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Page Experience is Here to Stay: Moz Launches Performance Metrics Suite

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Page Experience is Here to Stay: Moz Launches Performance Metrics Suite

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.

Way back in April 2021, I had the honor of announcing a new beta Moz product: Performance Metrics. It arrived just in time for SEOs to track and improve their sites through the anticipated May launch of Google’s Page Experience update. We uniquely offered at-scale tracking and issue identification against Core Web Vital metrics for hundreds of URLs per campaign, rather than the handful of URLs available in competing tools at the time.

Back then, we (correctly) anticipated a minimal initial impact from the update, but even we didn’t foresee Google’s delay of the full rollout until August. However, sites are now seeing a real world impact from Core Web Vitals, as our recent study showed back in October. Google is talking about extending that impact to desktop from February or March 2022 (something that our tool has always allowed you to compare cohesively in one campaign), and it seems likely that the importance of these ranking factors will only increase.

Now is the time, then, for us to bring Performance Metrics out of beta and help our customers prepare for the next stage of Google’s Page Experience update this spring. Today, we’re announcing the full launch of Performance Metrics, including a host of new features and improvements based on the feedback we’ve received from early adopters, as well as our own experts and data.

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What’s new

Many users have already been enjoying the bulk analysis, issue identification, and tailored, tactical advice we’ve been offering in Performance Metrics. However, since the beta launch, customers have consistently asked for automated, scheduled testing of lists of URLs, and displays of page performance over time. This makes total sense to us — tracking improvements to see the fruits of your efforts, and identifying when any issues appear, are both great uses for the tool. As such, we’ve included both of these features in the full launch.

Of course, the on-demand analysis you might have already been enjoying in the beta is still there, but with some UI improvements along the way. In particular, you can now re-test the same page multiple times per day, if you want to take some new changes for a quick spin.

Last but not least, as this tool is no longer in beta, you can now also track all of this alongside metrics like visibility, DA, Spam Score and any and all other Moz Pro data in custom scheduled reports.

Why now?

Core Web Vitals are for life, not just for Christmas. Yes, the update finally arrived in August 2021, but that was only the start of the journey — we can and should expect Google to ramp up the importance of these metrics as they gain confidence in the quality and coverage of their own data, and in the health of affected websites.

There’s also the desktop rollout this spring that I mentioned above. Lastly, there may be two new metrics coming — which we’ll of course be integrating into our product once they’re confirmed — probably relating to smoothness and responsiveness. Google has previously indicated an annual cadence of updates to Core Web Vitals, so as an industry we shouldn’t be surprised by this.

As a reminder, by late last year we were already seeing slower pages suffer in rankings, and Google’s methodology of using CrUX data means that sites will often be judged by their most highly trafficked pages.

Our Performance Metrics tool, even in beta, was designed to help marketers prioritize pages to work on, and then issues to address, within this paradigm — we let you sort pages by traffic or ranking or PA, analyze or track whichever ones interest you without limiting you to one page at a time, then see which pages are failing in which areas, and what specific issues and elements are causing those problems. Which might be leaving you wondering…

How to use Performance Metrics in Moz Pro

When you log into Performance Metrics (Moz Pro -> Campaigns -> Site Crawl), you’ll now see there are two tabs in the overview:

The second tab shows URLs which will be automatically tracked over time. You can add to this list using the same filters and menu that you might be familiar with from the beta. Just scroll down on the first tab, and you’ll see a table like this:

1642540927 777 Page Experience is Here to Stay Moz Launches Performance Metrics

Here you can add URLs in bulk or individually to analyze, track, or perform other actions.

To make things even easier, you can filter the table and charts even further, to include only your top ranking, top traffic, or top Page Authority pages:

1642540928 541 Page Experience is Here to Stay Moz Launches Performance Metrics

Within the tracked tab, you’ll then gradually start to see charts form like this one:

1642540928 276 Page Experience is Here to Stay Moz Launches Performance Metrics

And, when you inspect the individual URLs, you can see their own performance over time, as well as specific changes to individual metrics, and tailored advice on what to improve – down to individual resources or elements that need to be addressed, and jargon-free tips from the Moz team.

There’s more detailed guidance available over at the help section, and of course our customer support team is there for you with any questions.

Focus for 2021

There’s more to SEO than Core Web Vitals, but that doesn’t mean you can take your eye off the ball. Focus on a holistic user experience that will be robust to future metrics and tweaks from Google, and particularly on your high traffic pages that are more likely to be the basis for any judgment cast on your site. Lastly, remember your competitors aren’t standing still — they may even be reading this very blog post and using our Performance Metrics suite. The goal posts march inexorably forth.

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Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

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Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

Did you follow the Apple iPad Pro content debacle?

Here’s a quick recap. A recent online ad for the new iPad Pro showed a large hydraulic press slowly crushing various symbols of creativity. A metronome, a piano, a record player, a video game, paints, books, and other creative tools splinter and smash as the Sonny and Cher song All I Ever Need Is You plays.

The ad’s title? “Crush!”

The point of the commercial — I think — is to show that Apple managed to smush (that’s the technical term) all this heretofore analog creativity into its new, very thin iPad Pro.  

To say the ad received bad reviews is underselling the response. Judgment was swift and unrelenting. The creative world freaked out.

On X, actor Hugh Grant shared Tim Cook’s post featuring the ad and added this comment: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

When fellow actor Justine Bateman shared the Tim Cook post, she simply wrote, “Truly, what is wrong with you?” Other critiques ranged from tone-challenged to wasteful to many worse things.

Actor Justine Bateman shared Tim Cook’s post on X, which featured the ad, and added this comment: "Truly, what is wrong with you?".

A couple of days later, Apple apologized and canceled plans to air the ad on television.

How not-so-great content ideas come to life

The level of anger surprises me. Look, the ad does show the eyeballs on an emoji-faced squishy ball popping under the plates’ pressure, but still. Calling the ad “actually psychotic” might be a skosh over the top.

Yes, the ad missed the mark. And the company’s subsequent decision to apologize makes sense.

But anyone who’s participated in creating a content misfire knows this truth: Mistakes look much more obvious in hindsight.

On paper, I bet this concept sounded great. The brainstorming meeting probably started with something like this: “We want to show how the iPad Pro metaphorically contains this huge mass of creative tools in a thin and cool package.”

Maybe someone suggested representing that exact thing with CGI (maybe a colorful tornado rising from the screen). Then someone else suggested showing the actual physical objects getting condensed would be more powerful.

Here’s my imagined version of the conversation that might have happened after someone pointed out the popular internet meme of things getting crushed in a hydraulic press.

“People love that!”

“If we add buckets of paint, it will be super colorful and cool.”

“It’ll be a cooler version of that LG ad that ran in 2008.”

“Exactly!”

“It’ll be just like that ad where a bus driver kidnaps and subsequently crushes all the cute little Pokémon characters in a bus!” (Believe it or not, that was actually a thing.)

The resulting commercial suffers from the perfect creative storm: A not-great (copycat) idea at the absolutely wrong time.

None of us know what constraints Apple’s creative team worked under. How much time did they have to come up with a concept? Did they have time to test it with audiences? Maybe crushing physical objects fit into the budget better than CGI. All these factors affect the creative process and options (even at a giant company like Apple).

That’s not an excuse — it’s just reality.

Content failure or content mistake?

Many ad campaigns provoke a “What the hell were they thinking?” response (think Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad or those cringy brand tributes that follow celebrity deaths).

Does that mean they’re failures? Or are they mistakes? And what’s the difference?

As I wrote after Peloton’s holiday ad debacle (remember that?), people learn to fear mistakes early on. Most of us hear cautionary messages almost from day one.

Some are necessary and helpful (“Don’t stick a knife in a live toaster” or “Look both ways before you cross the street.”) Some aren’t (“Make that essay perfect” or “Don’t miss that goal.”)

As a result, many people grow up afraid to take risks — and that hampers creativity. The problem arises from conflating failure and mistakes. It helps to know the difference.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1987 to become a rock ‘n’ roll musician. I failed. But it wasn’t a mistake. I wasn’t wrong to try. My attempt just didn’t work.

Labeling a failed attempt a “mistake” feeds the fears that keep people from attempting anything creative.

The conflation of failure and mistakes happens all too often in creative marketing. Sure, people create content pieces (and let’s not forget that there are always people behind those ideas) that genuinely count as mistakes.

They also create content that simply fails.

Don’t let extreme reactions make you fear failures

Here’s the thing about failed content. You can do all the work to research your audience and take the time to develop and polish your ideas — and the content still might fail. The story, the platform, or the format might not resonate, or the audience simply might not care for it. That doesn’t mean it’s a mistake.

Was the Apple ad a mistake? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Was it a failure? The vitriolic response indicates yes.

Still, the commercial generated an impressive amount of awareness (53 million views of the Tim Cook post on X, per Variety.) And, despite the apology, the company hasn’t taken the ad down from its YouTube page where it’s earned more than 1 million views.

The fictional Captain Jean Luc Picard once said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness. That is life.” The Apple ad turns that statement on its head — Apple made many mistakes and still won a tremendous amount of attention.

I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t criticize creative work. Constructive critiques help us learn from our own and others’ failures. You can even have a good laugh about content fails.

Just acknowledge, as the Roman philosopher Cicero once wrote, “Not every mistake is a foolish one.” 

Creative teams take risks. They try things outside their comfort zone. Sometimes they fail (sometimes spectacularly).

But don’t let others’ expressions of anger over failures inhibit your willingness to try creative things.

Wouldn’t you love to get the whole world talking about the content you create? To get there, you have to risk that level of failure.

And taking that risk isn’t a mistake.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 



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The Future of Content Success Is Social

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

Writing a book is a gargantuan task, and reaching the finish line is a feat equal to summiting a mountain.

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