From Schema.org to voice search to local targeting, we're tackling real-world questions about organic search. However, what happens when a competitor comes along with better content that has more links than your content? The Moz Keyword Explorer research tool also allows you to view SERP features by keyword: What are the best techniques for analyzing competitors? One of the best ways to begin a competitor analysis is by identifying the URLs on your competitor’s site that you’re directly competing with. For example, an agency cannot require this type of link on their clients’ websites as part of their terms of service or contract. When someone searches a word or phrase related to a business, good SEO ensures that the business’s website shows up prominently in the organic (non-ad) search results, that their result is informative and enticing enough to prompt searchers to click, and that the visitor has a positive experience with the website. Links: Earning links to your web content from high-quality, relevant websites not only helps Google find your content, it signals that your site is trustworthy. Google doesn’t yet separate out voice query data from text query data, but many queries don’t change drastically with the medium (speaking vs. typing the question), so the current keyword data we have can still be a valuable way to target voice searchers. If you market a service area business (like a plumber), create a great website landing page with consumer-centric, helpful, unique content for each of your major service cities. How much content do you need for SEO?
We teamed up with our friends at Duda, a website design scaling platform service, who asked their agency customers to divulge their most pressing SEO questions, quandaries, and concerns. Our in-house SEO experts, always down for a challenge, hunkered down to collaborate on providing them with answers. From Schema.org to voice search to local targeting, we’re tackling real-world questions about organic search. Read on for digestible insights and further resources!
How do you optimize for international markets?
International sites can be multi-regional, multilingual, or both. The website setup will differ depending on that classification.
- Multi-regional sites are those that target audiences from multiple countries. For example: a site that targets users in the U.S. and the U.K.
- Multilingual sites are those that target speakers of multiple languages. For example, a site that targets both English and Spanish-speakers.
To geo-target sections of your site to different countries, you can use a country-specific domain (ccTLD) such as “.de” for Germany or subdomains/subdirectories on generic TLDs such as “example.com/de.”
For different language versions of your content, Google recommends using different URLs rather than using cookies to change the language of the content on the page. If you do this, make use of the hreflang tag to tell Google about alternate language versions of the page.
How do we communicate to clients that SEO projects need ongoing maintenance work?
If your client is having difficulty understanding SEO as a continuous effort, rather than a one-and-done task, it can be helpful to highlight the changing nature of the web.
Say you created enough quality content and earned enough links to that content to earn yourself a spot at the top of page one. Because organic placement is earned and not paid for, you don’t have to keep paying to maintain that placement on page one. However, what happens when a competitor comes along with better content that has more links than your content? Because Google wants to surface the highest quality content, your page’s rankings will likely suffer in favor of this better page.
Maybe it’s not a competitor that depreciates your site’s rankings. Maybe new technology comes along and now your page is outdated or even broken in some areas.
Or how about pages that are ranking highly in search results, only to get crowded out by a featured snippet, a Knowledge Panel, Google Ads, or whatever the latest SERP feature is?
Set-it-and-forget-it is not an option. Your competitors are always on your heels, technology is always changing, and Google is constantly changing the search experience.
SEO specialists are here to ensure you stay at the forefront of all these changes because the cost of inaction is often the loss of previously earned organic visibility.
How do I see what subpages Google delivers on a search? (Such as when the main page shows an assortment of subpages below the result, via an indent.)
Sometimes, as part of a URL’s result snippet, Google will list additional subpages from that domain beneath the main title-url-description. These are called organic sitelinks. Site owners have no control over when and which URLs Google chooses to show here aside from deleting or NoIndexing the page from the site.
If you’re tracking keywords in a Moz Pro Campaign, you have the ability to see which SERP features (including sitelinks) your pages appear in.
The Moz Keyword Explorer research tool also allows you to view SERP features by keyword:
What are the best techniques for analyzing competitors?
One of the best ways to begin a competitor analysis is by identifying the URLs on your competitor’s site that you’re directly competing with. The idea of analyzing an entire website against your own can be overwhelming, so start with the areas of direct competition.
For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “best apple pie recipes,” identify the top ranking URL(s) for that particular query and evaluate them against your apple pie recipe page.
You should consider comparing qualities such as:
- Total number of inbound links & referring domains (Moz Link Explorer >> Compare Link Profiles)
- Find links that your competitors have, but you don’t
- Content characteristics like length, formatting, and media (ex: video, images, etc.)
Moz also created the metrics Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) to help website owners better understand their ranking ability compared to their competitors. For example, if your URL has a PA of 35 and your competitor’s URL has a PA of 40, it’s likely that their URL will rank more favorably in search results.
Competitor analysis is a great benchmarking tool and can give you great ideas for your own strategies, but remember, if your only strategy is emulation, the best you’ll ever be is the second-best version of your competitors!
As an SEO agency, can you put a backlink to your website on clients’ pages without getting a Google penalty? (Think the Google Penguin update.)
Many website design and digital marketing agencies add a link to their website in the footer of all their clients’ websites (usually via their logo or brand name). Google says in their quality guidelines that “creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines” and they use the example of “widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites.” This does not mean that all such footer links are a violation of Google’s guidelines. What it does mean is that these links have to be vouched for by the site’s owner. For example, an agency cannot require this type of link on their clients’ websites as part of their terms of service or contract. You must allow your client the choice of using…