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The 2019 Holiday Checklist for Local SEO Heroes
Posted by MiriamEllis

Right now, the shoppers nearest you are making some pretty long gift lists. US holiday sales are predicted to surpass $1.1 trillion, with 4.5–5% growth between November–January. That’s a lot of gadgets, garments, games, goodies, and gizmos to bought and sold.
Winter weather and long lines will be braved, traffic endured, tired feet soaked, and patience tested in the search for the perfect gift for everyone on everyone’s list. Holiday shopping can and should be cheery, but sometimes it can be a bit of an overload. The end of the year can put local businesses back in the black, but it can be kind of stressful, too.
And that’s why local business marketers need a list of their own. Your agency can be holiday heroes, both to clients and their customers. An organized approach can ensure that no mom with three kids in tow is inconvenienced by a wrong address on a Facebook listing, and no dad is doomed to wander lonely aisles for hours with no help in sight. Strategic planning can save your clients, too, from total holiday frazzle.
Be of good cheer! Download the Moz Holiday Local SEO Checklist, share it with each of your clients, and plan for reputation, rankings, and revenue to rise as a result of your well-orchestrated campaign:
Get your free copy!
Holiday marketing success in 3 segments

Part 1: The client
The local business owner provides the basic, raw materials and agrees to being ready with:
Knowledge of their customers and marketSufficient, well-trained staffFront door and indoor signage explaining hours and support availability for complaintsAdequate stockContent for marketingA joint commitment to ongoing local listing/social engagement during the holiday season

Part 2: The local marketing agency
Your agency knits up the online picture of local businesses and is ready with:
Accurate, complete, persuasive local business listingsUnique marketing ideas to set the client apartA joint commitment to ongoing local listing/social engagement during the holiday seasonPublication of holiday content, on time and in the right placesAnalytics and post-holiday analysis

Part 3: The customer
The shopper is aided along their merry way by:
A great online experienceA great offline experienceAn overall experience that’s exceptional enough to inspire them to leave a review, recommend the business via WoM, and return for more shopping after New...
How to Apply User Intent Across the ENTIRE Content Marketing Workflow

Google’s ability to discern user intent has changed almost every aspect of SEO. 
6 Ways to Get More Organic Traffic, Without Ranking Your Website
Posted by ryanwashereA few years ago, I wrote a post here that caught some attention in the community.
I argued Google appears to be ranking websites heavily based on searcher intent — this is more true now than ever.
In fact, it might be algorithmically impossible to get your website on top of the SERPs.
If you find your website in this position, don't give up on SEO!
The point of "Search Engine Optimization" is to get organic exposure through search engines — it doesn't necessarily have to be your website.
We can leverage the ranking authority of other websites pass organic referral traffic to our sites.
I'm going to give 6 times when you should NOT rank your website.
Prefer to watch / listen? I outlined all these points as a part of a recent keynote:
1. When the keywords are just TOO competitive
We've all been there: trying to rank a website with no authority for highly competitive keywords.
These keywords are competitive because they're valuable so we can't give up on them.
Here's a few workarounds I've used in the past.
Tactic 1: Offer to sponsor the content
Ardent sells a product that "decarboxylates" cannabis for medicinal users.
There's a ton of challenges selling this product, mostly because patients don't know what "decarboxylation" means.
So, naturally, ranking for the keyword "what is decarboxylation" is a critical step in their customer’s path to conversion. Problem is, that keyword is dominated by authoritative, niche relevant sites.

While Ardent should still build and optimize content around the subject, it might take years to rank.
When you’re trying to build a business, that’s not good enough.
We decided to reach out to those authoritative sites offering to "sponsor" one of their posts.
In this case, it worked exceptionally well — we negotiated a monthly rate ($250) to tag content with a CTA and link back to Ardent's site.

Granted, this doesn't work in every niche. If you operate in one of those spaces, there’s another option.
Tactic 2: Guest post on their site
Guest writing for Moz in 2015 put my agency on the map.
Publishing on powerful sites quickly expands your reach and lends credibility to your brand (good links, too).
More importantly, it gives you instant ranking power for competitive keywords.
As co-owner of an SEO agency, it would be amazing to rank in Google for "SEO services," right?...
Extracting Additional Content Using XPath for SEO

Gathering, isolating and extracting elements from the HTML on your site is very useful for a variety of SEO related activities.  
How to Write Content for Answers Using the Inverted Pyramid - Best of Whiteboard Friday
Posted by Dr-PeteIf you've been searching for a quick hack to write content for featured snippets, this isn't the article for you. But if you're looking for lasting results and a smart tactic to increase your chances of winning a snippet, you're definitely in the right place.

Borrowed from journalism, the inverted pyramid method of writing can help you craft intentional, compelling, rich content that will help you rank for multiple queries and win more than one snippet at a time. Learn how in this fan-favorite Whiteboard Friday starring the one and only Dr. Pete!

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription
Hey, Moz fans, Dr. Pete here. I'm the Marketing Scientist at Moz and visiting you from not-so-sunny Chicago in the Seattle office. We've talked a lot in the last couple years in my blog posts and such about featured snippets.

So these are answers that kind of cross with organic. So it's an answer box, but you get the attribution and the link. Britney has done some great Whiteboard Fridays, the last couple, about how you do research for featured snippets and how you look for good questions to answer. But I want to talk about something that we don't cover very much, which is how to write content for answers.

The inverted pyramid style of content writing
It's tough, because I'm a content marketer and I don't like to think that there's a trick to content. I'm afraid to give people the kind of tricks that would have them run off and write lousy, thin content. But there is a technique that works that I think has been very effective for featured snippets for writing for questions and answers. It comes from the world of journalism, which gives me a little more faith in its credibility. So I want to talk to you about that today. That's called the inverted pyramid.

1. Start with the lead
It looks something like this. When you write a story as a journalist, you start with the lead. You lead with the lead. So if we have a story like "Penguins Rob a Bank," which would be a strange story, we want to put that right out front. That's interesting. Penguins rob a bank, that's all you need to know. The thing about it is, and this is true back to print, especially when we had to buy each newspaper. We weren't subscribers. But definitely on the web, you have to get people's attention quickly....
How Quickly Can I Get Started Using seoClarity?

Congratulations! You’re in the process of becoming seoClarity’s newest client. We are so excited that you’ve chosen to structure, simplify, and scale your SEO with an enterprise SEO platform that is trusted by over 3,500 brands. You can count on us to be your true partner in driving SEO success at your business.
Google Review Stars Drop by 14%
Posted by Dr-PeteOn Monday, September 16, Google announced that they would be restricting review stars in SERPs to specific schemas and would stop displaying reviews that they deemed to be "self-serving." It wasn't clear at the time when this change would be happening, or if it had already happened.
Across our daily MozCast tracking set, we measured a drop the morning of September 16 (in sync with the announcement) followed by a continued drop the next day ...

The purple bar shows the new "normal" in our data set (so far). This represents a two-day relative drop of nearly 14% (13.8%). It definitely appears that Google dropped review snippets from page-1 SERPs across the roughly 48-hour period around their announcement (note that measurements are only taken once per day, so we can't pinpoint changes beyond 24-hour periods).
Review drops by category
When we broke this two-day drop out into 20 industry categories (roughly corresponding to Google Ads), the results were dramatic. Note that every industry experienced some loss of review snippets. This is not a situation with "winners" and "losers" like an algorithm update. Google's changes only reduced review snippets. Here's the breakdown ...

Percent drops in blue are <10%, purple are 10%-25%, and red represents 25%+ drops. Finance and Real Estate were hit the hardest, both losing almost half of their SERPs with review snippets (-46%). Note that our 10K daily data set broken down 20 ways only has 500 SERPs per category, so the sample size is low, but even at the scale of 500 SERPs, some of these changes are clearly substantial.
Average reviews per SERP
If we look only at the page-1 SERPs that have review snippets, were there any changes in the average number of snippets per SERP? The short answer is "no" ...

On September 18, when the dust settled on the drop, SERPs with review snippets had an average of 2.26 snippets, roughly the same as prior to the drop. Many queries seem to have been unaffected.
Review counts per SERP
How did this break down by count? Let's look at just the three days covering the review snippet drop. Page-1 SERPs in MozCast with review snippets had between one and nine results with snippets. Here's the breakdown ...

Consistent with the stable average, there was very little shift across groups. Nearly half of all SERPs with review snippets had just one result with...
Internal Links Workflow: How to Optimize and Gain More Site Authority

Wherever you are in your journey of SEO expertise, whether you are starting at the beginning or if you’re looking for ways to achieve advanced outcomes, it's important to have a grasp on the nuts and bolts of how internal links work and how to use them to reach your goals.
New Opportunities for Image SEO: How to Leverage Machine Vision for Strategic Wins
Posted by KristinTynskiImage search results used to give you the option to “view image” without having to navigate to the site the image was hosted on.
When it started in 2013, sites saw a 63% decline in organic traffic from image results.
Because there was no need to click through when the image could be viewed in full from within the search results.
And then everything changed
In February 2018, Google decided to remove the “view image” button. Now searchers must visit the site hosting that image directly, restoring image results to their former organic search driving power.
According to some recent studies, this change has increased organic image traffic a massive 37%.
Given image results’ return to value, marketers are asking themselves how they can make the most out of this search mechanism.
So what are some new ways we can leverage tools to better understand how to optimize images for ranking?
To explore this, I decided to see if Google’s Vision AI could assist in unearthing hidden information about what matters to image ranking. Specifically, I wondered what Google’s image topic modeling would reveal about the images that rank for individual keyword searches, as well as groups of thematically related keywords aggregated around a specific topic or niche.
Here’s what I did — and what I found.
A deep dive on “hunting gear”
I began by pulling out 10 to 15 top keywords in our niche. For this article, we chose “hunting gear” as a category and pulled high-intent, high-value, high-volume keywords. The keywords we selected were:
Bow hunting gearCheap hunting gearCoyote hunting gearDans hunting gearDeer hunting gearDiscount hunting gearDuck hunting gearHunting gearHunting rain gearSitka hunting gearTurkey hunting gearUpland hunting gearWomens hunting gear
I then pulled the image results for the Top 50 ranking images for each of these keywords, yielding roughly ~650 images to give to Google’s image analysis API. I made sure to make note of the ranking position of each image in our data (this is important for later).
Learning from labels
The first, and perhaps most actionable, analysis the API can be used for is in labeling images. It utilizes state-of-the-art image recognition models to parse each image and return labels for everything within that image it can identify. Most images had between 4 and 10 identifiable objects contained within them. For...

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