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Your 3-Step Guide to Creating a Successful Review Acquisition Strategy
Posted by McDermottWouldn't it be nice if you had an easy way to learn about your competitor's deepest and darkest secrets? An ethical way to peer inside their business — anytime you wanted?
Your competitor's review portfolio provides you with just that. And conducting an audit of their portfolio will give you precious, must-have data that competitors are simply unwilling to share. It's a treasure trove of secrets, pointing to your competitor's strengths, weaknesses, goals, and objectives.
But how do you audit your competitor's review portfolio? More importantly, how do you use this data to inform your review acquisition and marketing strategy?
I'll show you how in three easy steps. Feel free to download this spreadsheet if you'd like to add data as we go along.
Why competitor review audits are essential
But first: What's so special about the review audit anyway? At first glance, it might seem like more work than it's worth. Your competitors have more (or less) reviews than you do, which means you'll work harder — and if they add more reviews, you'll have to put in more work to earn more reviews.  
Seems like the usual marketing arms race, right? Where you and your competitors are jockeying for first place.
Sophisticated agencies will know better. They see the competitor review audit for what it is: A chance to gain leverage, clarity, and intelligence from their most unwilling competitors. Because a competitor audit shows you:
What competitor's customers are unhappy aboutYour competitor's desires, goals, fears and frustrationsThe core issues and challenges costing your competitors leads, sales and revenueThe objections and risks that keep their prospects from buyingCustomer perception in the marketplace Why customers choose to work with your competitors specificallyWhat customers want (but aren't getting) from your competitorsWhat needs to be done to grow your business exponentiallyTheir customer's knowledge/level of sophisticationChanges in your competitor's business (past, present, and future)
These details are are an exceptional opportunity in the right hands —it's an indispensable assessment tool for local search agencies and their clients. Not to mention it's a straightforward way to learn about your competitor's deepest and darkest secrets: you have literal competitive intel from their customer's...
Announcing the New Moz SEO Essentials Certificate: What It Is & How to Get Certified
Posted by BrianChilds“Does Moz offer a certification?”
Educating the marketing community about SEO is one of our core values here at Moz. I worked at an agency prior to joining the team back in 2016, and much of what I learned about how to deliver SEO to our clients came from reading the Moz Blog and watching MozCon videos.
In 2016, one of Moz’s entrepreneurial product managers, Rachel Moore, launched a new catalog of SEO coursework called Moz Academy. This initiative enabled our community to learn faster through structured, interactive workshops. Since 2017, the team has taught SEO to almost 2,500 students through our various class offerings (I looked it up prior to writing this. That number made me really proud).
Across all these interactions, one question asked by our students kept surfacing: 
Can I get a certificate for completing this coursework? 
For agencies, the ability to show a certificate of completion is a way to differentiate themselves amongst a crowded market. I knew from my own experience how valuable having “HubSpot Inbound Certified” and “Adwords Certified” on my LinkedIn profile was — they allowed our team to show proficiency to our prospective clients. For our friends working as in-house marketers, showing a certificate of completion is a way of showing that the student made good on the investment they requested from their managers.
I’m proud to announce that Moz has put in a tremendous amount of effort to create a certificate program that meets this consistent customer demand. Today, Moz is launching the SEO Essentials Certificate through our Moz Academy platform. Check it out below:
I'm ready to check it out!
What is an SEO Certificate?
An SEO Certificate from Moz is all about developing familiarization with Moz tools and covering some of the essential types of projects you can use to hit the ground running. Though attendees of the Moz Academy come from a variety of backgrounds, we built the certification coursework with an Agency or freelance SEO in mind. However, I believe this material is valuable for anyone interested in learning SEO.
The certificate is focused on five core competency areas:
Understand the FundamentalsDevelop Keyword StrategiesApply On-Page Optimization StrategiesBuild Effective Link StrategiesCreate Efficient Reporting Strategies
By completing this certificate, attendees should be able...
Give it up for Your MozCon 2019 Community Speakers!
Posted by cheryldraperHigh fives and fist bumps for each and every person who took the time to pitch their hearts out for this years’ six community speaker spots — a whopping 130 entries were submitted!
Our selection committee read, watched, and researched, whittling things down to a shortlist of top contenders and then read, watched, and researched some more to determine if a potential speaker and their talk would be a perfect fit for the MozCon stage.
We take lots of things into account during our review, but ultimately there are three main factors that determine our final selections:

Strength of the pitch (e.g., value, relevance to the audience, etc.)Can the content reasonably be delivered in the time allotted?Does it fit with overall programming and agenda?
After much deliberation, we’re confident these six community speakers are going to be a great addition to the MozCon Stage.


Grab a seat and see for yourself!
Ready to meet your MozCon Community Speakers?
Areej AbuAli, Head of SEO at Verve Search
Fixing the Indexability Challenge: A Data-Based Framework
How do you turn an unwieldy 2.5 million-URL website into a manageable and indexable site of just 20,000 pages? Areej will share the methodology and takeaways used to restructure a job aggregator site which, like many large websites, had huge problems with indexability and the rules used to direct robot crawl. This talk will tackle tough crawling and indexing issues, diving into the case study with flow charts to explain the full approach and how to implement it.
Christi Olson, Head of Evangelism, Search at Microsoft
What Voice Means for Search Marketers: Top Findings from the 2019 Report
How can search marketers take advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of today's voice assistants? Diving into three scenarios for informational, navigational, and transactional queries, Christi will share how to use language semantics for better content creation and paid targeting, how to optimize existing content to be voice-friendly (including the new voice schema markup!), and what to expect from future algorithm updates as they adapt to assistants that read responses aloud, no screen required. Highlighting takeaways around voice commerce from the report, this talk will ultimately provide a breakdown on how search marketers can begin to adapt their shopping experience for v-commerce.
Emily Triplett...
SEO Reporting to Demonstrate the Value of Your Work


The most successful search marketers use a simple hack to scale their SEO performance - and it has nothing to do with search engines, links, or content. What's the secret to their success? SEO reporting.
Using the SERP to build your keyword list
Posted by TheMozTeamThis post was originally published on the STAT blog.

Keyword lists keeping you up at night? We feel you — and so does every other SEO. There’s a lot that goes into producing a robust keyword list and having one can make the difference between seeing the whole SERP landscape or getting just a glimpse.
Because we care about how much sleep you’re getting (a healthy eight hours, please), we whipped up a useful guide on our favourite way to keyword list-build, and all you need are three SERP features: the “People also ask” box, related searches, and the “People also search for” box.
We’ll explain why you should give these features a test drive and how you can get your hands on all their Google-vetted queries for the ultimate, competition-crushing keyword list.
Watch us turn 3,413 Nikon-related keywords into 25,349 without lifting a pinky finger.

Google-approved search terms 
Each of these features are keyword goldmines — all three of them link to new SERPs from terms that are semantically related to the searcher’s original query. As a result, they provide excellent insight into how users follow-up, narrow down, or refine their searches and reveal relevant topics that may be overlooked.
Google has put a lot of effort (and dollars) into understanding and mapping how topics and queries are linked, and these SERP features are the direct result of all that research — Google is literally pointing you to how and what everyone is searching. Which is why we dig them so much.
The "People Also Ask"
You’re probably quite familiar with this accordion-like feature. The “People also ask” box contains questions related to the searcher’s initial query, which then expand to reveal answers that Google has pulled from other websites.
Not only are PAA questions excellent long-tail additions to your keyword set, they’re also a great resource for content inspiration. The various ways that they express the same basic question can help you expand on topics — one piece of content could easily answer PAA questions such as “What a photographer needs to get started?” and “What tools do I need to be a photographer?”
Just try not to fall down the query rabbit hole. While the PAA box used to surface anywhere from one to four Q&A combos, most are “infinite” now and can easily multiply into the hundreds — giving you a seemingly endless supply of SERPs to track...
16 Step SEO Site Audit Checklist to Drive ROI


An SEO audit sets the stage for your SEO efforts. It reveals quick wins that drive results and a path to success the organization can rally behind.
What Links to Target with Google's Disavow Tool - Whiteboard Friday
Posted by Cyrus-ShepardDo you need to disavow links in the modern age of Google? Is it safe? If so, which links should you disavow? In this Whiteboard Friday, Cyrus Shepard answers all these questions and more. While he makes it clear that the majority of sites shouldn't have to use Google's Disavow Tool, he provides his personal strategies for those times when using the tool makes sense.How do you decide when to disavow? We'd love to hear your process in the comments below!






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

Video Transcription
Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I'm Cyrus Shepard. Today we're going to be talking about a big topic — Google's Disavow Tool. We're going to be discussing when you should use it and what links you should target.
Now, this is kind of a scary topic to a lot of SEOs and webmasters. They're kind of scared of the Disavow Tool. They think, "It's not necessary. It can be dangerous. You shouldn't use it." But it's a real tool. It exists for a reason, and Google maintains it for exactly for webmasters to use it. So today we're going to be covering the scenarios which you might consider using it and what links you should target.
Disclaimer! The vast majority of sites don't need to disavow *anything*
Now I want to start out with a big disclaimer. I want this to be approved by the Google spokespeople. So the big disclaimer is the vast majority of sites don't need to disavow anything. Google has made tremendous progress over the last few years of determining what links to simply ignore. In fact, that was one of the big points of the last Penguin 4.0 algorithm update.
Before Penguin, you had to disavow links all the time. But after Penguin 4.0, Google simply ignored most bad links, emphasis on the word "most." It's not a perfect system. They don't ignore all bad links. We'll come back to that point in a minute. There is a danger in using the Disavow Tool of disavowing good links.
That's the biggest problem I see with people who use the disavow is it's really hard to determine what Google counts as a bad link or a harmful link and what they count as a good link. So a lot of people over-disavow and disavow too many things. So that's something you need to look out for. My final point in the disclaimer is large, healthy sites with good link profiles are more...
Research Study: Significant Increase in Google Images Within SERPs


With three confirmed algorithm updates this year alone, a recent, sizable deindexing bug, and numerous small tremors in the SERPs, there is never a dull moment for SEOs.
Yet, beyond these updates, actual SEO performance may be determined by the presence of another, hidden competitor – one that most SEOs still haven’t paid as much attention to as they should.
Restaurant Local SEO: The Google Characteristics of America’s Top-Ranked Eateries
Posted by MiriamEllis“A good chef has to be a manager, a businessman and a great cook. To marry all three together is sometimes difficult.” - Wolfgang Puck
I like this quote. It makes me hear phones ringing at your local search marketing agency, with aspiring chefs and restaurateurs on the other end of the line, ready to bring experts aboard in the “sometimes difficult” quest for online visibility.
Is your team ready for these clients? How comfortable do you feel talking restaurant Local SEO when such calls come in? When was the last time you took a broad survey of what’s really ranking in this specialized industry?
Allow me to be your prep cook today, and I’ll dice up “best restaurant” local packs for major cities in all 50 US states. We’ll julienne Google Posts usage, rough chop DA, make chiffonade of reviews, owner responses, categories, and a host of other ingredients to determine which characteristics are shared by establishments winning this most superlative of local search phrases.
The finished dish should make us conversant with what it takes these days to be deemed “best” by diners and by Google, empowering your agency to answer those phones with all the breezy confidence of Julia Child.
Methodology
I looked at the 3 businesses in the local pack for “best restaurants (city)” in a major city in each of the 50 states, examining 11 elements for each entry, yielding 4,950 data points. I set aside the food processor for this one and did everything manually. I wanted to avoid the influence of proximity, so I didn’t search for any city in which I was physically located. The results, then, are what a traveler would see when searching for top restaurants in destination cities.
Restaurant results
Now, let’s look at each of the 11 data points together and see what we learn. Take a seat at the table!
Categories prove no barrier to entry
Which restaurant categories make up the dominant percentage of local pack entries for our search?

You might think that a business trying to rank locally for “best restaurants” would want to choose just “restaurant” as their primary Google category as a close match. Or, you might think that since we’re looking at best restaurants, something like “fine dining restaurants” or the historically popular “French restaurants” might top the charts.
Instead, what we’ve discovered is that restaurants of every category can make it...

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