Given that keyword research and selection is still an underpinning of almost every well-executed SEO strategy, it can be difficult to explain why individual keywords are hugely important from a process standpoint, but not from a measurement standpoint. I’m going to attempt it in this blog post. Here we go!
On-Page Optimization: Where Your Keyword Strategy Begins
Whether you work with a strategist or perform SEO yourself, your on-page optimization strategy likely begins with keyword mapping. This is the process of performing keyword research to find the 3-5 keywords per page that are an optimal combination of search volume (high), competition/difficulty (low), and relevance (high). Once the keyword research is performed for your priority pages, you should have a “map” of keywords that will provide you with insight into the architecture of your site and the way your content is (or will be) structured. This will help you fill in content gaps, reduce duplications, and decide if you need to split certain landing pages into distinct topics.
We’re not expecting a page to rank for 3-5 keywords alone.
We use keyword research to set healthy targets and give us a framework for optimization that has the highest possible likelihood of paying off, but here’s the fun part: we’re not expecting the page to rank for those 3-5 keywords alone. Instead, you can think of each keyword as a bucket that holds up to thousands of related keywords, questions and long-tail search queries. Aside from the obvious (paid vs unpaid), this “bucket” phenomenon, called Latent Semantic Indexing, is perhaps the biggest difference between SEO and PPC, and it’s why PPC is more well-suited to measuring keyword performance - for now. So if you’re used to tracking PPC campaigns, you’re going to have to throw a lot of your logic out the window to understand organic performance.
What is Latent Semantic Indexing?
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a document retrieval...
These types of situations, and many others like it, are present in far too many work environments. But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way?
Over the last ten years as a team manager at various agencies, I’ve been working hard to foster a work environment where my employees feel empowered to share their thoughts and can safely learn from their mistakes. Through my experiences, I have found a few strategies to combat negative culture and replace it with a culture of vulnerability and creativity.
Below, I offer four simple steps you can follow that will transform your work environment into one that encourages new ideas, allows for feedback and positive change, and ultimately makes you and your team better digital marketers.
Vulnerability leads to creativity
I first learned about the impact of vulnerability after watching a viral TED talk by Dr. Brene Brown. She defined vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She also described vulnerability as “the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.” From this, I learned that to create a culture of vulnerability is to create a culture of creativity. And isn’t creativity at the heart of what we SEOs do?
A culture of vulnerability encourages us to take risks, learn from mistakes, share insights, and deliver top results to our clients. In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, we simply cannot achieve top results with the tactics of yesterday. We also can’t sit around and wait for the next Moz Blog or marketing conference, either. Our best course of action is to take risks, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and share insights with others. We have to learn from those with more experience than us and share what we know to those with less experience. In other words, we have to be vulnerable.
Below is a list of four...
We analyzed 12 million outreach emails to answer the question:
What’s working in the world of email outreach right now?
We looked at subject lines. We looked at personalization. We even looked at follow-up sequences.
Along with our data partner for this study, Pitchbox, we uncovered a number of interesting findings.
Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:
1. The vast majority of outreach messages are ignored. Only 8.5% of outreach emails receive a response.
2. Outreach emails with long subject lines have a 24.6% higher average response rate compared to those with short subject lines.
3. Follow-ups appear to significantly improve response rates. Emailing the same contact multiple times leads to 2x more responses.
4. Reaching out to multiple contacts can also lead to more success. The response rate of messages sent to several contacts is 93% higher than messages sent to a single person.
5. Personalized subject lines boost response rate by 30.5%. Therefore, personalizing subject lines appears to have a large impact on outreach campaign results.
6. Personalizing outreach email body content also seems to be an effective way to increase response rates. Emails with personalized message bodies have a 32.7% better response rate than those that don’t personalize their messages.
7. Wednesday is the “best” day to send outreach emails. Saturday is the worst. However, we didn’t find an especially large difference in response rates between different days that messages were sent.
8. Linking to social profiles in email signatures may result in better response rates. Twitter was correlated with an 8.2% increase, LinkedIn an 11.5% increase, and Instagram a 23.4% increase.
9. The most successful outreach campaigns reach out to multiple contacts multiple times. Email sequences with multiple attempts and multiple contacts boost response rates by 160%.
10. Certain types of outreach get higher response rates than others. Outreach messages related to guest posting, roundups and links have an especially high response rate.
We have details and additional data from our study below.
Most Outreach Emails Are Ignored or Deleted
You may have heard that it’s challenging to get people to reply to cold outreach emails. According to our data, poor response rates do appear to be the norm.
In fact, we found that only 8.5% of all outreach emails receive a response.
This response rate is...
If you missed them, check out the other episodes in the series so far:
The One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 1: SEO StrategyThe One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 2: Keyword ResearchThe One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 3: Searcher Satisfaction
Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!
Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of our special One-Hour Guide to SEO. We are now on Part IV – Keyword Targeting and On-Page Optimization. So hopefully, you've watched Part III, where we talked about searcher satisfaction, how to make sure searchers are happy with the page content that you create and the user experience that you build for them, as well as Part II, where we talked about keyword research and how to make sure that you are targeting the right words and phrases that searchers are actually looking for, that you think you can actually rank for, and that actually get real organic click-through rate, because Google's zero-click searches are rising.
Now we're into on-page SEO. So this is essentially taking the words and phrases that we know we want to rank for with the content that we know will help searchers accomplish their task. Now how do we make sure that the page is optimal for ranking in Google?
On-page SEO has evolved
Well, this is very different from the way it was years ago. A long time ago, and unfortunately many people still believe this to be true about SEO, it was: How do I stuff my keywords into all the right tags and places on the page? How do I take advantage of things like the meta keywords tag, which hasn't been used in a decade, maybe two? How do I take advantage of putting all the words and phrases stuffed into my title, my URL, my description, my headline, my H2 through H7 tags, all these kinds of things?
Most of that does not matter, but some of it still does. Some of it is still important, and we need to run through what those are so that you give yourself the best possible chance for ranking.
The on-page SEO checklist
So what I've done here is created a sort...
But before you do anything else, you need to define what goals you want to accomplish with your content.
I’ve written previously about the importance of having an audience-focused content strategy before — and it's still relevant. Every single piece of content you create needs to be mapped to a goal, otherwise, it’ll leave your audience wondering why they should care and what to do next, assuming it even reaches your target audience at all.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Once you have your goals and your brand’s unique angle nailed down, you’ll also need to prioritize your means of content distribution. This is especially important if you’re just starting out — you should zero in on a few key distribution channels and master those before you expand into others, or you risk spreading yourself too thin and sabotage your chances of success in any of them.
This post will help you zero in on what distribution channels make the most sense for your goals, and how to create content that will perform well in them.
Content goal: Brand awareness
If you’re a new brand or a lesser-known brand in your vertical, it’s crucial to expose your audience to your brand and demonstrate how it can solve their problems. There are many distribution options for brand awareness, and they all involve using external platforms in some way to help you connect to a larger audience of people.
If your brand publishes a large volume of daily content that covers broader, news-worthy topics, content syndication can be an effective way to get your brand in front of a new audience.
I work for a new affiliate marketing venture called The Ascent by The Motley Fool, and our coverage of broad, personal finance topics makes us a natural fit for content syndication. From Flipboard to Google News, major news outlets are always looking for money and finance-related content. Even though the SEO value is limited for content syndication, as links are typically no-followed, this is still an effective way for us to fulfill our brand awareness...
Not sure what a community speaker is?
At MozCon, we have a speaker selection committee that identifies practitioners at the top of their professional field, with a mean speaking game. But these sessions are by invite only, and we know the community is bursting at the seams with groundbreaking research, hot tips, and SEO tests that drive results.
Cue our community speaker program! We reserve six 15-minute community speaking slots throughout our three-day event. Now’s the time of the season when we encourage anyone in the SEO community to submit their best and most exciting presentation ideas for MozCon. Not only are these sessions incredibly well-received by our attendees, but they’re also a fantastic way to get your foot in the door when it comes to the SEO speaking circuit.
Interested in pitching your own idea? Read on for everything you need to know:
To submit a pitch:
Fill out our community speaker submission form to enter.Only one submission per person — make sure to choose the one you’re most passionate about!Your pitch must be related to online marketing and for a topic that can be covered in 15 minutes.Submissions close on Monday, April 15th at 5pm PDT — no exceptions!All decisions are final.All speakers must adhere to the MozCon Code of Conduct.If chosen, you’ll be required to present your winning pitch July 15–17th at MozCon in Seattle, WA.
I'm ready to submit my idea!
If you submit a pitch, you’ll hear back from us regardless of your acceptance status, so please be patient until you hear from us — we’ll work hard to make our decisions as quickly as we can!
As a community speaker you will receive:
15 minutes on the MozCon stage for a keynote-style presentationA free ticket to MozCon (we can issue a refund or transfer if you’e already purchased yours)Four nights of lodging covered by Moz at our partner hotelReimbursement for your travel — up to $500 for domestic and $750 for international travelAn invitation...
Tackling a few technical issues can provide some easily obtainable goals for making your SEO campaigns pay off.
We understand it can be tough to run your business and keep up with your SEO at the same time. As a small business owner, you might be doing everything yourself. So when you look at all the SEO work that needs to be done, it can be difficult not to feel overwhelmed.
But don’t worry! We’ve made some suggested timelines and an SEO checklist so you can make sure you’re spending time in the right areas. Spilt your work into bite-sized pieces and then schedule some time each week to work on it. Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, so don’t worry if you can’t get to everything in the first couple of weeks.
Suggested SEO Schedules
Hours Per Week
One Hour: Optimize One Page
On page content
30 Minutes: Social Media
Create & schedule 3 posts across channels
Interact with your fans
30 Minutes: Reach Out
Interact with people in your industry
Check out sites you might want a link from
Hours Per Week
Two Hours: Optimize two pages
On page content
One Hour: Social Media
Create & schedule 5 posts across channels
Interact with your fans
Start conversations on different platforms
Follow people who follow your competitors
Thirty Minutes: Reach Out
Interact with people in your industry
Check out sites you might want a link from
Establish yourself as the expert
Thirty Minutes: Read Up
Keep up to date with SEO developments
Things are always changing
One Hour: Additional Content Creation
Social media contests
Use this checklist to track completed items and find out what needs more attention.
On Page SEO
Sign up for & install Google Analytics
Sign up for &...
Step 1: Use the URL inspection tool to see if Google can render your content
The URL inspection tool (formerly Google Fetch and Render) is a great free tool that allows you to check if Google can properly render your pages.
The URL inspection tool requires you to have your website connected to Google Search Console. If you don’t have an account yet, check Google’s Help pages.
Open Google Search Console, then click on the URL inspection button.
In the URL form field, type the full URL of a page you want to audit.
Then click on TEST LIVE URL.
Once the test is done, click on VIEW TESTED PAGE.
And finally, click on the Screenshot tab to view the rendered page.
Scroll down the screenshot to make sure your web page is rendered properly. Ask yourself the following questions:
Is the main content visible?Can Google see the user-generated comments?Can Google access areas like similar articles and products?...
The new Beginner's Guide to SEO is here!
What makes this new version so darn special and sparkly, anyway?
I'm glad you asked! Our design team would breathe a sigh of relief and tell you it's because this baby is on-brand and ready to rock your eyeballs to next Tuesday with its use of fancy, scalable SVGs and images complete with alt text descriptions. Our team of SEO experts would blot the sweat from their collective brow and tell you it's because we've retooled and completely updated all our recommendations to ensure we're giving fledgling learners the most accurate push out of the digital marketing nest that we can. Our developers would tell you it's because it lives on a brand-spankin'-new CMS and they no longer have to glare silently at my thirteenth Slack message of the day asking them to fix the misplaced period on the fourth paragraph from the top in Chapter 7.
All joking aside, every bit of the above is true, and each perspective pulls together a holistic answer: this version of the Beginner's Guide represents a new era for the number-one resource for learning SEO, one where we can update it at the drop of a Google algorithm-shaped hat, where it's easier than ever to access and learn for a greater variety of people, where you can rely on the fact that the information is solid, up-to-date, and molded to best fit the learning journey unique to SEO.
I notice the structure is a little different, what gives?
We can't escape your eagle eyes! We structured the new guide quite differently from the original. Everything is explained in our introduction, but here's the gist: taking inspiration from Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we built each chapter based on the core foundation of how one ought to go about doing SEO, covering the most integral needs first before leveling up to the next.
We affectionately call this "Mozlow's Hierarchy of Needs." Please forgive us.
A small but mighty team
While it may have taken us a full year and a half to get to this point, there was...