SEO Today: Strategies to Earn Trust, Rank High, and Stand Out | Rand Fishkin | Skillshare

SEO Today: Strategies to Earn Trust, Rank High, and Stand Out skillshare originals badge

Rand Fishkin, Founder & CEO, SparkToro

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11 Lessons (1h 9m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:17
    • 2. I. Link Earning, Whiteboard

      15:16
    • 3. I. Link Earning, Screencast

      5:56
    • 4. II. On-Page Optimization, Whiteboard

      13:40
    • 5. II. On-Page Optimization, Screencast

      3:37
    • 6. III. S.E.R.P. Features, Whiteboard

      6:02
    • 7. III. S.E.R.P. Features, Screencast

      6:59
    • 8. IV. Mobile vs. Desktop, Whiteboard

      9:49
    • 9. IV. Mobile vs. Desktop, Screencast

      3:15
    • 10. Conclusion

      1:45
    • 11. What's Next?

      0:35
95 students are watching this class

About This Class

It's 2017. In the fast-changing world of SEO, what now drives real impact for your site? Join “Wizard of Moz” Rand Fishkin to learn how to earn trust, rank high, drive traffic, and stand out.

In 9 engaging video lessons, Rand combines his signature whiteboard teaching style with helpful screencast demonstration, sharing tools and tips. Inspired by marketers' most common questions, key lessons include:

  • Link earning strategies to help your content rank higher
  • On-page SEO optimizations to serve users first
  • The latest in search engine results pages (SERP) including rich snippets and schema markup (and why it's time to go beyond "10 blue links")
  • Best practices for mobile SEO and maximizing visibility for both mobile and desktop

Plus, the class includes an exclusive list of checklists, tools, links, and resources you can consult again and again.

This class is ideal for those with basic SEO familiarity, but all are welcome. Whether you’re working at a startup, growing your digital marketing toolkit, or simply love to learn, this class is the perfect place to discover what's now effective in SEO — demystifying the jargon and helping you reach your ranking goals.

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This class is recommended for those with basic familiarity with SEO. Brand-new? Check out Rand Fishkin's first Skillshare class, Introduction to SEO: Tactics and Strategy for Entrepreneurs.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Howdy everyone. I'm Rand Fishkin, founder, former CEO, and current Wizard of Moz. Today, you're going to be joining me for an amazing class on the deep tactical and strategic elements of SEO. We have quite a few awesome lessons in store for you, so stick with us. Our first segment is going to be about link building and link earning. This is how to earn the links that help you rank higher in search engines. Next up, we'll be diving into on-page SEO. So, what do I have to do with my content in order to serve search engines and visitors well, and rank highly with that content? Third, we'll be diving into what we call S. E. R. P. features. These are the search engine results that are richer, that have more depth and detail than kind of the classic 10 blue links model. Then last, but certainly not least, we will be talking about mobile versus desktop SEO, and how the mobile revolution is driving a lot of differentiated behavior among searchers themselves and very differentiated results in the search engines as well, and then how you can be accessible on both of those. Before you take this class, it's my recommendation that you have a solid understanding of what SEO is and how it works in the basic sense. If you haven't already, take our introduction to SEO class. If you already have that familiarity, fantastic. Today's lessons are going to be in kind of two formats. One, where I spend some time up at the whiteboard talking about the broad lessons, and then we're actually going to get on a computer together. We're going to dive into the browser, look at some tools and some resources, and I'll show you some actual techniques right there on the screen. You should definitely take this class if you are a marketer or someone who is trying to attract a lot of traffic through search engines. However, if you're a strategist or someone who manages a search engine optimization professionals, or you're working with a consultant or an agency, this is a great class to take as well, because it will walk you through the understanding. It'll give you that basic understanding of what SEO practices look like, and that can make you much more intelligent about how to manage and help those folks, and what you should be looking for from your SEO profession. 2. I. Link Earning, Whiteboard: Our first lesson is on link building and link earning. Now, link building has long been an important practice in the SEO field. I really like to use the verbiage link earning because the best links are those that you earn that you don't have to manually go out and build. Links help you rank better because Google and the other search engines interpret links as votes from one site to another. So, if lots of other websites link to you, that's essentially the search engines interpreting, "Oh, these sites are saying that this other website is very important and valuable and relevant and we should rank them higher in the search results." Links are the factor that when we do large scale correlation analyses, we see that links have the highest correlation with stronger rankings and more visibility. Thus links, even in 2017, 2018 are still critically important to a website's SEO process. The goal that I want to walk you through today is how to build this link profile, this link growth engine that scales with decreasing friction, right? So, what you ideally want is you want to be able to invest in a link engine that over time gets easier and easier to perform. I like to call this a flywheel, right? A flywheel, this historic like energy storing device, right? Giant wheel that takes a lot of energy, a ton of energy to get it moving initially. But once it's turning, that wheel stores a lot of energy and it scales without friction, right? It's low friction over time. So, the idea here is similar. I want to do link worthy things, produce content, help people make the news and then I'm amplifying those accomplishments through direct outreach, through press and PR, through my social media channels which, social media and email channels. Those are not going to provide me directly with links but they help me to reach people who could potentially link to me directly from their websites. It is the case that someone responding to my email does not count as a link. Someone replying to my tweet or commenting on my Instagram post. Those don't count as links. But they can help me reach the audience that could link to me. That exposure is what I'm trying to drive to so that I can get in front of the bloggers and journalists and editors and all these other types of folks. Those links that I potentially earn will grow my link profile. But, that amplification also increases my audience size. So, let's say that I do this process and I don't get any more links with this piece that I've produced but I get more Twitter followers. Now next time, I produce something, I'm amplifying to a wider group. So, I have more potential to reach the right audience that can and will link to me. This is a slow process. It tends to look like this. It tends to be this, draw your little traffic graph here, right? What I see is maybe a couple of spikes. This takes a long time. I'm essentially producing content, going through my flywheel, trying to build it up, trying to build that energy. Maybe I'll have a couple spikes of success but then I fall back down into what I call the trough of despair. This is where a lot of website owners and bloggers just give up. Then over time, as I earned the right audience, reach these folks, earn the links, I can rank for more and more competitive things, my audience grows and grows. Now, it sort of scales up and up and up. That is what you are trying to build. This flywheel that eventually leads over time to this growth. Granted. Tough investment to make because you've got to justify it to your boss, to your team or your client as an SEO, "Hey, this is a long-term investment. But if you can, that long-term investment can pay immense dividends. Because the ROI of content marketing and of SEO and of these organic channels has an insanely low cost of customer acquisition. Because the traffic is coming essentially for free through elbow grease and work rather than money versus the lifetime value of the customers you acquire through it. What does a great link entail? It should come from an authoritative website. So, if you use the New York Times here, which has a very high domain authority. Domain authority is a metric that Moz calculates. It's based on how well a site tends to perform in Google's rankings and based exclusively on the link profile. If the New York Times links to me, that tends to transfer that vote comes from a high authoritative source. Now, NY Times, difficult link to get, but certainly very, very valuable if you can get it. B, you wanted it to point to the right relevant page on your domain. So, if I'm trying to rank for fish prints shirts, I'd really prefer that the NYT link from the fish print from a page about shirt styles using something like fish prints and point to my fish print shirts page rather than to my home page or to an unrelated page. That will give me the best ability to rank with the page that I want. In the case that I have lots of links pointing to the wrong page, a page that I don't really want going to, I could take, if they pointed to, let's say this other page over here, I could use what's called a 301 redirect to repoint this page over to the one that I want. Very frequently, websites can and will do this. See, I want these editorially given links, right? Meaning, links that where the writer, the author, the editor, maybe the New York Times journalist says, "Wow! I checked out your website. I really liked it. I'm linking to it." That's a good editorially given link. Other links don't necessarily fall into this, right? So, an affiliate link, for example, where you are paying for the visitor or if the visitor converts, a sponsorship, a paid advertising link. These links fall under what the FCC calls paid advertising and they must be disclosed. So, you have to say this is a paid advertisement, a native advertising, or branded content that might go on a website falls into this category. Google basically says the same thing but they are requiring that these websites, when they link, use a rel no-follow type. We'll talk about that in a second. But essentially, it removes the link value. If you are doing things that fall into this realm or you are buying links, you go to Fiverr and you see, "Oh, look, 500 links for 50 bucks. What a great deal." Guess what? That is not a great deal at all. That'll get your stuff penalized real fast. Don't go down that path. Same thing if you see the acronym PBN, this is a private blog network. I am sure that you will see something like, "It is totally safe. 100 percent guaranteed to boost your ranking Google's Web spam team will never find it." They always find it. They always find them. It's crazy to me, right? This stuff lasts a few months maybe a year, maybe a couple at the outside. But when it gets you penalized, it can take months to recover from those penalties. Five years ago, if we were talking about this I would say, "Look, it's frustrating but a lot of times, people get away with this kind of spam." Today, Google's web spam team has gotten remarkably good. Their algorithms catch this stuff fast. D, we want to use relevant anchor text. In an ideal situation, if I'm trying to rank for fish print shirts, I want the anchor text to be fish print shirts. That's going to be way better than something like you can find them here. Not so good. E, more unique domains linking to you is better than a few domains. So, let's say that shirtblogger.info, small website has linked to you in the past. The next link you get from them is not going to provide nearly as much value as the first link is. So, all things being equal, I would much rather that a new website potentially even a lower authority website link to me than the same website again and again. There might be a few exceptions. The nytimes.com, yeah, I'll take that second, and that third, that 15th link. They're extremely authoritative. Their links don't just drive ranking value but traffic too. Wonderful to be linked to by them. But once you fall into those secondary, tertiary authority categories, different story. F, last but not least. We want followed links. So, when we talked about social media over here, social media links, links that you can leave in forums, or in open places on the web, in blog comments, those all contain this rel equals no follow. The "rel = nofollow", I've put here, you can see this is actually very technical SEO markup, "Duhn dun DUHN!!" The "nofollow" basically tells the search engines, don't count this link. Thus, if you are leaving these around the web, right? On your social profiles, in forums, in blog comments, they're not getting counted, right? The search engines basically aren't interpreting those. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have them. They can still send valuable traffic. I'd still tell you to put a link to your blog, your website, in your Twitter profile, right? In your Linkedin profile. It's just that those aren't counted the same way as a link on a website would be counted. All right. Let's go into some strategies, my friends. So, these are not a comprehensive list of strategies. If I had a comprehensive list of strategies, we would probably go down beneath the bedrock of Manhattan here at the Skillshare offices, but we're not going to do that. We don't have the time or the whiteboard space. So, I'm just going to share with you a few of my personal favorites. First off, big content with targeted outreach. So, this is the idea of where I understand an industry really well. I'm going to go and figure out missing resources. Basically, hey, I know that there's something that the fashion world really needs around this topic, or the world of shirts needs around this topic. You know what I think that is? I feel like one of the big problems that people have is understanding how different brands have different sizes. I think this is probably even more true for women than it is for men. But certainly for men, like me who were born without shoulders, this is a real problem. Side note, I did a push up once. Those are hard. I wouldn't recommend it. I'm kidding. You should do all the exercises you want. So, what I'm going to create here is, how every shirt brand fits. I'm going to take my tiny friends and my big friends, we're going to go shopping, we're going to buy a bunch of shirts online, we might return most of them. But then, we're going to create a sizing guide for how every shirt brand works. Then we're going to reach out to fashion editors and bloggers and brand resource compilers and how things work podcast, and we're going to pitch all these folks and say, "Hey, basically, we're assembling this guide. Is there anything that you would like to know? Would you like to contribute to it? Can we send you a link when we're done with it?" Thus, when we have this piece we can do that amplification and reach lots of folks. What's wonderful about a guide like this is, over time, it can build up more and more traffic and links, and help us establish a presence in the industry. B, guest author contributions. So, as you build up influence and expertise and a profile in an industry, you will often get invited to do things, or you can pitch to contribute to other people's websites. When you do, they will often give you some editorial license to link to your own website, right? Either in your byline or potentially in the content, and this is a great way to promote your work. You have to do it in non-spammy, non-sketchy ways, value-adding ways. Certainly, you should consider their audience before you consider your benefit. But if you do this, you can get lots of great links. C, unlinked mentions. So, it's often the case that as your brand grows, many people will talk about you on the web, but they'll fail to link to you, which is a real pain. It's frustrating, right? So they might say, "Oh, Ran's shirt blah blah blah blah" without ever linking to Ran's shirt blog. That's not cool. But, what you can do, is you can search out these unlinked mentions, and there's tools, I'll walk you through one when we hop on the machine together, that you can use to identify these. You can set up alerts, so that every day or every week, you're getting a list of them, and then you can reach out to the writers or the editors of the publications and say, "Hey, how about you link to us when you mention us?" Some of the easiest links you can get. D, conferences and events and other types of appearances will usually use your bio. They'll ask you specifically for a biography. You can take that bio from your website, and then if you have links embedded in your bio that point to the right pages on your site, those links will appear on all of these other websites that your bio appears on, which is a wonderful way to do link building, and you can change up your bio on a regular basis to make sure that you're pointing to all the different right things that you want to. E, data surveys and opinion aggregation. We have discovered the last five years that journalists and bloggers, writers, amplifiers of all kinds love data. They love referring to it and pointing to it. They love sharing it. You have a graph, you're in business, and so, going out and assembling that data from whatever format you can, right? Whether that is talking to folks or getting surveys or using open data and just aggregating and curating editorially that data, can then help you craft things where you can reach out to the influencers, who will help you amplify and help you earn those links. Last but not least, competitive links. So, this is one of the classic most common ways that people do link building and link earning. They go and they look at their competition, who's ranking for the keywords that I'm training for? Who is linking to those? We'll walk through some tools that will allow you to actually look at who is linking to any webpage or website on the Internet, and then you can see where they're getting their link profile from, and go target those folks for your own outreach. Pro tip on this, don't narrow yourself too much, right? Don't just look at the things that are ranking for the same links your, or the same keywords that you are. Go ahead and think more broadly. So, it's not just another shirt website that's competing with me. One of my competitors in this sense could be the new York Times Style section, or the menswear section of the New York Times Style section. They don't necessarily rank for the same keywords that I do, but they probably have the types of links who might point to me, and therefore I can go after them. All right. Let's go dive into some tools. 3. I. Link Earning, Screencast: Well, we are all set to dive into a little bit of active link building and link earning, and I'm going to walk through three things today with you. The first one, we're going to explore this concept around domain authority, and page authority, what those metrics mean, and how you can use them in your link building. The next step, I will be using the Ahrefs tool to look at some competitive link building opportunities. So I'll show you how you can explore the link profile of a site, and then find all the links that point to it and potentially use those. Last, we'll use MOZ's Fresh Web Explorer to try and find what we talked about one of my favorite tactics, the mentions without links. People who talk about you on the web, but fail to link directly to you and how you can use those. So, here we are, we're on the Google home page, and I'll just do a quick search for a fish print shirts. Now, what I've done before I perform this query is install something called the MozBar. You can see that up at the top here, you can download that from the Chrome store or you can search for MozBar in Google and you'll find it. It will mark up our search results with some interesting stuff. So you can see here, as I scroll down the page, I've got these guyharveysportswear.com and it showing me the page authority, the number of links that point to it, the domain authority, the number of links that point to it, and if I want, I can click these and hop over into Open Site Explorer, which is Moz's link research tool, and that'll give me some information about the links and pages that point to guyharveysportswear.com. Domain authority is a score out of 100, as is page authority. They both use essentially machine learning against large scale sets of Google's results, and they give you this idea of how authoritative, from a link perspective, a given domain or an individual pages. So, you can see guyharveysportswear.com, a domain authority of 32 and a page authority of 40. If I look at links that point to them and I see these are high authority websites that link to them, those are often better targets than the low authority websites and web pages that point to them. All right. Let's hop over to Ahrefs where we will do some of our competitive stuff. Ahrefs is a competitor to Moz but a very good one, they have lots of cool information. So, let's choose another one from our fish print set here. Let's go after marthastewart.com, brooklyncloth.com. Yeah, Brooklyn Cloth, let's look at them. Okay, brooklyncloth.com. So, Ahrefs will give me a bunch of information. You can see it's pretty information dense, but they will show me backlinks. So, I want to see all of the sites, they call them referring domains, all the sites that linked to brooklyncloth.com. So, let's go check those out. Yeah. From looking at these links, I can then get a sense for why are they linking to this website and can I go get those links or these links that I could pursue? This is a pretty powerful tactic for figuring out link opportunities, and obviously Ahrefs has a lot of links that I could dig into from here. All right. Last but not least, let's take a look at Fresh Web Explorer. Actually, I'm going to pop back to the home page, so that I'll show you exactly how to do this. One of the things about Fresh Web Explorer is that it's powerful, but not completely obvious in every way. So, I can find mentions of any term in the web. So if I look for Skillshare, it will show me, over the last few weeks, here's how frequently Skillshare has been mentioned across blogs, and forums, and that kind of thing. I can see that usually it's during the week and less so on the weekends. But if I do another kind of search, where I say Skillshare -rd, so this is essentially saying show me mentions of Skillshare that do not link to the root domain skillshare.com, now I can see that there are, in fact, quite a few people who have mentioned Skillshare the word, the brand name, but they have failed to link to the domain. So, I can go down here and see, "Hey, wait a minute. Knowyourmeme.com, you've mentioned Skillshare, why aren't you linking to me?" I can go check out that page, maybe leave a comment, tweet to the editor, email the person who wrote the article, and hopefully get that link placed. As I do that, those links will help me earn more authority in Google, and that can help my rankings. If I want, I can also do something cool like create an alert. So I can set up something and say, "Hey, I want you every day to email me all the list of all the queries, all the results for this query, so that I can go check those out on a daily basis. So, right after someone publishes an article that mentions me and doesn't link to me, you tell me about it." Okay. Wrapping up on link building. This is a long-term tactic, it requires a lot of investment, there are an infinite number of ways to go about link building. The few that I've walked through today are just a sample of those that you could apply. In fact, in the video resources section, I will be making sure to have some FAQs, as well as a checklist of link opportunities and link tactics that you can pursue. 4. II. On-Page Optimization, Whiteboard: Next up, we're going to dive into on page optimization. In the SEO world, one of the key components is optimizing an actual individual page for a keyword or set of keywords that you're trying to rank for. In our beginner SEO video, we talked about this broadly. So, we're going to dive more deeply into this and talk about a real checklist of items that you have to accomplish in order to have a well optimized page, one that has the best possible opportunity to rank well. So, I've created here a sample page, Best Ramen Restaurants in NYC. This has a lot of searches for it now. It has a lot of searches for things like Best Ramen, NYC; Best Ramen Restaurants, New York; Best Ramen Restaurants, New York City. What's nice is Google is actually doing a really solid job these days of connecting up all these related terms and phrases that someone searches for and putting pages that serve the searchers intent rather than just exactly the keyword phrase. But that being said, I'm still going to ask you and you're still going to want to choose a single primary keyword target every time you have a page that you're optimizing that will give you a base starting point that should usually be the keyword target that has the most volume, the lowest difficulty, the one that is going to bring you the highest value, and volume of traffic that you can get. All right. So, we've got a few elements to the page here. So, we've got this snippet which is essentially how the search result will look. So, we called the search engine result pages in Google, SERPs. So essentially, the SERP will contain you know up to 10 of these different elements and then lots of rich elements we'll talk about later on. But this snippet is for my RandRatesRamen.com, my NYC list of Best Ramen Restaurants and I'm going to walk through the checklist and then give you, examples from each of these. So, here we go. First thing first, we've got to have a single canonical version. What do I mean when I say that? Well, it could be that I have you know randeratesramen.com/nycbest, right? And that could be my URL, but what if I had something like /nycbest?print, lots and lots of newspapers and magazines, publishers on the web do something exactly like this. They have a version of their URL that is able to be printed out easily, but what if that print version gets some links to it and now Google's confused and they don't know which one to rank? That is where the canonicalization comes into play. So, we use this tag called the Rel Canonical tag to tell search engines essentially. No, actually this is the canonical version and so what I'd do is I'd use a rel="canonical". It's a link rel that goes in the header tag. I can tell you that more specifically when we go on to the machine, and that essentially will point to /nycbest. Now, I don't have to worry that this one is competing with this one or that the links that point to this one, don't attribute to this one. This is what I mean when I say a single canonical version, I don't want a bunch of different versions of the same page out there. Obviously, it needs to be accessible, that means I'm not blocking it via something like the robots.txt protocol or the meta robots tag. You need to make sure that the page can actually be crawled by search engines. There are some ways to test this Google, has a nice fetch and render tool that can show you whether your page is accessible to search engines. You want to target that one primary keyword phrase and you're going to use it in a bunch of different places. I'm going to ask you to use it in the page title. Page title, by the way, that's what appears at the very top of the browser and it's what shows up here in the snippet. It is not necessarily the same as what shows up in the headline over here. So, page title is a specific, it's a meta tag actually that lives in the page header and that's why I put it up in here and smudge my canonical tag. Next, we're going to want to, if we can get it in the URL, so I went in here and I said nycbest because I know that I've already got the words. Since I have RandeRatesRamen and I know that I've got ramen, NYC, and best already in my URL. So, I'm basically optimizing for the words and phrases that I need to use. I also want it, well very obviously, I want it in my page content which means the words and phrases that are going to exist on the page. I want it in my meta description that meta description tag is in the header again and it's what shows up right here. So, when you see in the search engine results page, New York is filled with superb ramen but these 11 spots stand out, blah, blah, blah. That comes from the meta description tag and you should try and author those, yes, to include your keyword target but also to draw in the visitor. This is your advertisement, this is your opportunity to say why you should click on my page instead of any of these other results that the search engine is giving you. Next, I want it as the headline, so generally speaking, I recommend that the page title whatever I use right here, The Best Ramen Restaurants in NYC, matches exactly the best ramen restaurants in NYC. Those should match the headline of the piece and that's usually, it's something like an h1 or depending on your CSS that you're CMS is using. It could be the h2 tag or it could be some some type of headline tag that appears at the top of the page. Then I want you to use it in the image name and alt attribute. So, if I have an image here, one or several that I know are going to be primary image, I want the name of this image to be something like nycbestramen.jpg. Why do I want that? You want it because image search is very popular. Google will sometimes pull images from the page and show them alongside a search snippet. You can actually see that when you do, if you were to do a search today for Best Ramen NYC, you would see Time Out Magazine, timeout.com has got a bunch of little pictures that show up here and part of that is from there image optimization efforts. The other thing is each image will have an alt attribute. The alt attribute is designed for accessibility. It's part of, if I'm using a screen reader because I'm a blind Internet user that would be the description of what is inside the image. So, that would be described to someone using the screen reader, but it is also super helpful for search engines to be able to know what the image is about. So, long as you're doing this credibly and not spammy, you will get some benefit there and you can rank an image search as well. Next up, I want some related words and phrases. So, brainstorm with me here. If I'm talking about New York's best ramen restaurants, there's probably a bunch of names of restaurants that if I don't include, Google will think it's weird. On nearly every best ramen restaurant list that I've found on the web so far, Ippudo Ramen is mentioned. So, it might be odd to not have that. Broth is mentioned, bones are mentioned, daikon is mentioned, soy sauce is mentioned, all these different elements are mentioned, spiciness levels, miso. Those words and phrases that Google essentially semantically associates with ramen and restaurant are a big part portion of this, and so I want to make sure to use those words and phrases in here. I might use it in my introduction or I might have it further down the page in the several paragraphs about the types of ramen or I might have it in the description of each different restaurant, those types of things. Next up, I want this to load fast as blazing fast as I possibly can. We'll, talk about when we talk about mobile and desktop. Some options around using Google's AMP Services. But this load speed directly correlates with engagement, click-through rate, tends to correlate nicely with rankings as well because higher engagement leads to higher ranking so very important. Grabs attention at the top and draws engagement down the page. Why would this matter? Obviously, it matters as a publisher, I want people to engage with my content. But search engines, Google in particular, actually does use the engagement that people have with a page as a ranking element. So, they're able to say like, "Gosh, lots of people who clicked on RandRatesRamen.com tended to spend a long time on that page and on that website compared to the other sites and pages that are in the search results. They did not tend to click the back button and choose another result, which is what Google calls pogo-sticking. Pogo-sticking is a negative ranking signal. If lots of people click on your result and then they bounce back to the search result and choose someone else that's telling Google, you're not a good result or you're not nearly as good as these other ones. So, that pogo-sticking is a real problem which is why page engagement is such a big deal. Next, we want to make sure to include relevant navigation. This is both to help drive traffic to other sections of your site, which is obviously valuable for you but also to increase that engagement that we talked about as the ranking factor. I want to link externally. Wait a minute, Rand that sounds crazy. Shouldn't I just link to my own website rather than linking off to other people's website? Like instead of linking to Ippudo Ramen's website here, maybe I could just link to my page about them. Yes, you could. But Google uses the entities that you link to as a relevant signal and so, it is likely to be the case that a page, all other things being equal, a page that links out externally to the places that people want to go to, which almost certainly is the websites of the restaurants that I'm talking about in this case, that page is going to outperform ones that don't link externally. Many years ago, fun case study, the New York Times actually had a policy of never linking out. They changed that policy, inserted a bunch of external links, and their rankings went up across the board within a month. It was pretty awesome. One of the New York Times guys actually came to Mars and talked about this SEO case study. It was really, very cool. Next up, user interface and user experience that creates trust, loyalty, and it's easy to use. Should be an obvious one. But this is very valuable for us SEO because of all the engagement signals, as well as the fact that people who might link to your website are coming to it and the better your UI and UX is, the more likely they are to link. Next, optimize that search snippet for maximum click-through rate. So, this right here, generally, speaking you want to do some testing. Testing this title and headline, testing the publication date. So, if I republish something more frequently, do I get the date in there? Does that push up my rankings? I want to test this description out. I may even be testing things like the URL or the category that something lives in if I'm not happy with the presentation of those. As I play with that, I can see that my snippet hopefully is improving and is drawing more and more clicks. If you draw more clicks in the search engine rankings results page, you tend to move up in the rankings, particularly if that stays consistent over time. Last up, we want to use schema and rich snippet markup, and social markup things like Facebook's Open Graph, and Twitter's Graph protocol that enable essentially a richer experience for potential visitors on search engines and social media. We'll talk more about that when we get into rich snippets and schema markup in our next section. So, this checklist completed, what have we forgotten about here? Well, there's one key thing and it's not quite purely an on-page SEO thing but it is massively important for SEO, and that is, we need to serve the searcher's intent. What I mean by that is, when I'm imagining a 100 people who just search for Best Ramen Restaurants in NYC, what I wish that I could do is go have a conversation with each of them. Interview them, ask them; what would be the best possible experience? What would deliver the most value to you? You might hear things like, "Well, there's a lot of lists out there but I can't sort by neighborhood and I'm not really going outside of this particular neighborhood." Okay, great. Now, we can start to craft a better and better page that serves the searcher intent more and more, and that boosts our rankings in remarkable ways. It's incredible to see what happens after you optimize the page for a searcher's intent and you deliver the content that they want in the way that they want, how your rankings will move up. On-page SEO still a hugely important part of what we do in the SEO world. So, you want to make sure to have this checklist completed and serve that searcher intent well, so you can rank as well as you possibly can. 5. II. On-Page Optimization, Screencast: For our on-page SEO segment, we are going to dive into the MozBar, which has an on-page optimization system that lets us grade and look at both the HTML code of the page, and the content of a page, to help figure out some of those missing elements that a page might have from an on-page SEO perspective. So, here I am on Google's homepage and I'm going to perform my search, which is, "Best ramen nyc." When I pull up the results, well you can see the map's listings at the top, but I'm actually going to scroll down here and timeout.com as we talked about. They're ranking very well. They're right at the top of the organic listings, it's Gothamist, theinfatuation.com, Thrillist, and then check out the Eater folks. Now, I really like Eater's website. I think they do a great job. I'm sad to see them ranking in four or five position. I know that they're not getting the clicks they could earn if they were in that top spot. So, let's hop over to eater.com. This is ny.eater.com page. It's ranking well for best NYC ramen and let's try and figure out what's gone wrong here. So, I think this is a great page. This has got a wonderful map. This list of ramen restaurants are just phenomenal. They include a bunch of reviews. They tell you what's good and where you can find it. You can clearly see things by neighborhood. You can click on the links. I can get to the Google Maps and I can get to the websites of all of these, or get directions, or go on Foursquare. It works great on mobile devices. This is a solid page in a lot of ways but they're missing out on just a couple of things. So, let's look at page optimization. So, you can see I've installed the MozBar. I've got it at the top and I'm going to click this page optimization link, and then type in here, "best ramen nyc." Optimize, and then, the MozBar is going to grade this page. It's essentially looking at how has this URL done against this particular one, and it's giving me a score of 71 out of 100, which is what is that like, a C? Not too great. The most important fixes, are that this page has not used the exact phrase "best ramen NYC" anywhere in there. In fact, if you look at the title, the title is Sietsema's NYC Ramen Heatmap: 28 Bowls To Try Right Now. They haven't even used the word best, so they are highlighting for us the best ramen, but if that's the keyword phrase that Eater is trying to target here, they really want to employ that. You can also see that there are some on-page content suggestions, so things that you might include that have high relevance, things like spicy ramen and eat ramen. In fact, I can go ahead and see a full list of these. So, New York City, ramen shack, Ippudo, the word that we mentioned previously, Tonkotsu, the pork broth, Yuji, ramen lab, all these things, broth. If we dive into our optimization factors, you can see keyword usage in the document and the page title in some of the Alt Attributes like we've talked about for images in the Meta Description, and the headline tag. These are all missing from the page, and so if we fix these up, we can increase our score, increase our relevance, and most likely, Eater can increase their rankings for this keyword which will send them more hyper relevant traffic for this particular page. 6. III. S.E.R.P. Features, Whiteboard: Our penultimate lesson for today, we're chatting about SERP features, Rich Snippets, Schema, and other kinds of markup. So, you may have noticed that if you perform searches in Google, it used to be the case 10 years ago, 15 years ago, that you get a lot of results that looked like this, just a sort of a blue link, maybe some text below at the URL. We call those the classic 10 blue links style results, and they were very, very common. In fact, they were a majority of search results until maybe about a decade ago, it started switching up and Google introduced all these new things, like maps and local listings. They introduced image results in the search results and news results. Then, they started putting in other kinds of things. These featured snippets, like the one that I've got here for the Norse gods. They put me in knowledge graph stuff where on the right panel of the search results, you'd see information about maybe the name of the actor that you were searching for and what movies they'd been in. They started putting carousels of information. So, when I search for, "What to see in in New York?" They'd have things like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Museum of Natural History, and all these other listings. This style of stuff all combine altogether, we call these SERP features. SERP, the acronym for Search Engine Result Pages, and features being all the things that are not just the classic 10 blue links. Now in our dataset, we have most runs of big warehouse of search results. Tens of thousands of search results and we track all of the listings that appear in them each day as they appear. There's a website you can go to called mosscars.com. It's run by Dr. Pete who is sort of our search scientist in that field. Dr. Pete tracks how often he sees purely 10 blue links versus all the other kinds of SERP features. I think in our last check, it was something like three percent. Three out of 100 searches had nothing but 10 blue links style results. The rest had some SERP feature of one kind or another. Now, what I'm not going to try and do today is run through every single one of them and how to get them. The reason I'm not going to do that is because by next week, it would be out of date. Google changes the options and opportunities around these all the time. Which types of search snippets can receive a featured image, whether in-depth articles will appear at the bottom of pages or not, whether it's news results or they just changed it last October to top stories. This stuff is constantly evolving. And as a result, what you have to do is try and stay on top of which features show up in my search results, and what do I have an opportunity to do. So, there's all different highs. Today, these are the most common ones that we see. So, review stars or ratings, this is where you see stars next to you, an individual result. Usually because users have rated that product or that page in some way. Site links, these are where multiple links from the same website will show up in one format or another below a snippet. You'll see local and map packs, where you get the map over here, and then listings below it of local businesses that fit your results. Top stories aka news results. Thank goodness, this red pen was handy, so I could close the bracket. Featured snippets like this one, where essentially Google is answering the query before I ever get to the results. Images, those image result blocks can show up in-depth articles, which usually at the bottom of the page. Videos which used to come from all sorts of websites, but frustratingly now are pretty much exclusively YouTube and sometimes a little bit a couple of other players. Tweets, you can see tweets embedded if you, for example, where to search for a very notable figure, or someone who's very active on Twitter, or many brands, you will see their tweets embedded in there. Knowledge cards which will show up as informational cards on the right hand panel. Those often include things, like the site name and the logo and their social profiles. Recipe searches have separate markup that will show you some recipe steps and some featured images write in the result itself: music, podcasts, tremendous number of these. One of the important things to understand, really important to understand about SERP feature is that, you may see these appear for a search that you're ranking on and get very frustrated like, "Hey, yesterday I was number one, and now there's a featured snippet and a people also ask box, and that means that I am way far down on the page, and my clicks have dropped through the floor. I'm getting way less traffic from this search." Yes, but there is an opportunity for you to take this over. If you structure your content in the right kinds of ways, if you get your markup. You can be the featured snippet, or you could be in the image results or the site links, or the in-depth articles, or the videos, or whatever it is that's taking over the search result. The way to go about this is, first, you want to determine which features appear in the keywords that you're targeting. So, you have your keyword research list, all the keywords that I'm going after. I want a list or a graph of like, "Okay, this is how many image results are in there. This is how many featured snippets are in there. Here's how my knowledge graphs are in there. Here's how many videos show up. Here's how many tweets," and then I can use whichever option is available to me to chase after the right kind of rich snippet that will help me rank or get visible in those rich results. So, SERP features present, yes, a threat, but also an opportunity in the SEO world. We'll spend some time in just a second going through some of these and seeing how you can take advantage. 7. III. S.E.R.P. Features, Screencast: For SERP features, I could not help myself. I had to show you a bunch of these cool things that Google is doing now to push down those 10 little links kinds of listings and show all kinds of crazy stuff, different stuff, unique and interesting features in their search results. So, I'll walk you through a few of these, and then I'll give you actually some tactics that you can use in a tool called Keyword Explorer for Moz. It also has a keyword explorer tool, search metrics, and SEMrush or other good tools that you could check out for this. But, I'll walk you through the Moz one since they give me a free account. I'll show you how to identify which types of features show up frequently for a broad list of keywords, and then how you can target those with your optimization efforts. So, here we are, search for Norse gods and looks just like a white board. Maybe a little more polished. So, we've got this featured snippet up at the top. The people also ask box. If I perform a search for Odin, you can see that I get some different results. So, Odin is a trendy clothing store here in New York, which is where we're recording. So, given that Google knows the IP address of the machine that I'm on, it is targeting me and saying, "This men's clothing store is just a few blocks away from you." I'm also getting results for, of course, the Norse god and you can see there's an image block of results in here, and then down at the bottom some related searches, too. If I search for the god Freya, I can see that Freya is in fact a lingerie and swimwear company, and so I'm getting those results as well. As well as some stuff from their Twitter account, those embedded tweets and some images, thankfully, all very appropriate, and then some map results for where I can find the skincare, the beauty salon, a doctor who happened to have the name Freya, all those kinds of things. If I do a search for Viking's, they're going to assume that I'm a Minnesota Vikings fan, which is plenty good. I actually like the Green Bay Packers, but I like that Vikings, too. They're good team. So, I can see these top stories. The sort of historically what were news results. I can see tweets from the Vikings, and then there's that knowledge graph over on the right hand side the knowledge panel that's giving me the www.vikings.com website, some information about them, and those social profiles, as well as different results that I can see things about. So, if I click this Vikings drama series, I will get a search similar to if I had performed a query for Vikings TV show. Then, I'll get stuff about the History Channel's Vikings TV series, the drama series where I can watch it right on YouTube or Amazon, the profiles, the cast, all these type of information, and you can see there's other rich snippets in here with ratings and reviews et cetera. We discussed a tool called Mozcast. So, this is a website that essentially monitors search engine results and fluctuation in Google. It's the middle of May, and we've actually had a tremendous amount of fluctuation in Google's rankings, and so you can see these very high temperatures Google. We sort of have an average, we average out Google's changes at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So, when you see 118, that's like a crazy day. So, it's been crazy all week. One of the cool things you can see in Mozcast is the SERP features. So, if I click on SERP features, I will be able to see a graph over time of the features that appear most and least often in Google search result. So, this is monitoring 10,000, maybe more search results now, and I can see that those local packs, the maps and the local listings, those show up in about 18.3 percent of all results, which month over month is about half a percent increase. Tweets show up in six percent, but that's actually a 10 percent increase over last month. Carousels are very uncommon at 1.2 percent, but they have grown quite a bit. Review stars are down a little bit. So, you can kind of track broadly speaking in all of Google search results what's going on through this Mozcast SERP features page. But that being said, what you really want to do, tactically speaking, is to be able to see it for just the keywords that you care about. So, that's where this friendly tool Keyword Explorer comes into play. So, I might search for Norse gods for example, and it will give me a bunch of information about the Norse gods keywords. It'll tell me the average monthly volume, how many people searched for it, how difficult it is to rank for, what the click through rate opportunity is. So, click through rate is essentially what percent of people do we think click on the organic listings for this keyword, which is pretty high actually, and then the priority, which is a set of all these scores combined. What I can do is, I can create a list, so I'm going to go ahead and create a new list. I'm going to call this my Norse gods keywords list, and I'll go ahead and enter a few keywords that I know I care about: Norse gods, and Freya, and Odin, and Thor, and Vikings, and Viking invasions, and then maybe I'll figure out a few more and add those to my list. Let's go back to Norse god keyword. It's going to take a couple of minutes to populate all of those, but I'm going to search in here. Okay. These look like a bunch of great keywords for me to target. Norse god names, their homes, the god of war, of fire, mythology and creatures. I'm going to add all of those to my Norse gods list. Now, that we're back here on the Norse gods keywords list. What's wonderful is. My god, that was fast. It's loaded all of the keywords into this SERP features graph. So, now I can see that there are four related questions among the 11 keywords that I've got on this list. There's three images, two featured snippets, one in-depth article, one AdWords result, one review star, and a couple of tweets. This is great. This gives me the sense for, "Hey, what is the priority with which I should place on getting image results, or getting into related questions, or getting featured snippets?" This tells me for all the keywords I care about, what features appear and which ones should I prioritize. Now, I don't have to wonder. I can go and say images are very important. I better get some great ones. I better do my alt attributes. Better name my image is correctly because now I can appear in all these image results. It's a great way of saying what are the SERP features out there, and what could I do differently to appear in them. 8. IV. Mobile vs. Desktop, Whiteboard: Our last segment today is talking about SEO in a mobile and desktop world. So, as you're probably aware, mobile has become a huge portion of online activity and certainly a huge portion of search activity. In 2016 actually, Google said that mobile searches surpassed desktop search for the first time ever. That's no surprise, I would expect that trend to continue. What is interesting to note however is that desktop search has not declined, mobile search simply grew much, much faster. In fact, desktop usage has essentially plateaued rather than decreasing. So, it is not the case that you can stop paying attention to how your website looks on a desktop or how it's being used in desktop. In fact, as I'll show you, desktop may still have more search clicks than mobile does. Now, what I want to do today is walk through this whiteboard where I have essentially got a search for the FitBit Charge HR, the heart rate Fitbit device, and I perform that search query in mobile. I've also performed it in desktop. So, I'm going to show you the differences between what those types of results look like. Now, this is merely one illustration of a particularly time-consuming illustration, in case you're wondering, of what these search results can look like. It's absolutely the case that all sorts of different search results can look very, very different from mobile to the desktop and we'll talk about some of those differences and then dive in a little bit to how you can diagnose those and what it means for your SEO. So, first, let's start with our mobile version over here. Now, as you can see, because of the mobile layout and the width of the screen, you have a single column here that Google always uses to show all of the information and as a result, there's a lot of things that get collapsed and a lot of different types of things that show up. One interesting note is you see how there is basically advertising above the fold, that's actually the case over here, but not the case in desktop. In desktop, there's this shop-now Google shopping results in the right hand sidebar but not at the top of the result. You can also see because Google enables advertisers to choose between mobile and desktop in their AdWords system, Amazon has actually decided, hey, we're going to bid on an AdWords ad for the Fitbit HR Charge power cord. I don't know why. I don't know why Amazon is bidding on the power cord when I'm searching for the device but that's fine. Maybe they know that lots of people who are looking for this are also looking for that, Amazon seems to be pretty good at that. So, they've bid on it in mobile, but not in the desktop version. This is one of the cases where the advertisers themselves have chosen to do it but Google, a lot of the time, will show different types of results. Right? So, they will show, for example, we often see carousel results where Google shows several visual images at the top here. We often see app results, right? In fact, if you scroll further down on this page on your mobile device, you will see Fitbit's app, mobile app is suggested to you if you are on an Android device through the Play store or through the iTunes store if you're on an Apple device. That does not appear in desktop because, of course, you can't download apps in a desktop browser. So, these kinds of differences create differentiation between searcher behavior and also between optimization tactics. Some of those are things that you as the SEO have to pay attention to, and some of them are things that Google themselves will take care of and there's not much that we can do about it. One interesting note; we have some very cool data thanks to a partnership that Moz did with Jumpshot who collects a lot of browser data. We can actually know a little bit more about the average click-through rates on mobile versus desktop. So, in mobile, these, which would be the advertising portions, get on average about two percent of all the clicks, two percent. The organic results get about 41 percent of all clicks, that's these kinds of listings down here where no one's paying anything for them. The don't click percentage, I find fascinating. Fifty seven percent of searchers are basically either getting their result completely satisfied by what Google is presenting here or they're frustrated and they're giving up, they're not clicking on anything. I find that fascinating because that is quite different from the numbers that you'll see over here where on desktop, the paid click-through rate is almost 50 percent higher, 2.8 percent, the organic click-through rate is almost 50 percent higher at 62 percent, and the don't click percentage is much lower. So, on desktop, you're getting a lot more engagement with the search result, many more clicks. Because of that, it's our theory that right now, we're still in that stage where desktop may be driving more clicks than mobile is for search results even though mobile is actually getting more searches. Over time, that will change, mobile is dominating, certainly as mobile goes much more global and desktops become less common in other countries outside the sort of countries that have already become very internet-aware, that changes. Now, the differences between mobile and desktop that SEOs need to pay attention to. First off, click-through rate. Click-through rate obviously changes from mobile to desktop and we need to pay attention to that whether you're advertising or whether you're an organic marketer and racking in these results. Those are differences to care about. The SERP features themselves are different, too, and as a result, you need to pay attention to what appears on mobile and on desktop, so when you go through that SERP feature checklist, you're going to want to look at both of those for all your keywords. AMP, so, this is an option that Google offers where you can essentially have Google's servers host your site content and then you'll get this little thing that actually shows up here, it says AMP. Fitbit has chosen not to do it here which I think is smart, they probably don't want to. But AMP will mean that Google serves your content out of their server centers. It loads extremely fast, it's very, very handy, particularly for folks who are on slower 1G, 2G-types of connections or very slow WiFi, very slow connections of all kinds. AMP is something that you can opt into with Google and you can check out that program, we'll link to it in our checklists. Apps is a good one to pay attention to. So, as we mentioned, apps can appear in mobile but not desktop. If you think that there's a big opportunity for a particular search, you should make sure that your app is optimized in the AppStore for those search queries, and a big part of that is your descriptions and your reviews and your naming conventions that you use for your app. That will not be able to show up in desktop. Another one, the rankings can change. So, you can sometimes see that because a website is or is not mobile friendly, it will perform better or worse in mobile than it will in desktop. The desktop search results can have different rankings than the mobile search results. To give yourself the best opportunity, make sure you pass Google's mobile friendliness check, and you can do that through the Google search console. It's totally free. You can check that a website is mobile-friendly according to Google and then it'll get that, "Yes, you passed, you've got a good grade for mobile friendliness." Personalization is another big change. So, based on the device that you're searching on, the history of that device, the location of that device, Google will change up the results that you see and the kinds of things that you see. So, for example, if I go to the zoo and I search for Python, Google is very smart and they know that even though I am a technically-minded person who may normally be looking for the programming language, Python, the fact that I'm at the zoo searching on my mobile device probably means that I want to see information about the big thick snake and they will show me that. Those kinds of clever intuitions on Google's part based on the device and the location are other items that SEOs need to pay attention to as they're doing their optimization work and their content creation. Next up, display. So, the display of your information can be different in two different types of search results. As you can see here, Fitbit gets a different listing here than they get over here and I think that that's based on how Google has decided to show these search results. As a result, you may wish to change up your meta description or your title or your URL to be as friendly as possible on both mobile and desktop. Indexing is the last one and I put a note here, this could change soon. Today, we're in May of 2017 right now. Today, Google is using the desktop version of your website as the canonical source from which to pull content. So whatever you display in desktop, that is the content they think your website and your page has, that's what they're using. In the future, they said they're going to move to a mobile-first indexing world, meaning that the mobile version of your page, whatever loads on mobile, that is what they'll use for both mobile and desktop, which is a little bit crazy in my view, but I think that's Google saying, hey, we're recognizing the primacy of importance of mobile over desktop. As a result, you're going to have to make sure that whatever content loads in mobile is the right thing for you. All right, let's go spend some time in some mobile and desktop search results and check out some of these differences. 9. IV. Mobile vs. Desktop, Screencast: For mobile versus desktop, I want to walk through three different things. First off, we're going to look at desktop search results, and then I'll show you a mobile emulator from the great folks over at Mobile Moxie who have enabled us to type in any URL and see what that looks like, including Google search results, so you can compare the two side by side. Next, we will pull up Google's mobile friendly page checker, and that tool allows us to input URL and see whether Google considers the URL mobile friendly. And then, last, we'll take a look at some of the options around mobile versus desktop search results and how we can do different kinds of advertising. We'll take a look at that as well. So, here we go. I've done this search for FitBit Charge HR, and you can see the desktop search results, which look pretty much like what I illustrated. Now, if we pop over to this tool, this is for www.mobilemoxie.com, you can search for the mobile emulator. What I've done is, I selected my phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and I've plugged in Google's search result there. So now, I can see what that search result looks like. Which again, looks like what I illustrated, it has that shopping results, and that overview up at the top of the page with the reviews stars. So, I get a sense for what's different on this page versus what's what I see in the desktop version. Next up. This is Google's mobile-friendly test. So, you can search for it. It's https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly, and I can plug in any URL. Let's go ahead and take FitBit's Charge HR page. Here's what it looks like on desktop, so looks nice. Seems like it does a great job. But when we run the test, Google will show me an analysis of what in the page is mobile-friendly, and what things might be a problem. That can help me determine what I should be doing differently to make this page optimized for mobile, which will then help me rank better in the mobile search results. All right. Google is finished here, and you can see the page loading issues. Google is giving this the thumbs up, "Okay, this page is mobile-friendly." You can see a bunch of details about how the pages resources loaded, what Google found in there. In this case, they were actually blocked to some parts of the JavaScript which is actually okay, not a huge issue for Google. They basically said, ''For everything that we could see about this page, it looks fine to us,'' and they've actually rendered it, so you can see what the mobile version would look like in there. Last but certainly not least, one of the things that I would urge you to do is, to run the comparison. You can do this in a number of tools. So, Moz's rank tracking tools will do this search metrics, and a SEMrush will do this, but those are paid services where you can compare desktop versus mobile, see where you're ranking and not ranking, and potentially improve your rankings if you have some ways to go. The mobile friendliness check, the mobile emulator, these tools will all help you to accomplish that. 10. Conclusion: Today, my friends, we have immersed ourselves in the wonderful world of SEO. So, we've gotten to see how to increase our rankings, our classic 10 Blue Links style rankings, by earning links and growing our link profile. We talked about how to improve the on-page optimization of our web pages so that we can better target and rank for keywords that can send us valuable traffic. Then, we went into some advanced visibility issues in SEO, right. So, we got to chat about SERP features and all the different ways that rich snippets and schema markup can help us appear in these various formats and then, we spent some time on mobile versus desktop and how that's changing search engine use in visibility and rankings and what we can do as marketers to appear in both places with as much visibility as possible. So now, you are ready to go check out the checklists that I've created. I've got four, one for each of the sections that we went through and those will sort of walk you step by step through things that you need to do and can do as well as some of the tools and we'll have links to each of those in the checklists. And I'd of course urge you to use the discussion forum here on the Skillshare class to chat with one another about the issues that you're facing, how your optimization efforts are going, questions that you might have. And of course, your fellow participants would love if you would help answer those questions and I'll do my best to occasionally jump in there as well with my contributions. Thank you so much for watching the class. I am sure that your rankings in your traffic are going to be going up and I look forward to hearing all about that. Take care. 11. What's Next?: