4 reports you can pull from Ahrefs that you didn’t know existed

Columnist Kevin Rowe points out some handy reports available in Ahrefs for helping to inform your link building, SEO and content strategy. Why not check them out? The post 4 reports you can pull from Ahrefs that you didn’t know existed appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Holiday Retail Search Strategies 2017: What worked, what didn’t

Join our experts as we explore how search marketing strategies fared in the 2017 holiday season. We’ll share results of a year-end survey that reveals how marketers adjusted their search strategies in 2017 and take a look at overall results of the shopping season to see if those efforts paid off….

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

The YouTube Ads perk you didn’t know existed

Have you heard of YouTube Director Onsite? Columnist Todd Saunders walks you through this relatively new service offering from Google, which provides a low-cost way for businesses to get started with video advertising. The post The YouTube Ads perk you didn’t know existed appeared first on…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

What Zuck’s letter didn’t say

Mark Zuckerberg Disrupt He might not want to run for office any time soon, but Mark Zuckerberg has perfected the time-honored political art of talking a lot without saying anything. In a sprawling letter consisting mostly of feel-good mumbo jumbo and a light sprinkling of feature ideas, the Facebook visionary laid out 5,700 words worth of nonspecific stuff that sounds nice. Like fellow Facebook feel-gooder Sheryl… Read More
Social – TechCrunch

Paul Ryan didn’t give us the dab we wanted, he gave us the dab we deserved



There are many things Americans need right now, but seeing Paul Ryan attempt to dab is definitely not one of them.

Despite this fact, the Speaker of the House decided to do it anyway… on national television.

Way to go, Paul. 😒

SEE ALSO: Mr. No Fun Paul Ryan shuts down kid who tries to dab

The world recently poked fun at Ryan for a moment during the swearing in of the 115th Congress, on Jan. 3, when he shut down Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall’s son, who tried to dab for the pictures.

Ryan, who could not look more perplexed by the boy’s dab pose, reportedly mistook the dance move for a sneeze, and therefore, was frightened by it. “Were you gonna sneeze? Is that it?” he asked the kid who was just trying to have some fun in this world. Geez. Read more…

More about Social Media, Dance, Dab, Dabbing, and Watercooler

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Why Didn’t You Recover from Penguin?

Posted by Dr-Pete

After almost a two-year wait, the latest Penguin update rolled out in late September and into early October. This roll-out is unusual in many ways, and it only now seems to be settling down. In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen many reports of recoveries from previous Penguin demotions, but this post is about those who were left behind. What if you didn’t recover from Penguin?

I’m going to work my way from unlikely, borderline conspiracy theories to difficult truths. Theories #1 and #2 might make you feel better, but, unfortunately, the truth is more likely in #4 or #5.

1. There is no Penguin

Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. Ok, this is the closest I’ll get to full-on conspiracy theory. What if this new Penguin is a ruse, and Google did nothing or rolled out something else? We can’t know anything 100% without peering into the source code, but I’m 99% confident this isn’t the case. Interpreting Google often means reading between the lines, but I don’t know of any recent confirmed announcement that ended up being patently false.

Google representatives are confirming details about the new Penguin both publicly and privately, and algorithm flux matches the general timeline. Perhaps more importantly, we’re seeing many anecdotal reports of Penguin recoveries, such as:

Given the severity of Penguin demotions and the known and infrequent update timelines, these reports are unlikely to be coincidences. Some of these reports are also coming from reliable sources, like Marie Haynes (above) and Glenn Gabe (below), who closely track sites hit by Penguin.

2. Penguin is still rolling out

This Penguin update has been unusual in many ways. It’s probably best not to even call it “Penguin 4.0” (yes, I realize I keep calling it that). The new, “real-time” Penguin is not simply an update to Penguins 1–3. It replaces them and works very differently.

Because real-time Penguin is so different, the roll-out was broken up into a couple of phases. I believe that the new code went live in roughly the timeline of Google’s announcement date of September 23rd. It might have happened a day or two before that, but probably not weeks before. This new code, though, was the kinder, gentler Penguin, which devalues bad links.

For this new code to fully take effect, the entire link graph had to be refreshed, and this takes time, especially for deeper links. So, the impact of the initial roll-out may have taken a few days to fully kick in. In terms of algorithm flux, the brunt of the initial release hit MozCast around September 27th. Now that the new Penguin is real-time, we’ll be feeling its impact continuously, although that impact will be unnoticeable for the vast majority of sites on the vast majority of days.

In addition, Google has rolled back previous Penguin demotions. This happened after the new code launched, but we don’t have an exact timeline. This process also took days, possibly a week or more. We saw additional algorithm spikes around October 2nd and 6th, although the entire period showed sustained flux.

On October 7th, Gary Illyes from Google said that the Penguin roll-out was in the “final stage” (presumably, the removal of demotions) and would take a “few more days”. As of this writing, it’s been five more days.

My best guess is that 95%+ of previous Penguin demotions have been removed at this point. There’s a chance you’re in the lucky 5% remaining, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

3. You didn’t cut nearly deep enough

During the few previous Penguin updates, it was assumed that sites didn’t recover because they simply hadn’t cut deep enough. In other words, site owners and SEOs had tried to surgically remove or disavow a limited number of bad links, but those links were either not the suspect links or were just the tip of the iceberg.

I think it’s true that many people were probably trying to keep as many links as possible, and were hesitant to make the deep cuts Penguin required. However, this entire argument is misleading and possibly self-destructive, because this isn’t how the new Penguin works.

Theoretically, the new Penguin should only devalue bad links, and its impact will be felt on a more “granular” (in Google’s own words) level. In other words, your entire site won’t be demoted because of a few or even a lot of bad links, at least not by Penguin. Should you continue to clean up your link profile? Possibly. Will cutting deeper help you recover from Penguin down the road? Probably not.

4. Without bad links, you’d have no links at all

Here’s the more likely problem, and it’s a cousin of #3. Your link profile is so bad that there is practically no difference between “demotion” and “devaluation.” It’s quite possible that your past Penguin demotion was lifted, but your links were so heavily devalued that you saw no ranking recovery. There was simply no link equity left to provide SEO benefit.

In this case, continuing to prune those bad links isn’t going to help you. You need to build new quality signals and authoritative links. The good news is that you shouldn’t have to wait months or years now to see the positive impact of new links. The bad news is that building high-quality links is a long, difficult road. If it were easy, you probably wouldn’t have taken shortcuts in the first place.

5. Your problem was never Penguin

This is the explanation no one wants to hear, but I think it’s more common than most of us think. We’re obsessed with the confirmed update animals, especially Penguin and Panda, but these are only a few of the hundreds of animals in the Google Zoo.

There were algorithmic link demotions before Penguin, and there are still parts of the algorithm that look for and act on bad links. Given the power that links still hold over ranking, this should come as no surprise. The new Penguin isn’t a free pass on all past link-building sins.

In addition, there are still manual actions. These should (hopefully) show up in Google Search Console, but Google will act on bad links manually where it’s warranted.

It’s also possible that you have a very different algorithmic problem in play or any of a number of technical SEO issues. That diagnostic is well beyond the scope of this blog post, but I’ll offer this advice — dig deeper. If you haven’t recovered from Penguin, maybe you’ve got different or bigger problems.

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We Fought the Comment Spam (and the Comment Spam Didn’t Win)

Posted by FeliciaCrawford

All across the Internet, comments sections are disappearing.

From your high-profile news sites to those that share the online marketing space, more and more sites are banishing that unassuming little text box at the bottom of a post. And frankly, it’s not hard to understand why.

First, you have your good ol’-fashioned spam comments. These are the commenters that hold dear the idea that those nofollowed comment links are valuable:


The usual.


Spicing it up a bit with some solid industry advice.


Really going for the gold!

Then you have your thin comments. Often left with (we assume) good intentions, they don’t add much value to the discussion:




These poor souls usually end up with a lot of downvotes, and if they receive upvotes, it’s often a clear sign that there’s a nefarious MozPoint scheme afoot.

Sometimes even the best of us are lured by the glamour of spamming:

Finally, lest we forget, you have your inflammatory comments. Those comments that, although perhaps on-topic, are derailing or just downright unkind. We don’t get too much of that here on the Moz blog, thank goodness (or thank TAGFEE), but I’m sure we’ve all read enough of those to last us several lifetimes.

And comment moderation is a thankless, wearying task. Though we fight the good fight, comment spammers are constantly finding ways around our barriers, poking their links into the chinks in our armor. It takes valuable time out of a Mozzer’s busy workday to moderate those comments.

So why are we battling to keep them?

In the beginning, there was the blog.

Before the Moz Pro toolset was even a twinkle in Roger’s optical sensors, Moz was a blog. A community of brave folks banding together to tackle the mysteries and challenges of SEO. If you look back across the years and rifle through the many, many comments, you’ll begin to notice a few things:

  • People learned from one another.
  • People leaned on one another.
  • People networked and cultivated relationships that otherwise may not have blossomed.

Google says they’re good for SEO, and I’m not gonna fight with Google.

Now, I don’t want to cheapen the sentiment here, but it has to be said: the smart folks over at Google have made it clear that a healthy, vibrant online community is one signal of a site’s quality. Comments can be considered part and parcel of what constitutes good (nay, even great) content, and have even been spotted in a featured snippet or two.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not one to argue with the Big G.

But there’s always been comment spam. Why do you care now?

Comment spam isn’t a new or novel phenomenon. It’s been plaguing blogs almost since the very first public bloggers put fingers to keyboard. Most blog posts on Moz show traces of its corrupt spamalicious influence in the comments section. So what was the catalyst that steeled our resolve?

It just got annoying.

Authors pour heart and soul into crafting their posts. They take valuable time out of their regular work day to engage in the comments section, answering questions and driving thoughtful discussion. They deserve better than a slew of spammers aiming to place a link.

Readers devote hours of their ever-so-precious lives to reading the blog. Some folks even read for the comment conversations alone. They deserve to benefit from those invested hours, to be inspired to join the conversation.

We knew we had to do something. What that was seemed unclear, though.

We began to notice something. When we promoted a YouMoz post to the main blog, it tended to garner more of what we’d call quality comments. Comments with depth, that ask pertinent questions, that respectfully challenge the article in question. These posts came prepackaged with their own discussions already in full swing from their time on YouMoz; often, the first few comments were engaging ones, and they were just as often upvoted to remain on top (the blog auto-sorts comments by popularity).

Conversely, when the first several comments on a brand-new post were thin, spammy, or otherwise low-quality, it seemed to grind any potential discussion to a screeching halt. Internally, our Mozzer authors like Dr. Pete and Rand began to take notice. I received some concerned questions from other frequent contributors. At first, I wasn’t sure how to tackle the problem. After all, we already seemed to be doing so much.

Comment moderation? Check. Certain triggers catch comments in a queue, which we clear out daily.

Subject every comment to approval by an editor? No, that would stymy the natural discussions that make our blog comments section special in the first place. No one should have to wait for my morning meetings to finish before they can engage in intellectual banter with their peers.

Close the comments section? No way. This was never on the table. It simply didn’t make sense; we’re fortunate in that a good majority of comments on the blog are high quality.

It boiled down to the fact that there was the potential for our comments section to nurture not only good content, not only great content, but fantastic content. 10X, if you prefer that term. The most royal darn content outside of Buckingham Palace.

Okay, that might be going a little far. But something incredibly special happens here on the blog. You can ask questions about a Whiteboard Friday and Rand will do his best to answer, thoughtfully refute, or discuss your point. You can get to know your peers in an industry largely cooped up behind a screen half a world away. You can joke with them, disagree with them, metaphorically high-five them. And it’s not limited to a relatively low character count, nor is there pressure to approve the friend request of anyone you’ve just hotly debated.

We had to preserve that.

And that’s when we devised our grand experiment.

We began to seed discussion questions as the first comment.

Inspired by sites like the New York Times with their “NYT Pick” featured comment option, we decided there was a better way.


Marvel at that nifty gold badge!

For one week in August (8/1 through 8/5), I asked authors to contribute a discussion question, something to spark a decent conversation in the comments early on, before you could even say “thanks for the nice post.”

This question would appear at the top of our comments section, the first thing a reader would see after consuming the post and potentially feeling inspired enough to share their thoughts.

Rand kicked it off a little early, in fact, with this zinger on July 29th:


Those upvotes looked mighty promising to a despairing blog editor.

Keep in mind that, for the most part, posting these discussion questions is a very manual process. We don’t currently have the framework built to display a “featured question.” We tend to publish around 12am Seattle time; to get these little puppies in place early enough to make a difference, I would…

  • Stay up until midnight
  • Assume the identity of the author (with permission, of course) using magical Moz admin abilities
  • Publish the comment
  • Sneak back to my main account and — yes, here’s the shady bit — thumbs it up to ensure it stayed “on top” for a few hours

I do struggle with the guilt of these small betrayals (that is, gaming the thumb system), but ‘twas for the greater good, I swear it! As you can see from the screenshot above, that high visibility — combined with a ready-to-go thought-provoking question — earned more upvotes as the day wore on. Almost without fail, each seeded discussion question remained the top-voted comment on every post that week. And it seemed to be working — more and more comments seemed to be good quality. Great quality. Sometimes even fantastic quality. (I just shivered.)

What’s spam to me might be a sandwich to you.

Now, quality is a very subjective thing. I can’t vouch for the absolute science of this experiment, because it was very squarely rooted in a subjective analysis of the comments. But when we compared the results from our experiment week (8/1 through 8/5) to two separate weeks in which we didn’t make any special effort in the comments (7/18 through 7/22 and 6/27 through 7/1), the results were quite telling.

Cut to the chase — what happened?!

Manually going through the comments section of each post, I tallied how many comments I considered high-quality or useful that were not given by the author, and how many comments I considered so thin or spammy as to be detrimental to the section as a whole.

For the control week of June 27th through July 1st, 26% of total comments were high-quality and 26% were spammy.

For the control week of July 18th through July 22nd, 23% were high-quality and 29% were spammy.

For the week of our discussion questions, August 1st through August 5th, 35% of total comments were high-quality and 11% were spammy.

My subjective, unscientific experiment had great results. Since then, I’ve asked our authors to contribute discussion questions to kick off a good conversation in the comments. Every time, I can anecdotally say that the commentary was more vibrant, more overtly helpful, and more alive than when we don’t meddle.

You like it, you really like it!

Seeded discussion questions far and away have more upvotes than your regularly scheduled top comments. Often they top the double digits, and this very apt discussion question by Gianluca (a long-time supporter and champion of the Moz community) earned a whopping 27 thumbs pointing toward the heavens:


In addition, people are answering those questions. They’re answering each other answering those questions. The questions are helping to get the gears turning, adding another layer of thoughtfulness to a piece that you otherwise might be content to skim and then bounce off to another magical corner of the Internet.

The greatest and most humbling triumph, of course, would be to help transform the spammers into supporters, to inspire everyone to think critically and communicate boldly. If even one person hesitates before dropping in a promotional link and instead asks the community’s advice, my spirit shall rest easy forevermore.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sure, there are still comment spammers. There have always been comment spammers. And, though it pains me to say it, there will always be comment spammers. It’s just a part of life we must accept, like the mud that comes along with a beautifully rainy Seattle afternoon or when your last sip of delicious coffee is muddled with grounds.

But I want to give you hope, O ye commenters and readers and editors of the world. You need not sacrifice the intrinsic goodness of a community-led comments section to the ravages of spam. There is another way. And though the night is dark and full of spammers, we’re strong enough and smart enough to never yield, to hold firm to our values, and to nourish what goodness and helpfulness we can in our humble territory of the Internet.

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