Warning, Jeph gets nerdy in this one!!
The slides I go through in the video are included in the Slideshare below. Some of the images aren’t the highest quality in the presentation, if you want to look at the specific reports referenced, scroll down I’ve included them in this post!
1. Open Site Explorer
You have to start somewhere with measurement, Open Site Explorer is a good place to start. It’s also a Free SEO tool you can use. We use Domain Authority as a central metric to compare websites to each other. If you want to learn more about Domain Authority check out this blog here (What is Domain Authority? And why do we use it?).
Open Site Explorer will tell you your websites Domain Authority, Page Authority, Linking Websites, Social Metrics and Spam Score. From this report you can see how well your website stacks up against your competition. There is an option to compare to up to 4 other competing websites as well.
You will be able to see where your website needs work, whether that be links, social media, spammy links or a combination of all three. If you have traffic data (from Google Analytics) you can even see if you need content to attract more traffic. A high domain/page authority but low traffic can mean a lot of different things but generally you need better content, stickier content that will keep users on your website.
2. Keyword Search Rankings and Keyword Difficulty
Keyword Difficulty and Analysis: Allows you to see how much competition there is for a specific keyword search, and if there is a lot of search they give you an estimate of Google Search Volume. You don’t have to guess as to what to name pages, posts and anything else you are publishing to the internet, check search volume and keyword difficulty first!
“We don’t need SEO when ever I Google our company our website comes up first!”
Be careful, Google is customized to where ever you are located and to what you’ve searched for in the past. Your own website should be coming up first when you’re searching it. So how do you know what’s coming up for the majority of people when searching a specific keyword phrase? (IE: Florists Regina, Room for rent in Regina, Regina foundation repair, iphone screen fix Regina, shoe repair Regina, Volleyball League Regina).
The Moz Keyword Difficulty report gives you the top ten search results for any keyword phrase. This allows you to see why specific websites rank where they do. There are nine different factors that Moz measures on your website, they are at the top of the image below (URL Link Metrics, URL Link Counts, On-Page, Domain Wide Keyword Match, Exact Match Anchor Text Links, Partial Match Anchor Text Links, Domain-Wide Metrics, Domain-Wide Link Counts, Social Metrics)
Yes there are a lot of things going on here but it really helps you understand why a certain website ranks the way it does, specifically when it lacks in metrics like Domain Authority and Links.
The below search results for the keyword phrase “security systems Saskatoon”. Included in this report is Page Authority, Number of Links to that page, Domain Authority, and Number of Links to that Domain.
It gives you a great snapshot of what your website needs to have to rank on the front page. But you do notice that it doesn’t really make sense when you compare the top 5 search results, right? Why are those websites ranking the way they do? The top three websites seems to be the worst out of all ten of them, why the heck are they there?!?
If you start going through the different metrics Moz is tracking you finally find this one, Amount of Social Media Shares.
You can now see why the two of the top three websites are there. They have the best Social Stats out of all ten of them. Now how the heck is the second from the top website ranking so well?
Partial Match Anchor Text?! Looks like one of the links to “Alarmtek” has the keywords “Security Systems Saskatoon” in them. Smart work on their behalf!
Don’t trust your own search results, use a service like Moz to track how your SEO company is helping you climb search rankings.
3. On-page keyword optimization
Google crawls pages not sites. Your website to Google is a bunch of pages all linked together in an elaborate scheme. When Google crawls your websites pages you can create pages that are built specifically for what Google likes. Moz’s On-page Grader using 36 points to go through to determine how optimized a specific page is for a keyword search.
Creative Options Regina’s page “Gentle Teaching” is shown below for the keyword search “Gentle Teaching”.
You can see Moz found “Gentle Teaching” 18 times throughout that page and because of that it gets an “A” grade. If you want to see the full 36 point On-page Grader for Gentle Teaching you can download the pdf here.
Every page on your website should be optimized for specific keywords, give Google what she needs, content, content, content. Images are great but video is even better. Every page should have at least an image or two if not more.
4. Comparison to Your Competitors
The beauty of Moz is that over time you don’t just track your website you track three of your competitors as well. What good is building up your website if you don’t know who or what you are up against? Below are a few examples of websites we’ve worked on in the past year.
Pebble Tree is a construction and renovation company in Regina. They were dead last compared to their three top competitors back in December of 2014. Now they have a Domain Authority of 17, only out done by one of their competitors who’s at a 19, we’re almost there!
Here we have Creative Options Regina, starting at a 13 Domain Authority in January of 2014, are now a 29 and finally competing with their very well established competition.
This last one was taking a website from scratch to ranking really well. It took about 6 months and a lot of work but now Newport ranks up their with their competition.
The competitive analysis is to ensure your SEO efforts are paying off. We’ve found companies doing things that helped their ranking as well as the opposite. Using Moz is like have a doctor hired to keep track of your website and how it stacks up against your competitors.
Like in Moneyball when Billy Beane found a better way to measure. We too believe there is a better way to measure your online efforts. Most aren’t doing anything so at this point to rank in Saskatchewan isn’t very difficult at all, but in two years time that will be a much different story.
The most underrated service in the Moz suite, Followerwonk is your diagnostic for everything that is twitter. You can compare Twitter accounts, who you’re following compared to your competitors and who’s following your competitors but not following you.
Another feature is the bio search function. It allows you to search for any keyword along with a location. Recently for a conference of Post-Secondary marketing and communications professionals I used Followerwonk to search for University’s and research in Canada (I include the top 500 at the end of this post here). The list was long, I had to shorten it to 500. Here’s what the report looks like in Followerwonk:
Whatever industry you’re in, you can find like minded people using Followerwonk.