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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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Here’s a Quick Sneak Peek at This Year’s Massive Black Friday Discount

The crowds. The lines. The noise. The endless circling to find parking. Black Friday is an American institution — and for good reason. Commerce is king, humans like to save money, and Black Friday marries those two together unlike any other date on the calendar. But over the last handful of years, something has come
Read More…

The post Here’s a Quick Sneak Peek at This Year’s Massive Black Friday Discount appeared first on Copyblogger.


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27 Big Updates & A Peek at the Future: Moz Pro’s 2016 Retrospective

Posted by adamf

Another year has slipped by, and while we had our ups and downs, returning to our SEO roots has given us greater focus and renewed purpose. We’ve redoubled our efforts with the goal of building the best SEO product in the industry. We know it’s a lofty goal with so many great competitors out there, but this is the target that served as our north star in 2016 and continues to get us out of bed each morning.

Our increased focus on SEO translated to a big increase in the number of new features and improvements we were able to add to Moz Pro in 2016. In fact, we shipped more significant updates in 2016 than 2014 and 2015 combined, and we already have a lot in the works for 2017.

We also collected and surfaced a huge amount of data in 2016. A few notable examples:

  • Customers created 141,000 new campaigns for their websites
  • 4.6 million tracked keywords were added to campaigns
  • 1.8 million keyword queries were run in Keyword Explorer
  • 25 million URLs were researched in Open Site Explorer

Such ever-increasing demand keeps us on our toes and we continue to invest in scaling our infrastructure to keep the data flowing smoothly.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of some of the noteworthy updates you may have missed in 2016 and a sneak peek at some exciting updates coming in 2017.


Keyword Explorer: Redefining keyword research

Okay, I’m sure you’ve heard us mention Keyword Explorer once or twice. More than twice? Alright, we do like to talk about it. Building Keyword Explorer was a huge effort and our biggest release of the year. Keyword Explorer was a passion project for Moz’s co-founder, Rand, and it shows in the quality of the data and thoughtful workflow. If you do keyword research for SEO or content creation, check out this tool.

1. We launched Keyword Explorer with a rich set of capabilities

Keyword Explorer launched during the first half of the year, and offered some cool benefits right out of the gate:

  • Keyword Explorer takes you all the way through the keyword research process. Save time and simplify your keyword research process, from discovering keyword ideas to getting metrics to building a list. Once you’ve built a list, filter and prioritize which keywords to target based on the numbers that matter.
  • Keyword Explorer features metrics essential to the SEO process: two you’re familiar with — Volume and Difficulty — and three that are less familiar: Opportunity, Importance, and Potential. Use these comprehensive metrics to prioritize more effectively and focus your time on the best opportunities.
  • We built a keyword volume score that goes beyond what AdWords reports with ~95% accuracy. Accurate, trustworthy keyword volume data is getting harder to obtain, but we’re here for you.
  • Keyword Explorer gathers keyword suggestions from a broad variety of sources, so you can gather a greater variety of keyword ideas from one source.
  • We invested in strong import and export capabilities, so it’s easy to incorporate Keyword Explorer into your existing keyword research process.

Rand even created a quick demo video to introduce the new capabilities:

And we didn’t stop there. We collected a whole bunch of feedback after launch and built in a ton of new features to make the tool even better:

2. Automatically group Related Keywords

Rather than wading through large volumes of similar keywords and adding each variation to a list, we’ve added auto-grouping as atop any list of keyword suggestions. This is helpful for discovering and focusing on themes, and adding a whole group of related keywords to your own research lists.

3. Check page-one rankings in Keyword Explorer research lists

See if you already rank on page one for they keywords in your lists. This is a hugely valuable data point for prioritizing which keywords to target.

4. Add keywords from your list to a campaign for rank tracking

This was at the top of the list of feature requests at launch. Now you can take the keywords in your carefully cultivated list and add them directly to a campaign for ongoing rank tracking.

5. View improved and expanded keyword volume data

Clickstream-based search behavior, plus data from other sources, combined with our modeling against AdWords’ impression counts on real campaigns, has given us higher accuracy, more coverage, and faster recognition of volume trends than ever before. It also allowed us to calculate search volume data for more countries, with significant coverage for the UK, Canada, and Australia, more moderate data for other Western languages and countries, and a small amount in regions and languages beyond those.

6. Find questions people are asking in search engines

This is great for content ideas, refining existing content, and finding featured snippets you might want to try and win.

*Further reading: Get even more out of your keyword research

Whether you’re using Keyword Explorer or just doing keyword research in general, we’ve posted a few articles this year that can help you improve your research, especially as Google gets more sophisticated:

Try Keyword Explorer free now


Huge improvements to Rankings: SERP Features, historical timeframes, algo updates, and more!

7. Discover and track SERP features

Dr. Pete has been pushing the industry (and us internally) to think beyond 10 blue links. While organic rankings remain a core SEO focus, Google has been adding more and more SERP features to a large proportion of search queries, and as an SEO, you just can’t ignore them anymore. To help provide more visibility to the SERP features and related opportunities, we’ve integrated in-depth SERP feature analysis into the rankings section of your campaigns. Highlights include:

  • View which SERP features show up for the keywords you track, and whether you or your competitors show up in them.

  • See how different SERP features have trended for the keywords you track. You may find that a certain type of search feature is trending up and is worth attention.

  • Discover when we think you have an opportunity to show up in a SERP feature and how best to approach it.

8. Get alerted to featured snippet opportunities

Featured snippets appear above organic position #1 and can improve click-through rates for keywords you already rank in the top 10 for. Find the most lucrative opportunities for them in your Campaign Insights list.

*Further reading: Win those featured snippets

If you are interested in featured snippets, I’d recommend a couple of great posts from Dr. Pete:

And SERP Features is just the tip of the iceberg. Almost everything else you see in campaign rankings is new or overhauled.

9. See all of your historical rankings data

We started the year with a significant architectural overhaul of our rankings system. Aside from a faster and more streamlined interface, this also allowed us to support one of our biggest customer requests, and present all historical rankings data. Choose any timeframe to see and report on how your rankings have changed within that period.

10. Overlay Google algo updates on your rankings graphs

See a dramatic change in your rankings overnight? We now leverage the great data from MozCast to show any Google algorithm changes that might be affecting your search presence. Just hover over the little Google “G” to see major and minor update details.

11. Get more from your data with advanced filtering and improved sorting

Easily filter down your long list of rankings by keyword, label, location, or brandedness, and sort them accordingly to get a handle on your data.

12. See search volume data alongside your rankings

This had been a frequent request. We baked in the same powerful search volume data from Keyword Explorer alongside your rankings.

13. View detailed keyword analyses in your campaigns

Our keyword analysis page was completely rebuilt, with some great new additions:

  • Flexible timeframes, including the ability to view a keyword’s performance at any time in the history of your campaign
  • Volume and Difficulty scores, powered by Keyword Explorer’s data
  • Four beautiful graphs: Search Visibility, Highest Ranking Position, Keyword Performance, and SERP Features
  • An easy-to-read SERP report with callouts for pages on your domain, and those on your competitors’ domains
  • Faster page loads and improved performance

Intrigued? Take a trial of Moz Pro, free for 30 days


Page Optimization improved again

We made some big upgrades to this section late in 2015, but we weren’t quite done.

14. Discover topics related to your page content

This new tab shown with Page Optimization reports lets you see the topics that your SERP competition is writing about. This can help you understand what kinds of keywords signal topical relevance to Google and provide good ideas for how you can make your content more robust and relevant to searchers. I’m not going to go too deep here, but check out Jon White’s fantastic post for some great tips and examples to get the most from this feature. Rand also shares some great tips in this Whiteboard Friday, Using Related Topics and Semantically Connected Keywords in Your SEO.

15. Dive right into on-page optimization from your rankings

Quickly run page optimization reports and view page optimization scores right from your rankings.


We’ve made Insights better

Our Insights dashboard also underwent some solid improvements in 2016. We continue to surface new insights in this section as we add more capabilities across Moz Pro. Our aim is to make this a powerful section that surfaces new problems and opportunities that we discover as we collect and analyze your data every week.

16. Mark completed insights as “Done”

We heard feedback that many of you were attempting to use Insights as a to-do list, but we didn’t make that very easy. Now you can check off insights from your list once you’ve read or acted upon them. They will then be moved to your Done list, where you can track your completed work.

17. Add tasks to Trello

If you need a more robust workflow, we’ve added a way to quickly add insight tiles to Trello. Trello is a power task management solution, which also happens to be free. I’ve used it quite a bit myself, and happily recommend it.

18. Enjoy a better summary of your weekly rankings

We updated the rankings summary tile to give you a clearer look at your most important ranking changes from week to week.


Reporting got some needed attention

Outside of the more obvious features I’ve shared, we’ve also been working quietly behind the scenes to make our reporting and exports better.

19. Generate “real” PDF reports

Our old PDF export solution was functional, but clunky. It converted page modules into images and then encapsulated them in a PDF. We rebuilt our PDF engine so that PDFs created in Moz Pro include text as text and images as images, offering better editing, copying, and image quality.

20. Customize your rankings CSV exports

We launched updated CSVs for campaign rankings that respect filters as well as time frames. Now you can export just the data you need rather than poring through a massive historical rankings export.

21. Build custom reports more easily with a revamped interface

Adding and managing custom reports is easier to use and easier on the eyes.

22. Get regular insights directly in your inbox

We revamped our weekly email updates, making them cleaner and more informative. They now include both ranking updates and important insights that we discover for you each week. We plan to add more timely information to these as we continue to improve our datasets and refine the logic behind Insights.


The Mozbar got some love

If you can believe it, the Mozbar recently surpassed 400,000 installs. It was due a little bit of attention.

23. Breath easier, we’ve improved Mozbar stability and reliability

Unfortunately, our most beloved tool ran into some stability and login challenges when some unfriendly folks started abusing the service behind it. We invested some quality time to fix up the authentication issues and data inconsistency that were becoming a real frustration for customers.

24. Get On-Page Content Suggestions for any page on the web (brand new!)

We haven’t officially announced this one yet, but if you are a Pro customer and using the Mozbar, you can click on the little analysis icon:

When you enter a keyword, you will now see content suggestions just to the right of the on-page analysis. You can dig in just like in the page analysis section of your Moz Pro campaigns. Use this to beef up your relevance or find new topics to write about.

Start using MozBar for Chrome free today


Even Fresh Web Explorer got an update

Fresh Web Explorer continues to collect syndicated content from across the Web, making it easy to see where and when fresh content has mentioned a specified brand or linked to a domain. On top of that, Fresh Web Explorer’s alerts serve as a great alternative to Google Alerts, sending you an email anytime we see your target brands or keywords mentioned.

25. Show only Google Verified News Sources to reduce noise in your results

Filter your searches and/or alerts to show only those sources/domains we’ve observed in Google News. E.g. here’s a search for Amazon.com with news filtering on (3,067 results in the last 4 weeks) vs. the same search with news filtering off (28,798 results). This can save a lot of time when you’re looking for the most important results.


Beyond these features, there was a lot more going on behind the scenes

26. We made significant performance improvements

Our hard-working engineering team rebuilt a lot of the scaffolding behind campaigns, making them much snappier to load. This work continues into 2017. They also squashed dozens of bugs and made myriad small improvements across out tools and campaigns. If you are interested in keeping tabs on new features, fixes, or updates, you can find them all on our Moz Pro Updates page.

27. We now offer free product demos to customers and trialers

The friendly faces now helping you navigate Moz Pro

Another important addition we’ve made to our product isn’t in the product at all. We’ve quietly built out a Customer Success team. This cadre of product experts provide custom demos for new customers that are looking for an overview of Moz Pro, as well as long-time customers that are interested in learning more about new features. If you are interested in a refresher or a full walkthrough, schedule one here!

Also, if you’re looking to level up your SEO skills or get some deeper support in using Moz tools to tackle your SEO strategy, we’re actively working on more paid training options. Stay tuned!


So, what’s up next?

I hope you’re still with me, because I’ve got a bit more to share. Here are some of the big things to expect in 2017.

A rebuilt and re-imagined Custom Crawl

One of the big projects that our team has been busy with in 2016 is a total rewrite of our custom crawler. This is already being looked at by a few customers in a very limited alpha release. We still have a lot to add to it before it’s ready to go, but here are some of the benefits that we’ve already baked in:

  • A much faster and more resilient crawler. Whether your site is hundreds or millions of pages, expect your crawls much more quickly and reliably.
  • The ability to compare one crawl to the next and see what new issues have cropped up and which were confirmed as fixed.
  • A much simpler interface to access your data quickly and easily.
  • A bunch of other features are in the works to support deeper analysis and customization. More to come soon!

“Keyword Universe”

Cool code name, but what the heck is it?

Do you ever wonder which keywords you already rank for? Which ones your competitors rank for? Who are your SEO competitors? Answer these questions and more with this new data set, which we plan to expose in a number of different ways throughout Moz Pro and in our data products. If you’re curious about accessing this sort of data, please let us know!

What about links?

We’ve got some improvements in the works here too, but we’re keeping this under our hats for now.

And much more…

Beyond these large efforts, we will continue to make updates and improvements large and small throughout the year.


Please let us know what you need most!

We are constantly collecting feedback and looking to solve the most challenging problems that our customers face. Please let us know what’s working for you, what isn’t, and what you need most to be successful with your SEO efforts. You can add your thoughts in the comments here, or message me directly. While we can’t get to everything right away, we are always listening and prioritizing what to work on next.

Thanks for reading. I hope you all have a fantastic 2017!

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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Sneaking a Peek at My Inbox: What Types of Email Subject Lines Should You Be Using?

Posted by Isla_McKetta

[Estimated read time: 15 minutes]

Like most of you, I get a lot of email. Here’s a look at all the marketing emails I received in my personal email in one 24-hour period:

That’s not even counting the transactional shipping confirmations and informational blog post notifications. Or all the work-related newsletters I have sent to my address at Moz.

I do not open most of this email. In fact, preparing for this blog post, I’ve had a really fun time shunting it off into a folder called “content examples.” But receiving so much email is an excellent opportunity to think about what motivates me to open and email, what doesn’t, and what really annoys me. It’s also given me the chance to think about the various types of email subject lines and how we could all be using them better.

So how do you, as a savvy email marketer, stand out in your customer’s amazingly crowded inbox? I’m here to help you do just that. First we’ll briefly cover the different types of email. Then we’ll talk subject lines and take a close look at how two very different companies — Carter’s/OshKosh B’Gosh and Moz — compose subject lines and what you can learn from both.

Types of email

Before we get into subject lines, it’s important to do a brief overview of the different types of emails, because different types of email require different things from a subject line.

Informational

Informational emails are educational. This doesn’t mean that they have a lesson plan attached, but it does mean that they’re geared to tell a reader something they didn’t already know. Change the logo on your mobile app? Send an informational email. Publish a new blog post? Send an informational email. Updating a user on how many airline miles they have or that a new report is ready? You get the idea.

These emails are (ostensibly) all about what the recipient needs and they (often) fall near the top of the marketing funnel. Here are some examples of informational emails I’ve received recently:

The newsletter

This particular newsletter tells me all the things I need to know about what’s happening in the publishing industry. They have the unsexiest subject lines ever, but their content is valuable enough that I open the email anyway.

Another favorite newsletter is the Moz Top 10. More on that later.

The blog post

Yay! A new blog post! There are other ways to receive updates about new blog posts, but some of us are old fashioned and we are talking email here.

The informational update

What has the Park Service been up to in this, their centennial year? I’m so glad you asked. There’s an email for that.

The report

I signed up to get the latest nonprofit jobs in Seattle emailed to me sometime around the time I graduated college. In 2001. Dear Idealist keeps on sending me that report. Every day. That’s a lot of emails, but they must be doing a good job because I haven’t unsubscribed yet.

Informational emails are strictly for the reader’s benefit and as such, you can often get away with less enticing subject lines and still preserve your open rate. Although it might also be tempting to loop news about your latest sale or promotion into the “Informational” category, those emails are actually asking the reader to do something, so they fall under the next category…

Sale or offer

If your personal inbox looks anything like mine, sale or offer emails are what most marketers are good at. It’s also where we marketers look for our conversions, so it’s really, really important for us that people open sales emails. Here’s a sample of the sales emails in my inbox:

Did you spot the red herring? That email from Amazon, while containing an offer, is also a triggered email. Amazon is really good at triggered emails. More on that below.

Transactional or triggered

According to MailChimp, transactional email is “email sent to an individual based on some action.” That could be anything from a new customer welcome email to a drip campaign a reader signs up for.

In the case of Amazon, I was looking at that steam cleaner and added it to my cart as I consider it. Actually, I added it to my cart to see if they’d add it to my daily deals (because they are just that good at tracking). No luck yet, but I’m patient.

Here are some other triggered emails from my inbox:

The order confirmation

The pending invite

The drip campaign

Most transactional and triggered emails are also emails that your reader is looking out for, so we’re not going to worry as much about their subject lines. As long as you’re being clear, you’re probably fine.

Types of email subject lines

Now that you have a really good handle on the types of email you can send, it’s time to think of the style of selling that particular email. Keep in mind that although we marketers like things to align in predictable categories, some of the best email subject lines often fall into more than one of the following categories (ooh! cross-genre subject lines!).

Direct

Make no bones about it, we have a deal for you. That deal is…

The direct, straightforward, unadorned subject line works for a company like Wolferman’s which prides itself on quality baked goods. If the information or deal is interesting enough, it appeals to a wide range of people and will never offend anyone.

Playful

Make someone laugh and they’ll remember you. Or at least they won’t delete your email outright. The only thing that would have made me like this email from Shutterfly more is if there was a big ol’ kiss emoji after “Mr. President.”

I’m also really a fan of this subject line from the Bernie Sanders campaign:

Notice that both of the playful subject lines here use pop culture references? That’s not a necessity (and can be dangerous if you’re too oblique), but these references can be a great way to tap into a reader’s memory and call upon all the images that your referent conjures.

Curiosity-inducing

I’ve ranted before about how people misuse the curiosity gap in their titles. But don’t underestimate the power of curiosity to get people to open emails. If you pique just the right amount, you’re in. This subject line is specific enough and yet open enough to make me want to click:

This one is not:

Personalized

Personalizing an email doesn’t just have to mean using someone’s name. Kissmetrics nails it when they say you can use location, time, personas, and more to make your reader feel like the email is just for them. Travelocity is famous for pulling together fabulous emails based on what you’re browsing and what trips you’ve purchased. I’d show you one, but they sent me this email:

And I think I over-opted-out. As discussed above, Amazon is another personalization rock star. They’ll send you triggered emails tailored to items you’ve browsed, items you’ve bought, items related to items you’ve bought — and it’s all right there in the subject line. However, personalization can go wrong if you’re acting on bad information.

No, I did not give Classmates my correct name when I registered over a decade ago. As a result, their personalization doesn’t pull hard at my subconscious. Instead, it gives me a good giggle.

Scarcity

Humans are hardwired to respond to scarce resources. Whether that means “There are only a few tickets left!” or “This offer expires in four hours!”, letting your email recipients know that something is limited can be a good way to get them to take action.

Call to action

Most frequently used by political parties (or so it seems right now), the call to action (CTA) subject line literally calls the recipient to take an action.

The “RE:” here is extraneous and annoying, but the CTA here works. I get a lot of similar emails that tell me to contact my senator or sign a petition.

The CTA-type subject line also works for marketers.

This email from Rejuvenation is a reminder, a call to action, and (if you read down the line far enough) an offer as well. You could invite your subscribers to “Come into the store for a special discount” or the classic “Tell us how we’re doing.” Both are calls to action.

A note on formatting subject lines

Whatever type of subject line you’re using, there are various things you can do within the text to make it stand out. You can use all caps:

Or add in some symbols:

Different audiences respond to different things, but to my mind both of these come off as gimmicky. I notice them but they almost never compel me to open that email. And when my local art museum started using them I died a little inside.

You can make your subject line extra long:

Or extra short:

Just remember that if your customer is reading your email on mobile (which 65% of people do), they can likely only see the first 50 characters of whatever you write. So I hope L.L. Bean wasn’t telling me there were 70 free shirts available, because I’ll never know.

How Carter’s/OshKosh B’Gosh uses email and email subject lines

As a new mom who does most of my shopping online, I get a lot of email from Carter’s/OshKosh B’Gosh.

Sometimes I get several per day.

Which makes Carter’s/OshKosh B’Gosh an easy case study for us to put all our email subject line knowledge to use.

Carter’s mostly uses the sale/offer type of email (except when I order something), so we’ll focus on those types of emails (plus, then I don’t have to show you how many times I’ve ordered from this company in the same time span). I received 25 emails from Carter’s or OshKosh in one 10-day stretch:

How I respond

First of all, that’s a lot of email. Granted, they are writing to an audience (me!) who isn’t getting a lot of sleep, and, as a result, has no short-term memory. But it is a little smothering, and I sometimes run a little animated clip through my brain of the Carter’s email team doing battle with the OshKosh team over who can send the most email the fastest. It isn’t pretty and invariably I lose.

We can chat about whether this volume of emails is effective; I did, after all, admit (just a few paragraphs ago) to a large number of purchases. But that’s more because I’m caught up in their rewards cycle and because at the end of a day full of marketing and mothering, online shopping is all I have the energy for. I might have a problem ;) .

Really, though, I’d say this is too much email and I have since “managed my email preferences.”

What they could do better

Mix it up

Of those 25 emails, 16 used the direct approach. That’s a lot for a retailer, especially one sending this much email. Here’s a look at what other tactics they used:

Carter’s and OshKosh clearly have a handle on how to motivate people with deals and by time-limiting those deals. But I’d love to see them try to do more with playful subject lines. To be fair, after creating the above graphic, I received the following email:

It’s a step in the right direction?

Remember that it’s important to keep your customers engaged. Using a wider variety of subject line types and testing new territory can be a great way to do that.

Personalize

All-caps aside, this subject line would have been terrific:

If I had a girl. Carter’s has enough information about my browsing and purchase history by now to know that I have a son. They might be confused about his age because I’ve been stockpiling outfits for when he grows, but he is a boy. And no matter how gender neutral I try to be, I’m probably not going to outfit my son in dresses anytime soon.

The lesson: We’re digital marketers. We have A LOT of data on our customers. If you aren’t already using that data to customize your email marketing, impress your boss by asking how to start.

Don’t cry wolf

OMG I’m so sad I missed the 50% off sale this weekend. Wait, today everythings’s 60% off?

Promotions are awesome. They get your customers’ attention. The move old inventory. They increase your bottom line. And time-limited promotions are a very good way to tie into that fear of missing out that makes scarcity subject lines so effective.

But when I’ve been a customer for less than half a year and I already know the sale gets better and better and better the longer I wait, you’ve lost all the power that scarcity offers. Instead, I feel duped if I bought at the higher price and fail to be motivated by email subject lines that mostly tout the latest deal.

Be strategic about the strings you’re pulling with your subject lines. They’re a lot more effective that way.

Am I being unfair to Carter’s and OshKosh? Maybe. I’m sure that they have thoroughly tested their subject lines and related open and clickthrough rates. And let’s face it, creating emails at that volume while trying to maintain freshness is hard. Either way, there are some good lessons to be learned here (or in your reactions to your own inbox).

How we use subject lines for the Moz Top 10

Now let’s take a look at how well I’m doing in writing subject lines for the Moz Top 10.

The Moz Top 10 is a newsletter, so we’re obviously going to take a slightly different tack than your average retailer (at least at the sales level — don’t underestimate the power of a strong newsletter for your top-of-funnel content marketing), but there is still some insight to be gained from what works and what doesn’t. To understand the difference, I analyzed a year’s worth of editions.

If you’re counting, we split test five different subject lines (each going to an initial run of about 15,000 readers) for each bi-weekly edition. That’s about 130 different subject lines. I’ve split out some of the most instructive weeks below.

Note: This is not a controlled experiment. Things other than tone change from subject line to subject line in a given week, and if you try to compare open rates from one week to another, you’ll be lost (bonus points if you can pick out the edition where everyone was on vacation).

March 24, 2015: Curiosity and personalization work

This chart is representative of the most common trend across Moz Top 10 subject lines: piquing a reader’s curiosity and personalizing the subject line by using the word “you” are winning tactics with this audience.

Subject Line Direct Playful Curious Personal Scarcity CTA Open Rate
How Much Traffic Will You Lose Starting April 21? – Moz Top 10 18.57
Predicting April 21 Traffic Losses and Debunking SEO Myths – Moz Top 10 17.69
Mobile SEO-Pocalypse, SEO Myths, and the Good Side of Google’s Answer Boxes – Moz Top 10 17.44
Exposing SEO Myths and Measuring the User Journey with Content Groupings – Moz Top 10 16.44
Google’s Mobile Deadline Looms: How Will it Affect Your Traffic? – Moz Top 10 18.14

What I could do better: I’d love to personalize the email further, but we just don’t have that kind of data on this list. And I’m going to want to remember to avoid subject lines that sound formulaic.

February 10, 2015: Just the facts

It’s not surprising that a direct headline works well for a newsletter like the Moz Top 10. In this case, the top two subject lines were directly worded. What is surprising, though, is that personalizing the subject line a little (adding “you”) actually caused the open rate to drop. This is something that bears more testing.

Subject Line Direct Playful Curious Personal Scarcity CTA Open Rate
Twitter Takes Over the SERPs Plus Good Ways to Break Bad News to Your Clients – Moz Top 10 20
Twitter Cuts a Deal with Google and 5 Steps to a Universal SEO Strategy Audit – Moz Top 10 22.13
Keep Clients Happy, Learn Omniture, and Audit Your SEO Strategy – Moz Top 10 19.95
SEO Strategy Audit Plus Tips for Content Creation and Keyword Research – Moz Top 10 21.12
The Consultant’s Dream Moz Top 10: Breaking Bad News (Well), Learning Omniture, and Saving Time 20.24

Lesson learned: Assumptions are not always right. Test, test, test.

August 19, 2014: Scarcity for the loss

This newsletter will expire in 10 minutes. Seriously, we don’t use scarcity much in Moz Top 10 subject lines. The chart below illustrates why. If you think we should, I’d love it if you shared your ideas in the comments on how to effectively do that.

Subject Line Direct Playful Curious Personal Scarcity CTA Open Rate
Google Favors Secure Sites Plus Why You Should Use Twitter Analytics – Moz Top 10 15.85
Link Echoes, HTTPS as Ranking Signal, and What New SEOs Need to Know – Moz Top 10 15.68
The Latest Tool Tips for SEOs: Smart Dashboards, Twitter Analytics, and Excel for Link Builders 14.99
Increase Your Email and Twitter Engagement Plus Improve Your Rankings Using HTTPS 15.56
What are Link Echoes and Why Should You Be Using HTTPS? – Moz Top 10 16.84

Fewer than 15% of people opened the “scarcity” edition. That’s a poor open rate even for a week when everyone was clearly out of the office.

The takeaway: Write for your audience. In this case, I think marketers are so used to hearing “the latest” that it’s lost its power.

July 8, 2014: Sometimes clickbait wins

Did I hate myself a little for writing the winning subject line here? You bet. Did it cause a little controversy around the office? Absolutely. Did it work? Unfortunately, yes.

Subject Line Direct Playful Curious Personal Scarcity CTA Open Rate
Does Google Read Text in Images? And the End of Author Photos – Moz Top 10 18.88
Google Sells Domains and Canada Gets Tough on Spam – Moz Top 10 20.09
Are You Using Robots.txt the Right Way? Plus How to Fix a Google Penalty – Moz Top 10 15.82
How-to Insights for Local SEO, Google Penalties, and Email Alerts for SEO – Moz Top 10 18.85
Google Says Bye-Bye to Author Photos and Puts Domains up for Sale – Moz Top 10 22.76

My trick when writing clickbaity titles is to be honest while you’re being playful. This was the week Google ditched author photos and started selling domains, so the subject line is strictly correct. It can also be misconstrued and I counted on our readers here to take this as playful rather than misleading. Their clicks said they wanted to read and our unsubscribes didn’t jump, so I think I skated through on this one.

What we could do better

There’s a lot to learn when writing subject lines. Based on the above data, I’m going to keep trying a few tactics at once. I’ll definitely try to keep up the playful tone and personalize when appropriate. I may never use a scarcity-based subject line again, and will always strive to pique the readers’ curiosity and interest without being misleading. In the long run, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Want to see how well I learn from this deep dive into email subject lines?

Sign up for the Moz Top 10.

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!


Moz Blog

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SearchCap: Google With Twitter Stream, AdWords Sneak Peek & Google Play Promo

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google With Twitter Stream, AdWords Sneak Peek & Google Play Promo appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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A Peek on How Folks View Home Vitality

Once you hear the phrase “dwelling vitality” what first involves your thoughts? So that you think you’re alone in your view of what dwelling vitality is? Do you think that one way or the other, you need to know more and expand your views about dwelling vitality?

Well, listed here are some completely different views on dwelling vitality and a critique of them:

1) Costly – That is the most agreed upon view of dwelling vitality today. Folks think that dwelling vitality and financial savings do probably not go together. As people will let you know, living a snug life costs cash, and never everyone has money.

Folks view dwelling vitality when it comes to money. They ask themselves, how one thing which they can not even see cost so much. This view on dwelling vitality is just not helped by the truth that everywhere in the news, you possibly can see studies of the value of vitality ever-increasing.

This view of dwelling vitality, however, might be put to rest when it is correctly examined. As chances are you’ll effectively know by now, it is true that oil costs are continuing to increase as deposits are diminishing. Nevertheless, what most people fail to understand is that humanity always tries to find methods to bypass any problem. On this case, now we have tried to develop the true potential of other energy. Throughout the past few years, breakthroughs have been made in the subject of other vitality that might make vitality virtually free.

2) Burden – Folks view dwelling vitality as a burden to be endured, an inevitable part of each day living. In any case, they realize that they do want dwelling vitality to provide them with the conveniences of each day living.

Vitality is the lifeblood which makes civilization right now possible. It is by way of technology that now we have reached the extent of progress we are in today. Vitality fuels technology, and people are typically hesitant to query the cost of their dwelling energy.

Nevertheless, dwelling vitality need not be such a burden. These days, increasingly more people are turning to completely different house designs and completely different materials to be able to make environment friendly use of dwelling energy. This means that viewing dwelling vitality as a burden generally is a factor of the past.

There are also increasingly more houses able to assist their vitality wants by way of different means. By making use of other vitality sources, people won’t view dwelling vitality as a burden; but reasonably, will see it for its benefits.

3) Electricity – Once you ask most people about how they view dwelling vitality, most would answer you that dwelling vitality was what appeared on their electrical bills. Nevertheless, Vitality is a lot more than electricity. You see, vitality does rather more than run your appliances. Home vitality also involves heat vitality, which is used to control the temperature of your house.

This means that not solely electrical energy is involved in dwelling vitality, fuel and oil is also involved. If you end up speaking concerning the costs of dwelling vitality, you are not simply speaking about the cost of preserving your home equipment up and working, you’re also speaking concerning the little conveniences that it’s important to pay for.

That’s why it is so necessary to make use of vitality-environment friendly house designs. All these houses can efficiently make use of your own home vitality to be sure you stay as comfy as possible.

Some dwelling vitality programs are actually so environment friendly that properties might be kept heat in winter and funky in summer season even with no temperature management system. Isn’t that simply superb? Do you know that temperature management (air conditioning, heating and the like) accounts for the most important part of your own home vitality expenses? By making use of an vitality-environment friendly design for a house, you possibly can really get your heating and cooling without cost!

In the event you take one other look at these three views on dwelling vitality, you will notice that people do probably not see dwelling vitality as a benefit. Nevertheless a lot progress now we have made, people will always find one thing to complain about. In any case, dissatisfaction is a standard part of human nature. Nevertheless, you need to keep in mind that although it’s important to pay for it, you should always view dwelling vitality as a very useful and obligatory resource.

solar news HubSpot

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Robocop Teaser Trailer Gives Peek At Machines

As much as I adore the original Robocop (and had reservations about a remake), I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I’ve seen of the reboot. Plus, it stars Gary Oldman and Sam Jackson, actors who don’t lend themselves to bombs in my book.

The new teaser trailer for the film doesn’t give too much away, but it does give us a look at the ED209, which came to be one of my favorite parts of the original despite the cheesy, jerky animation. The new guy looks pretty spiffy with some CGI effects and gives us a glimpse at his work on the battlefield. Robocop himself isn’t given away, of course, but the trailer–which is made to look like a commercial for Omnicorp–gives us tiny peeks and hints at a new state-of-the-art machine that will help keep the streets safe.

The “re-imagining” will hit theaters next August.


WebProNews

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A Peek Under the Hood: How we Manage the SEOmoz Community

Posted by jennita

Have you ever been a part of a community and wondered, “How does it all happen?” Well today is your lucky day! In the spirit of TAGFEE, I've decided to lift the Moz hood and show you what it takes to manage a large community. In fact, this is just the first post in a series of posts on Community Management.

Today I'll be explaining the who, what, when, where and how of how we manage the SEOmoz community. It's important to know who are the people behind the scenes, keeping the community in order and running smoothly, just as much as it is to know what exactly we consider the community to be and how we do it.

In the next posts, I'll dig deeper into subjects such as how we deal with negativity, how we gained over 100k Twitter followers and what we're planning to do for our Google+ strategy. For now, let's jump into the SEOmoz community and see how it's done.

Who Are We?

Over the last couple years, the community has grown immensely. It quickly became imperative to build a team to help take care of different aspects of the community. I simply couldn’t handle all aspects on my own anymore. So, before I jump too far into the what, why and how we manage the community, I’d like to introduce you to the “who.”

Peter Meyers (aka Dr. Pete)

Essentially Dr. Pete has been around the Moz community for about as long as Rand himself. :) No, really. He’s been an essential part of the community long before we even called it a community. Rand made the smart move long ago to bring Pete on board as an Associate.

Pete spends much of his time answering questions in Q&A (you’d be amazed at how much stuff this guy knows!) and writing on the blog. In fact he’s written some of top content on the blog for the past three years. He pretty much makes the rest of us (ok except maybe Rand) look bad at our unworthy content.

While he’s not helping manage the chaos of Q&A, writing on the blog, or being one of the funniest guys on Twitter, he runs User Effect, a successful usability and CRO company. Oh and if you’ve ever wondered if he’s a real doctor, read more here.

Casey Henry

Many of you may remember Casey from his excellent YouMoz posts that he wrote as a member of the community. The fact is, his community activity caught our eye and in 2010 we made him an Associate. At that time, he helped kill spam, answer questions in Q&A and did some dev work for us as well. It didn’t take long to realize that he was a great fit for Moz, so we hired him & moved him and his wife to Seattle.

As the resident Marketing Ninja, he manages many marketing projects as well as a number of dev responsibilities. His part within the Community Team is to help keep track of, and kill spam, spammers and scammers. Whether that’s through comments, PMs or otherwise, he’s the man on the case. He’s also quite active in Q&A and can “woot,” “whee,” and “beep” with the rest of us on the SEOmoz Twitter account.

You’ll often find him replying to Tweets to the SEOmoz account from his personal account, fixing link issues, answer questions and being an awesomely helpful guy. Aww.

Keri Morgret

Keri is well known in the industry as one of those amazing conference live-bloggers, and speaks about using negative keywords effectively for PPC. Having managed many forums and community sites in the past, including being a moderator at Sphinn, she is perfectly positioned to be a part of the Moz community team.

Currently Keri works out of her home near San Francisco as a (mostly) full-time Associate and runs her business Strike Models (go check out the site, it’s super cool) with her husband. She has quickly become an integral part of the team as well as the community in general. As the main Mozzer leading YouMoz management as well as Q&A she interacts all day long with community members. Talk about stealth, you may not realize it, but Keri pretty much knows everything that’s going on all the time. You think I’m kidding… I’m not.

Not only does she spend her time managing some of the on-site areas but she often helps out with the SEOmoz Twitter account as well. It can be a daunting task knowing that over 100k people will see your tweets (ok, in reality the number to actually see the tweets is quite less, but you get the point), but Keri jumps right in there. :) She’s also a huge help by cleaning out the Twitter “inbox” (more on that below) for me each morning.

If you’re ever curious about what’s going on at any particular time within the Moz Community, Keri is your woman. Don't forget to follow her on Twitter.

Erica McGillivray

When we found out Erica was a founder as well as the President and Marketing Director of GeekGirlCon, we just knew she’d fit right into our community. :) With a background in SEO, Social, Email Marketing and event planning (pretty much marketing awesomeness) she easily jumped into the role of Community Attaché.

Erica can essentially do anything and everything that has to do with managing the community. A ninja in her own right. On any given day, you’ll find her managing our email marketing, answering questions in Q&A, reading through YouMoz posts, Tweeting from the Moz account, setting up webinars and organizing the upcoming MozCon.

Oh, and did I mention she’s a badass SEO? I’ve always felt strongly that you can’t manage a community unless you’re a part of the community yourself. Well Erica can talk the talk and walk the walk. Just be sure not to make her mad, she might pull these out. If you want to keep up with all of Erica's geekery, check her out on Twitter.

Jen Lopez

Oh hi! That’s me. :) Just a quick background, I have a degree in Journalism, emphasis in Public Relations, but spent 10 years as a web developer before I turned into an SEO. Got hired as an SEO Consultant with SEOmoz in early 2009, then in January 2010 we gave up consulting. Doh! Hello Community Management. It was at that point that I created the position and over the last few years it has grown into a real job.

So what will you find me doing on an average day? I find myself Managing Twitter, Facebook & Google+, combating spam, answering questions in Q&A (usually that Keri or Erica assign me ;) ), managing the blog schedule and content, responding to help tickets as needed, commenting on community posts outside of SEOmoz, tweeting from my personal account and any other random thing that comes up during the day.

The truth is, my job rocks. Sure I deal with trolls sometimes, but that’s what makes the job interesting.

Mozzers

That’s you, you and YOU. Whether it’s Gianluca responding to a Tweet about SEOmoz while us West Coasters are sleeping or Ryan answering a question in Q&A about a technical PRO issue, you guys help us every day to manage the community. This is a very important aspect of the community and one that makes people want to be a part of it. It’s not just one person managing everyone else with an iron fist (OK I admit sometimes I have dreams this will happen ;) , it’s all the Moz staff and community helping each other out. Holy. geeky. happiness.

What Do We Do?

Obviously there’s no way to really describe everything that we do in one blog post. When you work with a community, your day can change in an instant. Sometimes an issue comes up and you’re helping to manage an issue since you’re the public “face” of the community on the social sites. Other times you wake up to a hashtag being created and hundreds of posts being written about you. *huge grin*

Let me take a few moments to walk you through the major aspects of managing the SEOmoz community. This really is only a high-level look at we do each day. The plan is to expand on many of these areas as separate blog posts. For now, here are the what, when how and who of what it means to manage the community.

Blog

When Rand started the SEOmoz blog years ago, I’m sure he never quite imagined that it would be the base of such an expansive and amazing community. It really has become the center of everything Moz. Think about this; an average blog post gets around 40 thumbs up, 50 comments and 800+ Tweets. That’s a lot to keep up with each day!

What
Since you’re already here you probably know that we post content not only about SEO, but about Inbound Marketing in general. We focus on creating actionable takeaways and look for authors who can bring something new to the community. We like to cover hot topics in the industry but we don’t necessarily cover them as “news.” We’ll also post new updates/improvements/issues about the PRO product on the blog as well.

When
We have at least one new post each day, and sometimes publish a second one during the day (Pacific U.S. time).

How
We have a custom blog editor that we use to create the posts. When it comes to managing comments, we have a system that helps us to moderate them if they meet a certain criteria. This way we don't allow a comment to get published if we suspect that it's spam, and one of us has to approve it.

When it comes to comments and how we handle them, we take the community very seriously and will ban users if they don't "play by the rules." This is an area that I'll dig into a bit deeper on another post, but essentially, you're in our home and we request that you handle yourself as a professional.

Who
I manage the blog schedule and make sure we have a post going up each night. The idea is to set the schedule at least a couple weeks out, with openings here and there for hot topics or new authors we want to introduce. All of us watch for spam comments throughout the day and Casey set up a way to moderate and kill spam before you guys ever even see it. :)

The entire team helps manage the comments, detect spam and make sure things aren't getting out of hand anywhere.

YouMoz

Writing a post for YouMoz is a great way to get your name out in the community (remember above I mentioned Casey started out as a YouMoz author!), plus you get a nice link. ;)

What
Similar to the main blog, the community loves to read actionable posts. However, in YouMoz we do have a little more leeway than we do on the main blog. We’ll publish posts on topics that we don’t normally cover on the blog. The best part about that though is that if the post does really well in YouMoz and gets promoted to the main blog, then we see more diversity in the subjects.

When
We try to post at least one YouMoz post per day and some days we even have two. It used to take 6-8 weeks to get through the queue and now it’s only two weeks, tops! (A HUGE thanks to Keri for cleaning this up.)

How
Any member can create a blog post using our blog editor and submit it to be read by our editors. If it’s approved, it gets published to the YouMoz blog. We recently added a “Read Me First” page that has helped us to get higher quality posts submitted.

Who
Keri is the main point of contact when it comes to YouMoz. She’s done an excellent job cleaning up the queue and making it easier and quicker for authors to get their posts published. Whenever necessary, Erica and I also jump in and help by editing and approving content, declining posts, etc.

When it comes to promoting YouMoz posts to the main blog, I’m usually the one that makes that decision. There is no “golden rule” on how to get promoted and it sometimes depends on whether there’s a spot open on the main blog. When it’s good, and the community likes it, it will get promoted. :)

Q&A

When we launched the new Q&A system last year, we honestly weren’t quite sure exactly how it would be received. We were pleasantly surprised to see how much people loved to both ask and answer questions! It took us a few months to get the hang of managing it properly, but with the help of the team, we’re quite happy with this PRO feature.

What
You’ll find pretty much any and every kind of content related (sometimes barely) to internet marketing. Since it is for PRO members only, it’s fairly easy to keep spam in check since they usually don’t like to pay money. What we mainly look for here is to make sure that people are keeping in line with our Community Guidelines.

When
Twenty-four hours a day the community is asking and answering questions. Plus since many of our Associates who answer questions live in London and other “across the pond” cities, we’re able to have coverage all day long. Whee!

How
This all happens through our own proprietary Q&A system. We get asked quite often if we built this ourselves or used an out-of-box solution. This is 100% a homegrown system, which does have its own set of bugs. :) This system is only about a year old and is about 500% better than the old Q&A.

Who
While Keri manages both private and public Q&A, Dr. Pete and Erica also play a heavy role here. Keri makes sure your private questions are answered by our team of staff and expert Associates. Dr. Pete and Erica are usually in there answering questions for a few hours each day as well. Many of our Associates play a role in Q&A and you’ll see a number of them answering questions and endorsing answers every day. Even Rand goes in quite often and replies to questions personally, even ones asking how to contact him. :)

Social Community

Over the past couple years our community has grown by leaps and bounds through the help of social media sites. You may have noticed that we engage quite heavily on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. It’s not that we’ve ignored other sites; we just tend to focus our energies on these four.

Since many of our members follow us on these sites in addition to the blog, we had to figure out a way to be somewhat unique in all areas. Nothing worse than content overkill (ok, yea yea there really are lots of things that are worse, but you get my point.) Here’s a quick walk through of how we manage these four social media sites here at SEOmoz.

Twitter

Twitter is a bit of our “catch-all” and has the biggest following. With well over 100k followers, as expected this channel is used for customer service, SEO advice, content promotion and other forms of marketing.

What
We tweet about SEOmoz content, PRO membership updates, site outages, tool issues, tool upgrades/improvements, YouMoz posts, and anything related to the SEOmoz community. Additionally you’ll see a ton of replies to customer service type inquiries, issues, problems, questions, kudos, high-fives, etc.

We keep the tone of the tweets as Mozzy as possible, and speak as if we are Roger. It makes may day when someone tweets to us saying “Hey Roger, thanks for great app” or something along those lines. It’s all about Roger!

When
Our community is very international, so we can’t just tweet from 9am-5pm Pacific time. We need to be available as often as possible to respond to questions, requests and such. While we do need to sleep at some point, you’ll notice that we have people covering Twitter from about 7am until around 11pm Pacific.

Keri helps in the morning since she works from home and can jump right in. Then when I get into the office I take over for the day. She again takes over from about 5-8pm, when I jump back on.

We also schedule tweets of our content to go out during “on” hours for many in our community. While we don’t schedule tweets that ask questions and specifically ask for engagement, we do need to schedule them to promote our content. On a side-note our most retweeted tweets usually happen between 2-4am Pacific. Whee!

How
We use CoTweet to manage Twitter, which allows multiple users to manage multiple accounts. It makes it easy to assign tweets to others plus you can tag tweets and set up extensive searches. I wrote a bit more about it here on Marketing Pilgrim.

Who
While I’m the main person managing the account, at any time throughout the day you may find Keri, Erica or Casey tweeting as well. I also encourage staff to reply to tweets if the see them and simply cc: @SEOmoz so we know it’s been handled. For example, Rand will often do this. He’ll see a tweet before we do and will respond plus let us know it’s been handled. It’s a great way to give people direct interaction with Mozzers as well!

Facebook

As I mentioned before, we wanted to figure out a different approach to Facebook so it wasn’t just the same ol’ content as Twitter. So we decided to make Facebook, the “face” of SEOmoz.

What
Yes, we do post all of our content on Facebook, the same as we do on Twitter but in addition to that we’ll post fun things about the company or publish photos of events. One thing I love to do is get photos from a Meetup or conference and post them to Facebook. We find that by tagging people in photos and having them tag themselves and others, we get a boost in “likes” each time.

Additionally, I love to ask questions of the community here. People love to add their opinion and Facebook is a simple and easy way to do it. With so many people logged in all day either on their computers or through their phones or tablets, it’s very easy to get people’s attention on Facebook.

We also love to change Roger’s outfit and add some “life” to him.

When it comes to comments and wall posts, we manage them just as we would manage comments on our site. If it’s spam we remove it, if it’s obscene or someone cusses, we remove it. Essentially, as long as you’re on-topic and not a jerk, we keep your posts. :)

When
The timing of Facebook is somewhat similar to Twitter however we don’t schedule Facebook posts. We haven’t quite nailed down a science as to what time is best to post for us yet, but it’s something we’ll probably focus on this year.

How
Although I could use an outside app to manage Facebook, I choose not to. Facebook seems to not show posts created from outside apps as much in people’s feeds as they do posts directly from Facebook. I want us to show up in those feeds as often as possible. Plus I just like to know I’m seeing what users are seeing on our wall.

Who
Again, I’m the main person to manage the Facebook page, however Erica, Casey and quite a few others not a part of the official “Community team” others also have admin rights.

Google+

As soon as Google+ brand pages came out, we jumped right on it. It has taken us a couple months to shake the bones out and figure out a strategy, but I think we’re going on a nice track now.

What
In order to not seem like drones showing the exact same content over and over, on our Google+ page we not only promote our own content, but we like to promote other’s as well. This is a great place for us to introduce our readers to hot topics or content on our sites that we think they’d be interested in.

However the hottest content we’ve found, is our “Whiteboard+” video series. Essentially, it’s a Whiteboard Friday type of video, but is only posted to Google+. We’ll keep testing this and see what works best, so you might find some new content on there soon as well. J

When
Right now, since it’s so new we don’t have a specific schedule for posting to Google+. Over this past weekend we posted a special Whiteboard+ video on Friday night at 8pm Pacific and it went crazy! It currently has 353 pluses, 382 shares and 101 comments. And most of this happened over the weekend! I think we may be on to something here…

How
As far as I know there aren’t any third-party apps out there that let you set up Google+ posts, so I’m logged into Google+ all day long. I’m very happy that they started showing alerts when we get a new follower, comment, plus, etc. It makes it easier to manage than hitting refresh and scanning the page (like I did at first).

Who
Well since the account right now is connected to my personal account, I’m the only one to manage it. I sincerely hope that they allow the ability to add more users soon. A gal needs a break sometime!

LinkedIn

Ahh LinkedIn, the stepchild of our social efforts for far too long! Luckily we’re in the middle of building out our strategy, since so many people from the community are there.

What
As with the other social sites, we’ve set up our RSS feeds from both the Blog and YouMoz to show up on our group page. Additionally we’ll post updates about our tools, webinars coming up and other information the group may be interested in.

We also manage people joining the group and as with the other sites, we manage comments and posts the way we manage our own blog. There is daily management on clearing out spam and keeping it clear of sales pitches.

We’re also trying new things, like creating a book club and keeping the community connected in other ways.

When
We usually update LinkedIn during “regular business hours” on the West coast.

How
LinkedIn actually has some pretty good management features for letting you decline users and keeping out spam. Erica manages all this through LinkedIn directly.

Who
Erica manages the LinkedIn company page and group. Others on the team have admin access and can jump in at any time. But honestly Erica does such a great job, we haven’t really had to!

Whew.

Whether you're a member of the Moz community or you manage a community of your own, I hope you've found this insightful and gives you a better understanding of the community management process. Honestly, this just barely touches the surface of what happens behind the scenes. I look forward to getting more in-depth on many of these topics. If you have specific topics you'd like to see covered as it pertains to managing a community, running Social Media sites or even dealing with unruly members, please let me know in the comments. I'd love to cover topics you are interested in.

Oh and around here, our motto is "If all else fails, eat ice cream."

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