Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

We’re very excited to announce the
2015 Online Marketing Industry Survey is ready. This is the fifth edition of the survey, which started in 2008 as the SEO Industry Survey, and has also been known as the Moz Industry Survey. Some of what we hope to learn and share:

  • Demographics: Who is practicing inbound marketing and SEO today? Where do we work and live?
  • Agencies vs. in-house vs. other: How are agencies growing? What’s the average size? Who is doing inbound marketing on their own?
  • Tactics and strategies: What’s working for people today? How have strategies and tactics evolved?
  • Tools and technology: What are marketers using to discover opportunities, promote themselves, and measure the results?
  • Budget and spending: What tools and platforms are marketers investing in?

This year’s survey was redesigned to be easier and only
take less than 10 minutes. When the results are in we’ll share the data freely with you and the rest of the world, along with the insights we’ve gleaned from it.

If you’re on a
mobile device, you might find it easier to complete the survey on its own page:

Survey importance

By comparing answers and predictions from one year to the next, we can spot trends and gain insight not easily reported through any other source. This is our best chance to understand exactly where the future of our industry is headed.

Every year the Industry Survey delivers new insights and surprises. For example, the chart below (from the 2014 survey) lists
average reported salary by role.

One of the data points we hope to discover is if these numbers go up or down for 2015.

Prizes. Oh, fabulous prizes.

It wouldn’t be the Industry Survey without a few excellent prizes thrown in as an added incentive.

This year we’ve upped the game with prizes we feel are both exciting and perfect for the busy inbound marketer. To see the full sweepstakes terms and rules,
go to our sweepstakes rules page. The winners will be announced by June 15th. Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date.

Grand Prize: Attend MozCon 2015 in Seattle

Come see us Mozzers in Seattle! The Grand Prize includes one ticket to
MozCon 2015 plus airfare and accommodations.

2 First Prizes: Apple Watch

Shhhhhh! Because we’re giving away two Apple Watches.

10 Second Prizes: $50 gift cards

Yep, 10 lucky people will win $50 gift cards. Why not buy yourself a
nice book? Maybe
this one?

We could use your help with sharing

The number of people who take the survey is very important!
The more people who take the survey, the better and more accurate the data will be, and the more insight we can share with the industry.

So please share with your co-workers. Share on social media. Share with your email lists. You can use the buttons below this post to get you started, but remember
to take the survey first!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

I am very happy to post the first in our series of interviews with featured speakers at the upcoming Authority Rainmaker conference (May 13-15 in Denver) with none other than Sonia Simone of Copyblogger Media. Sonia is the co-founder and Chief Content Officer at Copyblogger, where she writes about marketing, entrepreneurship, and how to create better […]

I am very happy to post the first in our series of interviews with featured speakers at the upcoming Authority Rainmaker conference (May 13-15 in Denver) with none other than Sonia Simone of Copyblogger Media. Sonia is the co-founder and Chief Content Officer at Copyblogger, where she writes about marketing, entrepreneurship, and how to create better […]

I am very happy to post the first in our series of interviews with featured speakers at the upcoming Authority Rainmaker conference (May 13-15 in Denver) with none other than Sonia Simone of Copyblogger Media. Sonia is the co-founder and Chief Content Officer at Copyblogger, where she writes about marketing, entrepreneurship, and how to create better […]

  • images
  • February 13, 2015

28% of Time Spent Online is Social Networking – How much time do you spend each day on social networks?According to new data, the average user logs 1.72 hours per day on social platforms, which represents about 28% of all online activity. globalwebindex Facebook: 24.63% of Social Referrals in December (Pinterest: 5.06%, Twitter: 0.82%) – Facebook’s share […]

  • images
  • February 13, 2015

Posted by randfish

Investing in advertising might feel like we’re simply buying people’s time and attention, but there’s far more to it than that. Done right, advertising can show returns in many organic channels, including SEO. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand shows us how.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Advertisement Investments That Can Yield ROI for Organic Channels Whiteboard

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about advertising investments and how paying for advertising can actually yield positive results for SEO, for links, for social shares, for content investments, for email marketing, for all of these organic channels.

I know this seems weird, but it actually can work. Google has some guidelines around this. They say, “Look, if you’re over here and you’re saying like, “Hey, man, I’ll give you 500 bucks for a link on your site, a live, followed back link directly,’ that is not okay.” Even if the person on the other side says, “Sure, I’ll take your 500 bucks and add that link.”

Google doesn’t want to count those links. They treat those as web spam. They’re going to find ways to avoid that type of manipulation. They can, in fact, penalize you for it, and lots of times they do.

However, Google is totally fine with and they even support, endorse, and run systems, a whole advertising network around this to say, “Hey, I’d love to buy some ad spots from this website.” Sure. My sidebar ads are no followed, and they cost $150 a month. This is totally 100% okay by Google.

In fact, this is okay by any form of things. So social networks are fine with this. Email things are fine with this. The FCC, the Federal Communications folks here in the U.S. are totally fine with this. The EU is fine with this. It’s totally okay. As long as it’s disclosed that this is an advertising relationship on the website, you’re in the clear. In fact, very often it’s the case that there’s a correlation, a strong correlation between advertising and organic types of relationships and returns.

Tactics that are worth trying (depending on your business goals)

Blogs, forums, niche websites, or news/media sites

So a lot of times you’ll see an ad buy is the first step to a deeper relationship between a website or a blogger or a media source and an advertiser, and that will lead to some forms of content sharing. Maybe some of the content will be promoted on the advertiser’s site or the other way around. That might lead to some business development of some kind. That could lead to guest contributions of content or guest posting of some kind. It can lead to social sharing where the advertiser shares something that they’ve sponsored on the media sites or the other way around. It can lead to email inclusions and email sponsorships.

It can even lead directly to links and brand mentions. People will say, “Hey, I want to thank my advertiser,” or “Hey, one of my advertisers came out with this cool product that, in fact, they didn’t pay me to endorse, but I am organically endorsing it because I really like it. By the way, they happen to be top of mind for me because they’re an advertiser.” Sometimes you don’t even realize those relationships are happening, but they do.

This is why often there is a very strong connection between advertising dollars and those kinds of more organic forms of relationships. While Google certainly is smart enough to realize that those relationships exist, they don’t say, “No, it’s not okay that you bought an advertising format from this person, and that eventually led to a more organic kind of relationship and now they’re endorsing you without a followed link, without payment in an editorial kind of way.” That’s actually totally fine.

This is why advertising can be so powerful, not just for search and for links, although that’s certainly a big one. So I’ve actually got a few suggestions, some places where we’ve seen over the course of time, and I’ve seen certainly in some of the companies that I occasionally help out informally, where they’ve benefited from these types of things. On the other side, I’ve seen from bloggers, journalists, and media sites and niche websites and forums, how they have also benefited from these forms of advertising.

Some of these tactics may be worth trying. It’s really going to depend on your business goals and who your audience is. But the first and most obvious one is really what’s reflected over here, and that is reaching out to these bloggers, forums, niche websites, news and media sites. They often offer direct forms of sponsorship or display or text ads on their site. They are going to be no followed, or they’re going to use some sort of JavaScript redirect.

What you want to do, though, is you want to go direct. So I want to buy from, not from Google Ads or Federated Media, which happens to power advertising on their site. So you want those direct advertising inquiries, where you have the relationship personally, and that’s what you’re building. Don’t use that generic ad provider.

By the way, if you’re going direct, make sure those links are no followed. You don’t want to buy followed links, or you’ll get into the problem that we had over here. You’re trying to build a relationship, not a followed link. Hopefully, all those other positive organic things, those will come later if you buy these no followed links, if you start that relationship with advertising.

Conference and event sponsorships

Especially, in particular, more creative and more audience relevant forms of advertising can create much greater engagement. So if you buy a booth at a conference, well that can help. Maybe you’ve got a trade show booth and people come by and that kind of thing, and that does work for some folks, especially if they’re looking for leads.

We’ve done a few things with conference and events, even here at Moz, where we’ve done forms of sponsorship that are more creative. We give out swag. We share some content. We do something that’s very special for the audience, that happens to be relevant to their interests, usually along the lines of SEO stuff. That works much better. That often will get pickup and coverage by press and media, by bloggers who attend events, by people on social media who go to these events.

Weirdly, almost ironically, the less promotional you are in your advertising, which seems counterintuitive, the better this works for all of the organic kinds of things you’re seeking. It might not work quite as well for that direct lead capture or sales capture. But by saying, “Hey, we’re going to provide free Wi-Fi to the entire conference, and all you have to do is enter a repetition of our brand name three times as the password.” Well, guess what? That builds a lot of brand equity, and it is much more appreciated than, “Hey, we’re going to need you to take this free demo” or “You need to give us your email address and be promoted to,” and these kinds of things. That less promotional can often have greater returns.

Outdoor/TV/radio/print advertising

Then the last one I’ll mention here, even though this list could go on and on and you can use your imagination, is outdoor TV, radio, print, those old school forms of advertising. I think one of the most interesting studies I saw was a couple of years ago showing the correlation between these forms of advertising and search volume. The team from SEER Interactive put up a case study about some outdoor advertising.

Now, it could have been SEER. It might have been Distilled. I’m going to make sure, and I’m going to put it in the blog post itself. I’ll link over to that study for you guys, showing that when one of their clients had invested in these forms of advertising, they saw a direct bump in search traffic.

Editor’s note: Rand offered up a couple of other relevant links for more information about the relationship between offline ads and search traffic:
Mercedes-Benz: Quantifying how online and offline marketing work together to drive sales volume
Can TV Advertising Really Impact Search Performance?

Essentially more people were searching for their brand name, for their products, and those people went to their website. Now that’s a beautiful thing, especially if you are trying to increase search demand and search click-through rate.

So if you perceive that you have a weakness in terms of, “Hey, we’re just not getting as much branded search. We’re not getting as high a click-through rate. Our brand recognition is low. That’s hurting us in search results. People are getting better engagement than us, and as a result they are getting higher rankings and better links and all this other kind of stuff.” This is a great way to potentially combat this.

With any form of tactic that you’re trying like this, you’re going to want to think really carefully about audience makeup. So many of the times when you’re doing more traditional kinds of advertising, what you’re seeking is an audience that’s made up of people who are going to buy your product, people who have a high potential to be a customer.

That’s actually not necessarily what you’re seeking when you do these forms of advertising. You are really seeking, yes, people who might become customers, but also people who might influence customers. Customer influencers is often a very different group than direct customers themselves. It might be that you’re reaching a much smaller audience, but it is more targeted to that flow.

For conferences and events, you really want those press and media types of people. For these blog, forums, and niche websites, you might be targeting influencers and journalists and other bloggers and social media mavens and that kind of stuff, who consume this type of content online far more than your regular customers do.

So you want to be careful about that when you’re choosing advertising that is supposed to be helping you with organic channels. This is a really interesting topic. It’s one of the newer kinds of forms and ways that people are leveraging paid advertising. It can run the risk, if you get too aggressive with it, that you actually step on some of these FCC guidelines or Google’s guidelines. So you’ve got to be very careful. But if you walk this line well, you can experience great benefit to your SEO, your social, your content, your email, your brand by paying for it and getting those indirect benefits as a second order effect.

All right, everyone. Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to some great comments. Hopefully, you all have some stories to share about this, and we’ll see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

  • images
  • February 12, 2015

From James: Today’s post the second in a series of four articles on social media marketing – all part of a contest within TopRank Marketing for a chance to attend Social Media Marketing World. Watch for the next post in the series. According to a 2012 Nielsen Social Media Report, nearly half of all U.S. consumers use social media to […]

  • images
  • February 12, 2015

From James: Today’s post is part of a TopRank Marketing employee series in which staff members volunteered to write a blog post in exchange for a chance to win the opportunity to live-blog from Social Media Marketing World in San Diego next month. A winner will be selected based on criteria including post quality, relevance and […]

  • images
  • February 12, 2015

Posted by EllieWilkinson

Welcome to the third installment of Next Level! In the previous Next Level blog post, we shared a workflow showing you how to take on your competitors using Moz tools. We’re continuing the educational series with several new videos all about resolving duplicate content. Read on and level up!

Dealing with duplicate content can feel a bit like doing battle with your site’s evil doppelgänger—confusing and tricky to defeat! But identifying and resolving duplicates is a necessary part of helping search engines decide on relevant results. In this short video, learn about how duplicate content happens, why it’s important to fix, and a bit about how you can uncover it.

Now that you have a better idea of how to identify those dastardly duplicates, let’s get rid of ‘em once and for all. Watch this next video to review how to use Moz Analytics to find and fix duplicate content using three common solutions. (You’ll need a Moz Pro subscription to use Moz Analytics. If you aren’t yet a Moz Pro subscriber, you can always try out the tools with a
30-day free trial.)

Workflow summary

Here’s a review of the three common solutions to conquering duplicate content:

  1. 301 redirect. Check Page Authority to see if one page has a higher PA than the other using Open Site Explorer, then set up a 301 redirect from the duplicate page to the original page. This will ensure that they no longer compete with one another in the search results. Wondering what a 301 redirect is and how to do it? Read more about redirection here.
  2. Rel=canonical. A rel=canonical tag passes the same amount of ranking power as a 301 redirect, and there’s a bonus: it often takes less development time to implement! Add this tag to the HTML head of a web page to tell search engines that it should be treated as a copy of the “canon,” or original, page:
    <head> <link rel="canonical" href="" /> </head>

    If you’re curious, you can
    read more about canonicalization here.

  3. noindex, follow. Add the values “noindex, follow” to the meta robots tag to tell search engines not to include the duplicate pages in their indexes, but to crawl their links. This works really well with paginated content or if you have a system set up to tag or categorize content (as with a blog). Here’s what it should look like:
    <head> <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow" /> </head>

    If you’re looking to block the Moz crawler, Rogerbot, you can use the robots.txt file if you prefer—he’s a good robot, and he’ll obey!
    More about meta robots (and robots.txt) here.

Can’t get enough of duplicate content? Want to become a duplicate content connoisseur? This last video explains more about how Moz finds duplicates, if you’re curious. And you can read even more over at the
Moz Developer Blog.

We’d love to hear about your techniques for defeating duplicates! Chime in below in the comments.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

  • images
  • February 11, 2015

Posted by Isla_McKetta

True life confession: Although I’ve worked with some of the smartest SEOs, architects, and CPAs in the business, you couldn’t always tell from their writing. Which is a problem. Because while some of them are client-facing (so the client gets to know their smarts firsthand—either in person or on the phone), some are only known by the lackluster reports they turn in.

This is a post about how anyone (whether you’re an expert in SEO, PPC, social media, or even… content marketing) can write a clearer, more persuasive report. And the lessons contained herein can help you with any form of corporate communication, whether you’re writing for a client or your boss.

Get ready to sound smarter.

Be assertive

Being assertive doesn’t mean you should stand on your desk and shout your opinions like you’re auditioning to be the next Hulk. Instead, have confidence in the data and recommendations you’re reporting and convey that confidence in your writing. Because if you’re not confident, you might not be ready to write the report. So go double-check your research and then use the following tactics to sound like the authority you are:

Ditch “I think”

I think there are a lot of things you could possibly say to show a client what they might or might not do depending on how they interpret your recommendations.

Notice how that sentence had no spine? That’s because it’s filled with empty phrases—words that do nothing for the sentence but convey how unwilling its author is to make a point.

Phrases like “I think,” “I feel,” and “might” are couching words—things you say when you’re trying to leave yourself an out, and they make you sound passive and unsure. Go through your report and check for couching words. Ask yourself if you need them (in case of actual uncertainty like “Google might…”) or if you can cut them out and strengthen your points.

Dump the passive voice

Mistakes are often made as we try to get around to a point with our writing.

One of those mistakes is in failing to use the active voice. Every sentence has an actor (subject) and an action (verb). While it’s nice to vary your sentence structure sometimes, stick to “actor commits action” when you have something important to say (especially when you have bad news to break).

Be careful with dependent clauses

If you want to sound confident and decisive, lead with an independent clause instead of a dependent one (like I did here).

Time for a (mercifully quick) jump back to elementary school grammar. Independent clauses are the ones that can stand on their own as a complete sentence. They have a subject, verb, and usually an object. Dependent clauses don’t.

Dependent clauses are often added to an independent clause to increase the level of information in a sentence. Let’s flip that last sentence so you can watch the dependent clause move from the end to the front:

To increase the level of information in a sentence, dependent clauses are often added to an independent clause.

Dependent clauses are very useful, but some writers fall into a pattern of starting most of their sentences with them. That delay of the independent clause can make you sound like you’re hesitating to get to the point. It can also make you seem passive or like there’s something you’re trying to hide. That’s not how you want to come off in a report.

Choose a point of view (and stick to it)

Some companies prefer to write from a formal (and somewhat) distant third person perspective where “I” is never used; I prefer the more conversational first person.

You can write your report from any point of view you want, but be careful with those pronouns.

The most common mistake I see is for the writer to get indecisive with the pronouns and start throwing around the word “we” as in “we need to fix your title tags.” Which could mean that the consultant is taking responsibility for the title tags, or it could be a general suggestion that the title tags need fixing.

Try instead, “your title tags need to be updated; we plan to start work on those during the second month of our engagement.” Still uses the word “we,” but now it’s more obvious who’s doing what (and will save you some embarrassing followup conversations).

Write for your audience

Industries with a high degree of fiduciary responsibility are often more accustomed to the use of a formal tone. Meanwhile, writers in other industries, like fashion, automotive, and anything related to the Internet, can get away with a much more casual voice.

You may have noticed by now that I start a lot of sentences with conjunctions like “and” and “but.” I also use contractions. Both are part of a conversational tone that’s “Mozzy,” but if I was writing for a different audience, I would button the top button on my style (and maybe even add a tie).

You know your clients and their style of communication. It’s reflected in everything from their RFP to the latest call. Try to mirror their tone (unless you think they came to you for a big shakeup) and your audience will feel like you understand their culture and needs. That means your work is more likely to be accepted.

Explain things

Remember that you were hired because of your unique expertise. That means that you know things the person reading the report doesn’t.

When you’re introducing a concept your client or boss likely hasn’t encountered (or might be a little rusty on), give a short refresher to keep them engaged.

Don’t over-explain things

No one likes to feel like an idiot. Going step by step through all the things anyone could ever want to know about a concept (whether foreign or not) has the potential to not only annoy your audience, but also distract from your main point.

If you come across a concept in writing your report that requires extensive education of your reader, either create an addendum where they can read as much as they need to, or schedule a phone call, training, or other way to get them all the info they need.

Use numbers (wisely)

Ninety-nine percent of SEOs have more data than they can ever reasonably convey to the client.

That’s because clients (at least sane ones) don’t want to know what every single keyword ranked on every day last month. They want to know if their overall rankings are up or down, what that means for their business, and how to push rankings upward in general in the future.

Numbers are very useful (and can be very powerful) if you’re using graphs and tables that tell a story, but without your interpretation, they’re all kind of meaningless.

So although you have access to all the numbers in the world, the real magic of your report is in getting inside your reader’s head and figuring out what they need to understand about the numbers. Then use the analysis portion of your report to translate that data into answers.

Write fewer words

Concision is an art. Redundancy is annoying. Write as few words as you can to convey your point.

Don’t let big words interfere with meaning

An immense vocabulary can obfuscate significance.

This is true of using big words to sound smart and also if you’re spouting jargon at people who don’t understand it. You might notice from reading this post that I use very little jargon. That’s because the vocab words I learned in creative writing won’t mean anything to most of you and I can usually find a clearer way to express marketing jargon.

So if your clients (and all the people who will read the report) regularly use words like “earned media,” “freemium,” and “EPV,” you can use them too. But if you have any doubt, try to find a way to use a more accessible word or add some context so everyone can follow you.

Think about general scanability

Your clients are busy. You want them to get the most out of a report they might only ever scan.

All the things you’ve learned about writing for the Internet apply to writing reports:

  • Short sentences (that aren’t choppy) are easier to read.
  • Keeping each paragraph to one topic with a topic sentence makes it easier to scan.
  • Using bullet points (when appropriate) will help your reader digest all that information you’ve created for them.

Help your reader out by making all your great information intelligible.

Employ an executive summary

Keep the person who signs your checks in the loop with a few words.

To write an effective executive summary, give the highlights:

  • Why was the work undertaken?
  • What problems were found?
  • Next steps

The summary should run between a paragraph and a page (depending on how long your report is). That means you want to save all that delicious analysis you’ve slaved over for the report itself.

Use templates at your own risk

I know, a lot of the things you’re saying to one client are 90% the same as what you’re saying to the next client, and creating a template just makes your job more efficient. But if you aren’t carefully reading the resulting document, you might be making a mistake (like using the wrong client name or giving them instructions for Omniture when they use GA) that takes much longer to clean up than writing an original report would have.

Trust me, about the third time you’re reading over the same words in the same order (even if for different clients), you are too far inside the template to see the mistakes. But your client is reading this report for the first time ever and they won’t miss a thing :/. Speaking of which…

Proofreading isn’t optional

You aren’t qualified to proofread you’re [sic] own work.

Not saying anything about your reading or grammar skills, but I’m 99% certain that you’ve spent so long staring at that report that you are beyond spotting your own typos. Find a second reader. If you’re in absolute dire straits and can’t find a buddy, read the report aloud to yourself.

Feel smarter already? I hope so. Because you’ve worked too hard to pull all that information together just to have it fall flat because of a bad report. Tell me about your report writing disasters (and things you’d like help with) in the comments.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!