Happy Mother’s Day to all the brands out there!

Here are some 2019 examples you can
draw on for inspiration next year:

Combining Products

If you carry both kids and adult ranges, consider combining the products into a Mother / Son or Mother / Daughter duo, like what Spendless Shoes did:

Not only does it encourage shoppers
to make a purchase for their Mum, but it tempts them into picking up and pair
for themselves too.

Gift with Purchase

Offering a free gift with purchase
is an oldie but a goodie.

It’s a way to increase the perceived value, rather than simply discounting. It should be relevant and drive urgency, so don’t be afraid to use the ‘while stocks last’ caveat, which is what Giftbox Boutique did:

Giftbox Boutique free gift

Depending on the value of the gift, you may want customers to spend above a certain threshold. Reaching this threshold could mean customers get a whole pamper pack, not just a body butter. Here’s what Hitting the Mark APAC winner SurfStitch promoted:

SurfStitch free pamper pask

Gift Guide

Ecoya created “Mum personas” from “jet setter Mum” to “wellness Mum” and matched their candles to these personas. This is a clever tactic, as the content aims to help and inspire shoppers who’re unsure what to buy their Mum:

Encoya gift guide

Competition

Seize the opportunity to gather more data on your customers, and get people talking about your brand on social media with a competition.

Matt Blatt Mother's Day competition

Furniture brand Matt Blatt had a $3,000 Mother’s Day
makeover up for grabs for one lucky customer. Entrees were asked to describe
the most bizarre Mother’s Day gift they’d ever received in 25 words or less,
post a pic, and tag Matt Blatt and radio celebrity Em Rusciano on Instagram and
Facebook.

Once customers were lured in by the
competition, they were then directed to shop Em’s favourite furniture edits.

Discount

Sleepwear brand Peter Alexander had two weapons in their arsenal – a store-wide 20% discount, and free shipping, which ended 72 hours before Mother’s Day. This helped to set customers’ expectations on shipping.

Peter Alexander Mother's Day discount

Choice

At the same time, it’s important to remember Mother’s Day may not be a happy occasion for all people. Brands such as florist, L’Ámour, recognize that and offered customers the option to opt-out:

L'Amour Mother's Day opt-out

As you can see, brands cover the
whole spectrum of promotions and emotions on Mother’s Day.

My favourite type of promotion this
year?

Combining Products.

When I can buy a present for my
Mum, but also see product for myself, or get something extra for her, I’m in.
And if there is a store-wide discount, then everyone wins.

Fuzzy feelings all round!

It’s important to make sure
whichever tactic you adopt, you’re picking the one that works best for your
brand and on your budget.

If you can’t wait till next year to use some of these ideas for inspiration, there’s always Father’s Day! In the UK and USA, it’s on Sunday 16th June, and in Australia, it’s on Sunday 1st September.

The post Happy Mother’s Day to all the brands out there! appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com

How Often Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

Posted by Dr-Pete

In 2018, Google reported an incredible 3,234 improvements to search. That’s more than 8 times the number of updates they reported in 2009 — less than a decade ago — and an average of almost 9 per day. How have algorithm updates evolved over the past decade, and how can we possibly keep tabs on all of them? Should we even try?

To kick this off, here’s a list of every confirmed count we have (sources at end of post):

  • 2018 – 3,234 “improvements”
  • 2017 – 2,453 “changes”
  • 2016 – 1,653 “improvements”
  • 2013 – 890 “improvements”
  • 2012 – 665 “launches”
  • 2011 – 538 “launches”
  • 2010 – 516 “changes”
  • 2009 – 350–400 “changes”

Unfortunately, we don’t have confirmed data for 2014-2015 (if you know differently, please let me know in the comments).

A brief history of update counts

Our first peek into this data came in spring of 2010, when Google’s Matt Cutts revealed that “on average, [Google] tends to roll out 350–400 things per year.” It wasn’t an exact number, but given that SEOs at the time (and to this day) were tracking at most dozens of algorithm changes, the idea of roughly one change per day was eye-opening.

In fall of 2011, Eric Schmidt was called to testify before Congress, and revealed our first precise update count and an even more shocking scope of testing and changes:

“To give you a sense of the scale of the changes that Google considers, in 2010 we conducted 13,311 precision evaluations to see whether proposed algorithm changes improved the quality of its search results, 8,157 side-by-side experiments where it presented two sets of search results to a panel of human testers and had the evaluators rank which set of results was better, and 2,800 click evaluations to see how a small sample of real-life Google users responded to the change. Ultimately, the process resulted in 516 changes that were determined to be useful to users based on the data and, therefore, were made to Google’s algorithm.”

Later, Google would reveal similar data in an online feature called “How Search Works.” Unfortunately, some of the earlier years are only available via the Internet Archive, but here’s a screenshot from 2012:

Note that Google uses “launches” and “improvements” somewhat interchangeably. This diagram provided a fascinating peek into Google’s process, and also revealed a startling jump from 13,311 precisions evaluations (changes that were shown to human evaluators) to 118,812 in just two years.

Is the Google algorithm heating up?

Since MozCast has kept the same keyword set since almost the beginning of data collection, we’re able to make some long-term comparisons. The graph below represents five years of temperatures. Note that the system was originally tuned (in early 2012) to an average temperature of 70°F. The redder the bar, the hotter the temperature …

Click to open a high-resolution version in a new tab

You’ll notice that the temperature ranges aren’t fixed — instead, I’ve split the label into eight roughly equal buckets (i.e. they represent the same number of days). This gives us a little more sensitivity in the more common ranges.

The trend is pretty clear. The latter half of this 5-year timeframe has clearly been hotter than the first half. While warming trend is evident, though, it’s not a steady increase over time like Google’s update counts might suggest. Instead, we see a stark shift in the fall of 2016 and a very hot summer of 2017. More recently, we’ve actually seen signs of cooling. Below are the means and medians for each year (note that 2014 and 2019 are partial years):

  • 2019 – 83.7° /82.0°
  • 2018 – 89.9° /88.0°
  • 2017 – 94.0° /93.7°
  • 2016 – 75.1° / 73.7°
  • 2015 – 62.9° / 60.3°
  • 2014 – 65.8° / 65.9°

Note that search engine rankings are naturally noisy, and our error measurements tend to be large (making day-to-day changes hard to interpret). The difference from 2015 to 2017, however, is clearly significant.

Are there really 9 updates per day?

No, there are only 8.86 – feel better? Ok, that’s probably not what you meant. Even back in 2009, Matt Cutts said something pretty interesting that seems to have been lost in the mists of time…

“We might batch [algorithm changes] up and go to a meeting once a week where we talk about 8 or 10 or 12 or 6 different things that we would want to launch, but then after those get approved … those will roll out as we can get them into production.”

In 2016, I did a study of algorithm flux that demonstrated a weekly pattern evident during clearer episodes of ranking changes. From a software engineering standpoint, this just makes sense — updates have to be approved and tend to be rolled out in batches. So, while measuring a daily average may help illustrate the rate of change, it probably has very little basis in the reality of how Google handles algorithm updates.

Do all of these algo updates matter?

Some changes are small. Many improvements are likely not even things we in the SEO industry would consider “algorithm updates” — they could be new features, for example, or UI changes.

As SERP verticals and features evolve, and new elements are added, there are also more moving parts subject to being fixed and improved. Local SEO, for example, has clearly seen an accelerated rate of change over the past 2-3 years. So, we’d naturally expect the overall rate of change to increase.

A lot of this is also in the eye of the beholder. Let’s say Google makes an update to how they handle misspelled words in Korean. For most of us in the United States, that change isn’t going to be actionable. If you’re a Korean brand trying to rank for a commonly misspelled, high-volume term, this change could be huge. Some changes also are vertical-specific, representing radical change for one industry and little or no impact outside that niche.

On the other hand, you’ll hear comments in the industry along the lines of “There are 3,000 changes per year; stop worrying about it!” To me that’s like saying “The weather changes every day; stop worrying about it!” Yes, not every weather report is interesting, but I still want to know when it’s going to snow or if there’s a tornado coming my way. Recognizing that most updates won’t affect you is fine, but it’s a fallacy to stretch that into saying that no updates matter or that SEOs shouldn’t care about algorithm changes.

Ultimately, I believe it helps to know when major changes happen, if only to understand whether rankings shifted due something we did or something Google did. It’s also clear that the rate of change has accelerated, no matter how you measure it, and there’s no evidence to suggest that Google is slowing down.


Appendix A: Update count sources

2009 – Google’s Matt Cutts, video (Search Engine Land)
2010 – Google’s Eric Schmidt, testifying before Congress (Search Engine Land)
2012 – Google’s “How Search Works” page (Internet Archive)
2013 – Google’s Amit Singhal, Google+ (Search Engine Land)
2016 – Google’s “How Search Works” page (Internet Archive)
2017 – Unnamed Google employees (CNBC)
2018 – Google’s “How Search Works” page (Google.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 don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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The New Moz Local Is on Its Way!

Posted by MiriamEllis

Exciting secrets can be so hard to keep. Finally, all of us at Moz have the green light to share with all of you a first glimpse of something we’ve been working on for months behind the scenes. Big inhale, big exhale…

Announcing: the new and improved Moz Local, to be rolled out beginning June 12!

Why is Moz updating the Moz Local platform?

Local search has evolved from caterpillar to butterfly in the seven years since we launched Moz Local. I think we’ve spent the time well, intensively studying both Google’s trajectory and the feedback of enterprise, marketing agency, and SMB customers.

Your generosity in telling us what you need as marketers has inspired us to action. Over the coming months, you’ll be seeing what Moz has learned reflected in a series of rollouts. Stage by stage, you’ll see that we’re planning to give our software the wings it needs to help you fully navigate the dynamic local search landscape and, in turn, grow your business.

We hope you’ll keep gathering together with us to watch Moz Local take full flight — changes will only become more robust as we move forward.

What can I expect from this upgrade?

Beginning June 12th, Moz Local customers will experience a fresh look and feel in the Moz Local interface, plus these added capabilities:

  • New distribution partners to ensure your data is shared on the platforms that matter most in the evolving local search ecosystem
  • Listing status and real-time updates to know the precise status of your location data
  • Automated detection and permanent duplicate closure, taking the manual work out of the process and saving you significant time
  • Integrations with Google and Facebook to gain deeper insights, reporting, and management for your location’s profiles
  • An even better data clean-up process to ensure valid data is formatted properly for distribution
  • A new activity feed to alert you to any changes to your location’s listings
  • A suggestion engine to provide recommendations to increase accuracy, completeness, and consistency of your location data

Additional features available include:

  • Managing reviews of your locations to keep your finger on the pulse of what customers are saying
  • Social posting to engage with consumers and alert them to news, offers, and other updates
  • Store locator and landing pages to share location data easily with both customers and search engines (available for Moz Local customers with 100 or more locations)

Remember, this is just the beginning. There’s more to come in 2019, and you can expect ongoing communications from us as further new feature sets emerge!

When is it happening?

We’ll be rolling out all the new changes beginning on June 12th. As with some large changes, this update will take a few days to complete, so some people will see the changes immediately while for others it may take up to a week. By June 21st, everyone should be able to explore the new Moz Local experience!

Don’t worry — we’ll have several more communications between now and then to help you prepare. Keep an eye out for our webinar and training materials to help ensure a smooth transition to the new Moz Local.

Are any metrics/scores changing?

Some of our reporting metrics will look different in the new Moz Local. We’ll be sharing more information on these metrics and how to use them soon, but for now, here’s a quick overview of changes you can expect:

  • Profile Completeness: Listing Score will be replaced by the improved Profile Completeness metric. This new feature will give you a better measurement of how complete your data is, what’s missing from it, and clear prompts to fill in any lacking information.
  • Improved listing status reporting: Partner Accuracy Score will be replaced by improved reporting on listing status with all of our partners, including continuous information about the data they’ve received from us. You’ll be able to access an overview of your distribution network, so that you can see which sites your business is listed on. Plus, you’ll be able to go straight to the live listing with a single click.
  • Visibility Index: Though they have similar names, Visibility Score is being replaced by something slightly different with the new and improved Visibility Index, which notates how the data you’ve provided us about a location matches or mismatches your information on your live listings.
  • New ways to measure and act on listing reach: Reach Score will be leaving us in favor of even more relevant measurement via the Visibility Index and Profile Completeness metrics. The new Moz Local will include more actionable information to ensure your listings are accurate and complete.

Other FAQs

You’ll likely have questions if you’re a current Moz Local customer or are considering becoming one. Please check out our resource center for further details, and feel free to leave us a question down in the comments — we’ll be on point to respond to any wonderings or concerns you might have!

Head to the FAQs

Where is Moz heading with this?

As a veteran local SEO, I’m finding the developments taking place with our software particularly exciting because, like you, I see how local search and local search marketing have matured over the past decade.

I’ve closely watched the best minds in our industry moving toward a holistic vision of how authenticity, customer engagement, data, analysis, and other factors underpin local business success. And we’ve all witnessed Google’s increasingly sophisticated presentation of local business information evolve and grow. It’s been quite a ride!

At every level of local commerce, owners and marketers deserve tools that bring order out of what can seem like chaos. We believe you deserve software that yields strategy. As our CEO, Sarah Bird, recently said of Moz,

“We are big believers in the power of local SEO.”

So the secret is finally out, and you can see where Moz is heading with the local side of our product lineup. It’s our serious plan to devote everything we’ve got into putting the power of local SEO into your hands.

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

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Introducing your dotdigital Support Team

“dotdigital support, Stephen speaking, how can I help?”

Open a Live Chat within Engagement Cloud and
a friendly face will appear, eager to help. Call our support line and a knowledgeable
support expert will be on the other line. Whether it’s an issue with your email
formatting on your mobile device, a query regarding your campaign report, or
help with syncing your marketing list from Dynamics CRM, we’re here.

The dotdigital support team offers support over several different channels. Our primary channels are Live Chat, phone, and email. You can also submit a request through our help center or even send us a tweet @dotdigitalhelp.

How we work

1st line support

We help with the core Engagement Cloud
platform functionality. This can be problems with your email formatting, program
automations, or advise for your Survey & Forms. As the functionality in the
core platform is vast, no one query is the same.

2nd line support

We also help with core Engagement Cloud
functionality, but this will be more complex issues like API or our CPaaS
service. We handle escalations from our 1st line team as well as our
VIP ‘Key Account’ clients.

3rd line support

We’re the integrations gurus, highly
knowledgeable on Engagement Cloud connectors. This will include integrations
with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento, or CRMs like Microsoft Dynamics
and Salesforce. We will help you get the most out of the connectors.

Feedback

After you’ve talked to us, we’ll ask you for
feedback. This helps keep us on track, ensuring we’re delighting our customers
and highlighting where we can improve. We accumulate all feedback received
monthly to see how satisfied you are with our service.

We’re delighted that we’ve consistently hit our 95% customer satisfaction target for the last 20 months with an average of 1380 feedback responses each month.

Get to know the team

Our teams are based in the US, UK and Australia so below are a few short intros from some of the Product Support Analysts you’ll be chatting to.

Adam Bogos (Sydney, Australia)

What I love about my technical support role is that I feel I am able to make a positive and meaningful impact on a customer’s journey. It is a very rewarding feeling when you know you were able to help a client to solve their problem and to put them back on the right track. I’m very proud to be a part of such an amazingly diverse, talented and customer-focused team that shares a common goal to assist clients with their queries as efficiently and to the highest standards as possible.

“Patient and educational. Very happy to know I have support whilst I am trying to figure out how everything works.”

Fantastic feedback for Adam

Anna (Support UK)

Anna Charmantzi (London, UK)

It is nice to help customers overcome the technical difficulties of the platform and share tips and tricks that make their day-to-day job smoother. It makes you feel part of the client’s success story.

“Great support from Anna, she was knowledgeable and polite. She also reached out to me much later after our initial chat had been resolved to give me a useful personal update on the feature I had messaged about”

Above and beyond from Anna

Tanner (Support USA)

Tanner Perez (New York, USA)

I’m just happy to help others better understand our software. Solving problems helps keep me sharp and think critically too.

“Tried different methods to help, continuing the find an answer for the issue. Tanner was extremely helpful and took the time to try to help resolve my issue. Great service.”

Super support from Tanner

The post Introducing your dotdigital Support Team appeared first on dotdigital blog.

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I Want To Rank Beyond My Location: A Guide to How This Works

Posted by MiriamEllis

Staff at your agency get asked this question just about every day, and it’s a local SEO forum FAQ, too:

“I’m located in ‘x’, but how do I rank beyond that?”

In fact, this query is so popular, it deserves a good and thorough answer. I’ve written this article in the simplest terms possible so that you can instantly share it with even your least-technical clients.

We’ll break rankings down into five easy-to-grasp groups, and make sense out of how Google appears to bucket rankings for different types of users and queries. Your clients will come away with an understanding of what’s appropriate, what’s possible, and what’s typically impossible. It’s my hope that shooting this link over to all relevant clients will save your team a ton of time, and ensure that the brands you’re serving are standing on steady ground with some good education.

There’s nothing quite like education as a sturdy baseline for creating achievable goals, is there?

One hypothetical client’s story

We’ll illustrate our story by focusing in on a single fictitious business. La Tortilleria is a tortilla bakery located at 197 Fifth Avenue in San Rafael, Marin County, California, USA. San Rafael is a small city with a population of about 60,000. La Tortilleria vends directly to B2C customers, as well as distributing their handmade tortillas to a variety of B2B clients, like restaurants and grocery stores throughout Marin County.

La Tortilleria’s organic white corn tortillas are so delicious, the bakery recently got featured on a Food Network TV show. Then, they started getting calls from San Francisco, Sacramento, and even Los Angeles asking about their product. This business, which started out as a mom-and-pop shop, is now hoping to expand distribution beyond county borders.

When it comes to Google visibility, what is La Tortilleria eligible for, and is there some strategy they can employ to show up in many places for many kinds of searches? Let’s begin:

Group I: Hyperlocal rankings

Scenario

Your supreme chance of ranking in Google’s local pack results is typically in the neighborhood surrounding your business. For example, with the right strategy, La Tortilleria could expect to rank very well in the above downtown area of San Rafael surrounding their bakery. When searchers are physically located in this area or using search language like “tortilleria near me,” Google can hyper-localize the radius of the search to just a few city blocks when there are enough nearby options to make up a local pack.

Ask the client to consider:

  • What is my locale like? Am I in a big city, a small town, a rural area?
  • What is the competitive level of my market? Am I one of many businesses offering the same goods/services in my neighborhood, or am I one of the only businesses in my industry here?

Google’s local pack radius will vary greatly based on the answers to those two questions. For example, if there are 100 tortilla bakeries in San Rafael, Google doesn’t have to go very far to make up a local pack for a searcher standing on Fifth Avenue with their mobile phone. But, if La Tortilleria is one of only three such businesses in town, Google will have to reach further across the map to make up the pack. Meanwhile, in a truly rural area with few such businesses, Google’s smallest radius could span several towns, or if there simply aren’t enough options, not show a local pack in the results at all.

Strategy

To do well in the hyperlocal packs, tell your client their business should:

  • Create and claim a Google My Business listing, filling out as many fields as possible. Earn some reviews and respond to them
  • Build out local business listings on top local business information platforms, either manually or via a service like Moz Local.
  • Mention neighborhood names or other hyperlocal terms on the company website, including on whichever page of the site the Google listing points to.
  • If competition is strong in the neighborhood, invest in more advanced tactics like earning local linktations, developing more targeted hyperlocal content, using Google Posts to highlight neighborhood-oriented content, and managing Google Q&A to outdistance more sluggish competitors.

*Note that if you are marketing a multi-location enterprise, you’ll need to undertake this work for each location to get it ranking well at a hyperlocal level.

Group II: Local rankings

Scenario

These rankings are quite similar to the above but encompass an entire city. In fact, when we talk about local rankings, we are most often thinking about how a business ranks within its city of location. For example, how does La Tortilleria rank for searches like “tortilleria,” “tortilla shop,” or “tortillas san rafael” when a searcher is anywhere in that city, or traveling to that city from another locale?

If Google believes the intent of such searches is local (meaning that the searcher wants to find some tortillas to buy near them rather than just seeking general information about baked goods), they will make up a local pack of results. As we’ve covered, Google will customize these packs based on the searcher’s physical location in many instances, but a business that becomes authoritative enough can often rank across an entire city for multiple search phrases and searcher locales.

For instance, La Tortilleria might always rank #1 for “tortilla shop” when searchers on Fifth Avenue perform that search, but they could also rank #1 for “organic tortillas San Rafael” when locals in any part of that city or even out-of-towners do this lookup, if the business has built up enough authority surrounding this topic.

With the right strategy, every business has a very good chance of ranking locally in its city of physical location for some portion of its most desired search phrases.

Ask the client to consider:

  • Does my location + Google’s results behavior create small or large hurdles in my quest for city-wide rankings? When I look at the local packs I want to rank for, does Google appear to be clustering them too tightly in some part of the city to include my location in a different part of town? If so, can I overcome this?
  • What can I specialize in to set me apart? Is there some product, service, or desirable attribute my business can become particularly known for in my city over all other competitors? If I can’t compete for the biggest terms I’d like to rank for, are there smaller terms I could become dominant for city-wide?
  • How can I build my authority surrounding this special offering? What will be the most effective methodologies for becoming a household name in my community when people need the services I offer?

Your agency will face challenges surrounding this area of work. I was recently speaking with a business owner in Los Angeles who was disappointed that he wasn’t appearing for the large, lucrative search term “car service to LAX.” When we looked at the results together from various locations, we saw that Google’s radius for that term was tightly clustered around the airport. This company’s location was in a different neighborhood many miles away. In fact, it was only when we zoomed out on Google Maps to enlarge the search radius, or zoomed in on this company’s neighborhood, that we were able to see their listing appear in the local results.

This was a classic example of a big city with tons of brands offering nearly-identical services — it results in very stiff competition and tight local pack radius.

My advice in a tough scenario like this would revolve around one of these three things:

  • Becoming such a famous brand that the business could overcome Google’s famous bias
  • Specializing in some attribute that would enable them to seek rankings for less competitive keywords
  • Moving to an office near that “centroid” of business instead of in a distant neighborhood of the large city.

Your specific scenario may be easier, equal to, or even harder than this. Needless to say, a tortilla shop in a modestly-sized town does not face the same challenges as a car service in a metropolis. Your strategy will be based on your study of your market.

Strategy

Depending on the level of competition in the client’s market, tell them they will need to invest in some or all of the following:

  • Identify the keyword phrases you’re hoping to rank for using tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, Answer the Public, and Google Trends combined with organized collection and analysis of the real-world FAQs customers ask your staff.
  • Observe Google’s local pack behavior surrounding these phrases to discover how they are clustering results. Perform searches from devices in your own neighborhood and from other places around your city, as described in my recent post How to Find Your True Local Competitors. You can also experiment with tools like BrightLocal’s Local Search Results Checker.
  • Identify the top competitors in your city for your targeted phrases and then do a competitive audit of them.
  • Stack these discovered competitors up side-by-side with your business to see how their local search ranking factors may be stronger than yours. Improve your metrics so that they surpass those of the competitors, whether this surrounds Google My Business signals, Domain Authority, reputation, citation factors, website quality, or other elements.
  • If Google’s radius is tight for the most lucrative terms and your efforts to build authority so far aren’t enabling you to overcome it due to your location falling outside their reach, consider specialization in other smaller, but still valuable, search phrases. For instance, La Tortilleria could be the only bakery in San Rafael offering organic tortillas. A local business might significantly narrow the competition by being pet-friendly, open later, cheaper, faster, more staffed, women-led, serving specific dietary restrictions or other special needs, selling rarities, or bundling goods with expert advice. There are many ways to set yourself apart.
  • Finally, publicize your unique selling proposition. Highlight it on your website with great content. If it’s a big deal, make connections with local journalists and bloggers to try to make news. Use Google My Business attributes to feature it on your listing. Cross-sell with related local businesses and promote one another online. Talk it up on social media. Structure review requests to nudge customers towards mentioning your special offering in their reviews. Do everything you can to help your community and Google associate your brand name with your specialty.

Group III: Regional rankings

Scenario

This is where we typically hit our first really big hurdle, and where the real questions begin. La Tortilleria is located in San Rafael and has very good chances of ranking in relation to that city. But what if they want to expand to selling their product throughout Marin County, or even throughout several surrounding counties? Unless competition is very low, they are unlikely to rank in the local packs for searchers in neighboring cities like Novato, Mill Valley, or Corte Madera. What paths are open to them to increase their visibility beyond their city of location?

It’s at this juncture that agencies start hearing clients ask, “What can I do if I want to rank outside my city?” And it’s here that it’s most appropriate to respond with some questions clients need to be asking themselves.

Ask the client to consider:

  • Does my business model legitimately lend itself to transactions in multiple cities or counties? For example, am I just hoping that if my business in City A could rank in City B, people from that second location would travel to me? For instance, the fact that a dentist has some patients who come to their practice from other towns isn’t really something to build a strategy on. Consumers and Google won’t be excited by this. So, ask yourself: “Do I genuinely have a model that delivers goods/services to City B or has some other strong relationship to neighbors in those locales?”
  • Is there something I can do to build a physical footprint in cities where I lack a physical location? Short of opening additional branches, is there anything my business can do to build relationships with neighboring communities?

Strategy

  • First, know that it’s sometimes possible for a business in a less-competitive market to rank in nearby neighboring cities. If La Tortilleria is one of just 10 such businesses in Marin County, Google may well surface them in a local pack or the expanded local finder view for searchers in multiple neighboring towns because there is a paucity of options. However, as competition becomes denser, purely local rankings beyond city borders become increasingly rare. Google does not need to go outside of the city of San Francisco, for example, to make up complete local results sets for pizza, clothing, automotive services, attorneys, banks, dentists, etc. Assess the density of competition in your desired regional market.
  • If you determine that your business is something of a rarity in your county or similar geographical region, follow the strategy described above in the “Local Rankings” section and give it everything you’ve got so that you can become a dominant result in packs across nearby multiple cities. If competition is too high for this, keep reading.
  • If you determine that what you offer isn’t rare in your region, local pack rankings beyond your city borders may not be feasible. In this case, don’t waste money or time on unachievable goals. Rather, move the goalposts so that your marketing efforts outside of your city are targeting organic, social, paid, and offline visibility.
  • Determine whether your brand lends itself to growing face-to-face relationships with neighboring cities. La Tortilleria can send delivery persons to restaurants and grocery stores throughout its county. They can send their bakers to workshops, culinary schools, public schools, food festivals, expos, fairs, farmers markets, and a variety of events in multiple cities throughout their targeted region. They can sponsor regional events, teams, and organizations. They can cross-sell with a local salsa company, a chocolatier, a caterer. Determine what your brand’s resources are for expanding a real-world footprint within a specific region.
  • Once you’ve begun investing in building this footprint, publicize it. Write content, guest blog, make the news, share socially, advertise online, advertise in local print, radio, and TV media. Earn links, citations and social mentions online for what you are doing offline and grow your regional authority in Google’s eyes while you’re doing it.
  • If your brand is a traditional service area business, like a residential painting company with a single location that serves multiple cities, develops a website landing page for each city you serve. Make each page a showcase of your work in that city, with project features, customer reviews, localized tips, staff interviews, videos, photos, FAQs and more. As with brick-and-mortar models, your level of rarity will determine whether your single physical office can show up in the local packs for more than one city. If your geo-market is densely competitive, the main goal of your service city landing pages will be organic rankings, not local ones.

Group IV: State-wide rankings

Scenario

This is where our desired consumer base can no longer be considered truly local, though local packs may still occasionally come into play. In our continuing story, revenue significantly increased after La Tortilleria appeared on a popular TV show. Now they’ve scaled up their small kitchen to industrial strength in hopes of increasing trade across the state of California. Other examples might be an architectural firm that sends staff state-wide to design buildings or a photographer who accepts event engagements across the state.

What we’re not talking about here is a multi-location business. Any time you have a physical location, you can simply refer back to Groups I–III for strategy because you are truly in the local running any place you have a branch. But for the single location client with a state-wide offering, the quest for broad visibility begs some questions.

Ask the client to consider:

  • Are state-wide local pack results at all in evidence for my query or is this not the reality at all for my industry? For example, when I do a non-modified search just for “sports arena” in California, it’s interesting to see that Google is willing to make up a local pack of three famous venues spanning Sonora to San Diego (about 500 miles apart). Does Google return state-wide packs for my search terms, and is what I offer so rare that I might be included in them?
  • Does my business model genuinely lend itself to non-local queries and clients willing to travel far to transact with me or hire me from anywhere in the state? For example, it would be a matter of pure vanity for me to want my vacuum cleaner repair shop to rank state-wide, as people can easily access services like mine in their own towns. But, what if I’m marketing a true rara avis, like a famous performing arts company, a landmark museum, a world-class interior design consultancy, or a vintage electronics restoration business?
  • Whether Google returns state-wide local packs or only organic results for my targeted search terms, what can I do to be visible? What are my resources for setting myself apart?

Strategy

  • First, let’s take it for granted that you’ve got your basic local search strategy in place. You’re already doing everything we’ve covered above to build a strong hyperlocal, local, and regional digital and offline footprint.
  • If Google does return state-wide local packs for your search phrases, simply continue to amp up the known local pack signals we’ve already discussed, in hopes of becoming authoritative enough to be included.
  • If your phrases don’t return state-wide local packs, you will be competing against a big field for organic results visibility. In this case, you are likely to be best served by three things. Firstly, take publication on your website seriously. The more you can write about your offerings, the more of an authoritative resource you will become. Delve deeply into your company’s internal talent for developing magazine-quality content and bring in outside experts where necessary. Secondly, invest in link research tools like Moz Link Explorer to analyze which links are helping competitors to rank highly in the organic results for your desired terms and to discover where you need to get links to grow your visibility. Thirdly, seek out your state’s most trusted media sources and create a strategy for seeking publicity from them. Whether this comes down to radio, newspapers, TV shows, blogs, social platforms, or organizational publications, build your state-wide fame via inclusion.
  • If all else fails and you need to increase multi-regional visibility throughout your state, you will need to consider your resources for opening additional staffed offices in new locales.

Group V: National rankings & beyond

Scenario

Here, we encounter two common themes, neither of which fall within our concept of local search.

In the first instance, La Tortilleria is ready to go multi-state or nation-wide with its product, distributing goods outside of California as a national brand. The second is the commonly-encountered digital brand that is vending to a multi-state or national audience and is often frustrated by the fact that they are being outranked both in the local and organic results by physical, local companies in a variety of locations. In either case, the goals of both models can sometimes extend beyond country borders when businesses go multinational.

Ask the client to consider:

  • What is my business model? Am I selling B2B, B2C, or both?
  • Which marketing strategies will generate the brand recognition I need? Is my most critical asset my brand’s website, or other forms of off-and-online advertising? Am I like Wayfair, where my e-commerce sales are almost everything, bolstered by TV advertising? Or, am I like Pace Foods with a website offering little more than branding because distribution to other businesses is where my consumers find me?
  • Does my offering need to be regionalized to succeed? Perhaps La Tortilleria will need to start producing super-sized white flour tortillas to become a hit in Texas. McDonald’s offers SPAM in Hawaii and green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico. Regional language variants, seasonality, and customs may require fine-tuning of campaigns.

Strategy

  • If your national brand hinges on B2C online sales, let me put the e-commerce SEO column of the Moz blog at your fingertips. Also highly recommended, E-commerce SEO: The Definitive Guide.
  • If your national brand revolves around getting your product on shelves, delve into Neilsen’s manufacturer/distributor resources and I’ve also found some good reading at MrCheckout.
  • If you are expanding beyond your country, read Moz’s basic definition of International SEO, then move on to An In-Depth Look at International SEO and The Ultimate Guide to International SEO.
  • This article can’t begin to cover all of the steps involved in growing a brand from local to an international scale, but in all scenarios, a unifying question will revolve around how to cope with the reality that Google will frequently rank local brands above or alongside your business for queries that matter to you. If your business has a single physical headquarters, then content, links, social, and paid advertising will be the tools at your disposal to compete as best you can. Rarity may be your greatest strength, as seen in the case of America’s sole organic tulip bulb grower, or authority, as in the case of this men’s grooming site ranking for all kinds of queries related to beards.
  • You’ll be wanting to rank for every user nationwide, but you’ll also need to be aware of who your competitors are at a local and regional level. This is why even national/international brands need some awareness of how local search works so that they can identify and audit strong local brands in target markets in order to compete with them in the organic SERPs, sometimes fine-tuning their offerings to appeal to regional needs and customs.
  • I often hear from digital-only brands that want to rank in every city in the nation for a virtual service. While this may be possible for a business with overwhelming authority and brand recognition (think Amazon), a company just starting out can set a more reasonable goal of analyzing a handful of major cities instead of thousands of them to see what it would take to get in the running with entrenched local and digital brands.
  • Finally, I want to mention one interesting and common national business model with its own challenges. In this category are tutoring businesses, nanny services, dog walking services, and other brands that have a national headquarters but whose employees or contractors are the ones providing face-to-face services. Owners ask if it’s possible to create multiple Google listings based on the home addresses of their workers so that they can achieve local pack rankings for what is, in fact, a locally-rendered service. The answer is that Google doesn’t approve of this tactic. So, where a local pack presence is essential, the brand must find a way to staff an office in each target region. Avoid virtual offices, which are explicitly forbidden, but there could be some leeway in exploring inexpensive co-working spaces staffed during stated business hours and where no other business in the same Google category is operating. A business that determines this model could work for them can then pop back up to Groups I-IV to see how far local search can take them.

Summing up

There may be no more important task in client-onboarding than setting correct expectations. Basing a strategy on what’s possible for each client’s business model will be the best guardian of your time and your client’s budget. To recap:

  1. Identify the client’s model.
  2. Investigate Google’s search behavior for the client’s important search phrases.
  3. Gauge the density of competition/rarity of the client’s offerings in the targeted area.
  4. Audit competitors to discover their strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Create a strategy for local, organic, social, paid, and offline marketing based on the above four factors.

For each client who asks you how to rank beyond their physical location, there will be a unique answer. The work your agency puts into finding that answer will make you an expert in their markets and a powerful ally in achieving their achievable goals.

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

Reblogged 1 month ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Your 3-Step Guide to Creating a Successful Review Acquisition Strategy

Posted by McDermott

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had an easy way to learn about your competitor’s deepest and darkest secrets? An ethical way to peer inside their business — anytime you wanted?

Your competitor’s review portfolio provides you with just that. And conducting an audit of their portfolio will give you precious, must-have data that competitors are simply unwilling to share. It’s a treasure trove of secrets, pointing to your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, and objectives.

But how do you audit your competitor’s review portfolio? More importantly, how do you use this data to inform your review acquisition and marketing strategy?

I’ll show you how in three easy steps. Feel free to download this spreadsheet if you’d like to add data as we go along.

Why competitor review audits are essential

But first: What’s so special about the review audit anyway? At first glance, it might seem like more work than it’s worth. Your competitors have more (or less) reviews than you do, which means you’ll work harder — and if they add more reviews, you’ll have to put in more work to earn more reviews.  

Seems like the usual marketing arms race, right? Where you and your competitors are jockeying for first place.

Sophisticated agencies will know better. They see the competitor review audit for what it is: A chance to gain leverage, clarity, and intelligence from their most unwilling competitors. Because a competitor audit shows you:

  1. What competitor’s customers are unhappy about
  2. Your competitor’s desires, goals, fears and frustrations
  3. The core issues and challenges costing your competitors leads, sales and revenue
  4. The objections and risks that keep their prospects from buying
  5. Customer perception in the marketplace
  6. Why customers choose to work with your competitors specifically
  7. What customers want (but aren’t getting) from your competitors
  8. What needs to be done to grow your business exponentially
  9. Their customer’s knowledge/level of sophistication
  10. Changes in your competitor’s business (past, present, and future)

These details are are an exceptional opportunity in the right hands —it’s an indispensable assessment tool for local search agencies and their clients. Not to mention it’s a straightforward way to learn about your competitor’s deepest and darkest secrets: you have literal competitive intel from their customer’s perspective. 

Before you begin your audit…

You’ll want to take stock of the top three competitors in your local market. There are two ways to approach this. If you’re part of a smaller local market or you already have a list of competitors, start there. What if you’re a new business and you’re not fully established in your local market yet? Which competitors should you audit?

The businesses that are consistently listed in the local three pack or page one of the Google Maps search results, when you click ‘More Places’ on the local pack or the search results (page one) for your queries!

All set with your list of competitors? You’re ready to begin your audit!

Step #1: Assess their review profiles

You’ll want to take an inventory of your competitor’s review profiles. You’re looking for three types of review profiles:

  1. Mainstream reviews via large providers like Google, Facebook, and Yelp
  2. Industry-specific reviews via specialty sites like TripAdvisor for hotels, Avvo for attorneys or Healthgrades for doctors
  3. ‘Niche’ platforms like the BBB, Angie’s list, or Clutch.co

You also want to take note of a few cursory details.

  • Have competitors claimed each/all of their profiles?
  • How many reviews do they have?
  • Are the aggregate reviews on each platform – positive, neutral or negative?
  • What’s the overall sentiment for each profile – positive, neutral or negative?
  • How recent are their reviews?
  • How many of their reviews were received over the past one to three months?
  • Is their NAP data consistent across each of their profiles? Consistent across multiple locations?
  • Do their profile links lead to active and relevant pages? Any broken links?

You’re looking for inconsistencies. Outdated data, inaccurate details, 404 errors, etc.

Step #2: Search for their business + reviews

Let’s say you’re working with a client in the personal injury space. You’re analyzing the three competitors we mentioned earlier.

Where should you start?

First, you’ll want to gather a list of branded and unbranded keywords. You can use Moz’s Keyword Explorer or your keyword tool of choice to quickly suss out the organic keywords your competitors are using.

explorer personal injury

You can use a tool like the Permutator to rapidly expand your list of keywords. You can use this tool to identify missed opportunities or further refine the keywords in your list.

personal injury permutations

Head over to Google and run a search of the unbranded keywords in your list.

  • Best personal injury lawyer
  • Best personal injury lawyers near me
  • Best personal injury lawyers in Chicago
  • Best personal injury lawyers Chicago Loop
  • Chicagoland personal injury firm
  • Chicagoland personal injury firm in Chicago
  • Chicagoland personal injury firm near me
  • Chicagoland personal injury firms
  • Personal injury firm
  • Personal injury firm in Chicago
  • Personal injury firm near me
  • Personal injury firms

Next, run a search of the branded queries in your list

  • Staver Accident Injury Lawyers
  • Staver Accident Injury Lawyers reviews
  • Staver Accident Injury Lawyers testimonials
  • Staver Accident Injury Lawyers in Chicago
  • Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard
  • Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard reviews
  • Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard testimonials
  • Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard in Chicago

Take screenshots of the local three pack when it appears, whether it includes the competitors in your list or not.

salvi 3 pack

You also want to take screenshots of the knowledge panel and search results. There are all kinds of juicy data we can work with here! Use a descriptive file name so it’s easy to remember key details later.

rosenfeld knowledge panel + serps

Here’s a short list of the details you’re looking for:

  • Are aggregate reviews listed in the search results? Are these reviews positive, neutral or negative?
  • Are keywords used on review profiles, media (via images, videos or slides) and landing pages?
  • Citations/NAP data, is it consistent/inconsistent?
  • What types of content channels are used (e.g. keyword rich video testimonials via YouTube, on-site reviews, Facebook recommendations, etc.)?

Next, you’ll want to read through your competitor’s reviews. At this point, you’re looking to collect data. You’ll want:

  • Positive, neutral and negative reviews
  • Featured, highlighted or recommended reviews
  • To assess the general tone and quality of the reviews listed in each profile (are reviews shallow, detailed or comprehensive e.g. reviews with text, images and/or video?)
  • To gauge the ratio of positive-to-negative and neutral-to-negative reviews
  • To identify profiles that are potential outliers (e.g. unclaimed review profiles with no/poor reviews)

You’re looking for positive reviews…

rosenfeld reviews

…as well as neutral and negative reviews.

rosenfeld negative

The balanced, comprehensive inventory of each review profile gives us more data to work with later on.

You’ll want to run these audits at regular intervals. If you’re serving clients in a highly competitive market like insurance, real estate mortgage banking, you’ll want to run these audits more often.

Why is this important?

You already know the answer! You and your clients are playing a competitive game of moves and countermoves. If they’re smart, your competitors will eventually take note of the aggressive changes you’re making. They’ll quickly adapt, working to circumvent any advantage you’ve gained. If you’re using a review management tool, these details are simple to automate and easy to track on a recurring basis.

It’s not rocket science, but it does take work. Now we’ve arrived at the best part of our analysis.

Step #3: Using your audit to inform your review acquisition strategy

You’ve uncovered a significant amount of data in your competitor audit. How do we go about putting this valuable data to good use?

We ask questions!

Asking questions gives us a chance to dive deep into the data, uncovering insights that are actionable and useful. Here’s a list of sample questions you should be able to extract from your audit. Here’s what you’ll want to know.

Which competitor has:

  • The most reviews, per platform? The most reviews overall?
  • The largest amount of high-quality reviews (e.g. detailed four and five-star reviews)?
  • The largest amount of low-quality reviews (e.g. four and five-star reviews with little to no text)?
  • The largest amount of aggregate reviews listed in the search results?

These questions enable you to identify the review sites where your competitors are strongest/weakest. This is important because it helps you identify opportunities for quick wins and big gains.

Next, you’ll want to assess trends in your competitor’s reviews:

  • What motivates reviewers to share (e.g. satisfactory outcome, altruism, displeasure, etc.)?
  • Which customer objections appear repeatedly?
  • Do competitors respond to customer reviews? Do they respond more to positive, neutral, negative or all reviews?
  • How long does it take them to respond to a review?
  • How do competitors respond to negative reviews?
  • Do customers feel the business’ performance has improved or declined overall?
  • What desires, goals, fears, frustrations, and problems did customers bring into the relationship?
  • How did competitors handle these issues?
  • What risks did reviewers face in the relationship?
  • How sophisticated are their reviewers (e.g. educated and discerning buyer, experienced and unsure, clear and confident, etc.)
  • Which themes appear consistently in reviewer responses? (E.g. poor communication, open and transparent, patient and knowledgeable, etc.)

So, here’s the million-dollar question. How do you use these details to inform your review acquisition strategy? Imagine that we come across 25 to 35 reviews like these in our audit of a single competitor. Customers are consistently complaining about poor communication and poor follow-through in their reviews.

negative review personal injury

How can you help your clients capitalize on this problem? You…

  1. Brainstorm: You work with your law firm client to come up with a client “Bill of Rights.” They commit to daily and weekly communication with their clients or they take 25 percent off next month’s invoice. You interview, survey and conversion data to test the effectiveness of this risk reversal.
  2. Advertise: Your client uses their client “Bill of Rights” and their promise to communicate daily and weekly in your PPC and display campaigns. Click through rates begin to climb as the message begins to resonate with clients in the Chicagoland area.
  3. Re-target: Prospects who visit the website are added to a retargeting campaign. This campaign consists of four distinct ingredients (1.) A strong value proposition (2.) An irresistible offer (3.) Strong reviews showing your client communicates daily and weekly as promised (4.) Your clients produce extraordinary results for their clients. Using your client’s retargeting campaign, you drive prospects to relevant landing pages and review profiles.
  4. Convert: Your marketing strategy is effective. You’re able to convert a significant amount of prospects on your client’s behalf. You ensure that your client under promises and over delivers, producing extraordinary results and wowing their clients.
  5. Request: You set up a review funnel for your client. Their customers are invited to write a review via SMS and email autoresponder campaigns. Their clients are sent to a review landing page, where they’re directed to the appropriate review profile (e.g. Google My Business, Facebook recommendations, or Yelp reviews). Their clients are encouraged to share openly and honestly.
  6. Respond: You work with your client to respond to positive and negative reviews on their behalf. You work with your clients to maintain a 5:1 ratio. Five positive reviews for every negative review. You use review response protocols to provide reviewers with an appropriate, customized and empathetic response. Traffic and conversion rates skyrocket.

Can you see what’s happening? You’re using your competitor’s strategy to inform your own. Your clients continue to win whether their competitors win or lose. Here’s the significant part about competitor review audit. The possibilities are there. You can use their competitor’s success or failure to boost their marketing results. You can use this strategy with webinars, guest posts advertising, partnerships, workshops, and even events.

A chance to gain leverage, clarity, and insight

Don’t underestimate the power of conducting competitor review audits. It’s a powerful strategy, especially when combined with Review management tools as well as display and PPC intelligence tools like Moat, WordStream, and SpyFu. 

If you’re a boutique Local Search, SEO, or Marketing agency working with a variety of local clients, providing review management guidance can be an incredibly valuable supplemental service. In fact, according to Moz’s 2019 The State of Local SEO Industry Report, 91 percent of marketers believe that aspects of reviews, including ratings, quality, positive/negative sentiment, presence of keywords, and/or recency can impact local pack rankings. So if you’re providing local digital services and not touching on reviews, you’re probably doing your clients a disservice. 

Wrapping up

A competitor review audit gives you actionable data on your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, and objectives. With the right approach and consistent effort, your competitors will supply you with everything you need to inform and improve your client’s review acquisition strategy.

What other tips or tricks do you use to inform your review acquisition strategy?

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

Reblogged 1 month ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Announcing the New Moz SEO Essentials Certificate: What It Is & How to Get Certified

Posted by BrianChilds

“Does Moz offer a certification?”

Educating the marketing community about SEO is one of our core values here at Moz. I worked at an agency prior to joining the team back in 2016, and much of what I learned about how to deliver SEO to our clients came from reading the Moz Blog and watching MozCon videos.

In 2016, one of Moz’s entrepreneurial product managers, Rachel Moore, launched a new catalog of SEO coursework called Moz Academy. This initiative enabled our community to learn faster through structured, interactive workshops. Since 2017, the team has taught SEO to almost 2,500 students through our various class offerings (I looked it up prior to writing this. That number made me really proud).

Across all these interactions, one question asked by our students kept surfacing: 

Can I get a certificate for completing this coursework? 

For agencies, the ability to show a certificate of completion is a way to differentiate themselves amongst a crowded market. I knew from my own experience how valuable having “HubSpot Inbound Certified” and “Adwords Certified” on my LinkedIn profile was — they allowed our team to show proficiency to our prospective clients. For our friends working as in-house marketers, showing a certificate of completion is a way of showing that the student made good on the investment they requested from their managers.

I’m proud to announce that Moz has put in a tremendous amount of effort to create a certificate program that meets this consistent customer demand. Today, Moz is launching the SEO Essentials Certificate through our Moz Academy platform. Check it out below:

I’m ready to check it out!

What is an SEO Certificate?

An SEO Certificate from Moz is all about developing familiarization with Moz tools and covering some of the essential types of projects you can use to hit the ground running. Though attendees of the Moz Academy come from a variety of backgrounds, we built the certification coursework with an Agency or freelance SEO in mind. However, I believe this material is valuable for anyone interested in learning SEO.

The certificate is focused on five core competency areas:

  1. Understand the Fundamentals
  2. Develop Keyword Strategies
  3. Apply On-Page Optimization Strategies
  4. Build Effective Link Strategies
  5. Create Efficient Reporting Strategies

By completing this certificate, attendees should be able to articulate for their stakeholders where SEO fits in a digital strategy, how to find and target search engine results pages (SERPs) based on the competitive landscape, and how to approach delivering basic SEO tactics using the Moz toolset.

With this foundation, you’ll be able to jump off into more advanced topics such as technical SEO fixes, local SEO, and how to set up your agency for success.

Check out just what’s included in the coursework for the Moz SEO Essentials certificate:

1. Understand the Fundamentals

One challenge we observed in the development of SEO coursework: our users often started delivering organic traffic improvements without having a foundational understanding of where SEO tactics fit into a broader digital strategy. Often people will initiate optimization efforts without first conducting effective keyword research. Or, if keyword research was being done, it wasn’t framed within a repeatable, scalable process.

The Understand the Fundamentals course sets the stage for delivering SEO in a way that can be repeated efficiently. In addition to defining essential terminology used in the following classes, you learn how to organize keyword research in a way that produces insight about competition. This relatively simple framework can radically improve targeting of your SEO activities, especially for large enterprises that may compete in several different markets simultaneously.

2. Develop Keyword Strategies

After introducing a framework for conducting keyword research, the certificate program dives into a step-by-step process for creating large keyword clusters and identifying the keywords that will produce the best results. In the development of this coursework, we recognized that many articles and resources talk about keyword research but don’t define a repeatable, scalable process for actually doing it. So many articles about SEO promote hacks that may work for a particular use case, but lack step-by-step instructions. We developed this course to provide you with a practical process that can scale alongside your work.

You’ll learn the importance of mapping keyword clusters to the typical sales funnel customers follow as they move from exploration of solutions to purchase. I’ve presented this material in workshops to large enterprises and small companies — every marketing team that’s used this process found it valuable.

By the end of the class, you’ll be familiar with the most valuable features of Moz Keyword Explorer and how to organize lists to help you identify and target the best keywords for your stakeholders.

3. Apply On-Page Optimization Strategies

For many websites, you can find quick wins simply by optimizing page attributes that target strategic keywords. For as much as search has evolved in recent years, we still operate primarily in a world where the text on a page defines the value of that page. This course provides an overview of those attributes and their relative importance.

You’ll have a clear understanding of how to use site crawl and page optimization tools to identify, prioritize, and begin optimizing pages based on the keyword strategy they developed in the previous class. Often one of the challenges our students have discovered is that they moved too quickly into optimization without first having their strategy defined. This class will show how strategy and implementation fit together.

4. Build Effective Link Strategies

Link building is another practice that, as an agency marketer, I found difficult to scale. Many articles describe the importance of how relevant links relate to ranking, or hacks that produced a particular result for a page, but not how to create a repeatable process.

As you’ll discover in the class, link building is more about process than tools. You’ll understand how to use Moz Link Explorer to isolate the best domains to target amongst the thousands you might consider. I use this process myself whenever launching new websites and it turns a week-long project into a few hours of work. For any agency, where time is literally money, driving down the cost of link analysis with Moz tools can be a big windfall.

5. Create Efficient Reporting Strategies

Whether you’re working at an enterprise brand or providing digital marketing services, reporting on outcomes is a big part of your job. Because of the challenges inherent in reporting on attribution with SEO strategies, it’s vital to understand both how to set up your data and some common ways to tie SEO projects to broader digital marketing initiatives. This course provides a framework for reporting on SEO that you can adjust to suit your needs. You’ll learn how to use Google Analytics and Moz tools to create actionable reports you can share with your team and stakeholders.

SEO Essentials Certificate FAQs

Here are some of the common questions our community has asked us about the SEO Essentials Certificate during the development process.

How do I get SEO Certified?

Moz offers the SEO Essentials Certificate program via the Moz Academy platform. When you visit Moz Academy, you will see the SEO Essentials Certificate program listed in the catalog. All you have to do is select the course and proceed through the login process.

How long does the SEO Essentials Certificate take?

The Moz SEO Essentials coursework consists of several hours of online instruction, as well as a few quizzes and a final exam. The coursework is developed to be completed within a week of starting. Some attendees have completed the coursework in two days, but for most folks, it takes about a week.

Will I get an SEO certificate and LinkedIn badge?

Yes! We’ve developed a way for you to get both a SEO certificate you can print and a LinkedIn badge to show you’ve completed the program. When you pass the final exam, you’ll find links to both of these assets and instructions on how to generate them.

How long is the SEO Essentials Certificate valid?

The Moz SEO Essentials Certificate is valid for one year after registration. When the certificate expires, you’ll need to retake the coursework to maintain your certification. We set the expiration at one year because SEO changes a lot! (Seriously — just take a look at the Google Algorithm Change History.) We want to make sure that you have the most up-to-date information when displaying your credentials online and to stakeholders.

Sign me up!

Find yourself with questions not addressed in this post? Drop them in the comments and we’ll do our best to get them answered.

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

Reblogged 1 month ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Ignoring big data is hurting your customer experience

We’ve all heard the saying before – content is king.

So, what does that make data? If we’re sticking with the analogy
of chess in regards to marketing efforts, where on the board does big data
fall? You might be surprised to know that big data
isn’t a chess piece at all, it’s the clock off to the side of the game that
you’re playing against.

In the game of chess, you can lose if you focus too much on the moves your opponent makes and not enough on how much time you have left – the same is true for marketing.

Technology is changing the way we do business. We have more data at our disposal than ever before, and we’ve reached the point that not utilizing that data could eventually render your business obsolete. Passively tracking the latest data tools and tips isn’t enough anymore, you need a proactive approach to integrating big data into your customer experience plan.

How does ignoring big data affect your business?

Software is eating the world and it’s fueling itself with user
data.

In just the span of a year, the number of marketing automation software
products listed on G2’s website jumped from 129 to 260. That’s an increase of
201.55% and that number is expected to keep increasing. The biggest names in
marketing are investing more time and resources into gathering customer data to
drive customer engagement
and improve the consumer experience.

That’s not all – they’re also seeing a huge return on their investment. The total revenue generated from hardware, software, and professional services associated with big data will reach $92.2 billion by 2026. And that’s a conservative estimate, some experts predict that number to spike even higher.

If you’re not already making data a priority for your marketing strategy, you may be falling behind the competition without even knowing it. While you’re watching the pieces on their chess board, the clock is ticking and you’re running out of time to switch your strategy in time.

How can you harness big data to engage your customers?

Knowing why you need data for your customer experience is just one piece on the board. The real question is do you know how to move the pieces to win the game? In order to beat your opponent, you’ll need to understand the different ways you can use data to improve your customer experience and drive conversions.

Think of these strategies as your chess openings. There are three
main uses of big data in relation to the customer experience:

1. Using big data to increase customer acquisition

2. Using big data to increase customer retention

3. Using big data to drive customer expansion.

Let’s break these down one by one.

Using big data to increase customer acquisition is pretty straightforward. You can use big data to learn more about potential leads, what motivates them, what they like and dislike. Big data can provide you with information about their purchasing behavior, which of your competitors they’ve checked out, and more. All of this information can be given to your sales team to help them close deals and acquire new customers.

Once you acquire customers, you can use big data to keep them
engaged. Netflix is at the
forefront of the conversation when it comes to harnessing big data for a unique
customer experience. They use AI and predictive analytics to pinpoint what
their customers like and offer them new features and products before customers
even know they want them. With the right data, your company can do the same
thing.

Attracting and keeping customers isn’t all big data can do – it can help you save time and resources by knowing which leads aren’t worth pursuing. You can use CRM software to track your customer data and build consumer profiles that will help you decide the likelihood a lead will convert to a sale.

You can save your employees time, money, and frustration by using
data to equip them with the tools they need to be more effective. And in the
same breath, you can create a more personalized user experience to your
customers. Unlike chess, this is a game where everyone can be a winner.

Don’t let the clock run out on your company

Change isn’t coming, change is already here. Thankfully, it’s not too late to make a shift and get back in the game. If you haven’t taken a hard look at how big data plays into your marketing strategy, make it a priority. You’ll be having your competition in checkmate before you know it.

The post Ignoring big data is hurting your customer experience appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Brightpearl and dotdigital: tackling the customer engagement iceberg

Every marketer wants more customers to engage more frequently with more of their content. After all, engagements are generally considered positive key performance indicators. If customers are opening your messages, clicking through to your site, and ultimately buying from you – your job as a marketer is done, right? Wrong!

All too often, customers have negative experiences after they click ‘buy’. It might be that their order is delayed because the product’s out of stock. Perhaps they receive the wrong item. Or maybe they simply change their mind and don’t want to engage in your returns process.

These types of experiences are part of the engagement iceberg, where less-visible interactions can cost a lot of money and undo your hard-spent marketing dollars. To illustrate, it takes 12 positive customer reviews to make up for one negative customer review.

Brightpearl automates retail: all the tasks in the back-end associated with placing and receiving an order. Their mission is to reduce errors, eliminate bottlenecks, and make the customer experience painless.

dotdigital and Brightpearl are pleased to announce a new integration

The new connector helps brands sync their back-end retail operations with dotdigital Engagement Cloud. Marketers can achieve a more robust single customer view and take control over how and when they market to someone.

The integration lets retailers sync:

  • contacts
  • contact tags
  • orders
  • unsubscribes

Doing your data due diligence saves you time to re-market to a new or automatically created address book(s). You could even create a new marketing segment combining contacts with related Brightpearl contact tags. Cool, huh?

Relevant and valuable communication with clients is one of the cornerstones of customer-centric retail. We’re excited to partner with dotdigital to provide our mutual customers the capacity to enhance their customer engagement with accurate operations data. This will give Brightpearl and dotdigital Engagement Cloud users the ability to avoid disjointed or irrelevant communication to clients, and instead will lead to the kind of seamless customer experience both platforms are already known to provide on their own.

Rob Beattie, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Brightpearl, UK

The partnership with retail operations experts Brightpearl
makes a lot of sense. We have a number of mutual clients who have all expressed the need to be able to link up their business systems, front- and back-end. As an increasing amount of businesses feel fierce competitive pressure, having the ability to respond to end-to-end experiences, both good and bad, becomes increasingly important when trying to gain an edge over the rest.

Simon Lye, Head of Partnerships at dotdigital

For more information on the integration with Brightpearl, please contact a sales representative or just get in touch with your account manager.

Brightpearl is an omnichannel retail operations platform
that helps retailers streamline the back office. Brightpearl’s complete
solution includes financial management, inventory and sales order management,
purchasing and supplier management, CRM, fulfilment, warehouse, and logistics.
Integrated with major ecommerce platforms and online marketplaces, Brightpearl
is designed to scale as retailers grow.

The post Brightpearl and dotdigital: tackling the customer engagement iceberg appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com