Monitoring Featured Snippets – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

We’ve covered finding featured snippet opportunities. We’ve covered the process of targeting featured snippets you want to win. Now it’s time for the third and final piece of the puzzle: how to monitor and measure the effectiveness of all your efforts thus far. In this episode of Whiteboard Friday, Britney shares three pro tips on how to make sure your featured snippet strategy is working.

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Monitoring featured snippets

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Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are going over part three of our three-part series all about featured snippets. So part one was about how to discover those featured snippet opportunities, part two was about how to target those, and this final one is how to properly monitor and measure the effectiveness of your targeting.

So we’ll jump right in. So there are a couple different steps and things you can do to go through this.

I. Manually resubmit URL and check SERP in incognito

First is just to manually resubmit a URL after you have tweaked that page to target that featured snippet. Super easy to do. All you do is go to Google and you type in “add URL to Google.” You will see a box pop up where you can submit that URL. You can also go through Search Console and submit it manually there. But this just sort of helps Google to crawl it a little faster and hopefully get it reprioritized to, potentially, a featured snippet.

From there, you can start to check for the keyword in an incognito window. So, in Chrome, you go to File > New Incognito. It tends to be a little bit more unbiased than your regular browser page when you’re doing a search. So this way, you’d start to get an idea of whether or not you’re moving up in that search result. So this can be anywhere from, I kid you not, a couple of minutes to months.

So Google tends to test different featured snippets over a long period of time, but occasionally I’ve had experience and I know a lot of you watching have had different experiences where you submit that URL to Google and boom – you’re in that featured snippet. So it really just depends, but you can keep an eye on things this way.

II. Track rankings for target keyword and Search Console data!

But you also want to keep in mind that you want to start also tracking for rankings for your target keyword as well as Search Console data. So what does that click-through rate look like? How are the impressions? Is there an upward trend in you trying to target that snippet?

So, in my test set, I have seen an average of around 80% increase in those keywords, just in rankings alone. So that’s a good sign that we’re improving these pages and hopefully helping to get us more featured snippets.

III. Check for other featured snippets

Then this last kind of pro tip here is to check for other instances of featured snippets. This is a really fun thing to do. So if you do just a basic search for “what are title tags,” you’re going to see Moz in the featured snippet. Then if you do “what are title tags” and then you do a -site:Moz.com, you’re going to see another featured snippet that Google is pulling is from a different page, that is not on Moz.com. So really interesting to sort of evaluate the types of content that they are testing and pulling for featured snippets.

Another trick that you can do is to append this ampersand, &num=1, &num=2 and so forth. What this is doing is you put this at the end of your Google URL for a search. So, typically, you do a search for “what are title tags,” and you’re going to see Google.com/search/? that typical markup. You can do a close-up on this, and then you’re just going to append it to pull in only three results, only two results, only four results, or else you can go longer and you can see if Google is pulling different featured snippets from that different quota of results. It’s really, really interesting, and you start to see what they’re testing and all that great stuff. So definitely play around with these two hacks right here.

Then lastly, you really just want to set the frequency of your monitoring to meet your needs. So hopefully, you have all of this information in a spreadsheet somewhere. You might have the keywords that you’re targeting as well as are they successful yet, yes or no. What’s the position? Is that going up or down?

Then you can start to prioritize. If you’re doing hundreds, you’re trying to target hundreds of featured snippets, maybe you check the really, really important ones once a week. Some of the others maybe are monthly checks.

From there, you really just need to keep track of, “Okay, well, what did I do to make that change? What was the improvement to that page to get it in the featured snippet?” That’s where you also want to keep detailed notes on what’s working for you and in your space and what’s not.

So I hope this helps. I look forward to hearing all of your featured snippet targeting stories. I’ve gotten some really awesome emails and look forward to hearing more about your journey down below in the comments. Feel free to ask me any questions and I look forward to seeing you on our next edition of Whiteboard Friday. Thanks.

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Necto looks to help individuals get their own local ISP businesses off the ground

If you live in a city, you’re probably deciding between a handful of major broadband or wireless carriers – maybe something like Comcast or AT&T. But there’s a good chance that there are a bunch of local carriers that are looking to get off the ground, and Benjamin Huang wants to help make sure there are even more options/.

That’s the idea behind Necto, a startup looking to create a sort of ISP school to help people get started with their own internet service provider founded by Huang and Adam Montgomery. Typically that’s a pretty tall order, but Necto works with individuals to learn how to build a network, get the right equipment, and deploy it in order to get consumers access to a new internet service provider that’s an alternative to the larger carriers. There are already emerging providers like Sonic in San Francisco, which aims to offer quick internet for a cheaper price, but there’s a whole group of individuals waiting in the wings that are trying to build their own ISP and the associated business behind it, Huang said. Necto is launching out of Y Combinator’s winter 2018 class.

“Ultimately, we want to see so many ISPs that net neutrality isn’t an issue,” Montgomery said. “It’s cheaper than ever and easier to start an internet service provider. People didn’t know they could do this, and networking engineering is the highest cost. You have to have a lot of stuff to build out. We remove that and bundle it as an ISP starter kit service. We give guidance to the operators, these are the customers you have, this is the equipment you need buy, here’s how to construct them. It’s more like constructing Ikea furniture. The hard part we remove which is automatically configuring these routers.”

Necto started off as its own attempt at an internet service provider, but Huang and Montgomery found that trying to get wholesale fiber was a high barrier to entry. The pair started looking into wholesale wireless, and Huang said that technology is getting to the point where it’s just as fast as typical broadband and an option for resale. The challenge then is getting the equipment into the hands of individuals that want to ramp up their own ISP and showing them how to get started. Then, they’re off to the races and work to build a business around that, including customer service and other facets of it.

Necto essentially charges for the guidance of how to start an ISP, including a class that individuals go through in order to get one off the ground. Then the company continues to ship software to ensure that it’s not as difficult to keep the equipment up and running, as well as provide ongoing support for those individuals. The equipment is all off the shelf, Huang said, in order to lower the barrier to entry for these providers.

The challenge here, however, will be ensuring that not only individuals know they can get an ISP off the ground, but getting their – and consumers’ – attention in the first place. Necto hopes to take a hyper-local strategy, Montgomery said, like traveling to farmers’ markets and working with local operators to ensure they can track down the right people that are looking to build a business around ISPs. There are still going to be plenty of challenges as it continues to work with wholesale wireless providers in order to get these businesses off the ground.

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How to Discover and Monitor Bad Backlinks

Posted by rjonesx.

Identifying bad backlinks has become easier over the past few years with better tool sets, bigger link indexes, and increased knowledge, but for many in our industry it’s still crudely implemented. While the ideal scenario would be to have a professional poring over your link profile and combing each link one-by-one for concerns, for many webmasters that’s just too expensive (and, frankly, overkill).

I’m going to walk through a simple methodology using Link Explorer and Excel (although you could do this with Google Sheets just as easily) to combine together the power of Moz Link Explorer, Keyword Explorer Lists, and finally Link Lists to do a comprehensive link audit.

The basics

There are several components involved in determining whether a link is “bad” and should potentially be removed. Ultimately, we want to be able to measure the riskiness of the link (how likely is Google to flag the link as manipulative and how much do we depend on the link for value). Let me address three common factors used by SEOs to determine this score:

Trust metrics:

There are a handful of metrics in our industry that are readily available to help point out concerning backlinks. The two that come to mind most often are Moz Spam Score and Majestic Trust Flow (or, better yet, the difference between Citation Flow and Trust Flow). These two scores actually work quite differently. Moz’s Spam Score predicts the likelihood a domain is banned or penalized based on certain site features. Majestic Trust Flow determines the trustworthiness of a domain or page based on the quality of links pointing to it. While calculated quite differently, the goal is to help webmasters identify which sites are trustworthy and which are not. However, while these are a good starting point, they aren’t sufficient on their own to give you a clear picture of whether a link is good or bad.

Anchor text manipulation:

One of the first things an SEO learns is that using valuable anchor text can help increase your rankings. The very next thing they learn is that using valuable anchor text can bring on a penalty. The reason for this is pretty clear: the likelihood a webmaster will give you valuable anchor text out of the goodness of their heart is very rare, so over-optimization sticks out like a sore thumb. So, how do we measure anchor text manipulation? If we look at anchor text with our own eyes, this seems to be rather intuitive, but there’s a better way to do it in an automated, at-scale fashion that will allow us to better judge links.

Low authority:

Finally, low-authority links – especially when you would expect higher authority based on the domain – are concerning. A good link should come from an internally well-linked page on a site. If the difference between the Domain Authority and Page Authority is very high, it can be a concern. It isn’t a strong signal, but it is one worth looking at. This is especially obvious in certain types of spam, like paginated comment spam or forum profile spam.

So, let’s jump into how we can pull together a quick backlink analysis taking into account these various features of a bad backlink profile. If you’d like to follow along with this tutorial, hop into Link Explorer in another tab:

Follow along with Link Explorer

Step 1: Get the backlink data

The first and easiest step is just to get your backlink data from Link Explorer’s huge backlink index. With nearly 30 trillion links in our index, you can rest assured that we will find most of the bad backlinks with which you should be concerned. To begin, visit the Link Explorer > Inbound Links section and enter in the domain or page which you wish to analyze.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

Because we aren’t concerned with nofollow links, you will want to set the “follow” filter so that we only export followed links. We also aren’t concerned with deleted links, so we can set the Link Status to “Active.”

How to Find Bad Backlinks

Once you have set these filters, hit the “Export” button. You will have a couple of choices. If your site has fewer than 1,000 backlinks, go ahead and choose the immediate download. However, if your link profile is larger, choose the largest setting and be patient for the download to be prepared. We can keep going with other steps of the project in the meantime, but you don’t want to miss out on bad links, which means you need to export them all.

A lot of SEOs will stop at this point. With PA, DA, and Spam Score included in the standard export, you can do a damn good job of finding bad links. Link Explorer does all of that out-of-the-box for you. But for our purposes here, we wan’t to go a step further and do “anchor text qualification.” This is especially valuable for large link profiles.

Step 2: Get anchor text

Getting anchor text out of the new Link Explorer is incredibly simple. Just visit Link Explorer > Anchor Text and hit the Export button. No extra filters will be needed here.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

Step 3: Measure anchor text value

Now here is a quick trick where we can take advantage of Moz Keyword Explorer’s Keyword Lists to find anchor text that appears to be manipulated. First, we want to remove some of the extraneous anchor text which we know absolutely won’t be concerning, such as URLs as anchor text. This step isn’t completely necessary, but will save you some some credits in Moz Keyword Explorer, so it might be worth it.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

After you’ve removed the extraneous anchor text, we’ll just copy and paste our anchor text into a new keyword list for Keyword Explorer.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

By putting the anchor text into Keyword Explorer, we’ll be able to sort anchor text by search volume. It isn’t very common that anchor text happens to have a high search volume, but when webmasters are trying to manipulate search results they often use the keyword for which they’d like to rank in the anchor text. Thus, we can use the search volume of anchor text as a proxy for manipulated anchor text. In fact, when working with Remove’em before I joined Moz, we discovered the anchor text manipulation was the most predictive factor in link penalties.

Step 4: Merge, filter, sort, & model

We will now merge the data (backlinks export and keyword list export) to finally get that list of concerning backlinks. Let’s start with the backlink export. We’ll open it up in Excel and then remove duplicate domain-anchor text pairs.

I’ll start by showing you a quick trick to extract out the domains from a long list of URLs. I copied the list of URLs from the first column to the last column in Excel, and then chose Data > Text to Columns > Delimited > Other > /. This will cause the URLs to be split into different columns wherever the slash occurs, leaving you with the 4th new column being just the domain names.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

Once you have completed this step, we are going to remove duplicate domain-anchor text pairs. Notice that we aren’t going to limit ourselves to one link per domain, which is what many SEOs do. This would be a mistake, since there could be multiple concerning links on the site with different anchor text.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

After choosing Data > Remove Duplicates, I select the column of Anchor Text and the column of Domain. With the duplicates removed, we are now left with the links we want to judge as good or bad. We need one more thing, though. We need to merge in the search volume data we got from Keyword Explorer. Hit the export button on the keyword list you created from anchor text in Keyword Explorer:

How to Find Bad Backlinks

Open up the export and then copy and paste the data into a second sheet in Excel, next to the backlinks sheet you already created and filtered. In this case, I named the two sheets “Raw Data” and “Anchor Text Data”:

How to Find Bad Backlinks

You’ll then want to do a VLOOKUP on the backlinks spreadsheet to create a column with the search volume for the anchor text on each link. I’ve taken a screenshot of the VLOOKUP formula I used, but yours will look a little different depending upon the the names of the sheets and the exact columns you’ve created.

Excel formula: =IF(ISNA(VLOOKUP(C2,'Anchor Text Data'!$A$1:$I$402,3,FALSE)),0,VLOOKUP(C2,'Anchor Text Data'!$1:$I$402,3,FALSE))

=IF(ISNA(VLOOKUP(C2,’Anchor Text Data’!$A$1:$I$402,3,FALSE)),0,VLOOKUP(C2,’Anchor Text Data’!$1:$I$402,3,FALSE))

It looks a little complicated, but that’s simply because I’m using two VLOOKUPs simultaneously to replace N/A results with the number 0. You can always manually put in 0 wherever N/A shows up.

Now it’s time for the fun part: modeling. First, I recommend sorting by the volume column you just created just so you can see the most concerning anchor text at the top. It’s amazing to see links with anchor text like “ring” or “jewelry” automatically populate at the top of the list, since they’re also keywords with high search volume.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

Second, we’ll create a new column with a formula that takes into account the quality of the link, the riskiness of the anchor text, and the Spam Score:

Excel formula: =D11+(F11-E11)+(LOG(G11+1)*10)+(LOG(O11+1)*10)

=D11+(F11-E11)+(LOG(G11+1)*10)+(LOG(O11+1)*10)

Let’s break down that formula real quickly:

  • D11: This is simply the Spam Score
  • (F11-E11): This is the Domain Authority minus the Page Authority. (This is a bit debatable – some people might just prefer to choose 100-E11)
  • (Log(G11+1)*10): This is a fancy way of converting the number of times this anchor text link occurs into a consistent number for our equation. Without taking the log(), having a high number here could overcome the other signals.
  • (Log(O11+1)*10): This is a fancy way of converting the search volume to a number consistent for our equation. Without taking the log(), having a high search volume could also overcome other signals.

Once we run this equation and create a new column, we can sort by “Riskiness” and find the links with which we should be most concerned.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

As you can see, examples of comment spam and paid links popped to the top of the list because the formula gives a higher value to low-quality, spammy links with risky anchor text. But wait, there’s more!

Step 5: Build a Link List

Link Explorer doesn’t just leave you hanging after doing analysis. Our goal is to help you do SEO, not just analyze it. Your next step is to start a new Link List.

The Link List feature allows you to track whether certain links are alive. If you embark on a campaign to try and remove some of these spammier links, you can create a Link List and use it to monitor the status of those links. Just create a new list by naming it, adding your domain, and then copying and pasting the concerning links.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

You can now just monitor the Link List as you do your outreach to remove bad links. The Link List will track all the metrics, including whether the link has been removed.

How to Find Bad Backlinks

Wrapping up

Whether you want to do a cursory backlink audit by just looking at Spam Score and PA, or a deep-dive taking into account anchor text qualification, Link Explorer + Keyword Explorer and Link Lists make it possible. With our greatly improved backlink index, you can now rest assured that the data you need is right at your finger tips and, if you need to get down-and-dirty in Excel, you can readily export it to do deeper analysis.

Find your spammy links!

Good luck hunting bad backlinks!

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Brazil’s tech startups begin to expand globally

Startups in Brazil, Latin America’s largest entrepreneurial ecosystem, are no longer solely focused on Brazil as their only frontier to conquer. Based on conversations with founders and in tracking the news, dozens of startups born in Brazil have realized they can compete on a global scale and expand their companies quickly by exporting their business models to other regional markets around the world, including Canada, Colombia, Europe, Japan, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.

Traditionally, many Brazilian startups have been content to focus on growing their revenues and market share on the “Ilha de Santa Cruz” (Island of the True Cross, as Brazil was named by a Portuguese sea-captain in 1500). There is plenty to feast on here with a growing middle class, the citizens’ voracious appetite for social and digital media consumption and a population of nearly 211,000,000. More so than other major entrepreneurial centers, Brazil’s founders are known for bootstrapping early-stage companies and avoiding global expansion, as the capital can be costly and lead to a dilution in shares in their startups.

Yet, as the country that is home to the world’s eighth largest economy slowly pulls out of a long recession with its first annual uptick in GDP last year, increasingly the “Brazilians are coming” to compete in more international markets – and more rapidly than ever before. Entrepreneurial expansion outside the country is on the rise as the startup ecosystem becomes more mature, and against a backdrop of unprecedented levels of global investment coming into Brazil from China, Japan, Europe, Silicon Valley and beyond. Indeed, international investment in LatAm startups has “more than doubled since 2013.”

Another trend that’s providing more Brazilian companies with the capital needed to fuel their global expansion is the “flurry of equity deals” during the first part of 2018, “ahead of the presidential elections in October that are expected to prompt volatility in the markets,” according to Bloomberg Markets. For example, NYSE’s biggest IPO since Snap earlier this year raised nearly $2.3 billion for Brazilian fintech PagSeguro (NYSE:PAGS), a payment processing company similar in business model to Jack Dorsey’s Square. It was the largest IPO of a Brazilian company since 2011.

Brazil’s export of fast-growth startups is on the rise

There has been a growing stream of Brazilian startups that have begun to shift focus to the U.S. during the last two years. Mosyle, founded in 2012 by Alcyr Araujo, is now based in the U.S. and used in more than 4,000 schools to help ensure that kids’ mobile device experiences are fun, safe and educational with more parental and teacher involvement.

Pipefy, which announced $16 million in Series A funding last month and was originally based in Curitiba, Brazil, has recently relocated its global HQ to San Francisco. More than 8,000 companies in 146 countries around the world use its operations-excellence platform today.

Similarly, PSafe, a mobile security, privacy and performance platform company, moved its global headquarters to San Francisco last August and now has more than half of its revenues from the U.S.

A fast-growth Brazilian startup called Gympass, which offers a corporate benefit plan to keep employees fit and healthy, has quietly grown into a global business in less than six years. Born in the country that places second in overall number of gyms, Gympass lets a company’s employees make unlimited visits to a growing network of multiple gyms and pay less than half the normal monthly fee. Last month, the company announced its launch in 12 key markets in the U.S., adding 3,000 new workout facilities to its global network of 30,000. Its corporate partners include Accenture, Deloitte, Metlife, PayPal and P&G.

The spirit of entrepreneurism in Brazil is as infectious as its natural resources are vast.

Belo Horizonte-based Hotmart, a comprehensive platform to sell digital products like e-books, online courses and software that was founded in 2011, has expanded into Europe, including opening new offices in Madrid, Paris and the Netherlands. It’s also expanded into Colombia.

São Paulo-based Movile, a leader in mobile marketplaces with a big dream of making life better for a billion people through mobile apps, has seen tremendous growth since its founding in 1998. It now employs more than 1,500 people and impacts the lives of more than 100 million people around the globe. Its food-delivery market, iFood, is now booming on all continents, and Naspers and the fund Innova Capital invested a new $82 million round last December, with a singular focus on growing iFood’s market share.

Since its foundation, Movile has raised more than $250 million to accomplish more than 20 mergers, acquisitions and investments in startups beyond iFood, including Maplink, PlayKids, Pointer, Rapiddo, SuperPlayer and Sympla, among others.

Smart strategy and networking resources boost success

With the advent and growth of SaaS platforms, a fast-emerging global on-demand economy and some entirely original business models, many Brazilian startups are poised for success as they scale from being regional plays to any number of international markets. Typically, when more than a quarter of a startup’s business is coming in from international markets – as was the case with Pipefy and its cloud-based platform – the timing is ripe to land and expand outside a company’s home country.

In choosing international markets, a smart strategy for tech startup founders is to analyze those regions that possess high broadband and mobile-device adoption, readily available payment infrastructures, political stability, level socioeconomic playing fields, fair tax requirements and an easy-to-navigate regulatory environment. One useful rule of thumb to help obtain a basic understanding is to compare the overall internet population by country versus GDP per capita. This exercise will generate a model to prioritize countries with larger numbers of prospects with high levels of disposable income.

Another critical element for optimizing success is a solid understanding of regional differences and key variances across international markets – from cultural nuances to regulatory impacts to diverse approaches to conducting business. Identifying and tapping local network resources early on can make a world of difference.

The maturing startup ecosystem in Brazil has benefited hugely from access to Cubo, the largest entrepreneurial hub in Latin America, and its constant intermingling and exchange of ideas between startup founders, investors, academics and government officials.

In Silicon Valley, BayBrazil has been hugely impactful in connecting and building a tight-knit community of Brazilian and U.S. professionals, founders and scholars living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. On a global scale, organizations like Endeavor have sparked high-impact entrepreneurship and success around the planet.

The spirit of entrepreneurism in Brazil is as infectious as its natural resources are vast. A recent rise in startups born and bred in Brazil that are being exported to international markets around the globe to further scale and propagate is a trend to be celebrated.

Saúde! (Cheers)

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Moz’s Link Data Used to Suck… But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Earlier this week we launched our brand-new link building tool, and we’re happy to say that Link Explorer addresses and improves upon a lot of the big problems that have plagued our legacy link tool, Open Site Explorer. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand transparently lists out many of the biggest complaints we’ve heard about OSE over the years and explains the vast improvements Link Explorer provides, from DA scores updated daily to historic link data to a huge index of almost five trillion URLs.

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Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

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Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week I’m very excited to say that Moz’s Open Site Explorer product, which had a lot of challenges with it, is finally being retired, and we have a new product, Link Explorer, that’s taking its place. So let me walk you through why and how Moz’s link data for the last few years has really kind of sucked. There’s no two ways about it.

If you heard me here on Whiteboard Friday, if you watched me at conferences, if you saw me blogging, you’d probably see me saying, “Hey, I personally use Ahrefs, or I use Majestic for my link research.” Moz has a lot of other good tools. The crawler is excellent. Moz Pro is good. But Open Site Explorer was really lagging, and today, that’s not the case. Let me walk you through this.

The big complaints about OSE/Mozscape

1. The index was just too small

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

Mozscape was probably about a fifth to a tenth the size of its competitors. While it got a lot of the quality good links of the web, it just didn’t get enough. As SEOs, we need to know all of the links, the good ones and the bad ones.

2. The data was just too old

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So, in Mozscape, a link that you built on November 1st, you got a link added to a website, you’re very proud of yourself. That’s excellent. You should expect that a link tool should pick that up within maybe a couple weeks, maybe three weeks at the outside. Google is probably picking it up within just a few days, sometimes hours.

Yet, when Mozscape would crawl that, it would often be a month or more later, and by the time Mozscape processed its index, it could be another 40 days after that, meaning that you could see a 60- to 80-day delay, sometimes even longer, between when your link was built and when Mozscape actually found it. That sucks.

3. PA/DA scores took forever to update

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

PA/DA scores, likewise, took forever to update because of this link problem. So the index would say, oh, your DA is over here. You’re at 25, and now maybe you’re at 30. But in reality, you’re probably far ahead of that, because you’ve been building a lot of links that Mozscape just hasn’t picked up yet. So this is this lagging indicator. Sometimes there would be links that it just didn’t even know about. So PA and DA just wouldn’t be as accurate or precise as you’d want them to be.

4. Some scores were really confusing and out of date

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

MozRank and MozTrust relied on essentially the original Google PageRank paper from 1997, which there’s no way that’s what’s being used today. Google certainly uses some view of link equity that’s passed between links that is similar to PageRank, and I think they probably internally call that PageRank, but it looks nothing like what MozRank was called.

Likewise, MozTrust, way out of date, from a paper in I think 2002 or 2003. Much more advancements in search have happened since then.

Spam score was also out of date. It used a system that was correlated with what spam looked like three, four years ago, so much more up to date than these two, but really not nearly as sophisticated as what Google is doing today. So we needed to toss those out and find their replacements as well.

5. There was no way to see links gained and lost over time

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

Mozscape had no way to see gained and lost links over time, and folks thought, “Gosh, these other tools in the SEO space give me this ability to show me links that their index has discovered or links they’ve seen that we’ve lost. I really want that.”

6. DA didn’t correlate as well as it should have

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So over time, DA became a less and less indicative measure of how well you were performing in Google’s rankings. That needed to change as well. The new DA, by the way, much, much better on this front.

7. Bulk metrics checking and link reporting was too hard and manual

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So folks would say, “Hey, I have this giant spreadsheet with all my link data. I want to upload that. I want you guys to crawl it. I want to go fetch all your metrics. I want to get DA scores for these hundreds or thousands of websites that I’ve got. How do I do that?” We didn’t provide a good way for you to do that either unless you were willing to write code and loop in our API.

8. People wanted distribution of their links by DA

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

They wanted distributions of their links by domain authority. Show me where my links come from, yes, but also what sorts of buckets of DA do I have versus my competition? That was also missing.

So, let me show you what the new Link Explorer has.

Moz's new Link Explorer

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

Wow, look at that magical board change, and it only took a fraction of a second. Amazing.

What Link Explorer has done, as compared to the old Open Site Explorer, is pretty exciting. I’m actually very proud of the team. If you know me, you know I am a picky SOB. I usually don’t even like most of the stuff that we put out here, but oh my god, this is quite an incredible product.

1. Link Explorer has a GIANT index

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So I mentioned index size was a big problem. Link Explorer has got a giant index. Frankly, it’s about 20 times larger than what Open Site Explorer had and, as you can see, very, very competitive with the other services out there. Majestic Fresh says they have about a trillion URLs from their I think it’s the last 60 days. Ahrefs, about 3 trillion. Majestic’s historic, which goes all time, has about 7 trillion, and Moz, just in the last 90 days, which I think is our index – maybe it’s a little shorter than that, 60 days – 4.7 trillion, so almost 5 trillion URLs. Just really, really big. It covers a huge swath of the web, which is great.

2. All data updates every 24 hours

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So, unlike the old index, it is very fresh. Every time it finds a new link, it updates PA scores and DA scores. The whole interface can show you all the links that it found just yesterday every morning.

3. DA and PA are tracked daily for every site

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

You don’t have to track them yourself. You don’t have to put them into your campaigns. Every time you go and visit a domain, you will see this graph showing you domain authority over time, which has been awesome.

For my new company, I’ve been tracking all the links that come in to SparkToro, and I can see my DA rising. It’s really exciting. I put out a good blog post, I get a bunch of links, and my DA goes up the next day. How cool is that?

4. Old scores are gone, and new scores are polished and high quality

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So we got rid of MozRank and MozTrust, which were very old metrics and, frankly, very few people were using them, and most folks who were using them didn’t really know how to use them. PA basically takes care of both of them. It includes the weight of links that come to you and the trustworthiness. So that makes more sense as a metric.

Spam score is now on a 0 to 100% risk model instead of the old 0 to 17 flags and the flags correlate to some percentage. So 0 to 100 risk model. Spam score is basically just a machine learning built model against sites that Google penalized or banned.

So we took a huge amount of domains. We ran their names through Google. If they couldn’t rank for their own name, we said they were penalized. If we did a site: the domain.com and Google had de-indexed them, we said they were banned. Then we built this risk model. So in the 90% that means 90% of sites that had these qualities were penalized or banned. 2% means only 2% did. If you have a 30% spam score, that’s not too bad. If you have a 75% spam score, it’s getting a little sketchy.

5. Discovered and lost links are available for every site, every day

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So again, for this new startup that I’m doing, I’ve been watching as I get new links and I see where they come from, and then sometimes I’ll reach out on Twitter and say thank you to those folks who are linking to my blog posts and stuff. But it’s very, very cool to see links that I gain and links that I lose every single day. This is a feature that Ahrefs and Majestic have had for a long time, and frankly Moz was behind on this. So I’m very glad that we have it now.

6. DA is back as a high-quality leading indicator of ranking ability

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

So, a note that is important: everyone’s DA has changed. Your DA has changed. My DA has changed. Moz’s DA changed. Google’s DA changed. I think it went from a 98 to a 97. My advice is take a look at yourself versus all your competitors that you’re trying to rank against and use that to benchmark yourself. The old DA was an old model on old data on an old, tiny index. The new one is based on this 4.7 trillion size index. It is much bigger. It is much fresher. It is much more accurate. You can see that in the correlations.

7. Building link lists, tracking links that you want to acquire, and bulk metrics checking is now easy

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

Building link lists, tracking links that you want to acquire, and bulk metrics checking, which we never had before and, in fact, not a lot of the other tools have this link tracking ability, is now available through possibly my favorite feature in the tool called Link Tracking Lists. If you’ve used Keyword Explorer and you’ve set up your keywords to watch those over time and to build a keyword research set, very, very similar. If you have links you want to acquire, you add them to this list. If you have links that you want to check on, you add them to this list. It will give you all the metrics, and it will tell you: Does this link to your website that you can associate with a list, or does it not? Or does it link to some page on the domain, but maybe not exactly the page that you want? It will tell that too. Pretty cool.

8. Link distribution by DA

Moz's Link Data Used to Suck... But Not Anymore! The New Link Explorer is Here - Whiteboard Friday

Finally, we do now have link distribution by DA. You can find that right on the Overview page at the bottom.

Look, I’m not saying Link Explorer is the absolute perfect, best product out there, but it’s really, really damn good. I’m incredibly proud of the team. I’m very proud to have this product out there.

If you’d like, I’ll be writing some more about how we went about building this product and a bunch of agency folks that we spent time with to develop this, and I would like to thank all of them of course. A huge thank you to the Moz team.

I hope you’ll do me a favor. Check out Link Explorer. I think, very frankly, this team has earned 30 seconds of your time to go check it out.

Try out Link Explorer!

All right. Thanks, everyone. We’ll see you again for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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The BBC will run its first podcast ads, powered by Acast

The BBC will start running ads in its podcasts, thanks to a partnership with podcast publishing and monetization company Acast.

Acast CEO Ross Adams told me that ads will start running later this week, with the BBC including “bumpers” today announcing the imminent ad launch.

“Podcasts are one way we’re reinventing BBC radio to engage younger audiences with our world class content,” said Bob Shennan, director of BBC Radio and Music, in the announcement. “We’re working with established and new talent to produce shows which are informative and entertaining as only the BBC can be. The BBC has been challenged to generate more commercial income to supplement the licence fee and this new deal will contribute to that.”

To be clear, the BBC will remain ad-free in the United Kingdom, where it’s supported by the aforementioned license fee. Adams said one of the things Acast could offer was the ability to make sure ads were only served outside the U.K. (and to account for edge cases like U.K. military bases in other countries).

Adams said Acast will also be providing the BBC with new data about how the podcasts are performing.

“We give them the data and the dashboard to start really doubling down and focusing on podcasting as a medium,” he said.

According the announcement, this will apply to all BBC podcasts outside the U.K. (subject to rights restrictions), including Global News, The Assassination, World Business Report and Radio 4’s In Our Time. Most podcasts will have a single 30-second ad at the beginning, then another at the end.

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Content for Answers: The Inverted Pyramid – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Dr-Pete

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

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

https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/tbdfh9o2jp?seo=false&videoFoam=true

https://fast.wistia.net/assets/external/E-v1.js

Content for Answers

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Video Transcription

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

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

The inverted pyramid style of content writing

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

Content for Answers

1. Start with the lead

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

2. Go into the details

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

3. Move to the context

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

How does this apply to answering questions for SEO?

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

Content for Answers

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

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

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

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

Content for Answers

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

Questions that can be very easily answered should be avoided

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

Answer how-to questions and questions with rich context instead

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

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

Content for Answers

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

Giving the searcher a “scent trail” builds trust

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

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

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

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

How does this tactic work in the real world?

Thin content isn’t credible.

Content for Answers

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

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

Content for Answers

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

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

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

Moz’s example: What is a Title Tag?

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

Content for Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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

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