Posted by randfish
As many of you who read this blog know, I’m a terrible self-promoter. I actually feel guilty writing about, linking to and promoting the products and services that make payroll for the amazing SEOmoz staff and allow us to conduct cool research, produce awesome guides and build out spiffy office space. But, every few months, I manage to crawl out from under that shell. This time, it’s by request.
I’ve been hearing from a lot of our PRO members that they feel both overwhelmed and confused by all the offerings in PRO. I know it’s tough when there are 30+ pages on which unique types of PRO content exist and even the dashboard doesn’t link to all of them (that’s our fault for bad organization – I promise it’s getting better by the end of summer). Hence, this post is all about what to do in your first 15 minutes inside PRO to get lots of value that can actually move the needle on your SEO actions and search traffic.
When you run a report in Open Site Explorer, click to the "top pages" tab and browse through the list of the most-linked-to pages on your domain. You’re looking for two things – any troubling codes (302, 40x, 50x) and pages that have lots of links, but aren’t targeting competitive keywords for relevant search traffic. In the former instance, you want to get those pages up and pointing to the right place. In the latter case, you need to run that page through OSE, determine who’s linking to it and with what anchor text (there’s a tab for that, too), then see if you can put together good content to match the links & ranking ability. You can do all that, later – for now, just export the list to CSV, or make a note to revisit.
Elapsed time: 3 minutes
The new Custom Crawl Prototype will mimic a search engine spider and crawl up to 3,000 pages on any domain, then email you with a CSV of the results in 24 hours. It identifies duplicate content issues, HTTP headers, missing titles & meta descriptions, and many more potential SEO pitfalls. Get a report on a site or two and dig into the results tomorrow.
Elapsed time: 3 minutes 30 seconds
How tough, relatively speaking, are the keywords you’re chasing and where might easy opportunities exist? Keyword Difficulty can help answer this question and provides a terrific CSV export of the top 25 sites/pages ranking for any query with metrics for each. Often just a report or two can help you identify keyword targets where small quantities of links or optimization effort can take you a long way. They’re also ideal for showing management/clients exactly how far you have to go to catch up with the competition.
Elapsed time: 7 minutes
Tom Critchlow and I call the Link Intersect Tool "cheating," because it’s just too easy to find good link opportunities. Plug in your site and at least 2 (up to 5) competing sites (or just sites that you think have relevant/acquirable links) and it spits back a list of sites, pages and metrics that link to 2+ of the competitors but don’t link to you. It’s like shooting links in a barrel! (that’s a thing, right?)
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I’ve personally run a dozen 60-90 minute webinars for our PRO members on topics ranging from "reverse engineering the SERPs" to "competitive link building" to "actionable analytics" and more. The feedback we get on these is overwhelming positive and we’re running two each month (one with a specific content focus and another reviewing members’ sites). The webinar archives contain video+audio downloads of the presentations plus a link to register for upcoming ones. If you like a more interactive/participatory learning environment, these are a great option.
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My recommendation is to Track Rankings for 10-20 key terms you’re targeting, a handful of mid-range "nice-to-haves" and a healthy helping of long-tail keywords to help give a sense of how you’re performing across the keyword demand curve. When traffic fluctuates, it’s great to be able to see if rankings were the cause, or if other factors (demand, downtime, errors, analytics capture problems, etc.) could be the culprit. The best part about the current rank tracking system is the ability to choose between multiple engines on any TLD (and to select "entire subdomain" so it catches any page from your site in the top 50 results).
Elapsed time: 15 minutes
OK, your quarter-hour is up, but so are your chances for a lot more search traffic in the next few weeks and months. When you’re ready to devote some more time, you can install the mozbar, check if any deals in the Discount Store are relevant/useful, distribute some PRO Guides to your compatriots, give Trifecta a spin, watch some PRO Whiteboard Videos, ask a question in Q+A, review the hundreds of PRO Tips, leverage the Link Acquisition Assistant to find some sexy new link opportunities, dig around in Labs, well… you g
et the idea.
And, as a tease, here’s an early comp of what we’ve been busy with in 2010:
ETA: Late this summer