.

As you work through all this material, it’s possible you’ll see many opportunities you or your business can take advantage of. And that was the ultimate goal of this survey and report: to give you information that will make you a more informed and savvy online business owner.

So, enjoy! Here’s to making 2015 the best year you’ve had yet.

copyblogger-2015-online-business-report-infographic

Want to publish this infographic on your own site?

Copy and paste the following code into your blog post or web page:

And don’t forget to grab your free copy of the 58-page 2015 Cost of Online Business Report below.

Copyblogger’s 2015 Cost of Online Business Report

  • Enter your email address in the space above to receive your free PDF of The 2015 Cost of Online Business Report.

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

The post Announcing The 2015 Cost of Online Business Report [Infographic] appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Announcing the All-New Beginner’s Guide to Link Building

Posted by Trevor-Klein

It is my great pleasure to announce the release of Moz’s third guide for marketers, written by the inimitable 
Paddy Moogan of Distilled:

The Beginner's Guide to Link Building

We could tell you all about how high-quality, authoritative links pointing to your site benefit your standing in the SERPs, but instead we’ll just copy the words straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth:

“Backlinks, even though there’s some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really, really big win in terms of quality for search results.”
— Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google, 
2/19/14

Link building is one area of SEO that has changed significantly over the last several years; 
some tactics that were once effective are now easily identifiable and penalized by Google. At the same time, earning links remains vital to success in search marketing: Link authority features showed the strongest correlation with higher rankings in our 2013 ranking factors survey. For that reason, it has never been more important for marketers to truly earn their links, and this guide will have you building effective campaigns in no time.


What you’ll learn


1. What is Link Building, and Why Is It Important?


This is where it all begins. If you’re brand new to link building and aren’t sure whether or not it’s a good tactic to include in your marketing repertoire, give this chapter a look. Even the more seasoned link earners among us could use a refresher from time to time, and here we cover everything from what links mean to search engines to the various ways they can help your business’s bottom line.


2. Types of Links (Both Good and Bad)

Before you dive into building links of your own, it’s important to understand the three main types of links and why you should really only be thinking about two of them. That’s what this short and sweet chapter is all about.


3. How to Start a Link Building Campaign

Okay, enough with the theory; it’s time for the nitty-gritty. This chapter takes a deep dive into every step of a link building campaign, offering examples and templates you can use to build your own foundation. 


4. Link Building Tactics

Whether through ego bait or guest blogging (yes, that’s 
still a viable tactic!), there are several approaches you can take to building a strong link profile. This chapter takes a detailed run through the tactics you’re most likely to employ.


5. Link Building Metrics

Now that the links are rolling in, how do you prove to ourselves and our clients that our work is paying off? The metrics outlined in this chapter, along with the tools recommended to measure them, offer a number of options for your reports.


6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Link Building

If we’re preaching to the choir with this chapter, then we’re thrilled, because spammy links can lead to severe penalties. Google has gotten incredibly good at picking out and penalizing spammy link building techniques, and if this chapter isn’t enough to make you put your white hat on, nothing is.


7. Advanced Link Building Tips and Tricks

Mastered the rest of what the guide has to offer? Earning links faster than 
John Paulson earns cash? Here are a few tips to take your link building to the next level. Caution: You may or may not find yourself throwing fireballs after mastering these techniques.


The PDF

When we released the Beginner’s Guide to Social Media, there was an instant demand for a downloadable PDF version. This time, it’s ready from the get-go (big thanks to David O’Hara!).

Click here to download the PDF.

Thanks

We simply can’t thank Paddy Moogan enough for writing this guide. His expertise and wisdom made the project possible. Thanks as well to Ashley Tate for wrangling the early stages of the project, Cyrus Shepard for his expert review and a few key additions, Derric Wise and David O’Hara for bringing it to life with their art, and Andrew Palmer for seamlessly translating everything onto the web.

Now, go forth and earn those links!

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


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