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Moz provides inbound marketing analytics software. They also foster the most vibrant online marketing community and create free resources for learning inbound marketing.



Updated: 2017-02-20T17:18:55+00:00

 



Strategic SEO Decisions to Make Before Website Design and Build

2017-02-20T00:06:00+00:00

Posted by Maryna_SamokhinaThe aim: This post highlights SEO areas that need to be addressed and decided on before the website brief is sent to designers and developers. Imagine a scenario: a client asks what they should do to improve their organic rankings. After a diligent tech audit, market analysis, and a conversion funnel review, you have to deliver some tough recommendations: “You have to redesign your site architecture,” or “You have to migrate your site altogether,” or even “You have to rethink your business model, because currently you are not providing any significant value.”This can happen when SEO is only seriously considered after the site and business are up and running. As a marketing grad, I can tell you that SEO has not been on my syllabus amongst other classic components of the marketing mix. It’s not hard to imagine even mentored and supported businesses overlooking this area. This post aims to highlight areas that need to be addressed along with your SWOT analysis and pricing models — the areas before you design and build your digital ‘place’: Wider strategic areas Technical areas to be discussed with developers. Design areas to be discussed with designers. Note: This post is not meant to be a pre-launch checklist (hence areas like robots.txt, analytics, social, & title tags are completely omitted), but rather a list of SEO-affecting areas that will be hard to change after the website is built. Wider strategic questions that should be answered:1. How do we communicate our mission statement online?After you identify your classic marketing ‘value proposition,’ next comes working out how you communicate it online. Are terms describing the customer problem/your solution being searched for? Your value proposition might not have many searches; in this case, you need to create a brand association with the problem-solving for specific customer needs. (Other ways of getting traffic are discussed in: “How to Do SEO for Sites and Products with No Search Demand”). How competitive are these terms? You may find that space is too competitive and you will need to look into alternative or long-tail variations of your offering. 2. Do we understand our customer segments?These are the questions that are a starting point in your research: How large is our market? Is the potential audience growing or shrinking? (A tool to assist you: Google Trends.) What are our key personas — their demographics, motivations, roles, and needs? (If you are short on time, Craig Bradford’s Persona Research in Under 5 Minutes shows how to draw insights using Twitter.) How do they behave online and offline? What are their touch points beyond the site? (A detailed post on Content and the Marketing Funnel.) This understanding will allow you to build your site architecture around the stages your customers need to go through before completing their goal. Rand offers a useful framework for how to build killer content by mapping keywords. Ideally, this process should be performed in advance of the site build, to guide which pages you should have to target specific intents and keywords that signify them. 3. Who are our digital competitors? Knowing who you are competing against in the digital space should inform decisions like site architecture, user experience, and outreach. First, you want to identify who fall under three main types of competitors: You search competitors: those who rank for the product/service you offer. They will compete for the same keywords as those you are targeting, but may cater to a completely different intent. Your business competitors: those that are currently solving the customer problem you aim to solve. Cross-industry competitors: those that solve your customer problem indirectly. After you come up with the list of competitors, analyze where each stands and how much operational resource it will take to get where they are: What are our competitors’ size and performance? How do they differentiate themselves? How strong is their brand? What does their link pro[...]



How to Prioritize Your Link Building Efforts & Opportunities - Whiteboard Friday

2017-02-17T00:01:00+00:00

Posted by randfishWe all know how effective link building efforts can be, but it can be an intimidating, frustrating process — and sometimes even a chore. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand builds out a framework you can start using today to streamline and simplify the link building process for you, your teammates, and yes, even your interns. src="http://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/gfy10pvg0k?videoFoam=true" title="Wistia video player" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="wistia_embed" name="wistia_embed" allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" webkitallowfullscreen="" oallowfullscreen="" msallowfullscreen="" width="100%" height="100%"> Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video TranscriptionHowdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. As you can see, I'm missing my moustache, but never mind. We've got tons of important things to get through, and so we'll leave the facial hair to the inevitable comments. I want to talk today about how to prioritize your link building efforts and opportunities. I think this comes as a big challenge for many marketers and SEOs because link building can just seem so daunting. So it's tough to know how to get started, and then it's tough to know once you've gotten into the practice of link building, how do you build up a consistent, useful system to do it? That's what I want to walk you through today. Step 1: Tie your goals to the link's potential valueSo first off, step one. What I'm going to ask you to do is tie your SEO goals to the reasons that you're building links. So you have some reason that you want links. It is almost certainly to accomplish one of these five things. There might be other things on the list too, but it's almost always one of these areas. A) Rank higher for keyword X. You're trying to get links that point to a particular page on your site, that contain a particular anchor text, so that you can rank better for that. Makes total sense. There we go. B) You want to grow the ranking authority of a particular domain, your website, or maybe a subdomain on your website, or a subfolder of that website. Google does sort of have some separate considerations for different folders and subdomains. So you might be trying to earn links to those different sections to help grow those. Pretty similar to (A), but not necessarily as much of a need to get the direct link to the exact URL. C) Sending real high-value traffic from the ranking page. So maybe it's the case that this link you're going after is no followed or it doesn't pass ranking influence, for some reason — it's JavaScript or it's an advertising link or whatever it is — but it does pass real visitors who may buy from you, or amplify you, or be helpful to achieving your other business goals. D) Growing topical authority. So this is essentially saying, "Hey, around this subject area or keyword area, I know that my website needs some more authority. I'm not very influential in this space yet, at least not from Google's perspective. If I can get some of these links, I can help to prove to Google and, potentially, to some of these visitors, as well, that I have some subject matter authority in this space." E) I want to get some visibility to an amplification-likely or a high-value audience. So this would be things like a lot of social media sites, a lot of submission type sites, places like a Product Hunt or a Reddit, where you're trying to get in front of an audience, that then might come to your site and be likely to amplify it if they love what they see. Okay. So these are our goals. Step 2: Estimate the likelihood that the link target will influence that goal Second, I'm going to ask you to estimate the likelihood that the link target will pass value to the page or to the section of your site. This relies on a bunch of different judgments. You can choose whether you want to wrap these all up in sort of a single number that you estimate, maybe like a 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all val[...]



A Guide to JSON-LD for Beginners

2017-02-09T00:12:00+00:00

Posted by alexis-sandersWhat is JSON-LD?JSON-LD stands for JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data, which consists of multi-dimensional arrays (think: list of attribute-value pairs). It is an implementation format for structuring data analogous to Microdata and RDFa. Typically, in terms of SEO, JSON-LD is implemented leveraging the Schema.org vocabulary, a joint effort by Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex in 2011 to create a unified structured data vocabulary for the web. (However, Bing and other search engines have not officially stated their support of JSON-LD implementations of Schema.org.) JSON-LD is considered to be simpler to implement, due to the ability to simply paste the markup within the HTML document, versus having to wrap the markup around HTML elements (as one would do with Microdata). What does JSON-LD do?JSON-LD annotates elements on a page, structuring the data, which can then be used by search engines to disambiguate elements and establish facts surrounding entities, which is then associated with creating a more organized, better web overall. Figure 1 - A conceptual visualization of JSON-LD taking the unstructured content on the web, annotating, and structuring the content to create an organized, structured result. Where in the HTML (for a webpage) does JSON-LD live?Google recommends adding JSON-LD to the section of the HTML document; however, it’s okay if the JSON-LD is within the section. Google can also grasp dynamically generated tags in the DOM. JSON-LD breakdownThe immutable tags (Think: You don’t need to memorize these, just copy/paste)