What is Moz (and Can It Help Your Business)?Claude Harrington 12.28.2015
Last month, we took a closer look at three popular marketing automation providers (Act-On, Marketo and Hubspot) and examined how these services might be able to help business owners. Now, in a similar spirit, we’re going to explore the offerings from a couple of the leading SEO service providers. These are software companies whose tools are designed to help users better optimize their visibility on search engines.
Let’s kick off the week by taking a closer look at Moz…
According to Moz, 85% of the users who sign up to try their software come through organic search, social media and referrals. We mention this primarily to demonstrate that Moz practices what they preach; utilizing SEO to power their inbound marketing strategy. We’ll get more into how they’re able to accomplish this shortly, but first a little background on the company:
Moz (originally called SEOmoz) was founded in 2004 by Rand Fishkin and his mother Gillian Muessig as a forward-thinking SEO consulting company. During these early days of the Internet–where businesses famously tried to improve their search rankings by doing things like hiding keywords throughout their website–Moz distinguished itself in a couple of important ways:
- Analytics: Diverging from that trojan-horse mentality so commonly used with keywords back then, Moz made a concerted effort to understand the science behind search engine rankings (and the art behind using these metrics successfully). To this point, Moz first gained national attention in October 2005 after releasing their “Top 10 Ranking Factors“
- Values: In addition to providing a more sophisticated SEO approach, Moz also attracted a devoted following by promoting (and adhering to) what they call their “TAGFEE code.” This is a series of six tenets that directly reflect Moz’s mission: “to be as Transparent, Authentic, Generous, Fun, Empathetic, and Exceptional as possible.”
The details above are more than just backstory, but rather foreshadows the suite of features that Moz currently offers today. Since 2007, when the company launched a consumer product called “SEOmoz Pro,”–effectively transforming from consultancy to software as service (SaaS) provider–Moz has sought to equip users with the best SEO tools on the market.
So let’s take a look at some of our favorite amenities that Moz Pro, the company’s flagship product, has to offer:
[Note: Some of the features below are also offered by competing SEO service providers. That said, these featured are included here because we found them to be particularly noteworthy]
Welcome to Campaign Season: Although the phrase “SEO campaign” is by no means unique to Moz, the interface of their software, from dashboard to workflow, really hammers home the point: your business is constantly embroiled in a campaign for attention and recognition with the hopes that, ultimately, customers will cast their votes on your business.
To work towards that end goal, Moz Pro places a particular emphasis on the following areas:
Visibility: On a global level, Moz Pro enables you to track keywords weekly for Google, Bing, and Yahoo in 200+ countries. In addition to this macro level look at your web presence, Moz also tracks geo-targeted keywords to generate local rankings, as well as places an emphasis on the oft-underrated value of mobile rankings.
Authoritative Metrics: Moz prides itself on providing industry-leading metrics, particularly with regards to hierarchical information such as Page Authority and Domain Authority. Viewing the web through this lens helps provide users with what feels almost like a map for the navigational journey ahead.
Links: In addition to measuring your backlinks, most valuable pages and anchor text, Moz Pro also proactively looks for unlinked mentions and competitive link opportunities.
Keyword Analysis: With Smart SERP Analysis, Moz Pro provides comprehensive keyword-based data (i.e. which words are ranking, who’s searching, where the traffic is generating, etc.)
Helps Get Your House in Order: One of the most immediate benefits to Moz Pro is that their initial crawl will point out issues on your website in need of repair. Things such as broken links, duplicate content, missing page elements, etc. They also offer something called “Crawl Alerts” that will notify you of new problems as they arise.
While the site crawl helps detects ongoing issues, Moz Pro’s Page Optimization reports will help you get the most out of what you already have (with regards to searchability.
These are just two of the features that can help you maximize your SEO potential, but there are certainly many more useful tools. Nevertheless it should be noted that these are tools that help you make the most of what you have but that, very importantly, you still have to have those things in the first place (meaning the commitment to create content and run/grow your campaign). They, of course, don’t replace doing the work but are there to help you maximize the power and value of that work.
Whiteboard Fridays: No, it’s not quite whiteboard animation, but Moz’s “Whiteboard Fridays” are similarly educational and entertaining. That’s because, at the end of every week, Moz releases a short video (usually about 10-15 minutes, and usually featuring founder Rand Fishkin) that discusses SEO news, observations and strategies.
What’s nice about these sessions is not only that Fishkin is accessible and charismatic (although he is definitely both) but also that these videos provide fresh, in-the-moment updates for what is obviously an ever-evolving landscape.
Whether you subscribe to Moz or not, these videos are freely available on YouTube. Here are a few of our favorites:
If you are interested in learning more about Moz, they offer a 30-day free trial.[starbox]