Your B2B Marketing Book of Life: 10 Inspiring B2B Marketing Tips From Family History

miling young woman research at a library with her laptop image.

miling young woman research at a library with her laptop image.

What can B2B marketers learn from family history research?

Family history research offers a surprising number of valuable lessons for marketers looking to hone existing skills and build new ones.

For starters, genealogy research can teach us about:

  • Knowing Your Marketing Roots
  • Sharpening Your Research Skills
  • Building Enduring Passion
  • Citing, Celebrating & Honoring Your Marketing Sources
  • Learning & Networking With Fellow Professionals at Industry Events
  • Adhering To Guidelines & Goalposts
  • Publishing & Preserving For Posterity
  • Sparking Interest For Future Marketers
  • Breaking Through With Hyper-Personal Relevance
  • Peering Inside Your B2B Marketing DNA

Aside from childhood school family history projects, I first stared researching my roots in earnest in 1994, and a decade later for several years I worked as a professional genealogist.

It’s still a passion, and a pursuit that has for millions of people of all ages around the world become not only one of the fastest-growing pastimes — spurred on by popular shows such as Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Who Do You Think You Are and others — but a multi-billion dollar industry.

[bctt tweet=”“Learning to sing one’s own songs, to trust the particular cadences of own’s voices, is also the goal of any writer.” — Henry Louis Gates Jr. @HenryLouisGates” username=”toprank”]

Let’s open your own B2B marketing book of life, with 10 tips genealogy offers marketers.

1 — Know Your Marketing Roots

Family history gives researchers newfound understanding, insight, and appreciation for the very real people who form our own personal ancestry.

Marketers too can gain a great deal by learning more about marketing through the lens of the people who played instrumental roles in marketing.

Genealogy reminds us to take the time to learn about the origins of our particular marketing specialty.

Are you involved in B2B influencer marketing? Learn about the professionals who first innovated B2B marketing by applying the strongest aspects of influencer marketing — people like our own TopRank Marketing CEO and co-founder Lee Odden.

At its root the underlying truths of influencer marketing aren’t new at all, as I took to its ultimate conclusion in “10 Tips From Influencer Marketing’s Hidden 1,000-Year History,” with insights to help inspire your marketing from the likes of Hildegard von Bingen through Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum and David Ogilvy.

Invest some time learning about people such as Edward Louis Bernays, the father of public relations, or even the early pioneers of the Internet and the web, who had such a profound effect on how marketers — and pretty much everybody else these days — perform work. Last year when the Internet turned 50, I wrote a celebration in “Classic Marketing Insights to Celebrate the Internet’s 50th Birthday,” and took a look as some of the key pioneering figures.

[bctt tweet=”“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” — Winston Churchill” username=”toprank”]

Take-Away: The more you know your marketing roots the better your own marketing will be.

2 — Sharpen Your Research Skills

At the heart of genealogy sits sharp research skills, to such an extent that many genealogists have to force themselves to occasionally stop researching in order to dedicate time to publishing the results of all that work.

Marketing generally doesn’t involve nearly as great a percentage of time researching as genealogy, yet the benefits of strong research are undeniable, and are often what sets apart run of the mill promotional efforts from those that lead the industry and win awards.

We’ve explored original research in various forms, and you’ll find helpful information in the following articles from our archives:

[bctt tweet=”“You have to know the past to understand the present.” — Dr. Carl Sagan” username=”toprank”]

Take-Away: Research is vital in marketing, so try incorporating more time to research in your marketing efforts, and to improving your research skills — because the smarter you are when it comes to research, the more efficient the process becomes.

3 — Build Enduring Passion Into Your B2B Marketing

Are you being the best marketer you can be? Are you creating the kind of marketing your descendants will be proud of in 200 years, or at least be able to understand and feel some sense of compassion for?

One key ingredient of successful and genuine marketing is the passion of the person creating it. Share your unique voice to tell compelling stories in your marketing efforts, and when possible humanize your work using anecdotes and history from your own journey.

One curious similarity between B2B marketing and family history is the lengthy duration both usually entail — with the B2B buyer journey being significantly longer than in B2C efforts, as our own Nick Nelson explores in “How to Educate, Engage, & Persuade Buyers Over Lengthy Sales Cycles.”

To help inspire your marketing passion and spark new digital storytelling flames, here are several articles we’ve written on these key topics:

[bctt tweet=”“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana” username=”toprank”]

Take-Away: Let your marketing efforts make your descendants — and your ancestors — proud, by including enough of yourself and your own story to bring out the passion in your work.

4 — Cite, Celebrate & Honor Your Marketing Sources

In both marketing and genealogy, quality research involves citing your sources. In genealogy those citations are almost always included in the final report or accompanying source material, while in marketing direct citations are more often included only when quoting people or sharing study data.

In genealogy the goal of source citation is to allow anyone who uses yours to locate the original record you saw — not only in the immediate future but also as long into the future as possible.

Professional genealogists can take source citation to extremes, and I sometimes have to chuckle when I come across a page in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly that has more space dedicated to source citations than report narrative.

Even if your research won’t be including citations in a final publication, strong research technique dictates that for your own records and those of your business, your notes should always include the citations you or others could use to find your sources again.

The same research practices that make good genealogical research translate directly into top-notch marketing research.

Take-Away: Use citations to both personally and professionally document all material you’ve used in coming up with new original work.

5 — Learn & Network With Fellow Professionals at Industry Events

I remember the first genealogy conference I attended — the 2003 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FSG) event — which took place before the web-based family history boom became a multi-billion dollar industry.

Back then I recall being by far one of the youngest attendees. Thankfully today the family history boom has infused genealogy with a massive influx of younger people with a passion for learning more, and before the pandemic hit large conferences such as RootsTech drew over 25,000 in-person attendees along with over 100,000 remote participants.

Today’s genealogy conference audiences tend to look a lot more like those of marketing events, and not just the sea of gray hair I saw back at my first family history conference.

B2B marketers can reap the same benefits as genealogists do by attending conferences — now nearly all conducted virtually due to the pandemic — to help you with:

  • Keeping Up-To-Date on the Latest Research
  • Learning From the Best in the Business
  • Networking From Fellow Professionals
  • Sharing Knowledge with Peers

You can take a took a look at some of the top virtual marketing conferences through the end of 2021 in “17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond,” and be sure to catch Lee Odden presenting on October 13 at Content Marketing World, on October 15 delivering a Pubcon Virtual keynote, and on November 5 at MarketingProfs B2B Forum.

Marketers can also benefit from joining professional organizations just as genealogists do.

Take-Away: Utilize marketing conferences and professional organizations to become exposed to new methods, ideas, and inspiration.

6 — Adhere To Guidelines & Goalposts

In some ways genealogists have it easier than marketers, as the guidelines and goalposts for the family history game don’t change frequently the way they so often do in marketing, where nearly constant change is ubiquitous.

Family historians do need to keep abreast of newly-discovered historical records or existing physical records than have just become available to search online, and also have to deal with how to cite information contained in all of the new formats people use to communicate today, from TikTok to Reddit and beyond.

There are, however, fundamental truths in marketing, and smart marketers owe it to themselves to learn the underlying principles of advertising.

It’s important to adhere to the use of industry standards such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S., the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the E.U., and regulations including the Federal Trade Commission’s “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers.”

Adhering to your company’s style and usage guide, as well as those of client organizations, is another similarity between marketing and genealogy.

Take-Away: Know the laws in your area of marketing practice and adhere to the style and usage guidelines of the businesses you work with.

7 — Publish & Preserve For Posterity

Don’t allow your life’s work in marketing to fade away as social media platforms and apps come and go as the sands of time shift — which in social media time can happen in dangerously little time.

Through the use of proper backup plans, digital asset management systems, publishing on a variety of media platforms owned by multiple companies, and submitting to digital archiving efforts such as those of The Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, your marketing efforts don’t have to be relegated to the digital dustbin of Internet history.

Take-Away: Preserving your marketing efforts makes future campaigns stronger, as you can easily consult and learn from your smartly-archived previous work.

8 — Spark Interest For Future Marketers

As we’ve explored, one of the advantages to looking back is the newfound insight we gain for successfully making the most of the future, and we can do a great service to future generations by sharing our insight with aspiring young marketers.

If we can spark an interest by mentoring a younger colleague, client or associate — or even a family member — we’ll contribute to a future of marketing that is more robust with your own personal knowledge passed along to the next generation.

Two people ignited my love of genealogy back in 1994 — my grand-aunt Solveig and an older in-law, Ed. Solveig was the older sister of my grandmother Lilly, who is alive and well and living on her own in her own house at 103, and Solveig gave me a family history book written by a cousin in Norway in the 1950s.

Ed shared with me his fascinating hand-drawn genealogy charts, and between the two of them I was inspired to set out entering all the information I could find — including everyone in that book — into my 1994-era genealogy database program.

Take-Away: Inspire and mentor young marketing talent by imparting your own passion.

9 — Break Through With Hyper-Personal Relevance

One of the ah-ha moments in genealogy comes when a researcher suddenly realizes that their very own family history is vitally intertwined with a history that they hitherto only knew as something utterly distant and probably considered quite boring. When a family history researcher discovers a Civil War or Revolutionary Way ancestor, or one who overcame great obstacles of any type, history comes alive in a new and much more personal way.

In marketing, unlocking a similar key comes by breaking through messaging that goes from boring-to-boring B2B to hyper-relevant personal digital storytelling with heaps of passion and purpose.

We’ve made efforts to do that in our video interview series including Break Free B2B Marketing, and our new Inside Influence series — each episode featuring a leading B2B marketer who is making a difference.

Make that vital connection that brings far-off dusty history or marketing alive with hyper-personal relevance, by learning as much as possible about your audience, and making efforts to connect personally with those who express interest in your campaigns.

Take-Away: Create ah-ha marketing moments that make hyper-personalized connection through passionate storytelling and break free of boring B2B marketing.

10 — Peer Inside Your B2B Marketing DNA

Is there a marketing equivalent of DNA?

DNA has helped expand interest in family history and its ability to help solve many types of genealogy questions, from “Who was my real father?” to “Where did my ancestors like 2,000 years ago?

While marketing doesn’t have scientific DNA, some similarities can be drawn between DNA and the early efforts into neuromarketing and other attempts to improve marketing through a greater understanding of how the brain works.

Now fairly well-established, neuromarketing faces additional challenges as brands and marketers ask whether it’s worth shifting ad spend to, and the Harvard Business Review took a look at how consumer neuroscience is meeting those challenges head on.

Take-Away: Keep tabs on neuromarketing and similar efforts to hone in on some of the universal truths that make for successful marketing.

Create Amazing Marketing To Make Your Ancestors Proud

via GIPHY

We hope that our look at the lessons B2B marketers can learn from family history research has provided you with at least a few helpful tips to implement in your own amazing marketing efforts.

One powerful way to combine many of these top marketing elements is by leveraging B2B influencer marketing, as we outline in our all new 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, featuring insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.

Contact us today and find out why TopRank Marketing is the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, and discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you.

The post Your B2B Marketing Book of Life: 10 Inspiring B2B Marketing Tips From Family History appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Your B2B Marketing Book of Life: 10 Inspiring B2B Marketing Tips From Family History

miling young woman research at a library with her laptop image.

What can B2B marketers learn from family history research?

Family history research offers a surprising number of valuable lessons for marketers looking to hone existing skills and build new ones.

For starters, genealogy research can teach us about:

  • Knowing Your Marketing Roots
  • Sharpening Your Research Skills
  • Building Enduring Passion
  • Citing, Celebrating & Honoring Your Marketing Sources
  • Learning & Networking With Fellow Professionals at Industry Events
  • Adhering To Guidelines & Goalposts
  • Publishing & Preserving For Posterity
  • Sparking Interest For Future Marketers
  • Breaking Through With Hyper-Personal Relevance
  • Peering Inside Your B2B Marketing DNA

Aside from childhood school family history projects, I first stared researching my roots in earnest in 1994, and a decade later for several years I worked as a professional genealogist.

It’s still a passion, and a pursuit that has for millions of people of all ages around the world become not only one of the fastest-growing pastimes — spurred on by popular shows such as Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Who Do You Think You Are and others — but a multi-billion dollar industry.

“Learning to sing one’s own songs, to trust the particular cadences of own’s voices, is also the goal of any writer.” — Henry Louis Gates Jr. @HenryLouisGates Click To Tweet

Let’s open your own B2B marketing book of life, with 10 tips genealogy offers marketers.

1 — Know Your Marketing Roots

Family history gives researchers newfound understanding, insight, and appreciation for the very real people who form our own personal ancestry.

Marketers too can gain a great deal by learning more about marketing through the lens of the people who played instrumental roles in marketing.

Genealogy reminds us to take the time to learn about the origins of our particular marketing specialty.

Are you involved in B2B influencer marketing? Learn about the professionals who first innovated B2B marketing by applying the strongest aspects of influencer marketing — people like our own TopRank Marketing CEO and co-founder Lee Odden.

At its root the underlying truths of influencer marketing aren’t new at all, as I took to its ultimate conclusion in “10 Tips From Influencer Marketing’s Hidden 1,000-Year History,” with insights to help inspire your marketing from the likes of Hildegard von Bingen through Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum and David Ogilvy.

Invest some time learning about people such as Edward Louis Bernays, the father of public relations, or even the early pioneers of the Internet and the web, who had such a profound effect on how marketers — and pretty much everybody else these days — perform work. Last year when the Internet turned 50, I wrote a celebration in “Classic Marketing Insights to Celebrate the Internet’s 50th Birthday,” and took a look as some of the key pioneering figures.

“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” — Winston Churchill Click To Tweet

Take-Away: The more you know your marketing roots the better your own marketing will be.

2 — Sharpen Your Research Skills

At the heart of genealogy sits sharp research skills, to such an extent that many genealogists have to force themselves to occasionally stop researching in order to dedicate time to publishing the results of all that work.

Marketing generally doesn’t involve nearly as great a percentage of time researching as genealogy, yet the benefits of strong research are undeniable, and are often what sets apart run of the mill promotional efforts from those that lead the industry and win awards.

We’ve explored original research in various forms, and you’ll find helpful information in the following articles from our archives:

“You have to know the past to understand the present.” — Dr. Carl Sagan Click To Tweet

Take-Away: Research is vital in marketing, so try incorporating more time to research in your marketing efforts, and to improving your research skills — because the smarter you are when it comes to research, the more efficient the process becomes.

3 — Build Enduring Passion Into Your B2B Marketing

Are you being the best marketer you can be? Are you creating the kind of marketing your descendants will be proud of in 200 years, or at least be able to understand and feel some sense of compassion for?

One key ingredient of successful and genuine marketing is the passion of the person creating it. Share your unique voice to tell compelling stories in your marketing efforts, and when possible humanize your work using anecdotes and history from your own journey.

One curious similarity between B2B marketing and family history is the lengthy duration both usually entail — with the B2B buyer journey being significantly longer than in B2C efforts, as our own Nick Nelson explores in “How to Educate, Engage, & Persuade Buyers Over Lengthy Sales Cycles.”

To help inspire your marketing passion and spark new digital storytelling flames, here are several articles we’ve written on these key topics:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana Click To Tweet

Take-Away: Let your marketing efforts make your descendants — and your ancestors — proud, by including enough of yourself and your own story to bring out the passion in your work.

4 — Cite, Celebrate & Honor Your Marketing Sources

In both marketing and genealogy, quality research involves citing your sources. In genealogy those citations are almost always included in the final report or accompanying source material, while in marketing direct citations are more often included only when quoting people or sharing study data.

In genealogy the goal of source citation is to allow anyone who uses yours to locate the original record you saw — not only in the immediate future but also as long into the future as possible.

Professional genealogists can take source citation to extremes, and I sometimes have to chuckle when I come across a page in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly that has more space dedicated to source citations than report narrative.

Even if your research won’t be including citations in a final publication, strong research technique dictates that for your own records and those of your business, your notes should always include the citations you or others could use to find your sources again.

The same research practices that make good genealogical research translate directly into top-notch marketing research.

Take-Away: Use citations to both personally and professionally document all material you’ve used in coming up with new original work.

5 — Learn & Network With Fellow Professionals at Industry Events

I remember the first genealogy conference I attended — the 2003 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FSG) event — which took place before the web-based family history boom became a multi-billion dollar industry.

Back then I recall being by far one of the youngest attendees. Thankfully today the family history boom has infused genealogy with a massive influx of younger people with a passion for learning more, and before the pandemic hit large conferences such as RootsTech drew over 25,000 in-person attendees along with over 100,000 remote participants.

Today’s genealogy conference audiences tend to look a lot more like those of marketing events, and not just the sea of gray hair I saw back at my first family history conference.

B2B marketers can reap the same benefits as genealogists do by attending conferences — now nearly all conducted virtually due to the pandemic — to help you with:

  • Keeping Up-To-Date on the Latest Research
  • Learning From the Best in the Business
  • Networking From Fellow Professionals
  • Sharing Knowledge with Peers

You can take a took a look at some of the top virtual marketing conferences through the end of 2021 in “17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond,” and be sure to catch Lee Odden presenting on October 13 at Content Marketing World, on October 15 delivering a Pubcon Virtual keynote, and on November 5 at MarketingProfs B2B Forum.

Marketers can also benefit from joining professional organizations just as genealogists do.

Take-Away: Utilize marketing conferences and professional organizations to become exposed to new methods, ideas, and inspiration.

6 — Adhere To Guidelines & Goalposts

In some ways genealogists have it easier than marketers, as the guidelines and goalposts for the family history game don’t change frequently the way they so often do in marketing, where nearly constant change is ubiquitous.

Family historians do need to keep abreast of newly-discovered historical records or existing physical records than have just become available to search online, and also have to deal with how to cite information contained in all of the new formats people use to communicate today, from TikTok to Reddit and beyond.

There are, however, fundamental truths in marketing, and smart marketers owe it to themselves to learn the underlying principles of advertising.

It’s important to adhere to the use of industry standards such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S., the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the E.U., and regulations including the Federal Trade Commission’s “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers.”

Adhering to your company’s style and usage guide, as well as those of client organizations, is another similarity between marketing and genealogy.

Take-Away: Know the laws in your area of marketing practice and adhere to the style and usage guidelines of the businesses you work with.

7 — Publish & Preserve For Posterity

Don’t allow your life’s work in marketing to fade away as social media platforms and apps come and go as the sands of time shift — which in social media time can happen in dangerously little time.

Through the use of proper backup plans, digital asset management systems, publishing on a variety of media platforms owned by multiple companies, and submitting to digital archiving efforts such as those of The Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, your marketing efforts don’t have to be relegated to the digital dustbin of Internet history.

Take-Away: Preserving your marketing efforts makes future campaigns stronger, as you can easily consult and learn from your smartly-archived previous work.

8 — Spark Interest For Future Marketers

As we’ve explored, one of the advantages to looking back is the newfound insight we gain for successfully making the most of the future, and we can do a great service to future generations by sharing our insight with aspiring young marketers.

If we can spark an interest by mentoring a younger colleague, client or associate — or even a family member — we’ll contribute to a future of marketing that is more robust with your own personal knowledge passed along to the next generation.

Two people ignited my love of genealogy back in 1994 — my grand-aunt Solveig and an older in-law, Ed. Solveig was the older sister of my grandmother Lilly, who is alive and well and living on her own in her own house at 103, and Solveig gave me a family history book written by a cousin in Norway in the 1950s.

Ed shared with me his fascinating hand-drawn genealogy charts, and between the two of them I was inspired to set out entering all the information I could find — including everyone in that book — into my 1994-era genealogy database program.

Take-Away: Inspire and mentor young marketing talent by imparting your own passion.

9 — Break Through With Hyper-Personal Relevance

One of the ah-ha moments in genealogy comes when a researcher suddenly realizes that their very own family history is vitally intertwined with a history that they hitherto only knew as something utterly distant and probably considered quite boring. When a family history researcher discovers a Civil War or Revolutionary Way ancestor, or one who overcame great obstacles of any type, history comes alive in a new and much more personal way.

In marketing, unlocking a similar key comes by breaking through messaging that goes from boring-to-boring B2B to hyper-relevant personal digital storytelling with heaps of passion and purpose.

We’ve made efforts to do that in our video interview series including Break Free B2B Marketing, and our new Inside Influence series — each episode featuring a leading B2B marketer who is making a difference.

Make that vital connection that brings far-off dusty history or marketing alive with hyper-personal relevance, by learning as much as possible about your audience, and making efforts to connect personally with those who express interest in your campaigns.

Take-Away: Create ah-ha marketing moments that make hyper-personalized connection through passionate storytelling and break free of boring B2B marketing.

10 — Peer Inside Your B2B Marketing DNA

Is there a marketing equivalent of DNA?

DNA has helped expand interest in family history and its ability to help solve many types of genealogy questions, from “Who was my real father?” to “Where did my ancestors like 2,000 years ago?

While marketing doesn’t have scientific DNA, some similarities can be drawn between DNA and the early efforts into neuromarketing and other attempts to improve marketing through a greater understanding of how the brain works.

Now fairly well-established, neuromarketing faces additional challenges as brands and marketers ask whether it’s worth shifting ad spend to, and the Harvard Business Review took a look at how consumer neuroscience is meeting those challenges head on.

Take-Away: Keep tabs on neuromarketing and similar efforts to hone in on some of the universal truths that make for successful marketing.

Create Amazing Marketing To Make Your Ancestors Proud

via GIPHY

We hope that our look at the lessons B2B marketers can learn from family history research has provided you with at least a few helpful tips to implement in your own amazing marketing efforts.

One powerful way to combine many of these top marketing elements is by leveraging B2B influencer marketing, as we outline in our all new 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, featuring insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.

Contact us today and find out why TopRank Marketing is the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, and discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you.

Page Authority 2.0: An Update on Testing and Timing

One of the most difficult decisions to make in any field is to consciously choose to miss a deadline. Over the last several months, a team of some of the brightest engineers, data scientists, project managers, editors, and marketers have worked towards a release date of the new Page Authority (PA) on September 30, 2020. The new model is exceptional in nearly every way to the current PA, but our last quality control measure revealed an anomaly that we could not ignore.

As a result, we’ve made the tough decision to delay the launch of Page Authority 2.0. So, let me take a moment to retrace our steps as to how we got here, where that leaves us, and how we intend to proceed.

Seeing an old problem with fresh eyes

Historically, Moz has used the same method over and over again to build a Page Authority model (as well as Domain Authority). This model’s advantage was its simplicity, but it left much to be desired.

Previous Page Authority models trained against SERPs, trying to predict whether one URL would rank over another, based on a set of link metrics calculated from the Link Explorer backlink index. A key issue with this type of model was that it couldn’t meaningfully address the maximum strength of a particular set of link metrics.

For example, imagine the most powerful URLs on the Internet in terms of links: the homepages of Google, Youtube, Facebook, or the share URLs of followed social network buttons. There are no SERPs that pit these URLs against one another. Instead, these extremely powerful URLs often rank #1 followed by pages with dramatically lower metrics. Imagine if Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James each scrimaged one-on-one against high school players. Each would win every time. But we would have great difficulty extrapolating from those results whether Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Lebron James would win in one-on-one contests against each other.

When tasked with revisiting Domain Authority, we ultimately chose a model with which we had a great deal of experience: the original SERPs training method (although with a number of tweaks). With Page Authority, we decided to go with a different training method altogether by predicting which page would have more total organic traffic. This model presented several promising qualities like being able to compare URLs that don’t occur on the same SERP, but also presented other difficulties, like a page having high link equity but simply being in an infrequently-searched topic area. We addressed many of these concerns, such as enhancing the training set, to account for competitiveness using a non-link metric.

Measuring the quality of the new Page Authority

The results were — and are — very promising.

First, the new model obviously predicted the likelihood that one page would have more valuable organic traffic than another. This was expected, because the new model was directed at this particular goal, while the current Page Authority merely attempted to predict whether one page would rank over another.

Second, we found that the new model predicted whether one page would rank over another better than the previous Page Authority. This was especially pleasing, as it laid to rest many of our concerns that the new model would underperform on old quality controls due to the new training model.

How much better is the new model at predicting SERPs than the current PA? At every interval — all the way down to position 4 vs 5 — the new model tied or out-performs the current model. It never lost.

Everything was looking great. We then started analyzing outliers. I like to call this the “does anything look stupid?” test. Machine learning makes mistakes, just as humans can, but humans tend to make mistakes in a very particular manner. When a human makes a mistake, we often understand exactly why the mistake was made. This isn’t the case for ML, especially Neural Nets; we pulled URLs with high Page Authorities under the new model that happened to have zero organic traffic, and included them in the training set to learn for those errors. We quickly saw bizarre 90+ PAs drop down to much more reasonable 60s and 70s… another win.

We were down to one last test.

The problem with branded search

Some of the most popular keywords on the web are navigational. People search Google for Facebook, Youtube, and even Google itself. These keywords are searched an astronomical number of times relative to other keywords. Subsequently, a handful of highly powerful brands can have an enormous impact on a model that looks at total search volume as part of its core training target.

The last test involves comparing the current Page Authority to the new Page Authority, in order to determine if there are any bizarre outliers (where PA shifted dramatically and without obvious reason). First, let’s look at a simple comparison of the LOG of Linking Root Domains compared to the Page Authority.

Not too shabby. We see a generally positive correlation between Linking Root Domains and Page Authority. But can you spot the oddities? Go ahead and take a minute…

There are two anomalies that stand out in this chart:

  1. There is a curious gap separating the main distribution of URLs and the outliers above and below.
  2. The largest variance for a single score is at PA 99. There are an awful lot of PA 99s with a wide range of Linking Root Domains.

Here is a visualization that will help draw out these anomalies:



The gray spaces between the green and red represent this odd gap between the bulk of the distribution and the outliers. The outliers (in red) tend to clump together, especially above the main distribution. And, of course, we can see the poor distribution at the top of PA 99s.

Bear in mind that these issues are not sufficient to make the new Page Authority model less accurate than the current model. However, upon further examination, we found that the errors the model did produce were significant enough that they could adversely influence the decisions of our customers. It’s better to have a model that is off by a little everywhere (because the adjustments SEOs make are not incredibly fine-tuned) than it is to have a model that is right mostly everywhere but bizarrely wrong in a limited number of cases.

Luckily, we’re fairly confident as to what the problem is. It seems that homepage PAs are disproportionately inflated, and that the likely culprit is the training set. We can’t be certain this is the cause until we complete retraining, but it is a strong lead.

The good news and the bad news

We are in good shape insofar as we have multiple candidate models that outperform the existing Page Authority. We’re at the point of bug squashing, not model building. However, we are not going to ship a new score until we are confident that it will steer our customers in the right direction. We are highly conscientious of the decisions our customers make based on our metrics, not just whether the metrics meet some statistical criteria.

Given all of this, we have decided to delay the launch of Page Authority 2.0. This will give us the necessary time to address these primary concerns and produce a stellar metric. Frustrating? Yes, but also necessary.

As always, we thank you for your patience, and we look forward to producing the best Page Authority metric we have ever released.

Visit the PA Resource Center

My 8 Best Local SEO Tips for the 2020 Holidays



Image credit: DoSchu

“No place like home for the holidays.” This will be the refrain for the majority of your customers as we reach 2020’s peak shopping season. I can’t think of another year in which it’s been more important for local businesses to plan and implement a seasonal marketing strategy extra early, to connect up with customers who will be traveling less and seeking ways to celebrate at home.

Recently, it’s become trendy in multiple countries to try to capture the old Danish spirit of hygge, which the OED defines as: A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.

While this sometimes-elusive state of being isn’t something you can buy direct from a store, and while some shoppers are still unfamiliar with hygge by name, many will be trying to create it at home this year. Denmark buys more candles than any other nation, and across Scandinavia, fondness for flowers, warming foods, cozy drinks, and time with loved ones characterizes the work of weaving a gentle web of happiness into even the darkest of winters.

Whatever your business can offer to support local shoppers’ aspirations for a safe, comfortable, happy holiday season at home is commendable at the end of a very challenging 2020. I hope these eight local search marketing tips will help you make good connections that serve your customers — and your business — well into the new year.

1) Survey customers now and provide what they want

Reasonably-priced survey software is worth every penny in 2020. For as little as $20/month, your local business can understand exactly how much your customers’ needs have changed this past year by surveying:

  • Which products locals are having trouble locating
  • Which products/services they most want for the holidays
  • Which method of shopping/delivery would be most convenient for them
  • Which hours of operation would be most helpful
  • Which safety measures are must-haves for them to transact with a business
  • Which payment methods are current top choices

Doubtless, you can think of many questions like these to help you glean the most possible insight into local needs. Poll your customer email/text database and keep your surveys on the short side to avoid abandonment.

Don’t have the necessary tools to poll people at-the-ready? Check out Zapier’s roundup of the 10 Best Online Survey Apps in 2020 and craft a concise survey geared to deliver insights into customers’ wishes.

2) Put your company’s whole heart into affinity

If I could gift every local business owner with a mantra to carry them through not just the 2020 holiday shopping season, but into 2021, it would be this:

It’s not enough to have customers discover my brand — I need them to like my brand.

Chances are, you can call to mind some brands of which you’re highly aware but would never shop with because they don’t meet your personal or business standards in some way. You’ve discovered these brands, but you don’t like them. In 2020, you may even have silently or overtly boycotted them.

On the opposite side of this scenario are the local brands you love. I can wax poetic about my local independent grocery store, stocking its shelves with sustainable products from local farmers, flying its Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ flags with pride from its storefront, and treating every customer like a cherished neighbor.

For many years, our SEO industry has put great effort into and emphasis on the discovery phase of the consumer journey, but my little country-town grocer has gone leaps and bounds beyond this by demonstrating affinity with the things my household cares about. The owners can consider us lifetime loyal customers for the ways they are going above-and-beyond in terms of empathy, diversity, and care for our community.

I vigorously encourage your business to put customer-brand affinity at the heart of its holiday strategy. Brainstorm how you can make meaningful changes that declare your company’s commitment to being part of the work of positive social change.

3) Be as accessible and communicative as possible

Once you’ve accomplished the above two goals, open the lines of communication about what your brand offers and the people-friendly aspects of how you operate across as many of the following as possible:

  • Website
  • Local business listings
  • Email
  • Social channels
  • Forms
  • Texts/Messaging
  • Phone on-hold marketing
  • Storefront and in-store signage
  • Local news, radio, and TV media

In my 17 years as a local SEO, I can confidently say that local business listings have never been a greater potential asset than they will be this holiday season. Google My Business listings, in particular, are an interface that can answer almost any customer who-what-where-when-why — if your business is managing these properly, whether manually or via software like Moz Local.

Anywhere a customer might be looking for what you offer, be there with accurate and abundant information about identity, location, hours of operation, policies, culture, and offerings. From setting special hours for each of your locations, to embracing Google Posts to microblog holiday content, to ensuring your website and social profiles are publicizing your USP, make your biggest communications effort ever this year.

At the same time, be sure you’re meeting Google’s mobile-friendly standards, and that your website is ADA-compliant so that no customer is left out. Provide a fast, intuitive, and inclusive experience to keep customers engaged.

With the pandemic necessitating social distancing, make the Internet your workhorse for connecting up with and provisioning your community as much as you can.

4) Embrace local e-commerce and product listings

Digital Commerce 360 has done a good job charting the 30%+ rise in online sales in the first half or 2020, largely resulting from the pandemic. The same publication summarizes the collective 19% leap in traffic to North America’s largest retailers. At the local business level, implementing even basic e-commerce function in advance of the holiday season could make a major difference, if you can find the most-desired methods of delivery. These could include:

  • Buy-online, pick up in-store (BOPIS)
  • Buy-online, pick up curbside
  • Buy online for postal delivery
  • Buy online for direct home delivery by in-house or third-party drivers

Here’s an extensive comparison of popular e-commerce solutions, including which ones have free trials, and the e-commerce column of the Moz blog is a free library of expert advice on optimizing digital sales.

Put your products everywhere you can. Don’t forget that this past April, Google surprised everybody by offering free product listings, and that they also recently acquired the Pointy device, which lets you transform scanned barcodes into online inventory pages.

Additionally, in mid-September, Google took their next big product-related step by adding a “nearby” filter to Google Shopping, taking us closer and closer to the search engine becoming a source for real-time local inventory, as I’ve been predicting here in my column for several years.

Implement the public safety protocols that review research from GatherUp shows consumers are demanding, get your inventory onto the web, identify the most convenient ways to get purchases from your storefront into the customer’s hands, and your efforts could pave the way for increased Q4 profits.

5) Reinvent window shopping with QR codes

“How can I do what I want to do?” asked Jennifer Bolin, owner of Clover Toys in Seattle.

What she wanted to do was use her storefront window to sell merchandise to patrons who were no longer able to walk into her store. When a staff member mentioned that you could use a QR code generator like this one to load inventory onto pedestrians’ cell phones, she decided to give it a try.

Just a generation or two ago, many Americans cherished the tradition of going to town or heading downtown to enjoy the lavish holiday window displays crafted by local retailers. The mercantile goal of this form of entertainment was to entice passersby indoors for a shopping spree. It’s time to bring this back in 2020, with the twist of labeling products with QR codes and pairing them with desirable methods of delivery, whether through a drive-up window, curbside, or delivery.

“We’ve even gotten late night sales,” Bolin told me when I spoke with her after my colleague Rob Ousbey pointed out this charming and smart independent retail shop to me.

If your business locations are in good areas for foot traffic, think of how a 24/7 asset like an actionable, goodie-packed window display could boost your sales.

6) Tie in with DIY, and consider kits

With so many customers housebound, anything your business can do to support activities and deliver supplies for domestic merrymaking is worth considering. Can your business tie in with decorating, baking, cooking, crafting, handmade gift-giving, home entertainment, or related themes? If so, create video tutorials, blog posts, GMB posts, social media tips, or other content to engage a local audience.

One complaint I am encountering frequently is that shoppers are feeling tired trying to piecemeal together components from the internet for something they want to make or do. Unsurprisingly, many people are longing for the days when they could leisurely browse local businesses in-person, taking inspiration from their hands-on interaction with merchandise. I think kits could offer a stopgap solution in some cases. If relevant to your business, consider bundling items that could provide everything a household needs to:

  • Prepare a special holiday meal
  • Bake treats
  • Outfit a yard for winter play
  • Trim a tree or decorate a home
  • Build a fire
  • Create a night of fun for children of various age groups
  • Dress appropriately for warmth and safety, based on region
  • Create a handmade gift, craft, or garment
  • Winter prep a home or vehicle
  • Create a complete home spa/health/beauty experience
  • Plant a spring garden

Kits could be a welcome all-in-one resource for many shoppers. Determine whether your brand has the components to offer one.

7) Manage reviews meticulously

Free, near-real-time quality control data from your holiday efforts can most easily be found in your review profiles. Use software like Moz Local to keep a running tally of your incoming new reviews, or assign a staff member at each location of your business to monitor your local business profiles daily for any complaints or questions.

If you can quickly solve problems people cite in their reviews, your chances are good of retaining the customer and demonstrating responsiveness to all your profiles’ visitors. You may even find that reviews turn up additional, unmet local needs your formal survey missed. Acting quickly to fulfill these requests could win you additional business in Q4 and beyond.

8) Highly publicize one extra reason to shop local this year

“72% of respondents…are likely or very likely to continue to shop at independent stores, either locally or online, above larger retailers such as Amazon.” — Bazaarvoice

I highly recommend reading the entire survey of 12,000 global respondents by Bazaarvoice, quantifying how substantially shopping behaviors have changed in 2020. It’s very good news for local business owners that so many customers want to keep transacting with nearby independents, but the Amazon dilemma remains.

Above, we discussed the fatigue that can result from trying to cobble together a bunch of different resources to check everything off a shopping list. This can drive people to online “everything stores”, in the same way that department stores, supermarkets, and malls have historically drawn in shoppers with the promise of convenience.

A question every local brand should do their best to ask and answer in the runup to the holidays is: What’s to prevent my community from simply taking their whole holiday shopping list to Amazon, or Walmart, or Target this year?

Whatever your business can offer to support local shoppers’ aspirations for a safe, comfortable, happy holiday season at home is commendable at the end of a very challenging 2020. I hope these eight local search marketing tips will help you make good connections that serve your customers — and your business — well into the new year.

My completely personal answer to this question is that I want my town’s local business district, with its local flavor and diversity of shops, to still be there after a vaccine is hopefully developed for COVID-19. But that’s just me. Inspiring your customers’ allegiance to keeping your business going might be best supported by publicizing some of the following:

  • The economic, societal, and mental health benefits proven to stem from the presence of small, local businesses in a community.
  • Your philanthropic tie-ins, such as generating a percentage of sales to worthy local causes — there are so many ways to contribute this year.
  • The historic role your business has played in making your community a good place to live, particularly if your brand is an older, well-established one. I hear nostalgia is a strong influencer in 2020, and old images of your community and company through the years could be engaging content.
  • Any recent improvements you’ve made to ensure fast home delivery, whether by postal mail or via local drivers who can get gifts right to people’s doors.
  • Uplifting content that simply makes the day a bit brighter for a shopper. We’re all looking for a little extra support these days to keep our spirits bright.

Be intentional about maximizing local publicity of your “extra reason” to shop with you. Your local newspaper is doubtless running a stream of commentary about the economic picture in your city, and if your special efforts are newsworthy, a few mentions could do you a lot of good.

Don’t underestimate just how reliant people have become on the recommendations of friends, family, and online platforms for sourcing even the basics of life these days. In my own circle, everyone is now regularly telling everyone else where to find items from hand sanitizer to decent potatoes. Networking will be happening around gifts, too, so anything you get noticed for could support extensive word-of-mouth information sharing.

I want to close by thanking you for being in or marketing businesses that will help us all celebrate the many upcoming holidays in our own ways. Your efforts are appreciated, and I’m wishing you a peaceful, profitable, and hyggelig finish to 2020.

Inside Influence: Rani Mani from Adobe on the B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage

Inside Influence Rani Mani

Inside Influence Rani Mani

On the heels of the release of the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report and the announcement that several of our clients (LinkedIn and Alcatel Lucent Enterprise) have won awards for B2B influencer marketing campaigns, I am very happy to share the launch of a new video interview series: Inside Influence: Interviews with B2B Influencer Marketing Insiders.

What is Inside Influence?

This is a show that goes behind the scenes of B2B influencer marketing and showcases conversations with insiders from the world of B2B influencer marketing. We’ll be talking with practitioners at B2B brands of all kinds and sizes to answer the rising number of questions about working with influencers in a business context.

The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report has provided data for B2B brands to benchmark some of their strategies, operations and best practices. The report has also helped drive more conversations around B2B influence and the Inside Influence series aims to answer questions, provide deeper insights and also highlight many of the talented and unsung heroes of influencer marketing in the B2B world.

First up is the amazing Rani Mani, Head of Employee Advocacy at Adobe where among many responsibilities, she manages the B2B Adobe Insiders program which I am very happy to be a member of. We’ve had a chance to talk to Rani before in this interview and with Inside Influence you will get to see the conversation happening on fresh topics that matter today and into the future.

In this first episode of Inside Influence, we talked to Rani about

  • 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report
  • The role of influence across the customer lifecycle
  • How influencers bring freshness and creativity to brand content
  • The benefits of working with B2B influencers during the pandemic
  • How influencers can help humanize B2B brands, including Adobe
  • Top challenges working with B2B influencers
  • Insights into the B2B Adobe Insiders community
  • The future of B2B influencer marketing

What are some of the other outcomes B2B brands can expect from working with influencers?

Rani: For us it’s been thought leadership in terms of getting some fantastic minds to tap into, you’ve got your pulse on what’s happening in the community and you’re able to anticipate what’s coming up around the corner. Also reach of audience that you normally wouldn’t is also a really nice benefit.

Something we’ve seen firsthand is crisis management and reputation management. When folks are misconstruing who we are and what we stand for, it’s so nice to have trusted advisors swoop in and save the day and explain what’s happening in a way that’s relatable and digestible for the everyday person. And it’s so much more believable when it comes from a peer vs. an executive from the company or a brand channel.

customer experience management
In the report, you mentioned one of ways influencers help B2B marketers create advantage is that influencers bring a heavy dose of freshness and creativity to the content a brand produces. Can you share an example of that influencer creativity in action with Adobe?

Rani: I have so many. One is what we did a couple of years ago with you and your company, TopRank, when we did this very unique and interactive digital storytelling around reimagining and reshaping customer experience management and the future of CXM. We leveraged several brand personalities such as Ann Handley, Scott Monty and Shama Hyder. That was a very interesting piece of content that lives on today.

In addition we went to New York, you were there with us, for Advertising Week and we had all of our Adobe Insiders on camera at NASDAQ where you gave your top challenges in advertising and also gave predictions on what the future of advertising would look like. That was super compelling because not only did it produce wonderful wisdom for the industry, I think you had mentioned, what a fabulous experience it was for the individuals going through it.

You know our good friend and colleague Abhijit Bhaduri, he is out of India and does these fantastic visually compelling sketchnotes when he does his content. It’s really a wonderful way to get through thought leadership and it really cuts through the clutter out there in the digital area. Similarly there’s Kathleen Hessert and her GenZ Group, they do a lot of infographics chock full of memes and emojis that relate to that generation, very fun and playful. Adobe has benefitted from a lot of fresh, creative content from all of you.

Let’s talk about the future of B2B influencer marketing – what do you think will change in 2021, What needs to change?

Rani: I really think the power is shifting. Individual influencers are taking more control and have the opportunity to be more selective about who they do work with and what kind of work they do.

I think we’ll see a lot more influencers standing up for their creative freedom and creative license and I think we’ll see less prescriptive micromanagement from brands. I think the high quality influencers simply won’t stand for that any more. You’re not here as order takers, right? You’re here to collaborate and to co-create and you’re here to be thought partners, not to be puppets. I love that statement and I feel that is the evolution that’s going to happen. It’s already underway but I think it’s going to go in full force as we move past the pandemic and into the future.

Check out the full video interview with Rani Mani here.

For more B2B influencer marketing insights and her overall awesomeness, you can connect with Rani here on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Next up on Inside Influence we will be talking with with Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn and the brains behind the LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions influencer community.

The post Inside Influence: Rani Mani from Adobe on the B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Inside Influence: Rani Mani from Adobe on the B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage

Inside Influence Rani Mani

On the heels of the release of the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report and the announcement that several of our clients (LinkedIn and Alcatel Lucent Enterprise) have won awards for B2B influencer marketing campaigns, I am very happy to share the launch of a new video interview series: Inside Influence: Interviews with B2B Influencer Marketing Insiders.

What is Inside Influence?

This is a show that goes behind the scenes of B2B influencer marketing and showcases conversations with insiders from the world of B2B influencer marketing. We’ll be talking with practitioners at B2B brands of all kinds and sizes to answer the rising number of questions about working with influencers in a business context.

The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report has provided data for B2B brands to benchmark some of their strategies, operations and best practices. The report has also helped drive more conversations around B2B influence and the Inside Influence series aims to answer questions, provide deeper insights and also highlight many of the talented and unsung heroes of influencer marketing in the B2B world.

First up is the amazing Rani Mani, Head of Employee Advocacy at Adobe where among many responsibilities, she manages the B2B Adobe Insiders program which I am very happy to be a member of. We’ve had a chance to talk to Rani before in this interview and with Inside Influence you will get to see the conversation happening on fresh topics that matter today and into the future.

In this first episode of Inside Influence, we talked to Rani about

  • 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report
  • The role of influence across the customer lifecycle
  • How influencers bring freshness and creativity to brand content
  • The benefits of working with B2B influencers during the pandemic
  • How influencers can help humanize B2B brands, including Adobe
  • Top challenges working with B2B influencers
  • Insights into the B2B Adobe Insiders community
  • The future of B2B influencer marketing

What are some of the other outcomes B2B brands can expect from working with influencers?

Rani: For us it’s been thought leadership in terms of getting some fantastic minds to tap into, you’ve got your pulse on what’s happening in the community and you’re able to anticipate what’s coming up around the corner. Also reach of audience that you normally wouldn’t is also a really nice benefit.

Something we’ve seen firsthand is crisis management and reputation management. When folks are misconstruing who we are and what we stand for, it’s so nice to have trusted advisors swoop in and save the day and explain what’s happening in a way that’s relatable and digestible for the everyday person. And it’s so much more believable when it comes from a peer vs. an executive from the company or a brand channel.

customer experience management
In the report, you mentioned one of ways influencers help B2B marketers create advantage is that influencers bring a heavy dose of freshness and creativity to the content a brand produces. Can you share an example of that influencer creativity in action with Adobe?

Rani: I have so many. One is what we did a couple of years ago with you and your company, TopRank, when we did this very unique and interactive digital storytelling around reimagining and reshaping customer experience management and the future of CXM. We leveraged several brand personalities such as Ann Handley, Scott Monty and Shama Hyder. That was a very interesting piece of content that lives on today.

In addition we went to New York, you were there with us, for Advertising Week and we had all of our Adobe Insiders on camera at NASDAQ where you gave your top challenges in advertising and also gave predictions on what the future of advertising would look like. That was super compelling because not only did it produce wonderful wisdom for the industry, I think you had mentioned, what a fabulous experience it was for the individuals going through it.

You know our good friend and colleague Abhijit Bhaduri, he is out of India and does these fantastic visually compelling sketchnotes when he does his content. It’s really a wonderful way to get through thought leadership and it really cuts through the clutter out there in the digital area. Similarly there’s Kathleen Hessert and her GenZ Group, they do a lot of infographics chock full of memes and emojis that relate to that generation, very fun and playful. Adobe has benefitted from a lot of fresh, creative content from all of you.

Let’s talk about the future of B2B influencer marketing – what do you think will change in 2021, What needs to change?

Rani: I really think the power is shifting. Individual influencers are taking more control and have the opportunity to be more selective about who they do work with and what kind of work they do.

I think we’ll see a lot more influencers standing up for their creative freedom and creative license and I think we’ll see less prescriptive micromanagement from brands. I think the high quality influencers simply won’t stand for that any more. You’re not here as order takers, right? You’re here to collaborate and to co-create and you’re here to be thought partners, not to be puppets. I love that statement and I feel that is the evolution that’s going to happen. It’s already underway but I think it’s going to go in full force as we move past the pandemic and into the future.

Check out the full video interview with Rani Mani here.

For more B2B influencer marketing insights and her overall awesomeness, you can connect with Rani here on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Next up on Inside Influence we will be talking with with Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn and the brains behind the LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions influencer community.

How to Detect and Improve Underperforming Content: A Guide to Optimization

Content, content, and more content! That’s what SEO is all about nowadays, right? Compared to when I started working in SEO (2014), today, content is consistently one of the most popular topics covered at digital marketing conferences, there are way more tools that focus on content analysis and optimization, and overall it seems to dominate most of SEO news.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a nice Google Trends graph that may change your mind:

Google Trends screenshot for “content marketing” as a topic, set for worldwide interest.

But why is it that content is now dominating the SEO scene? How vital is content for your SEO strategy, actually? And most importantly: how can you be content with your site’s content? Puns aside, this post aims to help you figure out potential causes of your underperforming content and how to improve it.

Why content is key in SEO in 2020

Content is one of the most important factors in SEO. Just by paying close attention to what Google has been communicating to webmasters in the last few years, it’s clear that they’ve put a strong emphasis on “content” as a decisive ranking factor.

For instance, let’s have a look at this post, from August 2019, which talks about Google’s regular updates and what webmasters should focus on:

“Focus on content: pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”

The article goes on, listing a series of questions that may help webmasters when self-assessing their own content (I strongly recommend reading the entire post).

That said, content alone cannot and should not be enough for a website to rank well, but it is a pretty great starting point!

Underperforming content: theory first

What is underperforming content?

When I say “underperforming content”, I’m referring to content, either on transactional/commercial pages or editorial ones, that does not perform up to its potential. This could be content that either used to attract a good level of organic traffic and now doesn’t, or content that never did generate any organic traffic despite the efforts you might have put in.

Over 90% of content gets no traffic from Google. Ninety bloody percent! This means that nine pages out of 10 are likely not to receive any organic traffic at all — food for thought.

What are the causes of underperforming content?

There could be many reasons why your content is not doing well, but the brutal truth is often simple: in most cases, your content is simply not good enough and does not deserve to rank in the top organic positions.

Having said that, here are the most common reasons why your content may be underperforming: they are in no particular order and I will highlight the most important, in my opinion.

Your content does not match the user intent

Based on my experience, this is a very important thing that even experienced marketers still get wrong. It may be the case that your content is good and relevant to your users, but does not match the intent that Google is showcasing in the SERP for the keywords of focus.

As SEOs, our aim should be to match user intent, which means we first need to understand the what and the who before defining the how. Whose intent we are targeting and what is represented in the SERP will define the strategy we use to get there.

Example: webmasters who hope to rank for a “navigational or informational” keyword with a transactional, page or vice versa.

Your content isn’t in the ideal format Google is prioritizing

Google may be favoring a certain type of format which your content doesn’t conform to, hence it isn’t receiving the expected visibility.

Example: you hope to rank with a text-heavy blog post for a “how to” keyword where Google is prioritizing video content.

Your content is way too “thin” compared to what is ranking

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a matter of content length (there is no proven content length formula out there, trust me) but more relevance and comprehensiveness. It may be the case that your content is simply not as compelling as other sites out there, hence Google prioritizing those over you.

Example: you hope to rank for heavily competitive informational keywords with a 200-words blog post.

Your content isn’t as up-to-date

If your content is very topical, and such a topic heavily depends on information which may change with time, then Google will reward sites that put effort into keeping the content fresh and up-to-date. Apart from search engines themselves, users really care about fresh content — no one wants to read an “SEO guide to improve underperforming content” that was created in 2015!

Example: certain subjects/verticals tend to be more prone to this issue, but generally anything related to regulations/laws/guidelines which tend to change often.

Your content is heavily seasonal or tied to a past event/experience

Self-explanatory: if your content is about something that occurred in the past, generally the interest for that particular subject will gradually decrease over time. There are exceptions, of course (god save the 90s and my fav Netflix show “The Last Dance”), but you get the gist.

Example: topics such as dated events or experiences (Olympics 2016, past editions of Black Friday, and so on) or newsworthy content (2016 US election, Kanye running for president — no wait that is still happening…).

Your tech directives have changed the page’s indexation status

If something happens to your page that makes it fall out of Google’s index. The most common issues could be: unexpected no-index tag, canonical tag, incorrect hreflang tags, page status changes, page removed with Google Search Console’s remove tool, and so on.

Example: after some SEO recommendations, your devs mistakenly put a no-index tag on your page without you realizing.

Your page is victim of duplication or cannibalization

If you happen to cover the same or similar keyword topic with multiple pages, this may trigger duplication and/or cannibalization, which ultimately will result in a loss of organic visibility.

Example: you launch a new service page alongside your current offerings, but the on-page focus (metadata, content, linking structure) isn’t different or unique enough and it ends up cannibalizing your existing visibility.

Your page has been subject to JavaScript changes that make the content hard to index for Google

Let’s not go into a JavaScript (JS) rabbit hole and keep it simple: if some JS stuff is happening on your page and it’s dynamically changing some on-page SEO elements, this may impact how Google indexes your content.

Example: fictitious case where your site goes through a redesign, heavy JS is now happening on your browser and changing a key part of your content that now Google cannot render easily — that is a problem!

Your page has lost visibility following drastic SERP changes

The SERP has changed extensively in the last few years, which means many more new features that are now present weren’t there before. This may cause disruption to previous rankings (hence to your previous CTR), or make your pages fall out of Google’s precious page one.

Also, don’t forget to consider that the competition might have gotten stronger with time, so that could be another reason why you lose significant visibility.

Example: some verticals have been impacted more than others (jobs, flights, and hotels, for instance) where Google’s own snippets and tools are now getting the top of the SERP. If you are as obsessed with SERP chances, and in particular PAA, as I am and want more details, have a read here.

Your content doesn’t have any backlinks

Without going into too much detail on this point — it could be a separate blog post — for very competitive commercial terms, not having any/too few backlinks (and what backlinks represent for your site in Google’s eyes) can hold you back, even if your page content is compelling on its own. This is particularly true for new websites operating in a competitive environment.

Example: for a challenging vertical like fashion, for instance, it is extremely difficult to rank for key head terms without a good amount of quality (and naturally gained) backlinks to support your transactional pages.

How to find the issues affecting your content

We’ve covered the why above, let’s now address the how: how to determine what issue affects your page/content. This part is especially dedicated to a not-too savvy SEO audience (skip this part and go straight to next if you are after the how-to recommendations).

I’ll go through a list of checks that can help you detect the issues listed above.

Technical checks

Google Search Console

Use the URL inspection tool to analyze the status of the page: it can help you answer questions such as:

  • Has my page been crawled? Are we even allowing Google to crawl the page?
  • Has my page been indexed? Are we even allowing Google to index the page?

By assessing the Coverage feature, Google will share information about the crawlability and indexability of the page.

Pay particular attention to the Indexing section, where they mention user-declared canonical vs google-selected canonical. If the two differ, it’s definitely worth investigating the reason, as this means Google isn’t respecting the canonical directives placed on the page — check official resources to learn more about this.

Chrome extensions

I love Chrome extensions and I objectively have way too many on my browser…

Some Chrome extensions can give you lots of info on the indexability status of the page with a simple click, checking things like canonical tags and meta robots tags.

My favorite extensions for this matter are:

JavaScript check

I’ll keep it simple: JavaScript is key in today’s environment as it adds interactivity to a page. By doing so, it may alter some key HTML elements that are very important for SEO. You can easily check how a page would look without JS by using this convenient tool by Onley: WWJD.

Realistically speaking, you need only one of the following tools in order to check whether JavaScript might be a problem for your on-page SEO:

All the above tools are very useful for any type of troubleshooting as they are showcasing the rendered-DOM resources in real-time (different from what the “view-source” of a page looks like).

Once you’ve run the test, click to see the rendered HTML and try and do the following checks:

  • Is the core part of my content visible?
    • Quick way to do so: find a sentence in your content, use the search function or click CTRL + F with that sentence to see if it’s present in the rendered version of the page.
  • Are internal links visible to Google?
    • Quick way to do so: find an internal link on the page, use the search function or click CTRL + F with that sentence to see if it’s present in the rendered version of the page.
  • Can Google access other key elements of the page?
    • Check for things such as headers (example below with a Brainlabs article), products, pagination, reviews, comments, etc.

Intent and SERP analysis

By analyzing the SERP for key terms of focus, you’ll be able to identify a series of questions that relate to your content in relation to intent, competition, and relevance. All major SEO tools nowadays provide you with tons of great information about what the SERP looks like for whatever keyword you’re analyzing.

For the sake of our example, let’s use Ahrefs and the sample keyword below is “evergreen content”:

Based on this example, these are a few things I can notice:

  • This keyword triggers a lot of interesting SERP features (Featured Snippet, Top Stories, People also ask)
  • The top organic spots are owned by very established and authoritative sources (Ahrefs blog, Hubspot, Wordstream etc), which makes this keyword quite difficult to compete for

Here are quick suggestions on what types of checks I recommend:

  • Understand and classify the keyword of analysis, based on the type of results Google is showing in the SERP: any ads showing, or organic snippets? Are the competing pages mainly transactional or informational?
  • Check the quality of the sites that are ranking in page one: indicative metrics that can help you gather insights on the quality of each domain (DA/DR) are helpful, the number of keywords those pages are visible for, the estimated traffic per page, and so on.
  • Do a quick crawl of these pages to bulk check the comprehensiveness of their content and metadata, or manually check some if you prefer that way.

By doing most of these checks, you’ll be able to see if your content is underperforming for any of the reasons previously mentioned:

  • Content not compelling enough compared to what is ranking on page one
  • Content in the wrong format compared to what Google is prioritizing
  • Content is timely or seasonal
  • Content is being overshadowed by SERP features

Duplication and cannibalization issues

Check out my 2019 post on this subject, which goes into a lot more detail. The quick version of the post is below.

Use compelling SEO tools to understand the following:

  • whether, for tracked keywords of interest, two or more ranking URLs have been flip-flopping. That is a clear sign that search engines are confused and cannot “easily decide” on what URL to rank for a certain keyword.
  • whether, for tracked keywords of interest, two or more ranking URLs are appearing at the same time (not necessarily on page one of the SERP). That is a clear signal of duplication/cannibalization.
  • check your SEO visibility by landing page: if different URLs that rank for very similar keyword permutations, chances are there is a risk there.
  • last but not least: do a simple site search for keywords of interest in order to get an initial idea of how many pages (that cover a certain topic) have been indexed by Google. This is an insightful preliminary exercise and also useful to validate your worries.

How to fix underperforming content

We’ve covered the most common cases of underperforming content and how to detect such issues — now let’s talk about ways to fix them.

Below is a list of suggested actions to take when improving your underperforming content, with some very valuable links to other resources (mostly from Moz or Google) that can help you expand on individual concepts.

Make sure your page can be crawled and indexed “properly”

  • Ensure that your page does not fall under any path of blocked resources in Robots.txt
  • Ensure your page is not provided with a no-index meta robots tag or a canonical tag pointing elsewhere (a self-referencing canonical tag is something you may want to consider but not compulsory at all).
  • Check whether other pages have a canonical tag pointing to your URL of focus. Irrelevant or poorly-done canonical tags tend to get ignored by Google — you can check if that is the case in the URL Inspection tool.
  • Ensure your site (not just your page) is free from any non-SEO friendly JavaScript that can alter key on-page elements (such as headers, body content, internal links, etc.).
  • Ensure your page is linked internally on the site and present in your XML sitemap.

Understand search intent

  • Search intent is a fascinating topic in and of itself, and there are a lot of great resources on the subject if you want to delve deeper into it.
  • Put simply, you should always research what the SERP looks like for the topic of interest: by analyzing the SERP and all its features (organic and non), you can get a much better understanding of what search engines are looking for in order to match intent.
  • By auditing the SERP, you should be able to answer the following questions:
    • What type of content is Google favoring here: transactional, navigational, informational?
    • How competitive are the keywords of focus and how authoritative are those competitors ranking highly for them?
    • What content format is Google showcasing in the SERP?
    • How comprehensive should my content be to get a chance to rank in page one?
    • What keywords are used in the competitor’s metadata?
    • What organic features should I consider addressing with my content (things like featured snippets, people also ask, top images, etc.)?
  • Hopefully all the questions above will also give you a realistic view of your chances of ranking on Google’s first page. Don’t be afraid to switch your focus to PPC for some very competitive keywords where your real possibility of organic rankings are slim.

Map your pages against the right keywords

  • This is a necessary step to make sure you have a clear understanding of not only what keywords you want to rank for, but also what keywords you are eligible to rank for.
  • Don’t overdo it and be realistic about your ranking possibilities: mapping your page against several keywords variations, all of which show very different SERPs and intents, is not realistic.
  • My suggestion is to pick two or three primary keyword variations and focus on getting your content as relevant as possible to those terms.

Write great metadata

  • Title tags are still an incredibly important on-page ranking factor, so dedicate the right time when writing unique and keyword-rich titles.
  • Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor anymore, but they still play a part in enticing the user to click on a search result. So from a CTR perspective, they still matter.
  • SEO keyword research is the obvious choice to write compelling metadata, but don’t forget about PPC ad copies — check what PPC ad copies work best for your site and take learnings from them.
  • Don’t change metadata too often, though: make sure you do your homework and give enough time to properly test new metadata, once implemented.

Make the right content amends

  • Based on the intent audit and keyword mapping insights, you’re now ready to work on your actual page content.
  • By now, you’ve done your homework, so you just need to focus on writing great content for the user (and not for Google).
  • Readability is a very important part of a page. Tricks that I’ve learned from colleagues over the years are the following:
    • Read the content out loud and try to objectively assess how interesting it is for your target audience.
    • Make sure to use enough spacing between lines and paragraphs. People’s attention span these days is very short, and chances are people will skim through your content rather than dedicating 100% of their attention to it (I’m sure some of YOU readers are doing it right now!).
    • Make sure your tone of voice and language match your target audience (if you can write things in plain English vs. highly technical jargon, do so and don’t over-complicate your life).
  • Make sure you’ve thought about all internal linking possibilities across the site. Not only for the same type of page (transactional page to transactional page, for instance) but also across different types (transactional page to video/blog post, if that helps people make a decision, for example).
  • Optional step: once everything is ready, request indexing of your page in Google Search Console with the URL inspection tool.

Final thoughts

Underperforming content is a very common issue and should not take you by surprise, especially considering that content is considered among (if not the) most important ranking factors in 2020. With the right tools and process in place, solving this issue is something everyone can learn: SEO is not black magic, the answer tends to be logical.

First, understand the cause(s) for your underperforming content. Once you’re certain you’re compliant with Google’s technical guidelines, move on to determining what intent you’re trying to satisfy. Your research on intent should be comprehensive: this is what’s going to decide what changes you’ll need to make to your content. At that point, you’ll be ready to make the necessary SEO and content changes to best match your findings.

I hope this article is useful! Feel free to chat about any questions you may have in the comments or via Twitter or LinkedIn.


To help us serve you better, please consider taking the 2020 Moz Blog Reader Survey, which asks about who you are, what challenges you face, and what you’d like to see more of on the Moz Blog.

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B2B Marketing News: Rising B2B Ad Spend, Enterprise Chatbot Usage Doubles, B2B’s Purpose Gap, & New Tools From Google & Facebook

2020 September 25 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 September 25 MarketingCharts Chart

US B2B Digital Advertising 2020
B2B advertisers are relying more than ever before on paid ads, with a 22.6 percent increase for 2020 in B2B digital ad spending, contributing to a total spend that is expected to top $8 billion in the U.S. alone by the end of the year, according to newly-released forecast data of interest to digital marketers. eMarketer

The ‘Purpose Gap’ Facing Many B2B Brands
86 percent of senior-level B2B professionals see clear brand purpose articulation as important, however just 24 percent see activated purpose within their organization — two of several insights of interest to online marketers in new survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and others. MarketingProfs

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies
88 percent of B2B marketers see quality data as important in executing a successful account-based-marketing (ABM) strategy, while some 27 percent aren’t certain how much of their data is accurate, according to recently-released survey data. Demand Gen Report

Chatbot Usage Has Nearly Doubled in B-to-B Marketing This Year
The use of chatbots in conversational marketing has risen 92 percent year-over-year, while live chat usage expanded by some 35 percent and social media interactions grew by 31 percent over the same period, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek

Facebook launches Facebook Business Suite, an app for managing business accounts across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger
Facebook has rolled out its tool for businesses to manage multiple Instagram, Facebook and Messenger profiles and pages in a unified location, with the release of its Facebook Business Suite utility, featuring post scheduling, ad creation, and insight data, the social media giant recently announced. TechCrunch

Global brands advance towards ‘holy grail’ of cross-media measurement
An ambitious global cross-media measurement proposal framework featuring a new publisher log-based solution utilizing Virtual ID (VID) has been put forth as part of a major push by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and brands, the WFA’s Cross-Media Working Group recently announced. The Drum

2020 September 25 Statistics Image

Google Combines Custom Affinity and Custom Intent Into Custom Audiences
Google has rolled out changes giving advertisers new Google Ad audience features across display, YouTube and discovery campaigns, refining and combining previously separate audience intent and affinity tools, the search giant recently announced. Search Engine Journal

LinkedIn launches Stories, plus Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams video integrations as part of wider redesign
LinkedIn (client) has rolled out its ephemeral video and photo LinkedIn Stories feature, expanded platform search functionality, and video chat for direct messaging — three of an array of new additions of interest to digital marketers, the firm recently announced. TechCrunch

New open source robots.txt projects
Google has released a specification testing tool for websites seeking to adhere to its Robots Exclusion Protocol, along with a parsing and matching utility for improved robots.txt web crawler indexing information, the search film recently announced. Google Webmaster Central Blog

What Should B2B Vendor Websites Focus on as the Pandemic Affects Purchase Behavior?
68 percent of B2B buyers say that their purchase cycles have lengthened since 2019, with the most common buying journeys lasting between one and six months, while 53 percent consider web search a top research method, followed by 41 percent who consider vendor websites a top evaluation method, according to recently-released data. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 25 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “lifestyle brands” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Overwatered Houseplants Hoping Woman Goes Back to Work Soon — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Stop Telling The Same Old Story — Mark Armstrong
  • Nick Nelson — 10 Tips for Changing the Way You Think About Your Small Business — Small Business Trends
  • TopRank Marketing — Why Convenience Is Essential — Forbes

Have you found your own key marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: Rising B2B Ad Spend, Enterprise Chatbot Usage Doubles, B2B’s Purpose Gap, & New Tools From Google & Facebook appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing News: Rising B2B Ad Spend, Enterprise Chatbot Usage Doubles, B2B’s Purpose Gap, & New Tools From Google & Facebook

2020 September 25 MarketingCharts Chart

US B2B Digital Advertising 2020
B2B advertisers are relying more than ever before on paid ads, with a 22.6 percent increase for 2020 in B2B digital ad spending, contributing to a total spend that is expected to top $8 billion in the U.S. alone by the end of the year, according to newly-released forecast data of interest to digital marketers. eMarketer

The ‘Purpose Gap’ Facing Many B2B Brands
86 percent of senior-level B2B professionals see clear brand purpose articulation as important, however just 24 percent see activated purpose within their organization — two of several insights of interest to online marketers in new survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and others. MarketingProfs

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies
88 percent of B2B marketers see quality data as important in executing a successful account-based-marketing (ABM) strategy, while some 27 percent aren’t certain how much of their data is accurate, according to recently-released survey data. Demand Gen Report

Chatbot Usage Has Nearly Doubled in B-to-B Marketing This Year
The use of chatbots in conversational marketing has risen 92 percent year-over-year, while live chat usage expanded by some 35 percent and social media interactions grew by 31 percent over the same period, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek

Facebook launches Facebook Business Suite, an app for managing business accounts across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger
Facebook has rolled out its tool for businesses to manage multiple Instagram, Facebook and Messenger profiles and pages in a unified location, with the release of its Facebook Business Suite utility, featuring post scheduling, ad creation, and insight data, the social media giant recently announced. TechCrunch

Global brands advance towards ‘holy grail’ of cross-media measurement
An ambitious global cross-media measurement proposal framework featuring a new publisher log-based solution utilizing Virtual ID (VID) has been put forth as part of a major push by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and brands, the WFA’s Cross-Media Working Group recently announced. The Drum

2020 September 25 Statistics Image

Google Combines Custom Affinity and Custom Intent Into Custom Audiences
Google has rolled out changes giving advertisers new Google Ad audience features across display, YouTube and discovery campaigns, refining and combining previously separate audience intent and affinity tools, the search giant recently announced. Search Engine Journal

LinkedIn launches Stories, plus Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams video integrations as part of wider redesign
LinkedIn (client) has rolled out its ephemeral video and photo LinkedIn Stories feature, expanded platform search functionality, and video chat for direct messaging — three of an array of new additions of interest to digital marketers, the firm recently announced. TechCrunch

New open source robots.txt projects
Google has released a specification testing tool for websites seeking to adhere to its Robots Exclusion Protocol, along with a parsing and matching utility for improved robots.txt web crawler indexing information, the search film recently announced. Google Webmaster Central Blog

What Should B2B Vendor Websites Focus on as the Pandemic Affects Purchase Behavior?
68 percent of B2B buyers say that their purchase cycles have lengthened since 2019, with the most common buying journeys lasting between one and six months, while 53 percent consider web search a top research method, followed by 41 percent who consider vendor websites a top evaluation method, according to recently-released data. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 25 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “lifestyle brands” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Overwatered Houseplants Hoping Woman Goes Back to Work Soon — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Stop Telling The Same Old Story — Mark Armstrong
  • Nick Nelson — 10 Tips for Changing the Way You Think About Your Small Business — Small Business Trends
  • TopRank Marketing — Why Convenience Is Essential — Forbes

Have you found your own key marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

Accessible Machine Learning for SEOs — Whiteboard Friday

Machine learning — a branch of artificial intelligence that studies the automatic improvement of computer algorithms — might seem far outside the scope of your SEO work. MozCon speaker (and all-around SEO genius) Britney Muller is here with a special edition of Whiteboard Friday to tell you why that’s not true, and to go through a few steps to get you started. 

To see more on machine learning from Britney and our other MozCon 2020 speakers, check out this year’s video bundle. 

Get my MozCon 2020 video bundle

Accessible Machine Learning

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

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to this special edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are taking a sneak peek at what I spoke about at MozCon 2020, where I made machine learning accessible to SEOs everywhere.

This is so, so exciting because it is readily at your fingertips today, and I’m going to show you exactly how to get started. 

So to kick things off, I learned about this weird concept called brood parasites this summer, and it’s fascinating. It’s basically where one animal tricks another animal of the same species to raise its young.

It’s fascinating, and the more I learned about it, the more I realized: oh my gosh, I’m sort of like a brood parasite when it comes to programming and machine learning! I latch on and find these great models that do all the work — all of the raising — and I put in my data and my ideas, and it does things for me.

So we are going to use this concept to our advantage. In fact, I have been able to teach my dad most of these models that, again, are readily available to you today within a tool called Colab. Let me just walk you through what that looks like. 

Models to get you started

So to get started, if you want to start warming up right now, just start practicing clicking “Shift” and then click “Enter”.

Just start practicing that right now. It’s half the battle. You’re about to be firing up some really cool models. 



All right. What are some examples of that? What does that look like? So some of the models you can play with today are things like DeOldify, which is where you repair and colorize old photos. It’s really, really fun. 

Another one is a text generator. I created one with GTP-2 — super silly, it’s this excuse generator. You can manipulate it and make it do different things for you. 

There’s also a really, really great forecasting model, where you basically put in a chunk of time series data and it predicts what the future might have in store. It’s really, really powerful and fun.

You can summarize text, which is really valuable. Think about meta descriptions, all that good stuff. 

You can also automate keyword research grouping, which I’ll show you here in a second. 

You can do really powerful internal link analysis, set up a notebook for that.

Perhaps one of the most powerful things is you can extract entities and categories as Google perceives them. It’s one of my favorite APIs. It’s through Google’s NLP API. I pull it into a notebook, and you basically put the URLs you want to extract this information from and you can compare how your URL compares to competitors.

It’s really, really valuable, fun stuff. So most importantly, you cannot break any of this. Do not be intimidated by any of the code whatsoever. Lots of seasoned developers don’t know what’s happening in some of those code blocks. It’s okay.

Using Colab

We get to play in this environment. It’s hosted in Google Drive, and so there’s no fear of this breaking anything on your computer or with your data or anything. So just get ready to dive in with me. Please, it’s going to be so much fun. Okay, so like I said, this is through a free tool called Colab. So you know how Google basically took Excel and made Google Sheets?

They did the same thing with what’s known as Jupyter Notebooks. So these were locally on computers. It’s one of the most popular notebook environments. But it requires some setup, and it can be somewhat clunky. It gets confused with different versions and yada, yada. Google put that into the cloud and is now calling it Colab. It’s unbelievably powerful.

So, again, it’s free. It’s available to you right now if you want to open it up in a new tab. There is zero setup. Google also gives you access to free GPU and TPU computing, which is great. It has a 12-hour runtime. 

Some cons is that you can hit limits. So I hit the limits, and now I’m paying $9.99 a month for the Pro version and I’ve had no problems.

Again, I’m not affiliated with this whatsoever. I’m just super passionate about it, and the fact that they offer you a free version is so exciting. I’ve already seen a lot of people get started in this. It’s also something to note that it’s probably not as secure or robust as Google’s Enterprise solution. So if you’re doing this for a large company or you’re getting really serious about this, you should probably check out some other options. But if you’re just kind of dabbling and want to explore and have fun, let’s keep this party going. 

Using pandas

All right. So again, this is basically a cloud hosted notebook environment. So one thing that I want to really focus on here, because I think it’s the most valuable for SEOs, is this library known as “pandas”.

Pandas is a data frame library, where you basically run one — or two — lines of code. You can choose your file from your local computer, so I usually just upload CSVs. This silly example is one that I really did run with Google Search Console data.

So you run this in a notebook. Again, I’m sharing this entire notebook with you today. So if you just go to it and you do this, it brings you through the cells. It’s not as intimidating as it looks. So if you just click into that first cell, even if it’s just that text cell, “Shift + Enter”, it will bring you through the notebook. 

So once you get past and once you fire up this chunk of code right here, upload your CSV. Then once you upload it, you are going to name your data frame. 

So these are the only two cells you need to really change or do anything with if you want. Well, you need to. 

So we are uploading your file, and then we are grabbing that file name. In this case, mine was just “gsc-example.csv”. Again, once you upload it, you will see the name in that output here. So you just put that within this code block, run this, and then you can do some really easy lines of code to check to make sure that your data is in there.

So one of the first ones that most people do is “df”. This is your data frame that you named with your file right here. So you just do “df.head()”. This shows you the first five rows of your data frame. You can also do “df.tail()”, and it shows you the last five rows of your data frame.

You can even put in a number in here to modify how many rows you want to explore. So maybe you do “df.head(30)”, and then you see the first 30 rows. It’s that easy just to get it in there and to see it. Now comes the really fun stuff, and this is just tip of the iceberg.

So you can run this really, really cool code cell here to create a filterable table. What’s powerful about this, especially with your Google Search Console data, is you can easily extract and explore keywords that have high click-through rate and a low ranking in search. It’s one of my favorite ways to explore keyword opportunities for clients, and it couldn’t be easier.

So check that out. This is kind of the money part right here. 

If you’re doing keyword research, which can take a lot, right, you’re trying to bucket keywords, you’re trying to organize topics and all that good stuff, you can instantly create a new column with pandas with branded keyword terms.

So just to walk you through this, we’re going “df[“Branded”]”. This is the name of the new column we’re going to create. We have this query string “contains,” and this is just regex, (“moz|rand|ose”). So any keywords that contain one of those words gets in the “Branded” column a “True”.

So now that makes filtering and exploring that so much faster. You can even do this in ways where you can create an entirely different data frame table. So sometimes if you have lots and lots of data, you can use the other cell in that example. All of these examples will be in the notebook.

You can use that and export your keywords into buckets like that, and there’s no stall time. Things don’t freeze up like Excel. You can account for misspellings and all sorts of good stuff so, so easily with regular expressions. So super, super cool.

Conclusion

Again, this is just tip of the iceberg, my friends. I am most excited to sort of plant this seed within all of you so that you guys can come back and teach me what you’ve been able to accomplish. I think we have so much more to explore in this space. It is going to be so much fun. If you get a kick out of this and you want to continue exploring different models, different programs within Colab, I highly suggest you download the Colab Chrome extension.

It just makes opening up the notebook so much easier. You can save a copy to your drive and play with it all you want. It’s so much fun. I hope this kind of sparked some inspiration in some of you, and I am so excited to hear what all of you think and create. I really appreciate you watching.

So thank you so much. I will see you all next time. Bye.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


Ready for more?

You’ll uncover even more SEO goodness in the MozCon 2020 video bundle. At this year’s special low price of $129, this is invaluable content you can access again and again throughout the year to inspire and ignite your SEO strategy:

  • 21 full-length videos from some of the brightest minds in digital marketing
  • Instant downloads and streaming to your computer, tablet, or mobile device
  • Downloadable slide decks for presentations

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