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Posted by randfish

The holidays are right around the corner (Hanukkah actually starts tonight) and I’m excited to announce our second annual San Diego meetup is ready to rock. Tuesday, December 21st, I’ll be in downtown San Diego jointly hosting a brief but substantive presentation on SEO with Jamie Smith of EngineReady, followed by some free beers and great networking.

If you haven’t been to an SEOmoz meetup before, they’re tons of fun, completely free, and a great opportunity to pick up some potentially new tips + tricks, too.

Seattle Moz Meetup

Seattle Meetup, January

NYC moz Meetup

NYC Meetup, October (w/ celebrity guests Jim Boykin, Ted Ulle + Greg Niland)

Pubcon moz Meetup

Las Vegas Pubcon Meetup, November

Sofia moz Meetup

Sofia Meetup, October

How can you say no to that? Especially when it also features some great presentations and Q+A:

  • Jamie Smith, Chairman + CEO of EngineReady – Beyond Google Analytics: Tools for Reporting Automation
  • Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz – Top 10 Things SEOs Have Learned in 2010

Event Details:

  • Date: December 21, 2010
  • Time: 5pm – 8pm
  • Where: The Beer Company 602 Broadway San Diego, CA 92101
  • Attire: Casual
  • Beer: Free! (at least the first few) :-)

Head on over to the Eventbrite page and register!

Register for the SEOmoz Meetup in San Diego

Look forward to seeing you there.

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by jennita

It’s November! Which here at the mozPlex means a few things: It’s sunny and beautiful in Seattle [wait.. uhm what??], we’re all getting ready for Thanksgiving and most importantly… PubCon is next week! As usual we’re sending a big crew down to Vegas to speak, learn, network and of course party.

Both Rand and Joanna will be speaking on several panels, plus you’ll find Jamie, Aaron, Miranda, Adam and Gillian on-hand as well. You’ll know who they are as they’ll be wearing a lovely SEOmoz t-shirt. I really urge you to seek them out and say hi. Really, stalk them… they’ll all enjoy it! ;-)

Oh right… you don’t care about all that now do you? You care about the party info! Ok fine… Here’s the goods:

Happy Hour Details

When: Wednesday, November 10th, 6:00 – 7:30pm

Where: Wynn Hotel in the Alsace 2 room

Who: All PubCon attendees!

Why: We’ll have some cool giveaways [including 3 Kindles!] and free drinks of course. It’s a party for goodness sake, why wouldn’t you come?!

Still not convinced? Check out some of the pictures from last years party (you can see them all here).

Kristy Bolsinger, Kate Morris, Matt Cutts at SEOmoz PubCon party 2009
Kristy Bolsinger, Kate Morris and Matt Cutts

Chris Winfield, Shirly Tan, Brent Csutoras, Dana Lookadoo, Tim Ash
Chris Winfield, Shirley Tan, Brent Csutoras, Dana Lookadoo, Tim Ash

So be sure to head on over to the Wynn right after Matt Cutt’s Super Session on Wednesday evening. We’ll be tweeting reminders and any updates. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

<3 – The mozzers

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by randfish

If you’ve been using SEOmoz’s tools for a while, you’ve likely run across the same challenge we have — the data rocks, but you have to run a separate tool and report for each aspect of your SEO. That’s why, for the past year, we’ve been building a new platform to house all of the features and functionality of the SEOmoz toolset, and includes the ability to track metrics over time. We call it the SEOmoz "Web App."

The New SEOmoz Web App
It’s hard for me to resist making this post nothing but a huge collection of screenshots…

Starting TODAY (right now, in fact!), every PRO member has BETA access to the new web app.

We encourage you to create your first campaign(s), start tracking some rankings, crawling some pages and getting those optimization recommendations. The web app is our first application to automatically track data for any site(s) you care about on an ongoing, consistent basis, and make recommendations based on what we find. Thus, the real value comes after a week or two of tracking, and it gets more valuable, useful and reference worthy over time. One of our big goals was to make this app give back some beautiful screenshots and reports showing your progress in reducing the crawl problems, improving optimization and gaining in the rankings over time.

How it Works

The challenge with doing SEO on sites bigger than a few dozen pages is that no human has time to visit every page on a regular basis and check to make sure nothing is wrong, no opportunities are missed, no errors are present, and no search rankings are being unintentionally forfeited through poor optimization. The web app is designed to solve this by:

#1 – Crawling all the pages on your site every week and identifying potential issues in three categories:

  • Errors – like 404s, 500s, missing titles, duplicate content, etc.
  • Warnings – such as 302s, overly dynamic URL strings, long title elements, meta refreshes, etc.
  • Notices – not problems, per se, but issues you might want to be aware of like 301s, rel=canonical tags, meta robots blocking, etc.

Crawl Warnings in the Web App
While we love what Google’s Webmaster Tools does on this front, we felt there were a lot more issues we wanted to see.

#2 – Tracking Rankings on the keywords you choose and automatically grading the pages that rank in the top 50 for their on-page optimization. It’s a simple concept, but a powerful one. Why? Because, we often found that:

  • URLs ranking on page 2, 3 or 4 for a keyword phrase could move up dramatically in rankings and traffic with just a bit of keyword tweaking
  • Sometimes, SEOs & marketers might not even realize they had a page that was competitive for a keyword, and showing off that potential automatically could make a huge difference
  • Tracking rankings can help identify potential causes of rising/falling traffic and give a key baseline for performance, particularly as we add in data like traffic via web analytics, keyword difficulty scores and estimated search volume.

Rankings Report
Basic rank tracking is great, but we think there’s a lot more you can do with the data when it’s integrated with other KPIs and metrics

Keyword Rankings for Zillow Next to Competitors
Tracking competitors simultaneously is helpful for those SEOs who want to keep special tabs on select sites

#3 – On-Page Grading & Recommendations serve as a great companion to rank tracking, enabling easy identification of low hanging fruit (poorly optimized pages that still rank in the top 50 results are often huge opportunities for improved rankings and traffic). We built this feature because:

  • It’s frustrating to figure out the best practices for on-page optimziation, but our correlation and ranking models work have made some valuable strides that deserve to be shared.
  • No one can visit hundreds or thousands of pages and find all the keywords that are suboptimally targeted. The web app (particularly in concert with tip #1 below) can and it will message these with easy-to-parse grades and simple recommendations.
  • You can feel confident that the on-page recommendations are consitently updating with best practices. As we learn more through testing/research or as algorithms change (we re-do our ranking models every few months), that information will quickly make its way into the on-page report cards.

On-Page Report Card
An "A"! That’s good news. Still missing a few recommendations that might be worth checking out, though.

 

Report Card for On-Page Optimization

Aha! Using the keyword in the alt attribute might be a good addition (both for normal web rankings and for image SEO)

 

#4 – Link Analysis for your site and those of key competitors. This tab is still in progress, but in the future, we plan to integrate all of the link analysis abilities of Open Site Explorer and add historical tracking, competitive SERPs analysis and more.

Link Analysis Tab

Much more functionality coming soon

#5 – One Comprehensive System to Rule It All. More so than any single feature, we wanted to begin the process of replicating all the functionality of SEOmoz’s PRO tools into a single, integrated platform. You should be able to do all your SEO from one place – the web app. The functionality released today is just a tiny part of what’s to come.

Campaign Dashboard

Now I can see and access all the sites I care about from one place in my PRO account.

Here’s a video of me whiteboarding a bit more about the new web app:

How Does this Affect My PRO Account?

If you’re already PRO, think of this as a big, new feature that’s ready to start tracking data for you today. None of the old tools, functionality, guides Q+A, tips, webinars, etc. are going away. We’re just adding the web app as a key part of the SEOmoz PRO package.

We are, however, making a few shifts that I think you’ll really like.

Previously, PRO membership tiers had limits for how many Linkscape reports they could run. We’ve scaled up our servers to the point where we can handle pretty hefty quantities of requests, so as of today, we’re removing your Linkscape advanced report limits – all PRO members can now run unlimited numbers of Linkscape reports. Q+A remains the same, as does access to all the other tools + content.

Here’s the new PRO membership plans:

New PRO Pricing Chart

You may notice we’ve changed our pricing; however, these prices are for new members only.  Existing PRO members will continue to pay what they have in the past, but receive the expanded benefits and privileges we’re launching today. It’s our way of saying thanks for joining us in the early days.  PRO members – you’ll get an email soon detailing the improvements/upgrades to your membership.

If you’re not yet PRO, we’re keeping the PRO price of /month available until August 25th (14 days from now). After that, the price will go up to /month. If you sign up now (at /month), you’ll be grandfathered in and won’t be subject to future price increases.

And, as always, as PRO membership gets better, you’ll get immediate access to new features & upgrades and we’ll never raise your price.

5 Quick Tips to Get Started

The web app is certainly designed to be largely self-explanatory and I’m sure many of you have already jumped in and given it a spin. But, for those seeking a few tricks, here’s some that we’ve found in the last few weeks of using it for projects (some in concert with our consulting friends at Distilled).

#1 – Import some of your top referring keywords from your analytics

When I started the SEOmoz campaign, I grabbed our top few hundred keywords that referred traffic and imported them through the manage keywords input box (which kindly accepts CSV, TSV and carriage-return separated inputs).

Exporting KWs from Google Analytics

By exporting my list of top keywords from Google Analytics and pasting them into the web app, I’ve got easy tracking on tons of keywords I care about, and a chance to find some missed opportunities.

Manage Keywords Page in the Web App

 

#2 – Find pages that rank in the top 10-30 with low grades (Cs, Ds and Fs)

When my rankings and on-page reports came back, I found tons of pages that got Cs or Ds ranking in position 5-50, ripe for improvement.

On-Page Optimization Grades
Those Cs, Ds and Fs are gonna turn into As and send us a lot more traffic!

The best part is the automation – it’s a simple process, but an incredibly tedious one if performed manually. The web app’s a lifesaver on that front. Those Cs, Ds and Fs, if improved to As and Bs, will likely bring up rankings, particularly on the less competitive terms and phrases and those where I may have the links I need to rank, but never took the time to do on-page optimization. Editing a few page titles and adding some keywords to content never felt so rewarding.

#3 – Use the "grade any page" easter egg feature

The web app’s on-page optimization system will soon be replacing our tired and somewhat rickety term target tool. In the meantime, you can run "one-off" reports through an easter egg feature. Just create the keyword you care about and you can edit the URL field manually to grade any page for any term/phrase:

On-Page Report Card

Notice the highlighted portion in blue in the screenshot – easter egg FTW!

#4 – Apply labels to your keyword groups to separately track relevant data/metrics

Nearly every section of the app allows for filtering based on keyword group, error type, etc. By building smart keyword groups (via the "manage keywords" page) to align with the types of terms/phrases I care about, I can separately build reports showing performance in rankings and on-page optimization for those labels.

Keywords with Labels

#5 – Point out crawl diagnostic issues to a friend or potential client

If your friend has a website with some crawl issues, I’m sure they’d appreciate having that pointed out – you can even export the crawl results to CSV and email it over. Likewise, if you’ve got clients or managers you’re trying to convince to do some SEO fixes, the diagnostic visualization can be very handy to show off the problem.

Crawl Diagnostics for YCombinator.com

Sending over this report might just bring your buddy a bit more search traffic (or help you win a new client)!

What’s Next?

Oh, believe me – we’re just getting warmed up. :-)

Our engineering team is committed to regular updates every few weeks, starting with something big a couple weeks from today. Those updates will add features, fix bugs and help grow this web
app into the platform professional SEOs deserve – a system that lets you perform all of the essential tasks of SEO from one place – from building, submitting and managing XML Sitemaps to tracking your ROI from organic keywords through integration with your analytics package to tracking search results in verticals like video, maps/local, news, images, et al. to mapping your crawl data from Webmaster Tools against your indexation of pages receiving search traffic (we’ve had some good chats with the WM Tools team about integrating their API in cool ways) and much, much more.

We’ll be publishing a post this weekend inviting you to vote for features you’d most like to see. That feedback will be used to help prioritize our work, so suggest now, vote on the weekend and you’ll see what you want in the app even sooner!

We Need Your Feedback

The web app is the basis for our future plans around providing great SEO software, and we need your help to make it amazing. On every page of the web app, you’ll find a feedback tab on the left-hand side of the page. Please click it often and tell us what you found frustrating, what more you want to see, and even what you liked and want more of. Our team reads every one and build priorities based on the most-requested features.

We also know there’s going to be bugs at launch. Some early ones we’re aware of include:

  • Slowness – many of the web app pages take 10-15 seconds or more to load depending on the quantity of keywords, issues or other data involved. We’re working to cache much of this in databases for much faster retrieval in the next few weeks.
  • Crawl & Rankings Retrieval – your first data will take 5-20 minutes to populate. We do an initial "speed crawl" of 250 pages, but to be respectful of server load issues, we’re pretty cautious with our requests. That first hour inside the app after creation may feel a bit empty, but just wait, it gets much better :-)
  • On-Page Grades – edge cases, including keywords that are out of order or have odd broad matching aren’t perfect yet. We’ll be working to fix this and make this experience as seemless as possible.
  • Root Domains – currently, campaigns can only be created with single subdomains (e.g. www.seomoz.org, not *.seomoz.org). We’re working to make root domains an option as well, so you can track all the pages at mydomain.com, www.mydomain.com, blog.mydomain.com, etc. in one campaign.
  • Adding more than 10 Keywords Simultaneously – to help with load as we begin public testing, we’ll only collect rankings for the first 10-20 keywords entered immediately (within 10-15 minutes). If you add 50 or 500 keywords at once, we’re limiting rankings and on-page checks until your next update date for now.

This isn’t just another tool – it’s a new approach for SEOmoz – creating an application that uses crawl data, APIs and integrated research to improve your productivity and simplify SEO.

But, we need to be realistic – in this first iteration, we’re not just in beta, we’re at the nascent stages of the app’s potential. What we’re launching today is pretty remarkable, and I feel confident that for nearly everyone reading this post, it can help you earn a considerable amount more traffic from the search engines. That said, the future is what we feel best about, particularly since we hope to have your help in the improvement process.

This is very much a BETA launch, but we think you’ll enjoy playing around with the app and get a lot of value in return. So, what are you waiting for? Go build a campaign!

p.s. If you’d like to learn more, check out our FREE WEBINAR on the Web App coming up this Friday, August 13th at 10am Pacific – Register here. And you can still sign up for the SEOmoz Tools Training at our Seattle Seminar later this month (we’ve just added more seats).

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by JoannaLord

Are you an SEOmoz fan? Do you love our software? Do you dream of introducing Roger to your friends? Well, what if you could do all that and make money? Too awesome to believe, huh? Well now you can! We are excited to present our new affiliate program, which has higher payouts, an easier management platform, and better service all-around.

For years we have been struggling to really let the potential of our promoters and evangelists shine through. Well enough of that.

We have moved to the HasOffers platform, another Seattle-based startup that is quickly earning a reputation as an industry leader. With HasOffers our affiliates will now enjoy more visibility into their account, top-notch reporting, and an easy to navigate platform for better usability.

Now let’s talk money!
Like I said, we are paying out big for your help in promoting our software. It’s a win-win…you get to share software you love and make money while you’re at it! Here is what the payouts look like.

Affiliate payout table
              (Wowzers is right! These are the highest affiliate payouts in our industry!)

 

Got questions? We have some answers!

How long does my cookie last?

We are giving a generous 60-day cookie, to make sure you get the credit you deserve!

What kinds of tracking does HasOffers provide me?

Our new program offers real-time tracking. This means when they convert…you know! Please note the tracking will begin on the click, not the impression.

What kind of resources are available to me?
We have over 25 different creatives in there for you to get started with. This includes a variety of themes as well as sizes. We are also going to be adding to this regularly, based on affiliate feedback and needs. In addition to a plethora of creatives, we provide you a variety of optimized landing pages to help your traffic better understand what SEOmoz PRO is all about and purchase with confidence!

What kinds of campaigns are allowed?
We allow a number of different campaigns–website, blog, email, and coupon are just some examples. Currently, we are not accepting incentivized traffic and paid search campaigns require affiliate manager approval.

How often do I get paid?
We work off a 30-day pay period, and then we will be paying on Net 30 after the close of each pay period.

What about all my other questions?
Well friends, this is the awesome part. We have moved this affiliate program in-house because we are serious about making this a top-notch affiliate program. If you have any questions you can contact us directly at affiliate@seomoz.org, and will get back to you speedy as speedy can be!

That about sums it up for now. We are so excited, and urge all of you check out the program and sign up! If you are looking for more information you can read about the new affiliate program in detail or if you are ready to sign up and get promoting, you can join below!

Become and Affiliate button

 

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by randfish

You’ve probably already noticed that here at SEOmoz, we tend to travel quite a bit. Often times we’re speaking at a conference or covering it on the blog, but sometimes we find ourselves wishing we had more time to hang out with the community. We needed to come up with a way to spend some quality time with you. So, we’re sending mozzers out to cities all over the world to have Meetups and give us a chance to get to know you in a more intimate setting.

We’re interested in learning first-hand what we can we do to make our software work harder for you, if you’d like to learn about a specific subject on the blog and in general, anything you’d like to tell us! Of course, we’ll provide the beer, probably some food and at the very least some interesting conversation.

Upcoming Meetups

New York City – Oct. 19, 6-9pm Eastern
637 W. 27th Street – 8th Floor
New York, NY 10001

New York City is probably the best place we could think of to have our first SEOmoz meetup. Promediacorp has been gracious enough to let us use their amazing office to host the event. This should be a really great event as we’ll have a few speakers in addition to food and drink. We are limiting the event to 50 people, so if you can definitely join us, please be sure to RSVP!

Register for SEOmoz NY Meetup 2010 in New York, NY  on Eventbrite

NYC Speakers:

Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOmoz
Topic: Shhhh…. A sneak peek at new research from SEOmoz

Chris Winfield, CMO & Managing Partner, BlueGlass
Topic: Major Trends in SEO as seen from the team at BlueGlass

Greg Gortz, VP Sales, Zemanta
Topic: Link Building Best Practices for 2010 and beyond


Sofia Bulgaria
Stock Photo by Nickolay Stanev

Sofia, Bulgaria – Oct. 29, 7-9pm
We’re still waiting to finish the final touches on this event. Be sure to follow us on Twitter  or keep an eye on our events page and we’ll announce changes as they come up.


Las Vegas – Nov. 10, 5:30-7:30pm Pacific

PubConFor the past few years we’ve held our annual Search Spam Party. This year at PubCon we’ll be hosting a happy hour with free drinks and light appetizers for all PubCon attendees. We’re still looking to finalize the exact location but we’re planning on having it at or near the Wynn. So after the last session of the day head on over for a fun, relaxing happy hour with all your favorite peeps. Don’t miss it!

As PubCon gets closer we’ll have more information about the location and a place to sign up.


San Diego – December

We’ll have more information about this one soon. The event should take place around December 20th.

But what about my city?

Don’t worry! We are planning more SEOmoz events. You can stay up-to-date on the location of the moz team on this new fancy looking page linked to below. This calendar not only shows our meetups but also shows what conferences we’ll be speaking at and who’s speaking and/or attending. It will be updated often, so if you’re ever curious where we are and what we’re up to, you can find out here:

SEOmoz Events

By the way, I’ll actually be at all of the events we have listed above. I look forward to seeing you there!

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by randfish

It’s been a wild few weeks at the mozplex. Today wrapped up the amazing mozinar with our half-day tools training just in time to launch the new version of SEOmoz. Should we slow down this crazy pace? Nah.

If you’re feeling a sense of deja vu, don’t worry; it’s perfectly normal. We’re the same old moz, but with a new look, faster loading pages and a surprising amount of new functionality. Let’s walk through it together, shall we?

Big Improvements to PRO Membership

It’s a good day to be PRO; we’ve just released:

• A brand new PRO Dashboard, that’s designed to be the center of everything you can do with your membership, including access to your web app campaigns, tools and tool reports, webinars, Q+A, discount store, etc. If it’s part of PRO, you’ll find it in the Dashboard.

• The web app has made some big improvements and we’re now announcing a full public beta – campaigns should be faster, more accurate and dramatically less buggy. There’s also some cool new functionality I’ll cover below.

• The dramatically upgraded SEO Tools page, which will likely show off plenty of tools you may not have seen/heard about until now.

Slide decks from our PRO Tools Training are now downloadable. We had a highly interactive, terrificly valuable day sharing tips, tricks and applications for the data and resources and wanted to give you a small taste of that experience by making those slides available.

If you’ve been curious about what’s in PRO membership, there’s a new PRO Tour section that gives you a more complete look at the features and functionality. Also – the last chance to get PRO at /month and be locked into the rate before it rises to is now – after Friday, the price change goes into effect.

Zoinks! A New SEOmoz Website

Rub your eyes a bit and have a look around. We’ve done a considerable amount of work to make pages load faster, let the design highlight the content in a cleaner fashion and added a few fun bits, too. Big changes include:

• A new home to Learn SEO. I’ve recorded an "Intro to SEO" video and we’ve made all of our learning-focused content available through that page (nearly all of it is entirely FREE!)

• A renewed focus on YOUmoz and the Blog (both of which are featured more prominently on the homepage). We’ve re-designed all of these to help make them more useful and usable, as well as focusing on the content itself with a less-intrusive design. As always, we’ve kept a strong focus on comments and participation and we’re planning to do even more with it in the future.

• More accessibility to our SEO tools, including a free sneak peek at our LDA Labs tool (more about that in my next post)

There’s lots more coming soon (a new about section, upgrades to the marketplace, more free information in the Learn SEO section, etc.) so keep an eye out.

The Web App is Now in Public Beta

Our private beta launch to PRO members had more than 2,000 folks create thousands of campaigns. While the feedback has been phenomenal (your very kind tweets really helped keep our engineers pushing through sleepless nights and crates of pizza), we know there were a lot of bugs and missing functionality in the early release. Starting today, the app is far more stable, speedy and powerful. Crawls should come back consistently, rankings should more consistent and accurate and issues/recommendations are rocking.

Web App Public Beta

We’ve also added a brand new feature – one of our most requested – exportable PDF reports for rankings (with crawl diagnostics and on-page reports coming very soon). As Adam Feldstein, our head of Product, discussed today in his roadmap presentation at the tools training, next on the list is additional crawl issues, Google Analytics integration and exciting new functionality for competitive comparisons in the link analysis tab.

As always, we welcome feedback – your messages have been instrumental in helping us improve, and while we’re feeling good about this wider launch, the web app is likely staying in beta for another few months as we add features and continue to tweak, bug fix and get better.

Still Ironing Out Some Kinks

There’s a few known issues with the new site that should be cleaned up in the next 12-24 hours. These include a bit of CSS oddness on the Beginner’s Guide and the Keyword Difficulty tool (though both still function), the thumbs highlighting being a bit softer than intended (for thumbs up/down you’ve already left), some headline/text font sizes and spacing, etc. Sadly, we’ve also temporarily broken the long beloved functionality of highlighting "new" comments in a post – that should be back soon.

I also noted that we had some issues with Domain Authority in our last push of the Linkscape update. Amazingly, thanks to the hard work of our engineering team, we’re expecting to have new scores up in the next few days (rather than taking a full 2 weeks). We still need to run some tests, but we’re hoping to fix many of the odd outlier issues.

We Love Your Feedback

If you see anything you love, hate or think might be an error, we’d love to hear from you. Every page on the site now has a "Feedback" button on the far left-hand side and we read those obsessively! Of course, you can also leave us comments on this post.

Thanks so much for joining in the adventure that is SEOmoz. In the weeks and months to come, well…. let’s just say you ain’t seen nothing yet :-)

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by Dana Lookadoo

Day 1 of SEOmoz Pro Training was like being at a race track. The course careened from clicks to conversions and from search results to landing pages. The audience watched 9 speakers drive their search marketing race cars at speeds faster than fingers can type. Given the finger-breaking speeds, it was fortunate all SEO fans were well fueled – beginning with a healthy breakfast buffet, mid-morning energy bars, lunch (more all-you-can-eat) and a scrumptious mid-afternoon pit stop with fresh cookies and treats. After everyone was fed each time, it was off to the races.

Todd Freisen was in the sports booth service as emcee, host of ceremonies, referee, judge and time keeper. The event was like a well-oiled machine. Maybe that’s why they call Todd, "Oilman."

Will Critchlow, Todd Freisen, Rand Fishkin - SEOmoz Pro

When I said "yes" to attending the Mozinar on a Press Pass, I didn’t realize I was going to be covering a sporting event. GoodNewsCowboy asked me how I was going to recap and condense this "wild ride." I realized there was a lot of horsepower on-stage and that we were at the SEOmoz Training Raceway.

Mozinar was a wild ride

Mozinar fans experienced exhilaration and gleaned insights as we watched performance race car drivers present their seminar presentations. The following race highlights are condensed from 32 pages of notes. I strongly suggest you buy the Pro Seminar DVD when it’s produced so you can see under the hood for yourself.

From Clicks to Conversions with Local, Social, Analytics and SEO in Between

1st up: Rand Fishkin had pole position and drove a car with a most unusual name, "It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad SERP."

The results we are seeing in blended search results are even more unusual, starting with changes of the past 2 weeks. For those who attend SEO races regularly and are watching Google, this may be old news. For others, brace yourself. A branded search can have more than 2 results. Rand explained:

  • You have to be seen as a brand.
  • You have to have lots of links pointing to those pages with the brand name.
  • You need to have a high volume set of people searching for those terms, so off-site advertising and media buys can influence the SERPs.

Changes to Image SEO was next, and guess what? Google has a new image search interface.

  • Image results don’t always match image SERP’s order, i.e. images for the artist "manet."
  • Understand, and be prepared. You will not always get the same position in the blended results, leading to frustration.
  • Image SEO value is reduced by the new overlay.

The image below results from clicking on one of the images for the artist "manet" and clicking on an image

Image SEO Value Reduced by overlay

Tip: Write some JavaScript that breaks the pict overlay to avoid having the image overlay. Not only does it produce the longest, ugliest URL, but "it’s just an invite to right click and steal this image."

Rand covered 10 Tips for Image Rankings. (Since we are in race synopsis mode, we’ll speed through this.) One quick takeaway was the minimum image size:

Image Pixel Size – If you go smaller than 400×300 pixels your chances to show in image search are dramatically decreased.

So you don’t have to remember any formulas, basic on-page SEO factors for image SEO include page title and surrounding text.

Video SERPs

It’s or easier to get into video SERPs than to get into the regular SERPS. There is lower competition than ordinary results (most of the time), so take the opportunity. Follow this inclusion process to enter your video race for top ranking:

Step #1: Embed Video Content on Your Pages
Step #2: Create Thumbnail Images for Videos
Step #3: Build a Video XML Sitemap & Submit
Step #4: PROFIT $$$

See Google Webmaster Tools for Video to learn more.

Rand’s foot stayed pedal-to-the-metal as he showed how to produce Rich Snippets in the SERPs. Why is this important? This is where you get most of your clicks. His closing remarks were retweeted with fervor:

"If you can stay on top of this, you will have a big win. It demands full-time SEO."

2nd up: David Mihm was full-speed as he raced through "Ranking in Competitive Local Results." He explained:

Straight from Google’s mouth:
Local intent is 20% of total search volume (April 2010)

And who would imagine that local results could equal 100% of page 1? Try a search for "dentist chicago." (If it’s not 100%, it’s close.)

Google organic results are not, however, the dominate factor for local search. Neither are results from Yahoo! or Bing. Local search is now:

  • Craigslist
  • Twitter
  • FaceBook
  • Citysearch
  • Google Products
  • Mobile devices
  • Garmin GPS
  • Wikipedia
  • Virtual Augmented Reality

Understand that local requires a different mindset from traditional SEO, because the ecosystems vary:

Organic Search Ecosystem

Local Search Ecosystem

  • Traditional SEO is about optimizing websites.
  • Local SEO is about optimizing locations.

Takeaway:

"It is essential to have a holistic local search marketing strategy."

"Even if all your boss cares about is that friggin’ 7-pack!"

Resources to claim your listings:

"The Big Three" major data providers:

Citations – David recommended a new citation finder tool by Darren Shaw & Garrett French: Whitespark.ca Citation Finder

Find local SEO resources on GetListed.org.

3rd up to race: Dan Zarrella racing in the "Science of Twitter" car. Dan warned us he talked fast. Pro Seminar attendees listened attentively, but given the subject was Twitter … many tweeted insights into how one can get clicks and retweets.

 

Dan’s takeaways were in 140. Below are my fave top three:

Takeaway: Don’t talk about  yourself so much.

Paraphrased: If you want more followers, stop talking about yourself!

Takeaway: Try to stay positive.

If you want to get bummed out, people can go on the News. Even if talking about the oil spill, stay hopeful.

Takeaway: If you want people to click your links, Tweet slower.

Don’t "go Oprah" on your Twitter account, moderate.

Improve your "retweetability" factor by including a combination of the following Top 20 Most Retweetable Words:

Top 20 Most Retweetable Words
Timing for retweets:

Links posted on the weekend and at the end of the week have a higher click through rate.

Tip:  Want to see how well a bit.ly link is doing, CTR?

  1. Put a bit.ly link in the browser.
  2. Type a plus sign after it;
  3. Hit enter to see how many times it’s been clicked through.
  4. Retweeting is an elegant viral mechanism.

Alright … one more Twitter insight before we close …

He had noted that women follow a lot more people and tend to tweet more. They are more social. (We already knew women talk and socialize more, but now Dan’s numbers confirm it.)

Dan covered a lot of geeky ground focused on the science and study of social media, use of FourSquare and more.. I have 5+ pages of notes from Dan’s presentation alone. But I’m concerned this blog post will get too long to be readable.

Check out Dan’s set of social media tools.

4th up and last race of the morning was the "Presentation Off" between Will Critchlow and Rand Fishkin.

I’ll expand on that race in a follow-up post. Do you want to guess who won this year? Will went into the race with a 2-year winning streak.

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by randfish

The team at SEOmoz has been hard at work this week, smoothing out a lot of the initial bumps we’ve seen with our beta launch of the new web app. We anticipated the app would be popular, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for just how many keywords needed rank checking/grading and pages needed crawling/error-checking. Our queue to fetch rankings/crawl URLs had a backup of multiple tens of thousands of requests all week, and the dev team’s been slogging away on parallelization, separation of queing stages and other fixes.

Beta Web App

Our next big release is scheduled for August 25 (possibly the 26th depending on how repairs go) and we’re all crazy excited (and more than a little nervous, sleep deprived and caffeinated). Feel free to start marking your calendars; I know we have :-)

But, today, I’m here to talk about (and ask about ) the future of the web app. We’ve got a nearly endless list of features & functionality we’re hoping to add to the web app in the weeks and months to come, and we need your help in priotizing what  YOU care about. To start, I’ll share two lists – the first is our "quick hit" list of items we’re planning to address in the next 2-3 weeks (some will even be in time for our "big" launch on August 25th). The second is some larger concepts we’ve been noodling around with that may take a few months to get in. With both, we’re hoping you’ll give your .02 and help us prioritize which items to concentrate on.

Quick Hits List

#1 – Printable Reports (DOC & PDF)

We’ve heard from a lot of users already that they’d like the ability to export the crawl diagnostic reports, on-page summaries and report cards and ranking data into DOC or PDF files to be integrated into internal or client reporting. Luckily, this is a feature that’s early on our roadmap, possibly as soon as September.

#2 – On-Page Optimization Interface Tweaks

On Page Analysis Report Card

The on-page analysis section has already garnered a lot of kind words and hopefully helped many of you improve your targeting for some easy rankings wins. However, there’s a few tweaks that folks have suggested to help make it more usable, including removing the "fix" level of difficulty label on elements that are already completed and offering a way to re-order the recommendations to show those that are incomplete at the top.

We’re also working on ways, in the longer term, to help make this page shorter and the information more quickly digestable. Look for some interface experiments coming soon.

#3 – Adding Issues to Crawl Diagnostics

We currently track 20 unique crawl issues (split between errors, warnings and notices). Some other items we’ve considered tracking include:

  • Use of meta noarchive (notice)
  • Pages with display: none in their CSS (notice)
  • Pages lacking analytics tracking code (warning)
  • Pages that return any response code outside those we already track – 200, 301/2, 40x, 50x (error)
  • Pages that redirect through more than two chains (warning)
  • Pages that serve a meta refresh (notice)
  • Pages that redirect with javascript (warning)

If you have additional items you’d like to see in the crawl diagnostics, please let us know!

#4 -"Ignorable" Crawl Issues

Some of our members have noted that they’d like to be able to "ignore" an issue and have it exist only in an "archived" issues section. We think this is a great idea, as there can be times when we catch a 404, duplicate content, robots blocking, etc. and it’s not a problem for your site but an intentional move. When this happens, it can be frustrating to see the continued error/warning message, so an archiving system might be ideal.

We’re still working on the concept of how to implement, but an "ingore all issues of this type" and a specific "ignore this issue for this URL" are currently on the roster.

#5 – Bulk Keyword Import System

Today, it can be a bit frustrating to add more than 5-10 keywords and labels at a time. We’d like to build a system that lets you upload a CSV or paste in rows with lable data included in a consistent format to make bulk insertion and labeling easier.

Big Ideas for the Future

Although we’ve amassed literally hundreds of ideas for upgrading and adding to the web app’s featureset, we’re really excited about a few key ones that have many mini-features inside. These include:

A) Integration with Google Analytics

One of the projects we’re most excited about is integrating with Google Analytics (and later, other packages like Webtrends and Omniture). You can see some of our early ideas below in wireframe format (these ARE NOT finished designs by any means, just illustrations I made in Flash).

Web App Analytics
Integration Wireframe Teaser

We’re keen on the idea of having some stacked are graphs to help you see when traffic from different sources vary, and help to measure indexation via the chart below. Splitting out social traffic by using a set of referrers (ReadWriteWeb does a good breakdown of sources) to filter also struck us as being a great feature.

From there, we’re also bullish on including data about specific keywords alongside rankings, keyword difficulty scores and estimates from Google AdWords:

Keyword Search Traffic from GA

With this data, we think we can calculate some cool metrics around the potential opportunity of a given keyword, though this will, obviously, require some testing and refinement.

B) Crawl Depth Analysis

We’ve long wanted a way to visualize a site’s internal link structure and know how depth of pages from the homepage might actually be influencing crawling, rankings and traffic. With the custom crawl & crawl diagnostics system, we believe we can architect this into the web app’s dataset (though it’s unfortunately non-trivial to do so). You can see a very early wireframe below:

Crawl Depth Report
Teaser Wireframe

This is one of our more ambitious projects, but we’d love your thoughts about whether it would be valuable/useful for your campaigns.

C) XML Sitemaps Builder

Building an XML Sitemap can be a pain, even with some of the specialized software out there (though we at SEOmoz are big fans of John Mueller’s GSiteCrawler). Since the web app is already crawling your site’s pages, it only makes sense that we could construct an XML sitemap, plug into Google Webmaster Tools’ API and help you verify the sitemap and make custom tweaks based on what you want to include or exclude.

D) Keyword Research System

A relatively obvious next step would be the addition of a keyword research tool. We’d like integrate the functionality of the keyword difficulty tool’s analysis along with data from Google’s AdWords API. This might help you choose which keywords are most likely to produce value for your site and deserve some content/targeting in SEO.

E) Historical Link Analysis

One feature we hear demand for all the time is historical link information. We’ve actually got the data already stored from previous indices, but in testing retrieval, we’ve found that numbers can really bounce around due to the massive amount of noise in the "not-so-awesome" parts of the web (spammy sites, scrapers, etc). Thus, we’re looking into ways to scrub the data a bit before building this system (possibly by using our metrics to have the option of showing only mozRank 2-3+ pages that link, which tend to be relatively high quality). This work may take us into November or later, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that it can be in the web app by year’s end.

Link Growth Over Time
Wireframe Teaser

The wireframes above are just some initial concepts. We’d also really like to be able to show you pages/sites that were linking to you in a previous index but aren’t any longer or those that are newly linking, too.

F) Social Media / Link Monitoring System

Finally, we’ve got a project to turn some of the early work from Blogscape and our Social Media Monitoring prototype into a more robust, fully functional system. Our goal here is to provide a list of all the pages, tweets, blog posts and links that your site acquires in a more real-time type environment. So many of us are constantly doing Google Blog searches and Twitter searches and looking at our referrers via analytics that we thought it would be great to combine all that data in a single repository so you can keep up to date on what the web is saying about you (and, more relevantly, how important each of those sources are).

We’re still at the nascent beginnings of this work, but hope to have some wireframes to show in the not-too-far-out future – possibly in the next feedback request post.

Just for fun, I thought I’d include a poll regarding these "big" ideas and see which you’re most excited about:



With our next big launch just 9 days away (yikes!), we’re all working hard to make the web app and the many other pieces that are releasing better, faster and more stable. However, we’d love your opinions and will certainly use that feedback to improve, if not next week then in the future.

Also – as we move forward, we’ve decided to be more open about our product development and roadmap (as part of our commitment to being TAGFEE), so you can expect a post every few weeks or so detailing some of our ideas and asking for your thoughts on what to build next and how to improve.

p.s. If you haven’t tried the web app beta yet, give it a spin – it’s PRO-only, and some sections are a little slow, but by building a campaign now, you’ll have more historical data and trends to compare over time as the app improves.

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by Danny Dover

 This week’s Whiteboard Friday features the return of Rand (woo hoo!) and his self declared biggest SEO mistakes. We screw up a lot here at SEOmoz (hell, they hired me), so we feel it is only appropriate to take this opportunity to share what we have learned in an effort to prevent you from making similar mistakes. SEO is complicated. The best we can do is practice, work hard and compare notes.



1. Reciprocal Links + Robots.txt NoFollow

Back before the formal SEOmoz days, Rand used to dabble a bit is some grayer areas of SEO. The first mistake he mentions is a tactic involving offering reciprocal links but blocking the outbound links via robots.txt/meta robots so that he could get all of the link value. This tactic didn’t really work and he ended up having to do a lot more work to get in the good graces of the webmasters he had fooled. Head smack!

2. Buying Links for Clients

This tactic also took place before formal SEOmoz days. At the time, Rand spent client budgets on paid links. This is a bad idea because the value of the links can’t be determined (was Google even counting them?). He later found out through Google employees that the links were not being counted and that they may actually be hurting the client’s site ability to rank. Oops!

3. Recommending People Use H1 Tags with Keywords

This mistake is a little bit more subtle. For years, SEOmoz recommended including keywords in the H1 of pages. After we started doing formal machine learning correlation tests we found out that this tactic didn’t actually help very much at all (including the keywords in normal text in bigger fonts worked essentially the same). This was a shame because it meant we wasted time and energy convincing our clients to update their H1s.

4. Recommending People Not To Use XML Sitemaps

When XML Sitemaps first debuted, Rand and SEOmoz recommended not using this. While the idea was sound in theory (having a XML Sitemap can make it difficult to spot information architecture problems) the observation ended up being outweighed by the impact we saw with the increased indexation rates of sites that employed this tool.

5. Incorrectly Redirecting Linkscape to Open Site Explorer

Recently we decided to 301 redirect all of the old Linkscape reports to our newer, better converting, Open Site Explorer reports in a 1-1 relationship. This was in theory a good idea but unfortunately including various tracking components on the redirect URLs resulted in us losing a significant amount of traffic. We later fixed this with rel=canonical but a lot of the damage was already done. Ouch!


Do you have any lessons you have learned after making some noteworthy mistakes? If so, we would love to hear what you learned in the comments below.

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted by randfish

Last week, Mixergy’s Andrew Warner interviewed me about the founding of SEOmoz and our trajectory to date. It was a very personal interview about the background of the company, but turned out to be a great experience. I’ve posted it below for those who might want to watch over the weekend and if you prefer, there’s also a full text transcript on the Mixergy blog post.

After the interview, I noticed the Mixergy chatroom had dozens of questions I wasn’t able to answer and I’ve been receiving a fair number of emails and tweets about it as well. Thus, I figured it was time to put together a post on SEOmoz’s history and offer to formally answer questions in the comments of this post.

SEOmoz’s History (1981 – 2010)

1981: Gillian Founds the Company that will Become SEOmoz

When my parents moved from New York to Seattle (so my Dad could work for Boeing), my Mom opened up a small marketing/print design/consulting business. Over the next 20 years, she’d raise three kids (myself, my brother and sister) and maintain the solo operation.

1999: Rand Starts Working with Gillian

At the time, I built mostly static Flash + HTML websites for local small businesses around the Seattle area including small banks, dentists and even a retail clothing store. Knowing nothing of SEO or the power of search engines, most of the pages I build are completely inaccessible to the bots.

2001: Rand Drops out of School

I’d been pursuing a degree at the University of WA, but left two classes shy of graduating to devote 100% of my time to the company, which was struggling to make ends meet thanks to the dot-com bust and the dropoff in demand for website construction. Our company starts going into deep debt, which will continue until late 2005 / early 2006.

2004: SEOmoz is Founded

Although I started trying SEO in 2002, I’m still pretty awful at it. In an attempt to grow my skillset, I participate vigorously on half a dozen SEO forums and eventually build SEOmoz.org as a site to host my thoughts, struggles and discoveries. Google’s sandbox, in particular, had been vexing me and I kept hoping to stumble onto the secret of getting a site "released."

Feb. 2005: First SES Conference

Thanks to the generosity of Danny Sullivan, I attend SES New York (and take a ridiculous quantity of notes about every session I attend). I’d later pitch to speak at SES Toronto, scrape together the money to go and, following on that first experience, get invited to attend many other future shows.

Dec. 2005: Newsweek Covers SEOmoz

Newsweek magazine writes an article about "the shadowy world of SEO" using SEOmoz as the "white hat" example. I author the first version of the Beginner’s Guide to SEO as a resource for those seeking to learn more (figuring the Newsweek traffic will be curious – instead, it gets Slashdotted, which sends us tens of thousands of curious webmasters and developers).

2006: SEOmoz Turns Around Financially

Although 2005 had been a reasonably good year financially, my personal debt hovered close to 0,000. In 2006, Gillian works with debt collection agencies, banks and creditors to eliminate most of the debt and build repayment plans. By July of 2007, we’ll be completely debt free (though even in 2010 my credit history will still prevent me from renting an apartment or leasing a car). We post our financials at the end of the year and for the first time, I have a salary, and don’t need my girlfriend (now wife) to pay for everything :-)

Feb. 2007: We Launch PRO Membership

Although consulting has been a growing source of revenue, we decide that it’s not as scalable or as far-reaching as a recurring revenue model. PRO membership is launched after 3-4 months of development on tools, resources and guides. The initial price is just /month (and we still have a solid handful of folks who are grandfathered in and continue to pay that rate!)

Oh, and I proposed to my girlfriend (and got a yes… after a few instances of "what?!") We married the following year and are still over-the-top stupid for each other.

Nov. 2007: Investment Capital Comes Our Way

Ignition Partners & Curious Office co-invest .1 million in SEOmoz to help us scale our software, build our web index and grow the team. Michelle Goldberg from Ignition and Kelly Smith from Curious Office join Gillian and I on the board of directors and things get a bit more serious and focused (in a very good way).

We posted financials for 2007 just after taking the investment.

Oct. 2008: We Launch Linkscape

After 10 intensive months of work, we build a scalable, sizable crawl of the web, conduct processing of metrics and launch our first tool to expose that data – Linkscape. Unfortunately, launch day coincides with the collapse of Bear Stearns and the beginning of a very rough period for the world’s economies (and somewhat dampens our press coverage).

Dec. 2008: We Return to Profitability

Despite a tough environment, SEOmoz returns to profitability in December of 2008 and has been profitable again ever since.

June 2009: A Second Attempt at Fundraising Fails

We decided in 2009, after exciting growth in Q1-Q2 to seek a second round of outside funding. But poor timing, unoptimized metrics and a subpar pitch eventually yield no results. Tragically, this costs the team many months of product progress. On the plus side, no dilution of shares.

January 2010: Open Site Explorer Launches

Our most exciting project to date, Open Site Explorer, a product to help SEOs and marketers better see into the web’s link graph, launches. We follow up with a new Keyword Difficulty tool, our SEOmoz toolbar (Chrome version is just a few weeks away, BTW) and improvements to the Linkscape index.

August 2010: The Next Big Thing

Since diagramming a new direction/product for SEOmoz in January 2009, we’ve been working to grow our engineering team, solidify our process and scale our backend to handle something new & exciting. I previously leaked a design mockup at the bottom of this post, but here’s another:

Crawl Diagnostics Design Mockup
_

Today we are:

  • 24 people strong
  • Growing at a steady pace
  • Profitable
  • Shaking with anticipation for our upcoming launch (and working furiously to make sure everything goes right)

I can say without hesistation that the most exciting times are definitely ahead of us.


As I noted above, I’m happy to answer any questions I can about SEOmoz’s founding, past or growth. Feel free to leave them in the comments below (though I may be a bit slow to respond depending on the timing).

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