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Hey, guys. Welcome to this week's edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and I work here at Moz. Today we're going to be talking about auditing your backlink profile, why you might want to do it, when you should do it, and then how to do it. So let's just dive right in.
It might be kind of confusing to be talking about auditing your backlink profile. When I say auditing your backlink profile, I'm specifically talking about trying to diagnose if there's anything funky or manipulative going on. There's been quite a bit of debate among SEOs, so in a post-Penguin 4.0 world, we all wonder if Google can ignore spammy backlinks and low-quality backlinks, why would we also need to disavow, which essentially tells Google the same thing: "Just ignore these links."
I posed three reasons why we might still want to consider this in some situations.
Why should you audit your backlink profile?
Disavow is still offered
Disavow is still an option — you can go to and submit a disavow file right now if you wanted to.
You can still get manual penalties
Google still has guidelines that outline all of the link schemes and types of link manipulation. If you violate those, you could get a manual penalty. In your Google Search Console, it will say something like unnatural links to your site detected, total or partial. You can still get those. That's another reason I would say that the disavow is still something you could consider doing.
Google says their stance hasn't changed
I know there's like a little bit of back-and-forth about this, but technically Google has said, "Our stance hasn't changed. Still use the disavow file carefully and when it's appropriate." So we'll talk about when it might be appropriate, but that's why we consider that this is...
Retail clients are battling tough economics offline and tough competitors online. They need every bit of help your agency can give them.
I was heartened when 75 percent of the 1,400+ respondents to the Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report 2019 shared that they contribute to offline strategy recommendations either frequently or at least some of the time. I can’t think of a market where good and relatively inexpensive experiments are more needed than in embattled retail. The ripple effect of a single new idea, offered up generously, can spread out to encompass new revenue streams for the client and new levels of retention for your agency.
And that’s why win-win seemed written all over three statistics from a 2018 Yes Marketing retail survey when I read it because they speak to motivating about one quarter to half of 1,000 polled customers without going to any extreme expense. Take a look:
I highly recommend downloading Yes Marketing’s complete survey which is chock-full of great data, but today, let’s look at just three valuable stats from it to come up with an actionable strategy you can gift your offline retail clients at your next meeting.
Getting it right: A little market near me
For the past 16 years, I’ve been observing the local business scene with a combination of professional scrutiny and personal regard. I’m inspired by businesses that open and thrive and am saddened by those that open and close.
Right now, I’m especially intrigued by a very small, independently-owned grocery store which set up shop last year in what I’ll lovingly describe as a rural, half-a-horse town not far from me. This locale has a single main street with less than 20 businesses on it, but I’m predicting the shop’s ultimate success based on several factors. A strong one is that the community is flanked by several much larger towns with lots of through traffic and the market is several miles from any competitor. But other factors which match point-for-point with the data in the Yes Marketing survey make me feel especially confident that this small business is going to “get it right”.
Encourage your retail clients to explore the following tips.
1) The store is visually appealing
43–58 percent of Yes Marketing’s surveyed retail customers say they’d be motivated to shop with a retailer who has cool product displays, murals, etc. Retail shoppers...
1. Answers will drive search
People Also Ask boxes exploded in 2018, and featured snippets have expanded into both multifaceted and multi-snippet versions. Google wants to answer questions, it wants to answer them across as many devices as possible, and it will reward sites with succinct, well-structured answers. Focus on answers that naturally leave visitors wanting more and establish your brand and credibility. [Dr. Peter J. Meyers]
Content for Answers: The Inverted Pyramid - Whiteboard FridayWe Dipped Our Toes Into Double Featured SnippetsDesktop, Mobile, or Voice? (D) All of the Above - Whiteboard Friday
2. Voice search will continue to be utterly useless for optimization
Optimizing for voice search will still be no more than optimizing for featured snippets, and conversions from voice will remain a dark box. [Russ Jones]
The Influence of Voice Search on Featured SnippetsLessons from 1,000 Voice Searches (on Google Home)How to Discover Featured Snippet Opportunities - Whiteboard FridayHow to Target Featured Snippet Opportunities - Whiteboard Friday
3. Mobile is table stakes
This is barely a prediction. If your 2019 plan is to finally figure out mobile, you're already too late. Almost all Google features are designed with mobile-first in mind, and the mobile-first index has expanded rapidly in the past few months. Get your mobile house (not to be confused with your mobile home) in order as soon as you can. [Dr. Peter J. Meyers]
How Does Mobile-First Indexing Work, and How Does It Impact SEO?How and Why to Do a Mobile/Desktop Parity AuditInternal Linking & Mobile First: Large Site Crawl Paths in 2018 & BeyondHow Mobile-First Indexing Disrupts the Link Graph
4. Further SERP feature intrusions in organic...
Today, I’m going to take you a little deeper — we'll be looking at a few techniques for forming an even better understanding of the publisher syndication networks in your particular niche. I've broken this technique into two parts:
Technique One — Leveraging Buzzsumo influencer data and twitter scraping to find the most influential journalists writing about any topicTechnique Two — Leveraging the Gdelt Dataset to reveal deep story syndication networks between publishers using in-context links.
Why do this at all?
If you are interested in generating high-value links at scale, these techniques provide an undeniable competitive advantage — they help you to deeply understand how writers and news publications connect and syndicate to each other.
In our opinion at Fractl, data-driven content stories that have strong news hooks, finding writers and publications who would find the content compelling, and pitching them effectively is the single highest ROI SEO activity possible. Done correctly, it is entirely possible to generate dozens, sometimes even hundreds or thousands, of high-authority links with one or a handful of content campaigns.
Let's dive in.
Using Buzzsumo to understand journalist influencer networks on any topic
First, you want to figure out who your topc influencers are your a topic. A very handy feature of Buzzsumo is its “influencers” tool. You can locate it on the influences tab, then follow these steps:
Select only “Journalists.” This will limit the result to only the Twitter accounts of those known to be reporters and journalists of major publications. Bloggers and lower authority publishers will be excluded.Search using a topical keyword. If it is straightforward, one or two searches should be fine. If it is more complex, create a few related queries, and collate the twitter accounts that appear in all of them. Alternatively, use the Boolean "and/or" in your search to narrow your result. It is critical...
Featured snippets, a vehicle for voice search and the answers to our most pressing questions, have doubled on the SERPs — but not in the way we usually mean. This time, instead of appearing on two times the number of SERPS, two snippets are appearing on the same SERP. Hoo!
In all our years of obsessively stalking snippets, this is one of the first documented cases of them doing something a little different. And we are here for it.
While it’s still early days for the double-snippet SERP, we’re giving you everything we’ve got so far. And the bottom line is this: double the snippets mean double the opportunity.
Google's case for double-snippet SERPs
The first time we heard mention of more than one snippet per SERP was at the end of January in Google’s “reintroduction” to featured snippets.
Not yet launched, details on the feature were a little sparse. We learned that they’re “to help people better locate information” and “may also eventually help in cases where you can get contradictory information when asking about the same thing but in different ways.”
Thankfully, we only had to wait a month before Google released them into the wild and gave us a little more insight into their purpose.
Calling them “multifaceted” featured snippets (a definition we’re not entirely sure we’re down with), Google explained that they’re currently serving “‘multi-intent’ queries, which are queries that have several potential intentions or purposes associated,” and will eventually expand to queries that need more than one piece of information to answer.
With that knowledge in our back pocket, let’s get to the good stuff.
The double snippet rollout is starting off small
Since the US-en market is Google’s favorite testing ground for new features and the largest locale being tracked in STAT, it made sense to focus our research there. We chose to analyze mobile SERPs over desktop because of Google’s (finally released) mobile-first indexing, and also because that’s where Google told us they were starting.
After waiting for enough two-snippet SERPs to show up so we could get our (proper) analysis on, we pulled our data at the end March. Out of the mobile keywords currently tracking in the US-en market in STAT, 122,501 had a featured snippet present, and of those, 1.06 percent had more than one to its name.
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If you haven't heard the news, the Domain Authority metric discussed in this episode will be updated on March 5th, 2019 to better correlate with Google algorithm changes. Learn about what's changing below:
Learn more about the new DA
Hi, Whiteboard Friday fans. I'm Will Critchlow, one of the founders at Distilled, and what I want to talk about today is joining the dots between some theoretical work that some of my colleagues have been doing and some of the client work that we've been doing recently and the results that we've been seeing from that in the wild and what I think it means for strategies for different-sized sites going on from here.
Correlations and a hypothesis
The beginning of this I credit to one of my colleagues, Tom Capper, THCapper on Twitter, who presented at our Search Love London conference a presentation entitled "The Two-Tiered SERP," and I'm going to describe what that means in just a second. But what I'm going to do today is talk about what I think that the two-tiered SERP means for content strategy going forward and base that a little bit on some of what we're seeing in the wild with some of our client projects.
What Tom presented at Search Love London was he started by looking at the fact that the correlation between domain authority and rankings has decreased over time. So he pulled out some stats from February 2017 and looked at those same stats 18 months later and saw a significant drop in the correlation between domain authority and rankings. This ties into a bunch of work that he's done and presented elsewhere around potentially less reliance on links going forward and some other data that Google might be using, some other metrics and ranking factors that they might be using in their place, particularly branded metrics and so forth.
But Tom saw this drop and had a hypothesis that it wasn't just an across-the-board drop. This wasn't just Google not using links anymore or using links less. It was actually a more granular effect than that...
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Video TranscriptionHi. My name is Dana DiTomaso. I am President and partner at Kick Point. We're a digital marketing agency, based in the frozen north of Edmonton, Alberta. So today I'm going to be talking to you about data hygiene.
What I mean by that is the stuff that we see every single time we start working with a new client this stuff is always messed up. Sometimes it's one of these four things. Sometimes it's all four, or sometimes there are extra things. So I'm going to cover this stuff today in the hopes that perhaps the next time we get a profile from someone it is not quite as bad, or if you look at these things and see how bad it is, definitely start sitting down and cleaning this stuff up.
1. FiltersSo what we're going to start with first are filters. By filters, I'm talking about analytics here, specifically Google Analytics. When go you into the admin of Google Analytics, there's a section called Filters. There's a section on the left, which is all the filters for everything in that account, and then there's a section for each view for filters. Filters help you exclude or include specific traffic based on a set of parameters.
Filter out office, home office, and agency trafficSo usually what we'll find is one Analytics property for your website, and it has one view, which is all website data which is the default that Analytics gives you, but then there are no filters, which means that you're not excluding things like office traffic, your internal people visiting the website, or home office. If you have a bunch of people who work from home, get their IP addresses, exclude them from this because you don't necessarily want your internal traffic mucking up things like conversions, especially if you're doing stuff like checking your own forms.
You haven't had a lead in a while and maybe you fill out the form to make sure it's working. You don't want that coming in as a conversion and then screwing up your data, especially if you're a low-volume website. If you have a million hits a day, then maybe this isn...
Whether you’re tracking thousands or millions of keywords, if you expect to extract deep insights and trends just by looking at your keywords from a high-level, you’re not getting the full story.
Smart segmentation is key to making sense of your data. And you’re probably already applying this outside of STAT. So now, we’re going to show you how to do it in STAT to uncover boatloads of insights that will help you make super data-driven decisions.
To show you what we mean, let’s take a look at a few ways we can set up a search intent project to uncover the kinds of insights we shared in our whitepaper, Using search intent to connect with consumers.
Before we jump in, there are a few things you should have down pat:
1. Picking a search intent that works for youSearch intent is the motivating force behind search and it can be:
Informational: The searcher has identified a need and is looking for information on the best solution, ie. [blender], [food processor]
Commercial: The searcher has zeroed in on a solution and wants to compare options, ie. [blender reviews], [best blenders]
Transactional: The searcher has narrowed their hunt down to a few best options, and is on the precipice of purchase, ie. [affordable blenders], [blender cost]
Local (sub-category of transactional): The searcher plans to do or buy something locally, ie. [blenders in dallas]
Navigational (sub-category of transactional): The searcher wants to locate a specific website, ie. [Blendtec]
We left navigational intent out of our study because it’s brand specific and didn’t want to bias our data.
Our keyword set was a big list of retail products — from kitty pooper-scoopers to pricey speakers. We needed a straightforward way to imply search intent, so we added keyword modifiers to characterize each type of intent.
As always, different strokes for different folks: The modifiers you choose and the intent categories you look at may differ, but it’s important to map that all out before you get started.
2. Identifying the SERP features you really wantFor our whitepaper research, we pretty much tracked every feature under the sun, but you certainly don’t have to.
You might already know which features you want to target, the ones you want to keep an eye on, or questions you want to answer. For example, are shopping boxes taking...
It's a topic we've covered before with some depth. This STAT whitepaper looked at how SERP features respond to intent, and a few bonus blog posts broke things down even further and examined how individual intent modifiers impact SERP features, the kind of content that Google serves at each stage of intent, and how you can set up your very own search intent projects. (And look out for Seer's very own Scott Taft's upcoming post this week on how to use STAT and Power BI to create your very own search intent dashboard.)Search intent is the new demographics, so it only made sense to get up close and personal with it. Of course, in order to bag all those juicy search intent tidbits, we needed a great intent-based keyword list. Here’s how you can get your hands on one of those.
Gather your core keywords First, before you can even think about intent, you need to have a solid foundation of core keywords in place. These are the products, features, and/or services that you’ll build your search intent funnel around.
But goodness knows that keyword list-building is more of an art than a science, and even the greatest writers (hi, Homer) needed to invoke the muses (hey, Calliope) for inspiration, so if staring at your website isn’t getting the creative juices flowing, you can look to a few different places for help.
Snag some good suggestions from keyword research toolsLots of folks like to use the Google Keyword Planner to help them get started. Ubersuggest and Yoast’s Google Suggest Expander will also help add keywords to your arsenal. And Answer The Public gives you all of that, and beautifully visualized to boot.
Simply plunk in a keyword and watch the suggestions pour in. Just remember to be critical of these auto-generated lists, as odd choices sometimes slip into the mix. For example, apparently we should add [free phones] to our list of [rank tracking] keywords. Huh.
Spot inspiration on the SERPsTwo straight-from-the-SERP resources that we love for keyword research are the “People also ask” box and related searches. These queries are Google-vetted and plentiful, and also give you some insight into how the search engine giant links topics.
If you’re a STAT client, you can generate reports that will give you every question in a PAA...