Faster, Fresher, Better: Announcing Link Explorer, Moz’s New Link Building Tool

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More link data. Fresher link data. Faster link data.

Today, I’m delighted to share that after eons of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and love, Moz is taking a major step forward on our commitment to provide the best SEO tools money can buy.

We’ve rebuilt our link technology from the ground up and the data is now broadly available throughout Moz tools. It’s bigger, fresher, and much, much faster than our legacy link tech. And we’re just getting started! The best way to quickly understand the potential power of our revolutionary new link tech is to play with the beta of our Link Explorer.

Introducing Link Explorer, the newest addition to the Moz toolset!

We’ve heard your frustrations with Open Site Explorer and we know that you want more from Moz and your link building tools. OSE has done more than put in its time. Groundbreaking when it launched in 2008, it’s worked long and hard to bring link data to the masses. It deserves the honor of a graceful retirement.

OSE represents our past; the new Link Explorer is our fast, innovative, ambitious future.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Link Explorer beta:

  • It’s 20x larger and 30x fresher than OSE (RIP)
  • Despite its huge index size, the app is lightning fast! I can’t stand waiting so this might be my number-one fav improvement.
  • We’re introducing Link Tracking Lists to make managing your link building efforts a breeze. Sometimes the simple things make the biggest difference, like when they started making vans with doors on each side. You’ll never go back.
  • Link Explorer includes historic data, a painful gap in OSE. Studying your gained/lost linking domains is fast and easy.
  • The new UX surfaces competitive insights much more quickly
  • Increases the size and freshness of the index improved the quality of Domain Authority and Spam Score. Voilà.

All this, and we’re only in beta.

Dive into your link data now!

Here’s a deeper dive into my favorites:

#1: The sheer size, quality, and speed of it all

We’re committed to data quality. Here are some ways that shows up in the Moz tools:

  • When we collect rankings, we evaluate the natural first page of rankings to ensure that the placement and content of featured snippets and other SERP features are correctly situated (as can happen when ranking are collected in 50- or 100-page batches). This is more expensive, but we think the tradeoff is worth it.
  • We were the first to build a hybrid search volume model using clickstream data. We still believe our model is the most accurate.
  • Our SERP corpus, which powers Keywords by Site, is completely refreshed every two weeks. We actively update up to 15 million of the keywords each month to remove keywords that are no longer being searched and replace them with trending keywords and terms. This helps keep our keyword data set fresh and relevant.

The new Link Explorer index extends this commitment to data quality. OSE wasn’t cutting it and we’re thrilled to unleash this new tech.

Link Explorer is over 20x larger and 30x fresher than our legacy link index. Bonus points: the underlying technology is very cost-efficient, making it much less expensive for us to scale over time. This frees up resources to focus on feature delivery. BOOM!

One of my top pet peeves is waiting. I feel physical pain while waiting in lines and for apps to load. I can’t stand growing old waiting for a page to load (amirite?).

The new Link Explorer app is delightfully, impossibly fast. It’s like magic. That’s how link research should be. Magical.

#2: Historical data showing discovered and lost linking domains

If you’re a visual person, this report gives you an immediate idea of how your link building efforts are going. A spike you weren’t expecting could be a sign of spam network monkey business. Deep-dive effortlessly on the links you lost and gained so you can spend your valuable time doing thoughtful, human outreach.

#3: Link Tracking Lists

Folks, this is a big one. Throw out (at least one of… ha. ha.) those unwieldy spreadsheets and get on board with Link Tracking Lists, because these are the future. Have you been chasing a link from a particular site? Wondering if your outreach emails have borne fruit yet? Want to know if you’ve successfully placed a link, and how you’re linking? Link Tracking Lists cut out a huge time-suck when it comes to checking back on which of your target sites have actually linked back to you.

Why announce the beta today?

We’re sharing this now for a few reasons:

  • The new Link Explorer data and app have been available in beta to a limited audience. Even with a quiet, narrow release, the SEO community has been talking about it and asking good questions about our plans. Now that the Link Explorer beta is in broad release throughout all of Moz products and the broader Moz audience can play with it, we’re expecting even more curiosity and excitement.
  • If you’re relying on our legacy link technology, this is further notice to shift your applications and reporting to the new-and-improved tech. OSE will be retired soon! We’re making it easier for API customers to get the new data by providing a translation layer for the legacy API.
  • We want and need your feedback. We are committed to building the very best link building tool on the planet. You can expect us to invest heavily here. We need your help to guide our efforts and help us make the most impactful tradeoffs. This is your invitation to shape our roadmap.

Today’s release of our new Link Explorer technology is a revolution in Moz tools, not an evolution. We’ve made a major leap forward in our link index technology that delivers a ton of immediate value to Moz customers and the broader Moz Community.

Even though there are impactful improvements around the corner, this ambitious beta stands on its own two feet. OSE wasn’t cutting it and we’re proud of this new, fledgling tech.

What’s on the horizon for Link Explorer?

We’ve got even more features coming in the weeks and months ahead. Please let us know if we’re on the right track.

  • Link Building Assistant: a way to quickly identify new link acquisition opportunities
  • A more accurate and useful Link Intersect feature
  • Link Alerts to notify you when you get a link from a URL you were tracking in a list
  • Changes to how we count redirects: Currently we don’t count links to a redirect as links to the target of the redirect (that’s a lot of redirects), but we have this planned for the future.
  • Significantly scaling up our crawling to further improve freshness and size

Go forth, and explore:

Try the new Link Explorer!

Tomorrow Russ Jones will be sharing a post that discusses the importance of quality metrics when it comes to a link index, and don’t miss our pinned Q&A post answering questions about Domain Authority and Page Authority changes or our FAQ in the Help Hub.

We’ll be releasing early and often. Watch this space, and don’t hold back your feedback. Help us shape the future of Links at Moz. We’re listening!

Categories: Uncategorized

Camera Shy: 7 Tips for First-Time Video Marketers

Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

Video isn’t for the faint of heart. You need to feel confident enough to put yourself, and your brand, out there. But it’s a medium that a lot of marketers are exploring as it holds a lot of potential.

In fact, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts that 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. Video is a main source of content consumption, including everything from the news to YouTube tutorials. And as marketers looking to demonstrate thought leadership and credibility, video presents a unique opportunity to get in front of and educate your target audience. However, 64% of marketers agree that video is the hardest type of content to produce, turning many people away from embracing video.  

Never one to shy away from a challenge, we’ve been diving in head-first here at TopRank Marketing. We’ve been doing video for a while through our Digital Marketing News casts, but we recently started expanding to include a video series (Crush-It!) that inspires the next generation of curious, courageous, and clever digital marketers. Each video features one of our internal experts, which brought both seasoned and green video personalities to the stage.

If you’re thinking that you want to enter the world of video marketing, check out our team’s video marketing tips from their own experiences in front of the camera, as well as behind the scenes.

Our Video Marketing Experts

Tiffani Allen TopRank MarketingTiffani Allen

Senior Account Manager

One of the anchors for our Digital Marketing News YouTube series, Tiffani is a veteran in front of the camera. Having starred in over 100 videos, as well as directed videos for a few of our clients, Tiffani knows how to organize and shoot effective videos.

Follow Tiffani on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Josh NiteJoshua Nite

Senior Content Marketing Manager

As Tiffani’s Digital Marketing News co-anchor, Josh also has plenty of advice for marketers going in front of or behind the camera. With over 100 videos under his belt as well, Josh is no stranger to video marketing.

Follow Josh on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Nick Nelson

Content Strategist

Recently appearing in one of our latest Crush-It! episodes, Nick has useful tips for first-timers. Having covered video marketing strategies and tips in the past for our own blog content, Nick’s also picked up some advice from leading brands and video experts.

Follow Nick on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Steve SlaterSteve Slater

Senior SEO and Digital Advertising Manager

Video isn’t widely known for being SEO-friendly. But as a dedicated SEO expert, Steve provides great insight into how you can still take advantage of video for search marketing. Steve has also appeared in our Crush-It series, becoming a breakout star with some helpful tips.

Follow Steve on Twitter and Linkedin.

7 Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

#1 – Get ready for your close-up.

Video is all about “looks,” but looks don’t just boil down to your hair or makeup. It’s more so about making sure that your talented cast comes prepared and well-versed on the subject they’re going to be talking about. This will allow them to appear more comfortable, relaxed, and confident on camera. Afterall, everyone appearing in the video will be an extension of your brand. To help you get ready for your close up and put your best self forward, here are some tips from our team on your appearance and demeanor.

“If you appear nervous or lacking in confidence, it’ll probably be visible to viewers. This is no easy task, especially for the camera-shy, but be mindful of the vibe you’re giving off. Try as hard as you can to relax and have fun. It’ll show.” Nick Nelson

“Relax! It can be uncomfortable to be on camera, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Think of it as a conversation with your audience versus a video – it takes some of the pressure off. Also, avoid super busy patterns or lines when you’re picking out what to wear. It can make some really crazy things happen visually.” Tiffani Allen

In addition to keeping your appearance in check, you also can’t stop once you start. This lesson can be applied to plenty of things you’ll try throughout your marketing career. But if you want to experience success with your videos, it will take a lot grit, determination, and outside-the-box thinking. Even if you aren’t getting the views or subscriptions you want, you have to keep at it, optimizing your approach along the way.

“You have to commit. The first video probably won’t be great. It might not even be good. Keep going and it will get better.” Steve Slater

We’ve been iterating on our approach to video since 2016, starting with the basics, learning as we go, and striving to make each take better than the next.

Here’s an early example from us from a couple years back.

[embedded content]

And here’s a video from last week. We’ve been working on finding the perfect lighting scenario, experimenting with different cuts, angles, and interstitials, and other refinements.

[embedded content]

#2 – You don’t need a blockbuster budget.

Video is an expensive endeavor. Or, it can be. Between lighting, audio, video, and editing equipment, it can quickly become a costly investment. But just because you have all of the bells and whistles, doesn’t mean your video will be a success. Instead, focus on the content of your videos to ensure that your video will be watched and appreciated.

“You don’t have to have a huge budget. You can work with what you have to create a great video, you just have to get creative.” Tiffani Allen

Our own videos don’t have a huge budget. For example, we shot the below video in one of our offices and used the creative theme of meditation to engage our audience. It was an out-of-the-box idea, but it currently holds the title for longest watch time.

[embedded content]

Read: How to Get Started with Video Content Marketing (Without a Blockbuster Budget)

#3 – Practice your narrative, not your lines.

When it comes to film, there’s usually a script that’s followed. When it comes to your video marketing, you’ll also want a script that helps you stay on track and express all of your talking points. However, while it’s tempting to document everything you want to say, word for word, avoid that urge as best as you can. Having a script is helpful, but it can also cause your video to feel less organic or authentic. Check out our team’s tips below for practicing ahead of filming.

“I would recommend carefully planning out your talking points ahead of time and rehearsing them so they don’t escape your mind on the spot. You don’t need to memorize a script — in fact, you might not want to, as you’ll likely come off as robotic and not very conversational — but memorize the things you’d generally like to say. This will help prevent the “ums” and “uhs” that can become stressful when the camera is rolling.” Nick Nelson

“I would recommend going over your talking points to have a good understanding of what you want to say, but NOT scripting it out verbatim. You want to keep it sounding natural and human.” Joshua Nite

“Practice your narrative, not your lines. If you try to remember what you’re going to say verbatim, you’ll likely need to do multiple takes and it may come off as rehearsed or inauthentic. Know what message you’re trying to deliver and you’ll have much more fun!” Tiffani Allen

#4 – Nail down your intention.

If you’re writing a blog post, putting together an eBook, or drafting an email, there’s typically a call to action (CTA) with a link. When it comes to video, however, that type of call to action becomes harder to include. While links are important and can be included as bumpers or within the video description, we would challenge you to think more critically about the action you want to inspire from your audience.

Video offers a vastly different experience for your audience than physical text. This means your CTA can offer a different experience as well. Do you want viewers to subscribe? Like the video? Share it? Comment? All of those CTAs now become options. You need to decide what you want your audience to do before you think about a measurable CTA.

“This comes down to being creative. What are you really trying to accomplish? Know that first, then figure out what tools you have at your disposal to get there. Can’t embed CTAs in your YouTube videos? Use bumpers with short links and add them to the description.” Tiffani Allen

For our own Crush-It videos, we added clickable CTAs at the end of our videos to subscribe to our channel or watch another episode.

Crush-It Video Calls to Action

#5 – Put someone in the director’s chair.

If you have a low-budget for your video marketing projects, odds are you don’t have a director or cameraman to back you up. While we don’t expect you to go out and hire someone to fill that void, simply enlisting a coworker or friend to press record has immense value. Even if they don’t have video experience, if they can help you start and stop your video clips, you can save hours in the editing chair.

“I think my biggest piece of advice is to have someone behind the camera. It really helps if it’s someone who knows what they’re doing (like our own video mastermind, Adam Dunn), but even just having someone to push the button and stand there made a drastic difference in how quick and easy it was to record.” Joshua Nite

via GIPHY

#6 – Video transcriptions aren’t just for closed captioning.

Video has a reputation for not being SEO-friendly. Because video by nature has minimal crawlable text, the SEO value is perceived to be low. However, there’s a workaround we’ve discovered that can more than make up for a video’s lack of text. What’s that secret? Transcriptions that allow for supportive, repurposed blog content and increased search visibility.

“Transcribe those videos when you embed them on your website. Don’t miss out on giving Google all that great content to index.” Steve Slater

“If your video focuses on keywords and topics that are important to your audience, it might be worth creating a written transcript and having it accompany the embedded video in a blog post. This will enable you to gain SEO traction and draw more inbound traffic for the vid. Include optimized headers and everything for maximum impact. Moz sets a good example of this with their Whiteboard Friday sessions.” Nick Nelson

Moz Whiteboard Friday Video Transcription

#7 – Be your biggest critic.

If you’re anything like me, you do not like the sound of your own voice or watching yourself on screen. But if you want to improve your videos, it’s something that you have to do to measure your own performance. Skipping out on watching yourself can lead to you repeating past mistakes.

“To quote the great LIttle Walter, ‘you better watch yourself.’ I know it isn’t fun but watch your own videos. See how you look and act on camera.” Steve Slater

via GIPHY

Lights. Camera. Action.

Video marketing is a large undertaking for any brand as it involves looping in your brand’s internal thought leaders, investing in new equipment, and putting your brand into uncharted territory. But if you let the fear of budget, failure, or judgement hold you back, you’ll never reach the results you’re looking for.

For your best chance at creating video that’s award-worthy, it’s important that you stay organized, authentic, and determined. And we speak from experience when we say that it can be challenging at times, but the payoff is video content that educates and inspires — a common goal for many marketers.

Not sure what your first video should cover or aim to do? Struggling to come up with a starting point? Check out our other video marketing resources for inspiration and guidance:

Digital Marketing News: 3.3B Global Social Users, Facebook’s Loyalty Prediction AI, & More

Digital Around The World Q2 2018 Chart

Report: Social media use is increasing despite privacy fears
3.3 billion people worldwide use social media, an increase of some 100 million over the first three months of 2018, according to new report data from Hootsuite and We Are Social, despite a spate of recent privacy fears surrounding Facebook and other social companies. The Next Web

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Google posts $31.1B in total revenue, beats top- and bottom-line expectations
Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent firm, posted better than expected revenue results, with almost $27 billion in advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018, beating both Wall Street and analyst predictions and continuing year-over-year increases. MarTech Today

Facebook’s secret ‘Loyalty Prediction’ ad tool anticipates future user behavior & purchases
Advertisers using Facebook will be able to utilize an artificial intelligence (AI) service tool to anticipate user behaviors and likely purchases, according to reports citing leaked information about the firm’s loyalty prediction ad utility. Marketing Land

Study: Majority reject ads on smart speakers
Most people don’t want advertising delivered through virtual assistants, smart speakers, or voice search results, according to new survey data examining screenless searching, however nearly 40 percent of respondents were open to receiving only relevant ads. Search Engine Land

Reddit to grow its 75-person brand partnerships team by 50 percent to woo advertisers
Reddit plans to increase its brand partnership team by 50 percent in an effort to boost its brand-friendliness and attract more ad spend to the sixth most visited site globally. DigiDay

Google Confirms Algorithm Update Released on April 16th
Google has confirmed the latest of its now-routine broad core search algorithm updates designed to boost SERP quality and relevance. Search Engine Journal

Pinterest redesigns business profile pages with monthly viewer counts
Pinterest’s one million businesses will have access to monthly viewer pin counts after rolling out a revised and updated business profile page that also includes several display enhancements. Marketing Land

Ads.txt has gained adoption, but 19 percent of advertisers still haven’t heard of it
Robot.txt-like Ads.txt server-side whitelist from the Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab has made gains in recognition and implementation, yet adoption hurdles remain. DigiDay

‘You’re seeing the lightbulb go off’: Amazon’s ad business is appealing to more buyers
As marketers have shown increased interest in advertising with Amazon, the company’s ad products have become pricier, according to report data from Merkle. DigiDay

Facebook gives creators new ways to monetize videos, while pushing more users to Watch
Facebook’s Watch tab has played an increasing role in the company’s video advertising strategy, along with several recent enhancements for video creators. Marketing Land

73 percent of Internet users purchased a product or service online in the past month.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist 5 stages of data privacy grief

A lighthearted look at the five stages of data privacy grief, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Google Maps is Now Using Fast Food Locations as Reference Points — Search Engine Journal

Iconic ‘MAD’ Magazine Relaunches, ‘DCist’ Plans Return — MediaPost

Why So Many People Make Their Password ‘Dragon’ — Wired

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Interview: Lee Odden on the Rise and Success of Influencer Marketing — Brand24
  • Lee Odden — Video Interview: AQ’s Blog & Grill — AQ’s Blog & Grill YouTube
  • Lee Odden and LinkedIn (client) — Making the Case for Employee Advocacy: A Pocket Guide — LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
  • TopRank Marketing & Cherwell (client) — How to Guarantee Content Shares from Influencers — Onalytica
  • Ashley Zeckman — 82 Experts Share Their Favorite Influencer Marketing Tips to Increase Exposure — ShaneBarker.com
  • Lee Odden — Connecting in meaningful ways: What nonprofits and small businesses can learn from the YouToo Social Media Conference — DotOrgSolutions

Please join us once more next week, when we’ll share an exciting new array of the latest marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

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Content for Answers: The Inverted Pyramid – Whiteboard Friday

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If you’ve been searching for a quick hack to write content for featured snippets, this isn’t the article for you. But if you’re looking for lasting results and a smart tactic to increase your chances of winning a snippet, you’re definitely in the right place.

Borrowed from journalism, the inverted pyramid method of writing can help you craft intentional, compelling, rich content that will help you rank for multiple queries and win more than one snippet at a time. Learn how in this Whiteboard Friday starring the one and only Dr. Pete!

Content for Answers

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

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans, Dr. Pete here. I’m the Marketing Scientist at Moz and visiting you from not-so-sunny Chicago in the Seattle office. We’ve talked a lot in the last couple years in my blog posts and such about featured snippets.

So these are answers that kind of cross with organic. So it’s an answer box, but you get the attribution and the link. Britney has done some great Whiteboard Fridays, the last couple, about how you do research for featured snippets and how you look for good questions to answer. But I want to talk about something that we don’t cover very much, which is how to write content for answers.

The inverted pyramid style of content writing

It’s tough, because I’m a content marketer and I don’t like to think that there’s a trick to content. I’m afraid to give people the kind of tricks that would have them run off and write lousy, thin content. But there is a technique that works that I think has been very effective for featured snippets for writing for questions and answers. It comes from the world of journalism, which gives me a little more faith in its credibility. So I want to talk to you about that today. That’s called the inverted pyramid.

Content for Answers

1. Start with the lead

It looks something like this. When you write a story as a journalist, you start with the lead. You lead with the lead. So if we have a story like “Penguins Rob a Bank,” which would be a strange story, we want to put that right out front. That’s interesting. Penguins rob a bank, that’s all you need to know. The thing about it is, and this is true back to print, especially when we had to buy each newspaper. We weren’t subscribers. But definitely on the web, you have to get people’s attention quickly. You have to draw them in. You have to have that headline.

2. Go into the details

So leading with the lead is all about pulling them in to see if they’re interested and grabbing their attention. The inverted pyramid, then you get into the smaller pieces. Then you get to the details. You might talk about how many penguins were there and what bank did they rob and how much money did they take.

3. Move to the context

Then you’re going to move to the context. That might be the history of penguin crime in America and penguin ties to the mafia and what does this say about penguin culture and what are we going to do about this. So then it gets into kind of the speculation and the value add that you as an expert might have.

How does this apply to answering questions for SEO?

So how does this apply to answering questions in an SEO context?

Content for Answers

Lead with the answer, get into the details and data, then address the sub-questions.

Well, what you can do is lead with the answer. If somebody’s asked you a question, you have that snippet, go straight to the summary of the answer. Tell them what they want to know and then get into the details and get into the data. Add those things that give you credibility and that show your expertise. Then you can talk about context.

But I think what’s interesting with answers — and I’ll talk about this in a minute — is getting into these sub-questions, talking about if you have a very big, broad question, that’s going to dive up into a lot of follow-ups. People who are interested are going to want to know about those follow-ups. So go ahead and answer those.

If I win a featured snippet, will people click on my answer? Should I give everything away?

Content for Answers

So I think there’s a fear we have. What if we answer the question and Google puts it in that box? Here’s the question and that’s the query. It shows the answer. Are people going to click? What’s going to happen? Should we be giving everything away? Yes, I think, and there are a couple reasons.

Questions that can be very easily answered should be avoided

First, I want you to be careful. Britney has gotten into some of this. This is a separate topic on its own. You don’t always want to answer questions that can be very easily answered. We’ve already seen that with the Knowledge Graph. Google says something like time and date or a fact about a person, anything that can come from that Knowledge Graph. “How tall was Abraham Lincoln?” That’s answered and done, and they’re already replacing those answers.

Answer how-to questions and questions with rich context instead

So you want to answer the kinds of things, the how-to questions and the why questions that have a rich enough context to get people interested. In those cases, I don’t think you have to be afraid to give that away, and I’m going to tell you why. This is more of a UX perspective. If somebody asks this question and they see that little teaser of your answer and it’s credible, they’re going to click through.

“Giving away” the answer builds your credibility and earns more qualified visitors

Content for Answers

So here you’ve got the penguin. He’s flushed with cash. He’s looking for money to spend. We’re not going to worry about the ethics of how he got his money. You don’t know. It’s okay. Then he’s going to click through to your link. You know you have your branding and hopefully it looks professional, Pyramid Inc., and he sees that question again and he sees that answer again.

Giving the searcher a “scent trail” builds trust

If you’re afraid that that’s repetitive, I think the good thing about that is this gives him what we call a scent trail. He can see that, “You know what? Yes, this is the page I meant to click on. This is relevant. I’m in the right place.” Then you get to the details, and then you get to the data and you give this trail of credibility that gives them more to go after and shows your expertise.

People who want an easy answer aren’t the kind of visitors that convert

I think the good thing about that is we’re so afraid to give something away because then somebody might not click. But the kind of people who just wanted that answer and clicked, they’re not the kind of people that are going to convert. They’re not qualified leads. So these people that see this and see it as credible and want to go read more, they’re the qualified leads. They’re the kind of people that are going to give you that money.

So I don’t think we should be afraid of this. Don’t give away the easy answers. I think if you’re in the easy answer business, you’re in trouble right now anyway, to be honest. That’s a tough topic. But give them something that guides them to the path of your answer and gives them more information.

How does this tactic work in the real world?

Thin content isn’t credible.

Content for Answers

So I’m going to talk about how that looks in a more real context. My fear is this. Don’t take this and run off and say write a bunch of pages that are just a question and a paragraph and a ton of thin content and answering hundreds and hundreds of questions. I think that can really look thin to Google. So you don’t want pages that are like question, answer, buy my stuff. It doesn’t look credible. You’re not going to convert. I think those pages are going to look thin to Google, and you’re going to end up spinning out many, many hundreds of them. I’ve seen people do that.

Use the inverted pyramid to build richer content and lead to your CTA

Content for Answers

What I’d like to see you do is craft this kind of question page. This is something that takes a fair amount of time and effort. You have that question. You lead with that answer. You’re at the top of the pyramid. Get into the details. Get into the things that people who are really interested in this would want to know and let them build up to that. Then get into data. If you have original data, if you have something you can contribute that no one else can, that’s great.

Then go ahead and answer those sub-questions, because the people who are really interested in that question will have follow-ups. If you’re the person who can answer that follow-up, that makes for a very, very credible piece of content, and not just something that can rank for this snippet, but something that really is useful for anybody who finds it in any way.

So I think this is great content to have. Then if you want some kind of call to action, like a “Learn More,” that’s contextual, I think this is a page that will attract qualified leads and convert.

Moz’s example: What is a Title Tag?

So I want to give you an example. This is something we’ve used a lot on Moz in the Learning Center. So, obviously, we have the Moz blog, but we also have these permanent pages that answer kind of the big questions that people always have. So we have one on the title tag, obviously a big topic in SEO.

Content for Answers

Here’s what this page looks like. So we go right to the question: What is a title tag? We give the answer: A title tag is an HTML element that does this and this and is useful for SEO, etc. Right there in the paragraph. That’s in the featured snippet. That’s okay. If that’s all someone wants to know and they see that Moz answered that, great, no problem.

But naturally, the people who ask that question, they really want to know: What does this do? What’s it good for? How does it help my SEO? How do I write one? So we dug in and we ended up combining three or four pieces of content into one large piece of content, and we get into some pretty rich things. So we have a preview tool that’s been popular. We give a code sample. We show how it might look in HTML. It gives it kind of a visual richness. Then we start to get into these sub-questions. Why are title tags important? How do I write a good title tag?

One page can gain the ability to rank for hundreds of questions and phrases

What’s interesting, because I think sometimes people want to split up all the questions because they’re afraid that they have to have one question per page, what’s interesting is that I think looked the other day, this was ranking in our 40 million keyword set for over 200 phrases, over 200 questions. So it’s ranking for things like “what is a title tag,” but it’s also ranking for things like “how do I write a good title tag.” So you don’t have to be afraid of that. If this is a rich, solid piece of content that people are going to, you’re going to rank for these sub-questions, in many cases, and you’re going to get featured snippets for those as well.

Then, when people have gotten through all of this, we can give them something like, “Hey, Moz has some of these tools. You can help write richer title tags. We can check your title tags. Why don’t you try a free 30-day trial?” Obviously, we’re experimenting with that, and you don’t want to push too hard, but this becomes a very rich piece of content. We can answer multiple questions, and you actually have multiple opportunities to get featured snippets.

So I think this inverted pyramid technique is legitimate. I think it can help you write good content that’s a win-win. It’s good for SEO. It’s good for your visitors, and it will hopefully help you land some featured snippets.

So I’d love to hear about what kind of questions you’re writing content for, how you can break that up, how you can answer that, and I’d love to discuss that with you. So we’ll see you in the comments. Thank you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Customers Don’t Want Content – They Want a Better Path

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I’m in the business of helping companies use tech to drive better customer interactions. I help companies earn more customers. The most common way people employ me is to help them build content marketing projects, expand their existing ones, or in general, turn their marketing, sales, and communications efforts into something more effective.

Well guess what?

Customer’s Don’t Want Content – They Want a Better Path

The reason I’m so bullish on AI, blockchain, chatbots, IoT, and video media for the future of business is that in all cases, these technologies can be applied to improve the success of a customer’s journey from prospect to so-happy-they-refer-people levels.

Here’s a simple one. Parking lots. The Logan Airport central parking lot in Boston is a zoo. It’s really hard to find a space, even when you pay extra for “Logan Express.” And yet, my son and I went to a sensor-filled parking lot in Braintree that told me at every level how many spaces I might find. This was updated in real time. How? Sensors. Easy. A few dollars per sensor and maybe $100,000 total for the project, including the software. (That sounds like a lot, but if it improves commerce and satisfaction, isn’t it worth it?)

That project isn’t content. It’s really grindy-basic technology. And yet, a customer would be MUCH happier with something like that installed.

Content is Useful Only When It’s Useful

I’m typing this at a Dunkin Donuts at the airport. I wondered to myself which content a customer would actually want in association with coffee, donuts, and whatever else they sell. My thoughts were “A guide to sneaking in Dunkins while you’re on a diet.” I figured that would be fun. Video plus a downloadable PDF would be fun. Right?

But sometimes, a customer doesn’t need content. They need a solution. They need something to work better/faster/clearer. They OFTEN need more communication. They OFTEN need more support. They OFTEN need a better sense of how to navigate something unnatural to them.

Content is JUST ONE of the Marketing Tools a Company Needs

I do think there’s a benefit to content. But I think there’s a massive opportunity to make the customer experience so much better with content *AND* some of these emerging technologies. A really well executed chatbot could change customer interactions immensely. Voice interface is here whether or not you’re using it, and it opens up a lot of new potential use cases for you. Blockchain mixed with the Internet of Things and all those delicious sensors means that you can build some amazing new customer interactions that are fast, with less friction, and that serve everyone involved in better ways.

Sure, make a great piece of content that turns someone on and educates them and makes them feel smarter. But the time is now to look beyond content marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, and *just* marketing as a way to drive more sales and retain more customers.

What’s next is here now, and it’s your job to make it work. Dig in and start learning, start drawing your customer experience paths, and you know, if you get stuck, drop me a line. I can help.

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Win a Ticket + Lodging to MozCon 2018!

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Have you been wanting to come to MozCon but just can’t swing the budget? Want to take a selfie with Roger, meet like-minded friends at our afterparties, and learn from leading industry experts? I’m thrilled to announce that you can do it all by winning a free ticket to join us at MozCon this July!

Those front-row seats look awfully cushy.

I’m one of the behind-the-scenes house elves who helps make MozCon happen, and I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about entering to win!

To enter, just submit a unique piece of content telling us why we should send you to MozCon by Sunday May 6th at 5pm PDT. Make sure your entry is both original and creative — the Moz staff will review all submissions and vote on the winner! If you’re chosen, we’ll pick up the tab for your registration and accommodations at the Grand Hyatt. You’ll also have a reserved VIP seat in our front row, and an invite to mix and mingle at our pre-event MozCon speakers’ dinner!

Without further ado, here’s the scoop:

Step 1: Create!

Create a unique, compelling piece of content telling us why you want to come to MozCon. Past ideas have included:

  • Drawings
  • Videos (must be one minute or less)
  • Blog posts
  • Original songs
  • Books
  • Slide decks
  • Anything else you can cook up!

Don’t feel limited by these examples. Is this the year we’ll see a Lego Roger stop-motion film, a MozCon-inspired show tune, or Roger-themed sugar cookies? The sky’s the limit, my friends! (But think hard about trying your hand at those cookies.)

Step 2: Submit!

Once you’re ready to throw your hat in the game, tweet us a link @Moz and use the hashtag #MozConVIP by Sunday May 6th at 5pm PDT. Make sure to follow the instructions, and include your name and email address somewhere easily visible within your content. To keep things fair, there will be no exceptions to the rules. We need to be able to contact you if you’re our lucky winner!

Let’s recap:

  • The submission deadline is Sunday May 6th at 5pm PDT.
  • Mozzers will vote on all the entries based on the creativity and uniqueness of the content
  • We’ll announce the winning entry from @Moz via Twitter on Friday, May 11. You must be able to attend MozCon, July 9–11 2018, in Seattle. Prizes are non-transferable.
  • All submissions must adhere to the MozCon Code of Conduct
  • Content is void where prohibited by law.
  • The value of the prize will be reported for tax purposes as required by law; the winner will receive an IRS form 1099 at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form will be filed with the IRS. The winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prizes and paying any expenses associated with any prize which are not specifically provided for in the official rules.

Our lucky winner will receive:

  • A free ticket to MozCon 2018, including optional VIP front-row seating and an invitation to our speakers’ dinner (valued at $1,500+)
  • Accommodations with a suite upgrade at the Grand Hyatt from July 8–12, 2018 (valued at $1,300+)

Alright, that’s wrap. I can’t wait to see what you folks come up with! Happy creating!

Categories: Uncategorized

Marketers, Assemble! The Super-Powered Team-Up of Content Marketing Confluence

Content Marketing Super Team

It’s been a spectacular decade to be a nerd. The superheroes we love leaped from the page to the multiplex, each movie connected to the rest with the kind of complex storytelling we love in comic books.

It started with Iron Man in 2008. This weekend, “Avengers: Infinity War” hits theaters, with over two dozen heroes throwing down against a celestial being with godlike powers (who, for some reason, has a chin that looks like a raisin).

The Avengers and Content Marketing

The California Raisins reboot looks really dark.

I’m pretty stoked.

Team-up events like this are great because a superhero team is always more powerful than the sum of its parts. They can use their powers to complement each other in unexpected ways:

  • Spider-Man uses webbing to make a slingshot for Captain America’s shield
  • Thor throws his hammer through portals that Doctor Strange makes
  • The Hulk throws Hawkeye to safety

You get the idea. When a team is really working together, all of them do better.

Which, of course, makes me think all about content marketing. At TopRank Marketing, we believe the present and future of reaching an audience depends on confluence, a superhero team-up of all our content marketing tactics and channels working together.

Here’s a quick guide to the members of our superhero “team,” and how they assemble to amplify each other’s superpowers.

The Content Marketing Super Team

Content: Captain America

Captain America is the heart and soul of the Avengers team. He’s not the most powerful guy on the team, though he does pack a mean punch. His primary value lies in bringing humanity to a team of gods, aliens, and androids. He unites the team and gives everyone their marching orders, leading the charge on the ground.

Your content should be at the heart of your marketing super team, too. It should speak directly to your target audience on a human-to-human level. Your content can emotionally engage, deliver value, and ultimately persuade people to take action.

SEO: Spider-Man

Spider-Man is the lone “street level” hero on the Avengers team. He started out doing solo work cleaning up the streets of Queens. As part of the team, his main role is to assist the heavy hitters, tying their attacks together with his web-slinging, wall-crawling acrobatics.

SEO used to be the biggest deal in marketing, a strategy and tactic all unto itself. Now SEO works best as part of a team. Great content (preferably co-created with influencers) can benefit from a light dusting of SEO. Just remember that with SEO power comes responsibility: Use SEO to boost great content, not to trick search engines into ranking mediocre content higher.

Influencers: The Incredible Hulk

There’s one thing for sure about the Hulk: He’s a hard guy to ignore. Not only is he capable of punching an airplane out of the sky, he’s 10 feet tall and green. He’s not great on stealth missions, is what I’m saying, but if you want to make a splash, he’s your man.

Influencers share some of the Hulk’s properties (hopefully not the “giant rage monster” part). Some influencers make their living off of being seen, which means they have a built-in audience you can reach with their help. Some are more on the Bruce Banner side, with smaller followings that are still valuable if they’re your target audience.

Organic Social: Hawkeye

Hawkeye is one of two Avengers with no super powers, but he proves his value to the team with his technological savvy and arsenal of specialized arrows. He excels at precision strikes that hit valuable targets.

Organic social used to be a more high-powered team member, but the rise of the algorithm in social media feeds have reduced its reach and power. Still, it’s good for getting the word out to a select audience – you just have to be more strategic on your social channels to compensate for the lack of power.

Digital Advertising: Iron Man

Iron Man takes Hawkeye’s precision strike capability and adds extra maneuverability and power. He can swoop in and blast a target with an arsenal of rockets and pulse rays, all while delivering devastatingly sarcastic quips.

Digital advertising gives you the ability to hit precise audiences at scale. There’s more of a cost associated with it than with organic tactics, but it’s an investment that can get substantial returns.

The Content Marketing Super Team at Work

As you can see, each member of our super squad is powerful on its own. But the magic really happens when all these tactics work together. And you can’t plan that kind of teamwork in the heat of the battle, either. It has to start before a single word of content is drafted.

When we’re creating content, first we determine search demand. Looking at what people are searching for helps us narrow down our topics and makes sure the content will have SEO built in.

Then we search for influencers who are experts on the topic and have a sizable, relevant following. We invite influencers to co-create the content with us. True collaboration with influencers makes them far more likely to be    excited about the resulting assets, which means they’re more motivated to share.

Part of our content creation process is designing images and messages for organic social amplification. We provide influencers with everything they need to share the asset on social media. Influencer shares are crucial for reaching the target audience, so we make it as easy for influencers to share as possible.

Finally, we use paid social to amplify the content directly to our clients’ most valuable audience. We create unique social images and messages to compel people to take action.

It’s easy to see how the super-team approach makes each tactic work better. Each of the tactics is working toward the same unified goal: reaching an audience and persuading them to take action.

Content Marketers, Assemble!

What turns a ragtag group of marketing tactics into an elite audience-persuasion force? Strategy and communication. In our agency, we have a content team, an SEO team, a social media team, etc. But we make sure the teams are working together by design. We regularly meet together to make sure we’re all sharing the same vision. And we also share best practices with each other. The more each of us knows about everyone else’s area of expertise, the stronger we all are.

Want more insight into how content marketing tactics can be brought together for maximum impact? Here’s some more light reading:

How We Got a 32% Organic Traffic Boost from 4 On-Page SEO Changes [Case Study]

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My name is Patrick Curtis, and I’m the founder and CEO of Wall Street Oasis, an online community focused on careers in finance founded in 2006 with over 2 million visits per month.

User-generated content and long-tail organic traffic is what has built our business and community over the last 12+ years. But what happens if you wake up one day and realize that your growth has suddenly stopped? This is what happened to us back in November 2012.

In this case study, I’ll highlight two of our main SEO problems as a large forum with over 200,000 URLs, then describe two solutions that finally helped us regain our growth trajectory — almost five years later.

Two main problems

1. Algorithm change impacts

Ever since November 2012, Google’s algo changes have seemed to hurt many online forums like ours. Even though our traffic didn’t decline, our growth dropped to the single-digit percentages. No matter what we tried, we couldn’t break through our “plateau of pain” (I call it that because it was a painful ~5 years trying).

Plateau of pain: no double-digit growth from late 2012 onward

2. Quality of user-generated content

Related to the first problem, 99% of our content is user-generated (UGC) which means the quality is mixed (to put it kindly). Like most forum-based sites, some of our members create incredible pieces of content, but a meaningful percentage of our content is also admittedly thin and/or low-quality.

How could we deal with over 200,000 pieces of content efficiently and try to optimize them without going bankrupt? How could we “clean the cruft” when there was just so much of it?

Fighting back: Two solutions (and one statistical analysis to show how it worked)

1. “Merge and Purge” project

Our goal was to consolidate weaker “children” URLs into stronger “master” URLs to utilize some of the valuable content Google was ignoring and to make the user experience better.

For example, instead of having ~20 discussions on a specific topic (each with an average of around two to three comments) across twelve years, we would consolidate many of those discussions into the strongest two or three URLs (each with around 20–30 comments), leading to a much better user experience with less need to search and jump around the site.

Changes included taking the original post and comments from a “child” URL and merging them into the “master” URL, unpublishing the child URL, removing the child from sitemap, and adding a 301 redirect to the master.

Below is an example of how it looked when we merged a child into our popular Why Investment Banking discussion. We highlighted the original child post as a Related Topic with a blue border and included the original post date to help avoid confusion:

Highlighting a related topic child post

This was a massive project that involved some complex Excel sorting, but after 18 months and about $50,000 invested (27,418 children merged into 8,515 masters to date), the user experience, site architecture, and organization is much better.

Initial analysis suggests that the percentage gain from merging weak children URLs into stronger masters has given us a boost of ~10–15% in organic search traffic.

2. The Content Optimization Team

The goal of this initiative was to take the top landing pages that already existed on Wall Street Oasis and make sure that they were both higher quality and optimized for SEO. What does that mean, exactly, and how did we execute it?

We needed a dedicated team that had some baseline industry knowledge. To that end, we formed a team of five interns from the community, due to the fact that they were familiar with the common topics.

We looked at the top ~200 URLs over the previous 90 days (by organic landing page traffic) and listed them out in a spreadsheet:

Spreadsheet of organic traffic to URLs

We held five main hypotheses of what we believed would boost organic traffic before we started this project:

  1. Longer content with subtitles: Increasing the length of the content and adding relevant H2 and H3 subtitles to give the reader more detailed and useful information in an organized fashion.
  2. Changing the H1 so that it matched more high-volume keywords using Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
  3. Changing the URL so that it also was a better match to high-volume and relevant keywords.
  4. Adding a relevant image or graphic to help break up large “walls of text” and enrich the content.
  5. Adding a relevant video similar to the graphic, but also to help increase time on page and enrich the content around the topic.

We tracked all five of these changes across all 200 URLs (see image above). After a statistical analysis, we learned that four of them helped our organic search traffic and one actually hurt.

Summary of results from our statistical analysis

  • Increasing the length of the articles and adding relevant subtitles (H2s, H3s, and H4s) to help organize the content gives an average boost to organic traffic of 14%
  • Improving the title or H1 of the URLs yields a 9% increase on average
  • Changing the URL decreased traffic on average by 38% (this was a smaller sample size — we stopped doing this early on for obvious reasons)
  • Including a relevant video increases the organic traffic by 4% on average, while putting an image up increases it by 5% on average.

Overall, the boost to organic traffic — should we continue to make these four changes (and avoid changing the URL) — is 32% on average.

Key takeaway:

Over half of that gain (~18%) comes from changes that require a minimal investment of time. For teams trying to optimize on-page SEO across a large number of pages, we recommend focusing on the top landing pages first and easy wins before deciding if further investment is warranted.

We hope this case study of our on-page SEO efforts was interesting, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments!

Categories: Uncategorized

The SEO Quick Fix: Competitor Keywords, Redirect Chains, and Duplicate Content, Oh My!

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I have a eight-month-old baby. As a mom my time is at a premium, and I’ve come to appreciate functionalities I didn’t know existed in things I already pay for. My HBONow subscription has Game of Thrones AND Sesame Street? Fantastic! Overnight diapers can save me a trip to the tiny airplane bathroom on a quick flight? Sweet! Oxiclean keeps my towels fluffy and vanquishes baby poop stains? Flip my pancakes!

Moz Pro isn’t just a tool for link building, or keyword research, or on-page SEO, or crawling your site. It does all those things and a little bit more, simplifying your SEO work and saving time. And if you’ve run into an SEO task you’re not sure how to tackle, it’s possible that a tool you need is right here just waiting to be found! It’s in this spirit that we’ve revived our SEO Quick Fix videos. These 2–3 minute Mozzer-led tutorials are meant to help you get the most out of our tools, and offer simple solutions to common SEO problems.

Take Moz Pro for a spin!

Today we’ll focus on a few Keyword Explorer and Site Crawl tips. I hope these knowledge nuggets bring you the joy I experienced the moment I realized my son doesn’t care whether I read him The Name of the Wind or Goodnight Moon.

Let’s dive in!

Fix #1 – Keyword Explorer: Finding keyword suggestions that are questions

Search queries all have intent (“when to give my baby water” was a hot Google search at my house recently). Here’s the good news: Research shows that if you’re already ranking in the top ten positions, providing the best answers to specific questions can earn you a coveted Featured Snippet!

Featured snippet example

In this video, April from our Customer Success Team will show you how to pull a list of keyword phrases that cover the who, what, where, when, why, and how of all the related topics for keywords you’re already ranking for. Here’s the rub. Different questions call for different Featured Snippet formats. For example, “how” and “have” questions tend to result in list-based snippets, while “which” questions often result in tables. When you’re crafting your content, be mindful of the type of question you’re targeting and format accordingly.

Looking for more resources? Once you’ve got your list, check out AJ Ghergich’s article on the Moz Blog for some in-depth insight on formatting and optimizing your snippets. High five!


Fix #2 – Site Crawl: Optimize the content on your site

Sometimes if I find a really good pair of pants, I buy two (I mean, it’s really hard to find good pants). In this case duplicates are good, but the rules of pants don’t always apply to content. Chiaryn is here to teach you how to use Site Crawl to identify duplicate content and titles, and uncover opportunities to help customers and bots find more relevant content on your site.

When reviewing your duplicate content, keep a few things in mind:

  • Does this page provide value to visitors?
  • Title tags are meant to give searchers a taste of what your content is about, and meant to help bots understand and categorize your content. You want your title tags to be relevant and unique to your content.
  • If pages with different content have the same title tag, re-write your tags to make them more relevant to your page content. Use our Title Tag Preview tool to help out.
  • Thin content isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s still a good opportunity to make sure your page is performing as expected — and update it as necessary with meaningful content.
  • Check out Jo Cameron’s post about How to Turn Low-Value Content Into Neatly Organized Opportunities for more snazzy tips on duplicate content and Site Crawl!

Fix #3 – Keyword Explorer: Identify your competitors’ top keywords

Cozily nestled under a few clicks, Keyword Explorer holds the keys to a competitive research sweet spot. By isolating the ranking keywords you have in common with your competitors, you can pinpoint their weak spots and discover keywords that are low-hanging fruit — phrases you have the content and authority to rank for that, with a little attention, could do even better. In this video, Janisha shows you how targeting a competitor’s low-ranking keywords can earn you a top spot in the SERPS.

Finding competitors' keywords: A Venn diagram

Check out all that overlapped opportunity!

For a few more tips along this line, check out Hayley Sherman’s post, How to Use Keyword Explorer to Identify Competitive Keyword Opportunities.


Fix #4 – Site Crawl: Identify and fix redirect chains

Redirects are a handy way to get a visitor from a page they try to land on, to the page you want them to land on. Redirect chains, however, are redirects gone wrong. They look something like this: URL A redirects to URL B, URL B redirects to URL C… and so on and so forth.

These redirect chains can negatively impact your rankings, slow your site load times, and make it hard for crawlers to properly index your site.

Meghan from our Help team is here to show you how to find redirect chains, understand where they currently exist, and help you cut a few of those pesky middle redirects.

Looking for a few other redirect resources? I’ve got you covered:


Alright friends, that’s a wrap! Like the end of The Last Jedi, you might not be ready for this post to be over. Fear not! Our blog editor liked my jokes so much that she’s promised to harp on me to write more blog posts. So, I need your help! Find yourself facing an SEO snafu that doesn’t seem to have a straightforward fix? Let me know in the comments. I might know a Moz tool that can help, and you might inspire another Quick Fix post!

Get a free month of Moz Pro

If you’re still interested in checking out more solutions, here’s a list of some of my favorite resources:

  • The SEO Learning Center: If you need a refresher on SEO basics or need to do a gut-check, the Learning Center has your back.
  • Moz SEO Training: Whether you need to master your next skill or get your team ramped up on the basics, live training courses can help.
  • Our Next Level blog series, focused on helping you solve SEO problems with Moz Pro. We cover lots of topics:

Stay cool!

Categories: Uncategorized

A Non-Agency Guy Reflects on His First Year at TopRank Marketing

TopRank Marketing Team

Liking where you work is not an optional luxury. At least it sure shouldn’t be.

Spending 40 hours of every week at a place you dread is a tough way to go through any stretch of life. I’ve been there and I’m sure many of you have as well — especially if you work in digital marketing, which can often be a fast-paced, demanding, and stressful field.

So last year, when I decided to pursue a new professional venture, finding the right culture fit was a huge priority for me. As I started exploring the possibility of joining the TopRank Marketing team, I had some reservations; not because of anything specific to the company, but because it’s an agency.

I hadn’t work at agencies much in the past. I was familiar with the stereotypes, the paradigms, the lamentations. While confident in my skill set being very applicable in this world, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the right world for me.

Would the constant reality of client demands stifle my creativity? Would the permeating structure of workflow management systems prove suffocating? Would I be intimidated as a newbie working alongside people who’ve been in such a setting forever?

Well, as you can tell, I took the plunge. And I’m very glad I did. I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary here at TopRank Marketing and can happily say that up to this point, it has been an extremely rewarding experience, unhindered by those negative agency archetypes mentioned above.

If you’re a talented writer, strategist, SEO or analyst considering a career move, I highly recommend checking out TopRank Marketing — even if you’ve never worked in an agency. Here are five reasons I’ve felt right at home.

#1 – Business Casual

I’m not just talking about dress code. The environment here here strikes the right balance between business and casual. In the years prior to coming aboard, I’d spent time working downtown at a big corporate bank as well as at an ultra-leisurely tech startup, so I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum and didn’t love either extreme.

I know from speaking to others that certain agencies can veer a little too far in the direction of informality, with flip-flops and Monday morning mimosas and lax attendance standards. From my view, these kinds of things can quickly become distractions, preventing people from being seriously focused on their work. At TopRank Marketing, the vibe is laid back enough that it’s always comfortable and easygoing, but not so much that anyone is apt to lose sight of their duties or commitments.

#2 – Cool Clients

Working with big-league clients also helps us keep our eyes on the prize. One thing that has become quite clear to me in my time at TopRank Marketing is that we are very deliberate about the businesses we engage as an agency. There’s a strong emphasis on finding the right fits and aiming high.

Partnering with recognizable and respected enterprise companies such as Dell, LinkedIn, and SAP keeps us on our toes and challenges us to raise the bar. I’m continually impressed by the innovation and big thinking on display in these organizations.

During client meetings, I get to interact with sharp people and I find there’s a high degree of mutual respect. I haven’t personally encountered exasperations with companies that just don’t “get it,” which I hear a lot about from friends and peers working at other agencies.

#3 – Awesome Team

Not only do our clients keep me on my toes — so do my coworkers. To me, this is probably the most invigorating aspect of working at TopRank Marketing. Each day I get the chance to absorb knowledge from tremendously adept and skilled pros in various disciplines. This is by design; attracting and retaining high-caliber talent is central to our operation.

The collaborative culture enables our team to collectively reach new heights. I’m fortunate to build out my own expertise by learning from our specialists in search, SEO, strategy, analytics, design, content and more. Hopefully I’m able to impart some of my own knowledge as well. 

#4 – Growth Opportunities

Just a few months after starting here at TopRank Marketing, I was able to attend Digital Summit Minneapolis and rub shoulders with some of the industry’s biggest names as a representative of our agency. It was a cool opportunity right out of the gates, and speaks to the windows that are opened for anyone with such aspirations. I’ve also gotten to write several times for the renowned TopRank blog, providing me with a platform for visibility and brand-building in the marketing community.  

As employees we are adamantly encouraged to branch out, gain new competencies, take on speaking engagements, and become public faces for the agency if they show that initiative. There’s a very legitimate and earnest focus on personal development that I believe to be rare.

#5 – Taking Pride

It’s honestly cool to tell people where I work.

I’ve quickly learned that TopRank Marketing has a stellar rep, fueled in large part by our CEO Lee Odden, who regularly appears as a keynote speaker all around the world promoting our brand and extolling our talent. Being able to work with prestigious international clients gives me a daily feeling of impact and accomplishment. There’s also a certain thrill inherent to being on the cutting edge with so many tactics and frontiers — most notably B2B influencer marketing at the moment.

I Guess I’m an Agency Guy Now

I’m not going to say it’s easy, nor that every day is free of stress or struggle. But I’m not sure I would even want that. I will say that on those more difficult days, I always have the support and structure necessary to overcome.

I had no idea what to expect with my first real venture into the agency world, but what I’ve found at TopRank Marketing is an accommodating environment, meaningful work, amazing colleagues, clear avenues for growth, and a real sense of pride.

That pretty much covers the checklist I had coming in. If yours looks similar, and you think you’ve got a professional skill set befitting one of our openings, you should get in touch and see if TopRank Marketing might be a match for you. Even if the word “agency” makes you bristle a little bit.

I might be biased, but not without good reason.