Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Police Academies in Texas

There are 71 police academies in Texas. To find out more about law enforcement training, requirements, and career opportunities near you, visit our website.


SearchCap: Google real time carousel, In Apps search & AdWords sitelinks

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google real time carousel, In Apps search & AdWords sitelinks appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Get Your Seattle Exploration on at MozCon 2016!

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

MozCon is fast approaching us! On September 12-14—just two weeks away—1,400 online marketers will descend on Seattle, ready to learn about SEO, content, Google Tag Manager, conversion rate optimization, and so much more. We've got fewer than 60 tickets left, so grab yours now.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

If you haven't done so, check out all the learning! This post is geared toward the things you can do when MozCon sessions aren't happening.

Cindy Krum on the MozCon 2015 stage

Places you'll want to go as recommended by Mozzers

While you're in Seattle, we want to make sure you have a fabulous time. Seattle in September is beautiful. It's still sunny outside, and it's the time of year people come to Seattle and then want to move here. So we've complied a list of great activities and restaurants:


Brian Childs

Gasworks Park

"Incredible views of the city, float planes landing overhead, Space Needle in the background, Ivar's Clam Chowder down the street, bikes all over the place."

Brian Childs

Megan SingleyVolunteer Park

"This is my favorite place in all of Seattle! Stroll around the park and stop in the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the conservatory, then climb to the top of the water tower for an incredible view. You can also walk through the graveyard and see Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee's grave. After all that walking, hop over to the adorable and delicious Volunteer Park Cafe."

Megan Singley

James DaughertyElliott Bay Trail

"Amazing views, has a mini gravel beach, and lots of park space. Great for running and cycling. I ride my bike along EBT nearly everyday to Moz, and I fall in love with city over and over again."

James Daugherty

Maura HubbellAlki Beach

"Alki is a beautiful walk with a spectacular view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. It's got some good restaurants, and even a little history as the site of the original settlement."

Maura Hubbell

Rachel MooreDiscovery Park

"If you've never been to the Pacific Northwest (or even if you have!), Discovery Park on a clear day is a great place to see the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, and to get some quality forest walking done all in one fell swoop. Plus, it's 20 minutes from downtown! (Pro tip: For the easiest view access, park in the lot on W Emerson just before 43rd Ave W.)"

Rachel Moore

Felicia CrawfordGreen Lake

"People of every ilk converge to exercise, feed ducks, play with dogs, and covet the dogs of others."

Felicia Crawford

Activities, tours, and museums

Emily Smollen

The Underground Tour

"What a great way to hear about and experience early-Seattle's history!"

Emily Smollen

Alyson MurphyFerry to Bainbridge Island

"Seattle is surrounded by water and mountains. The ferry is the easiest way to experience that scenery. The view of the city is amazing too!"

Alyson Murphy

Jo CameronThe Pinball Museum

"It is special to me because I've only been to Seattle once, as I work remotely in the UK. It was a joy the see how strong the love for pinball is in Seattle. The Pinball Museum houses the world's biggest pinball machine, and it is really something to behold; it's like hugging a dining room table."

Jo Cameron

Restaurants and bars

Nicelle Herron


"Laid back, good music, cheap food, and nice people."

Nicelle Herron

Chiaryn MirandaCyclops

"If you are a vegetarian (or love vegetarian food), the Happy Hippy Burger is a must. It is not only the best veggie burger in Seattle, but it's the best I have ever had. Cyclops also has great drinks and food for the omnivores, too."

Chiaryn Miranda

Jess StipePie Bar

"This hole in the wall has it all! Pie Bar serves up warm, freshly baked slices of heaven with a pint of bliss. Savory pies, sweet pies, pietinis, craft spirits, and beer...all nestled in an elegant, cozy venue where you won't have to shout over a crowd 3-hipsters-deep to order. And if you're done with your pie and ready for some pinball and arcade games, John John's Game Room is directly next door!"

Jess Stipe

Tawny CaseOddfellows Cafe

"This hip little eatery has some awesomely tasty foods, a sweet little private back patio, a laidback atmosphere, and awesome drinks. Plus, it's right in the heart of Capitol Hill, one of my favorite 'hoods in the city."

Tawny Case

Bonus! Lightning suggestions:

Brian Childs' recommendation corner

"I put this Google map together for friends visiting the city. Includes lots of breweries, bars, restaurants, and things to do: Get the info!"

Official MozCon evening events

For all our evening events, make sure to bring your conference badge AND your US ID or your passport.

Monday Night MozCrawl

From 7:00pm - 10:00pm, you can head to all the stops at your own pace and in any order. Visit all the stops, fill out your punch card, and return it to the swag store on Tuesday morning to enter to win a golden Roger!

Making new friends at MozCon 2015

Tuesday MozCon Ignite

If you're looking for networking, this is event for you! Join us at from 7:00-10:00pm at McCaw Hall for a night of networking and five-minute, Ignite-style passion talks from your fellow attendees. This year, our talks will range from information and unique to heartwarming and life changing. You don't want to miss this MozCon night.

  • 7:00-8:00pm Networking
  • 8:00-8:05pm Introduction with Geraldine DeRuiter
  • 8:05-8:10pm Help! I Can't Stop Sweating - Hyperhidrosis with Adam Melson at Seer Interactive
  • 8:10-8:15pm A Plane Hacker's Guide to Cheap *Luxury* Travel with Ed Fry at
  • 8:15-8:20pm Life Lessons Learned as a Special Needs Parent with Adrian Vender at Internet Marketing Inc
  • 8:20-8:25pm How to Start an Underground Restaurant in Your Home with Nadya Khoja at Venngage Inc.
  • 8:25-8:30pm Embracing Fear, Potential Failure, and Plain Ol' Discomfort with Daisy Quaker at AMSOIL INC.
  • 8:30-8:35pm How Pieces of Paper Can Change Lives with Anneke Kurt Godlewski at Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC
  • 8:35-8:40pm Is Your Family Time for Sale? with Michael Cottam at Visual Itineraries
  • 8:40-9:20pm Networking with desserts and refreshments
  • 9:20-9:25pm Prison and a Girl that Loves Puppies with Caitlin Boroden at DragonSearch
  • 9:25-9:30pm Embracing Awkward: The Tale of a 5' 10" 6th Grader with Hannah Cooley at Seer Interactive
  • 9:35-9:40pm Finding Myself in Fiction: LGBTQUIA Stories with Lisa Hunt at Moz
  • 9:40-9:45pm Wooly Bits: Exploring the Binary of Yarn with Lindsay Dayton LaShell at Diamond + Branch Marketing Group
  • 9:45-9:50pm How a Cartoon Saved My Life with Steve Hammer at RankHammer
  • 9:50-9:55pm Flood Survival: Lessons from the Streets of ATL with Sarah Lively at Nebo Agency
  • 9:55-10:00pm Hornets, Soba, & Friends: A Race in Japan with Kevin Smythe at Moz

MozCon Ignite

Wednesday Night Bash!

From 7:00-12:00 midnight: Bowling, pool, Jenga, a slow-motion booth, a photo booth, karaoke, cupcakes, food, drinks, and more! You don't want to miss our annual bash.

Rent some bowling shoes and go for a turkey. Sing your heart out just like you recently joined Journey. Snap photos with your friends while wearing silly hats. Show off how much of a ringer you are at pool. Get into a chicken strip-eating contest. Hang out with your new MozCon friends one last time, and celebrate all the learning!

Ryan and Char at MozCon Bash 2015

Birds of a Feather lunch tables

If you want to spend your lunchtime getting great advice from your fellow attendees about online marketing or meet people in your specialty, check out our birds of a feather lunch tables:

Monday, September 12

Tuesday, September 13

  • Local Search hosted by George Freitag at Moz
  • Growth Hacking hosted by Brittanie MacLean at Realty Austin
  • Continuing Marketing Education hosted by Rachel Goodman Moore at Moz
  • Marketing Automation hosted by Ed Fry at
  • How to Smartly Mix Search and Content to Aid Overall Business Strategy by Ronell Smith at Ronell Smith Consulting
  • E-Commerce SEO hosted by Everett Sizemore at Inflow
  • SERP Features hosted by Jon White at Moz
  • Technical SEO hosted by Bill Sebald at Greenlane Search Marketing

Wednesday, September 14

  • Google Penalties hosted by Michael Cottam at Visual Itineraries
  • Advanced SEO hosted by Britney Muller at Moz
  • Marketing for USA Manufacturing Companies hosted by Crystal Hunt at Grassroots Fabric Pots
  • Work-Life Balance hosted by Keri Morgret at
  • Local Search hosted by George Freitag at Moz
  • Marketing Automation hosted by Ed Fry at
  • Content Marketing hosted by Trevor Klein at Moz

Birds of a feather MozCon table from 2015

Join the Fitbit Group

Track your steps while networking and cheer on your fellow attendees!

Play Roger Patrol!

Ready for some friendly competition between your fellow attendees? We’ve built a special MozCon game just for you. You'll play as starship, part of Roger Patrol! Try and beat the top score on Roger Patrol video game by zapping asteroids, destroying evil spaceships, and protecting Roger Mozbot's universe. We’ll provide a download link for attendees, and you’ll also find three arcade-style boxes of the game throughout the MozCon venue.

Visit our Partner Hub, get your photo taken with Roger, and more arcade-style fun

As you head up to registration, entering MozCon, you won't want to miss all the activities around you and happening when the conference isn't in active session.

Say hello to our Partners

Every sulk through an exhibitor hall with your head down like you're in middle school again? Us too. Which is why at MozCon, we wanted to do something different. Our invite-only partners are not only respectful, but we've vetted their activities and their products to make sure they are useful to you. So say hello, and we promise you might instead get a postcard to send home, a t-shirt, or a special MozCon coin.

STAT's partner hub from MozCon 2015

Our great partners:

Stop each day at the Swag Store!

After the first day, Registration will be transformed into a swag store. You don't want to miss out on these goodies. On Tuesday, you'll be able to pick up your official MozCon 2016 t-shirt. On Wednesday, you'll get your own Lego Roger.

Lego Roger Mozbot

Meet Mozzers to give feedback or Ask an SEO

Make sure to stop by the Moz Hub. We'll be there to answer your questions about Moz Pro and Moz Local. Learn about our latest offerings and updates. Get insights into how best to use the tools.

And by popular demand, we've added Ask an SEO. Mozzers and Associates with expertise in SEO will be there to answer your burning search questions and kickstart you with new ideas for your search campaigns.

Play the Roger claw machine

We're bringing back the plushie claw machine! If you missed out getting one of our plushie Roger Mozbots, or you just need another as a small child or pet decided Roger was their best friend, now's your chance. In order to play, you must visit one of our Partners or the Moz Hub for a special shiny coin. Then take that coin to the claw machine!

Don't worry, we've put a TAGFEE spell on this machine, so you may find it a little easier than the ones in the malls of your childhood. ;)

Take a photo with Roger Mozbot

A MozCon tradition you won't want to miss. Get your annual photo (or maybe it's your first!) taken with the cuddliest robot in the galaxy, Roger Mozbot.

Erica and Jacob over the years with Roger Mozbot

Donate to charity, on us!

Open up your Monday swag kit and inside you'll find $5 Roger bucks. You get to donate this to one of three charities (charities selected by Mozzers):

Roger Mozbot will then count the bucks and write a check to each charity.

Push pin world map

Ever play pin the tail on the donkey? Well, this is like that, but pin the spot where you are from, minus the blindfold.

In Seattle on Thursday post-MozCon? We have MozPlex tours.

Every wonder where Roger Mozbot lives? Or heard of the stories of cereal bars and rooms named after starships and robots? Is is true that Mozzers have sit/stand desks? Don't miss out on our Office Tours on Thursday 9/15. Sign up for your time slot.

Glenn at the MozPlex

Even more fun in Seattle

Don't miss our posts from years past, which are full of restaurant, activity, and more recommendations: 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

Activities happening around Seattle from Saturday, September 10 - Sunday, September 18

If you're looking to connect with fellow attendees, please join our MozCon Facebook Group.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!


Getting started with webinars

This guide from ON24 offers you insights into the steps of putting together a webinar, from identifying your audience through critiquing how your webinar went. Learn how to plan an effective webinar, promote your event, create compelling webinar content and evaluate your success using hard statistics. You also find out what kind of technology platform […]

The post Getting started with webinars appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Local citations are dead; long live local citations!

Local citations are often thought to be the bread and butter of local SEO, but are we placing too much importance on them? Columnist Andrew Shotland discusses the results of a study which suggests we might be.

The post Local citations are dead; long live local citations! appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Why it’s time to re-evaluate your AdWords account structure

Many changes and new features have rolled out recently in AdWords, and columnist Frederick Vallaeys believes this is the perfect opportunity to review your account structure.

The post Why it’s time to re-evaluate your AdWords account structure appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Account-level sitelink extensions coming to AdWords

The new feature is currently rolling out.

The post Account-level sitelink extensions coming to AdWords appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Google introduces the “Search live coverage carousel” for real time indexing & search results

Is this the real time Google indexing API? Google is now piloting the search live coverage carousel which is powered by AMP and Atom.

The post Google introduces the “Search live coverage carousel” for real time indexing & search results appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Google’s mobile friendly label has now been removed from the search results

Google officially says goodbye to their mobile friendly label this morning. The mobile friendly label no longer shows up in the search results.

The post Google’s mobile friendly label has now been removed from the search results appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Combining Email and Facebook for a Dynamite Ecommerce Marketing Campaign

Posted by andrewchoco

This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz, Inc.

Most people view email marketing and social advertising as two separate entities, and I’ll be honest, I used to think that as well. However, I’ve discovered that combining multiple different avenues for a coherent marketing campaign yields some pretty impressive results.

We’ve tried this tactic before at Directive Consulting, combining SEO and PPC; but in this blog post, I’m going to break down a few ways to combine email and social advertising for multi-channel success.

More specifically, you’ll learn:

  • How to create custom and lookalike audiences on Facebook from an email list
  • Best practices for launching email and social campaigns simultaneously
  • How we used this tactic to increase overall sessions and revenue
  • Some additional strategies to take your ecommerce campaigns to the next level

Using email lists to create Custom Audiences on Facebook

Most (if not all) ecommerce stores require an email address when completing a purchase, and many times you can see what item the person bought. Keeping an organized and segmented email list is the first step to social advertising success. If you’re an online clothing store that specializes in creative t-shirts for men and women, create individual lists segmenting categories (e.g., sports, funny, and cute) and gender. If you’re using a CRM such as Hubspot, Mailchimp, or Salesforce, you can export these contact lists as .CSV files and then upload those to Facebook under the “Audiences” section using Ads Manager.


When logging onto your Ads Manager or Business Manager account, go to your ad account and select the drop-down hamburger menu in the top left-hand corner.

If "Audiences" doesn’t appear in the “Frequently Used” section, hit "All tools" and you’ll find it under the “Assets” section.



After clicking on “create custom audience,” you’ll need to select the “customer file” section and then “choose a file or copy” and you’ll be prompted to upload your .CSV file into Facebook.

Facebook will then match up the emails with actual Facebook users (you can expect anywhere from a 20% - 70% match rate), but with ecommerce those numbers tend to be on the higher side.

Using email lists to create Facebook Audiences

Another great feature of Facebook ads is the ability to create lookalike audiences from previously uploaded email lists. Facebook will match up the corresponding profiles of your email lists with a broader group of people who have similar profiles based on interests, demographics, and behaviors. As long as your email list consists of more than 100 people, Facebook will be able to create a lookalike audience. Obviously, though, the more people you have in the original email list, the more similar the lookalike audience will be (because Facebook will have more data to pull from.)


When you create your lookalike audience, you select a country and choose anywhere from 1% - 10% of a country’s population.


But you don’t have to stop there. Once you have a lookalike audience (we usually use the 10% option so we capture the most people), you can layer additional targeting on top of the lookalike. For the clothing store example, you could take the audience of 20 million and add additional behavior targeting of men’s fashion buyers and online buyers. Now that’s a specific audience!

Launching simultaneous campaigns for maximum reach

Now how can you tie together email marketing and social advertising for optimal reach?

Anytime an ecommerce shop launches a promotion or sale, they send out an email blast.

I usually check my email in the morning, see the promotion, and then promptly forget about it five minutes later. It’s common knowledge that every opportunity needs multiple touches before they end up converting to a sale, but sending three emails a day promoting a sale is a good way to lose a lot of subscribers.

The solution? Launch a social promotion targeted at your specific email list. Then ramp up the budget to ensure that every person sees your ad at least once during the campaign. A good way to do this is by looking at the estimated reach when creating an ad campaign and making sure your budget is high enough that the estimated reach per day matches up with the amount of people on your email list.


We used this tactic with a client of ours who sells collectable banknotes from countries all around the world.

Their most popular is the Zimbabwean $100 trillion dollar banknote, so they ran a promotion for 10% off. We didn’t segment the audiences like I mentioned earlier, because they were only promoting one country’s banknote, but we did create two different ad images as well as a carousel ad so we could target everyone in the list with multiple products for the same price.


While you may think this is an obnoxious ad and the red circle and arrow is overkill, this ad actually performed the best out of all of them, generating over 180 clicks in three days with a CTR of 8.7%. Little touches like this really draw in your audience’s attention and can lead to much higher engagement.



Carousel ads are great for ecommerce shops because they can show off multiple products without increasing the price of your campaigns. We recently switched over to carousel ads for a client of ours who builds custom fences and had 3,000% more sessions on the site from the carousel ads.

We launched these ads for a three-day period while the sale was running and combed it with an email blast that went out at the beginning of the sale. These are the results we saw when comparing the week of the promotion to the previous week:


We saw our sessions go up, as well as the pages per session and average session duration. We didn’t have a single transaction from Facebook the previous week, but had four during the sale, generating enough revenue to easily cover the cost of that campaign.

Another interesting thing we saw was that the email didn’t directly lead to any sales. I’m not saying it had no effect on the sales that week, but only launching an email campaign wouldn’t have had the same impact as combining these two platforms and working together to create additional touches throughout the sale period.

Additional strategies

1. Use lookalike audiences

For the above example, we only targeted our custom audience of email subscribers (the sale was a special promo just for those customers). But taking it even further, creating a broader audience from the lookalike audience would have been a great audience to target, as well.

What better way to introduce your brand and product to a potential customer than immediately offering a sale? You can also further target these audiences to get extremely specific. For our banknote client, our targeted lookalike audience looks something like this:


2. Create a new segmented list for sale buyers

If you’re launching a promotion for a sale using this tactic, segment each new email address you receive into its own list titled “sale buyers.” There’s a chance these people have been wanting to buy your product all along and finally waited until a sale came along to do it, but more likely, these people are impulse shoppers who made a purchase because of the exclusivity of the deal you’re promoting. This now gives you a list of customers that you know make purchases during sales, and you can test out other promotional deals later on. If you don’t offer free shipping regularly, have a two-day period when you do, and target these specific people.

3. Use Twitter as another platform to target your audience

Twitter is another social platform that gives you the ability to upload a .CSV of email addresses, and matches up twitter profiles with those corresponding emails.


In the Twitter Ads platform, go to "Tools" and then "Audience manager."


Head over to “Create new audience” and upload your own .CSV, just like you did for Facebook. (A word of warning: You do need 500 or more matches for Twitter to allow you to use the audience for promotions.)

For ecommerce, most people will use their personal email for Twitter as well as buying a product, so this shouldn’t be an issue with a big enough email list.

Now it’s your turn

Now you’re prepared to launch a robust and successful email and social advertising campaign.

Remember, it’s important to ensure your budget aligns with the amount of people you’re trying to reach, and to use eye-popping images to catch your audience’s attention. Let me know in the comments if these tactics worked for you, or if you have any additional strategies for email and social success!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!


Billions served: PC search is down but query volume is way up for Google

Mobile searches now constitute between 50 and 60 percent of queries in the US market.

The post Billions served: PC search is down but query volume is way up for Google appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Google launches “In Apps,” a way to find content within apps on Android phones

Somewhat similar to Apple's Spotlight, the new feature allows you to search your Android phone for content, as opposed to the web.

The post Google launches “In Apps,” a way to find content within apps on Android phones appeared first on Search Engine Land.


SearchCap: Google Merchant Center update, SEO & Chrome

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Merchant Center update, SEO & Chrome appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Google debuts a brand new look for Merchant Center

A much needed face lift also includes some new features.

The post Google debuts a brand new look for Merchant Center appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Mastering Online-to-Offline Marketing: New Digital Strategies for Offline Conversions

Search, Facebook and display ads drive offline conversions and sales. Whether it’s a store visit or a phone call, you can’t measure CPL and prove ROI without offline conversions. But it can be a challenge. Join digital marketing experts from Adobe and DialogTech to understand how marketers are solving the online-to-offline dilemma. Attend this webcast […]

The post Mastering Online-to-Offline Marketing: New Digital Strategies for Offline Conversions appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Five free Chrome extensions for SEO practitioners

Columnist Brian Harnish details 5 free Chrome extensions he uses on a regular basis, for SEO tasks ranging from screen shots to checking links to content analysis.

The post Five free Chrome extensions for SEO practitioners appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Moving your SEO program beyond discovery

As search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, we want to help new customers discover our clients' businesses -- but columnist Casie Gillette reminds us that being there for the customer after they've already discovered us is just as important.

The post Moving your SEO program beyond discovery appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Search competitor analysis: backlinks, keywords and pages

Columnist Andrew Dennis walks through his competitor analysis process to show how you can inform your organic search efforts by unearthing competitor strategies.

The post Search competitor analysis: backlinks, keywords and pages appeared first on Search Engine Land.


The Two-Part SEO Ranking Model: Let's Make SEO Simple

Posted by EricEnge

There sure is a lot of interest in SEO ranking factors:

There have been major studies done on this, notably by both Moz and Searchmetrics. These are groundbreaking pieces of research, and if you're serious about SEO, you need to understand what these studies say.

That said, these are too complex for most organizations to deal with. They need a simpler way of looking at things. At Stone Temple Consulting (STC) we deal with many different types of organizations, including some of the world's largest companies, and some of the highest-traffic websites in the world. For most of these companies, understanding that there are 200+ ranking factors does more harm than good.

Why, you ask? So many people I talk to are looking for a silver bullet. They want to hear that they should only change their heading tags on the second Tuesday of every month, except during leap years, when they should do it on the first Tuesday, except in February when they should change it on the third Monday. These distractions end up taking away from the focus on the two things that matter most: building great content (and a great content experience) and promoting it well.

Today's post is going to lay out a basic approach that most companies can use to simplify their thinking about SEO, and keep their focus on the highest priorities.

What Google recently said

Here's what Google Dublin's Andrey Lippatsev said in a Hangout that I participated in on March 23, 2016. Also participating in the Hangout was Ammon Johns, who asked Andrey what the two most important ranking factors are:

Andrey Lippatsev: Yes. Absolutely. I can tell you what they are. It is content and links going into your site.

There we go, that's a start. According to Google, it's links and content that are the two biggest. Hopefully, the idea that content is a big factor is obvious, but below I'll break out more what great content really entails. In addition, you can see some backup for the power of links in the study I recently published on links as a ranking factor.

Should we think of the world as consisting only of these two factors? It's quite simplistic, and possibly too much so, but let's try to simplify this even more. How many organizations would dramatically improve their SEO if they focused on creating great content and promoting it effectively? I can tell you that from my experience these are two things that many organizations simply don't do.

Does that mean that we can take our two factors and put them into a (purely) hypothetical ranking score equation that looks like this?

I actually think that this equation is pretty effective, though it has some limitations and omissions that I'll describe in more detail below. You also need to think about the concept of "great content," that will get a high Content Score, in the correct manner.

What is "great content?"

If we step back and think about what makes up great content, it seems to me that there are three major components that matter:

  1. Relevancy
  2. Quality
  3. The overall content experience

The first part of this is simple. If the content is not relevant to a query, it shouldn't rank for that query, ever. That makes sense, right?

The second part is also pretty simple, and that's the notion of quality. Does it provide information that people are looking for? Is that information relatively unique to your site? Clearly, it makes sense for the quality of the content to matter a lot.

We can combine the notions of quality and relative uniqueness into the notion of material differentiation. Rand covers this brilliantly in his Whiteboard Friday about creating 10X content.

Creating the 220,001st article on how to make French toast is just not going to cut it:

You need to create something new and compelling that also offers a lot of value. That may not be easy, but being the best at something never is.

If you're in a competitive market, it's reasonable to guess that your top competitors are making great, relevant content on topics that matter to their target audience. For the most important queries, it's probable that the top 5 (and maybe more) pieces of content in that space are really, really good (i.e. more comprehensive than other articles on the topic, or brings in new information that others don't have).

The third part encompasses many pieces.

  • Is your content well-organized and easy to read?
  • Does it effectively communicate its key points? How do people engage with it? If they land on a page on your site that has the answer to their question, can they quickly and easily find that information?

Once again, you'll find that the major competitors that rank in the top of the SERPs all handle this pretty well too.

Let's now take a look at what the role of the content score in ranking might look like:

Note that the Y-axis is "Chances of Ranking," as opposed to "Ranking." Nonetheless, this curve suggests that the Content Score is a big one, and that makes sense. Only the best of the best stuff should rank. It's simple.

Digging a bit deeper on what goes into content quality

But what about title tags? Heading tags, use of synonyms? Page layout and design? Stop and think about it for a moment. Aren't those all either part of creating higher-quality content, or making that content easier to consume?

You bet.

For example, imagine that I wrote this piece of content:

It could be the greatest information in the world, but it's going to be really hard for users to read, and it will probably have terrible user engagement signals. On the other hand, imagine that my content looks like this:

Would you say the quality of one of these pieces of content is higher? I would. The second one is much easier to read, and therefore will deliver more value to users. It will get better engagement, and yes, it will probably get linked to more often.

Why do links get separate treatment?

You could argue that links are just another measurement of content quality, and there is some truth to that, but we give them separate treatment in this discussion for two reasons:

1. They're still the best measurement of authority.

Yes, I know I'm ruffling some feathers now, but this is what my experience after more than 15 years in SEO (and seeing hundreds of SEO campaigns) has taught me. To get and sustain a link, someone has to have a website, has to be willing to modify that website, and they have to be willing to have their site's visitors click on the link to leave their site and go to yours.

That's a pretty material commitment on the linking site's part, and the only incentive they have to do that is if they believe that your content is of value to their site's visitors.

Why not social signals? While I've long argued that they have no impact except for aiding in content discovery, let's for sake of argument say that I'm wrong, and there is some impact here, and explain why social signals can never be a critical part of the Google algo. It's simple: social signals are under the control of third-party companies that can make them invisible to Google on a moment's notice (and remember that Google and Facebook are NOT friends). Imagine Google giving Facebook (or any other 3rd party) the power to break their algorithm whenever they want. Not happening!

2. The power of links should cause different actions on your part.

What is that action? It's called marketing, and within that discipline is the concept of content marketing. Done the right way, these are things you should do to raise the reputation and visibility of your brand.

In fact, this may consume a material amount of your entire company budget. With or without search engines in the world, you've always wanted to do two things:

(1) Make really good stuff, and

(2) market it effectively.

In 2016, and beyond, this will not change.

No doubt, part of attracting great links is to produce great content, but there are other overt actions involved to tell the world about that great content, such as active outreach programs.

Expanding on user engagement

Many have speculated that Google is using user engagement signals as a ranking factor, and that it will increase its investment in these areas over time. For example, what about click-through rate (CTR)? I discuss CTR as a ranking factor here, but to net it out simply, it's just too easy a signal to game, and Google tells us that it uses CTR measurements as a quality control check on other ranking signals, rather than as a direct signal.

You can doubt Google's statements about this, but if you own or publish a website, you probably get many emails a week offering to sell you links via one scheme or another. However, you never get emails offering you CTR ranking schemes. Why is that, you think? It's because even the scammers and spammers don't think it works.

Important note: Rand has done many live CTR tests and a number of these have shown some short-term rankings movement, so CTR could be used in some manner to discover hot trends/news, but still not be a core ranking factor.

What about other user engagement signals? I'd bet that Google is, in fact, doing some things with user engagement signals, though it's hard to be sure what they are. It's not likely to be as simple as bounce rate, or its cousin, pogosticking.

Pogosticking sure seems like a good signal until you realize there are many scenarios where they don't work at all. For example, when users are comparison shopping, they'll naturally hop from site to site.

Finding good user engagement factors that make for really reliable signals is quite hard. Many have speculated that artificial intelligence/machine learning will be used to derive these types of factors. Here are three pieces of content that cover that topic in some detail:

  1. The Machine Learning Revolution: How it Works and its Impact on SEO, an article here on Moz by yours truly
  2. SEO in a Two-Algorithm World, a Powerpoint by Rand Fishkin
  3. The Past, Present, and Future of SEO, an article by Mike Grehan

Information architecture

Having a solid information architecture (IA) that Google can crawl and easily find your content is also a major requirement. In Andrey Lippatsev's response, he undoubtedly presumed that this was in good shape, but it would be wrong to leave this out of this discussion.

At Stone Temple Consulting, we've helped tons of sites improve their organic traffic simply by working on their IA, eliminating excessive page counts, improving their use of SEO tags like rel=canonical, and things of this nature. This is clearly a big factor as well. Usability also feeds into IA, because people need to be able to find what they're looking for on your site.

What I've left out with the two-factor model

First of all, there are other types of results, such as images, videos, and maps results, that are opportunities to get on the first page, but the above discussion is focused on how to rank in regular web search results.

To be fair, even in the regular web results, I've left some things out. Here are some examples of those:

  1. Local links. I'm not referring to "local pack" listings here. If I search on "digital cameras" right now, in the regular web search results, I'll see some listings for stores near me. Clearly, proximity is a very large factor in ranking those pages.
  2. Query deserves diversity. An example of this is the query "Jaguar." Chances are that my two-factor algorithm would rank only car sites in the top 10, but Google knows that many people that type that query want information on the animal. So even if the two-factor algo would slant things one way, you'll see some animal-related sites in the top 10.
  3. In-depth articles. This is a feature that's hard to spot in the search results, but sometimes Google includes in the bottom of the top 10 results some pieces of content that are particularly comprehensive. These are for queries where Google recognizes there's a decent chance that the user is engaging in extensive research on a topic. Here's an example for the query "constitution":

We conducted a small sample review of 200 SERPs and found that about 6% of the results appeared to be from factors such as these. The two-factor model also doesn't account for personalization, but this post is looking at ranking factors for regular search results other than personalization, which, of course, also has a large impact.

Looking for ranking hacks?

OK, I'm going to give you one. Make your content, and the experience of consuming that content, unbelievably good. That's step one. Stick to your knitting, folks, and don't cop out on the effort to make your content stand out. You have no choice if you want to get sustainably positive results from SEO.

Don't forget the overall site and page usability, as that's a big part of what makes your content consumable. This is a critical part of making great content. So is measuring user engagement. This provides a critical feedback loop into what you're doing, and whether or not it's working for your target audience.

Then, and only then, your focus should turn to marketing that will help drive your reputation and visibility, and help attract links to your content. Here it is in a nutshell:

If your content isn't competitive in relevance and quality, links won't help. If it is, links will make the difference.

Your content has to be elite to have a chance to score highly on any given competitive search result. After that, your superior marketing efforts will help you climb to the top of the heap.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!


Monday, August 29, 2016

SearchCap: Google review guidelines, Panda mode & more

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google review guidelines, Panda mode & more appeared first on Search Engine Land.


With Panda in stealth mode, why Google’s quality updates should be on your algorithmic radar [Part 1]

What are Google's quality updates (aka Phantom updates), and how can you recover? In part one of a two-part series on Phantom, columnist Glenn Gabe explains the history and possible mechanics of these algorithm updates.

The post With Panda in stealth mode, why Google’s quality updates should be on your algorithmic radar [Part 1] appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Test points to likely influence of click-through rate on search rankings

Columnist Brian Patterson shares the results of a click-through rate test performed on one of the test websites he maintains.

The post Test points to likely influence of click-through rate on search rankings appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Google updates local reviews schema guidelines

Now only reviews "directly produced by your site" can have local reviews markup, according to Google.

The post Google updates local reviews schema guidelines appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Should You Be Outsourcing SEO Training for Your Team?

Posted by rachelgooodmanmoore

When first looking to offer something new, most businesses fall in line with one of two schools of thought:

  1. Build it internally
  2. Purchase or outsource it

There are pros and cons to both sides of the coin.

Here’s an example: Say you’re looking to expand the selection of products your company sells. Building a new offering in-house would allow you complete control over the size and shape of the new product. The drawback? Building it yourself usually takes significant internal resources and time. If, instead, you chose to purchase a product from another organization (let’s call them Acme Corp) and whitelabel it — or maybe even purchase Acme Corp itself — you’ll be able to go to market sooner, but you’ll almost certainly have less control over the product you’re offering.

The idea of “build internally” or “purchase externally” doesn’t just apply to products — it also includes internal programs like market research, sales strategy development, and even professional training. In fact, it includes almost everything that makes up an organization, from its processes to its people.

Think back to the last product (internal or external) your company released. In which camp is your organization? Whether you go the outsourcing or building in-house route depends on your business and the situation at hand. There are arguments for the merits of both, and some organizations employ a mix of multiple strategies.

Let’s look at some of the considerations and use cases for why you may want to choose one over the other when it comes to training — in particular, SEO training.

Is SEO training unique?

It’s worth examining if (and how) SEO education differs from other flavors of professional training. While SEO training is a different beast than, say, learning to code or how to do business accounting, from my perspective as an online trainer, teaching SEO isn’t remarkably different than teaching any kind of digital marketing.

SEO training: a different type of beast.

At basic and intermediate levels, neither SEO nor digital marketing in general are extremely technical (compared to something like learning JavaScript, MySQL, or setting up a Salesforce CRM), nor do they require an MBA or PhD to master. Both are easier with a fundamental understanding of how websites and the Internet work, and both are at their best when backed by real data and at least a dash of creativity.

SEO versus digital marketing training

Do these two actually differ from each other at all? Search engine optimization is a subset of what digital marketing is all about, so they're related. But there are differences, nonetheless. Let’s take a closer look:

The training face-off

Digital Marketing Education SEO Education
Focuses on all aspects of how to attract traffic, convert those visitors into leads, and help transform those leads into customers Mainly focuses on how to best attract visitors
Covers ways to attract visitors from all sources Deals almost exclusively with increasing or refining traffic from search engines
Deals with topics like email marketing, marketing automation, social media, content creation, and beyond Hones in on topics like keyword research, site architecture, on- and off-page optimization, and analytics (though may also include topics like content creation as they pertain to generating search traffic)
Typically measures ROI in terms of marketing or sales-qualified leads generated Most direct ROI numbers are around traffic generated by source (namely search engines or search-influenced sources)

The right column, for our purposes in this article, is how we’ll be defining "SEO training."

Now that we’re on the same page with what we mean when discussing SEO training, let’s dive into the ten-thousand-dollar question*: should you build and run this type of training in-house, or outsource it?

*Yes, some SEO training programs really do cost that much.

Outsourcing: the benefits

Let’s start our tour of outsourcing versus building training in-house by examining the pros of hiring an outside trainer or signing up for an SEO training course:

1. Outsourcing saves time.

Whether it’s hours devoted to developing an SEO curriculum, putting together lessons, actually teaching, or following up with trainees after your session, building and delivering from-scratch training can take an enormous amount of time and effort.

Outsourcing means you get hours in your day back, and because the training is built by professionals, the end product may be higher quality than something built internally.

2. Outsourcing can save you money.

Note "can" (and not "will") save you money. If you only need training one (or a few) time(s), or if you have a relatively small group of people enrolled, it can be significantly more cost-effective to outsource training.

On the other hand, if you have a large number of people to train or plan on offering a course on a regular basis (for example, as part of new hire onboarding), it may be worth the upfront cost to develop in-house training.

3. Outsourcing lets you put more budget towards day-to-day operations.

It may sound counterintuitive, but companies that “run lean” or dedicate the lion’s share of budget to day-to-day operations may not be able to sacrifice the man hours necessary to develop, deliver, and maintain a training program. Outsourcing one is often significantly less expensive for the scale these organizations need.

4. Don’t have an internal expert, but need new internal expertise? No problem.

If you're looking to strengthen existing SEO skills or build your company’s SEO expertise from the ground up, but aren’t ready to hire a search marketing manager just yet, finding a good SEO training course or bringing in an outside trainer can provide the skills you’re looking for.

It's also useful for agencies hoping to offer full SEO services or building an SEO pilot program. Bringing in outside help to train up a few team members on key skills means you don’t need to invest in a net new hire for a program with an uncertain future.

5. Outsourced training makes it easier to reach a remote or multi-lingual team.

It’s as common to hear about companies expanding to open their first satellite office in Beijing as it is to hear that office is in Boston. Thanks to the Internet, today’s world is smaller than ever.

If yours is one of the many companies with international workers or a largely remote workforce, it can be hard to deliver training that’s equally accessible and applicable to everyone. In situations like this — and especially if you have a multilingual workforce — outsourcing training that’s available in various languages can be a great option.

6. Outsourcing may give you access to accreditations or certifications.

Many online and in-person SEO training programs include some sort of certification of completion or proficiency. If that's a priority, you'll want to purchase an in-person or online program from an organization with industry name recognition that offers a certification.

7. Outsourcing gives you access to the best quality educators.

Whether you’re a full-fledged Google algorithm guru or just know your way around a site crawl, no one can argue that you’ve got some SEO chops. You already know the material, so it should be no trouble to whip up some training based on your expertise... right?

Maybe, but maybe not. “Doing” skills are different than teaching skills; being skilled at SEO doesn’t automatically correlate to being skilled at teaching SEO. And, perhaps more importantly, teaching doesn’t automatically lead to learning. Just because you have knowledge to share doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be as successful as possible when helping your colleagues actually learn.

One of the biggest benefits of outsourced training is that it gives you access to professional educators, not just folks with practical experience who educate in their free time.

Outsourcing: the drawbacks

Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of outsourcing training, let’s give in-house training the same treatment. What are cons of relying on a 3rd-party provider for your SEO training needs?

1. Only relying on outsourced education doesn’t give you any equity.

No, I’m not talking about link equity. The equity I’m referring to here is, metaphorically, the same kind of equity you get from buying a house versus renting an apartment.

As a renter, you’re only paying for access to the property — not an actual stake in it. Buying, on the other hand, may take more effort and investment upfront, but it gives you control (and ownership!) over the actual property itself.

What does this metaphor have to do with in-house versus outsourced training? Only relying on outsourced efforts means you’re continually paying someone else for access to their educational property. If you have training needs that span over many employees or many years, this can get very expensive. In those cases, while it may initially be more costly to develop training in-house, it’s a better long-term investment because of the ‘equity’ it provides.

2. Outsourcing training doesn’t always scale with growing businesses.

Plan ahead for the long-term: If you're growing your organization and plan on having multiple people involved in creating optimized content for your website, it may be a better long-term investment to build in-house training that grows with your team.

3. Outsourced training generally focuses on best practices and one-size-fits-most processes.

Most training programs center on teaching “best practices” or general strategies. If you have a specific process or way of doing SEO, it may be difficult (if not impossible) for an outside trainer to communicate your optimization process — in your terms, using your tools — to your team. For some organizations, that alone may be enough to tilt the scales towards creating all training in-house.

4. Have specific content needs? Building your own curriculum may be your best bet.

Related to having unique processes, having specific content needs also may mean that outsourcing training isn’t the best bet for you. Only want to learn about optimizing content for mobile search engines and advanced link building strategies, but don’t want to have to pay for access to 30 other courses to get the two you do? While some training providers can build a fully custom program designed around exactly what you want to learn, many may come as standard “packages” with little flexibility around what you can learn as a whole or within each session.

5. Training for large teams often comes with a large price tag.

Almost any type of purchasable training program — be it pre-recorded videos, live sessions, in-person classroom experiences, or otherwise — are priced on a “per seat” basis. If your team either needs access to multiple sessions, you have many team members who’ll all need access to the same courses, or both, outsourced training can quickly get pricey.

6. Your access to training materials may be limited.

Some SEO training providers place legal restrictions on re-using the their training materials. This means you may not be able to record sessions, download slides, or distribute useful materials to your team. If sharing the educational love with your coworkers is a deal breaker for you, consider creating and running your SEO training in-house. If you’re still leaning towards using an outside provider, be sure to read their FAQs or legal materials before pulling the trigger.

Key questions to ask

While there are many benefits of outsourcing your SEO training needs, depending on your specific needs there may be an equal number of drawbacks. When considering the right training route for your team it’s worth taking the time to consider questions like:

  • How many people need to take this training right now? And over the next one to two years?
  • Do I have the internal expertise (or access to it) to create high quality training myself?
  • Will it cost me more to build training than it’s currently worth?
  • Will it take me longer to build training than value it will provide?
  • When do I need my employees trained by? Do I have time to wait, or is there an immediate need?
  • Do I need a general SEO training program, one that focuses on specific topics, or one that details my unique process?
  • Are the outsourced training options available to me worth the price? What do they include?
  • Is it important to get some sort of certification, badge, or other certificate of proficiency upon completion of the training?

The answers to these questions may not give you a black-and-white answer as to whether building training in-house or finding an outside provider is the best choice for you, but they can help make the decision a bit less murky.

Thinking of going the outsourced route for some (or all) of your team’s SEO training? Check out Moz Academy’s online workshops and custom training options.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!


Friday, August 26, 2016

Compare 16 local marketing automation tools

Managing online citations, claimed and unclaimed listings, landing pages, reviews and ratings, and data feeds for hundreds or thousands of locations has become time consuming and costly for enterprise brands. Automating local marketing processes through LMA tools can provide numerous benefits. This 50-page report reviews the current trends and includes profiles of 16 leading local […]

The post Compare 16 local marketing automation tools appeared first on Search Engine Land.


SearchCap: Bing search app, SEM automation & link building

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Bing search app, SEM automation & link building appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Bing search app for iOS & Android gets new music, video & map features

Bing's making it easier to find song titles, as well as add Netflix and Amazon movie titles to your watchlist on mobile.

The post Bing search app for iOS & Android gets new music, video & map features appeared first on Search Engine Land.


The SEM automation primer

Wondering how to get started with automation? Columnist David Fothergill provides a handy primer, including recommended tools and what they can be used for.

The post The SEM automation primer appeared first on Search Engine Land.


6 e-commerce link building tactics that still work in 2016

Link building for e-commerce sites can be a challenge, but it isn't impossible. Columnist Christian Sculthorp shares tactics that you can use to acquire inbound links to your online store.

The post 6 e-commerce link building tactics that still work in 2016 appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Search in Pics: Google NYC 10 years, keyboard pranks & a folding table

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more. Google NYC 10 year anniversary birthday cake: Source: Instagram Google’s John Mueller pranks Gary Illye’s keyboard: […]

The post Search in Pics: Google NYC 10 years, keyboard pranks & a folding table appeared first on Search Engine Land.


Why Every Website (Not Just Local Sites) Should Invest in Local Links and Citations - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

At first glance, local links and local citations might seem unnecessary for non-local websites. On a closer look, however, there are strong underlying benefits to gaining those local votes of confidence that could prove invaluable for everyone. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains why all sites should consider chasing local links and citations, suggesting a few different ways to discover opportunities in your areas of focus.

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

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we're going to talk about why websites — every website, not just local websites — should be thinking about tactics and a strategy to get local listings and local citations.

Now, this might sound counterintuitive. I've actually encountered a lot of folks — especially online-only businesses or even blended online and local businesses — who think, "Are local links really that important to me, or are they off-topic? Could they potentially cause problems and confusion? Should I be trying to get those?" I'm going to try and make the case to you today that you absolutely should.

Recently, I got to visit Scotland to talk to several folks. I visited Skyscanner. I spoke at the Digital Excellence event and spoke, of course, at the Turing Festival, which was a remarkable event in Edinburgh. We actually landed in Glasgow on a Saturday and drove up to a little town called Inveraray. So I'm going to use some examples from Inveraray, Scotland, and I apologize if my accent is miserable.

A few of the businesses we visited there: Loch Fyne Whiskies, they have their own living cask, where they essentially add in whiskies and blends to this cask that keeps evolving; Whisky Shop, which is an online-only shop; and then Inveraray Castle, which is a local business, entirely a local business centered around this lovely castle and estate that I think, if I understood correctly, is run by the Duke of Argyll, Argyll being the region around there. Apparently, Scotland still has dukes in business, which is fantastic.

Local & online business

So for a local and online business, like Lock Fyne Whiskies, they sell whiskies in their specific store. You can go in — and I did — and buy some stuff. They also sell on their website, I believe just in the United Kingdom, unfortunately, for those of you watching around the rest of the world. But there are certainly reasons why they would want to go and get local links from places that link to businesses in Inveraray or in Argyll or in Scotland as a whole. Those include:

  • Boosting their Maps visibility, so that when you're searching in Google Maps for "whisky" or "whisky shops," potentially, if you're near Inveraray, Google Maps will make their business show up higher.
  • Boosting their local ranking so that if you're searching for "whisky shop Argyll" or "whisky shop Scotland" or "whisky shop near me" and you happen to be there, Google will show this business higher for that ranking as well.
  • Boosting their domain authority, meaning that those local links are contributing to overall ranking ability. That means they can rank for longer-tail terms. That means they can rank more competitively for classic web search terms that are not just in local or Maps.
  • Sending valuable traffic. So if you think about a listing site, like has them on there, TripAdvisor has them on there, a bunch of local sort of chamber of commerce — it's not actually the chamber of commerce there — but chamber of commerce-type sites list them on there, that sends valuable direct traffic to their business. That could be through foot traffic. It could be through referrals. It could be through people who are buying whisky online from them. So a bunch of real good reasons why a local and online business should do this.

Online-only business

But if you're an online-only business, I think a lot of folks make the case of, "Wait a minute, Rand, isn't it true that if I am getting local links and local citations, those may not be boosting my relevance, my ranking ability as much as they are boosting my local ranking ability, which I don't actually care about because I'm not focused on that?"

So, for example,, I think they are also based in Scotland, but they don't have physical locations. It's an online-only shop. So getting a local link for them in whatever part of the region of Scotland they are actually in would...

  • Boost their domain authority, giving them more ranking ability for long-tail terms.
  • Make it harder for their competitors to compete for those links. This makes link acquisition for an online-only business, even from local sources, a beautiful thing because your competitors are not in that region and, therefore, they can't go get those same links that you can get simply by virtue of being where you are as a business physically located. Even if you're just in an office space or working from home, wherever your domain is registered you can potentially get those.
  • Yield solid anchor text. There are a bunch of local sources that will not just point out who you are, but also what you do. When they point out what you do, they can link to your product pages or your different site sections, individual URLs on your site, and provide anchor text that can be powerful. Depending on how those submissions are accepted and how they're processed, some local listings, obviously, you're not going to get them, others you are.

There's one more that I should include here too, which is that...

  • Local information, even citations by themselves, can be a trust signal for Google, where they essentially say, "Hey, you know what, we trust that this is a real business that is really in this place. We see citations for it. That tells us we can trust this site. It's not spammy. It doesn't have these spam signals around it." That's a really big positive as well. So I'd add that — spam trust issues.

Local-only business

Lastly, a local-only business — I think this is the most obvious one — we know that it...
  • Boosts Maps visibility
  • Boosts local rankings
  • Boosts your long-tail ranking ability
  • Sends valuable direct traffic, just like they do to a local and online business.

Easy ways to find citation/link sources in your locale:

If you're going to go out and look for some local links, a few quick recommendations that are real easy to do.

  1. Do a search for a business name, not necessarily your business name — in fact, not your business name - anybody, any of your competitors or anyone in the region. It doesn't have to necessarily be your business. It could be someone in the county or the territory, the state, the city, the town, minus their site, because you don't want results from their site. You're actually looking for: What are all the places where their business is talked about? You can add in, if you'd like, the region or city name.
  2. Search for one local business and another one. So, for example, if I was Whisky Shop and I were in Inveraray or I were in Argyll, I could search for "Loch Fyne Whiskies" and "Inveraray Castle," and I would come back with a list of places that have both of those on their website. That often turns out to be a great source of a bunch of listings, listing opportunities and link opportunities.
  3. Google just by itself the city plus the state, or region or country, and get lots and lots of places, first off that describe that place, but then also that note notable businesses or that have business listings. You can add the word "listings" to this query and get some more great results too.
  4. Try out some tools here — Link Intersect in Moz, or Majestic, or Ahrefs — and get lots of results by plugging in two of these and excluding the third one and seeing who links to these that doesn't link to this third one.
  5. Use business names in the same fashion that you do in Google in tools like a Mention, a Talkwalker, Google Alerts, or Moz's Fresh Web Explorer and see who is talking about these local businesses or regions from a news or blog or forum or recent perspective.

So with that, I hope you'll do me a favor and go out, try and get some of those local links. I look forward to your comments, and we'll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by

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