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Announcing the Local SEO Certification from Moz Academy

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Announcing the Local SEO Certification from Moz Academy

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

43% of people tasked with marketing local businesses say there just aren’t enough resources available to teach them local SEO. Today, Moz is debuting our Local SEO Certification program to fulfill this need. With this well-organized, engaging video course, you can learn at your own pace, take an exam, and earn a certificate and LinkedIn badge as proof of your achievement.

As a contributor to the development of this new Moz Academy educational opportunity, I recommend it to:

  • Enterprises and agencies that need to solidify or increase their local SEO skills to contribute to company growth.

  • SEOs who need to advance their careers by expanding into the rapidly-growing world of local SEO.

  • Local SEOs who want confirmation that they are current in best practices, or to dispel some of the worries of all-too-common imposter syndrome.

  • Local business owners who know their companies can’t reach full potential without great local search marketing.

The Moz Academy Local SEO Certification covers all of the following material in an approachable, enjoyable five-part video series, led and presented by Moz’s Senior Learning and Development Specialist, Meghan Pahinui.

Take the course!

What will you learn?

Part 1 — Map Your Route: Understand the Fundamentals

No matter where you are in your SEO journey, it’s essential to understand how the foundational elements relate to local SEO. You’ll learn the cornerstones of local SEO, and how you should prepare when jumping into any local SEO strategy.

Part 2 — Look Both Ways: Understand Your Competition & Where You Stand

In Part 2, you’ll learn all about the concept of local search marketing, which segues into a method for creating a list of target keywords for your business. You’ll perform a preliminary location data audit for your business, and compare it to your competitors to get a better idea of how you stack up.

Part 3 — Start Your Journey: Establish a Business in the Local Space

There are a variety of citations that you or a customer may encounter for your business, and it’s important to know what they are, the differences between them, and how you can leverage them for your business! You’ll learn about the local search ecosystem, and how information moves throughout this complex environment. We’ll also discuss what a Google Business Profile is, why it’s important, and how it impacts visibility, then walk you through the setup.

Part 4 — Ask for Directions: Reputation Management & Community Engagement

Your engagement with the community and your customer base, as well as their engagement with you, starts with creating a strategy for reputation management. You’ll learn all about what reputation management is, its impact on your business, and a solid plan for building a strong and sustainable online presence. We’ll talk about customer reviews, customer service, and social media, as well as how you can build localized content and links.

Part 5 — On the Road Again: Ongoing Maintenance & How to Measure Success

You’ll start Part 5 with learning all about the ongoing tasks you can expect to perform to keep your local SEO strategy in tip-top shape. We’ll discuss a few of the bumps you may hit with Google Business Profile, and dive into the most common propagation issues you may encounter, and how to manage them effectively and efficiently. Finally, you’ll learn how to measure success, and implement changes to your business’s local SEO plan!

By the end of this course, you will be well-prepared to begin analyzing local businesses and marketing them online. Once you’ve completed your 5 hours and 45 minutes of training, you will have the opportunity to take an exam to earn your certificate and LinkedIn badge to display your accomplishment to professional peers, employers, and potential clients.

Why take this course?

If you’re wondering how learning about local SEO will benefit you, consider that over the past two decades, Google has increasingly hitched its star to the local component of its offerings. Their local business listing index is unparalleled, their review corpus has surpassed Yelp’s, and they are steadily weaving local businesses into their powerful visual and shopping interfaces.

Meanwhile, local businesses dominate commerce in terms of sheer numbers: 80% of discretionary spending occurs within 20 miles of home, and the public is now deeply habituated to using the Internet to facilitate this spending. Instead of missing out on all of this activity, you will gain a passkey to it with this modest investment in education, focused on what has arguably become the area of SEO with both the greatest growth potential and the strongest staying power. It’s a safe and smart bet.

Education is always good, in itself, but here, you’ll have the chance to take bright, lively, enjoyable lessons that you can immediately begin applying to your daily work, building out the skill set you bring to employers, teams, and clients because you’ve developed your confidence in local SEO. Purchase your course today and enjoy real progress along your personal local search journey!

Take the course!

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts


Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.

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