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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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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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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Opting-Out of Google Featured Snippets Led to 12% Traffic Loss [SEO Experiment]

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard Note: This post was co-authored by Cyrus Shepard and Rida Abidi . Everyone wants to win Google featured snippets. Right? At least, it used to be that way. Winning the featured snippet typically meant extra traffic, in part because Google showed your URL twice: once in the featured snippet and again in regular search results. For publishers, this was known as " double-dipping ." All that changed in January when Google announced they would de-duplicate search results to show the featured snippet URL only once on the first page of results. No more double-dips. Publishers worried because older studies suggested winning featured snippets drove less actual traffic than the "natural" top ranking result. With the new change, winning the featured snippet might actually now lead to less traffic, not more. This led many SEOs to speculate: should you opt-out of featured snippets altogether? Are featured snippets causing …

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We Analyzed 11.8 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO

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We recently analyzed 11.8 million Google search results to answer the question: Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings? We looked at content. We looked at backlinks. We even looked at page speed. With the help of our data partner Ahrefs , we uncovered some interesting findings. And today I’m going to share what we found with you. Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings: 1. Our data shows that a site’s overall link authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating) strongly correlates with higher rankings. 2. Pages with lots of backlinks rank above pages that don’t have as many backlinks. In fact, the #1 result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2-#10. 3. Comprehensive content with a high “Content Grade” (via Clearscope ), significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth. 4. We found no correlation between page loading speed …

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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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How to Get Quick Results With SEO Sprints: The DriveSafe Case Study

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Posted by ChristopherHofman Currently, many businesses face challenging times and are moving their SEO budget to disciplines which offer quicker wins. But you can also create instant results with SEO, and it can be done on a small budget even when you are up against bigger players in your industry. In this blog post I will show you my framework to do SEO sprints. I will show you how you can use Google’s ability to index and rank faster to your advantage. Later, you will be presented with a case study, where we used SEO sprints for a chain of opticians. The result: an increase in bookings of vision tests of 73%. But first, let's have a look at the layout on page one of Google (for most queries). Google never took SEOs into account when designing for the user. As a result, their transformation over the last few years …

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The Theory Behind Ranking Factors — Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by rjonesx. Since day one of SEO, marketers have tried to determine what factors Google takes into account when ranking results on the SERPs. In this brand new Whiteboard Friday, Russ Jones discusses the theory behind those ranking factors, and gives us some improved definitions and vocabulary to use when discussing them. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hi, folks. Welcome back to another Whiteboard Friday. Today, we're going to be talking about ranking factors and the theory behind them, and hopefully get past some of these — let's say controversies — that have come up over the years, when we've really just been talking past one another. You see, ranking factors have been with us since pretty much day one of search engine optimization. We have been trying as SEOs to identify exactly what influences the …

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Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero

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Posted by Dr-Pete In 2014, Google introduced the featured snippet, a promoted organic ranking that we affectionately (some days were more affectionate than others) referred to as "position zero" or "ranking #0." One of the benefits to being in position zero was that you got to double-dip, with your organic listing appearing in both the featured snippet and page-1 results (usually in the top 3–4). On January 23, Google announced a significant change (which rolled out globally on January 22) ... "Declutters" sounds innocuous, but the impact to how we think about featured snippets and organic rankings is significant. So, let's dig deep into some examples and the implications for SEO. What does this mean for Moz? First, a product announcement. In the past, we treated Featured Snippets as stand-alone SERP features — they were identified in our "SERP Features" report but were not treated as organic due to the …

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17 Advanced SEO Techniques for 2020

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This is a list of 17 advanced SEO strategies, techniques and tactics. In fact, these strategies have helped my site bring in 350,973 visitors per month from Google. So if you’re sick of reading the same old beginners stuff (“create great content!”), you’ll really enjoy this list. 1. Rank for “Journalist Keywords” 2. Use Animated Images to Improve Time On Site 3. Create Content Hubs 4. Target Comparison Keywords 5. Use Dynamic Parameters for Pagination 6. Build Backlinks With Podcasts 7. Forge a Content Alliance 8. Maximize SERP Real Estate 9. Embed Original Images In Your Content 10. Optimize Your Content For Keyword Relevance 11. Create a Comments Section On Your Blog 12. Uncover People Also Ask Keywords 13. Add “Content Features” To Your Page 14. Publish Topic + Year Content 15. Get Backlinks From Unlinked Brand Mentions 16. Optimize for Google Discover 17. Find Low-Competition Keywords From Reddit Bonus …

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