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A Look Back at a Great 2017: 5 Major Moz Product Investments and a Sneak Peek Into 2018

Posted by adamf

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already past. We entered the year with big ambitions and we’ve made some great strides. As has become tradition, I’ve compiled a rundown of some of the most interesting updates that you may have seen (or missed) this past year. We’ve intentionally focused on significant product updates, but I’ve also shared a little about some newer programs that provide value for customers in different ways.

TL;DR, here are some of the larger and more interesting additions to Moz in 2017:

  1. Keywords by Site: Keyword Explorer adds site-based keyword research and competitive intelligence
  2. Site Crawl V2: Overhauled Site Crawl for better auditing and workflow
  3. Major investments in infrastructure: Better performance and resilience across the Moz toolset
  4. New instructor-led training programs: Targeted classes to level-up your SEO knowledge
  5. Customer Success: Custom walkthroughs to help you get the most out of Moz
  6. Bonus! MozPod: Moz’s new free podcast keeps you up to date on the latest industry topics and trends

Big updates

This year and last, we’ve been spending a disproportionate focus on releasing large infrastructural improvements, new datasets, and foundational product updates. We feel these are crucial elements that serve the core needs of SEOs and will fuel frequent improvements and iterations for years to come.

To kick things off, I wanted to share some details about two big updates from 2017.


1) Keywords by Site: Leveling up keyword research and intelligence

Rank tracking provides useful benchmarks and insights for specific, targeted keywords, but you can’t track all of the keywords that are relevant to you. Sometimes you need a broader look at how visible your sites (and your competitors’ sites) are in Google results.

We built Keywords by Site to provide this powerful view into your Google presence. This brand-new dataset in Moz significantly extends Keyword Explorer and improves the quality of results in many other areas throughout Moz Pro. Our US corpus currently includes 40 million Google SERPs updated every two weeks, and allows you to do the following:

See how visible your site is in Google results

This view not only shows how authoritative a site is from a linking perspective, but also shows how prominent a site is in Google search results.

Compare your ranking prominence to your competitors

Compare up to three sites to get a feel for their relative scale of visibility and keyword ranking overlap. Click on any section in the Venn diagram to view the keywords that fall into that section.

Dig deep: Sort, filter, and find opportunities, then stash them in keyword lists

For example, let’s say you’re looking to determine which pages or content on your site might only require a little nudge to garner meaningful search visibility and traffic. Run a report for your site in Keyword Explorer and then use the filters to quickly hone in on these opportunities:

Our focus on data quality

We’ve made a few decisions to help ensure the freshness and accuracy of our keyword corpus. These extend the cost and work to maintain this dataset, but we feel they make a discernible difference in quality.

  • We recollect all of our keyword data every 2 weeks. This means that the results you see are more recent and more similar to the results on the day that you’re researching.
  • We cycle up to 15 million of our keywords out on a monthly basis. This means that as new keywords or terms trend up in popularity, we add them to our corpus, replacing terms that are no longer getting much search volume.

A few improvements we’ve made since launch:

  • Keyword recommendations in your campaigns (tracked sites) are much improved and now backed by our keyword corpus.
  • These keyword suggestions are also included in your weekly insights, suggesting new keywords worth tracking and pages worth optimizing.
  • Coming very soon: We’re also on the cusp of launching keyword corpuses for the UK, Canada, and Australia. Stay tuned.

A few resources to help you get more from Keywords by Site:

Try out Keywords by Site!


2) Site Crawl V2: Big enhancements to site crawling and auditing

Another significant project we completed in 2017 was a complete rewrite of our aging Site Crawler. In short, our new crawler is faster, more reliable, can crawl more pages, and surfaces more issues. We’ve also made some enhancements to the workflow, to make regular crawls more customizable and easy to manage. Here are a few highlights:

Week-over-week crawl comparisons

Our new crawler keeps tabs on what happened in your previous crawl to show you which specific issues are no longer present, and which are brand new.

Ignore (to hide) individual issues or whole issue types

This feature was added in response to a bunch of customer requests. While Moz does its best to call out the issues and priorities that apply to most sites, not all sites or SEOs have the same needs. For example, if you regularly noindex a big portion of your site, you don’t need us to keep reminding you that you’ve applied noindex to a huge number of pages. If you don’t want them showing your reports, just ignore individual issues or the entire issue type.

Another workflow improvement we added was the ability to mark an issue as fixed. This allows you to get it out of your way until the next crawl runs and verifies the fix.

All Pages view with improved sorting and filtering

If you’re prioritizing across a large number of pages or trying to track down an issue in a certain area of your site, you can now sort all pages crawled by Issue Count, Page Authority, or Crawl Depth. You can also filter to show, for instance, all pages in the /blog section of my site that are redirects, and have a crawl issue.

Recrawl to verify fixes

Moz’s crawler monitors your site by crawling it every week. But if you’ve made some changes and want to verify them, you can now recrawl your site in between regular weekly crawls instead of waiting for the next crawl the start.

Seven new issues checked and tracked

These include such favorites as detecting Thin Content, Redirect Chains, and Slow Pages. While we were at it, we revamped duplicate page detection and improved the UI to help you better analyze clusters of duplicate content and figure out which page should be canonical.

A few resources to help you get more from Site Crawl:


3) Major investments in infrastructure for performance and resilience

You may not have directly noticed many of the updates we’ve made this year. We made some significant investments in Moz Pro and Moz Local to make them faster, more reliable, and allow us to build new features more quickly. But here are a few tangible manifestations of these efforts:

“Infinite” history on organic Moz Pro search traffic reports

Okay, infinite is a bit of a stretch, but we used to only show the last 12 months or weeks of data. Now we’ll show data from the very inception of a campaign, broken down by weeks or months. This is made possible by an updated architecture that makes full historical data easy to surface and present in the application. It also allows for custom access to selected date ranges.

Also worth noting is that the new visualization shows how many different pages were receiving organic search traffic in context with total organic search traffic. This can help you figure out whether traffic increase was due to improved rankings across many pages, or just a spike in organic traffic for one or a few pages.

More timely and reliable access to Moz Local data at all scales

As Moz Local has brought on more and bigger customers with large numbers of locations, the team discovered a need to bolster systems for speed and reliability. A completely rebuilt scheduling system and improved core location data systems help ensure all of your data is collected and easy to access when you need it.

Improved local data distribution

Moz Local distributes your location data through myriad partners, each of which have their own formats and interfaces. The Local team updated and fine-tuned those third-party connections to improve the quality of the data and speed of distribution.


4) New instructor-led training programs: Never stop learning

Not all of our improvements this year have shown up in the product. Another investment we’ve made is in training. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for this over the years and are finally delivering. Brian Childs, our trainer extraordinaire, has built this program from the ground up. It includes:

  • Boot camps to build up core skills
  • Advanced Seminars to dig into more intensive topics
  • Custom Training for businesses that want a more tailored approach

We have even more ambitious plans for 2018, so if training interests you, check out all of our training offerings here.


5) Customer Success: Helping customers get the most out of Moz

Our customer success program took off this year and has one core purpose: to help customers get maximum value from Moz. Whether you’re a long-time customer looking to explore new features or you’re brand new to Moz and figuring out how to get started, our success team offers product webinars every week, as well as one-on-one product walkthroughs tailored to your needs, interests, and experience level.

The US members of our customer success team hone their skills at a local chocolate factory (Not pictured: our fantastic team members in the UK, Australia, and Dubai)

If you want to learn more about Moz Pro, check out a webinar or schedule a walkthrough.


Bonus! MozPod: Moz’s new free podcast made its debut

Okay, this really strays from product news, but another fun project that’s been gaining momentum is MozPod. This came about as a side passion project by our ever-ambitious head trainer. Lord knows that SEO and digital marketing are fast-moving and ever-changing; to help you keep up on hot topics and new developments, we’ve started the Mozpod. This podcast covers a range of topics, drawing from the brains of key folks in the industry. With topics ranging from structured data and app store optimization to machine learning and even blockchain, there’s always something interesting to learn about. If you’ve got an idea for an episode or a topic you’d like to hear about, submit it here.

Join Brian every week for a new topic and guest:


What’s next?

We have a lot planned for 2018 — probably way too much. But one thing I can promise is that it won’t be a dull year. I prefer not to get too specific about projects that we’ve not yet started, but here are a few things already in the works:

  • A significant upgrade to our link data and toolset
  • On-demand Site Crawl
  • Added keyword research corpuses for the UK, Australia, and Canada
  • Expanded distribution channels for local to include Facebook, Waze, and Uber
  • More measurement and analytics features around local rankings, categories, & keywords
  • Verticalized solutions to address specific local search needs in the restaurant, hospitality, financial, legal, & medical sectors

On top of these and many other features we’re considering, we also plan to make it a lot easier for you to use our products. Right now, we know it can be a bit disjointed within and between products. We plan to change that.

We’ve also waited too long to solve for some specific needs of our agency customers. We’re prioritizing some key projects that’ll make their jobs easier and their relationships with Moz more valuable.


Thank you!

Before I go, I just want to thank you all for sharing your support, suggestions, and critical feedback. We strive to build the best SEO data and platform for our diverse and passionate customers. We could not succeed without you. If you’d like to be a part of making Moz a better platform, please let us know. We often reach out to customers and community members for feedback and insight, so if you’re the type who likes to participate in user research studies, customer interviews, beta tests, or surveys, please volunteer here.

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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Google debuts giant new look for Local Inventory Ad product search in Knowledge Panels

A search bar and multiple product listings are part of the update.

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What to look for in a paid media campaign management tool

Paid search, mobile, display/banner ads, and social media advertising lead an expanding group of paid media that are now being managed by paid media campaign management platforms. This report examines the current market for enterprise paid campaign management platforms and the considerations…



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Instagram Beginning To Look A Lot Like Snapchat

Instagram announced today the ability to add stickers to your posts, just like Snapchat. The stickers will be both for the consumer like Snapchat, but more importantly will also be targeted at businesses which are looking for creative ways to promote their products and services.

“Now you have new ways to turn any business moment into something you want to share with your followers,” posted the Instagram blog team. “No matter where your business is or what you’re up to, you can add context to your story with stickers.”

Instagram also announced that on iOS you can now save your entire business story from the past 24 hours to your camera roll as a single video.

How to Use Stickers on Instagram

Simply take a photo and video and then click the new stickers button which is right next to the text and drawing buttons. They say you can “tap the smiley face to find customizable stickers for weather, the current time and even your location.”

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Instagram Beginning To Look A Lot Like Snapchat

Instagram announced today the ability to add stickers to your posts, just like Snapchat. The stickers will be both for the consumer like Snapchat, but more importantly will also be targeted at businesses which are looking for creative ways to promote their products and services.

“Now you have new ways to turn any business moment into something you want to share with your followers,” posted the Instagram blog team. “No matter where your business is or what you’re up to, you can add context to your story with stickers.”

Instagram also announced that on iOS you can now save your entire business story from the past 24 hours to your camera roll as a single video.

How to Use Stickers on Instagram

Simply take a photo and video and then click the new stickers button which is right next to the text and drawing buttons. They say you can “tap the smiley face to find customizable stickers for weather, the current time and even your location.”

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2016 Doodle 4 Google contest asks students to look to the future

Students in grades K through 12 have until December 2 to submit artwork based on the theme: “What I see for the future.”

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Amanda Bynes Said to Be Doing Well Off Meds and Posts Christmas Selfie With a New Look

Amanda Bynes is said to be doing well off meds and has gone brunette for the holidays.

The actress posted a Twitter selfie on Christmas donning a new brunette look and is reportedly acting completely “normal” despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar syndrome.

Insiders told TMZ that her family finds it “mind blowing” that she is able to function without her meds and has even allowed her limited access to her bank accounts once again.

According to the website, Bynes is spending her time reading, doing yoga and Pilates, and meditatating, which doctors say are important for relieving stress in patients diagnosed with mental disorders.

In November, Bynes was released from a psychiatric facility where she had been getting treatment. Following her release, she was spotted wandering around Hollywood acting very strange and seemingly out of touch with reality. Several Twitter rants seemed to confirm she was not doing well.

Other recent reports also confirm that Bynes is doing much better than just a few short weeks ago.

TMZ reports that the actress made a recent trip to the University of Southern California with the hopes of enrolling as a psych major in the near future.

Of course, just because she seems to be doing well right now does not mean Bynes is out of the woods just yet. Doctors have warned Bynes’ family that a relapse could occur at any time.

Friends reportedly believe Bynes should enjoy these stable periods as much as possible.


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What to Look for in a Professional Content Writer

poodle with glasses sitting at a desk

Every business needs content. Not the bland, me-too nonsense that so often clutters up our in-boxes and feeds, but genuinely useful, interesting content.

Content that lets a business stand out amid the clutter and noise. Content that moves prospects closer to a sale. Content that can become a powerful differentiator for your company.

And increasingly, businesses are having a tough time finding the writers who know how to create that kind of content over time.

According to some recent research by Content Marketing Institute, the demand for content writers has grown by 320 percent … just over the past year.

And while in the past, about 10 percent of companies struggled to find qualified professionals, that’s risen to 32 percent this year.

One of the reasons I think organizations struggle is, they don’t always know what qualities will make for a genuinely productive, profitable hire. And as you might guess, I have a few strong opinions about that.

So here’s what I think you should look for, when you’re looking for a content professional to create the marketing that will move your business forward.

First: A strong, confident writing voice

This is the big gun.

Strategy, marketing, and persuasion techniques can be taught (that’s what we’re here for). Voice, on the other hand, develops over time and needs to come from within a creative, intelligent, sensitive human being.

While a solid writing voice can be developed over time (here’s how), your writer won’t ever get there without a lot of passion and commitment. Talent doesn’t hurt, either.

Look for a writer whose work is interesting, funny, smart, perceptive, and convincing. Look for someone whose writing you just like to read.

Some have it and some don’t. Insist on hiring the one who does.

Solid spelling, grammar, and usage

There are a few amazing writers out there who need a professional proofreader — but unless you have the bandwidth to add such a person to your team, your writer needs to have a solid grasp of usage, spelling, and all those mundane issues that can make us look silly when we get them wrong.

Your writing candidates should get their feathers ruffled when someone uses it’s for its. Every writer makes a typo once in awhile — but for a professional, that should be rare.

Finds the intriguing angle

Well-crafted content is important — but if it’s not wrapped up in a fascinating package, it probably won’t get read or shared.

Strong content writers are capable and creative. They think about your topic in interesting ways. (Mainly because professional writers think about their topics all the time. Occupational hazard. Probably why we’re such odd birds.)

A pro knows how to deliver the usefulness that audiences need, but also wraps it up in unusual hooks and angles that will capture attention and engage curiosity.

Understands the elements of content that sells

There are plenty of writers out there who can write a pleasing sentence or paragraph.

But a content professional also understands how content can move prospects smoothly down the path from stranger to interested prospect to delighted customer.

They understand headlines, and why content gets shared. They know what kind of content works well in blog posts, and what’s better saved for a landing page or an email message.

A professional content writer lives and breathes strategy. Which brings me to my next point. A good writer …

Can articulate why they’re using a particular content strategy

If you have a writer working for you, that person should be able to tell you precisely why she’s taken a particular angle with a blog post, video script, or white paper.

She can explain how your content program ties into your search strategy and why she’s using the number 8.4 in the headline, rather than rounding it up to 9.

Give her a chance and she’ll talk your ear off about the structure of bullet point fascinations, benefits over features, and the call to action.

The people who revel in this stuff are the ones who create compelling marketing content that builds your business. Whether or not you find it exciting, your writer needs to.

She needs to be able to tell you why, so your entire organization moves in the same direction.

(And on your part, you need to take the time to listen to those explanations. Don’t hire a pro and then second-guess every move she makes. If you want great content, you need to give your writer the space to craft that greatness.)

Commitment to professionalism and ongoing education

If content is important to your business, you need a professional, not an interested amateur. (Or an admittedly adorable fluffy poodle, like the one illustrating this post.)

And one of the hallmarks of the professional is commitment. Commitment to getting better over time, to staying on top of developments in the field, to a lifetime of learning.

Raw talent to write is important, and an understanding of strategy is important. But you also want to find someone who takes the profession seriously — as a profession — and continues to sharpen and refine his skills.

From search algorithms to social platforms to what kinds of headlines are performing well these days — professional writers need to stay plugged in to what’s changing in our profession.

A serious content professional also takes the initiative to become an authority in the topics he writes about. Interviewing experts (some of whom might be within your company), doing independent research, poring over industry journals, and talking with customers.

You can find that from a dedicated freelancer who specializes in your industry, but you can also build a long-term relationship with a strong content generalist who takes the time to develop that depth of knowledge about your individual company.

What you don’t want is a pennies-a-word person from one of the cheap freelance sites. They simply can’t make the commitment to learning your topic the way a true pro can.

Where do you find these people?

I cheated when I wrote this post — because I went to the guidelines for our Certified Content Creator application evaluations.

These are the qualities we look for when we’re assessing the work of writers seeking our certification — and these are the qualities you’ll find in the writers who earn that badge.

We have a whole page of them (growing weekly) — some serving specific niches like real estate or healthcare, and others who write across several industries.

A member of the Copyblogger editorial team takes a close look at the writing of each applicant. (I’m on the evaluation team as well.)

We look for the qualities I talked about above — a great writing voice first and foremost, but paired with strategy, professionalism, and straight-up marketing chops.

If you’re looking for a serious content professional, this is where you’ll find her, or him. But don’t wait too long. Remember, the demand for this kind of writer has grown by 320 percent in this year alone.

The perfect writer for your business would love to get started making your content program more successful … don’t let her slip away to some other company.

Click here to view Copyblogger’s Certified Content Writers

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Francisco Martins.

About the author

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

The post What to Look for in a Professional Content Writer appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Looking for a college-bound influencer? Look on YouTube

Dorm HaulYou may think that big chains like Walmart, Target and Staples control back-to-school shopping but the real power is in the hands of the YouTube haulers.

These young women have the eyes and ears of the older teens headed off to college and the younger teens who are dreaming about the future. Sitting in their sparkly bedrooms, they show off everything from hangers to sheets, to communal shower must-haves and tools for whipping up a “no kitchen needed” snack.

Think Google says that searches for “back to school haul” on YouTube are up 70% this year. Searches for “dorm hauls” on YouTube doubled in the first 10 days of August.

Hoping to be first in line, this year’s haulers released twice as many back-to-school haul videos in the first seven months of 2014 as they did in 2013. Last year, most of the videos went up in August but this year a large number of videos launched in July. Send them all a thanks for helping to extend the BTS shopping season.

The best thing about the dorm haul audience is that its made up of young, first time decision makers who are still open to trying new brands. Mom is going to suggest her old favorite brands, but daughter is more likely to listen to the suggestions of a YouTube star.

Google also makes note of a spin-off trend; dorm tour videos.

In these videos, college students show off their rooms with an emphasis on decor, storage and comfort. I think these videos are popular because they take some of the fear out the process. So many TV shows and movies revolve around the college outcast who is homesick or stuck with a wacky roommate. YouTube dorm tour videos are proof that college life can be fun and exciting.

This chart shows the number of “dorm tour” searches on YouTube. What a difference over last year.

a-report-card-on-back-to-school_articles_04

The final trend is Dorm DIY. “Dorm decor” searches on Google are up 37% YOY. Teen DIY in general is a huge trend as kids look for cheap and imaginative ways to spruce up their bedrooms and everything they own. The current king of DIY products is Washi Tape. This is a paper tape that comes in every possible color and pattern. Scrapbookers and cardmakers were the first to use it and now it’s grown into an industry all its own.

Consumers searching for dorm room-related topics are about 100x more likely to be searching for washi tape than the average Google user and about 150x more likely to be searching for wall decals. (Google Data)

Google even has a chart!

Washi Tape SearchesIf you can mix Washi Tape with your product or service, you’re golden.

Bottom line, if you’re trying to reach a Millennial audience, spend some time on YouTube watching the dorm haul videos. Then reach out to the YouTubers with product samples or a sponsorship opportunity. The worst thing that can happen is they’ll ignore you. Terrible if you’re a teen but you’re a grown-up, you can take it.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

Este documental es una incursión en los entresijos de Google ahora que está yendo más allá de su rentabilísimo motor de búsqueda y del negocio de la publicid…
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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SearchCap: Bing Safety, Yandex Earnings & Bing Ads New Look

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Bing Ads Is Getting A Slick New Look That Will Feel Familiar Bing is unveiling a new look that will start showing up in the web interface next week. The new…



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