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What Bloggers Need to Know About 
SEO in 2014 
Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com
This Presentation Is Online Here: 
bit.ly/blogseo2014
Topics in this Presentation: 
Why Invest in SEO? 
Keyword Research 
Content Creation 
Amplification 
Link Building 
Go Ahead, Break the Rules 
Be Wary of Snake Oil 
Universal Blogging Truth 
Slides 4-10 
Slides 11-30 
Slide 31-46 
Slides 47-54 
Slides 55-75 
Slides 76-80 
Slides 81-86 
Slides 87-96
Why? 
Given the rise of social media, 
mobile apps, & content 
marketing, why bother with SEO?
Because Search Continues to Grow Massively 
Almost 6 Billion queries/day
Distribution of Search Clicks 
~20% of clicks go to ads 
~80% of clicks 
go to organic 
results (SEO)
Search Intent vs. Social Intent 
“Do Things” Mode “Browse” Mode
The Rise of Mobile Search 
Google’s suggested 2015 will be the year mobile 
searches surpass desktop searches (and desktop’s 
still growing itself, just slower!) 
Source: Statcounter
Early Adopter Advantage 
Ranking here today 
means you earn 
traffic, links, brand 
awareness, press, 
and all the things 
that help you rank 
better in the future.
Get links Grow authority 
Grow network Rank for slightly 
Turning the SEO Flywheel 
Amplify 
Publish 
more competitive 
terms & phrases 
Earn search 
traffic
Keyword Research 
When you share a common 
language with your audience, 
everyone benefits.
What Happens Without Keyword Research 
How People Search 
Ranks #125 
(page 13) for 
“great barrier 
reef tours” 
How You Write
What Happens With Keyword Research 
Hotel we stayed at 
nailing their blog 
content’s rankings!
Google’s Improving at Intent Matching
But they Will Never Get Here: 
No offense intended, but 
these are not among the 
best travel blogs.
Start Research by Brainstorming 
What are some words and phrases people commonly use to 
describe the broad focus areas of your blog? 
What searches, if people performed them and found you, would be 
most likely to bring you new lifelong fans? 
What searches that are relevant to your posts do you wish you had 
the #1 ranking for? 
If you had to make new content to reach the largest, relevant 
audience to your blog, what would your write about?
Use Tools to Expand Your Ideas & Align Them With 
How People Search 
https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
You can bolster these with suggestions from the 
engines
My Favorite Suggestion Tool: 
http://keywordtool.io
SEMRush is Great for More Advanced Research 
http://semrush.com
Eventually, You Want a List of Targets 
A spreadsheet like this (or an even simpler one without 
difficulty, ranking, or volume) can nudge you to take be mindful 
and actionable about your blog’s SEO
Some KWs Are Worth Long Term Pursuit 
For Moz, this phrase is critical to our thought 
leadership and community building efforts
Others Are Simply How You Optimize a Post 
While I’m bummed our post didn’t rank for 
this exact phrase, it does rank for variants 
and we can always try again with another 
post in the future.
When Writing a Post, 3mins is All I Ask 
First 60 Seconds Next 60 Seconds Last 60 Seconds 
Use tools or suggest to 
figure out which KW 
phrase to target 
Note some of the 
additional terms & 
phrases that can help 
you be relevant for 
additional search 
queries 
Try to employ the key 
terms in the title of 
your post, and use the 
additional queries in 
the title and body of 
the post in a sensible, 
readable way.
Let’s say I want to 
write a blog post 
about the most evil 
characters in 
Shakespeare’s 
plays…
I’d start by looking at how people search for 
words & phrases around this topic:
I might compare relative search volume:
I’d choose a primary phrase to target and 
some additional terms to go after as well: 
Primary Phrase: “Shakespeare’s Villains” 
Secondary Terms: Evil Characters 
List of Villains 
Quotes 
Shakespearean Villains 
Villain Names
Then I’d try to write a headline that maximizes both 
reader-appeal and KW-targeting: 
Shakespeare’s Villains: The 22 Most Evil 
Characters from All 37 Plays
Not Too 
Hard, 
Right?
Content Creation 
There are two paths bloggers can 
take to great content, but neither 
is easy or obvious.
Path 1: Publish to Help Your Audience 
This post is clearly designed to help 
bloggers choose the right CMS
Path 2: Publish Your Passion(s) 
This post was entirely 
self-indulgent and written 
to share what I was 
thinking about at the 
time.
The Question Every 
Content Creator Must 
Ask: 
Who Will Amplify 
this Content and 
Why?
Who will amplify this cardboard sandwich?
Answer: Design Blogs & Gallery Sites!
Who’s Going to Promote Marty’s Post About 
Rejecting Ivy League Schools?
Answer: College Selection Sites Fed Up w/ the Usual Suggestions 
http://opensiteexplorer.org
Who will help this lovely cake spread?
Answer: Cake-obsessed Pinteresters!
Be Aware That Most 
SEO Benefit Is 
Earned in the First 24 
Hours After Launch
Updating Old Content? You May Want to Re- 
Publish and Redirect Instead: 
If the content and value to 
visitors is largely the 
same, consider 
consolidating to a single 
resource
When it Comes to Optimizing Keyword Use, 
Don’t Sweat Being Perfect 
Don’t Do This
There Are General 
Best Practices for 
Making Content 
SEO-Friendly:
More Details in 
Rand’s Visual Guide to 
Optimizing Content:
If You’re Prioritizing, I Recommend: 
1) Make Yourself Proud – publish content you yourself believe in 
and feel confident promoting. 
2) Delight Your Audience – empathetically serve their needs. 
Launch work they will want to share. 
3) Make it Search Accessible – publish in such a way that search 
engines can match your content to their searchers’ keywords and 
intent.
Amplification 
Great bloggers make publishing 
neither the beginning nor the end of 
their process. They put it smack dab 
in the middle.
The Publishing Process: 
Content 
creation 
Pre-publication 
outreach 
Publish 
Social media 
amplification 
Post-publication 
outreach
Pre-Publication Outreach 
Including the work/opinions, and/or soliciting feedback of 
potential amplifiers can be a powerful tool
Social Media Amplification
Social Media Amplification 
http://bit.ly
Post-Publication Outreach 
Larry’s email to me after the publication of this piece results in 
my sharing it on Twitter, FB, and G+.
Which Social Networks? 
Choose the 
platforms your 
audience is 
using! 
Source for this graphic
Don’t Ignore the Power of Engagement 
There’s lots of anecdotal 
evidence that greater 
engagement on social 
leads to future 
amplification & support
Link Building 
The best links are not built, but 
earned. Thankfully, there’s lots of 
ways to nudge 
What to Look For in a Link: 
Can Send Relevant Traffic– linking sites don’t have to be “on-topic” to drive 
relevant traffic, but the links themselves should be tied to potential visitor interest, 
i.e. someone might actually click them 
Editorial– the link should be given because the publisher/author truly wants to 
endorse your site or the content of a page and not due to an exchange of 
goods/services/money 
Trustworthy Source– if the site(s) regularly links to low quality sites, is itself 
sketchy, or can be influenced by anyone (open to link drops), the links you get 
there may come with serious risk of a Google penalty
Links to Avoid: 
Generic directories 
probably aren’t worthwhile 
for most blogs (even 
Yahoo! and DMOZ, though 
your mileage may vary)
Links to Avoid: 
Most blog directories likely 
aren’t worthwhile either (and, 
like generic directories, some 
could even be risky)
Links to Avoid: 
In case the 80’s business people didn’t give it away, 
blog carnivals, blog rings, blog link wheels, & all similar 
schemes are very high risk
On the Borderline: 
Be thoughtful and 
cautious about sites 
that openly solicit 
guest posts
On the Borderline: 
Moz actually offers this! But we have 
an extremely tight editorial review 
process, and only publish highly 
relevant, quality stuff
On the Borderline: 
Social profiles can be valuable if you’re 
using the network, but if you’re simply 
trying to get profiles that will have 
“dofollow” links for SEO rankings, there 
may be risks
On the Borderline: 
Forum profiles and posts are similar – if you’re 
really contributing, it’s OK. If you’re just there for 
the link, trouble may follow.
Links to Chase After: 
Most links to the content I publish online are 
from building up a social following of 
interested folks and sharing
Links to Chase After: 
Blogrolls and endorsements from friends, 
colleagues, and people who read and love 
your site make great links
Links to Chase After: 
Places like HARO & Profnet 
(10 sources here) can help ID 
journalists in need of an expert for 
their story – they often love 
including bloggers
Links to Chase After: 
You don’t even need tools – 
find the names of the 
writers who publish 
interviews/coverage of sites 
like yours and find ways to 
help them
Links to Chase After: 
Following social accounts of 
writers, journalists, bloggers, 
and anyone who regularly 
produces web content can put 
you in front of the right people at 
the right time
Links to Chase After: 
Sometimes it’s 
easier to connect 
with the sources the 
pros listen to then to 
influence highly-followed 
social 
accounts directly 
(this Followerwonk 
report can help)
Links to Chase After: 
Boom! These less-popular accounts are 
followed by hugely influential people. They 
might be great targets.
Links to Chase After: 
If you produce visual or embeddable content of any 
kind, use attribution licensing so sites can share 
your stuff and link back to you
Links to Chase After: 
Using this query format 
can bring up loads of 
potential link 
opportunities
More Link Building Resources: 
Link Building from the Moz 
Blog 
Paddy Moogan’s Link Building 
eBook 
Experts’ Favorite Link Building 
Tactics 
How to Leverage PR for 
Link Building 
The Future of 
Link Building
Don’t Worry About Spam You Don’t Control: 
If you see spammy links in your profile 
that you didn’t create, don’t worry about 
them. If you see a lot and want to take 
action, you can use Google Webmasters’ 
disavow tool.
DO WORRY About Spam You Created 
If you’re guilty, fess up, disavow, try to 
remove the links, and send an honest 
reconsideration request
Go Ahead. 
Break the Rules. 
Don’t let SEO constrain your 
creativity. Use it as a tool when 
you need it.
Ignore Keywords Sometimes! 
Keywords 
Whatever 
whatevs
Publish Quietly If You Feel Like It
Ignore Outreach & Let Them Come to You
Ignore SEO Entirely & Focus On What You 
Love About Blogging
Be Wary of 
SEO Snake Oil 
Like most great opportunities, 
SEO has numerous pitfalls for 
would-be shortcut takers.
e.g.
e.g.
e.g.
If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Is
SEO Plugins for Blogs Can Be a Good Start, 
But Aren’t the End All of SEO 
Yoast’s Wordpress SEO is 
a great tool, and it can 
help you avoid problems 
and capture opportunities, 
but it’s not a silver bullet!
One Universal 
Blogging Truth
A lot of days feel 
like this:
Most of us (foolishly) 
measure ourselves in 
relation to the most 
successful outliers:
A Short Story About Geraldine’s Blog 
Geraldine’s Travel Blog: http://everywhereist.com
Geraldine started her blog in 2009
For 2 years, she never broke 100 visits/day.
This is where most people give up.
These days, she gets 100,000+ visits each month
Every “successful” blogger I’ve ever met has a story 
that looks like this. 
You are not alone.
The Price of Success is 
Failure after Failure after 
Failure* 
* Hopefully, each of those failures provides an opportunity to learn.
bit.ly/blogseo2014 
Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com

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Seo for-bloggers-2014

  • 1. What Bloggers Need to Know About SEO in 2014 Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com
  • 2. This Presentation Is Online Here: bit.ly/blogseo2014
  • 3. Topics in this Presentation: Why Invest in SEO? Keyword Research Content Creation Amplification Link Building Go Ahead, Break the Rules Be Wary of Snake Oil Universal Blogging Truth Slides 4-10 Slides 11-30 Slide 31-46 Slides 47-54 Slides 55-75 Slides 76-80 Slides 81-86 Slides 87-96
  • 4. Why? Given the rise of social media, mobile apps, & content marketing, why bother with SEO?
  • 5. Because Search Continues to Grow Massively Almost 6 Billion queries/day
  • 6. Distribution of Search Clicks ~20% of clicks go to ads ~80% of clicks go to organic results (SEO)
  • 7. Search Intent vs. Social Intent “Do Things” Mode “Browse” Mode
  • 8. The Rise of Mobile Search Google’s suggested 2015 will be the year mobile searches surpass desktop searches (and desktop’s still growing itself, just slower!) Source: Statcounter
  • 9. Early Adopter Advantage Ranking here today means you earn traffic, links, brand awareness, press, and all the things that help you rank better in the future.
  • 10. Get links Grow authority Grow network Rank for slightly Turning the SEO Flywheel Amplify Publish more competitive terms & phrases Earn search traffic
  • 11. Keyword Research When you share a common language with your audience, everyone benefits.
  • 12. What Happens Without Keyword Research How People Search Ranks #125 (page 13) for “great barrier reef tours” How You Write
  • 13. What Happens With Keyword Research Hotel we stayed at nailing their blog content’s rankings!
  • 14. Google’s Improving at Intent Matching
  • 15. But they Will Never Get Here: No offense intended, but these are not among the best travel blogs.
  • 16. Start Research by Brainstorming What are some words and phrases people commonly use to describe the broad focus areas of your blog? What searches, if people performed them and found you, would be most likely to bring you new lifelong fans? What searches that are relevant to your posts do you wish you had the #1 ranking for? If you had to make new content to reach the largest, relevant audience to your blog, what would your write about?
  • 17. Use Tools to Expand Your Ideas & Align Them With How People Search https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
  • 18. You can bolster these with suggestions from the engines
  • 19. My Favorite Suggestion Tool: http://keywordtool.io
  • 20. SEMRush is Great for More Advanced Research http://semrush.com
  • 21. Eventually, You Want a List of Targets A spreadsheet like this (or an even simpler one without difficulty, ranking, or volume) can nudge you to take be mindful and actionable about your blog’s SEO
  • 22. Some KWs Are Worth Long Term Pursuit For Moz, this phrase is critical to our thought leadership and community building efforts
  • 23. Others Are Simply How You Optimize a Post While I’m bummed our post didn’t rank for this exact phrase, it does rank for variants and we can always try again with another post in the future.
  • 24. When Writing a Post, 3mins is All I Ask First 60 Seconds Next 60 Seconds Last 60 Seconds Use tools or suggest to figure out which KW phrase to target Note some of the additional terms & phrases that can help you be relevant for additional search queries Try to employ the key terms in the title of your post, and use the additional queries in the title and body of the post in a sensible, readable way.
  • 25. Let’s say I want to write a blog post about the most evil characters in Shakespeare’s plays…
  • 26. I’d start by looking at how people search for words & phrases around this topic:
  • 27. I might compare relative search volume:
  • 28. I’d choose a primary phrase to target and some additional terms to go after as well: Primary Phrase: “Shakespeare’s Villains” Secondary Terms: Evil Characters List of Villains Quotes Shakespearean Villains Villain Names
  • 29. Then I’d try to write a headline that maximizes both reader-appeal and KW-targeting: Shakespeare’s Villains: The 22 Most Evil Characters from All 37 Plays
  • 30. Not Too Hard, Right?
  • 31. Content Creation There are two paths bloggers can take to great content, but neither is easy or obvious.
  • 32. Path 1: Publish to Help Your Audience This post is clearly designed to help bloggers choose the right CMS
  • 33. Path 2: Publish Your Passion(s) This post was entirely self-indulgent and written to share what I was thinking about at the time.
  • 34. The Question Every Content Creator Must Ask: Who Will Amplify this Content and Why?
  • 35. Who will amplify this cardboard sandwich?
  • 36. Answer: Design Blogs & Gallery Sites!
  • 37. Who’s Going to Promote Marty’s Post About Rejecting Ivy League Schools?
  • 38. Answer: College Selection Sites Fed Up w/ the Usual Suggestions http://opensiteexplorer.org
  • 39. Who will help this lovely cake spread?
  • 41. Be Aware That Most SEO Benefit Is Earned in the First 24 Hours After Launch
  • 42. Updating Old Content? You May Want to Re- Publish and Redirect Instead: If the content and value to visitors is largely the same, consider consolidating to a single resource
  • 43. When it Comes to Optimizing Keyword Use, Don’t Sweat Being Perfect Don’t Do This
  • 44. There Are General Best Practices for Making Content SEO-Friendly:
  • 45. More Details in Rand’s Visual Guide to Optimizing Content:
  • 46. If You’re Prioritizing, I Recommend: 1) Make Yourself Proud – publish content you yourself believe in and feel confident promoting. 2) Delight Your Audience – empathetically serve their needs. Launch work they will want to share. 3) Make it Search Accessible – publish in such a way that search engines can match your content to their searchers’ keywords and intent.
  • 47. Amplification Great bloggers make publishing neither the beginning nor the end of their process. They put it smack dab in the middle.
  • 48. The Publishing Process: Content creation Pre-publication outreach Publish Social media amplification Post-publication outreach
  • 49. Pre-Publication Outreach Including the work/opinions, and/or soliciting feedback of potential amplifiers can be a powerful tool
  • 51. Social Media Amplification http://bit.ly
  • 52. Post-Publication Outreach Larry’s email to me after the publication of this piece results in my sharing it on Twitter, FB, and G+.
  • 53. Which Social Networks? Choose the platforms your audience is using! Source for this graphic
  • 54. Don’t Ignore the Power of Engagement There’s lots of anecdotal evidence that greater engagement on social leads to future amplification & support
  • 55. Link Building The best links are not built, but earned. Thankfully, there’s lots of ways to nudge 
  • 56. What to Look For in a Link: Can Send Relevant Traffic– linking sites don’t have to be “on-topic” to drive relevant traffic, but the links themselves should be tied to potential visitor interest, i.e. someone might actually click them Editorial– the link should be given because the publisher/author truly wants to endorse your site or the content of a page and not due to an exchange of goods/services/money Trustworthy Source– if the site(s) regularly links to low quality sites, is itself sketchy, or can be influenced by anyone (open to link drops), the links you get there may come with serious risk of a Google penalty
  • 57. Links to Avoid: Generic directories probably aren’t worthwhile for most blogs (even Yahoo! and DMOZ, though your mileage may vary)
  • 58. Links to Avoid: Most blog directories likely aren’t worthwhile either (and, like generic directories, some could even be risky)
  • 59. Links to Avoid: In case the 80’s business people didn’t give it away, blog carnivals, blog rings, blog link wheels, & all similar schemes are very high risk
  • 60. On the Borderline: Be thoughtful and cautious about sites that openly solicit guest posts
  • 61. On the Borderline: Moz actually offers this! But we have an extremely tight editorial review process, and only publish highly relevant, quality stuff
  • 62. On the Borderline: Social profiles can be valuable if you’re using the network, but if you’re simply trying to get profiles that will have “dofollow” links for SEO rankings, there may be risks
  • 63. On the Borderline: Forum profiles and posts are similar – if you’re really contributing, it’s OK. If you’re just there for the link, trouble may follow.
  • 64. Links to Chase After: Most links to the content I publish online are from building up a social following of interested folks and sharing
  • 65. Links to Chase After: Blogrolls and endorsements from friends, colleagues, and people who read and love your site make great links
  • 66. Links to Chase After: Places like HARO & Profnet (10 sources here) can help ID journalists in need of an expert for their story – they often love including bloggers
  • 67. Links to Chase After: You don’t even need tools – find the names of the writers who publish interviews/coverage of sites like yours and find ways to help them
  • 68. Links to Chase After: Following social accounts of writers, journalists, bloggers, and anyone who regularly produces web content can put you in front of the right people at the right time
  • 69. Links to Chase After: Sometimes it’s easier to connect with the sources the pros listen to then to influence highly-followed social accounts directly (this Followerwonk report can help)
  • 70. Links to Chase After: Boom! These less-popular accounts are followed by hugely influential people. They might be great targets.
  • 71. Links to Chase After: If you produce visual or embeddable content of any kind, use attribution licensing so sites can share your stuff and link back to you
  • 72. Links to Chase After: Using this query format can bring up loads of potential link opportunities
  • 73. More Link Building Resources: Link Building from the Moz Blog Paddy Moogan’s Link Building eBook Experts’ Favorite Link Building Tactics How to Leverage PR for Link Building The Future of Link Building
  • 74. Don’t Worry About Spam You Don’t Control: If you see spammy links in your profile that you didn’t create, don’t worry about them. If you see a lot and want to take action, you can use Google Webmasters’ disavow tool.
  • 75. DO WORRY About Spam You Created If you’re guilty, fess up, disavow, try to remove the links, and send an honest reconsideration request
  • 76. Go Ahead. Break the Rules. Don’t let SEO constrain your creativity. Use it as a tool when you need it.
  • 77. Ignore Keywords Sometimes! Keywords Whatever whatevs
  • 78. Publish Quietly If You Feel Like It
  • 79. Ignore Outreach & Let Them Come to You
  • 80. Ignore SEO Entirely & Focus On What You Love About Blogging
  • 81. Be Wary of SEO Snake Oil Like most great opportunities, SEO has numerous pitfalls for would-be shortcut takers.
  • 82. e.g.
  • 83. e.g.
  • 84. e.g.
  • 85. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Is
  • 86. SEO Plugins for Blogs Can Be a Good Start, But Aren’t the End All of SEO Yoast’s Wordpress SEO is a great tool, and it can help you avoid problems and capture opportunities, but it’s not a silver bullet!
  • 88. A lot of days feel like this:
  • 89. Most of us (foolishly) measure ourselves in relation to the most successful outliers:
  • 90. A Short Story About Geraldine’s Blog Geraldine’s Travel Blog: http://everywhereist.com
  • 91. Geraldine started her blog in 2009
  • 92. For 2 years, she never broke 100 visits/day.
  • 93. This is where most people give up.
  • 94. These days, she gets 100,000+ visits each month
  • 95. Every “successful” blogger I’ve ever met has a story that looks like this. You are not alone.
  • 96. The Price of Success is Failure after Failure after Failure* * Hopefully, each of those failures provides an opportunity to learn.
  • 97. bit.ly/blogseo2014 Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com