Not Your Dad’s Keyword Tool: Advanced Keyword Research Use Cases

Posted by rjonesx.

Historically, keyword research has often been limited to to keyword selection. This is not to say that keyword selection isn’t important; in fact, identifying a small set of keywords to write a piece of content on, or target for a particular page, is still one of the most important skills an SEO should master. However, the maturation of keyword tools has given us far more uses than this singular skill. Unlike tools of the past, we aren’t limited to the standard process of “keyword in, keywords out.” In this post, I hope to show how a keyword tool like Keyword Explorer can be used to accomplish far more than page-level keyword targeting, bringing keyword research out of the realm of mere keyword selection.

Know thyself: What can my site rank for?

The Greek philosopher Plato explained in Phaedrus that it would be silly to investigate things external to him without first knowing the truth about himself. This aphorism is especially true when we consider problems in keyword research where the results returned are only meaningful in the context of our own site. A keyword difficulty score of 60 is meaningless without knowing your current state (perhaps I own Amazon.com and will have no problem ranking for such a term, or perhaps I’m a new site and have no chance). Thus, I believe all keyword research should begin with this simple process of determining your website’s current limits. We’re going to use Keyword Explorer to identify the average keyword difficulty of keywords for which you already rank so you have a benchmark with which to test all future keywords.

Step 1: Exporting data from Google Search Console

I know some of you are already thinking — hey, Russ, didn’t you just write an exposé on how this data in Google Search Console is unreliable? Well, yes, I did. So what? Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got. In this case, Google Search Console actually happens to provide more than sufficient information for us to accomplish our goal. The first step is to order your Queries in Search Console by Clicks and choose to show Position as well.

Why GSC? Perhaps you want to use a SERP corpus like SEMRush, SpyFu, or AHrefs for this purpose. I would recommend against it in this case. Using actual clicks
rather than estimated clicks can prevent keywords from showing up in your list for which you have a national presence but are actually rarely seen by users because the term generates a geographically influenced SERP.

Step 2: Export the data and filter for position 4 or better

The goal here is to limit ourselves only to keywords that are in a position to drive traffic. Since our data is already sorted by clicks, our most powerful and valuable keywords are at the top.

Pro tip: You might also choose to exclude branded keywords by filtering out your brand in the keyword column.

Step 3: Copy and paste keywords into a Keyword Explorer list

Head over to Moz Keyword Explorer and copy the keywords into a new list. You might want to name the list something like “Keyword Difficulty Average” to remember its purpose. Add your top 750 keywords and hit submit.

Step 4: Analyze the results

Now that your list is complete and Keyword Explorer has finished building your report, you have great data with which to work. You can look at the summary statistics to get an idea of the average keyword difficulty, but I prefer to use the charts. If you look at my example below, it seems like most of my keywords fall in the 21–40 range, and a handful in the 41–60, but there is a stark drop-off in the 61–80. If I imagine a curved line connecting the bars in the chart, I can see that it probably peaks somewhere around the 35–40 range, which is likely the highest I should regularly target for keywords.

Pro Tip: Export the results to Excel and use a histogram via the Data Analysis package to get an even better threshold.

Conclusion

Now that I have a strong understanding of what my site can rank for effectively, I can continue my keyword research in earnest. Keyword difficulty scores now have meaning to me that is relevant and useful — I know what I can and can’t rank for. Of course, you can use this metric to help you with your regular keyword research from here on out (I would recommend you update this list with new keywords from GSC quarterly). But let’s explore some other interesting uses of Keyword Explorer now that we know our average keyword difficulty.

How long-tail should I go?

One of the great things about keyword lists in Moz Keyword Explorer is the ability to compare a group of keywords, enabling you to make directory and site-wide decisions that are more far-reaching than standard page-by-page keyword discovery. In this first tutorial, I’m going to walk through a hypothetical situation where a website is trying to decide how far down the long-tail they should go in creating product categories.

Imagine for a moment that you have a website that sells apparel — in particular, you sell shirts. You sell both long-sleeve and short-sleeve, and for each of those you sell v-neck, crew-neck, and turtleneck. Finally, you offer 8 colors of each (red, blue, navy, green, orange, white, black, grey). So let’s get started. We will consider those 3 different potential levels of site architecture (shirts, collar types, colors).

Step 1: Find the different potential depths

We’re going to start by using a hugely useful tool: Keyword Mixer. We start by putting each one of those categories into one of the columns in Keyword Mixer. When we hit “combine,” it will create a list of all the keyword combinations of these 3 potential categories.

Next, we do the same thing, but we put the colors into the 2nd column along side the collar types. This will give us a list like “long-sleeve shirt red” and “short-sleeve shirt turtleneck”.

Finally, we make a single list of just all the categories, which will give us a list with keywords like “long-sleeve shirt” or “red” or “v-neck.”

Step 2: Create separate keyword lists for each

Copy and paste each of the lists generated by Keyword Mixer into separate keyword lists. As you can see below in this example, I made 3 different lists.

Pro tip: Try changing the order of keywords, like putting the properties before the product type. For example, most people would search for Red Long-Sleeve Shirt, not Long-Sleeve Shirt Red. This will require that you create more lists, but you might find an even better potential architecture.

Step 3: Compare metrics

In the crude example above, the flatter architecture was the best, where we didn’t use every possible combination of every type of product. Why? It turns out the long-tail keywords get almost no traffic and the keyword difficulty is just as high, if not higher. Of course, if you follow the pro tip above, you might find an even better combination. Using Keyword Mixer in combination with Keyword Explorer gives the the ability to predict which type of content architecture you should create for your eCommerce site. Finally, you can compare this to your average keyword difficulty measurement above to make sure you use a category depth that is achievable. Perhaps the “best” category option is not actually available to your site because it has too high an average keyword difficulty.

How should I organize my local pages?

One interesting problem presented to me when I was a consultant many years ago was a deceptively simple question: “Which should I use in my local results, zip codes or cities?” The company had an expansive service area and they were trying to decide between having all their local pages organized by zip or by city. At the time, I used an elaborate set of spreadsheets, scraped SERPs, and API calls to try do exactly what takes just minutes in Keyword Explorer. I’ll walk you through the details.

Step 1: Build the keyword lists

We return to our good friend Keyword Mixer here. We start by entering in the cities for which we have coverage and the keywords we would like to target. We then repeat the same process but replace the cities with the zip codes.

Step 2: Copy and paste into new Keyword Explorer lists

Follow the normal procedures and copy and paste, waiting for Keyword Explorer to calculate all the important metrics.

Step 3: Compare metrics

Finally, we compare the metrics of the two groups of keywords. In this case, while there was similar keyword difficulty, there was slightly more traffic available when using the city rather than the zip code.

The best part about this methodology is you can answer the question with good data in a matter of minutes. In this example, I only used a couple of cities and a couple of keywords. This could be expanded out to dozens of cities or zip codes and hundreds of keywords, all to the same effect, in just the same amount of time.

A year’s worth of content in a day: content calendars

This doesn’t exactly take advantage of the list features dramatically, but it does make it easy for you to plan out content several months in advance. The earlier you get writing prompts into the hands of your authors, the more likely they can hit their deadlines. Let’s walk through the steps of building content recommendations with Keyword Explorer.

Step 1: Finding related topics

Everyone pretty much knows their primary keywords. If you’re an attorney, you know the word “attorney.” If you’re a landscaper you know the word landscaping. But how do you take that general term and identify topics that might be worth writing on? Well, Keyword Explorer does it better than anyone else (and I’m prepared to go to the mat defending that!)

Head on over to Keyword Explorer and drop in your primary keyword like “landscaping” and choose “closely related topics.” Finally, sort by “Volume” rather than relevancy, since you’re looking for generally related topics, not highly related terms.

Step 2: Select your topics

Just run through the list and try to pick out a handful of general topics. In this case, from the word “landscaping” we were able to select “gardens,” “green roof,” “gazebos,” “water conservation,” “pergolas,” “rain garden,” “hardscape,” and “water garden.” Notice that all these great topics showed up in just the top 20 options. We could easily find dozens more just by scrolling down the list.

Step 3: Find and group questions related to topics

Questions make for easy writing prompts, and questions that actually get traffic are even better! Copy and paste each keyword, one at a time, into Keyword Explorer. From the same filter drop-downs choose “Are Questions” and “Group by Medium Lexical Similarity.” You can fool around with the lexical similarity metric to have tighter or looser groupings. If you use the word “pergola,” as we did in the example below, you will find several questions that are directly related to the topic and, importantly, are representative of several terms. For example, the question “How to Build a Pergola over an Existing Patio” is actually representative of 9 terms, which means writing on this topic will give you a good chance to rank for several terms, rather than just one.

Step 4: Create a new list and start adding the questions you discover

This is the easy part. Just click the checkbox next to the questions and add them to your list. You should repeat this step with every topic you discover. In my case, I was able to come up with over 75 article ideas, each representing 3 or more related questions, in under 10 minutes.

Step 5: Collect and compare metrics

Always remember your original average keyword difficulty number. This is hugely valuable in scoping out your content calendar because you can easily exclude writing prompts that are too competitive. Click into your list in Keyword Explorer and sort by potential, remembering to ignore those with a keyword difficulty higher than your average keyword difficulty.

Pro tip: Group your keywords into topic-specific lists, so you can compare the keyword metrics at a topic level as well.

Use this list to prioritize out a steady schedule of content creation. Of course, a lot more goes into creating a content calendar than just finding content to write about, but I often find that brainstorming content is one of the more time-consuming projects.

Conclusions

Keyword tools aren’t just for page-by-page keyword selection anymore. Smart features like lexical grouping, related topics, and list comparison allow you to accomplish far more than ever before, rather than just staring at a long list of phrase-match keywords. Taking the time to learn the features of these more-powerful-than-ever tools will mean greater efficiency and smarter decisions.

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May 8, 2017  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

How Small Digital Publishers Can Grow Their Network and Save Time

Posted by lydiagilbertson

Being a small or startup publishing company is hard. The digital advertising industry is broken. Larger companies like Vox and Buzzfeed are some of the only online publications that can hope to monetize their content effectively. Smaller niche publications often have an even harder time attracting return visitors or getting people outside of their current active users to see their content at all. Already at a disadvantage, most small publications are also understaffed and underfunded. These publications can use content marketing and search marketing concepts within their online distribution strategy to better reach their audiences and to compete with bigger publications.

Platforms as distributors

Somehow, platforms have long been both the saviors and the destroyers of the digital publishing industry. Regardless, they’ve become a necessary evil for the content distribution strategy of almost all online publishing companies. There’s no real harm in trying out different ways to reach your audience, but don’t waste your time on a platform that isn’t growing your audience or enhancing its engagement. The usual contenders being Facebook and Twitter, there are a few more platforms that can be easily utilized towards helping you to reach your audience.

1. AMP

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) project is a complex attempt by Google to make pages load faster on mobile devices, keep users on their platform, and to better engage with the publishing community. Many larger sites report a lot of success using AMP. Smaller publishers may be wary of trying out AMP on their sites, out of fear that it will further overwork their staff or that it requires an intense amount of web development knowledge. However, Google AMP is fairly simple to implement (more on how further down the page) if you’re using WordPress or another common content management system.

Companies using WordPress will have an especially easy time adding AMP to the list of ways they distribute their content. Both WordPress and Yoast have plugins available to put (and manage) your content into the AMP format. Medium is also in the process of allowing its users an easy way to designate AMP content. Here are a few things to keep in mind before publishing your content via AMP:

  1. Make sure it’s in article format. AMP is meant for blog posts and news articles, so don’t try to publish products or landing pages using Google AMP.
  2. Be conscious of the audience you’re publishing for when using AMP. Articles that appear in the Google AMP carousel in the SERP are usually topical and considered “news.”
  3. If your site is struggling with speed issues, AMP could be a part (but not all) of the solution, as it will help your articles load more quickly on mobile devices.
  4. If your site doesn’t use WordPress, implementing AMP might be a little bit harder than just downloading a plugin for your CMS. Find more out about that process here.
  5. Analytics tracking should be included in your overall traffic and segmented to show how much traffic comes from AMP. Find out more about AMP and Google Analytics here.

2. Medium

Medium is another platform that can help more users to see your content and stay on the page long enough to read it. Like any platform, hosting your entire site on Medium comes with the risk of giving your content to another entity rather than your own website. This is a concern because hosting all of your content somewhere like Medium means it could make changes to the platform that you may not like, or in severe situations shut down entirely (and take your content with it). It also has limited capabilities with on-page ads. However, there are some larger publishers that have been adopting Medium as their main source of content distribution. There are several benefits to doing this:

  1. Medium has a built-in audience of millions of engaged readers.
  2. Most of the content on Medium is high quality.
  3. Migrating your entire site to the Medium platform is actually relatively easy for both WordPress and non-WordPress sites. Be sure to keep in mind that hosting all of your content on a platform can be risky.

Another way to utilize Medium’s built-in audience is to republish your content onto the platform. Medium allows for its users to write content on their platform and then canonicalize to their own website (that’s not on Medium). This allows small publishers to pick which content goes on Medium (much like a social media platform) in order to make sure it’s targeted to Medium’s user-base.

3. Google News

Google News is a section of the search engine results page that focuses entirely on timely news content. In order for many websites to be featured in this specialized SERP, they have to go through the application process and get accepted into the Google News program. After acceptance, the site has to follow and keep a specific set of meta tags up-to-date, only posting timely content designated for the platform. Find out more about how to get accepted into Google News here.

Utilize content marketing tools

Outside of monetization, the number-one hurdle that most small publishing companies face is being understaffed and overworked. One way to remedy this is using tools that help diminish the workload involved in managing content-heavy sites. Here are a list of tools that can help small publishers cut down on their tasks:

1. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is editorial calendar software that minimizes time spent keeping track of all of the posts you want/need to do on any given day. It’s designed for both small and enterprise companies, but is better suited for smaller ones due to its all-in-one approach. CoSchedule allows you to plan your posts in advance and set a time for when to post them on social media platforms, all in a single tool.

2. BuzzSumo

Ideating different pieces of content for your site takes a significant amount of time. Utilizing a tool like BuzzSumo could help you to come up with a ton of different article concepts based on what’s trending on different social media platforms.

3. Canva

Having a small team usually means that your graphic designer is extremely busy (or nonexistent). Making quick graphics and supplementary images for your posts can totally be done utilizing Canva, without bogging down your graphics team with more work than it can handle (plus, there’s a free version).

Focus on your niche

Find your niche and build your audience. Obviously, this is easier said than done. But, it’s extremely important as a small publisher to be filling a void or taking a different perspective in the already overflowing content funnel of the Internet. Find your unique voice and the people that want to hear it. Sticking to your publication’s brand or niche will in turn build you a specialized audience. This allows prospective advertisers to better target and then convert using your content.

Don’t always focus on quantity, but quality

Similar to the last point, in addition to not overstretching your genre, don’t overstretch your posting frequency. Rather than posting more times per day just to meet an imaginary quota, it’s better to create fewer posts of higher quality. Moz did a publishing experiment that illustrates the complexity of publishing frequency and content quality. Pay more attention to what your users want rather than what you assume Google does.

Summary

Being a small publishing company is hard. Most small publications find themselves understaffed and overworked trying to catch up with much larger companies.The best way to try to compete with larger publishing companies is to keep your focus small and to use external applications. They’ll help you save time and make creating easier. Utilize all of the platforms that work for your audience — not just all of the platforms available.

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May 7, 2017  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

If You’re Attending MozCon 2017, You Should Definitely Pitch to be an Ignite Speaker

Posted by ronell-smith

Are you a good storyteller, able to hold a crowd at rapt attention for minutes at a time? Do you have a story you’re bursting at the seams to share?

Well, ye olde yarn-spinner, a MozCon Ignite talk sounds like just the thing for you.

The five-minute talks have become quite a hit since being introduced in 2015, with talks leaving folks with belly aches from laughter or tears from personal heartache — and everything in between.

If you have an enticing story in you just waiting for an outlet, we’ll supply the audience.

The MozCon 2017 Ignite talks — one of the signature networking events — take place Tuesday, July 18.

Buy your MozCon 2017 ticket!


Why should you care about Ignite talks?

Often called “lightning talks” for their emphasis on brevity, Ignite-style talks are five minutes in length and feature slides that automatically advance.

The short stories can pack a powerful punch, however, as anyone who saw Michael Cottam’s 2016 Ignite talk can attest:

One attendee penned a heartfelt account of how Michael’s talk helped him reprioritize his life — it’s well-worth a good read. Make sure you have a tissue handy.


You can share your story, too, in 2017. There will be 10 speaking slots.

The only rule we have governing stories told during an Ignite talk is that they cannot relate to online marketing or feature anything resembling career advice.

This is your chance to show some personality.

Take a look at the topics covered from 2016:

  • Help! I Can’t Stop Sweating – Hyperhidrosis, by Adam Melson
  • Life Lessons Learned as a Special Needs Parent, by Adrian Vender
  • How Pieces of Paper Can Change Lives, by Anneke Kurt Godlewski
  • Prison and a Girl that Loves Puppies, by Caitlin Boroden
  • Embracing Fear, Potential Failure, and Plain Ol’ Discomfort, by Daisy Quaker
  • A Plane Hacker’s Guide to Cheap *Luxury* Travel, by Ed Fry
  • Embracing Awkward: The Tale of a 5′ 10″ 6th Grader, by Hannah Cooley
  • Hornets, Soba, & Friends: A Race in Japan, by Kevin Smythe
  • Wooly Bits: Exploring the Binary of Yarn, by Lindsay Dayton LaShell
  • Finding Myself in Fiction: LGBTQUIA Stories, by Lisa Hunt
  • Is Your Family Time for Sale? by Michael Cottam
  • How to Start an Underground Restaurant in Your Home, by Nadya Khoja
  • Flood Survival: Lessons from the Streets of ATL, by Sarah Lively
  • How a Cartoon Saved My Life, by Steve Hammer

And, lucky for us all, Geraldine DeRuiter, aka the Everywhereist, will be back as emcee for the third time in as many years.



The deets: How to pitch for an Ignite talk

  • Simply fill out the form below — you’re limited to one submission
  • Talks cannot be about online marketing or career-focused
  • Current MozCon speakers are not able to pitch
  • Previous MozCon Ignite presenters are not eligible
  • Submissions close on Sunday, May 14 at 5pm PDT
  • Selections will be made by early June
  • All presentations are expected to follow the MozCon Code of Conduct
  • You must attend MozCon, July 17–19, and be present Tuesday night in person

If selected, you’ll receive…

  • Five minutes onstage, Tuesday night at McCaw Hall. (The event lasts from 7–10pm.)
  • 0 off the regular-priced ticket to MozCon (If you’ve already purchased a ticket, we’ll refund you 0 for a regular-priced ticket or 0 for an early-bird ticket. Discounts are not offered for super-early-bird tickets.)
  • Help crafting a winning talk
  • Stage tour of the event space between 5–7pm Tuesday night in advance of the event

Unfortunately, we do not cover travel and/or lodging for MozCon Ignite speaking slots.

What makes a great pitch?

  • A story that’s compelling and that can be told in the allotted timeframe
  • Sharing a topic you’re passionate about and able to succinctly share what makes it so great.
  • Follow the guidelines. Yes, the word counts are limited on purpose. (Do not submit links to Google Docs or other resources. Multiple submissions will result in immediate disqualification.)

****Include links to any videos of you speaking publicly.

If you’d like to see what an Ignite-style talk looks like, check out these videos from Ignite Seattle 30.

Most importantly, get to work on submitting that pitch to grace the stage yourself at MozCon 2017.

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!


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May 6, 2017  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

7 ‹Title Tag› Hacks for Increased Rankings + Traffic – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

You may find yourself wondering whether the humble title tag still matters in modern SEO. When it comes to your click-through rate, the answer is a resounding yes! In today’s Whiteboard Friday, we welcome back our good friend Cyrus Shepard to talk about 7 ways you can revamp your title tags to increase your site traffic and rankings.

Title tag hacks for increased rankings and traffics

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

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I’m very excited to be here today. My name is Cyrus. I’m a Moz associate. Today I want to talk you about title tags, specifically title tag hacks to increase your traffic and rankings.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Are title tags even still important today in SEO?” You bet they are. We’ve done a lot of correlation studies in the past. Those correlation studies have shown different things sort of decreasing in the past years. But we’ve also seen a lot of experiments recently where people have changed their title tag and seen a significant, measurable increase in their rankings.

Now, the other aspect of title tags that people sometimes forget about is the click-through rate that you get, which can measurably increase your traffic if you get the title tag right. Now, what’s neat about increasing your traffic through click-through rate is we’ve seen a lot of experiments, Rand has experimented a lot, that if you can increase this, you can measurably increase this.

Traffic through increased clicks can seem to increase your rankings under certain circumstances. So you get the dual benefit. So that’s what I want to talk to you about today — increasing those rankings, increasing that traffic by changing the first thing that your visitor is going to see in the SERPs.

So the important thing to remember is that these are things to experiment with. Not all of these hacks are going to work for you. SEO is founded in best practices, but true success is founded when you experiment and try different things. So try some of these out and these will give you an idea of where to get started in some of your title tag experiments.

1. Numbers

Numbers kind of pop out at you. These are examples: “5 Signs of a Zombie Apocalypse” or “How Mutants Can Save 22% on Car Insurance.”

  • Cognitive Bias – Standout specific – When you see these in SERPs, they tend to get a slightly higher click-through rate sometimes. This works because of a cognitive bias. Our brains are trained to find things that stand out and are specific. When you’re scanning search results, that’s a lot of information. So your brain is going to try to find some things that it can grasp on to, and numbers are the ultimate things that are both specific and they stand out. So sometimes, in certain circumstances, you can get a higher click-through rate by using numbers in your title tags.

2. Dates

Rand did an excellent Whiteboard Friday a few weeks ago, we’ll link to it below. These are things like “Best Actress Oscar Nominee 2017″ or even more specific, you can get the month in there, “Top NFL Fantasy Draft Picks September 2017.”

Now, Rand talks about this a lot. He talks about ways of finding dates in your keyword research. The key in that research is when you’re using tools like Keyword Explorer or Google AdWords or SEMrush, you have to look for previous years. So if I was searching for this year’s, we don’t have enough data yet for 2017, so I would look for “Best Actress Oscar Nominee 2016.”

  • Leverage your CMS – If you use WordPress, if you use Yoast plugin, you can actually have your title tags update automatically year-to-year or even month-to-month leveraging that. It’s not right for all circumstances, but for certain keyword queries it works pretty well.

3. Length

This is one of the most controversial, something that causes the most angst in SEO is when we’re doing audits or looking at title tags. Inevitably, when you’re doing an SEO audit, you find two things. You find title tags that are way too short, “Pantsuit,” or title tags that are way, way, way too long because they just want to stuff every keyword in there, “Tahiti ASL Red Pantsuit with Line Color, Midrise Belt, Hook-eye Zipper, Herringbone Knit at Macy’s.”

Now, these two, they’re great title tags, but there are two problems with this. This is way too broad. “Pantsuit” could be anything. This title tag is way too diluted. It’s hard to really know what that is about. You’re trying to scan it. You’re trying to read it. Search engines are going to look at it the same way. Is this about a pantsuit? Is it about herringbone knit? It’s kind of hard.

  • Etsy study – So Etsy recently did a study where Etsy measured hundreds of thousands of URLs and they shortened their title tags, because, more often than not, the longer title tag is a problem. Shorter title tags, not so much. You see longer title tags in the wild more often. When they shortened the title tags, they saw a measurable increase in rankings.
  • 50–60 Characters – This is one of those things where best practices usually is the best way to go because the optimal length is usually 50 to 60 characters.
  • Use top keywords – When you’re deciding what keywords to put it when you’re shortening this, that’s where you want to use your keyword research and find the keywords that your visitors are actually using.

So if I go into my Analytics or Google Search Console, I can see that people are actually searching for “pantsuit,” “Macy’s,” and maybe something like that. I can come up with a title tag that fits within those parameters, “Tahiti ASL Red Pantsuit,” “pantsuits” the category, “Macy’s.” That’s going to be your winning title tag and you’ll probably see an increase in rankings.

4. Synonyms and variants

Now, you’ll notice in this last title tag, the category was a plural of pantsuit. That can actually help in some circumstances. But it’s important to realize that how you think your searchers are searching may not be how they’re actually searching.

Let’s say you do your keyword research and your top keywords are “cheap taxis.” You want to optimize for cheap taxis. Well, people may be looking for that in different ways. They may be looking for “affordable cabs” or “low cost” or “cheap Ubers,” things like that.

So you want to use those variants, find out what the synonyms and variants are and incorporate those into your title tag. So my title tag might be “Fast Affordable Cabs, Quick Taxi, Your Cheap Ride.” That’s optimized for like three different things within that 50 to 60 word limit, and it’s going to hit all those variants and you can actually rank a little higher for using that.

  • Use SERPs/keyword tools – The way you find these synonyms and variants, you can certainly look in the SERPs. Type your keyword into the SERPs, into Google and see what they highlight bold in the search results. That will often give you the variants that people are looking for, that people also ask at the bottom of the page. Your favorite keyword tool, such as Keyword Explorer or SEMrush or whatever you choose and also your Analytics. Google Search Console is a great source of information for these synonyms and variants.

5. Call to action

Now, you won’t often find the call-to-action words in your keyword research, but they really help people click. These are action verbs.

  • Action wordsbuy, find download, search, listen, watch, learn, and access. When you use these, they give a little bit more excitement because they indicate that the user will be able to do something beyond the keyword. So they’re not necessarily typing it in the search box. When they see it in results, it can create, “Oh wow, I get to download something.” It provides a little something extra, and you can increase your click-through rates that way.

6. Top referring keywords

This is a little overlooked, and it’s sort of an advanced concept. Oftentimes we optimize our page for one set of keywords, but the traffic that comes to it is another set of keywords. But what’s very powerful is when people type their words into the search box and they see those exact same words in the title tags, that’s going to increase your click-through rate.

For an example, I went into the analytics here at Moz and I looked at Followerwonk. I found the top referring keywords in Google Search Console are “Twitter search,” “search Twitter bios,” and “Twitter analytics.” Those are how people or what people are looking for right before they click on the Followerwonk listing in Google.

So using that information, I might write a title tag like “Search Twitter Bios with Followerwonk, the Twitter Analytics Tool.” That’s a pretty good title tag. I’m kind of proud of that. But you can see it hits all my major keywords that people are using. So when I type in “Twitter analytics” into the search box and I see “The Twitter Analytics Tool,” I’m more likely to click on that.

So I’ve written about this before, but it’s very important to optimize your page, not only for the traffic you’re trying to get, but the traffic you’re actually receiving. When you can marry those two, you can be stronger in all aspects.

7. Questions

Questions are great tools to use in your title tags. These are things like, “Where Do Butterflies Migrate?” Maybe your keyword is just “butterflies migrate.” But by asking a question, you create a curiosity gap, and you give people an incentive to click. Or “What is PageRank?” That’s something we do here at Moz. So you get the curiosity gap.

But oftentimes, by asking a question, you get the bonus of winning a featured snippet. Britney Muller wrote an awesome, awesome post about this a while back about questions people also ask, how to find those in your keyword research and claim those featured snippets and claim “people also ask” boxes. It’s a great, great way to increase your traffic.

So these are seven tips. Let us know your tips for title tags in the comments below. If you like this video, I’d appreciate a thumbs up. Share it with your friends on social media. I’ll see you next time. Thanks, everybody.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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May 5, 2017  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Grace the Stage at MozCon 2017: The Door is Open for Community Speaker Pitches

Posted by ronell-smith

Some of the best talks at MozCon each year come from the community speakers—those who’re able to make a pitch to grace the stage.

This group enjoys the same privileges as the other speakers, including being able to deliver a keynote-style talk, and are always well-received by the audience.

If you’re eager to be a member of this group, step right up.

We’re now open for MozCon community speaker’s pitches.

We’d be happy to have your best effort.

(This year, we’ll have six speakers.)


The nuts & bolts:

  • Submitting is as simple as filling out the form below
  • Only submit one talk (the one you’re most passionate about)
  • Pitches must be related to online marketing & 15 minutes long
  • Submissions close Sunday, April 16th at 5pm PDT
  • All decisions are final
  • Talks must must adhere to the MozCon Code of Conduct
  • You’ll be required to be present at MozCon in Seattle

if you submit a pitch, you’ll hear back from us regardless of whether you’re accepted or denied.


Community speakers receive…

  • At least 15 minutes on the MozCon stage for a keynote-style presentation, plus 5 minutes of Q&A
  • A free ticket to MozCon. (If you already have one, we’ll either refund or transfer the ticket to someone else.)
  • Four nights of lodging covered by us at our partner hotel
  • A reimbursement for your travel (flight, train, car, etc.), up to 0 domestic and 0 international
  • A free ticket for you to give to anyone, plus a code for 0 off another ticket
  • An invitation for you and your significant other to join us for the speakers’ dinner.

If you’re curious about what the process look like, take a look at what Zeph Snapp wrote about his experience as a community speaker.

Long-time community member Samuel Scott, one of our fantastic community speakers at MozCon 2016!


How do you pick speakers?

The selection committee, comprised of Mozzers, reviews every pitch. Initially, we review only the topics. This helps us make sure the topics match our audience.

Later we look at the entirety of the pitch, with an eye for what the finished product would look like on stage.

Things to consider for your pitch:

  • Focus your pitch on online marketing. MozCon is all about actionable information.
  • Your pitch is for MozCon organizations, so detail what you’re talking about. We need to know the actual tactics you’ll be sharing.
  • Read this post on how to prepare for speaking, from pitching to the actual gig.
  • Review the topics already accepted to ensure there is no overlap.
  • Honor the form’s word limits. (Linking to Google Docs, for example, will result in an immediate disqualification.)
  • No one from the speaker selection committee will be able to evaluate your pitch in advance.
  • Lobbying on social media is frowned upon and won’t do you any good.
  • Link to a video of you presenting and to your SlideShare channel (or wherever we can take a look at decks you’ve created in the past)

A little weak in the knees about speaking at MozCon?

Don’t be scurred.

We’ve got your back.

Whether a speaker has hundreds of talks under her belt or is giving her first talk, we work with them to deliver a product she’lll be proud of and the audience will both love and learn from.

We provide instruction on topics and review the content in its entirety.

We encourage pitches from speakers of all backgrounds, knowledge levels, and speaking experiences.

A few additional things we help with:

  • Discuss and refine your topic
  • Assist in honing topic title and description
  • Review outlines and drafts
  • Best practices and guidance for slide decks, specifically for our stage
  • A comprehensive, step-by-step guide for show flow
  • Serve as an audience for practicing your talk
  • Review your final deck
  • Sunday night pre-MozCon tour of the stage to meet our A/V crew, see your presentation on the screens, and test the clicker
  • A 15-person dedicated crew to make your A/V outstanding
  • Whatever else we can do to make your talk outstanding

Now over to you.

If you’ve ever had a vision of making onto the MozCon stage, this is your best shot.

So, umm, shouldn’t you be typing feverishly in the Google Form above?

Good luck.

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!


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April 6, 2017  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments



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