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Looking back at Yoast in 2020

The year 2020 is coming to its end and what a wild year it’s been! The pandemic has had a huge impact on all of us, and this isn’t different for our team at Yoast. As many shop owners turned to the web to stay in contact with their (potential) customers, we saw the importance of improving our plugin even more. That’s why we’ve added lots of features and new languages to our Yoast SEO plugin in 2020. But we’ve also launched our new board this year! All while working from home and attending lots of fun events virtually. Let’s look back at everything that happened at Yoast HQ in 2020!

A year of working from home

Although we have colleagues all over the world, the largest part of team Yoast works from our offices in Wijchen (the Netherlands). From March on, we’ve had the advice to work from home as much as we can in the Netherlands. And so we did! Work from home as much as we could. We’re very happy that this was possible with our team, but it did call for big adjustments. In the way we worked, the way we brainstormed, and the way we kept each other informed. But also in our time management, as a lot of our colleagues had their kids at home as well.

How our team kept in touch

From the first day we started working from home I started doing daily vlogs! To keep each other informed, to share fun work projects and lockdown hobbies with each other, but also to remind everyone to take time off when they needed it to relax. As working from home can be tiring without your colleagues around. We made a fun compilation of our daily vlog up until now and plan to keep them going for as long as needed!

Zoom photo of team Yoast in 2020

Travelling all over the world – virtually

Logically, a lot of WordCamps and other fun events looked a bit different in 2020. Most of them took place online, which meant that we attended lots of these events virtually. That was also new, but still loads of fun! It allowed us to travel the world virtually, think of new fun games for our virtual Yoast booth, and made it possible for lots of us to attend different WordCamps. Some of them even on the same weekend! We can’t wait to see all of you offline again, but in the meantime, these online events were a great way to meet up with everyone in our community.

Photo of Samah and Taco attending an online WordCamp

Improvements to Yoast SEO in 2020

A year of new and improved features

In 2019 we solved a lot of technical debt, in 2020 we released lots of new features in Yoast SEO. From our very first release of Yoast SEO 12.8 on January 7, 2020 to our latest release of Yoast SEO 15.5 on December 15, 2020. That’s more than 20 releases in one year! As you can imagine, this allowed us to make lots of improvements to our plugin and released lots of cool new features as well.

I won’t mention all of them here, but let’s take a look at a few highlights. For example, Yoast SEO now comes with an improved sidebar that helps you tick all the boxes when it comes to optimizing your content. We’ve also improved the publishing flow by adding the option to share your post right after publishing or even setting Zaps to fully automate this process. Yoast SEO also helps you make your URLs stand out on Slack. Yoast SEO Premium now comes with different blocks that really help you improve site structure and get those rich results.

Of course, this isn’t everything we’ve added. Both our free and Premium plugin have had lots of other new features added to them. Additionally, we’ve added support for different languages to make our plugin more accessible for people writing in any other language than English.

Also a year of new languages

In March 2020, we made a few changes to our language analysis to make it easier to add new languages. This improved language processing system allowed us to add heaps of new languages to our plugin. From Spanish to Arabic, we added support for 13 different languages this year! So make sure to check out in which languages you can now write readable and SEO-proof content with Yoast SEO.

A year of integrations and fun partnerships

This year we also partnered up with other companies to make some awesome integrations happen. Firstly, we partnered up with our friends at SEMrush to help you find high-performing related keyphrases while you’re working in the post editor. Secondly, we worked together with Zapier to help you automate your publishing flow by setting Zaps that automatically run when you publish something. Lastly, we just released a seamless integration with Elementor, allowing users of Elementor to fully optimize their content with Yoast SEO while they’re working on their content!

A screenshot of the SEMrush integration in Yoast SEO Premium

Plus: we’ve combined our two biggest products

Last in this list, but definitely not least: we’ve combined Yoast SEO Premium with Yoast SEO academy this year! This means that when you buy Yoast SEO Premium, you’ll now also get free access to all of our SEO training courses in Yoast SEO academy. So the price of our plugin hasn’t changed, but what you’re getting has. This will allow you to take your SEO to the next level as Yoast SEO academy is full of in-depth courses on different SEO subjects. Read more on how and why we’ve combined our two biggest products.

illustration of merge academy seo premium and academy

New at Yoast in 2020

In addition to the improvements we made to our existing plugins, we also had other fun stuff that was new at Yoast in 2020. Such as a new plugin, a monthly webinar that is now accessible for everyone and our Yoast SEO Podcast series.

Welcoming Duplicate Post

In June 2020, we welcomed the plugin Duplicate Post and its creator Enrico Battocchi to Yoast. We were already big fans of Enrico and his work, as this plugin does one task simple and very well. Duplicate Post lets you duplicate any post or page in WordPress with one click. Allowing you to copy everything on that page and saving you lots of time. We’re very happy that Enrico joined our team and together, we’ll work on improving Duplicate Post even more.

Monthly webinar that are accessible for everyone

Every month, our SEO experts Joost de Valk and Jono Alderson discuss the latest news in SEO and WordPress. These webinars were always acessible for users of Yoast SEO academy, but this year we decided to open it up for everyone. Meaning that you could watch these webinars live, on Youtube or Facebook, and even ask questions! These are always great fun, so check out the December SEO news webinar and make sure to join our next one on January 26, 2021!

The start of our Yoast SEO Podcast

This year, we also launched the Yoast SEO Podcast. This is a podcast series in which our founder Joost de Valk talks to well-known friends in the SEO world. These podcasts can give you lots of relevant insights into SEO and how to optimize your own site(s) to rank higher in the search results. As our Yoast SEO Podcast series launched at the end of 2020, it’s still early days, but you can expect lots of new podcasts on a regular basis in 2021!

Yoast SEO podcast with Christi Olson
Our very first Yoast SEO Podcast with Christi Olson

What else happened at Yoast in 2020?

Last year also came with some changes when it comes to the way we run our company. With loads of people joining our team and all of us working from home, we wanted to make sure to keep our fun and familiar work environment going. While still providing our users with a reliable product that makes SEO accessible for everyone.

An even stronger focus on our core values

At Yoast, we all work to make the web a better place. For everyone. That’s why our mission is SEO for everyone. We believe in having fun at work and sharing knowledge with others. But we also value inclusiveness and equality. All of these core values are part of Yoast, they’re in our DNA. But to always keep them in mind in our day-to-day business, we decided to write our core values down this year.

This helps us remember what (and who) we’re doing this for. And what decision best serves our mission to make SEO possible for everyone, from big companies to the local shop around the corner. Something that became even more important in this year of doing business online.

We launched our new board

We had another piece of exciting news in December of this year. We were able to welcome two new board members and partners: Chaya Oosterbroek and Thijs de Valk! Chaya is our new COO and knows everything about optimizing business processes. That’s why we’re very happy to have her on our team. You can read more about her background and focus in this interview.

Thijs is our new CCO at Yoast and has a gift for optimizing conversion and sales. That’s why he’s a perfect fit for this role in our team. Thijs will help us grow Yoast even further, and with it, improve the web as a whole. Of course, I will remain the CEO of Yoast, Joost de Valk is still our CPO and Omar also stays on board as our CTO. Read more about these changes, or watch our video, in the blog post announcing our new board.

The board of Yoast in 2020
From left to right: Thijs de Valk, Omar Reiss, Chaya Oosterbroek, Marieke van de Rakt and Joost de Valk

That was it for Yoast in 2020!

All in all, this was a year that we’ll never forget. A year that brought us lots of challenges due to the pandemic, but also chances to improve our products and business in a creative way. We want to thank all of you for the fun events we had, and thank you to our users for staying with us another year. We hope to see you in 2021!

The post Looking back at Yoast in 2020 appeared first on Yoast.

The year 2020 is coming to its end and what a wild year it’s been! The pandemic has had a huge impact on all of us, and this isn’t different for our team at Yoast. As many shop owners turned to the web to stay in contact with their (potential) customers, we saw the importance
The post Looking back at Yoast in 2020 appeared first on Yoast.Read MoreWordPress, Yoast SEO, Yoast SEO academy, Yoast SEO Premium

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How to Use Google Trends for Keyword Research

How to Use Google Trends for Keyword Research

Google Trends began as a way to analyze and aggregate user interest in various topics or fields. It has now morphed into a big data utilization tool that can offer storytelling on a much grander scale. Find out how to use Google Trends for the kind of keyword research that can boost any project by reading our breakdown!

Google Trends began as a way to analyze and aggregate user interest in various topics or fields. It has now morphed into a big data utilization tool that can offer storytelling on a much grander scale. Find out how to use Google Trends for the kind of keyword research that can boost any project by reading our breakdown!Read MoreSEOSemrush blog

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On-Page SEO: An In-Depth Guide (2020)

On-Page SEO: An In-Depth Guide (2020)

Take your page to the next level with on-page SEO that helps search engines find and high-rank your content. Learn how to optimize your on-page SEO strategy to rank higher in the SERPs. In this guide, we’ll discuss why quality on-page content is important for both your target audience and search engines and walk you through some key on-page SEO factors that can help improve your rankings

Take your page to the next level with on-page SEO that helps search engines find and high-rank your content. Learn how to optimize your on-page SEO strategy to rank higher in the SERPs. In this guide, we’ll discuss why quality on-page content is important for both your target audience and search engines and walk you through some key on-page SEO factors that can help improve your rankingsRead MoreSEOSemrush blog

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How Agencies Win Big with Semrush: Workflows You Can Replicate Right Now

How Agencies Win Big with Semrush: Workflows You Can Replicate Right Now

In this guide, you will find a collection of step-by-step instructions from agencies who have boosted their business growth with Semrush. Learn more about their experiences and the tremendous results they have achieved by using the tools. Semrush helps agencies at every stage of their workflow.

In this guide, you will find a collection of step-by-step instructions from agencies who have boosted their business growth with Semrush. Learn more about their experiences and the tremendous results they have achieved by using the tools. Semrush helps agencies at every stage of their workflow.Read MoreAgency CentralSemrush blog

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SEO in 2021: A new chance to impress

Although it also brought lots of good things, 2020 was a year to quickly forget for most of us. So let us take a look at next year. For most sites, SEO in 2021 is not much different from the past couple of years: you still need to improve the same stuff, but you do need to set the bar higher and higher. Competition is getting fiercer and Google — and your potential customers — are getting better at recognizing true quality. Also, you need to take a step back to see if you are still reaching the right people at the right time. Search intent needs to determine your keyword research and content marketing decisions. Here, you’ll get a quick overview of SEO in 2021.

2020 is over, now what?

2020 was a tough year for many of us, but, hopefully, 2021 will be a more positive year. The pandemic broke a lot of our systems, but it also unveiled new possibilities. If we look at our industry, SEO, we see that the online world has made a pretty big jump. As people moved indoors, business moved online. Many people shopped online for the first time and many of them will keep doing that. There’s never been a better time to build an online business.

But it’s not just business. The web has always made it possible to present your creativity or to learn whatever it is you wanted to learn, but this accelerated in 2020. People picked up new hobbies, started sites to blog or to show off their photography, for instance. Everything moved online. This is expected to continue into the next year and maybe beyond.

So, with all these people waiting for your content — how would you use SEO in 2021?

It’s all about quality

2021 is all about quality. Improving quality across the board should start with determining what exactly it is you do. Evaluate your products and services, and the way you describe these. Have trouble describing what you do? Well, maybe you need to go back to the drawing board. Your product must be excellent, as there is no use in trying to rank a sub-par product. No-one would fall for that. A killer product needs a killer site and a killer plan to get that site noticed.

SEO in 2021

I could talk about the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning or conversational interactions, but I’m not going to do that. You should take note of these developments to see where search is heading, but for this moment, for most sites, it’s all about improving what you have right now. Site quality is key. Content quality is key. So, these SEO trends for 2021 is not hyped up stuff, but subjects we’ve been hammering home for a while. Remember Holistic SEO?

It’s all about mobile

First up, 2021 is the year mobile-first truly is the default. Since Google switched over to mobile-first indexing, it judges your site by how it works on mobile, even when a lot of your traffic is from desktop. Give your mobile site special care. You should test whether your mobile site works just as well as your desktop site. Is the structured data functioning and complete? Do images have relevant alt-texts? Is the content complete and easy to read? Make it lightning-fast, easy to use, and useful. 2020 had a lot of people experience mobile shopping for the first time and it looks like they will come back for more in 2021.

Improve site quality

If you’ve been playing this game for a while, you’ve been working on your site for a long time. Over the years, there’s been a lot of talk about all the things you really should focus on because that’s what the search engines would be looking at. Experts claim to know a lot of the factors search engines take into account to rank a piece of content for a specific term. That’s simply not possible. While nobody knows exactly what happens behind the scenes of a search engine, you can look back over a greater period of time to determine trends. One thing that always keeps popping up?

Quality.

To win in SEO in 2021, your site needs to be technically flawless, offer a spectacular user experience and great content, targeted at the right audience at the right time in their user journey. And, of course, your site’s speed needs to improve. It also means incorporating and improving schema.org structured data, as schema.org remains one of the key developments for some time to come.

Let’s go over some of the things you need to focus on in 2021.

Page experience with the Core Web Vitals

As part of an effort to get sites to speed up and to provide a great user experience, Google announced the Page Experience algorithm update. This will go live in May 2021 and will give you another reason to put site speed front and center. Site speed has been an important factor for a couple of years, but it is going to become critical. If you can’t keep up with your competition now, you’ll soon find yourself having a harder time keeping up if you’re not speeding up your site. If one of your competitors becomes a lot faster, you become slower by comparison, even when you’re not actually becoming slower. Improving loading time is a lot of work, but as it might make you much faster than the competition, it’s a very good tradeoff.

To help you determine your focus, Google launched the Core Web Vitals — a set of metrics that help you get a sense of how your site performs. It also helps you to understand what to fix and improve.

Enhance the user experience

Page experience ties in with user experience. Is your site a joy to use? Can you find what you need in a jiffy? Is the branding recognizable? How do you use images? Improving the user experience is a sure-fire way to make your — potential — customers happy. Happy customers make happy search engines!

Untangle your site structure

Loads of sites were started on a whim and have grown tremendously over time. Sometimes, all those categories, tags, posts and pages can feel like the roots of trees breaking up a sidewalk. It’s easy to lose control. You might know that keeping your site structure in check is beneficial for your visitors, as well as search engines. Everything should have its right place and if something is old, outdated or deprecated, maybe you should just delete it and point it to something relevant.

This year, you should pay special attention to your site structure. Re-assess your site structure and ask yourself if everything is still where it should be or are there improvements to be made? How’s your cornerstone content strategy? Is your internal linking up to scratch? Are redirects screwing up the flow of your site?

Implement schema.org structured data

Structured data with schema.org makes your content instantly understandable for search engines. Search engines use structured data to make connections between parts of your page and the world around it. It helps to provide context to your data. Besides making your site easier to understand, adding structured data to your site makes your site eligible for so-called rich results. There are many types of rich results, from star ratings to image highlights, and search engines continue to expand this. Structured data forms the basis of many of the most exciting developments, like voice search.

Implementing structured data has never been easy, but we’re solving that problem. Yoast SEO automatically outputs a full graph of structured data, describing your site and content in detail for search engines. For specific pages, you can describe the content in the Schema tab of Yoast SEO. Also, our structured data content blocks for the WordPress block editor lets you automatically add valid structured data by simply picking a block and filling in the content. We now offer blocks for FAQ pages and How-to articles, with more on the way. In addition, we also have an online training course on structured data9 to help you improve your SEO in 2021.

Content quality

There is a ton of content out there — and there’s a lot of new content published every day. Why should your content be in the top ten for your chosen focus keyphrase? Is it really good enough to beat the competition? Are you publishing unique, all-encompassing content that answers the questions your audience has?

Keep search intent front and center

Search intent is the why behind a search. What does this person mean to do with this search? Is it to find information or to buy something? Or maybe they’re just trying to find a specific website. Or is it something else entirely? Search engines are getting better and better at understanding this intent and the accompanying user behavior. Thanks to breakthroughs in natural language processing with BERT, search engines are starting to know language inside out. Of course, we can still help search engines pick the right version of our content. By determining the intent behind a search, you can map your keyword strategy to the specific intents a searcher has. Map these intents to your content and you’re good to go.

Re-do your keyword research

2020 was an impactful year for many of us and a lot has changed. Keeping this in mind, it’s high time to re-do your keyword research. There is bound to have been an enormous amount of changes in your market. Not only that, your company itself is bound to have changed. Not updating your keyword research is missing out on important opportunities. Read up on the research about consumer trends for 2021. After that, ask yourself these questions:

  • What changed in my company?
  • What changed in and around my audience?
  • Has something changed in people’s language?
  • What has changed in where people search?

Content is context

Context is one of the most important words with the SEO field. Context is what helps search engines make sense of the world. As search engines become smarter and smarter, it is becoming more important to provide them with as much related information as possible. By offering the necessary context about your subject and entities, you can help search engines make the connection between your content and where that content fits in the grand scheme of things. It’s not just content; the links you add and how you add these links also provide context that helps search engines. Also, Schema provides another way to show search engines what’s connected.

By mapping the context of your subject, you might find you have a hole in your story. It could be that you haven’t fully explored your topic. Or maybe you found new ways of looking at it, or maybe the pandemic threw you a curveball. Who knows! Stay on top of your topic and incorporate everything you find. Sometimes, it also means going back through your old content to update, improve or fix things — or delete stuff entirely.

Re-assess the content and quality of your most important pages

If you are anything like us, you have been at this game for a while and produced loads of content in that time. That’s not a bad thing of course, unless you are starting to compete with yourself. Keyword cannibalization can become a big issues, so content maintenance is a thing. Keep an eye on the search results of your chosen focus keyphrase. Do you have multiple articles in the top ten for a specific keyphrase? Is that what you want to happen?

To find out how you are doing, you need to re-assess your content. Is everything in tip-top shape? Do you need to write more? Or less? Maybe combine several weaker articles in one strong one? Content pruning is going through your posts to see what you can take out to improve the rest. Sometimes, the best SEO strategy can be not to write more, but to improve what you have!

Work on your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness

Now search engine can understand content, they are increasingly looking at the value of that content. Is it trustworthy? Who is the person claiming these things? Why should we trust the author? Is the author an authority on the subject? Google looks not just at the quality of the content, but also if that content can be assessed in a professional way. Especially for YMLY (Your Money or Your Life) pages, like medical or financial content, the trust and expertise factor is going to be very important. This’ll be a big part of SEO in 2021.

Keep an eye on passage ranking

Sometime in 2021, Google will incorporate a new way of ranking pieces of text found deep in long-form articles: passage ranking. This is a way to better uncover answers to questions in articles that have a slightly different main topic but where the answer is relevant to that query. Thanks to better language understanding, Google can uncover these valid answer and surface these in the search results. This means that you have a chance to rank more parts of your content for more questions. Just make sure that your content is paragraph-friendly, has a proper structure and makes good use of headings.

Hone those writing skills!

Quality content is well-written content. Quality content is original, in-depth and easy to understand. Search engines are getting better at determining the text quality of an article and make decisions based on that. Also, readers value well-written texts more and get a sense of trust from them. If content reads well and is factual and grammatically correct, it will come across more professional and people will be more likely to return to read more of your content. So, brush up those writing skills! We have an awesome SEO copywriting guide and an SEO copywriting course if you need help. If you buy Yoast SEO Premium, you get complementary access to all our SEO training courses — for one low price.

Search is on the move

As much as we’d like everything to happen on our website, it’s not. Depending on where you are and what you’re doing: your search engine optimization might need to happen elsewhere and not specifically in Google. For some searches and actions, search is moving beyond the website or social media platform. There are loads of devices that can answer a spoken question with a spoken answer. Devices that can book tickets for you or reserve a table. There are huge e-commerce platforms that seem to get the majority of product searches, not to mention all those app-based services out there. Visual search is also on the rise. Maybe these have value for you?

Web stories

In just a few years, the stories format has concurred the world. These short-form stories offer a new way of communicating. Almost every social media gigant has its own version of stories, so it isn’t strange to see Google jump on this as well. In 2020, Google started pushing their web stories — an open version of the story format, built on web technologies we all know and love. After launching an awesome WordPress plugin to create web stories, Google started to include web stories in the search results and platforms like Google Discover. In 2021, web stories will be prove valuable for a lot of sites.

(Progressive web) apps

Links to apps are continuing to pop up in search, especially on mobile. Loads of sites bombard you with links to their apps on the home screen. Some services are app-only, like Uber. Apps are everywhere, even Google is now testing structured data for software apps. What’s more, Google is expanding its own homepage on mobile with the Discover app that suggests new content based on your interests.

Where’s an app, there’s a customer to reach. Uber might be the ultimate taxi hailing service, but why can’t a local taxi company replicate that? Apps offer another way — and sometimes better way — of reaching your audience. Depending on your product and market, it might be a good idea to look into apps. If you’re not willing to go down the native route, there’s always progressive web apps — which we’ll see a lot off this year!

Video

Video is huge! And there’s no end in sight for the video boom. This year, we’ve seen the arrival of short-form content providers like Tik Tok and we’ve seen a number of enhancements in the way video get’s presented in the search results pages. You can count on it that video will only become more important. If you have the means, invest in video. Remember, it doesn’t always have to be flashy and professional — just make it heartfelt.

Other platforms

Traditionally, a lot of search happens not on search engines, but social media and other types of platforms. Now, these past years we’ve seen a steady decline in traffic and conversion coming from social media. Totally different platforms are taking their place. YouTube is a powerful search engine, as is Amazon. Plus, there’s all those short-form video’s going around. Maybe that’s something to attract a new audience? Also, did you see the meteoric rise of alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo? People are getting more privacy-aware, which is a good thing! Depending on the searcher and his/her goal, platforms like these are becoming increasingly important. Surely, something to think about!

A system for getting traffic with SEO in 2021

Now, if we’d recap all this, what does it all boil down to? We know it sounds easy when you read it like this, but this is what you should keep in your head at all times:

  • A lot has changed in 2020, so restart your research and read up on consumer trends for 2021.
  • You should have a fast, easily usable, technically flawless website with high-quality content that truly helps visitors.
  • This website needs to be supported by a brand that offers high-quality products and services.
  • Depending on your niche, this might also mean that you need an app strategy or a strategy for an external platform.

SEO in 2021: What’s next?

It’s easy to say that your site must be better than ever in 2021, because it’s true! Those ten blue links and rich search results are what it’s all about for most sites. The majority of traffic will still come from organic search. Social media traffic is down, conversational search is on the rise, but not big enough to put a dent in organic. So you have to keep improving your site in all the right places.

Of course, there’s a lot of other stuff happening at the same time and most of it concerns an ever-changing Google. Next year, we’ll start to see Google less as a search engine and more as a visual assistant — a person who lives in your phone and solves problems for you. And that’s what they want to get to. It’s been a promise for a long time, but now we’re starting to see it with all these rich results and answer boxes. This will be interesting to watch.

Have a great 2021!

The post SEO in 2021: A new chance to impress appeared first on Yoast.

Although it also brought lots of good things, 2020 was a year to quickly forget for most of us. So let us take a look at next year. For most sites, SEO in 2021 is not much different from the past couple of years: you still need to improve the same stuff, but you do
The post SEO in 2021: A new chance to impress appeared first on Yoast.Read MoreContent SEO, Mobile SEO, Schema.org, Site Speed, Site Structure, Technical SEO, User eXperience (UX)

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The Link Building Webslog

Posted by rjonesx.

This is not the link building article you — or really anyone — were probably hoping for. It isn’t a step-by-step guide to getting the best backlinks, it isn’t some list of hot tips or new opportunities, and it isn’t the announcement of some great tool. What it is, unashamedly, is a window into the brutal slog that is outreach-based link building. 

What can you expect?

1. YELLING IN CAPSLOCK.

2. Some tips and tricks.

3. Weeping and gnashing of teeth

Punch people in the face through the internet
Courtesy Some Ecards

All kidding aside, one of the few aphorisms I’ve come to believe is that sharing how we do things as SEOs is almost never a problem, because 99% of people don’t have the follow-through and resources to make it happen. I would love to be proven wrong by the readers on Moz.

My goal here is to give a realistic understanding of the monotonous slog that is white-hat, outreach-based link building. I happen to think that link building is a perfect counterexample to the “Pareto Principle”. Unlike the Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the cause, I find that unless you put in 60-80% of the effort, you won’t see more than 20% of the potential effect. The payoff comes when you have outworked your competitors, and I promise you they are putting in more than 20%.

pareto principle
Courtesy Quotiss

The goal of this “Webslog” is to document the weeks and months that go into a link building campaign, at least as far as how I go about the process.

motivation
Courtesy Aaron Burden

Also, look at that gorgeous fountain pen. I frickin’ love fountain pens.

I will try and update this document every week or so with progress reports, my motivation level, the tips and tricks I’ve employed over the last few days, the headaches, wins, and losses. By the end of this, I hope to have accomplished something along the lines of a link building journal. It won’t be a blueprint for link building success, but hopefully it will mark on the map of your link building journey the things to avoid, the best way to get through certain jams, and when you’re just going to have to tough it out.


Journal Entry Day One

Day one is almost always the best day. It’s a preparation day. It’s the day you buy the gym membership, purchase a veritable ton of whey protein and protein shaker bottles, weigh yourself — in all reality you accomplish nothing, but feel like you have done so much. Day one is important because it can provide momentum and clear a path to success, but it also presents the problem of motivation being incredibly disproportionate to success. It’s likely that your first day will be the most discordant with respect to motivation and results. 

Rand does a great job explaining the relationship between ROI and Effort:

However, I think the third component here is motivation. While it does largely track the chart Rand provides, I think there are some notable differences, the first of which is that, in the first few days, your motivation will be high despite not having any results. Your motivation will probably dip very quickly and become parallel with the remainder of the “effort” line on the graph, but you get the point.

motivation
Courtesy Drew Beamer

It’s essential to keep your motivation up over the course of the “slog”, and the trick is to disconnect your motivation from your ROI and attach it instead to attainable goals which lead to ROI. It’s a terribly difficult thing to do. 

Alright, so, Day One prep.

Project description

For this project, I’ll be employing a unique form of broken link building (Part 2). If you’ve seen any of my link building presentations in the last 2-3 years, you may have caught a glimpse of some of the techniques in the process. Nevertheless, the link building method really isn’t important for the sake of this project. All that matters for the sake of our discussion in the method is:

  1. Outreach Based (requires contacting other webmasters).
  2. Neutral with regard to Black/White hat (it could be done either way).
  3. Requires Prospecting.
  4. Ultimately brings Return on Investment through either advertising or an exit.

In addition, I won’t be using any aliases in this project. For once, I’m building something respectable enough that I don’t mind my name being associated with it. I do still need to be careful (avoid negative SEO, for example) as this is a YMYL industry (health related). The site is already in existence, but with almost no links.

So, what are the returns on investment (or effort) that I’ll be tracking and, importantly, won’t be tracking?

Return on Investment
Courtesy financereference.com

1. Emails sent to links placed relative to:

  • Subject line
  • Pitch email
  • Target broken link

2. Contact forms filled to links placed:

  • Subject line
  • Pitch email
  • Target broken link

3. Anchor text used in links placed

4. Not tracking:

  • Deliverability
  • Open rate
  • Reply rate
  • Domain Authority of source

I know #4 will sound like a cardinal sin to many of the professional link builders reading this, but I’m really just not interested in bothering a recipient who chooses to overlook the email. I’m certain that the speed of emails sent will not impact deliverability, so the other statistics just seem like continuing to ring the doorbell at someone’s house until they are forced to answer. Sure, it might work, but it also might get you reported.

Preparation

There are a couple of steps I take every time I begin a project like this.

1. Set up email, obviously. I typically set up russ@, info@, contact@, media@ and a catch all. I don’t use Google. It just seems, well, wrong. I have had success with Zoho before, although honestly I just need the email so I often go with a CPANEL host and then add the MX records to Cloudflare.

2. Set up a phone number for voice mail. I like Grasshopper, personally. This is not to improve rankings (although I do put it on the site), it’s to improve conversion rates. Email messages with a real phone number and real email address from a real person, with the same domain promoted as the domain in the email, just seem to do better when your project is truly above-board.

3. Set up SPF and DKIM records for better deliverability.

4. Set up a number of Google Docs sheets which will help with some of the prospecting and mail sending.

5. Set up my emailer. I know this is vague, but one of the things I try to do is create stumbling blocks to cheating. There are some awesome tools out there Pitchbox, BuzzStream, LinkProspector and more, but I find each very tempting to take shortcuts. I want to make sure I pull the trigger personally on every email that goes out. Efficient, no. Effective, not really. Safe, yeah.

Honestly, this is about as much as I can do in one day. I look forward to updating this regularly, make sure you follow @moz or @rjonesx on Twitter to get notified when we update this journal.


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!

Posted by rjonesx.This is not the link building article you — or really anyone — were probably hoping for. It isn’t a step-by-step guide to getting the best backlinks, it isn’t some list of hot tips or new opportunities, and it isn’t the announcement of some great tool. What it is, unashamedly, is a window into the brutal slog that is outreach-based link building. What can you expect?
1. YELLING IN CAPSLOCK.
2. Some tips and tricks.
3. Weeping and gnashing of teeth
Courtesy Some Ecards

All kidding aside, one of the few aphorisms I’ve come to believe is that sharing how we do things as SEOs is almost never a problem, because 99% of people don’t have the follow-through and resources to make it happen. I would love to be proven wrong by the readers on Moz.
My goal here is to give a realistic understanding of the monotonous slog that is white-hat, outreach-based link building. I happen to think that link building is a perfect counterexample to the “Pareto Principle”. Unlike the Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the cause, I find that unless you put in 60-80% of the effort, you won’t see more than 20% of the potential effect. The payoff comes when you have outworked your competitors, and I promise you they are putting in more than 20%.
Courtesy Quotiss

The goal of this “Webslog” is to document the weeks and months that go into a link building campaign, at least as far as how I go about the process.
Courtesy Aaron Burden
Also, look at that gorgeous fountain pen. I frickin’ love fountain pens.
I will try and update this document every week or so with progress reports, my motivation level, the tips and tricks I’ve employed over the last few days, the headaches, wins, and losses. By the end of this, I hope to have accomplished something along the lines of a link building journal. It won’t be a blueprint for link building success, but hopefully it will mark on the map of your link building journey the things to avoid, the best way to get through certain jams, and when you’re just going to have to tough it out.

Journal Entry Day One
Day one is almost always the best day. It’s a preparation day. It’s the day you buy the gym membership, purchase a veritable ton of whey protein and protein shaker bottles, weigh yourself — in all reality you accomplish nothing, but feel like you have done so much. Day one is important because it can provide momentum and clear a path to success, but it also presents the problem of motivation being incredibly disproportionate to success. It’s likely that your first day will be the most discordant with respect to motivation and results. 
Rand does a great job explaining the relationship between ROI and Effort:

However, I think the third component here is motivation. While it does largely track the chart Rand provides, I think there are some notable differences, the first of which is that, in the first few days, your motivation will be high despite not having any results. Your motivation will probably dip very quickly and become parallel with the remainder of the “effort” line on the graph, but you get the point.
Courtesy Drew Beamer

It’s essential to keep your motivation up over the course of the “slog”, and the trick is to disconnect your motivation from your ROI and attach it instead to attainable goals which lead to ROI. It’s a terribly difficult thing to do. 
Alright, so, Day One prep.
Project description
For this project, I’ll be employing a unique form of broken link building (Part 2). If you’ve seen any of my link building presentations in the last 2-3 years, you may have caught a glimpse of some of the techniques in the process. Nevertheless, the link building method really isn’t important for the sake of this project. All that matters for the sake of our discussion in the method is:
Outreach Based (requires contacting other webmasters).Neutral with regard to Black/White hat (it could be done either way).Requires Prospecting.Ultimately brings Return on Investment through either advertising or an exit.
In addition, I won’t be using any aliases in this project. For once, I’m building something respectable enough that I don’t mind my name being associated with it. I do still need to be careful (avoid negative SEO, for example) as this is a YMYL industry (health related). The site is already in existence, but with almost no links.
So, what are the returns on investment (or effort) that I’ll be tracking and, importantly, won’t be tracking?
Courtesy financereference.com

1. Emails sent to links placed relative to:
Subject linePitch emailTarget broken link
2. Contact forms filled to links placed:
Subject linePitch emailTarget broken link
3. Anchor text used in links placed
4. Not tracking:
DeliverabilityOpen rateReply rateDomain Authority of source
I know #4 will sound like a cardinal sin to many of the professional link builders reading this, but I’m really just not interested in bothering a recipient who chooses to overlook the email. I’m certain that the speed of emails sent will not impact deliverability, so the other statistics just seem like continuing to ring the doorbell at someone’s house until they are forced to answer. Sure, it might work, but it also might get you reported.
Preparation
There are a couple of steps I take every time I begin a project like this.

1. Set up email, obviously. I typically set up russ@, info@, contact@, media@ and a catch all. I don’t use Google. It just seems, well, wrong. I have had success with Zoho before, although honestly I just need the email so I often go with a CPANEL host and then add the MX records to Cloudflare.
2. Set up a phone number for voice mail. I like Grasshopper, personally. This is not to improve rankings (although I do put it on the site), it’s to improve conversion rates. Email messages with a real phone number and real email address from a real person, with the same domain promoted as the domain in the email, just seem to do better when your project is truly above-board.
3. Set up SPF and DKIM records for better deliverability.
4. Set up a number of Google Docs sheets which will help with some of the prospecting and mail sending.
5. Set up my emailer. I know this is vague, but one of the things I try to do is create stumbling blocks to cheating. There are some awesome tools out there Pitchbox, BuzzStream, LinkProspector and more, but I find each very tempting to take shortcuts. I want to make sure I pull the trigger personally on every email that goes out. Efficient, no. Effective, not really. Safe, yeah.
Honestly, this is about as much as I can do in one day. I look forward to updating this regularly, make sure you follow @moz or @rjonesx on Twitter to get notified when we update this journal.
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!Read MoreThe Moz Blog

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How to Get Google to Index Your Site (Faster)

How to Get Google to Index Your Site (Faster)

If your website isn’t indexed, it can’t be found via search engines like Google. This guide provides greater detail about indexing and why it’s important. It also explains how you can check to see if your page is indexed, how to fix common technical SEO problems that cause indexing issues, and how to quickly get Google to recrawl index your site if it’s not already indexed.

If your website isn’t indexed, it can’t be found via search engines like Google. This guide provides greater detail about indexing and why it’s important. It also explains how you can check to see if your page is indexed, how to fix common technical SEO problems that cause indexing issues, and how to quickly get Google to recrawl index your site if it’s not already indexed.Read MoreSEOSemrush blog

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How to Create a Chatbot With No Coding Experience in 4 Simple Steps

If you really want to drive customer engagement, learning how to create a chatbot is a great place to start.

According to Dmitriy Kachin, COO of Chatfuel, strong chatbot experiences with higher audience engagement register 80–90% response rates. This result shows that users are willing to use chatbots, but the experience still needs to be properly executed to meet their needs.

Building a chatbot completely from scratch using custom code takes a lot of time and resources that many businesses simply don’t have. Lucky for you, we’ve broken down a step-by-step process for quickly and cost-effectively building a chatbot — no coding experience necessary.

Step 1: Define the Goal of Your Chatbot

Before you actually start building your chatbot, you need to set a clearly defined goal for it. The type of chatbot you build will depend on what you want it to accomplish.

Goal Example 1: Handle a Portion of Incoming Customer Support Questions

Want to make life a little easier for your hardworking support staff? Use a chatbot to resolve simple inquiries so your staff can focus on more complex issues that require extra attention and detail.


Use a chatbot to resolve simple inquiries so your staff can focus on more complex issues that require extra attention and detail.
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If this sounds like your objective, build a chatbot that can answer common FAQs, set up calls and appointments, and even run brief tutorials. Getting your chatbot to help with these types of tasks will cut down on resources needed to run your business.

Goal Example 2: Teach Users about Product-Related Topics

As customers, we’ve all been in situations where we’re interested in a particular product or service but don’t fully comprehend how it works. Set your chatbot up to inform users about different topics related to your business, such as product tutorials and other industry-specific processes.

Users should be able to engage with your chatbot and utilize it as a 24-hour resource so they can get the answers they need whenever they want. Getting your chatbot to serve as a subject matter expert for users can go a long way toward building trust and engaging them.

Goal Example 3: Entertain Users

One of the best ways to drive customer engagement is to simply entertain them, so consider designing your chatbot to share fun and light-hearted content with users. Set up your chatbot to offer games or share content that will delight users.

That said, your chatbot needs to tie back to the brand, product, or service you’re trying to promote. For example, chatbot development agency Massively built a bot specifically designed to interact with fans of the TV show Pretty Little Liars. For your building efforts to be worthwhile, the connection between your chatbot and brand should be clear.

Step 2: Choose Channels for Your Chatbot

When they were first conceived, chatbots were generally hosted on company websites and Facebook. Now, you can deploy a chatbot through a number of different channels.

Company Website

how to create a chatbot veem exampleSource: Veem

Your website is possibly the most obvious channel to deploy your chatbot. People visiting your website are usually eager to learn about your product, so they’ll likely find a knowledgeable chatbot helpful. Use the chatbot to encourage visitors to stay on your website, explore products, and potentially make a purchase.

Messaging Apps

how to create a chatbot kayak exampleSource: Kayak Facebook Page

Some of the most popular places to deploy chatbots, especially in recent years, have become messaging apps.

Facebook Messenger chatbots are a great way to build user trust through your Facebook company page before directing them to your website or setting up a product or service call or demo. A Facebook Messenger interaction is a less salesly format than suddenly being inundated with promotional bot messages on a company website.

Other options include messaging apps such as Kik and Slack. Both of these platforms come with their distinct advantages when it comes to chatbots. Kik chatbots are generally more fun and entertaining, while Slack chatbots are mostly designed to help streamline workflow.

Google Business Messages

Source: Levi’s Google My Business Page

Some businesses now offer the ability to speak with a chatbot directly through their Google My Business page. This chatbot is built to be deployed when you click on a business page result in a Google search.

This type of chatbot is the ultimate convenience for customers searching for your brand who want information right away without having to jump to your site. Users can interact directly with the Google chatbot to quickly grab information, such as where stores are located and what hours those stores are open.

Step 3: Design a Chatbot Conversation

The very best chatbots tell a user they’re a chatbot, but make you feel as if you’re interacting with a real person. Keeping the main goal of your chatbot and channel in mind, create a natural script that serves as a conversation between the chatbot and user.

Anticipate Questions Based on FAQs

When a user interacts with a chatbot, they could ask any number of questions. Your chatbot shouldn’t try to answer every possible query (that would be very resource-intensive, and likely create a poor experience). Instead, you want to prep your chatbot to answer your customers’ most common questions.

Say, for example, you offer video marketing software, and many users ask how to upload videos to your platform. In this case, you would create intents that match common utterances a user may type in order to ask about uploading videos, and offer instructions for completing the task.

Tell Users What Questions They Can Ask

Chatbots that can answer any open-ended question are very complex to build. They require a ton of time and effort to execute. It’s almost impossible to anticipate every kind of user question that will potentially come your chatbot’s way.

With that in mind, the chatbot should always set expectations about what it can answer. Many chatbots do this by giving users options to click, or otherwise making it clear what they can and cannot answer. Designing your conversations this way can save your team a lot of time, and your customers a lot of potential headaches.

Use Clear, Friendly Language in Responses

Ideally, the conversation with a chatbot should mimic what it’s like to talk to a helpful brand representative. If your chatbot is a customer service chatbot, for example, think of the type of support and guidance the best customer service reps at your business offer, and try your best to emulate that in the chatbot.

One way to get started crafting a chatbot conversation is to sit down with a representative from your business and role play different conversations. Think of common questions a customer or prospective customer may ask, and record their answers. Transcribe the script, keeping in mind that you want to infuse some personality into your chatbot while still keeping it in line with how you want your brand to be represented.

Set the Bot to Redirect Complex Queries

Not every question that comes your chatbot’s way will require a simple response. To accommodate complex questions, you can set your chatbot to direct the user to a customer support or sales rep.

There are different ways a chatbot can do this. It can respond by saying it will connect the customer with a live customer rep as soon as one is available. If you have the capability, the chatbot can transfer the user to another live chat with a rep. You can even set up the chatbot to have a rep call the user in a certain timeframe to discuss further.

Step 4: Select a Chatbot Builder

Now that you’ve got all your pieces in place, it’s time to actually build your chatbot. Using a chatbot builder streamlines the creation process, especially if you don’t have any prior coding experience. Here are some easy-to-use options to help get you started.

Chatfuel

  • Price: Full plans start at $15/month; a free plan is available
  • Typical set-up time: Under an hour
  • Best for: Facebook Messenger, Instagram

Botsify

  • Price: Full plans start at $49/month; no free plan is available, but a 14-day free trial is offered
  • Typical set-up time: Under an hour
  • Best for: Website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS

ManyChat

  • Price: Full plans start at $10/month; a free plan is available
  • Typical set-up time: Under an hour
  • Best for: Facebook Messenger, SMS, Shopify

Test and Adjust Your Chatbot Over Time

A chatbot is just like any other marketing and sales initiative — it requires constant revaluation. Regularly note what type of inquiries your chatbot is consistently seeing and how effective it is at fielding those inquiries. The chatbot builders listed above each have analysis capabilities to give you insight into different metrics you can track to measure success. As time goes on, you’ll need to adjust your chatbot to stay up-to-date with current needs of your customers and prospects.

The post How to Create a Chatbot With No Coding Experience in 4 Simple Steps appeared first on Alexa Blog.

If you really want to drive customer engagement, learning how to create a chatbot is a great place to start. According to Dmitriy Kachin, COO of Chatfuel, strong chatbot experiences with higher audience engagement register 80–90% response rates. This result shows that users are willing to use chatbots, but the experience still needs to be […]
The post How to Create a Chatbot With No Coding Experience in 4 Simple Steps appeared first on Alexa Blog.Read MoreContent Marketing, Conversational MarketingAlexa Blog

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They’re Simply the Best: The Top 25 Moz Blog Posts of 2020

Posted by morgan.mcmurray

Here we are again — that time of year filled with wrap-ups and lookbacks and “best of” compilations. 2020 was a year like no other, and that’s certainly reflected in the topics covered by the blogs in the list below.

We published 170 blog posts this year (including Whiteboard Friday episodes) — not too shabby for a year rife with personal and professional challenges! We’re looking forward to what 2021 has in store, but in case you missed anything, we’ve compiled the top 25 most-read pieces from the last 12 months*. You’ll find several Whiteboard Friday episodes (past and present), local SEO tips, and advice for empathetic marketing, along with the optimistic SEO predictions for 2020 and beyond — made in pre-COVID times. 

So without further ado, here are the best Moz Blog posts of 2020. Enjoy!



*The top 25 Moz Blog posts listed below were published between January 1 – December 22, 2020, and are in order by unique pageviews generated during that timeframe.


1. What Readers Want During COVID-19: Content Ideas for Every Niche

Author: Amanda Milligan | Published: March 31, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 49,889

Amanda tested a variety of keywords to see which ones exhibited a trend during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and might warrant some attention from content marketers. Here’s what she found. 

2. Pay Attention to These SEO Trends in 2020 and Beyond

Author: Suganthan Mohanadasan | Published: February 4, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 45,553

In the past several years, we’ve already seen a sea of change in how we think and execute on SEO, but the future holds even more change — and more opportunity. Explore a rundown of key SEO topics to keep an eye on in the future.

3. Are H1 Tags Necessary for Ranking? [SEO Experiment]

Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: February 25, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 35,414

In earlier days of search marketing, SEOs often heard the same two best practices repeated so many times it became implanted in our brains: Wrap the title of your page in H1 tags and use only one H1 tag per page. Despite assertions from one of Google’s most trusted authorities that sites “can do perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags”, many SEOs didn’t believe it. So of course, we decided to test it scientifically.

4. Google My Business: FAQ for Multiple Businesses at the Same Address

Author: Miriam Ellis | Published: February 17, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 31,883

How should I get listed in Google My Business if I’ve got multiple businesses at the same address? How many listings am I eligible for if I’m running more than one business at my location? Get answers to your top questions in this comprehensive FAQ.

5. Google’s January 2020 Core Update: Has the Dust Settled?

Author: Dr. Peter J. Meyers | Published: January 27, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 31,800

The January 2020 Core Update peaked from January 13-15. We dig into the numbers, including winners and losers.

6. Google’s May 2020 Core Update: Winners, Winnerers, Winlosers, and Why It’s All Probably Crap

Author: Dr. Peter J. Meyers | Published: May 14, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 24,159

The May 2020 Core Update was the second-hottest update since the August 2018 “Medic” Update. Dr. Pete takes a hard look at the numbers, including why measuring winners and losers has turned out to be a tricky business.

7. Core Web Vitals: The Next Official Google Ranking Factor

Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: July 17, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 21,281

There’s a new ranking factor in town: Core Web Vitals. Expected in 2021, this Google-announced algorithm change has a few details you should be aware of. 

8. SEO for 2020

Author: Britney Muller | Published: January 31, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 20,783

SEO Scientist Britney Muller offers a seventeen-point checklist of things you ought to keep in mind for executing on modern, effective SEO. You’ll encounter both old favorites (optimizing title tags, anyone?) and cutting-edge ideas to power your search strategy into the future.

9. 4 Google My Business Fields That Impact Ranking (and 3 That Don’t)

Author: Joy Hawkins | Published: October 23, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 20,330

Joy and her team at Sterling Sky have come to the conclusion that there are only four things inside the Google My Business dashboard that a business owner or a marketing agency can edit that will have a direct influence on where they rank in the local results on Google.

10. Crawled — Currently Not Indexed: A Coverage Status Guide

Author: Christopher Long | Published: March 9, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 18,354

Within Google’s Index Coverage report, there are many different statuses that provide webmasters with information about how Google is handling their site content. While many of the statuses provide some context around Google’s crawling and indexation decisions, one remains unclear: “Crawled — currently not indexed”. This post will help you identify some of the most common reasons this mysterious status might be affecting your website, and how to address them.

11. How to Get Backlinks in 2020 [Series]

Author: Britney Muller | Published: June 26, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 15,523

A little creativity and smart tactics can uncover high-quality link building opportunities. This week, Britney Muller kicks off a new Whiteboard Friday series on modern link building.

12. Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero

Author: Dr. Peter J. Meyers | Published: February 5, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 14,825

On January 22, 2020, Google started removing Featured Snippet URLs from organic listings. We take a deep dive into the before and after of this change, including its implications for rank-tracking.

13. 2020 Local SEO Success: How to Feed, Fight, and Flip Google

Author: Miriam Ellis | Published: January 6, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 13,969

Feed Google the right information, fight spam, and flip it into an opportunity: these are the top three ways to chase local SEO success.

14. Which of My Competitor’s Keywords Should (& Shouldn’t) I Target?

Author: Rand Fishkin | Published: February 21, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 13,638

Which of your competitor’s keywords are worth targeting, and which can be ignored? Learn how to tell the difference in this fan favorite Whiteboard Friday.

15. 10 Basic SEO Tips to Index + Rank New Content Faster

Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: October 16, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 13,381

When you publish new content, you want users to find it ranking in search results as fast as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tricks in the SEO toolbox to help you accomplish this goal. 

16. 7 SEO Processes That Get Easier with Increased PageRank/Domain Authority

Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: February 7, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,883

What factors are affected as you improve PageRank or Domain Authority, and how? Cyrus details seven SEO processes that are made easier by a strong investment in link building and growing your authority.

17. Marketing in Times of Uncertainty

Author: Rand Fishkin | Published: April 3, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,861

Our work as marketers has transformed drastically in 2020. Our good friend Rand talks about a topic that’s been on the forefront of our minds lately: how to do our jobs empathetically and effectively through one of the most difficult trials in modern memory.

18. A Beginner’s Guide to Ranking in Google Maps

Author: Alex Ratynski | Published: March 16, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,836

The majority of your potential customers still use Google to find local businesses near them. In fact, 80% of searches with “local intent” result in a conversion. This begs the question: “What’s the best way to catch the attention of local searchers on Google?” The answer: through Google Maps marketing.

19. The Rules of Link Building

Author: Britney Muller | Published: February 28, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,532

Are you building links the right way? Or are you still subscribing to outdated practices? Britney Muller clarifies which link building tactics still matter and which are a waste of time (or downright harmful) in one of our very favorite classic episodes of Whiteboard Friday.

20. How We Ranked a Single Page for 2.6K Keywords Driving 30K Monthly Searches [Case Study]

Author: Kristin Tynski | Published: May 4, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,359

In rare cases, SEOs create content that generates results so far beyond what was anticipated that a single project can greatly move the needle. Kristin walks through one such instance for her team’s client, ADT.

21. Understanding & Fulfilling Search Intent

Author: Britney Muller |  Published: June 12, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,262

Understanding what your target audience is searching and why is more important than ever. Britney Muller shares everything you need to begin understanding and fulfilling search intent, plus a free Google Sheets checklist download to help you analyze the SERPs you care about most.

22. Title Tags SEO: When to Include Your Brand and/or Boilerplate

Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: August 31, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 11,850

If your websites are like most, they include a fair amount of extra “stuff” in the title tags: things like your brand name or repeating boilerplate text that appears across multiple pages. But should you include these elements in your titles automatically?

23. How to Query the Google Search Console API

Author: Brian Gorman | Published: March 18, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 11,095

If you’ve been an SEO for even a short time, you’re likely familiar with Google Search Console (GSC). It’s a valuable tool for getting information about your website and its performance in organic search. That said, it does have its limitations. In this post, you’ll learn how to get better-connected data out of Google Search Console and increase the size of your exports by 400%.

24. How to Choose Google My Business Categories (With Cool Tools!)

Author: Miriam Ellis | Published: September 9, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 10,873

Your choice of your primary and secondary categories contributes a lot to Google’s understanding and handling of your business. With so much riding on proper categorization, let’s empower you to research your options like a pro today!

25. A Must-Have Keyword Research Process for Winning SEO

Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: May 8, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 10,745

Smart keyword research forms the basis of all successful SEO. Cyrus Shepard shares the basics of a winning keyword research process that you can learn and master in a short amount of time. 

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!

Posted by morgan.mcmurrayHere we are again — that time of year filled with wrap-ups and lookbacks and “best of” compilations. 2020 was a year like no other, and that’s certainly reflected in the topics covered by the blogs in the list below.
We published 170 blog posts this year (including Whiteboard Friday episodes) — not too shabby for a year rife with personal and professional challenges! We’re looking forward to what 2021 has in store, but in case you missed anything, we’ve compiled the top 25 most-read pieces from the last 12 months*. You’ll find several Whiteboard Friday episodes (past and present), local SEO tips, and advice for empathetic marketing, along with the optimistic SEO predictions for 2020 and beyond — made in pre-COVID times. 
So without further ado, here are the best Moz Blog posts of 2020. Enjoy!



*The top 25 Moz Blog posts listed below were published between January 1 – December 22, 2020, and are in order by unique pageviews generated during that timeframe.

1. What Readers Want During COVID-19: Content Ideas for Every Niche
Author: Amanda Milligan | Published: March 31, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 49,889
Amanda tested a variety of keywords to see which ones exhibited a trend during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and might warrant some attention from content marketers. Here’s what she found. 
2. Pay Attention to These SEO Trends in 2020 and Beyond
Author: Suganthan Mohanadasan | Published: February 4, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 45,553
In the past several years, we’ve already seen a sea of change in how we think and execute on SEO, but the future holds even more change — and more opportunity. Explore a rundown of key SEO topics to keep an eye on in the future.
3. Are H1 Tags Necessary for Ranking? [SEO Experiment]
Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: February 25, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 35,414
In earlier days of search marketing, SEOs often heard the same two best practices repeated so many times it became implanted in our brains: Wrap the title of your page in H1 tags and use only one H1 tag per page. Despite assertions from one of Google’s most trusted authorities that sites “can do perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags”, many SEOs didn’t believe it. So of course, we decided to test it scientifically.
4. Google My Business: FAQ for Multiple Businesses at the Same Address
Author: Miriam Ellis | Published: February 17, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 31,883
How should I get listed in Google My Business if I’ve got multiple businesses at the same address? How many listings am I eligible for if I’m running more than one business at my location? Get answers to your top questions in this comprehensive FAQ.
5. Google’s January 2020 Core Update: Has the Dust Settled?
Author: Dr. Peter J. Meyers | Published: January 27, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 31,800
The January 2020 Core Update peaked from January 13-15. We dig into the numbers, including winners and losers.
6. Google’s May 2020 Core Update: Winners, Winnerers, Winlosers, and Why It’s All Probably Crap
Author: Dr. Peter J. Meyers | Published: May 14, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 24,159
The May 2020 Core Update was the second-hottest update since the August 2018 “Medic” Update. Dr. Pete takes a hard look at the numbers, including why measuring winners and losers has turned out to be a tricky business.
7. Core Web Vitals: The Next Official Google Ranking Factor
Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: July 17, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 21,281
There’s a new ranking factor in town: Core Web Vitals. Expected in 2021, this Google-announced algorithm change has a few details you should be aware of. 
8. SEO for 2020
Author: Britney Muller | Published: January 31, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 20,783
SEO Scientist Britney Muller offers a seventeen-point checklist of things you ought to keep in mind for executing on modern, effective SEO. You’ll encounter both old favorites (optimizing title tags, anyone?) and cutting-edge ideas to power your search strategy into the future.
9. 4 Google My Business Fields That Impact Ranking (and 3 That Don’t)
Author: Joy Hawkins | Published: October 23, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 20,330
Joy and her team at Sterling Sky have come to the conclusion that there are only four things inside the Google My Business dashboard that a business owner or a marketing agency can edit that will have a direct influence on where they rank in the local results on Google.
10. Crawled — Currently Not Indexed: A Coverage Status Guide
Author: Christopher Long | Published: March 9, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 18,354
Within Google’s Index Coverage report, there are many different statuses that provide webmasters with information about how Google is handling their site content. While many of the statuses provide some context around Google’s crawling and indexation decisions, one remains unclear: “Crawled — currently not indexed”. This post will help you identify some of the most common reasons this mysterious status might be affecting your website, and how to address them.
11. How to Get Backlinks in 2020 [Series]
Author: Britney Muller | Published: June 26, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 15,523
A little creativity and smart tactics can uncover high-quality link building opportunities. This week, Britney Muller kicks off a new Whiteboard Friday series on modern link building.
12. Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero
Author: Dr. Peter J. Meyers | Published: February 5, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 14,825
On January 22, 2020, Google started removing Featured Snippet URLs from organic listings. We take a deep dive into the before and after of this change, including its implications for rank-tracking.
13. 2020 Local SEO Success: How to Feed, Fight, and Flip Google
Author: Miriam Ellis | Published: January 6, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 13,969
Feed Google the right information, fight spam, and flip it into an opportunity: these are the top three ways to chase local SEO success.
14. Which of My Competitor’s Keywords Should (& Shouldn’t) I Target?
Author: Rand Fishkin | Published: February 21, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 13,638
Which of your competitor’s keywords are worth targeting, and which can be ignored? Learn how to tell the difference in this fan favorite Whiteboard Friday.
15. 10 Basic SEO Tips to Index + Rank New Content Faster
Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: October 16, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 13,381
When you publish new content, you want users to find it ranking in search results as fast as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tricks in the SEO toolbox to help you accomplish this goal. 
16. 7 SEO Processes That Get Easier with Increased PageRank/Domain Authority
Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: February 7, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,883
What factors are affected as you improve PageRank or Domain Authority, and how? Cyrus details seven SEO processes that are made easier by a strong investment in link building and growing your authority.
17. Marketing in Times of Uncertainty
Author: Rand Fishkin | Published: April 3, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,861
Our work as marketers has transformed drastically in 2020. Our good friend Rand talks about a topic that’s been on the forefront of our minds lately: how to do our jobs empathetically and effectively through one of the most difficult trials in modern memory.
18. A Beginner’s Guide to Ranking in Google Maps
Author: Alex Ratynski | Published: March 16, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,836
The majority of your potential customers still use Google to find local businesses near them. In fact, 80% of searches with “local intent” result in a conversion. This begs the question: “What’s the best way to catch the attention of local searchers on Google?” The answer: through Google Maps marketing.
19. The Rules of Link Building
Author: Britney Muller | Published: February 28, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,532
Are you building links the right way? Or are you still subscribing to outdated practices? Britney Muller clarifies which link building tactics still matter and which are a waste of time (or downright harmful) in one of our very favorite classic episodes of Whiteboard Friday.
20. How We Ranked a Single Page for 2.6K Keywords Driving 30K Monthly Searches [Case Study]
Author: Kristin Tynski | Published: May 4, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,359
In rare cases, SEOs create content that generates results so far beyond what was anticipated that a single project can greatly move the needle. Kristin walks through one such instance for her team’s client, ADT.
21. Understanding & Fulfilling Search Intent
Author: Britney Muller |  Published: June 12, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 12,262
Understanding what your target audience is searching and why is more important than ever. Britney Muller shares everything you need to begin understanding and fulfilling search intent, plus a free Google Sheets checklist download to help you analyze the SERPs you care about most.
22. Title Tags SEO: When to Include Your Brand and/or Boilerplate
Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: August 31, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 11,850
If your websites are like most, they include a fair amount of extra “stuff” in the title tags: things like your brand name or repeating boilerplate text that appears across multiple pages. But should you include these elements in your titles automatically?
23. How to Query the Google Search Console API
Author: Brian Gorman | Published: March 18, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 11,095
If you’ve been an SEO for even a short time, you’re likely familiar with Google Search Console (GSC). It’s a valuable tool for getting information about your website and its performance in organic search. That said, it does have its limitations. In this post, you’ll learn how to get better-connected data out of Google Search Console and increase the size of your exports by 400%.
24. How to Choose Google My Business Categories (With Cool Tools!)
Author: Miriam Ellis | Published: September 9, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 10,873
Your choice of your primary and secondary categories contributes a lot to Google’s understanding and handling of your business. With so much riding on proper categorization, let’s empower you to research your options like a pro today!
25. A Must-Have Keyword Research Process for Winning SEO
Author: Cyrus Shepard | Published: May 8, 2020 | Unique Pageviews: 10,745
Smart keyword research forms the basis of all successful SEO. Cyrus Shepard shares the basics of a winning keyword research process that you can learn and master in a short amount of time. 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!Read MoreThe Moz Blog

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Marketing Objectives: How to Set Them Right (with Examples)

Every business needs marketing objectives because they help you focus on the things that matter. For example, while it might seem like a good idea to grow your Instagram following, it might not align with what you’re trying to achieve

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The post Marketing Objectives: How to Set Them Right (with Examples) appeared first on SEO Blog by Ahrefs.

Every business needs marketing objectives because they help you focus on the things that matter. For example, while it might seem like a good idea to grow your Instagram following, it might not align with what you’re trying to achieve…
Read more ›

The post Marketing Objectives: How to Set Them Right (with Examples) appeared first on SEO Blog by Ahrefs.Read MoreMarketingSEO Blog by Ahrefs