I recently attended Mozcon, an SEO convention in Seattle. The topics were based around data, local search, mobile-first indexing, saving money on ad spend by comparing PPC (SEM) and SEO, content marketing and more. Here are my notes from MozCon 2019.
**This post may contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. [Affiliate Disclosure]
- Personal Takeaways
- Test This
- Golden Age of Search
- Web Search 2019: The Essential Data Marketers Need
- Discourse in SEO fandom
- Improved Reporting & Analytics within Google Tools
- Local Market Analytics
- Keywords Aren’t Enough, Content Ideas
- How to Supercharge Link Building
- From Zero to Local Ranking Hero
- When Faking it is Harder than Making It
- Google My Business (GMB) Local SEO
- Making Memories: Creating Content People Remember
- Wil Reynolds | Seer Interactive
- Super-Practical Tips for Improving your Site’s E-A-T
- How Many Words is a Question Worth?
- Fraggles, Mobile-First Indexing and the SERP of the future
- Content, Rankings, and Lead Generation
- Running Your Own SEO Tests: Why It Matters & How To Do It Right
- Guide to Local Domination
- How to Audit For Inclusive Content
- Image & Visual Search Optimization Opportunities
- Factors that Affect the Local Algorithm that don’t impact Organic Search Results
- Featured Snippets: Essentials to Know
- Speakers from the MozCon Convention
Whenever I go to a convention, I generally catch a “theme” even if unintended. I believe truly that it’s what I’m supposed to hear because it’s what I hear.
So while the notes are great to look back on and remember key points, the most important takeaways, I believe, will be what I remember without notes.
While the intended theme “Data-Driven” didn’t escape me, what I took away is know YOUR OWN data. Best practices can be applied, but knowing your own data, your own vertical or niche allows you to build stronger.
There is no longer “one size fits all” SEO or marketing. What moves the needle in one vertical might not in another.
Data today is pretty readily available. We can see who our client is. We know their age and location, interests, and more. Are we catering to that type of customer in our marketing?
It’s great to learn what “many” are doing but even better to learn from what the same niche is doing. And even better, learn from what YOU are doing.
For the real estate industry specifically, I believe being the local specialist has more benefit than ever. Agents MUST be the authority on the real estate market, what’s happening in and around neighborhoods, local politics that would affect buying or selling a house or home values.
With Google’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trust), real estate agents should bring in experts like Mortgage lenders, credit repair, home inspectors, home stagers, and any others that are reputable and can add value to their website, blog, video channel, podcast, email list etc. [Hint: They don’t always need to be local].
It’s possible that Google will rank the small brokerage or “agent” over larger portals like Zillow if the agent does the work to prove they are the authority. This will more often be true with the longtail phrases like “Are there programs for teachers to buy a house in Atlanta” than head terms like “homes for sale”.
Graphics are huge. 80% of people remember what they see where only 20% remember what they read. We must consider taking our own “real” photos over stock photos and using gifs and videos.
Even if you didn’t attend #MozCon—but want to download any deck—you can for free:— Cyrus (@CyrusShepard) July 18, 2019
1) Sign in/create a free @Moz community account
2) Go here: https://t.co/fRvQqwTMli
3) Hit the download icon for any talk 📥 pic.twitter.com/g7D1YXku41
While thinking about how voice assistants will change search is important, and considering how you might implement voice strategies, for most industries, investing here today may have little return. It’s here, but it’s not a benefit necessarily today. Again, we must know our own niche.
Google is so smart today, that we need to worry less about search volume for a particular phrase and consider a topic-focused approach. We don’t even need to mention a keyword anymore to rank for it as long as our topic is in-depth.
While earning a position in the knowledge graph may not earn clicks, it is good for branding. These are the boxes that are essentially user-curated facts.
Earning a featured snippet however is a great reward for great content that answers a question or provides a “how-to”. These are rewarded to top entity rankings so the key, first, is to create #1 spot worthy content.
When you combine browser search with app search, searches are still on the rise. There are more searches than ever. SEO is dead huh? No way, but it is changing.
Google your name, click on images. Look at the carousel above the images. This is what Google thinks you are about.
Golden Age of Search
- People are searching subconsciously.
- People are searching in more places and more than ever before.
- Search is omnipresent
- Google understands searcher’s intent
- Google is a destination
- The job is harder than before. There is more to do and more opportunity
- Whole categories of search have been lost
- Local SEO is more influential than ever
- Personalization is huge and full of opportunity
- We must create the most search results: meta description (title), reviews, products
- It requires a new mindset, let go of old thinking
- How can you be valuable must be the constant question
Instead of 12 blue links, we now have videos, maps, carousels of products and so much more. Again, back to knowing our own vertical so we know what we can do to appear more often on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages is key.
What does this mean for real estate agents? It means we can still benefit from search. This includes organic “earned in” rankings, paid (SEM [search engine marketing] or PPC [pay per click]), and the local pack (google my business). We can rank by blogging, creating compelling pages on our websites like real estate market reports, making video, podcasts, pins for Pinterest and so on.
Web Search 2019: The Essential Data Marketers Need
- Mobile has overtaken Desktop percentage-wise
- Advertising is split between desktop and mobile
- More time is spent on desktop than mobile
- Mobile didn’t kill desktop, it just killed all our “free-time”
- Voice Search and regular search results are the same when looking for something other than a direct answer to a question
- Google Search in Browsers is plateauing but with app data, it’s growing
- Browser-based search is still at an all-time high, there is no decline
- Mobile and Desktop are still big: don’t ignore either
- It’s too early to invest in voice search, but 50% of all searches in 2020 will be voice search. Today, they are still more direct answers to questions
- Video, Podcast, Websites are all great investments, mobile app’s – not so much unless you are a mobile, app-centric business specifically.
- 95% of the United States Search queries happen on Google and Google properties
- Paid click-through rate likely to decline
- Organic CTR [Click Through Rate] is still very high and has the same opportunity as several years ago however you can win branding rewards from zero-click searches [answer boxes/knowledge graph]
- Creating FAQ’s and adding schema earning featured snippets can REDUCE clicks because the answers are in the SERP and don’t require a click-through.
- The Zero-Click Decision Tree “Can I benefit from ranking for this query even without traffic? If the answer is no, go find other long-tail keywords. Now you can invest in on-SERP SEO (Optimizing for what appears in the results).
- The Structured Data Decision has the same question as above. If it’s for a brand or to earn a featured snippet over a competitor, then do it.
- Search is moving away from who has the most links to who as the most accurate info (although links from authoritative websites are still incredibly valuable)
- The average Facebook Reach with 10,000 fans is only .09%
- Engagement, not application powers social reach now
- The algorithms favor any kind of post that generates engagement
- You need to win on social
- Play to the algorithm’s bias for on-site engagement
How to Rank Better
- Establish your website as an authority
- Get links from websites with the authority
- Improve your content accuracy
- Being at the cutting edge in YMYL areas could be risky
The future of SEO
- Less-Trackable Marketing
- ON SERP SEO is important (Optimizing for how we appear on the search engine results page)
- More competition than ever before
- Organic Clicks are fewer
- Ever-changing tactical effectiveness
What Does This Mean for Real Estate Agents? Basically, keep creating content that ranks on the search engines. Work to answer questions asked frequently in the real estate industry. Create lists and tables on high ranking blogs that might earn a featured snippet. Use Video! Video is also a great way to earn a featured snippet. Add a frequently asked questions section to your website. Focus on creating content that generates engagement as anythign else will fail on social media. Links to your website generated by authoritavie websites (like Inman or other news channels) can help boost your rankings.
Discourse in SEO fandom
- “Real Company Stuff” is the idea that instead of focusing on technical SEO, we should be focused on marketing, building a great product and connecting with our audience.
- We must focus on our customer and the google algorithm
- How do you know what “good content” is? – Go to Google! Google has more info than anyone on providing what people are looking for. They spend a lot of time building machines that mimic how a person searches for information.
- SEO’s tend to stop at the outcome of the SERP
- We should be looking at Google’s output as information on how to achieve results
- Learn the human-readable quality signals and then reverse energize it for machine output
- Humans and Robots don’t process information the same way
- “Is this a GOOD page about this topic?” Is how humans look at content.
- Optimize for human readability because then you are also optimizing for bot readability.
- National Language Processing (On-Page SEO for NLP with Justin Briggs)
- A machine can tell if a website can be trusted based on link signals. These links, especially from another authority, are viewed as endorsements.
- Is there a positive experience? Page Speed, Crawlability, Information architecture
Quality Rater Guidelines (Get the PDF)
- Written by humans for humans
- Used to beta test the algorithm
- Used As a training set for machine learning
- Not everything is effective yet – it’s where the algorithm is going
- Expertise, Authority, Trust: EAT is not a “ranking factor”. It’s actually made up of dozens, may hundreds of signals. It’s not “automated output”. It’s a system written by humans for humans to signal quality – “Does this person/website know what it’s talking about”. Google is probably looking to create a machine equivalent so it matters.
- It’s time to get experts to create your expert content. Pony up and pay the experts.
- 2.6.4 How to search for Reputation Information
- First, determine how the update affects your brand or brands you service
- Determine if it was page-specific or sitewide (low-quality or gameable)
- Fix it!
- You don’t “lose” ranking, someone else takes them
- What do these changes say about what the customers are looking for and how do I provide these changes
- Rory Truesdale: How to scrape google SERPs to optimize for search intent
- Sometimes, algorithms are created to improve the SERP’s for a niche
- If a Google update hits your industry, niche or a market, assume that it will happen again and again. Ramp up your quality.
- Homework: Re-read the quality rater guidelines, Conduct a reputation audit
💡 Try SEMRush for tracking and monitoring your website rankings
Improved Reporting & Analytics within Google Tools
Goal Charts kickpoint.ca/goal-charter
- Create an analytics plan before you build
- Your goal charter and analytics plan work together
- Goal Chart is hopes and dreams
Your Analytics Plan
- Document Every single setting (as in Google Analytics or anywhere else you collect data) and why so you trust your data
- By documenting, you can trust your data
- Understand the why behind the set up (so you know or can explain it to someone)
- Be sure to cover analytics and tag manager
- Talk about tags, triggers, and variables
- If something changes you want to know why and how
- Understand and explain pixels
- Use Custom Tasks it’s nerdy and delightful
- Decide what you will do with the data
- Use Google Data Studio
- Data Layers Pro is a chrome extension that allows you to look at how others are using Google Tag Manager
- Dimensions are the “buckets” that contain the metrics
- Dimensions are the descriptor and metric is the number
- A Great Report Explains Itself
- Good reports answer questions
- Scatter Charts
Local Market Analytics
Lori Ballen (@LoriBallen_) July 15, 2019
Optimizing your business to rank better for a local audience
- Local Market Analytics – Traditional SERP analytics at a hyper-local level, mining insights within localized SERP’s
- The future is Local – personalized search means google changes the search engine results page to fit the customer, geographic location changes the SERP’s
- National SERP’s don’t actually exist
- 73% of searches in a study had personalization results
- Site rankings can vary 15-85% in any market based on geographic location (like a zip code) [multi-sampling]
- In order to properly track results, we must track in each market
Keywords Aren’t Enough, Content Ideas
There is no better feeling than getting sales notifications at 2 AM that came from content you created.Ross Simmonds
- Research: Discover who your audience is and what channel they are on and what content they are engaging with
- Rethink: Can you rethink high performing content that is performing well on one channel for another channel?
- Remix: Don’t steal ideas, remix the content in a way that you know will work. Take inspiration and apply it to your niche.
- Channel User Fit, Content User Fit, Content Market Fit
- You can’t pay the bills with engagement, likes, and shares
- Communities are great places to find content people want (sort by top post on the channel your potential customers are on). How can you re-create this?
- Reddit: Type site: domain and reverse engineer which content Reddit likes.
- Product Hunt: People submit cool products and get up-votes
- Go where there is the least resistance but the most opportunity
How to Supercharge Link Building
Link Building is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get.
- Reactive Editorial: Live. It’s happening now
- Content-driven link building: Ideation, Production, Outreach, Reporting
- Planned Editorial: You need the insight to create the right content that generates the right links
- Link building is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get
- Implement a digital PR room
- Consider unpopular holidays (like gummy bear day) to write about where they relate to your niche
- Interactive Maps earn links
- Content Format that earns links: Interactive, Static, Gif, Quiz, Long-form, Survey
- You need a content bank that is evergreen, newsworthy
- Buzzsumo, journorequest, #prrequest, Vuelio, Haro, Majestic
What Does This Mean for Real Estate Agents? You can plan content in advance around upcoming events like holidays as well as trending news. Shannon told a story about Prince Charles being born and how the PR room already had the article ready, they just needed to insert babies name, weight, length, and how Mom was doing. Several speakers talked about riding “trending” news to better appear for a while in the SERPs. Think about politics and how it affects real estate prices. What other upcoming events could have an impact on the housing market? Hyperlocal articles covering your own town are popular and you could fill a PR newsroom with local events and release at the holidays.
From Zero to Local Ranking Hero
- Where it comes to ranking on Google local search (GMB): Primary Category and Keyword in the title are really the only strategies that affect ranking.
- Proximity in local search is a huge factor
- Use a different phone number for citations than GMB, but add it to GMB as a secondary number. This helps avoid sales calls.
- Citations are a foundational process but don’t necessarily boost the rankings on a large scale
- Service areas do not affect rankings Local search
- Reviews did cause a ranking boost in local search rankings
- Got (4) quality Links from Outreach Pete and rankings went up. But then he did it again, got 7 more and no more increase in rankings. The law of diminishing returns may have been in play.
- Built a new website outside of Google’s “free” website, optimized title tags built real estate neighborhood pages, re-indexed and rankings went up.
- Index your citations
- Invest in a Google Review Strategy
When Faking it is Harder than Making It
Russ Jones | Moz @russjones
Esse Quai Videri
Stop “seeming” and start “being”. Create content that deserves to rankRuss Jones
- Do you first make sure your content qualifies to rank before you promote it?
- Are you user-centric or Rank centric?
- Page Speed
- Content Quality
- Content Formats (Media)
- Content Validation (citations)
- Tools, Calculators
- Competitive Content
Within the discipline of search engine optimization, the ROI of being the best query response is approaching the ROI of pretending to be.
When you use tactics that are “gaming” Google, you will LOSE that investment when Google catches it.
An Image can be turned into a vector image (add information like steps to the graphic)
“Inbox Justification” – Don’t just email someone. You need to have a reason.
tenon.io is an accessibility website checker.
Pitch for backlinks by finding competitor websites that fail with accessibility, mobile-friendly, content formats, security (SSL cert), etc. and offer something better.
Don’t just pitch “replacing the link”, suggest that they add yours.
Book Suggestion by the Speaker: Why we sleep – Matthew Walker
Google My Business (GMB) Local SEO
Mary Bowling | Ignitor Digital
- Your defense against SERP changes is to build your local brand.
- Local listings must be Accurate, Appealing, Complete
- The algorithm rewards: Relevance, Prominence, and Proximity (GMB, Website, Reviews, Social Media, traditional media reviews, “well-known” and well regarded?, how close is the business to the searcher.
- Your website should be a knowledge graph of your brand: Your people, your products, your services
- Use anchor text to create relationships of pages which “feeds” google information about your business
- Google ranks entities/brands not “websites”
- Google Loves Brands
- Control what you can: Your own information (GMB), Reviews, and listings/news. If you can’t change it, you can probably “influence” it
- Look at your organic listings, your page title, description, and links. Phone number, customer-focused, service area, call to action
- Add a good GMB cover photo
- Respond to your reviews
- Add more photos
- Get starts on your reviews with schema
- Google Posts allow you to make posts
- Google Q & A allows you to add frequently asked questions and answers. When someone asks a question, respond quickly
- GMB Profile messaging allows you to communicate via text (GMB App)
- GMB Bookings allows you to automate scheduling (example: Lloyds barbershop in Santa Monica California)
- GMB Products allows you feed your brand answers into google
- GMB Services allows you to feed your services
- You must give Google the answers so Google can give answers to searchers
- GMB is a way for small businesses to attract more people to their business online
- Use offline marketing to encourage brand searches Example: “Search Kauffman Gas on Google to get a money-saving coupon”
- Encourage Location Visits with Sales, Contents, Events, Customer Appreciation Day, Local nonprofit AT your location
- Google is very good at recognizing what you are doing off and online. The key to remember is that SEO is about optimizing the BRAND.
- Your strategy is to be one of the best businesses of your type in your local market area
Making Memories: Creating Content People Remember
- 4 Million Blog Posts per day
- 47% of B2B Marketers don’t measure the return on their marketing
- I’m challenging you to use your content to connect people to your brand and make them remember you
- A great example of content is “Wegmans”
- We must know who our audience is: Locations, job, interests
- SEMrush has display advertising analytics that allows you to see the demographic or your competitors audience so you can create a similar avatar
- Use to tools you have but in different ways.
- Buzzsumo has an influencer tool
- Keywords Everywhere is great for content research
- keyword.io provides similar keywords
- SEMrush Topic Research Tools offers fantastic data
- Buzzsomo will give you questions people ask
- Storybase (like $14.00 per month)
- Think Simple. Write what your audience carries about.
- Seer: Screaming Frog Guide to Doing almost anything
- Content should be helpful
- Add links to the top, don’t make people scroll
- Make the answers to questions easy to find, don’t bury them
- E-summarizer will summarize your content
- Stock Photography (40%) and Infographics (37%) are the most frequently used visual content [not valuable].
- 80% of people remember what they see where only 20% remember what they read.
- Choose colors wisely
- Add movement
- Video posts receive 38% more engagement than image posts
- Local businesses should use local images
- Free or Free Version Tools:
- Snappa (like Canva)
- If you want to create something people remember, go beyond words
- Messages delivered with stories can be up to 22x more memorable than facts
- Use user-generated content
Wil Reynolds | Seer Interactive
Great Marketers have daily hypothesisWil Reynolds
- Cut through the bias of a marketer by looking at the data at scale
- When learning, you are looking to get a degree, or you are looking to “become something”
- 1.9 billion websites on the internet
- Don’t jump into the “best practices sucker hole”
- Pull your own data and focus on results in your own vertical
- The Word “with” is killing your yield.
- Problem #1: your data is too small
- Target zero volume keywords!!!
- Great marketers have a daily hypothesis
- Google Revenue $116 billion in ads
What Does This Mean for Real Estate? This one was one of my favorite presentations. My main takeaways were that you have to focus on your own data and on the data of your niche. There is no one size fits all marketing. I also loved Wil’s focus on pay per click and how Google has us paying for keywords (queries) in Adwords that truly do not fit our property. Example, someone does a search on Google (performs a query) for recent news in Turkey and presents my Turkey crockpot dish recipe as a solution. By watching for these clicks, we can save a lot of money on our ad spend by adding that keyword to the negative keywords list in Adwords.
Super-Practical Tips for Improving your Site’s E-A-T
- 16,000 quality raters
- If it’s in quality guidelines, Google is measuring it or wants to
- Expertise – Do you actually do this stuff?
- Authoritativeness (Links and Mentions on authoritative sites)
- Every blog should have an author bio
- Who is an expert? Someone that is referred to by other experts in links or mentions
- Get links from HARO
- Data can help generate links
- Helpful Information “How do you X”
- Create your own tool
- Competitive Research [Earned links]
What Does This mean for real estate agents? Bottom line, you need an author bio, have it appear every time you write, list your specialties in your bio, work diligently to gather online reviews and mentions, pay the experts when you have a YMYL article (Your Money or Your Life: Finance, Medical, etc.). Get links from other authoritative websites in the industry. Learn Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines.
How Many Words is a Question Worth?
From @dr_pete at #MozCon:— Alycia (@artdecotech) July 16, 2019
-PAA was on 30% SERPs in 2018 – 90% for 2019!
-Google is using PAA to learn about search intent
-Targeting PAA answers, watch for credibility, competition, and cannibalization
-Answer the question right away to get snippets
-Use PAA to improve page SEO
- SERP: Knowledge Graph: Collection human-created facts. CTR is low. These are not designed to generate clicks to a website.
- PAA (People Also Ask) has exploded in the past 12 months appearing on almost 90% of searches
- Should I use the question (PPA)
- Am I credible in the topic
- Can I compete?
- Am I already ranking for that keyword (don’t create new content that will cannibalize it)
- Use the inverted period for answer:
- Answer the question
- Dive into Detail
- Use data to support facts
- Answer the question completely and google will rank many variations of the question
- Featured Snippets are coming from page one rankings
- Dig in and see how your work is performing and also learn from failure: what isn’t working
- Don’t be limited to single query “volume” numbers. Look at the question more broad as to what else is possible if it ranks for other terms.
- There’s such a world of long-tail queries that a page can rank for
What Does This Mean to Real Estate Agents? There’s still HUGE opportunity in the long-tail queries. Meaning, while you may have a hard time beating websites like zillow for “homes for sale”, you could still rank for terms like “Phoenix Real Estate Market Report” or “Why Baby Boomers moving to Chandler, AZ to Retire”. Know what content you are going to create and why. If it’s super competitive, do you know you can create the right piece of content that can win in the search results? If not, it might not be worth taking on. Use the People Also Ask box on Google to guide you as to what content to create. I use SEMrush for my keyword and topic research. Check out the list of questions SEMrush gives you around a keyword.
Fraggles, Mobile-First Indexing and the SERP of the future
Google wants to index more than just websites, they want to organize the information of the world, not the websites of the world , and they want to monetize it.Cindy Krum
- Google named Mobile First for a reason, IT cares about MOBILE first
- We must keep up with the algorithm
- 34% of searches in Desktop don’t result in a click but 61.5% of mobile search doesn’t result in a click. So there’s a disconnect.
- The key to the term “Mobile Indexing” is “Indexing”
- Featured Snippets are increasing and becoming richer.
- Hybrid and double featured snippets are appearing
- Featured snippet carousels are appearing in the SERP
- Featured snippets link to the knowledge graph in some cases
- People also ask is growing (PAA’s)
- People also search for results are also becoming richer
- These are all related to mobile-first indexing. Google is answering the questions
- For SEO this is hard to track and attribute, as well as measuring the value
- Mobile-first indexing helps google surface answers world wide
- Google believes people want answers to their questions more than websites
- Pages may be an inefficient way to organize answers by Google
- Fraggles = Fragment Handle, they link to different pieces on a page in the same page
- Jump Links can be added with code or schema and can appear on a SERP in the meta description
- Site Links appear under the meta description
- AMP featured snippets are very advanced and surface answers
- Google Chrome Users will soon be able to link or share links to a particular word or set of words on a page
- Entities come before Keywords. Entities are the things that keywords describe. It’s a static framework of the knowledge graph that crosses over to each language. Example “Mother”, as in the relationship is the same in every language. The word changes but the relationship is the same. The “meaning” is understood as the same. This means the SERP for each could be the same result just transcribed
- Google is working to serve the user’s needs regardless of the query language
- Product Knowledge Graph does a price comparison and is favoring PPC
- Google wants to index more than just websites, they want to organize the information of the world, not the websites of the world
Content, Rankings, and Lead Generation
a Breakdown of the 1% Content Strategy
The best content is anchored in research, influencer powered, PR focused, and updated consistently.
- Marketing is about building a bridge between Google and your landing page
- A visitor to a Blog only converts to a lead at a rate of .03%
- A visitor is 50% more likely to become a lead when they land on a sales page
- Most content gets no results at all
- 75% of content nobody every links to
- Rank Worth Content contains Strong Opinion and Original Research
- 2 year and 7 months is the average lifespan of a website
- Find and publish and promote the missing statistic in your industry and you will position yourself as the primary source in your field.
- The world is not waiting for another medium-quality blog post
- Collaborate with Influencers
- You need traffic (Search, Social Media) and conversion rate
- 1% of us make the internet, 99% consume
- If you want links and mentions, GIVES links and mentions
- Content optimized for social media includes people!
- The most important things in marketing are not in your analytics
- The best content strategists publish everywhere, they have a PR mindset
- Only 65% of bloggers write guest blog posts
- Update older content
- Acquisition queries report, view keywords and how high you rank, used advanced filter to show high on page 2, confirm the ranking by looking and then update your page
- Defend your traffic magnets
- If all of my content is up-to-date and ranking where it should be will I write something new? Sometimes, it might require an 80% re-write
- Maybe you don’t need 1000 articles, maybe you need 100 good ones
- Don’t use dates or numbers in the URL’s, you might add or revise the content and later. Short, no numbers
- Let’s turn our top blog post into a video
- Find the Unicorn so you can make baby unicorns
- Diagrams + Contributions = Links
- Evil Twin Blog Post is “How Not To” – Great for Blog Posts
- The best content is Anchored in research, influencer powered, pr focused, updated consistently
Running Your Own SEO Tests: Why It Matters & How To Do It Right
Rob Ousbey | VP Seattle Distilled | @RobOusbey
- Google’s Original Goal: To be the Portal to the Internet
- User-metrics are most important
- Page 1 is where most of the user-data is derived from
- The future of SEO should allow us to split-test every change and its results
- Changing Meta created results in about 2-4 days
- Smaller and less known brands can get discovered on platforms like Pinterest
Guide to Local Domination
- Google My Business (GMB) is a tough puzzle to crack
- LSRS – Local Search Ranking Factors Report
- GMB got 32% Bigger. It’s more important than ever
- GMB is your new home page, 1st Impression
- Make an awesome first impression
- Use the New Features
- Experts have suggested more time should be spent on Google Posts
- You can convert on zero-click searches using GMB
- 1 post per week, 10 minutes per post are easy
- A post is live for 7 days unless you use the date range post
- Google Post Image sizes should be 1200 X 900
- Images on desktop and mobile differ. Visit this image guide
- Upload videos with a max size of 100mb and/or 30 seconds
- Include a call to action button but it will remove the bottom line of text under the photo or video. Choose an appropriate template. “What’s New” posts will give you 3 lines of text plus the CTA. Event Posts has a title and then a date range. Single line description with CTA. “Offer” posts give you a price tag emoji but only one line of description. Product post also only gives you one single line of text.
- Always share promotional posts, not social fluff. Make an offer and stand out.
- Add UTM tracking on your links and CTA’s and campaign variables to test offers.
- Q & A’s: Always pay attention daily to these. They appear directly under your name and phone and they are community-centric. Anyone can answer a question about your business so be sure you answer first. If a question gets 3 up-votes, it appears natively in the GMB panel.
- The answer that gets the most upvotes shows as a primary answer
- Don’t include a phone or URL in an answer or it will get removed
- Load in your OWN Q & A. Basically, create a FAQ for your business
- Most of these questions are leads and sales opportunities
How to Audit For Inclusive Content
Emily Triplett Lentz | Help Scout @emilytlentz | Slides
- Ableism: discrimination in favor of able-bodied people
- Microaggressions: brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative slights and insults toward people in marginalized groups
- Avoid words like bipolar, blind, crazy, cripple, deaf, duh, dumb, grandfathering, guys, handicap, idiot, insane, lame, manned, manpower, master/slave, mental, minority, moron, OCD/ADD, psycho, stupid
- Use a tool like screaming frog to crawl your website for these words
- What’s good for accessibility are also good for SEO: Alt Tags, Captions, Descriptions, etc.
Image & Visual Search Optimization Opportunities
- Visual Search allows you to put in an image and see similar results
- Google Photos or Pinterest App allows you to do this
- 85% of consumers place more importance on visuals than text when searching online for clothing or furniture
- 62% of Millenials want to search by image and 15% want to click directly to make a purchase
- Optimize Images
- Sync Data with Platforms
- Submit a sitemap to Google
- Use structured data
- In product description include USP, Product, Offer
- Add Rich Pins to your website
- Images should be on-brand, clutter-free, provide context, have a clear focal point, add value, include multiple angles, use original photos and customize it
Factors that Affect the Local Algorithm that don’t impact Organic Search Results
Reviews account for 15.44% of how Google ranks businesses in the local pack.
- Only 8% of the local pack result had a website in organic, only 12% had an organic rank in the top 20
- Proximity is your location to the searcher: Look down for the blue dot or the zip code listed on the bottom of the page when you search. Proximity is the #1 ranking factor with Google My Business (GMB) Local Pack
- LocalFalcon allows you to put in business and keyword to put in geo-coordinates of the user
- So to say someone “ranks #1” is only true in certain areas
- In organic search, proximity is in play, but not on top, it’s more like #27 of the factors in a recent study
- PlacesScout [maps]
- Some industries benefit from GMB in a large way and others don’t
- Use UTM codes in GMB so you can measure in Google Search Console
- In local, positions #5 are much more likely to move positions throughout the day where the top positions tend to stay consistent
- Track Calls from google my business: [Darren Shaw’s Article]
- Reviews account for 15.44% of how Google ranks in local business
- Reviewgating is against Google guidelines. This is when you only send the review pages to someone who offers to give a positive review first and if they don’t they are sent somewhere else. Be aware of software tools that do this.
- Google will remove bad reviews if you provide a detailed report
- Google filters out duplicate content in organic search. With local, the Possum Filter selects removing multiple people in the same address (as with real estate agents in the same building).
- Having keywords in the business name is the #4 ranking factor although Keyword stuffing is prohibited. It’s supposed to only be the legal business name.
- There’s a huge uptick of GMB suspensions as of June, so be careful!
- Report competitors that are violating terms by including a keyword that is not in their name. It takes about two weeks.
Featured Snippets: Essentials to Know
- Types of Snippets: Paragraph, Lists, Tables, Videos, Accordion Snippets
- Featured Snippets are evolving and changing
- You must be testing
- Create QUALITY content for PEOPLE!!
- National SERP’s don’t exist
- There is no real way to see if we are generating traffic from a featured snippet. Google only has that data
- We can assume we are getting traffic, but branding is also a positive benefit
- Research was done on 1,000,000 keywords, high CPC, Mobile Browser, Irvine, CA:
- Almost 24% of all SERPs have a featured snippet and are on the rise
- Paragraphs and Lists are the most common
- PAAs (people also ask) are on 93.8% of Featured Snippet SERPs
- Featured Snippets are only on 34.2% of PAA SERPs
- 65.54% of SERPs have a PAA Box
- Half of all Featured Snippet results are part of a Carousel (the multiple item sliders like on Pinterest)
- NICHE! NICHE! NICHE! DRILL DOWN!!! Instead of “best Beer” do “Best Ale Beer”
- Recipe SERPs don’t get Featured Snippets
- The higher you rank in search the better the odds are of having a featured snippet box
- Start list word Triggers: Are, Can, Do, Does, How, Is, Should, Why, Will
- Table Triggers, rates, fixed, salary, accounts, sizes, purchases, dimensions, electricity
- 15% of Image URLs are not in organic results (like on page one or page 2)
- The most frequent size of pics displayed is 120 x 90 in the FS
- Top 10 FS Winners: Youtube, Wikipedia, nerd wallet, study.com, investopedia.com, bankrate.com, Healthline
- Informational sites Dominate featured snippets with financial and educational towards to top
- Domain Authority isn’t necessarily a factor as we see clear winners with modest DA
- Brittany tried making a LONGER list and she lost her snippet. She made the list shorter and earned it back.
- Challenge what you “hear” is true more and test on your own websites
- Be a detective!
- You can literally watch a snippet appear and vanish after requesting google to crawl the URL by adding or removing lists, tables, words, etc. – If your page ranks high on page one and there is a snippet but it’s not yours, you might be able to earn it by changing your formatting. Be careful. If you have the snippet and make one little change, you might lose it. You have to test and watch your snippets
- You need to know which keywords provide snippets. (SEMrush Projects does this as does Keyword Explorer in the Moz tool)
- You must understand the searchers intent. What are they looking for? Know what kind of content would best answer it, video, images, graphs, text, lists, etc.
- The more succinct and the better summarized your direct answer is to a question the better. (top of page)
- If you have long-form content, create a summary
- Some of have success with “here’s how”
- Identify and answer popular questions. Use Google, SEMrush, Answerthepublic, Quora, etc.
- Source PAA boxes (people also ask)
- Interview experts that can answer the questions better than anyone. Remix it into a photo, Slideshare, video, rich format.
- Leverage Google’s NLP API
- If all else fails, leverage ranking 3rd Party Websites
You aren’t trying hard enough if you aren’t breaking it
Speakers from the MozCon Convention
- Andy Crestodino | Co-founder/CMO Orbit Media Studios
- Are AbuAli | Head of SEO Verve Search
- Casie Gillette | Senior Director, Digital Marketing KoMarketing
- Christi Olson | Head of Evangelism, Search Microsoft
- Cindy Krum | CEO & Founder MobileMoxie
- Cyrus Shepard | Founder Zyppy
- Dana DiTomaso | President & Partner KickPoint
- Darren Shaw | Founder Whitespark
- Dr. Pete Meyers | Marketing Scientist Moz
- Emily Triplett Lentz | Content Strategy Lead Help Scout
- Greg Gifford Vice President of Search | Wikimotive
- Heather Physioc | Group Director of Discoverability | VMLY & R
- Joelle Irvine | Director, Marketing & Growth Bookmark Content and Communications
- Joy Hawkins | Owner Sterling Sky Inc
- Luke Carthy | Digital Lead Excel Networking
- Marie Haynes | Owner Marie Haynes Consulting Inc.
- Mary Bowling | Co-Founder Ignitor Digital
- Britney Muller |Senior Search Scientist Moz
- Paul Shapiro | Senior Partner, Head of SEO Catalyst, a GroupM and WPP Agency
- Rand Fishkin | Founder & CEO SparkToro
- Rob Bucci | VP Research & Development Moz
- Rob Ousbey | VP Seattle Distilled
- Ross Simmonds | Digital Strategist Foundation Marketing
- Russ Jones | Principal Search Scientist Moz
- Ruth Burr Reedy | Director of Strategy UpBuild
- Sarah Bird | Chief Executive Officer Moz
- Shannon McGuirk | Head of PR & Content Aira Digital
- Wil Reynolds | Founder & Director of Digital Strategy Seer Interactive