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Daily Search Forum Recap: January 17, 2020

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web...

Google: Good Spam Reports Can Lead To Broad Spam Action

Danny Sullivan from Google responded to complaints about spam in Google search asking the user to report the spam using the form. The user complained and Danny responded that good spam reports often lead to "a deep dive to understand networks and take broad action." He added spam "reports to help."

Bug Alert: Google Search Console Unparsable Structured Data

Google has confirmed that some may see a spike in unparsable structured data errors within Google Search Console. This spike should be ignored if it happened between January 13 and 16th of this year. Google said "This was due to an internal misconfiguration that will be fixed soon, and can be ignored."

Mining Reddit for Content Ideas in 5 Steps – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by DanielRussell

For marketers, Reddit is more than a tool to while away your lunch break. It's a huge, thriving forum with subreddits devoted to almost any topic you can imagine — and exciting new content ideas lurk within threads, just waiting to be discovered. In this edition of Whiteboard Friday, Daniel Russell takes you through five simple steps to mine Reddit for content ideas bolstered by your target audience's interest.

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Daniel Russell. I'm from an agency called Go Fish Digital. Today we're going to be talking about mining Reddit for content ideas.

Reddit, you've probably heard of it, but in case you haven't, it's one of the largest websites on the internet. It gets billions of views and clicks per year. People go there because it is a great source of content. It's really entertaining. But it also means that it's a great source of content for us as marketers. So today what we're going to be talking about is two main groups here.

We're going to first be talking about the features of Reddit, the different things that you can use on Reddit to find good content ideas. Then we're going to be talking about five steps that you can take and apply today to start finding ideas for your company, for your clients and start getting that successful content. 

Features of Reddit

So first, Reddit as a breakdown here.

Subreddits

First, a big feature of Reddit is called subreddits. They're essentially smaller forums within Reddit, a smaller forum within a forum dedicated to a particular topic. So there might be a forum dedicated to movies and discussing movies. There's a forum dedicated to food and talking about different types of food, posting pictures of food, posting recipes.

There is a forum for just about everything under the sun. If you can think of it, it's probably got a forum on Reddit. This is really valuable to us as marketers because it means that people are taking their interests and then putting it out there for us to see. So if we are trying to do work for a sports company or if we're trying to do work for our company that's dentistry or something like that, there is a subreddit dedicated to that topic, and we can go and find people that are interested in that, that are probably within our target markets.

Upvoting and downvoting

There's upvoting and downvoting. Essentially what this is, is people post a piece of content to Reddit, and then other users decide if they like it or not. They upvote it or they downvote it. The stuff that is upvoted is usually the good stuff. People that are paying really close attention to Reddit are always upvoting and downvoting things. Then the things that get the most upvotes start rising to the top so that other people can see it.

It's super valuable to us again because this helps verify ideas for us. This helps us see what's working and what's not. Before we even put pen to paper, before we even start designing everything, we can see what has been the most upvoted. The most upvoted stuff leads to the next big feature, which is rankings. The stuff that gets voted the most ends up ranking on the top of Reddit and becomes more visible.

It becomes easier for us to find as marketers, and luckily we can take a look at those rankings and see if any of that matches the content we're trying to create. 

Comments

There's the comments section. Essentially what this is, is for every post there's a section dedicated to that post for comments, where people can comment on the post. They can comment on comments. It's almost like a focus group.

It's like a focus group without actually being there in person. You can see what people like, what people don't like about the content, how they felt about it. Maybe they even have some content ideas of their own that they're sharing in there. It's an incredibly valuable place to be. We can take these different features and start digging in to find content ideas using these down here.

Reddit search & filters

Search bar

The search bar is a Reddit feature that works fairly well. It will probably yield mediocre results most of the time. But you can drill down a little further with that search bar using search parameters. These parameters are things like searching by author, searching by website.

Search parameters

There are a lot of different searches that you can use. There's a full list of them on Reddit. But this essentially allows you to take that mediocre search bar and make it a little bit more powerful. If you want to look for sports content, you can look specifically at content posted from ESPN.com and see what has been the most upvoted there. 

Restrict results to subreddit

You can restrict your results to a particular subreddit. So if you're trying to look for content around chicken dishes, you're doing work for a restaurant and you're trying to find what's been the most upvoted content around chicken, you don't want people calling each other chickens. So what you can do is restrict your search to a subreddit so that you actually get chicken the food rather than posts talking about that guy is a chicken.

Filter results

You can filter results. This essentially means that you can take all the results that you get from your search and then you can recategorize it based off of how many upvotes it's gotten, how recently it was posted, how many comments it has. 

Filter subreddits

Then you can also filter subreddits themselves. So you can take subreddits, all the content that's been posted there, and you can look at what's been the most upvoted content for that subreddit.

What has been the most controversial content from that subreddit? What's been the most upvoted? What's been the most downvoted? These features make it a really user-friendly place in terms of finding really entertaining stuff. That's why Reddit is often like a black hole of productivity. You can get lost down it and stay there for hours.

That works in our benefit as marketers. That means that we can go through, take these different features, apply them to our own marketing needs, and find those really good content ideas. 

5 steps to finding content ideas on Reddit

So for some examples here. There's a set of key steps that you can use. I'm going to use some real-world examples, so some true-blue things that we've done for clients so that you can see how this actually works in real life.

1. Do a general search for your topic

The first step is to do a general search for your topic. So real-world example, we have a client that is in the transportation space. They work with shuttles, with limos, and with taxis. We wanted to create some content around limos. So the way we started in these key steps is we did a general search for limos.

Our search yielded some interesting things. We saw that a lot of people were posting pictures of stretch limos, of just wild limo interiors. But then we also saw a lot of people talking about presidential limos, the limos that the president rides in that have the bulletproof glass and everything. So we started noticing that, hey, there's some good content here about limos. It kind of helped frame our brainstorming and our content mining. 

2. Find a subreddit that fits

The next step is to find a subreddit that fits that particular topic. Now there is a subreddit dedicated to limos. It's not the most active. There wasn't a ton of content there. So what we ended up doing was looking at more broad subreddits. We looked at like the cars subreddit.

There was a subreddit dedicated to guides and to breakdowns of different machines. So there were a lot of breakdowns, like cutaways of the presidential limos. So again, that was coming up. What we saw in the general search was coming up in our subreddit specific search. We were seeing presidential limos again.

3. Look at subreddit content from the past month

Step 3, look at that sub's particular content from the past month. The subreddit, for example, that we were looking at was one dedicated to automobiles, as I had mentioned earlier. We looked at the top content from that past month, and we saw there was this really cool GIF that essentially took the Chevy logo back from like the '30s and slowly morphed it over the years into the Chevy logo that we saw today.

We thought that was pretty cool. We started wondering if maybe we could apply that same kind of idea to our presidential limo finding that we were seeing earlier. 

4. Identify trends, patterns, and sticky ideas

Number 4 was to identify trends, patterns, and sticky ideas. Sticky ideas, it just means if you come across something and it just kind of sticks in your head, like it just kind of stays there, likely that will happen for your audience as well.

So if you come across anything that you find really interesting, that keeps sticking in your head or keeps popping up on Reddit, it keeps getting lots of upvotes, identify that idea because it's going to be valuable. So for us, we started identifying ideas like morphing GIFs, the Chevy logo morphing over time. We started identifying ideas like presidential limos. People really like talking about it.

5. Polish, improve, and up-level the ideas you've found

That led us to use Step Number 5, which is to take those ideas that we were finding, polish them, improve them, one up it, take it to the next level, and then create some content around that and promote it. So what we did was we took those two ideas, we took presidential limos and the whole morphing GIF idea over time, and we combined them.



We found images of all of the presidential limos since like the '50s. Then we took each of those presidential limos and we created a morphing GIF out of them, so that you started with the old presidential limos, which really weren't really secure. They were convertibles. They were normal cars. Then that slowly morphed up to the massive tanks that we have today. It was a huge success.

It was just a GIF. But that idea had been validated because we were looking at what was the most upvoted, what was the most downvoted, what was ranked, what wasn't ranked, and we saw some ideas that we could take, one up, and polish. So we created this morphing presidential limo, and it did really well.

It got coverage in a lot of major news networks. ABC News picked it up. CBS talked about it. It even got posted to Reddit later and performed really well on Reddit. It was all because we were able to take these features, mine down, drill down, find those good content ideas, and then polish it and make it our own. 

I'm really interested to hear if you've tried this before. Maybe you've seen some really good ideas that you'd like to try out on Reddit.

Do you have like a favorite search function that you use on Reddit? Do you like to filter by the past year? Do you like a particular subreddit? Let me know down in the comments. Good luck mining ideas. I know it will work for you. Have a great day.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Get Ready for New SameSite=None; Secure Cookie Settings

This is a cross-post from the Chromium developer blog and is specific to how changes to Chrome may affect how your website works for your users in the future. In May, Chrome announced a secure-by-default model for cookies, enabled by a new cookie classification system (spec). This initiative is part of our…

Fun: Google My Business Support Tries To Help Danny Sullivan.

You know how when someone asks one Googler a question and that Google doesn't know the answer, so they CC another to help. Well, sometimes Googlers don't know Googlers and the get confused. Here is Danny Sullivan, a Googler, CCing Google My Business support to help a business.

New: Google Ads Target ROAS Bid Simulator

Google Ads has introduced a new bid simulator, the Target ROAS bid simulator. The target ROAS bid simulator shows the relationship between a ROAS target and your key metrics. The key metric it shows is your conversion value.

What Do High-Performance E-Commerce Websites Do Differently? Results from the 2020 KPI Study

Posted by Alan_Coleman

Hello Moz readers,

We’re proud to bring some insights from the Wolfgang E-Commerce KPI Study 2020.

The annual study provides KPI benchmark data which allow digital marketers analyze their 2019 performance and plan their 2020. The most popular section in the report amongst Moz readers has always been the conversion correlation, where we crunch the numbers to see what sets the high-performing websites apart.

We're privileged to count a number of particularly high-performance websites among our dataset participants. There have been over twenty international digital marketing awards won by a spread of participant websites in the last three years. In these findings, you're getting insights from the global top tier of campaigns.

If we take a five-year look-back, we can see the conversion correlation section acts as an accurate predictor of upcoming trends in digital marketing.

In our 2016 study, the two stand-out correlations with conversion rate were:

  1. High-performing websites got more significantly paid search traffic than the chasing pack.
  2. High-performing websites got significantly more mobile traffic than the chasing pack.

The two strongest overall trends in our 2020 report are:

  1. It’s the first year in which paid search has eclipsed organic for website revenue.
  2. It’s the first year the majority of revenue has come from mobile devices.

This tells us that the majority of websites have now caught up with what the top-performing websites were doing five years ago.

So, what are the top performing websites doing differently now?

These points of differentiation are likely to become the major shifts in the online marketing mix over the next 5 years.

Let’s count down to the strongest correlation in the study:

4. Race back up to the top! Online PR and display deliver conversions

For the majority of the 2010s, marketers were racing to the bottom of the purchase funnel. More and more budget flowed to search to win exposure to the cherished searcher — that person pounding on their keyboard with their credit card between their teeth, drunk on the newfound novelty of online shopping. The only advertising that performed better than search was remarketing, which inched the advertising closer and closer to that precious purchase moment. 

Now in 2020, these essential elements of the marketing mix are operating at maximum capacity for any advertiser worth their salt. Top performing websites are now focusing extra budget back up towards the top of the funnel. The best way to kill the competition on Search is to have the audience’s first search, be your brand. Outmarket your competition by generating more of your cheapest and best converting traffic, luvly brand traffic. We saw correlations with Average Order Value from websites that got higher than average referral traffic (0.34) and I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but display correlated with a conversion success metric, Average Order Value (0.37). I guess there's a first time for everything!

3. Efficiencies of scale

Every budding business student knows that when volume increases, cost per unit decreases. It’s called economies of scale. But what do you call it when it’s revenue per unit that’s increasing with volume? At Wolfgang, we call it efficiencies of scale. Similar to last year’s report, one of the strongest correlations against a number of the success metrics was simply the number of sessions. More visitors to the site equals a higher conversion rate per user (0.49). This stat summons the final wag for the long-tail of smaller specialist retailers. This finding is consistent across both the retail and travel sectors.

And it illustrates another reversal of a significant trend in the 2010s. The long-tail of retailers were the early settlers in the e-commerce land of plenty. Very specialist websites with a narrow product range could capture high volumes of traffic and sales.

For example, www.outboardengines.com could dominate the SERP and then affiliate link or dropship product, making for a highly profitable small business. The entrepreneur behind this microbusiness could automate the process and replicate the model again and again for the products of her choosing. Timothy Ferris’ book, The 4 Hour Work Week, became the bible to the first flush of digital nomads; affiliate conferences in Vegas saw leaning towers of chips being pushed around by solopreneur digital marketers with wild abandon.

Alas, by the end of the decade, Google had started to prioritize brands in the SERP, and the big players had finally gotten their online act together. As a result, we are now seeing significant ‘efficiencies of scale’ as described above

2. Attract that user back

What’s the key insight digital marketers need to act upon to succeed in the 2020s? Average Sessions per Visitor is 2, Average Sessions per Purchaser is 5.

In other words, the core role of the marketer is to create an elegant journey across touchpoints to deliver a person from two click prospect to five click purchaser. Any activity which increases sessions per visitor will increase conversion. Similar to last year’s report, another of the strongest and most consistent correlations was the number of Sessions per User (0.7) — which emphasizes the importance of this metric.

So where should a marketer seek these extra interactions?

Check out the strongest correlation we found with conversion success in the Wolfgang KPI Report 2020….

1. The social transaction

The three strongest conversion correlations across the 4,000 datapoints were related to social transactions. This tells us that the very top performing websites were significantly better than everybody else at generating traffic from social that purchases.

Google Analytics is astonishingly rigorous at suppressing social media success stats. It appears they would rather have an inferior analytics product than accurately track cross-device conversions and give social its due. They can track cross-device conversions in Google Ads — why not in Analytics? So, if our Google Analytics data is telling us social is the strongest conversion success factor, we need to take notice.

This finding runs in parallel with recent research by Forrester which finds one-third of CMOs still don’t know what to do with social.

Our correlation calc finds that social is the biggest point of difference between the high flyers and the chasing pack. The marketers who do know how to use social, are the tip top performing marketers of the bunch. We also have further findings on how to out-market the competition on social in the full study.

Here’s the top tier of correlations we extracted from a third of a billion euro in online revenues and over 100 million website visits:

Retail

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Travel

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Overall

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To read more of our findings pertaining to:

  • The social sweet spot
  • Average conversion rates in your industry
  • In-store sales benchmarked
  • Why data is the new oil
  • 2010 was the decade of the…
  • And much, much more

Have a look at the full e-commerce KPI report for 2020. If you found yourself with any questions or anecdotes relating to the data shared here, please let us know in the comments!

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Google Indexing Its Own Cache Now Fixed

Gary Illyes from Google said it has fixed an issue with the search engine indexing its own cache pages. It took a few weeks after it was reported but Gary said it should be fixed. I checked just now and it was not fixed but maybe the fix takes time to fully roll out.

How to Use Tools to Determine Which Content to Re-Optimize: A Step-by-Step Guide

Posted by Jeff_Baker

Why is everyone and their grandparents writing about content re-optimization?

I can’t speak for the people writing endless streams of blogs on the subject, but in Brafton’s case, it’s been the fastest technique for improving rankings and driving more traffic.

As a matter of fact, in this previous Moz post, we showed that rankings can improve in a matter of minutes after re-indexing.

But why does it work?

It’s probably a combination of factors (our favorite SEO copout!), which may include:

  • Age value: In a previous study we observed a clear relationship between time indexed and keyword/URL performance, absent of links:
  • More comprehensive content: Presumably, when re-optimizing content you are adding contextual depth to existing topics and breadth to related topics. It’s pretty clear at this point that Google understands when content has fully nailed a topic cluster.
  • It’s a known quantity: You’re only going to be re-optimizing content that has a high potential for return. In this blog post, I’ll explain how to identify content with a high potential for return.

How well does it work?

Brafton’s website is a bit of a playground for our marketing team to try new strategies. And that makes sense, because if something goes horribly wrong, the worst case scenario is that I look like an idiot for wasting resources, rather than losing a high-paying client on an experiment.

You can’t try untested procedures on patients. It’s just dangerous.

So we try new strategies and meticulously track the results on Brafton.com. And by far, re-optimizing content results in the most immediate gains. It’s exactly where I would start with a client who was looking for fast results.

Example: Top Company Newsletters

Example: Best Social Media Campaigns

In many cases, re-optimizing content is not a “set it and forget it,” by any means. We frequently find that this game is an arms race, and we will lose rankings on an optimized article, and need to re-re-optimize our content to stay competitive.

(You can clearly see this happening in the second example!)

So how do you choose which content to re-optimize? Let’s dig in.

Step 1: Find your threshold keywords

If a piece of content isn’t ranking in the top five positions for its target keyword, or a high-value variant keyword, it’s not providing any value.

We want to see which keywords are just outside a position that could provide more impact if we were able to give them a boost. So we want to find keywords that rank worse than position 5. But we also want to set a limit on how poorly they rank.

Meaning, we don’t want to re-optimize for a keyword that ranks on page eleven. They need to be within reach (threshold).

We have found our threshold keywords to exist between positions 6–29.

Note: you can do this in any major SEO tool. Simply find the list of all keywords you rank for, and filter it to include only positions 6-29. I will jump around a few tools to show you what it looks like in each.

You have now filtered the list of keywords you rank for to include only threshold keywords. Good job!

Step 2: Filter for search volume

There’s no point in re-optimizing a piece of content for a keyword with little-to-no search volume. You will want to look at only keywords with search volumes that indicate a likelihood of success.

Advice: For me, I set that limit at 100 searches per month. I choose this number because I know, in the best case scenario (ranking in position 1), I will drive ~31 visitors per month via that keyword, assuming no featured snippet is present. It costs a lot of money to write blogs; I want to justify that investment.

You’ve now filtered your list to include only threshold keywords with sufficient search volume to justify re-optimizing.

Step 3: Filter for difficulty

Generally, I want to optimize the gravy train keywords — those with high search volume and low organic difficulty scores. I am looking for the easiest wins available.

You do not have to do this!

Note: If you want to target a highly competitive keyword in the previous list, you may be able to successfully do so by augmenting your re-optimization plan with some aggressive link building, and/or turning the content into a pillar page.

I don’t want to do this, so I will set up a difficulty filter to find easy wins.

But where do you set the limit?

This is a bit tricky, as each keyword difficulty tool is a bit different, and results may vary based on a whole host of factors related to your domain. But here are some fast-and-loose guidelines I provide to owners of mid-level domains (DA 30–55). <tbody

</tbody

Tool

KW Difficulty

Ahrefs

<10

Moz

<30

Semrush

<55

KW Finder

<30

Here’s how it will look in Moz. Note: Moz has predefined ranges, so we won’t be able to hit the exact thresholds outlined, but we will be close enough.

Now you are left with only threshold keywords with significant search volume and reasonable difficulty scores.

Step 4: Filter for blog posts (optional)

In our experience, blogs generally improve faster than landing pages. While this process can be done for either type of content, I’m going to focus on the immediate impact content and filter for blogs.

If your site follows a URL hierarchy, all your blogs should live under a ‘/blog’ subfolder. This will make it easy for you to filter and segment.

Each tool will allow you to segment keyword rankings by its corresponding segment of the site.

The resulting list will leave you with threshold keywords with significant search volume and reasonable difficulty scores, from blog content only.

Step 5: Select for relevance

You now have the confidence to know that the remaining keywords in your list all have high potential to drive more traffic with proper re-optimization.

What you don’t know yet, is whether or not these keywords are relevant to your business. In other words, do you want to rank for these keywords?

Your website is always going to accidentally rank for noise, and you don’t want to invest time optimizing content that won’t provide any commercial value. Here’s an example:

I recommend exporting your list into a spreadsheet for easy evaluation.

Go through the entire list and feel out what may be of value, and what is a waste of time.

Now that you have a list of only relevant keywords, you now know the following: Each threshold keyword has significant search volume, reasonable keyword difficulty, corresponds to a blog (optional), and is commercially relevant.

Onto an extremely important step that most people forget.

Step 6: No cannibals here

What happens when you forget about your best friend and give all your attention to a new, but maybe not-so-awesome friend?

You lose your best friend.

As SEOs, we can forget that any URL generally ranks for multiple keywords, and if you don’t evaluate all the keywords a URL ranks for, you may “re-optimize” for a lower-potential keyword, and lose your rankings for the current high value keyword you already rank for!

Note: Beware, there are some content/SEO tools out there that will make recommendations on the pieces of content you should re-optimize. Take those with a grain of salt! Put in the work and make sure you won’t end up worse off than where you started.

Here’s an example:

This page shows up on our list for an opportunity to improve the keyword “internal newsletters”, with a search volume of 100 and a difficulty score of 6.

Great opportunity, right??

Maybe not. Now you need to plug the URL into one of your tools and determine whether or not you will cause damage by re-optimizing for this keyword.

Sure enough, we rank in position 1 for the keyword “company newsletter,” which has a search volume of 501-850 per month. I’m not messing with this page at all.

On the flipside, this list recommended that I re-optimize for “How long should a blog post be.” Plugging the URL into Moz shows me that this is indeed a great keyword to reoptimize the content for.

Now you have a list of all the blogs that should be reoptimized, and which keywords they should target.

Step 6: Rewrite and reindex

You stand a better chance of ranking for your target keyword if you increase the depth and breadth of the piece of content it ranks for. There are many tools that can help you with this, and some work better than others.

We have used MarketMuse at Brafton for years. I’ve also had some experience with Ryte’s content optimizer tool, and Clearscope, which has a very writer-friendly interface.

Substep 1: Update the old content in your CMS with the newly-written content.

Substep 2: Keep the URL. I can’t stress this enough. Do not change the URL, or all your work will be wasted.

Substep 3: Update the publish date. This is now new content, and you want Google to know that as you may reap some of the benefits of QDF.

Substep 4: Fetch as Google/request indexing. Jump into Search Console and re-index the page so that you don’t have to wait for the next natural crawl.

Step 7: Track your results!

Be honest, it feels good to outrank your competitors, doesn’t it?

I usually track the performance of my re-optimizations a couple ways:

  1. Page-level impressions in Search Console. This is the leading indicator of search presence.
  2. A keyword tracking campaign in a tool. Plug in the keywords you re-optimized for and follow their ranking improvements (hopefully) over time.
  3. Variant keywords on the URL. There is a good chance, through adding depth to your content, that you will rank for more variant keywords, which will drive more traffic. Plug your URL into your tool of choice and track the number of ranking keywords.

Conclusion

Re-optimizing content can be an extremely powerful tool in your repertoire for increasing traffic, but it’s very easy to do wrong. The hardest part of rewriting content isn’t the actual content creation, but rather, the selection process.

Which keywords? Which pages?

Using the scientific approach above will give you confidence that you are taking every step necessary to ensure you make the right moves.

Happy re-optimizing!

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Google Local/Maps With “In Between” Links To Other Businesses

Google Maps and Local can show in a business listing profile the address but near the address it sometimes shows other businesses nearby. Well, now it can also show where that business is sandwiched in between other businesses.

Daily Search Forum Recap: January 10, 2020

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web...

Google Ads Still Displaying Emojis In Display URL

Again, Google is still showing emojis in some Google Ads display URLs. We saw it in 2019 and in 2016 and here is another example from Brian Freiesleben in 2020. A search for [avocado recipes] brought up a Google Ad with ð...ð¥'ð in the URL.

Google Search Console Crawl Stats Report Data Fixed

Google seems to have fixed the stalled data in the crawl stats report within Google Search Console. A couple of days ago we reported that it was stuck at December 30th, but as of this morning, it has now been updated to show data as recent as a few days ago - which is normal.

Intro to Python – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Python is a programming language that can help you uncover incredible SEO insights and save you time by automating time-consuming tasks. But for those who haven't explored this side of search, it can be intimidating. In this episode of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller and a true python expert named Pumpkin offer an intro into a helpful tool that's worth your time to learn.

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

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we're talking all about introduction to Python, which is why I have a special co-host here. She is a ball python herself, total expert. Her name is Pumpkin, and she's the best. 

What is Python?

So what is Python? This has been in the industry a lot lately. There's a lot of commotion that you should know how to use it or know how to talk about it. Python is an open source, object-oriented programming language that was created in 1991.

Simpler to use than R

Some fun facts about Python is it's often compared to R, but it's arguably more simple to use. The syntax just oftentimes feels more simple and common-sense, like when you're new to programming. 

Big companies use it

Huge companies use it. NASA, Google, tons of companies out there use it because it's widely supported.

It's open source

It is open source. So pretty cool. While we're going through this Whiteboard Friday, I would love it if we would do a little Python programming today. So I'm just going to ask that you also visit this in another tab, python.org/downloads. Download the version for your computer and we'll get back to that. 

Why does Python matter?

So why should you care? 

Automates time-consuming tasks

Python is incredibly powerful because it helps you automate time-consuming tasks. It can do these things at scale so that you can free up your time to work on higher-level thinking, to work on more strategy. It's really, really exciting where these things are going. 

Log file analysis

Some examples of that are things like log file analysis. Imagine if you could just set up an automated system with Python to alert you any time one of your primary pages wasn't being crawled as frequently as it typically is. You can do all sorts of things. Let's say Google crawls your robots.txt and it throws out a server error, which many of you know causes huge problems. It can alert you. You can set up scripts like that to do really comprehensive tasks. 

Internal link analysis

Some other examples, internal link analysis, it can do a really great job of that. 

Discover keyword opportunities

It can help you discover keyword opportunities by looking at bulk keyword data and identifying some really important indicators. 

Image optimization

It's really great for things like image optimization. It can auto tag and alt text images. It can do really powerful things there. 

Scrape websites

It can also scrape the websites that you're working with to do really high volume tasks. 

Google Search Console data analysis

It can also pull Google Search Console data and do analysis on those types of things.

I do have a list of all of the individuals within SEO who are currently doing really, really powerful things with Python. I highly suggest you check out some of Hamlet Batista's recent scripts where he's using Python to do all sorts of really cool SEO tasks. 

How do you run Python?

What does this even look like? So you've hopefully downloaded Python as a programming language on your computer. But now you need to run it somewhere. Where does that live? 

Set up a virtual environment using Terminal

So first you should be setting up a virtual environment. But for the purpose of these examples, I'm just going to ask that you pull up your terminal application.

It looks like this. You could also be running Python within something like Jupyter Notebook or Google Colab. But just pull up your terminal and let's check and make sure that you've downloaded Python properly. 

Check to make sure you've downloaded Python properly

So the first thing that you do is you open up the terminal and just type in "python --version." You should see a readout of the version that you downloaded for your computer. That's awesome. 

Activate Python and perform basic tasks

So now we're just going to activate Python and do some really basic tasks. So just type in "python" and hit Enter. You should hopefully see these three arrow things within your terminal. From here, you can do something like print ("Hello, World!"). So you enter it exactly like you see it here, hit Enter, and it will say "Hello, World!" which is pretty cool.



You can also do fun things like just basic math. You can add two numbers together using something like this. So these are individual lines. After you complete the print (sum), you'll see the readout of the sum of those two numbers. You can randomly generate numbers. I realize these aren't direct SEO applications, but these are the silly things that give you confidence to run programs like what Hamlet talks about.

Have fun — try creating a random number generator

So I highly suggest you just have fun, create a little random number generator, which is really cool. Mine is pulling random numbers from 0 to 100. You can do 0 to 10 or whatever you'd like. A fun fact, after you hit Enter and you see that random number, if you want to continue, using your up arrow will pull up the last command within your terminal.

It even goes back to these other ones. So that's a really quick way to rerun something like a random number generator. You can just crank out a bunch of them if you want for some reason. 

Automating different tasks

This is where you can start to get into really cool scripts as well for pulling URLs using Requests HTML. Then you can pull unique information from web pages.

You can pull at bulk tens of thousands of title tags within a URL list. You can pull things like H1s, canonicals, all sorts of things, and this makes it incredibly easy to do it at scale. One of my favorite ways to pull things from URLs is using xpath within Python.

This is a lot easier than it looks. So this might be an xpath for some websites, but websites are marked up differently. So when you're trying to pull something from a particular site, you can right-click into Chrome Developer Tools. Within Chrome Developer Tools, you can right-click what it is that you're trying to scrape with Python.

You just select "Copy xpath," and it will give you the exact xpath for that website, which is kind of a fun trick if you're getting into some of this stuff. 

Libraries

What are libraries? How do we make this stuff more and more powerful? Python is really strong on its own, but what makes it even stronger are these libraries or packages which are add-ons that do incredible things.

This is just a small percentage of libraries that can do things like data collection, cleaning, visualization, processing, and deployment. One of my favorite ways to get some of the more popular packages is just to download Anaconda, because it comes with all of these commonly used, most popular packages.

So it's kind of a nice way to get all of it in one spot or at least most of them. 

Learn more

So you've kind of dipped your toes and you kind of understand what Python is and what people are using it for. Where can you learn more? How can you start? Well, Codecademy has a really great Python course, as well as Google, Kaggle, and even the Python.org website have some really great resources that you can check out.

This is a list of individuals I really admire in the SEO space, who are doing incredible work with Python and have all inspired me in different ways. So definitely keep an eye on what they are up to:

But yeah, Pumpkin and I have really enjoyed this, and we hope you did too. So thank you so much for joining us for this special edition of Whiteboard Friday. We will see you soon. Bye, guys.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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

Google On Reconsideration Requests Backlogs Or Timing

Yesterday I reported that it seems there is a backlog or longer wait times to hear back on reconsideration requests related to manual actions. So I asked John Mueller from Google about that in yesterday's hangout and he didn't seem to confirm there was a backlog, just generally how long these reconsideration requests take.

Find Competitive Keywords, Ranking Distributions, & Common Questions: 3 Workflows for Smarter Keyword Research

Posted by FeliciaCrawford

What keywords do your top competitors both rank for that you're missing out on? How do you know how much top real estate your URL or page owns in the SERPs? How can you discover answers to your searchers' most common questions and beef up that FAQ page?

We can answer all of those questions with some super-simple workflows using Keyword Explorer. In our last post in this series, we covered how to find ranking keywords, uncover new opportunities, check rankings, and more. This time around, we're diving into three more quick and easy workflows you can use to bolster your keyword research and work smarter, not harder.

Ready to get started? Follow along in the tool with Britney Muller as she shares her very favorite Keyword Explorer features:

Follow along in Keyword Explorer

And remember, if you have a Moz Community account that you use to thumbs-up and comment on Moz Blog posts, you already have free access to Keyword Explorer — let's show you how to use it!


1. How to discover competitive keyword opportunities

This is my favorite feature of all in Keyword Explorer and let me explain why. Let's say that you're this website, pimylifeup.com. They create projects and tutorials on Raspberry Pis. The two competing websites for Raspberry Pi, which is a mini computer, are raspberrypi.org and canakit.com.

If this is your site, we could paste that in here, select Root Domain, and do a search. Then we're going to grab these other two sites. We're going to copy their URLs and enter them in these additional site areas. 

This is essentially going to look at the ranking keywords for your competitive sites that your site doesn't rank for. So it's a really great, high-level overview of what those keywords are.

Pi My Life Up is pretty good. Then you can view the Domain Authority for the sites. Where it gets really exciting is over in Ranking Keywords. Here you can see this is raspberrypi.org, and this is the amount of keywords that they rank for. This blue circle is Pi My Life Up, and then the yellow is CanaKit.

What you want to look at are the keywords that both CanaKit and raspberrypi.org right here rank for that you don't. So you click on the competing overlap keywords, and they will populate here below. You can export all of them, which is great.

Or you could filter by various things, like search volume or difficulty in ranking. What I suggest doing is going through some of these by hand and selecting the keywords that you think might be opportunities for your site.

From here, what you can do is, after you select and click around to the ones that you want, you can add them to a keyword list. So you can keep track of all of these keywords. Let's do Pi Opportunities. I've already saved these in a list over here that's populated.

From a high-level overview, you can see what the popular SERP features are. There are lots of images for these competing keywords. If I want to be competitive in those keyword spaces, I know I need to create content that has images. There are also lots of related questions.

Then from here, I can filter by SERP features or organic click-through rates. Maybe most interestingly I can add a URL. Let's say we'll enter Pi My Life Up, and again we're not seeing any rankings here because this was that overlap that Pi My Life Up didn't rank for but the two competitive sites do.

This is confirming that we don't currently rank for any of these keywords, but we can work on that. What's so great about these saved lists is that you can come back after a couple of weeks or a couple of months and you can select all of the keywords and refresh the data.

You might want to come back to this keyword list, refresh it, enter in your URL, and then filter by rank and see where you're starting to pop up for these keyword terms. It's a really exciting way to dig into the competitive keyword space. There's tons you can do with this, but this was the high-level overview of finding those keywords that your competitors currently rank for that you don't.

2. How to discover a URL or an exact page's ranking distribution of keywords

You can just paste in the URL or an exact page into Keyword Explorer. Let's just use webmd.com. From here, you get the Overview page. But if you scroll down to the very bottom, you see the ranking distribution.

You can see how many keywords are currently in positions 1 to 3 versus 4 to 10, all the way down to 41 to 50.

3. How to discover common keyword questions

This is one of my favorite features that we offer with Keyword Explorer. Just put in your keyword. Click Search, and from here you can navigate over to Keyword Suggestions. In this view, you can filter display keyword suggestions that are questions.



Here you'll see all of the results that are questions, and you can sort by various things. You can add all of these to a list, incorporate them into an FAQ page, whatever your end goal is.


Discover anything new or especially useful? Let us know on Twitter or here in the comments, and keep an eye out for more ways to use your everyday SEO tools to level up your workflows.

Try out some new tricks in Keyword Explorer

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

Google Search Console URL Parameter Data Issues

John Mueller from Google has confirmed an issue with the data being displayed in the URL parameter tool within the old Google Search Console. In short, the tool is showing sometimes zero and often less than it should, URL parameter settings for the sites that have configured them. There are numerous complaints over the past 24-hours of this.

Google Mocks SEO Strategy To Update Stories With “2020” Titles & Headlines

I see a lot of SEOs over the years push out new stories, repurposed, with a new headline for the new year. So this year you'd see articles on "how to optimize for Google BERT in 2020" whereas last year it would be "how to optimize for Google BERT in 2019." You get the point(s) from my sample. Well, John Mueller from Google mocked that strategy on Reddit.