Using a New Correlation Model to Predict Future Rankings with Page Authority
Posted by rjonesx.Correlation studies have been a staple of the search engine optimization community for many years. Each time a new study is released, a chorus of naysayers seem to come magically out of the woodwork to remind us of the one thing they remember from high school statistics — that "correlation doesn't mean causation." They are, of course, right in their protestations and, to their credit, an unfortunate number of times it seems that those conducting the correlation studies have forgotten this simple aphorism.

We collect a search result. We then order the results based on different metrics like the number of links. Finally, we compare the orders of the original search results with those produced by the different metrics. The closer they are, the higher the correlation between the two.That being said, correlation studies are not altogether fruitless simply because they don't necessarily uncover causal relationships (ie: actual ranking factors). What correlation studies discover or confirm are correlates. Correlates are simply measurements that share some relationship with the independent variable (in this case, the order of search results on a page). For example, we know that backlink counts are correlates of rank order. We also know that social shares are correlates of rank order.
Correlation studies also provide us with direction of the relationship. For example, ice cream sales are positive correlates with temperature and winter jackets are negative correlates with temperature — that is to say, when the temperature goes up, ice cream sales go up but winter jacket sales go down.
Finally, correlation studies can help us rule out proposed ranking factors. This is often overlooked, but it is an incredibly important part of correlation studies. Research that provides a negative result is often just as valuable as research that yields a positive result. We've been able to rule out many types of potential factors — like keyword density and the meta keywords tag — using correlation studies.
Unfortunately, the value of correlation studies tends to end there. In particular, we still want to know whether a correlate causes the rankings or is spurious. Spurious is just a fancy sounding word for "false" or "fake." A good example of a spurious relationship would be that ice cream sales cause an increase in drownings. In reality, the heat of the summer...
Product Image Optimization Tips for Better SEO and UX
Product image optimization is one of the most overlooked areas whens it comes to adding products and driving sales of your ecommerce business, and I completely get it.  It can seem a little daunting at first.  What’s the best size for my images?  What file type should I use? How do I upload an image without compromising its quality?  Just take a deep breath and don’t worry, it’s actually really easy.  I’m going to show you some great tips and tricks to easily optimize your images to get the best results.
With properly optimized images you can:

Improve your SEO and search engine rankings
Increase the load time for your site
Improve your website’s performance and usability
See an increase is sales and revenue

So let’s get started.
Start with the Best Images
Since your customers can't see your merchandise in person, having quality product photos is the next best thing. So, being sure to start with the best possible image is step number one.
For your products, there are two types of files to choose from when uploading your images, JPEG and GIF.  Let’s take a look their qualities and so you can better determine which file type to start with.



JPEG (or .jpg) has become the standard, goto file type for product images and for good reason.  JPEGs have a lot of great qualities like the ability to be compressed, which reduces the file size without compromising quality.  They can also show great detail without becoming a massive file.



GIFs (or .gif) don’t quite have the same quality as JPEGs.  GIFs tend to be used more for graphical elements like icons and design pieces.  GIFs do have a really cool feature which allows them to be animated, but that also bumps the files size up considerably.  In regards to image optimization, GIFs are not the best for large images where you want to see the product details.  GIFs are better suited for simple images used on your site.
Now that we’ve got that down, let’s see how we can push things further and create images that that are more than just skin deep.
Optimizing Your Images for SEO
It’s important to take advantage of every opportunity to boost your search rankings and the way you name your images can have a big impact on the SEO quality of your product pages.



It’s easy to just simply keep the name your camera assigns your image.  Maybe it looks something like “DSC141002.jpg”.  Does that look familiar?  Yea,...
What to Do with Your Old Blog Posts
Posted by -LaurelTaylor-Around 2005 or so, corporate blogs became the thing to do. Big players in the business world touted that such platforms could “drive swarms of traffic to your main website, generate more product sales” and even “create an additional stream of advertising income” (Entrepreneur Magazine circa 2006). With promises like that, what marketer or exec wouldn’t jump on the blog bandwagon?Unfortunately, initial forays into branded content did not always dwell on minor issues like “quality” or “entertainment,” instead focusing on sheer bulk and, of course, all the keywords. Now we have learned better, and many corporate blogs are less prolific and offer more value. But on some sites, behind many, many “next page” clicks, this old content can still be found lurking in the background.This active company blog still features over 900 pages of posts dating back to 2006This situation leaves current SEOs and content teams in a bit of a pickle. What should you do if your site has excessive quantities of old blog posts? Are they okay just sitting there? Do you need to do something about them?Why bother addressing old blog posts?On many sites, the sheer number of pages are the biggest reason to consider improving or scaling back old content. If past content managers chose quantity over quality, heaps of old posts eventually get buried, all evergreen topics have been written about before, and it becomes increasingly harder to keep inventory of your content.From a technical perspective, depending on the scale of the old content you're dealing with, pruning back the number of pages that you put forward can help increase your crawl efficiency. If Google has to crawl 1,000 URLs to find 100 good pieces of content, they are going to take note and not spend as much time combing through your content in the future. From a marketing perspective, your content represents your brand, and improving the set of content that you put forward helps shape the way customers see you as an authority in your space. Optimizing and curating your existing content can give your collection of content a clearer topical focus, makes it more easily discoverable, and ensures that it provides value for users and the business.Zooming out for a second to look at this from a higher level: If you've already decided that it's worth investing in blog content for your company, it’s worth...
What SEOs Can Learn from AdWords - Whiteboard Friday
Posted by DiTomasoOrganic and paid search aren't always at odds; there are times when there's benefit in knowing how they work together. Taking the time to know the ins and outs of AdWords can improve your rankings and on-site experience. In today's edition of Whiteboard Friday, our fabulous guest host Dana DiTomaso explains how SEOs can improve their game by taking cues from paid search in this Whiteboard Friday.




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Video TranscriptionHi, my name is Dana DiTomaso. I'm President and Partner at Kick Point, and one of the things that we do at Kick Point is we do both SEO and paid. One of the things that's really useful is when SEO and paid work together. But what's even better is when SEOs can learn from paid to make their stuff better.
One of the things that is great about AdWords or Google Ads — whenever you're watching this, it may be called one thing or the other — is that you can learn a lot from what has a high click-through rate, what performs well in paid, and paid is way faster than waiting for Google to catch up to the awesome title tags you've written or the new link building that you've done to see how it's going to perform. So I'm going to talk about four things today that you can learn from AdWords, and really these are easy things to get into in AdWords.
Don't be intimidated by the interface. You can probably just get in there and look at it yourself, or talk to your AdWords person. I bet they'd be really excited that you know what a callout extension is. So we're going to start up here. 1. Negative keywordsThe first thing is negative keywords. Negative keywords, obviously really important. You don't want to show up for things that you shouldn't be showing up for.
Often when we need to take over an AdWords account, there aren't a lot of negative keywords. But if it's a well-managed account, there are probably lots of negatives that have been added there over time. What you want to look at is if there's poor word association. So in your industry, cheap, free, jobs, and then things like reviews and coupons, if these are really popular search phrases, then maybe this is something you need to create content for or you need to think about how your service is presented in your industry.
Then what you can do to change that is to see if there's something different that...
Finding Keywords: 6 Tips for Choosing the Right Keywords to Use
While most online marketers are ready to accept the fact that search engines can bring a large volume of low cost traffic to a website, the surprising reality is that many have little or no clue as to how they should go about doing so. Several different aspects make up search engine marketing; including submission of websites, creating search engine optimized content, interlinking websites and arguably the most important part- choosing keywords.
Keywords or keyword phrases are those terms that a potential customer uses on a search engine to look for a product or service that a website provides. So, for a jewelry manufacturer the word "jewelry" would be a major keyword. Unfortunately, choosing keywords is not quite as easy as simply naming a product or category. There are many factors that should influence your decision as to what defines the right keyword(s).

Choosing keywords that are inappropriate will target the wrong people making the process of converting eyeballs to sales a nightmare.

It's important to remember that while choosing the right keywords is vital to the success of a marketing campaign, choosing keywords that are inappropriate will target the wrong people making the process of converting eyeballs to sales a nightmare. Here are some tips on choosing keywords that will give you great leads, which can easily be converted into sales.
1. Check out your competitors
Research your competition and view their Meta tags to see which keywords they are using. This is a great way to quickly list down the most commonly used keywords for your type of business.

Make sure you spell important keywords in American as well as British English.

2. Make your own list
Once you have the competitor keywords list, add to it any keywords you feel are important. Include your company name and city as well. Also add plurals and variations of the keywords. Make sure you spell important keywords in American as well as British English. So, in referencing the example used earlier, a jeweler would want to include "jewelry" and "jewellery" in his or her list.
3. Ask outsiders for help
Rarely can you see your own business from an outsider's perspective. To get a layman's opinion, ask customers to send in keywords they relate to your company. You could also ask friends and family to make suggestions. You may be surprised at the keyword...
Announcing the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey
Posted by WhitesparkIt has been another year (and a half) since the last publication of the Local Search Ranking Factors, and local search continues to see significant growth and change. The biggest shift this year is happening in Google My Business signals, but we’re also seeing an increase in the importance of reviews and continued decreases in the importance of citations.
Check out the full survey!
Huge growth in Google My BusinessGoogle has been adding features to GMB at an accelerated rate. They see the revenue potential in local, and now that they have properly divorced Google My Business from Google+, they have a clear runway to develop (and monetize) local. Here are just some of the major GMB features that have been released since the publication of the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors:

Google Posts available to all GMB users
Google Q&A
Website builder
Services
Messaging
Videos
Videos in Google Posts
These features are creating shifts in the importance of factors that are driving local search today. This year has seen the most explosive growth in GMB specific factors in the history of the survey. GMB signals now make up 25% the local pack/finder pie chart.


GMB-specific features like Google Posts, Google Q&A, and image/video uploads are frequently mentioned as ranking drivers in the commentary. Many businesses are not yet investing in these aspects of local search, so these features are currently a competitive advantage. You should get on these before everyone is doing it.
Here’s your to do list:
Start using Google posts NOW. At least once per week, but preferably a few times per week. Are you already pushing out posts to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? Just use the same, lightly edited, content on Google Posts. Also, use calls to action in your posts to drive direct conversions.
Seed the Google Q&A with your own questions and answers. Feed that hyper-relevant, semantically rich content to Google. Relevance FTW.
Regularly upload photos and videos. (Did you know that you can upload videos to GMB now?)
Make sure your profile is 100% complete. If there is an empty field in GMB, fill it. If you haven’t logged into your GMB account in a while, you might be surprised to see all the new data points you can add to your listing.
Why spend your time on these activities? Besides the potential relevance boost you’ll get from the additional...
3 Empowering Small Business Tips for Today, 2019, and a Better Future
Posted by MiriamEllis“American business is overwhelmingly small business.” - SBE Council
Small businesses have created 61.8% of net new jobs in the US since the early 1990s. Local business is big business. Let’s celebrate this in honor of Small Business Saturday with 3 strategies that will support independent business owners this week, and in the better future that can be attained with the right efforts.
What’s Small Business Saturday?It’s an annual shopping event sponsored by American Express on the Saturday following Thanksgiving with the primary goal of encouraging residents to patronize local merchants. The program was launched in 2010 in response to the Great Recession. By 2017, Small Business Saturday jumped to 7,200 Neighborhood Champions (individuals and groups that organize towns for the event), with 108 million reported participating consumers spending $12 billion across the country.
Those numbers are impressive, and more than that, they hold the acorn of strategy for the spreading oak of a nation in which independently grown communities set standards of living, set policy, and set us on course for a sustainable future.
Tips for small businesses today
If your community is already participating in Small Business Saturday, try these techniques to enhance your success on the big day:
1. Give an extra reason to shop with youThis can be as simple as giving customers a small discount or a small free gift with their purchase, or as far-reaching as donating part of the proceeds of the day’s sales to a worthy local cause. Give customers a reason to feel extra good that they shopped with you, especially if you can demonstrate how their purchase supports their own community. Check out our Local Business Holiday Checklist for further tips.
2. Give local media something to reportCreativity is your best asset in deciding how to make your place of business a top destination on Small Business Saturday, worthy of mentions in the local news. Live music? A treasure hunt? The best store window in town? Reach out to reporters if you’re doing something extra special to build up publicity.
3. Give a reason to come back year-roundTurn a shopping moment into a teaching moment. Print up some flyers from the American Independent Business Alliance and pass them out to customers to teach them how local purchasing increases local wealth, health, and security. Take a minute or...
YouTube SEO: Top Factors to Invest In - Whiteboard Friday
Posted by randfishIf you have an audience on YouTube, are you doing everything you can to reach them? Inspired by a large-scale study from Justin Briggs, Rand covers the top factors to invest in when it comes to YouTube SEO in this week's episode of Whiteboard Friday.



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Video TranscriptionHowdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we're chatting about YouTube SEO. So I was lucky enough to be speaking at the Search Love Conference down in San Diego a little while ago, and Justin Briggs was there presenting on YouTube SEO and on a very large-scale study that he had conducted with I think it was 100,000 different video rankings across YouTube's search engine as well as looking at the performance of many thousands of channels and individual videos in YouTube.
Justin came up with some fascinating results. I've called them out here @JustinBriggs on Twitter, and his website is Briggsby.com. You can find this study, including an immense amount of data, there. But I thought I would try and sum up some of the most important points that he brought up and some of the conclusions he came to in his research. I do urge you to check out the full study, especially if you're doing YouTube SEO.
5 crucial elements for video ranking successSo first off, there are some crucial elements for video ranking success. Now video ranking success, what do we mean by that? We mean if you perform a search query in YouTube for a specific keyword, and not necessarily a branded one, what are the things that will come up? So sort of like the same thing we talk about when we talk about Google success ranking factors, these are success factors for YouTube. That doesn't necessarily mean that these are the things that will get you the most possible views. In fact, some of them work the other way.
1. Video views and watch time
First off, video views and watch time. So it turns out these are both very well correlated and in Justin's opinion probably causal with higher rankings. So if you have a video and you're competing against a competitor's video and you get more views and a greater amount of watch time on average per view -- so that's how many people make it through a greater proportion of the video itself --you tend to do better than your competitors.
2. Keyword matching the...
What Do You Do When You Lose Organic Traffic to Google SERP Features?
Posted by Emily.PotterGoogle’s increasing dominance of their own search engine results pages (SERPs) has kicked up a lot of panic and controversy in the SEO industry. As Barry Adams pointed out on Twitter recently, this move by Google is not exactly new, but it does feel like Google has suddenly placed their foot on the accelerator:
I find it hilarious that SEOs are suddenly annoyed that Google is aggressively taking over some verticals with in-SERP features. They’ve been doing that for years.What do you think the EU antitrust case is about?! Or do you suddenly care because it affects your clients?— Barry Adams (@badams) March 15, 2018
Follow that Twitter thread and you’ll see the sort of back-and-forth these changes have started to create. Is this an ethical move by Google? Did you deserve the business they're taking in the first place? Will SEO soon be dead? Or can we do what we’ve always done and adapt our strategies in smart, agile ways?
It’s hard to think positive when Google takes a stab at you like it did with this move on Ookla:
Cool. pic.twitter.com/WClX9oZFNO— Mike Pantoliano (@MikeCP) April 24, 2018
But regardless of how you feel about what’s happening, local packs, featured snippets, and SERP features from Google, properties like Google News, Images, Flights, Videos, and Maps are riding on a train that has no plans on stopping.
To give you an idea of how rapid these changes are occurring, the image below is what the SERP rankings looked like in November 2016 for one of our client’s key head terms:

And this image is the SERP for the same keyword by early December 2017 (our client is in green):

Check out MozCast’s Feature Graph if you want to see the percentage of queries specific features are appearing on.
Who is this blog post for?
You're likely reading this blog post because you noticed your organic traffic has dropped and you suspect it could be Google tanking you.
Traffic drops tend to come about from four main causes: a drop in rankings, a decrease in search volume, you are now ranking for fewer keywords, or because SERP features and/or advertising are depressing your CTRs.
If you have not already done a normal traffic drop analysis and ruled out the first three causes, then your time is better spent doing that first. But if you have done a traffic drop analysis and reached the conclusion that you're likely to be suffering from a...

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