Are H1 Tags Necessary for Ranking? [SEO Experiment]

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard In earlier days of search marketing, SEOs often heard the same two best practices repeated so many times it became implanted in our brains: Wrap the title of your page in H1 tags Use one — and only one — H1 tag per page These suggestions appeared in audits, SEO tools, and was the source of constant head shaking. Conversations would go like this: "Silly CNN. The headline on that page is an H2. That's not right!" "Sure, but is it hurting them?" "No idea, actually." Over time, SEOs started to abandon these ideas, and the strict concept of using a single H1 was replaced by "large text near the top of the page." Google grew better at content analysis and understanding how the pieces of the page fit together. Given how often publishers make mistakes with HTML markup, it makes sense that they would try to figure it out for themselves. The question comes up so often, Google's John Muller addressed it in a Webmaster Hangout : "You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There's no limit — neither upper nor lower bound. H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings, so I would use them in the proper way on a page. And especially with HTML5, having multiple H1 elements on a page is completely normal and kind of expected. So it's not something that you need to worry about. And some SEO tools flag this as an issue and say like 'oh you don't have any H1 tag' or 'you have two H1 tags.' From our point of view, that's not a critical issue. From a usability point of view, maybe it makes sense to improve that. So, it's not that I would completely ignore those suggestions, but I wouldn't see it as a critical issue. Your site can do perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags." Despite these assertions from one of Google's most trusted authorities, many SEOs remained skeptical, wanting to "trust but verify" instead. So of course, we decided to test it... with science! Craig Bradford of Distilled noticed that the Moz Blog — this very one — used H2s for headlines instead of H1s (a quirk …

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Title Tags SEO: When to Include Your Brand and/or Boilerplate

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard If your websites are like most, they include a fair amount of extra "stuff" in the title tags : things like your brand name or repeating boilerplate text that appears across multiple pages. Should you include these elements in your titles automatically? To be fair, most sites do. Alternatively, could it help your SEO to actually include less information in your titles? (Or at least in specific circumstances?) We know from a handful of studies that titles of a certain length tend to perform better. A now-famous study from the engineers at Etsy showed how shorter titles performed better than longer ones . SEOs speculate that this could be because shorter titles can have more focused relevancy (by focusing on core keywords), might earn higher click-through rates, or some other reason we can't imagine. When choosing which part of a title to shorten, brand names and boilerplate …

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21 Smart Google SEO Tips for 2021

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard Happy new year, readers! We're back with a brand new season of Whiteboard Friday episodes for your viewing pleasure. First up: Moz SEO expert Cyrus Shepard shares his top 21 tips for successful Google SEO in 2021, including what to prioritize and what to look out for in the year ahead. He's also included a bunch of helpful resources for your reference in the transcription below! Watch and enjoy, and as always, leave your questions and your own suggestions in the comment section.       Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I'm Cyrus Shepard. Today, so glad that you can join us. We are talking about 21 smart Google SEO tips for 2021. We're getting ready for a new year, a …

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How to Detect and Improve Underperforming Content: A Guide to Optimization

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Posted by SamuelMangialavori Content, content, and more content! That’s what SEO is all about nowadays, right? Compared to when I started working in SEO (2014), today, content is consistently one of the most popular topics covered at digital marketing conferences, there are way more tools that focus on content analysis and optimization, and overall it seems to dominate most of SEO news. Don’t believe me? Here’s a nice Google Trends graph that may change your mind: Google Trends screenshot for “content marketing” as a topic, set for worldwide interest. But why is it that content is now dominating the SEO scene? How vital is content for your SEO strategy, actually? And most importantly: how can you be content with your site’s content? Puns aside, this post aims to help you figure out potential causes of your underperforming content and how to improve it. Why content is key in SEO in …

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7 SEO Processes That Get Easier with Increased PageRank/Domain Authority - Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard A rising tide lifts all ships — and it's similar story with increased site authority. What factors are affected as you improve PageRank or Domain Authority, and how? In today's Whiteboard Friday, Cyrus details seven SEO processes that are made easier by a strong investment in link building and growing your authority. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I'm Cyrus Shepard. Quick Whiteboard this week. I want to talk about links. We know in SEO we love links. Everybody wants links. But why? What do links do for you? They do a surprising amount for you that we sometimes don't realize. So the title of today's Whiteboard, "7 SEO Processes That Get Easier with Increased PageRank and Domain Authority." So why did we choose PageRank …

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4 SEO Strategies for Programmatic Sites

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Posted by Royh Planning and executing SEO strategies for sites with hundreds of millions of pages is no easy task, but there are strategies to make it simpler. Programmatic pages are pages that have been generated automatically on a very large scale. SEO strategies for these pages are used to target multiple keyword variations by creating landing pages at that scale automatically. You’ll typically find these pages in major verticals like e-commerce, real estate, travel, and informational sites. These verticals are relying on programmatic pages to build their SEO strategy, and they have a dedicated page for each product and category. This set up can lead to hundreds of millions of pages — they’re efficient, functional, and user-friendly, however, they do come with some SEO challenges. In my experience, the comprehensive SEO strategy covered in this post works best when tailored to fit a large site with programmatic pages. Many …

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Content Authority: Potential Measures of Authoritative Content - Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by rjonesx. When it boils down to it, every idea in SEO can be understood as a set of measurements we use to rank one page over another. And that means that when it comes to measuring a concept like the authoritativeness of your content, there are almost certainly factors that you can analyze and tweak to improve it. But if Google were to use a measure of content authority, what might go into it? Against what yardstick should SEOs be measuring their content's E-A-T? In this episode of Whiteboard Friday, Russ Jones walks us through a thought experiment as to what exactly might constitute a "content authority" score and how you can begin to understand your content's expertise like Google.   Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hey, folks, this is Russ Jones here with another …

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Defense Against the Dark Arts: Why Negative SEO Matters, Even if Rankings Are Unaffected

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Posted by rjonesx. Negative SEO can hurt your website and your work in search, even when your rankings are unaffected by it. In this week's Whiteboard Friday, search expert Russ Jones dives into what negative SEO is, what it can affect beyond rankings, and tips on how to fight it. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription All right, folks. Russ Jones here and I am so excited just to have the opportunity to do any kind of presentation with the title "Defense Against the Dark Arts." I'm not going to pretend like I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, but anyway, this is just going to be fun. But what I want to talk about today is actually pretty bad. It's the reality that negative SEO, even if it is completely ineffective at doing its primary goal, which is …

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Risk-Averse Link Building - Best of Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by rjonesx. Building links is an incredibly common request of agencies and consultants, and some ways to go about it are far more advisable than others. Whether you're likely to be asked for this work or you're looking to hire someone for it, it's a good idea to have a few rules of thumb. In this classic Whiteboard Friday chock full of evergreen advice, Russ Jones breaks things down. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hey, folks, welcome to another great Whiteboard Friday. I am Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist here at Moz. I get to do a lot of great research, but I'll tell you, my first love in SEO is link building. The 10 years I spent before joining Moz, I worked at an agency and we did a lot of it, and I'll tell you, …

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8 major Google ranking factors — SEO guide

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The SEO community is always looking for new ranking factors and we have discovered over two hundred of them so far. But there may be hundreds more actually used by Google. Luckily, we don’t have to work on all of them. Most have very little weight in SEO and are often used as tie-breakers rather than ranking signals. Instead, here is the definitive list of Google ranking factors, each of which can make or break your search optimization strategy. 1. Backlinks Even though Google is planning to move away from backlinks in the future, they still remain the most important ranking factor for your pages. Except it is now too risky to use black hat SEO strategies — your links have to come from a variety of high authority websites that are similar to yours. Furthermore, some Google patents say that freshness and traffic may also be important backlink metrics. …

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They're Simply the Best: The Top 25 Moz Blog Posts of 2020

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Posted by morgan.mcmurray Here we are again — that time of year filled with wrap-ups and lookbacks and “best of” compilations. 2020 was a year like no other, and that’s certainly reflected in the topics covered by the blogs in the list below. We published 170 blog posts this year (including Whiteboard Friday episodes) — not too shabby for a year rife with personal and professional challenges! We’re looking forward to what 2021 has in store, but in case you missed anything, we’ve compiled the top 25 most-read pieces from the last 12 months*. You’ll find several Whiteboard Friday episodes (past and present), local SEO tips, and advice for empathetic marketing, along with the optimistic SEO predictions for 2020 and beyond — made in pre-COVID times. So without further ado, here are the best Moz Blog posts of 2020. Enjoy!   *The top 25 Moz Blog posts listed below …

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