- Conducting Market Research Before Investing in Tactical Execution - Whiteboard Friday
- 10 Lessons from a 100k Pageview Post
- Mozscape in the Wild: How The API is (and Could be) Used
- Decoding Google's Referral String (or, how I surviVED Secure Search)
- The 3 Steps for Success in a Multi-device Search World
- APIs for Data-Driven Marketers
- How to Move Rankings Up On Older, Existing Content - Whiteboard Friday
- Mozscape API Wiki Update
- Site Audits: Deliverables, Follow Up, and Implementation
Posted by randfish The phrase "look before you leap" has never been more true! Before you start investing in tactics, it's important to do your market research. Many businesses are tempted to dive into the details before answering the bigger questions, like who their customers are, how those customers make purchase decisions, where their potential users are on the web, and how customers may choose between similar companies and offerings. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand discusses why building out a research-based roadmap before you start you building your tactics (like SEO, content, and social campaigns) will help boost your chance of success. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
For your viewing pleasure, here's a screenshot of the whiteboard used in today's video:
Conducting Market Research Before Investing in Tactical Execution - Whiteboard Friday
"Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week I want to talk a little bit about doing your market research before you start jumping in and investing in tactics. Shout out to @Andrew_Isidoro on Twitter for suggesting this topic. I really appreciate it Andrew. The reason this is so important and why I was so passionate and why I was excited when Andrew suggested it, is because I've seen us here at Moz and many, many other companies back when we use to do consulting, even with the folks that I try and help today, lots of people I talk to all over the industry, making this mistake of wanting to dive right into the details and start sending their tweets and building their content, tweaking their website, set up their conversion tests, optimizing their pages for search engines, all that stuff, before they have answers to the big questions. Who's our customer target? Where on the web are they? How do they make their purchase decisions? What are their influencers? What are the things that influence them to make a purchase or not, and how do they choose between different companies and different offerings? If we answer these questions, we can build something really beautiful, a research based roadmap. We know things like the personas of who we're targeting. What types of customers are we trying to reach? For example, when we launch SEOmoz Pro years ago, we thought we were just trying to target primarily, at least, in-house marketers, people who worked in-house at companies, not consultants and agencies. So we hadn't built things like white labeling and custom reports and the ability to add your logo and all that kind of stuff, branding. Those personas were critical to getting the product right. About 40%, in fact, of our customers are agencies and consultants. Channels, what are the channels that we're going to reach people at? Is it social networks? Is it things like YouTube, where there's a lot of video going on and obviously a lot of search activity? Is it Google and Bing, where the searches are taking place? Is it content? Are they only at events? Is there a very, very small set of these folks and we need to reach them initially through events or direct outreach? Do we need to build a sales pipeline and then have introductions being made? Are we going to use LinkedIn? Those channels are critical to knowing what marketing things we're going to do. The tactics to pursue on a per channel basis. So it could be the case that the same tactic I'm using again and again on a certain channel is going to work very well. You could see, for example, that content marketing for Moz, at least, works pretty well across all of our social channels. But it's not exactly what we do in person. We try and have a very educational bent to a lot of our content, and that might change up a little bit depending on which forum we're in and what kind of folks we're trying to reach or who we're talking to at the time. So those different tactics per channel. We want the information. We want to know how they make purchase decisions so that we can provide the information that potential customers need to make a decision. If they're making it based on features or based on price or based on what experts have said. Is it based on feedback? Is it based on brand? A lot of times marketing decisions are made on brand. Is it based on design and UX? This roadmap can then tell us things like: what goes on the website, where and how we're going to spend the money. Is it going to be on people and resources to build up kind of a long-term marketing funnel through content and search and social, organic or inbound channels? Or is it going to be on a lot of one-off purchases of an email list that we're going to blast or a homepage takeover or a lot of display ads, PPC ads, those kind of things? How are we going to measure success? How do we know whether we're actually winning? Is it based on a percentage of the market? Is it based on market share against another company? Is it pure adoption? Is it something else? Is it brand awareness? What marketing tactics do we need to be good at? What are the ones where it's a very competitive sphere versus the ones where it isn't? What are things where we need to invest a lot of time and energy to build up skills and tactics versus maybe throwing dollars at it, hiring an agency to do it? All those kinds of things. This research based roadmap can answer all of those questions for you, but you can't do it unless you're doing market research first. I do want to talk a little bit about some types of market research and how to specifically conduct those. So a very obvious one, one that folks who are in the SEO and web marketing fields are very familiar with is competitive research. Competitive research, very obvious to most of us because we investigate what our competitors are doing to be successful in search results, or on Twitter, Facebook, or in their content efforts. We can look at lots of attributes of competitive research. Who are the evangelists? Who are the people who are pushing this company, speaking on behalf of them? What are the marketing channels that they're using? What are their traffic sources? Where are they getting visits and traffic from? This can be challenging to get to, and I won't dive into all of these. Press and mentions? Where are they getting mentioned? By whom? What are people saying about them? Who do they compare them to? Hopefully it's us. Design and UX, what are they doing successfully or not so successfully on their website? Unique value propositions, what's the angle that they take that says, "Oh this is what's really unique about our company. This is the particular reason why you would buy- I don't know - Columbia Sportswear brand instead of Nike or Reebok or Mountain Gear or whatever it is." And who's their target market? Oftentimes these two are very tied together. The UVP or USP ties in with the target market because they're trying to reach a particular person, and they think that those specific attributes that are unique to their company are what's going to successfully reach them. There's also customer research, and you can do customer research of all kinds. You can do profiling, that can be demographic or psychographic. You can do targeted surveys where essentially I have a list of customers. For example, here at Moz obviously we have a list of the 21,000 people who pay to use Moz, and we can send a targeted survey to them. We actually have a customer advisory board of about 300 folks that Jackie runs here on our product team, and she talks to those folks very directly and will send them questions to answer. There's also, and these are quite interesting, this is a relatively recent phenomenon, just the last few years, sizing and perceptions surveys. The two big providers for those are Survey Monkey's Audience product and Google's Consumer Surveys product. Essentially what they've got is lots of people that they advertise to, they're sort of random citizens of the web, denizens of the web, and they will take surveys based on profile data that you request. So you can get senses of how big is my brand in a space? Have people heard of this thing that I'm trying to offer? How many people are even interested in this thing? You can ask those broad, broad questions to a random group of users with specific sets of interests or for profile features. You can do in-person interviews. A lot of startups especially do in-person interviews. They talk to a customer, bring him into the office. What are you doing? How are you doing it now? What could you see making that process easier or better? What is something you would pay for? Usability studies are similar, but they are actually with a finished product or a near-finished product. Wireframe reviews are sort of a little bit less of a finished product, but more of a "hey let's walk through these wireframes and see if this product were built, would it solve your problems? Would it be something you'd passionate about, something you would buy?" Then there's also, there's two more, expert data that you can gather in terms of market research, and expert data is a little bit different from customer data. So this is not saying, "Hey I want to reach out to anyone who would potentially be a customer," but rather, "I want to reach out to the experts in the field." This is something, again, that we do a lot of at Moz. We have kind of a core group of people inside and outside of the company who have been marketing experts, web marketing experts, for many, many years and have a lot of deep depth of knowledge in SEO and all those kinds of features. Finding those folks is really cool because a lot of times they turn out to be the evangelists and the influencers of much of the rest of the field. So by bringing them into your process, you can do those interviews, surveys, profiling, usability studies, wireframe reviews, the same as you can with customers, but potentially get very different data and oftentimes very interesting data. I would be careful, though. I'm personally biased, oftentimes, to listening to the experts at the expense of customers. Not a good idea. You should very much consider both of these folks. Experts sometimes are so deep that they can't see the forest for the trees, which is a problem I have myself a lot of the time too. Then the last one is published or professional data, and these are often collected by large firms, Forrester Research, for example. They put together these large scale studies on different industries. This form of data is also fine, but it's usually a leading indicator that you then want to verify and validate with some of these other forms. So by doing this, by doing these forms of market research, you can get the answers to these questions, build that research based roadmap, and then when you go and execute, you'll know that you're on the right path. This is really powerful because a lot of the time when you take off and you start diving into the details without it, it's bad biscuits. Bad biscuits make the baker broke, bro. All right everyone. Hope you've enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We'll see you again next week. Take care."Video transcription by Speechpad.com 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 dont have time to hunt down but want to read!
Posted by SteKenwright This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The authors views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc. This kind of thing might happen to Rand all the time, but it's not often that a digital marketing company based in Leeds gets 100,000+ people reading anything it does (at least on its own site). That's what unexpectedly happened to us on www.branded3.com a few weeks ago - what essentially started as a rant from some guy having a bad day blew up and now has 1,184 votes on Hacker News (and incoming links from some of the biggest sites in the world). I think it's likely I'll never replicate this, and I didn't intend this either - so I'll not preach: "this is how you get 100,000 page views." Everyone else is just as qualified as I am to write a post that's read all around the world, and that's exactly what I want to happen. I'd like to tell you what I'm taking away from this, and how I'll use it when I'm creating content for my clients in the future. _Commonly known as sharking. Google it._ 1. [CITATION NEEDED]...BUT NOT ALWAYS. Google only wants you to list the links that are most relevant to and most important to your content - Eric Enge likened this to a research paper around a month ago on Search Engine Watch. The difference between your content and a research paper, though, is that your content doesn't get discredited if there is nobody to link to that backs up the point you're trying to make. In a Webmaster Help Video earlier in the year, Google Engineer Matt Cutts said don't link out to low quality sites - this is pretty much the equivalent of quoting from Wikipedia in an essay. You don't have to get peer approved before people will read your post, though, so if there's nobody to link to that's talking about whatever you are then that could actually be a good thing. If someone else is covering the same subject as you there's no real reason why you should get all the links, so you should definitely write about things that no one else is covering if you can. NB: Not having anyone to back up your point doesn't excuse you from not having a point in the first place. 2. CONTENT NEEDS TO SOLVE PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS&HELLIP;OR HIGHLIGHT THEM. I had a problem with Path and as of the time I started writing the post, nobody had solved it, though a few people had tweeted about experiencing similar problems. I tweeted @path at roughly 7am and the first person to reply was someone else who was (very) actively looking for an answer to the same problem. I embedded Design33's tweet in the post and linked to him; let my cohort know; and instantly a problem shared is a problem…erm, doubled. Whether your content is solving someone's problem, or you're just empathising with them; if you know where to find them…let them know it's there and get your influencers on board. 3. FIND OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR. The principles behind content marketing are gaining real traction in the SEO community, and more and more companies are getting on board with long-term content strategies. There's plenty to say about planning your content out for months in advance, but as Simon points out in this fantastic YouMoz post from last year, it's not all about Google Keyword Tool anymore. There are some great tools out there to find hot topics (Bottlenose is particularly useful), but the best way to find what your audience is looking for is by using the same tools as they are. Wil Reynolds is a great advocate of using Google Complete to find content topics (check out Wil's LinkLove 2013 presentation, around slide 90) - start typing questions, don't press enter; just note down what people are _actually_ searching for. Search Twitter and find out not only what problems need solving, but who it is that actually has that problem (see point two)! Google Keyword Tool shouldn't be your first stop when you're looking for fires to put out, and if it's monthly search volume you're looking at, chances are someone faster has created content solving the same issue weeks ago. 4. FIND YOUR FORUM. …by which I don't literally mean a forum, since as an industry we've pretty much ruined that for everyone - all I'm saying is that you just need to find the right soapbox to spread your message. In the comment string on our site this guy called me out for posting this on a company blog. At the time I hadn't really questioned where else I could actually write this up, so Luca made me think. If I had put this on my own blog nobody would have read it…I would have just been complaining without any real platform to build on (might as well have just put it on Facebook or Twitter). One of our clients is a cloud storage company who obviously have a vested interest in online security, and do write about issues such as this from time to time. They'd never approve something like this for their blog (more in point six) so I would have had to dry it right out…or put it on another site on their behalf. Hammering this article to fit brand guidelines would have dulled its impact so much, and for a company to write about real life issues like this they really would have had to find a real life case…otherwise they're just tipping off the media. It would never have worked. If you're going to be controversial, find a site that's fine with that to host your content - that goes for the content you're putting out on behalf of your clients too. We've had plenty of content turned down by webmasters for being too much for their blogs, and you've got to respect that. Guest blogging is like the name implies, and you've got to make sure you don't leave a mess in someone else's house. 5. WRITE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE&HELLIP; Something everyone is taught in English class from a relatively early age is how to write for an audience. Even if you came into SEO from something else - a computer science degree, MA in marketing; whatever - you still have those classes to fall back on, and they'll give you a pretty solid foundation in content marketing. In this industry everything comes from experience - if you covered search engine optimisation in your degree I'm sure you found half the things you knew were obsolete by the time you'd graduated…and post-Penguin the other half will get you penalised too. I found when I moved from in-house to agency side search engine marketing, most of the things I'd been doing for the last year were considered pretty spammy. If you're writing to put content on websites that nobody reads, like article marketing websites, then you're not writing for an audience…and that shows in the work you put out. You don't have to be a journalist to create great content. If you're solving problems imagine you've got that problem yourself and then just write for you… 6. &HELLIP;DON'T WRITE FOR YOUR CLIENT. If you think you've found a hot topic and your client isn't happy with being associated with it, there's probably a case for not pushing that. Controversial content gets links, but there's a certain amount of press that comes with those links. I don't have a PR agency, so TechCrunch pointing out that it was probably my fault isn't a disaster from my point of view. If your client makes a mistake then it might be. In the case of my blog post it wasn't long before the media-at-large didn't care anymore (TechCrunch may have even been the start of that) and the chances are pretty good that nobody will remember a guy getting mad at his phone in a few weeks - if a tech company posted a rant about Path it would probably be called a smear campaign. …and I won't lie - when the VP of Marketing called me I was more than a little worried. 7. YOUR CONTENT HAS TO BE WORTHY OF LINKS TO GET ANY&HELLIP; This is my very first YouMoz post, and there's a good reason for that - up until now I've not really had anything to say that I think might help the community, so I've stuck to my blog, Twitter and getting all up in other people's business when I get the chance. If you've got an opportunity to write for a great site - or to work with a well-known journalist, or whatever - giving them a few hundred words of nothing content will a) not generate much in the way in traffic, b) not generate any leads, and c) make that great site think twice about having you back. 8. &HELLIP;AND SO DOES YOUR SITE. Which leads me on to number eight: the whole point of placing links as part of a content marketing strategy (or at least it probably should be the main point) is for people to click through to your site. Make sure your users are arriving on a page they want to see.
@stekenwright @phillipsnick @newsyc20 @path I think that branded3.com needs to install a WordPress caching plugin. :D -- David Lynch (@kemayo) April 30, 2013When St. Louis-based developer David Lynch submitted the post to Hacker News our entire site went down almost immediately (at 17:25, which our Development team were definitely not happy about). It's a pretty extreme example, but if your site doesn't present people with the screen they were expecting to see they're probably going to leave straight away. This applies not only in a technical SEO sense (see Aleyda Solis' wonderful resources on mobile SEO and which versions of a page you should be serving to which people for a start), but also in something as intrinsic as the services you're providing. Going back to point four (Find your forum): the company I work for not only has a burgeoning social team, but an entire blog dedicated to social media - the perfect place to host an article about a social network, in my opinion. Make sure your link is pointing to the kind of page your audience wants to find. 9. BE FUNNY, OR INSIGHTFUL. PROBABLY NOT BOTH. The links generated by my post contain so much more useful information and insight than my content does. Like I said, I'm not pretending to be a journalist uncovering a story. I just presented a real life experience in a humorous way…because it was pretty funny. How do you explain what you do to your partner's grandparents? I go with "I work with computers". Imagine trying to explain a social network to two different pairs of 80 year-olds before 6:30 in the morning? You've got to laugh, as the expression goes. Your multi-national debt management firm probably can't be funny in its content (very happy for people to prove me wrong here). Companies like this have guidelines to uphold and the chances are they're much more interested in their brand guidelines than the links you're working so hard to get for them. Make sure you take tone of voice into account and if your content doesn't work in their speak, see point six. You're writing the wrong thing. _Your post definitely needs a Wonka meme._ 10. DON'T DO IT FOR THE LINKS. Writing my blog post, I had absolutely no intention of getting a single link. In all honestly I didn't fully expect the guys at Path to see it - I just wanted to vent and if possible, make my colleagues laugh. In a very helpful post on Quick Sprout last October KISSmetrics' Neil Patel wrote that he never manually built a link - he just kept writing. We're not KISSmetrics, but our blog has been covering as many of the happenings in the digital marketing world as we can possibly manage for more than half a decade - and mostly we just do it because we want to. Posting a piece of content on your blog every few weeks or months and expecting it to get picked up isn't going to happen; and it's definitely not content marketing - it's just content. No matter how good your stuff is, don't be disheartened if you don't get any traction with a blog post…or a hundred blog posts. What I do think is important is that you look at every piece of content you write and think about how to make it better this time. You don't need to over-analyse every post before it goes live - I would guess you've got targets and deadlines to make after all - just think about how to improve on what you've got so your next article will make outreach easier, or will help more people out; and if your last piece performed well, how are you going to beat it? Even if you know you won't. 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 dont have time to hunt down but want to read!
Posted by Ryan_Watson Did you know that there are over 90 billion URLs are packed into our Mozscape API? That's a lot of links. So many links, in fact, that it can be daunting to dream up all of the many ways that you could put those links to good use. When we originally built Linkscape (the predecessor to Mozscape), we mainly had one thing in mind... SEO and backlinks. But there's a whole lot more than that. Links are only the beginning, it's what those links can tell us that's so darn interesting. Which is why I wanted to call out all of the amazing ways that developers (and marketers) are using Mozscape data to better their work, as well as encourage new uses of Mozscape data that have yet to be explored. (Feel free to jump in and create your own API key any time.) HOW MOZSCAPE IS BEING USED TODAY Mozscape's wealth of links can be used in a variety of ways: from SEO audits, to domain valuations, to excel integration. Here at Moz, we have only begun to scratch the surface of how we can utilize the API. We currently use it to run some of our own tools such as Open Site Explorer and the Mozbar. But I don't want to focus on the way we use it. Let's take a look at the way other developers have demonstrated some exciting uses for Mozscape. Hopefully these will get your mind going, thinking up other ways to use the data as well. SEO AUDITS We'll start with the most obvious of use cases, SEO audits. There quite a few examples of SEO audit tools that use Mozscape data, but a few of our favorites (that are in front of a paywall) are the HubSpot Website Grader and The Found SEO Audit Tool, both of which bring the heat. Mozscape data is what powers things like the total pages indexed by search, MozRank, a list of the most authoritative pages, along with their corresponding anchor texts. The beauty of this use case is that it can provide a great lead-gen funnel for all of the SEO agencies out there, proving value up front with an email address required prior to running the report. As a digital marketing agency, using Mozscape data to develop a site audit is a great way to get users into your sales funnel. You know, that inbound marketing stuff -- cold calls are old news. DOMAIN VALUATION How valuable is a website, purely from an online authority perspective? Traditionally, that was a very tough question. You could look at things like site traffic (which typically isn't very accurate) or rankings for certain terms, but that's a far-sighted approach to the question. Think about using the metrics behind Mozscape, like MozRank, Domain Authority, and MozTrust instead. Flippa, for example, uses Mozscape data as a datapoint for due diligence. You could imagine this kind of domain valuation anywhere else domains are bought or sold, most of which have yet to use Mozscape data. The value, of course, is providing as much confidence to the buyers of web properties based on the "web footprint" of the site. SPREADSHEET KUNG-FU The spreadsheet kung-fu of this industry is unmatched anywhere else. With the integration of Mozscape data to Excel, some have been able to make Excel sing. The beauty of using Excel for analyzing Mozscape data is that you can slice and dice as you please, without setting up complex API calls. Perhaps our favorite example of Excel comes from the illustrious Richard Baxter, with the Links API Extension from SEO Gadget. However, if Google Docs are more up your alley, the amazing Aleyda Solis created just the thing for you (so did Chris Lee). Tools like these allow the average marketer to dig into the firehose of data available through the API in a simple and recognizable interface. CLIENT REPORTING Yes, that's right. iAcquire uses the data when creating client reports as it not only helps them to inform the client about how their pages are doing but to also show the importance of certain pages on their site. The data is both a research tool and an education tool. _"Below is a screenshot from a ranking research report showing data we gathered for the keyword 'inbound marketing tips.' Moz stats are represented throughout the stats columns. As we work with these reports we are able to see if any of our content distribution efforts resulted in links on page or domain as can be seen in the far left columns."_ HOW MOZSCAPE _COULD_ BE USED That's how Mozscape is being used today, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. A few folks have realized the potential outside of the traditional use cases that I've mentioned above. The power of the data comes when we take Mozscape data outside of its traditional context of pure link evaluation. Let me show you what I mean. LINK BUILDING Its relatively easy to imagine Mozscape's data being used for link building. With Mozscape's massive amount of link data, SEOs are able to prioritize their link building efforts, and focus on value added efforts. CRM You could imagine that some of the examples noted above have been used for link building, but what about a deeper integration into a contact manager? Something that would allow the user to prioritize outreach by the value of a domain. Just as one can do with the Klout score (or Social Authority) on Twitter, the same can be done for customer relationship efforts in filtering Domain Authority to determine importance. TOP LISTS We've seen hints of blogs using Mozscape data determine a top startup list, like the GeekWire 200, but the same could be applied for any rankings list of web properties. Traditionally, lists have used Alexa or Compete traffic data to determine web prominence, but they're so inaccurate. Other lists have used social specific metrics like social followings, but those too fall short. Geekwire's list of the top 200 startups in Seattle uses a blend of both social and web data (External links, MozTrust) to determine just how influential a site is, providing the full picture. HOW COULD _YOU_ USE THE API? I'm sure we've missed a ton of ideas, so we're calling on you to help us find those new opportunities for Mozscape. Things like a tightening relationship between links and social networks, and categorizing link sources. How would you use this data, and how would you build it? Better yet, why not create your key and get going? WE WANT TO MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU. We've been working quite hard to make our indexes faster and have recently updated our Mozscape API documentation. We want to make it as simple for you to use the data to get your idea up an running as possible. Plus, if you create something, it's likely we'll get you added to our app gallery. We have everything from large corporations to individuals who have used the API and we show off their work in the gallery. We'd love to hear from you. Obviously we always encourage folks to jump in and check out the free API (as well as the paid), and use the data for something useful for you. We're also quite open to hearing about ways we can improve our own tools with the data or help educate people better. I look forward to reading through your feedback and seeing if there are ways we can help get people started using Mozscape. 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 dont have time to hunt down but want to read!
Posted by timresnik _Last week, I held a Mozinar outlining a method to extract SERP vertical -- called Universal Search by Google --- from Google referral strings. Since the Mozinar concluded, the number of people who have reached out with their own theories and ideas has been impressive. I want to post everything that I know here and then leave it up to you folks in the SEOmoz community to start hacking and sharing your insight._ _For those of you who did not see the Mozinar, you can access it here (voiceover included). You can also download or view the slides without VO on Slideshare here._ ------------------------- Before getting into the step-by-step process and providing examples of how to use the Google referral string to interpret where in Universal Search your traffic came from, I want to lay out a problem we were having at AudienceWise. In 2011, Matthew Brown and I started an agency to help news publishers with technical SEO and audience development. In our other jobs, specifically Matthew at the New York Times, we struggled with reconciling for the lack of data around Universal Search referrals. As far as our web analytics platforms were concerned, a visit from web search, a News OneBox link, and an image result were all treated exactly the same: as organic search traffic. Then came Google Secure Search, and referral data got even more opaque. In addition to not knowing which Universal vertical the referral came from, now in about 10% of cases we didn't even know the keyword that referred the traffic. The question that kept going through our collective ginger minds was: how can we help our clients with content strategy if we know nothing about WHY they are receiving said search traffic? Unfortunately, Secure Search has vastly expanded and now accounts for a large percentage of all Google referral traffic. As way of an example, here is the latest percentage of keyword = (not provided) for SEOmoz: Matthew and I knew the only way to reclaim *some* of this lost data was to start looking at other sources. Luckily, Matt speaks Spanish (sort of) and came across this blog. The author posited that the 'ved' parameter in the Google referral string held some magic in determining the vertical that result appeared in. After doing some quick searches, and looking at the "href" values for the results, it seemed like he was onto something. We immediately set up Google Analytics profile filters to extract this parameter on a client that receives 300,000 search referrals from Google per day. After a couple of hours, we were loaded with enough data to start confirming some of the authors theories and coming up with a few of our own. I will layout what we found, provide a step-by-step tutorial to setup Google Analytics filters, and provide a few examples of how to use the data. First, let's talk about where you can find this parameter. Simply, the Google referral string is the "href" value assigned to each URL in a set of search results. When a user clicks on the above, she is being redirected through a google URL prior to reaching her final destination; Radiohead.com, in this case. Google most likely does this for internal data aggregation reasons -- we're not suppose to know where our traffic comes from, but they sure make use of it -- probably for aggregating data around SERPs. There are two parameters that I will focus on here: 'cd' and 'ved.' The 'cd' parameter has been written about before and tells us the position of the search result in the set. As far as I can tell, the 'ved' parameter is divided into three parts and tells us which Universal vertical the result is part of, the position within that vertical (relative position), and the position within the search result (absolute position). I will focus on just the Universal aspect for this post and will follow up with relative vs. absolute position in a follow-up. Let's have a look at a few examples. When QFj is in the 'ved' parameter that the result is a standard web search result, such as: One of the attendees of the Mozinar made this astute observation about a special variation for the web search 'ved': When QqQIw (that's a capital "i" not a lowercase "L") it is a Universal result that resides within the Google News OneBox. When QpwI is present that means the result was the thumbnail image within the News OneBox. You get the idea. Here are some other values of 'ved.' I suspect that there are many more and am curious to see what the community here can find and SHARE here within: SETTING UP GOOGLE ANALYTICS FILTERS You should have a good understanding now of potential power of this information. Did I mention that it is still available even if the keyword is "(not provided)"? We could potentially interpret the keyword by comparing 'ved.' Anyone up for the challenge? I go through one example below. While 'ved' appears to persist through Secure Search only about 50% of the search referrals within GA have this data. IF ANYONE CAN SHINE LIGHT ON THIS, I'M SURE THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY WOULD SHOWER YOU WITH THUMBS UPS! STEP 1: SET UP A GOOGLE ANALYTICS PROFILE FILTER Go to the account's administrative dashboard and select "New Profile." I would recommend against setting this filter up on an existing profile as that it will overwrite some data that you otherwise want. I called mine 'Universal Search.' Next, you will need to set up two advanced filters; one to extract 'ved' and 'cd' from the Google referral string, and the other to display the data within Google Analytics. UNIVERSAL EXTRACT Here's the text of the regex that I used Field A (\?|&)(ved)=([^&]*) Field B (\?|&)(cd)=([^&]*) UNIVERSAL DISPLAY There's many different ways to do this. I've decided to overwrite the campaign dimension of source since that's where I am checking my organic search referrals. Filters work while the data is streaming in and will not be reflected retroactively. That's fine; you just have to wait for a day or so (or an hour or so for bigger sites) to start digging in. Here's what it should look like: STEP 2: SET UP ADVANCED SEGMENTS I prefer to do this level of analysis in Excel, but Advanced Segments can be created to make it all look pretty in GA. I will walk you through the setup of one, which will inform you how to do the rest. You will want to name your Advanced Segment something that will clue you in to which vertical you are analyzing. In this case, I have called out that it is a standard 'blue link' result from a News OneBox. From there, all you need to do is search on 'Source' for anything containing the 'ved' you are trying to isolate. In this case, we are looking for 'QqQIw.' Here's an example of what you will see: Wow! There is an actionable result right in front of me. It's probably time to do some image optimization. Google apparently respects the site as a news authority, but not one that creates good images. Another useful 'ved' to investigate is Sitelinks. Sitelinks are a subset of results triggered by a branded search. Google algorithmically determines which links to include, but webmasters have the ability to demote links in Webmaster Tools. The 'ved' parameter can come in handy to measure performance of Sitelink pages and action can be taken. In order to figure out the Sitelink that sent the search referral, look at the 'cd' value that was passed with the referral string. We accounted for this in the filters and it is in your data here: Here's what the 'cd' values mean in relation to Sitelink results: There are myriad of use cases for bubbling up SEO action items. Here are a few, and please add more in the comments: * CALCULATING ROI AND RESOURCE ALLOCATION FOR DIFFERENT SEO EFFORTS: News, image, branded, and semantic markup. As marketers, we are only as valuable as what we can quantify. A challenge with SEO is demonstrating value. This does not solve the problem, but exposes a few more variables to work with. * OPTIMIZING BRANDED SEARCH SITELINKS: As I outlined above, there is value in knowing which branded links send you traffic. This is also one area where you can mitigate the loss of keyword data due to Secure Search. When you see that a keyword is (not provided) AND ved = xxxxQjB, you can interpolate that keyword = YOUR BRAND. * IMAGE OPTIMIZATION FOR GOOGLE NEWS: The top link in the Google News OneBox is most often a different source than the image thumbnail. If ved = xxxxQqQIw ÷ ved = xxxxQpwI, or the ratio of links to images, is way off-kilter it suggests there is an image optimization issue. Publishers can then use this data to measure optimization efforts against a pre-established baseline. * OPTIMIZING VIDEO THUMBNAILS: Images of video that are alongside a link are always from the same source as the link. Marketers can use a similar ratio as above to analyze click-through rates and on-page analysis when ved = xxxxQuAIw. * ANALYZING EFFICACY OF SEMANTIC MARKUP: As the occurrences of SERPS that include clickable rich-snippets and knowledge graph elements increase, being able to parse and understand the referrals using 'ved' is clear. I have only started looking at results that have rich-snippets, but the initial data suggests that 'ved' may even indicate what type event, of rich snippet was clicked. Here are a few examples: (This is one area that could use a lot more research from the community!) Events Markup: ved = xxxBE0MGM Music Markup: ved = xxxQ6hEw * SERP LANDSCAPE ANALYSIS: If you can scrape a Google SERP, you can tell which 'ved' elements are on the page and know which verticals are in each. The 'href' lives within Java Script so the simplest way to retrieve it is by using a headless browser such PhantomJS. ------------------------- That about wraps it up for my first -- of hopefully many -- posts on 'ved.' In the months to come, Moz will be collecting Google referral string data on a great number of SERPs for various keywords. We plan to unleash our data hound to sniff out the most useful elements. In the meantime, I would like to use this post as a place for the hacking to begin and the sharing of your thoughts in the comments. Dig in! 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 dont have time to hunt down but want to read!
Posted by Aleyda Solis We live in a multi-device world, and if you're still focused on improving your visibility, traffic, and conversions solely for desktop users, you're losing a great opportunity. This gap, coupled with the fact that you're probably staying behind your competitors and unconnected with your audience, is not great for business. Not convinced? Let's see some data... MOBILE SEARCH IS BOOMING. IT'S ALREADY DRIVING IMPORTANT MULTI-CHANNEL CONVERSIONS. HOWEVER, WE'RE STILL NOT DOING OUR BEST FOR MOBILE AND ARE LOSING OPPORTUNITIES. Despite the multichannel conversions that mobile search drives, we're still not making the most out of it. There are people that feel it is still too complicated and insecure to purchase goods on their smartphones: Unfortunately, what are now fundamental aspects on our desktop-focused optimization activities are sometimes still unknown when developing a mobile-focused presence, even for some very important websites. For example: A. SOME WEBSITES DON'T HAVE A MOBILE-FOCUSED PRESENCE Remember that, despite having an audience that may be using the most advanced smartphones and tablets, they still need an optimized offer that fulfills their specific behaviors (not necessarily the same than the one from the desktop users), providing the best experience according to their device characteristics (and device-specific restrictions). For example, can you guess which of these two sites provide me the best experience, is really optimized for me, will make me stay (as a consequence), and have a higher chance of conversions from me? Although I have an iPhone 5 and my fingers are tiny, it's very difficult for me to browse, interact, and consume information if the site doesn't have a version well-optimized for the device I'm using. B. SOME SITES HAVE A MOBILE PRESENCE, BUT FORGET ABOUT OPTIMIZATION FUNDAMENTALS On the other hand, other websites have a mobile presence (websites and apps included), but that doesn't mean they're really optimized. As I mentioned before, basics from our day-to-day "desktop focused" optimization activities are for some reason forgotten when we go mobile or tablet. For example, many websites love promoting their apps with intrusive interstitials that disrupt the user mobile web flow, requiring interaction from the user in order to continue: What about relevant, descriptive titles? This optimization basic is frequently forgotten, even by big websites when they go mobile (although these are well-optimized in their desktop versions): How about businesses that forget to create a landing page on their site for their own mobile apps? When you search for the app, you get the first results with iTunes store profiles that may confuse you (which one to choose?) featuring not-so-great descriptions, along with some posts with negative reviews: Time to get better control of your own app web results? Yes, please. Two questions arise from these situations: * CAN YOU BLAME PEOPLE FOR NOT CONVERTING FROM THEIR MOBILE DEVICES? * HOW CAN YOU CHANGE IT? First, let's acknowledge the challenge of a multi-device ecosystem. Once we get a handle on it, we'll have an overall vision in order to make the best decisions, optimize your presence accordingly, and maximize your opportunities. MOBILE, TABLET, WEB VS. APP: THE SEGMENTATION CHALLENGE Usually, the first question we need to answer when we go mobile (whether smartphone or tablet focused) is: DO I DEVELOP A WEBSITE OR AN APP? As I shared in this State of Search post, your decision should be based on certain factors such as your business model; the goals you're trying to achieve; how important is for your content to have a wider reach, and if it is web indexable or not; whether or not you need to provide a complex functionality that requires a higher hardware integration or connection independence; and if your audience is highly-concentrated in few devices types and platforms. You'll need to asses these characteristics along with mobile web and apps pros and cons: When you're deciding whether going mobile with a website or an app is the best option for you, use the following visualization to analytze the alternatives: You'll see that is easier to target your mobile audience with less web presence than to do so with an app that is much more segmented. However, when you think beyond the development alternatives to target your mobile audience with the required functionalities and start thinking about how you can optimize, grow the visibility, and generate conversions, YOU'LL FIND THAT MOST OF THE PRINCIPLES AND GOOD PRACTICES ARE THE SAME (OR CAN BE EASILY EXTRAPOLATED): Realize that, despite the many segmentation levels a multi-device presence may have from a development and audience perspective, THERE ARE OPTIMIZATION PRINCIPLES THAT ARE THE SAME FOR ANY TYPE OF APPROACH, PLATFORM, AND DEVICE TYPE THAT YOU SHOULD BE TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION IN ORDER TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE ORGANIC SEARCH CHANNELS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE. It's now the time to identify these similar principles and good practices to make the most out the multi-device search opportunity, instead of focusing on its complexities as an excuse. Otherwise, you will stay behind.
3 STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR VISIBILITY IN A MULTI-DEVICE SEARCH WORLD
1. OPTIMIZE YOUR PRESENCE FOR MULTI-DEVICE SEARCH VISIBILITY
People not only search for websites through web search, but also for apps (whether from smartphones, tablets, or desktops, remember we're in a multi-device world), so it's fundamental that you don't forget about creating and optimizing a mobile web presence to increase your mobile app visibility through web search, too.
Take a look at the exact-match local monthly search volume for some mobile apps related keywords in the US, from desktop and laptop devices:
And the volume for the searches from mobile devices with full Internet browsers:
So, if you want to maximize the chances that your mobile presence (web or app) gets the search visibility, users, and conversions it deserves, then you need to make sure that it's easily found through the web search results. If you have a mobile app, you'll also need to take into consideration your visibility in the app store search. Let's see how!
1.1. MOBILE WEB: SELECT AND OPTIMIZE THE BEST MOBILE WEB APPROACH FOR YOUR SITUATION
When you're developing a mobile website, the key is to select the best setting according to your characteristics, restrictions, and needs. These settings include responsive web, dynamic serving, or parallel mobile sites.
I've posted and presented about these many times, so it may be easier to check out what I've shared before and avoid repeating myself. You'll see that each one of these alternatives have their pros and cons, as well as specific and general SEO best practices that I discussed in this Moz post and Mozinar some months ago about mobile SEO:
Nonetheless, beyond specifically optimizing each mobile web alternative according to their characteristics, there are mobile web optimization fundamentals that should always be followed:
1.1.1. Reorganize Your Content To Be Correctly Displayed In Mobile Devices
Prioritizing the devices used by your audience (that you can identify through your Google Analytics "Audience > Mobile > Devices" report) gives the required visibility to the most important elements of your content. Think about your user's goals as well as your own, and align them to reorganize your web interface:
Beware of elements (like flash or interstitials) that are not correctly displayed, don't work, or provide a bad user and search experience. Take a look at the following Mobile usability resources:
* Organizing Mobile by Luke Wroblewski
* Nielsen's Mobile Website and Application Usability Report and Mobile Site vs. Full Site article
* Brad Frost post about Content Parity
1.1.2. Optimize Your Mobile Pages Relevance
Make your titles, meta descriptions, URLs, and, of course, your page's main content relevant for your mobile web audience. Take your keywords into consideration, and the visibility limitation of mobile search results in the different type of devices:
Use mobile emulators and user agent switchers to easily validate by yourself how your own pages are shown in mobile search results (for smartphones and tablets, too), along with your competitors.
1.1.3. Enhance Your Pages Visibility With Structured Markup And Google+ Presence
Use structured data markup (reviews, people, businesses, apps, etc.), Google's authorship, and create a presence in Google+ for your business to enhance your page's results visibility, not only in desktop results, but also in your mobile search results (where the visibility provided by these can be even higher in comparison):
Google has also recently announced content recommendations for mobile sites with a Google+ presence that will make the visibility obtained with it even higher.
1.1.4. Make Your Mobile Site Fast
Your mobile site has higher speed restrictions due to mobile networks and CPU capabilities, which means it's even more important to optimize its speed.
Use your Google Analytics site speed report information to easily identify your pages load times and analyze them with Google's PageSpeed Insights mobile filter to identify opportunities to improve them:
Follow PageSpeed's mobile best practices and take into consideration what's explained in this "Make the Mobile Web faster" article.
1.1.5. Serve The Right Web Version According To The Used Device
It's important to effectively identify the type of device (desktop, tablet, smartphone) used by your visitors and provide them the right web version by using different techniques according to the Mobile Web approach you're following:
* With CSS media-queries with responsive Web
* With User agent detection with dynamic serving
* With User agent detection and redirects with a parallel mobile site
1.2. MOBILE APPS: CREATE AND OPTIMIZE LANDING PAGES FOR APPS IN YOUR SITE
Give visibility to your app beyond the app store search results by creating a landing page for each of your mobile apps on your own website. Make the landing pages relevant, and optimize them to rank for popular searches of users looking for your apps:
Make sure to feature testimonials and reviews, and add a visible link to your app store page with call to actions to incentivize downloads:
Integrate your social presence as well, inviting for shares in social networks:
Additionally, Google has recently announced even more integration with Google+ for apps by showing Google+ Sign-In app activities in their results, which would also give your results more visibility:
1.2. APP STORE SEARCH
Although app store search optimization is still in early stages when we compare it with web search and is specific to each app store (Android Market and the Apple App Store), it's also evolving, aligning each time more with web search type of factors, with an algorithm that is looking to reward:
* Relevance: with the relevant terms in the App name, description, and keywords
* Popularity: with download rate, install base, ratings, comments, and even external review sites
Take these into consideration for your app store presence, by optimizing the different elements of your profile:
In addition to promoting, gamifying your mobile experience (with profiles, levels, badges, rewards, lists, etc.) to incentivize your app users activity is a huge download driver. Take a look at how successful apps do it, like Foursquare:
You can additionally promote your app through relevant sites in the sector, such as app review blogs and communities:
On the other hand, take into consideration that sometimes app store preview pages also rank in web search results and that there's also a specific "Applications" search feature in Google, listing only application related presence, for which these optimization best practices would be also beneficial in order to get a better visibility:
There are also sites and tools like App Annie and Searchman that provide free app store statistics about the top apps per store, category, and country, which can serve you as an input when optimizing your app:
2. CROSS PROMOTE BETWEEN YOUR MULTI-DEVICE PRESENCE
Create awareness of your multi-device web and app presence through each other. Promote your mobile app in a non-intrusive way (no interstitials) by inviting users to download it when accessing the mobile site with a relevant device or to switch to another web version, as shown in these images:
Make sure you also create awareness about your different multi-device presence through all of your channels, from email signatures to social profiles to your home page and emails, with updates and specially targeted mobile offers:
3. MEASURE TO IMPROVE YOUR MULTI-DEVICE PRESENCE
You cannot improve what you cannot measure, so it's fundamental to track, continuously analyze, and make improvements not only to your desktop, but also to your mobile presence based on their analytics data. You can still using Google Analytics for this, which provides an SDK for mobile app analytics.
3.1. For Your Web Presence
You can use Google Analytics mobile reports and default segments along with your own advanced segments and dashboards to follow-up and verify if you're advancing as expected with the traffic and conversions volume and trend per device type, keywords, and pages:
To easily check your Google Analytics campaign tagging and referrers for your mobile site (or your competitors), you can use user agent switchers along with Google Analytics debuggers extensions for your browser:
* For Firefox: use this user agent switcher and Google Analytics debugger
* For Chrome: use this user agent switcher and Google Analytics debugger
Unfortunately, there are issues with the search referrer data that are not passed from the Safari search box in iOS 6, and as a consequence, it's shown as direct traffic in your analytics platform. Something similar also happens for Android 4 mobile search traffic. Check out this post by AJ Khon showing how we can create an advanced segment in Google Analytics to calculate the approximate amount of the lost search traffic.
3.1. For Your Apps
The mobile app analytics will give you information about the amount of active users, screen views, sessions to demographic information, used app versions, goal completions, and in-app revenue:
Additionally, to verify your Google Analytics campaign tagging and referrers for your mobile app (or your competitors), you can set a proxy on your own computer, using a software like Charles Proxy (available for Windows and Mac), so you'll be able to monitor the HTTP traffic that goes through it, even the one from the apps installed on your mobile (that you'll need to set so it uses your computer as proxy).
Follow these installation and configuration steps to set your computer as a proxy and configure your mobile network settings to use it as an HTTP proxy (you'll need to add in the manual proxy settings your computer IP as the server one with the 8888 port):
Now you'll able to monitor the HTTP requests made from your mobile through Charles, including the ones made by your apps, as it can be seen in the following example:
You can use this not only with your own apps, but with your competitor's to check how they're tracking their mobile traffic and with your providers or partners to see if they're effectively tagging their campaigns.
Be sure to take a look at this Distilled post with a complete check-list that will guide you with the necessary settings and questions to better measure your mobile presence.
CONCLUSION: THERE'S NO EXCUSE. START OPTIMIZING FOR MULTI-DEVICE SEARCH NOW.
As you can see, there's no excuse to not optimize for a multi-device search ecosystem. It's true that the landscape may become more segmented, but many of the best practices and optimization steps can be aligned between the different presences, and will give you the chance to connect with an audience that you're likely already losing.
REMEMBER THAT SEARCH IS ALWAYS EVOLVING, AND IF YOU DON'T CATCH IT NOW, IT MIGHT BE EVEN MORE DIFFICULT WITH NEW TYPE OF DEVICE AND SEARCH INTERACTIONS IN A FUTURE THAT LOOK EVEN MORE SEGMENTED.
Do you have any questions or would like to share your opinions? I look forward to your comments!
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Posted by Dr. Pete Data is everywhere, and companies are virtually climbing over each other to give it away. If you're a data-driven content marketer, data is opportunity, but accessing that data can take some technical know-how. This is a guide to APIs, one of the key methods for accessing 3rd-party data, and also a mini-directory of some of the most useful APIs currently available to marketers. WHAT IS AN API? Let's start with the official definition - API stands for "Application Programming Interface". Sorry, I'm not the one who lets engineers name things. Put simply, an API is a way to let you talk to a 3rd-party application, usually either to retrieve data or update that application. We're going to focus primarily on the first use (retrieving data), and it looks something like this: The API itself isn't really a box floating in space, so much as a chunk of code that acts as a gatekeeper. That code helps translate the third party's data into something you can read, and it makes sure that only authorized users can access the data (a process called "authentication"). WHY SHOULD I CARE? There are hundreds of applications on the market that collect useful data, and many of them are making that data available for free or very cheaply. You can use that data to do original research, create unique content or even build your own applications. If you'd rather stick to beet farming, well then that's cool, too. WHERE DO I START? Here's the bad news - APIs are far from standardized, and you're going to have to understand data structures and write some code. This is not a how-to manual so much as an overview of what's out there that can help you decide if the world of APIs is right for you. There are some bright spots on the horizon - tools and sites that make programming APIs easier - and I'll cover some of those at the end. Following is a list of hand-selected APIs (I'll do my best not to play favorites, and our competitors are on the list), broken down into a few industry categories, and alphabetical within each category. For each API, I'll provide a main link, a documentation link (documentation can be way too hard to find), a brief description of what's available in that API, and whether or not there's a free version. APIs are split into five sections: * APIs for SEO * APIs for PPC * APIs for Social * Miscellaneous APIs * API Support Tools The last section covers sites and tools that can help you if you're new to APIs, new to programming, or just are hunting for something that's not on this list. ------------------------- (1) APIS FOR SEO This section contains APIs for organic SEO data, including keyword research and link profiling. BING SEARCH (DOCS) The Bing search API allows you to integrate Bing search results and search data directly into your applications, including web search, images, news, videos, related search, and spelling suggestions. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- MAJESTIC SEO (DOCS) The Majestic API includes a wide range of link metrics, including full back-link lists, discovery dates for links, anchor text, redirection information, and ACRank. Some features are limited to the paid version. FREE VERSION? YES, but limited functionality. ------------------------- RAVEN TOOLS (DOCS) The Raven Tools API lets customers access and update account and campaign information. It can also be used to access link data from your Raven campaigns. FREE VERSION? NO, paid accounts only. ------------------------- SEOMOZ MOZSCAPE (DOCS) SEOmoz's API has access to proprietary metrics, including MozRank, Domain Authority, and Page Authority, as well as link metrics such as linking root domains and anchor text data. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- WORDSTREAM KEYWORD TOOL (DOCS) WordStream's Keyword Tool API lets you access WordStream's keyword volume metrics, along with related keywords and structured keyword suggestions. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited.
------------------------- (2) APIS FOR PPC The following APIs provide access to major ad platforms, including Google, Bing, and Facebook. BING ADS API (DOCS) While primarily a campaign management platform, the Bing Ads API does have access to useful data, including keword volume and keyword suggestions/opportunities. FREE VERSION? YES, but authorization required. ------------------------- FACEBOOK ADS API (DOCS) The Facebook Ads API provides access to managing Facebook campaigns, as well as statistics about Facebook keyword searches and audience segments. FREE VERSION? YES, but authorization required. ------------------------- GOOGLE ADWORDS API (DOCS) Like Bing, the Google AdWords API is mainly for campaign management and building AdWords apps, but it also the only portal to Google keyword volume data. Getting authorized can be a long process. FREE VERSION? YES, but authorization required. ------------------------- SEMRUSH API (DOCS) The SEMRush API has a number of tools for both organic and paid search campaigns, but where it really shines is in competitive analysis, especially for paid search. FREE VERSION? NO, starts at $15/month.------------------------- (3) APIS FOR SOCIAL These APIs can access a wealth of information from major social networks and social aggregators. FACEBOOK GRAPH (DOCS) Facebook's "Graph" API is the primariy interface to building Facebook-based apps, updating Facebook accounts, and accessing Facebook social graph data. There are other, secondary Facebook APIs. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- FOLLOWERWONK (DOCS) FollowerWonk's Social Authority API scores Twitter users on a 1-100 scale, for simple influence scoring and comparisons (Note: FollowerWonk is a part of SEOmoz). FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- GNIP (DOCS) Gnip provides an enterprise-level API with "firehose" and filtered streams for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and more. Pricing is custom and is aimed at large-scale applications. FREE VERSION? YES, but trial only. ------------------------- GOOGLE+ (DOCS) The official Google+ API allows you to manage accounts, build apps, and access to data from user profiles, posts, and comments. It includes some limited search capability. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- KLOUT (DOCS) The Klout API provides access to Klout's aggregate social metrics, including Klout score, influencers, influence graphs, and topics of influence. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- PEERINDEX (DOCS) PeerIndex is another social aggregator, and their API provides data on multiple influence metrics, including activity, authority, and audience scores. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- SHAREDCOUNT (DOCS) The SharedCount API lets you access sharing stats on a number of platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Pinterest. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- TOPSY (DOCS) The Topsy Otter API is an alternative source for Twitter data, including a number of useful search functions - search by keyword, by links mentioned, by popluar stories on a domain, etc. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- TWITTER (DOCS) The official Twitter RESTful API includes many tools for account management and data gathering, including individual tweet and user data, follower stats, and a variety of search options. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- (4) MISCELLANEOUS APIS Here are some other useful APIs, including Google products, analytics, and text processing. ALCHEMYAPI (DOCS) AlchemyAPI provides a Natural Language Processing engine to perform tasks such as sentiment analysis, named entity extraction, author extraction, and topic categorization. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- GOOGLE ANALYTICS API (DOCS) The Google Analytics API is a full-featured system to manage GA accounts and profiles, customize tracking codes, and to access and export analytics data. FREE VERSION? YES, but authorization required. ------------------------- GOOGLE PLACES API (DOCS) The Google Places API allows you to access the entire family of Google local data, including Google Maps, Google+ Local, and Google Places search. FREE VERSION? YES, but authorization required.
------------------------- PAGESPEED INSIGHTS (DOCS) PageSpeed Insights is a Google Developer tool for website performance analysis. The PageSpeed API allows access to PageSpeed scores and recommendations. FREE VERSION? YES, but authorization required.
------------------------- REPUSTATE (DOCS) The Repustate API provides access to a number of advanced algorithms, including sentiment analysis, social media monitioring, and predictive analytics. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited.------------------------- (5) API SUPPORT TOOLS If you're new to APIs, this section can help get you started or find APIs outside the scope of this post. CODEACADEMY API TRACK CodeAcademy is a resource for learning programming concepts and languages. The API track has specific online courses designed to help you learn API coding. FREE VERSION? YES. ------------------------- MASHAPE (DOCS) Mashape is an API marketplace that allows you to access over 2,000 APIs from a single account. Mashape also lets you distribute and monetize your own APIs. FREE VERSION? YES, depending on the API. ------------------------- PROGRAMMABLEWEB ProgrammableWeb is a directory of over 9,000 APIs on a wide variety of topics. ProgrammableWeb has its own API, that allows you to access their search database. FREE VERSION? YES.
-------------------------SEER INTERACTIVE SEO TOOLBOX (DOCS) SEER's all-in-one interactive toolbox lets you access multple APIs via Excel, including Google Analytics, SEOmoz, Majestic, Raven, Twitter, and Klout. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- SEOGADGET EXCEL API EXTENSIONS (DOCS) The SEOGadget API extension for Excel allows you to easily call link data from Excel spreadsheets, including SEOmoz, Majestic, and additional SEOGadget data. FREE VERSION? YES, but rate-limited. ------------------------- WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES? While I don't intend this to be an exhaustive list of APIs, I'll try to keep the post up to date with the most useful APIs for marketers (assuming that people are interested). So, feel free to share your favorite data-collection APIs in the comments. 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 dont have time to hunt down but want to read!
Posted by randfish Many owners of established, older pages are facing a similar issue: they've been ranking decently for a keyword for some time, but they want to move into the coveted number one spot. However, older pages don't drive a ton of new press, new social signals, or awareness. If you want to boost your rankings for the same keyword you've been targeting for awhile, how can you move up to move the needle on your business? Adjusting your existing, quality content can be used to help bump your site up in the SERPs. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand lays out the tactics you can use to boost your older page to the next level!
Here is a screenshot of the whiteboard used in today's video:
How to Move Rankings Up On Older, Existing Content - Whiteboard Friday
"Howdy Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week I want to get a little down in the gritty details. Sometimes you've got a situation like this. Someone's performed a search for air conditioners. You're ranking number four. From an SEO perspective your real need is not, "Let me expand things and look at bunch of different channels." It's, "If I could move this ranking up, I could really move the needle on our business because this is a highly performing, a highly converting term, and I really want to move it just on this particular piece." Hyper-tactical, but it's good to know all the ways that you can move the needle on this. So if you want to go from number four to number three to number two and you've got essentially an older page, not a new page - so you're not getting lots of new press, attention, or awareness, driving all these social signals, etc. - and you're not targeting a new keyword, you have this kind of stale, older page and you want to get it ranking, there's a bunch of tactics that you can pursue, and I want to talk about each of them in a bit of detail. So number one, point more external links to the URL. This is probably the most classic thing that folks in the SEO field have done over the last decade, 12 years. It does work, and it still does work, although it's less powerful than it used to be because search engines, Google in particular, are looking at such a broader set of figures and data sources for their ranking signals. However, a few things about this. This is going to be pretty darn hard to do with commercial content. It's much easier if you got educational or non-promotional stuff, because reaching out and getting links from other types of folks, from other websites is much easier when it's authentic and not directly promotional or not directly revenue generating, that kind of thing. Now this is much easier for folks who are in like a non-profit space or in an educational or content space because they can reach out and say, "Hey, I have this great resource. I think your people might like it. Do you want to shoot over a link to it? Can I contribute something to your site and point to it?" Yes. It's much harder to do that when you have a page that's ranking for air conditioners and you're just trying to beat out three other e-commerce retailers for air conditioners. This is the way it goes. I do have some specific recommendations. I'm not going to dive into every one of these, but these are the tactics that, in my experience, work the best. So that's guest content, basically when you're writing on other people's sites. Of course, just like everything, it's got to be authentic, got to be high quality. You can't just be spamming other people's sites or submitting to really low quality ones. Promotions do tend to work pretty well. If you're doing a promotion on your air conditioners, other people may pick that up. You can get press and attention, social attention. Partnerships can work well. Testimonials and reviews. So other people who are writing reviews about maybe an air conditioner line that you've just launched, or someone's writing a review about a new air conditioner that's come out, and you happen to be the retailer featuring that, you can be included in those types of places. List inclusion, if you know about a list that already exists where people are covering places to get air conditioners online, you can get included in those. Again, be really careful. You don't want to go to those spammy, generic directories. You want to be going to high-quality lists. CNET Reviews is very different from Articles-about-electronics-online.info. Apologies if that's your site. If not, we should register it. I'm kidding. Press and blogs, of course. Social media pushes you can do, especially if you've got something to announce around air conditioners. Summer's coming up, right? A Facebook page, a push on Pinterest, a push on Twitter, or on Google+. Link reclamation, meaning you go back and find places that used to link to you that don't anymore, places that used to link to your competition but those links are now broken. You can go talk to those kinds of folks. Those are the kinds of link building techniques that have worked best, in my experience. Please be so super careful not to build the wrong links. If you haven't watched it already, Matt Cutts has been tweeting and talking in video - Matt Cuts being the head of the Web Spam Team at Google - talking about how they're going to be taking even more aggressive action than what they took with Penguin in a Penguin 2.0 algorithm that's coming out in the next few weeks. So just please be super cautious about where you're getting these external link sources from. Especially since links are a little less powerful than they used to be and because a lot of the linking sources are more dangerous than they once were, there are some other ways I want to mention. Those include increasing your click-through rate. Now, I'm not trying to say here that correlation equals causation, or that it even implies that, but what we do know is more people clicking through on your listing means fewer people clicking through to your competitors and a higher chance that some of those people are going to take actions that we know does increase ranking, so things like linking to you and sharing you and those kinds of things. Your page is clearly providing a more compelling experience. That tends to be exactly what Google's algorithm is trying to accomplish, and so increasing your click-through rate can help with this. One of the ways that this can be done, and this is not to say that Google is sort of biased to people who do it, but if you supplement with PPC, with paid search ads, it tend to be the case, and lots of people have tried different tests around this and gotten different performance, but, on average, it tends to be the case that one plus one equals a little more than two. I put 2.25 for that. Your mileage may vary. But basically, if I take a look over here and I've got my air conditioner page and I also have an ad on the sidebar or on the top up here, it tends to be the case that the click-through rate here, plus the click-through rate here, is a little more than if I just had a paid ad or if I just had the organic listing. So two listings on the page slightly better than one and one. So that's certainly an angle you can try again. Again, I urge you to test this, not to just take it on blind faith. Included in that test methodology should be testing modifications to the title and the description. So if your air conditioner page here has got a description and a title and a URL - the URL matters too, and you can do things like 301 redirect the old one to a new one - this can move the needle. I have found a lot of the time that what I'd call keyword-stuffed, kind of SEO 1.0, back in the late '90s, early 2000s type of things where it says, "Air conditioners, your air conditioners, get the best air conditioners here," followed by a brand name that's kind of off, after what people can see in the title in the search results, doesn't perform nearly as well as a brand people recognize, a compelling title that has a little bit of authenticity, a little bit of your brand and your culture and your unique value proposition embedded right in the title and the description. The same story with the URL. Lots of hyphens separating something, a longer URL, a dynamic URL versus one that has readable keywords in it and readable text in there. Again, you're going for authenticity. You're going for, "Boy, what would I click on? What do I tend to click on? What do people like?" Think of this just like you'd think of a paid search ad. You want to optimize all the areas of this and try and test it and get better performance out of that click-through rate. Another thing you can obviously do is add rich snippets. These are things like we could add a video to the page and add the video XML sitemap so that we get the video markup next to that result. We could add rel=author and get our profile picture next to it, assuming we connected with Google+. For some types of rich snippet results, recipes in particular, news items, you can add images and get those in there. For other types of results, air conditioners, any ecommerce result, you can have star reviews and number of reviews. All of those things can help move the needle on click-through rate. Number three, improve and revitalize the page's content itself. Again, this isn't always a direct needle mover. It can be indirect. But Google is pretty sophisticated with analyzing content. Better content, I don't mean better content in terms of it has more keywords stuffed into it, or better content in terms of it just happens to be longer or more in-depth. I mean more compelling, more uniquely valuable, more interesting, more worthy of being shared, more special. That kind of stuff tends to perform better in Google. They've got a wide variety of text-based content analysis algorithms that tell them all sorts of stuff about a page, not just keywords and TFIDF and stuff like that. So things like rich media, video, images, graphics, the layout design, the user experience, the visual aesthetics, how the page looks, these actually can move the needle, not just on how it performs in the search results, but how it performs in terms of conversion rate. Conversion rate actually tends to be tied pretty nicely to how it performs in search results, because again, Google is looking at all those pieces of the algorithm, trying to piece together what provides the best experience for our users. Text content too. I'm not just talking about keywords. I'm talking about that unique value. If you haven't seen the Whiteboard Friday on unique value versus unique content, you should check that out. I know I didn't have enough room, so I switched sides. Number four, internal links and redirects. So there are a few things that can happen here. Sometimes you have an orphaned page. It's only linked to from one section. You've got to drill way deep down into a subcategory or sub-subcategory to find this page on your site. E-commerce sites are particularly messy with this kind of stuff a lot of the time. Make sure that the page is getting link love, internal link love, relevant link love. I'm not talking about stuffing an anchor text-rich link in the footer of every page or the category section or something like that. I'm talking about when you have pages that are relevant to air conditioning, you have a page on summer appliances, you have a page on electronics, you have a page on what should homeowners be thinking about to upgrade their homes, great. Make sure that you're linking to your air conditioner page. Those are relevant pages where people would want to see that. If you're confused, do an "air conditioners"site:yourdomain. See all the pages where you mentioned it, and yet have somehow failed to link over to your air conditioner's page that you actually got. Consolidation. This is a really powerful one. So this is essentially saying, "I'm going to take all the pages that are targeting that same term or phrase and 301 them all together." We've done this a number of times on Moz, because we'll have a bunch of old blog posts or old content pages that are all talking about exactly the same thing. Then we go, "Man, why do we have seven of these? And, by the way, six of them are more than three years old." Let's just take those and 301 them back to the most relevant, most high-quality content. If we have some content that was on those other pages that we want to put on the existing one, let's do that. Let's consolidate so people don't get lost in terms off which is the most relevant page about air conditioners on your site. Google shouldn't be confused about that either, and that can actually really move the needle. I've seen that a number of times pop us from page two to page one, or pop us from the bottom of page one to the top five results, that kind of stuff. Number five, newer signal, but something that I'm pretty sure in this year's ranking factors is going to prove to be very interesting, and that is branding, co-occurrence, and mentions. What I mean by this is if your brand name, that's usually your domain name and usually your company name as well, is often connected with the words "air conditioners" - by connected I mean connected when the press talks about you, when third party sites talk about you, when people blog about you, when social media users talk about you - if those words tend to appear frequently together, your brand plus thing you want to rank for, you tend to do quite well. We've seen some early signals that mentions, that co-occurrence of terms, phrases plus brand can really move the needle. So don't ignore that either. All right. Hope these five techniques are things that you can try out. Share your experiences with the rest of the Whiteboard Friday readers in the comments, and I'll look forward to seeing you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care."Video transcription by Speechpad.com 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 dont have time to hunt down but want to read!
Posted by Zach Corleissen Greetings, Mozfolk! My name is Zach, and I'm a technical writer here at SEOmoz. We've consistently heard from you that Mozscape needs better documentation. I'm pleased to tell you: your requests have been granted! The Mozscape wiki just underwent a thorough update and review by developers, help teamsters, and testers. We incorporated your feedback from help tickets and forums to make Mozscape easier for new users to learn, and more functional for experienced users to reference. Hopefully this documentation update helps you get the most value from Mozscape. If you haven't taken a look through our documentation yet, we hope it encourages you to see how Mozscape data can help your business grow. LEGACY DOCUMENTATION: A (VERY) BRIEF HISTORY Like documentation at most startups, the legacy documentation for Mozscape was inconsistent. Not all features were documented; for example, metadata supports a command called _index_stats_, which returns information about the contents of the current Mozscape Index update. It's been in production for a while, but hasn't been documented until now. (Check it out, it's pretty cool.) When features changed, sometimes the changes weren't documented. Well-intentioned authors added and edited content in ways that weren't always comprehensive, followed by other well-intentioned authors who did the same. Not everything made sense, either; the _next_update_ and _last_update_ features of the METADATA API return dates for the next scheduled and most recent Mozscape Index updates, but the value returned is in Unix Epoch format, which only makes semi-intuitive sense if you already understand the "Expires" part of signed authentication. I compare Mozscape legacy documentation to how pearls are formed: created in gradual layers; often valuable; frequently irritating. With these updates, the Mozscape documentation is definitely on the mend and ready for your viewing pleasure. WHAT'S NEW (AND A NEW FEATURE) The What's New page makes it easier to track feature changes in future updates. From now on, any time we add or change features in Mozscape, the change and the date it went live will appear there. For example: as of May 15th, MOZSCAPE NOW SUPPORTS HTTP SECURE. WHAT'S DIFFERENT: EASIER TO LEARN If you're an SEOmoz PRO user and have never tried Mozscape, now is the perfect time! Our help team emphasized that we need a better introduction to Mozscape, especially for how Mozscape calls are formed. We responded by streamlining the introduction and improving the way we describe Mozscape's call anatomy. WHAT'S DIFFERENT: EASIER TO REFERENCE The query parameters are now organized in the way you're actually using them: _Scope_ and _Sort_ together, and _Limit_ and _Offset_ together. We distributed parameters and values specific to each endpoint into their respective articles; for example, possible _Scope_ values for the
LINKSendpoint... ...are discrete from the possible values of _Scope_ for the
ANCHOR-TEXTendpoint: Glossary entries are re-pointed to existing (and often better) resources on SEOmoz's main site whenever possible, and we added a few much-needed entries. (How did we get this far without defining target and source URLs?) WHAT'S DIFFERENT: COMPLETE PARAMETER VALUE TABLES A complete list of parameter values is a big improvement for Mozscape users. For example, the LINKS API accepts the _Sort_ parameter, but the possible values of _Sort_ weren't listed. Also, only some values of the _Sort_ and _Scope_ parameters are compatible. Today's doc update addresses both of these: WHAT'S DIFFERENT: BETTER ORGANIZATION We're excited to release re-organized topics and reduced duplicate information. An example of all three is free vs. paid access to Mozscape. Here's what it looked like before: Here's what it looks like with one of the most-requested features: a side-by-side comparison of free versus paid access to Mozscape. The legacy documentation referred to different "versions" of Mozscape for free and paid users. This isn't technically accurate, as there's only one version of Mozscape with different access tiers. Also: notice the cleaner fonts and layout? Our awesome UI guy, Kenny brought the API wiki in line with our site-wide standards. Best Practices is a single article now. It used to be a category: Most of the "best practices" in the legacy documentation weren't best practices _per se_; they were required practices. For example: there's no way to use Mozscape without signed authentication, making it a practice that's "required" rather than "best." With the update, Best Practices now lives up to its name with value-adding information about batching calls and maximizing your value by making requests in parallel. WHAT'S DIFFERENT: LESS INFORMATION? Our users are pretty hardcore (a good thing!), so you may notice that two or three topics now contain less information than previously. For example, some response fields were listed as being "for internal use and subject to change". If a response field can only be generated from an internal call, there's no reason to expose it to users, so we removed them from the documentation...and it would be a rare feature indeed that _wasn't _subject to change. I know what you might be saying. _"_But less information is less transparent! Less transparent is less TAGFEE!" That's true; transparency is critical for good documentation. When it comes to user guides, though, _more_ does not always mean _better_. TAGFEE also means empathy; if extraneous details make it harder to learn Mozscape, then the documentation lacks empathy, and that's bad. We're striving for the right balance between abundant information (transparency) and providing knowledge that will actually help you (empathy). Mozscape is awesome, and we want it to be as valuable for you as possible. CLOSING WITH A QUESTION How can we keep improving Mozscape documentation? Please let us know in the comments! 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 dont have time to hunt down but want to read!
Posted by JonQ This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The authors views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc. You could be the best SEO in the world, with the best recommendations your clients ever seen; but if this information isn't presented and communicated in the right way, the sad fact is that your hard work probably won't change a thing. A couple of weeks back, Dan and I ran a very enjoyable Mozinar on this very topic. (A huge thank you to everyone who listened in!) If you did miss it, feel free to check out the recording and download the slides here. Rather than talking through the ins and outs of technical SEO, we really wanted to dive into what, in our experience, makes the difference between a site audit being left on the shelf, compared to a document that can potentially turn a business around. On the back end of the Mozinar, we had a ton of great questions. Many focused specifically on the delivery and follow-up process, and how we approach this particular part of the job. There was quite a bit of interest in this area, so we thought a dedicated post on the latter part of our auditing process (see below) would give us a chance to dive in a little deeper. Although the follow-up and implementation clearly comes once your document has been delivered, a lot of the very early conversations have a big influence on how successful the project will ultimately end up being. I've found that getting a client in the mind-set of working together and buying into implementing your recommendations right from the start always makes getting work done so much easier! Although this post is about the follow-up process, I also want to spend some time touching on other areas that have a direct influence on that part of the project. Let's go! SALES KICK-OFF AND BRIEFING The sales process is such a critical part of any project; and not just for the obvious reasons. A well thought out sales conversation is the ideal opportunity to discuss goals, understand the clients business, and really find out what they need to achieve. Ron Garrett summed it up brilliantly in this post, and covered some great points with regards to the important details that every initial conversation with a potential client should cover. In terms of how the conversations held at the beginning of a project can impact on the effectiveness of your follow-up, it's so important to make sure you're starting the project with the right goals in mind. After all, how can you measure success if you don't understand what KPIs make a true difference to your clients business? Q: HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE AWAY DURING THE SALES PROCESS? On a very similar point, we had a couple of questions crop up in the Mozinar Q&A from people asking how much to give away during the sales process. Some people like to run a sample audit, whilst others won't give anything away until they have ink on paper. Really, this is down to you. From my perspective, you have to be sensible with your time and learn to consider each situation by its own circumstances. I've been in the situation many times before where you sense the company in question is just inviting agencies to pitch in order to gain some free expert knowledge. It takes time to put a proposal together, so you have to make a judgement on the best use of that time. Feel each situation out and you should be just fine. This is not just about selling projects; it's about understanding the situation well enough to sell the right project to solve the right problem. KICK-OFF AND BRIEFING If you take a step back and think about all the projects you've worked on that haven't worked out well, it's crazy to think how much probably went wrong before you'd even started. If everyone was in an honest mood, I think we'd all admit to being involved in projects before where it all felt just a little too rushed. As a result, a good solid brief can be skipped meaning the team get dropped in with no idea at all of delivery dates, or what the client actually wants or needs from the project. Clearly, things don't tend to go well from here. At best, the project just ends up being another report on another desk - at worst reputations get damaged. So with implementation and a smooth follow-up in mind, what should a good brief cover? As a bare minimum, I suggest the following should always be included: * Deliverables * Key dates * Goals/objectives * KPIs * Key personnel Why is this so important? One of the biggest and most common reasons for a project failing is that for a variety of reasons they simply miss the mark. Usually when a project doesn't tick the right boxes, the issue can nearly always be traced back to the brief or a miscommunication at the start. The other point here is that if the project is simply being dumped on the team, they're not likely to be too happy about it. Get your team excited and they in turn will get the client excited. If the client is excited about getting things done, suddenly getting work implemented is a far more enjoyable and productive process. DELIVERABLES A major part of any project is the format in which you present your documentation. Sometimes a "highlights" presentation deck detailing the biggest issues is the way to go, whereas some situations require a detailed document and a large set of data to refer to. The best way to do this is really going to depend on who you're delivering to, and what the initial outline of the project was. We had some really good questions on this during the webinar, so it felt right to pick out some of the best and answer them directly: Q: WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD BE DELIVERED? A LARGE DOCUMENT, A SET OF DATA, OR JUST THE TOP TEN ACTION POINTS? At SEOgadget, we've found that the best approach is to do a combination of all three, with the exact delivery style adjusted to whomever you're meeting or presenting to. A typical situation for us would be to create a master document containing detailed explanations of our findings alongside all the necessary change requests. Of course, if we're running crawls and conducting log-file analysis then there's also going to be a pretty substantial amount of data on hand too. I like delivering the data for two reasons: first, data always backs up what you're recommending. It's always so much more valuable to show and not tell. Having the ability to clearly walk the client through exactly what you've found can work wonders for adding credibility to what you're saying. Second, providing the data makes it much easier for a developer to work out what's going on and gives a reference point for future questions should anything crop up. What's more, in 90% of situations clients always ask for the data anyway! Task lists also have a very valuable place. The first question that always comes back is, "OK, so where do we start?" If a question keeps cropping up, then answer it before it gets asked! At the top of all our documents we provide a prioritized list of all change requests (as seen above). This forms a great base for follow-up calls and meetings as everyone can refer back to the same task list. With development resource often being high in demand, it also enables you to start scheduling the biggest fixes first. Q: SOME CLIENTS ARE NOT "TECHY," AND TALKING THEM WEBSITE AUDIT IS NOT THAT EASY. HOW MANY DETAILS WE SHOULD GIVE THOSE CLIENTS? SHOULD WE SPENT A LOT TIME AND TRAIN THEM ABOUT SEO? This is where being able to give a high-level view first is extremely important. Not everyone understands the details of SEO. You might not always be working directly with an SEO department; you could be working with a traditional marketing team or leading into an Ecommerce manager where their role touches on SEO, but it's not something they do all day every day. In this case, the best approach is to deliver a "highlights" type of presentation. Break the problems down and focus on the benefits of resolving the issues. Show the client what you've found, but think more about explaining the benefits of fixing each issue will have on their business. It's less about canonical tags and more about ROI. Again, get the client excited about the impact of fixing things and you'll buy yourself a heap of influence. Even though you're only presenting on a few key areas, you'll still have the full document to refer back to in more detail later down the line. FOLLOW-UP SUPPORT I'm a big believer in the idea that a technical project shouldn't be about completing a review and then thinking it's "job done." It's so much more important to have the ability to really influence change and action. In fact, the most important part (and often hardest part!) of any technical audit is the follow-up process and getting your work implemented. A good SEO can diagnose issues - a great SEO follows up and makes sure these problems get fixed. Going right back to what we touched on earlier when talking about the sales process, having a good grasp of development resource can really help here. Do you have an understanding of what processes are in place for booking requests? Did you check when development resource is available and allocated for SEO? Getting ahead of the game in these areas is one of the biggest keys to winning! The follow-up process can be greatly helped by having a central resource to track changes and keep on top of progress or indeed challenges with implementing your recommendations. Using tools such as Basecamp or Asana can be a great way of keeping communication clear, and for making sure you have the right tasks in front of the right people. If you're not keen on using these tools, a simple Google Docs sheet to display tasks and provide a place to leave comments is sometimes all that's needed. Combining this with regular calls or checking in via email gives you the ability to keep the project moving in the right direction, and the retain focus when you come to catching up in a meeting or on a call. If you've got any further questions on the process side of technical SEO audits, feel free to drop them in the comments, or tweet myself or Dan and we'll do our best to answer them. 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 dont have time to hunt down but want to read!