It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already past. We entered the year with big ambitions and we’ve made some great strides. As has become tradition, I’ve compiled a rundown of some of the most interesting updates that you may have seen (or missed) this past year. We’ve intentionally focused on significant product updates, but I’ve also shared a little about some newer programs that provide value for customers in different ways.
TL;DR, here are some of the larger and more interesting additions to Moz in 2017:
- Keywords by Site: Keyword Explorer adds site-based keyword research and competitive intelligence
- Site Crawl V2: Overhauled Site Crawl for better auditing and workflow
- Major investments in infrastructure: Better performance and resilience across the Moz toolset
- New instructor-led training programs: Targeted classes to level-up your SEO knowledge
- Customer Success: Custom walkthroughs to help you get the most out of Moz
- Bonus! MozPod: Moz’s new free podcast keeps you up to date on the latest industry topics and trends
This year and last, we’ve been spending a disproportionate focus on releasing large infrastructural improvements, new datasets, and foundational product updates. We feel these are crucial elements that serve the core needs of SEOs and will fuel frequent improvements and iterations for years to come.
To kick things off, I wanted to share some details about two big updates from 2017.
1) Keywords by Site: Leveling up keyword research and intelligence
Rank tracking provides useful benchmarks and insights for specific, targeted keywords, but you can’t track all of the keywords that are relevant to you. Sometimes you need a broader look at how visible your sites (and your competitors’ sites) are in Google results.
We built Keywords by Site to provide this powerful view into your Google presence. This brand-new dataset in Moz significantly extends Keyword Explorer and improves the quality of results in many other areas throughout Moz Pro. Our US corpus currently includes 40 million Google SERPs updated every two weeks, and allows you to do the following:
See how visible your site is in Google results
This view not only shows how authoritative a site is from a linking perspective, but also shows how prominent a site is in Google search results.
Compare your ranking prominence to your competitors
Compare up to three sites to get a feel for their relative scale of visibility and keyword ranking overlap. Click on any section in the Venn diagram to view the keywords that fall into that section.
Dig deep: Sort, filter, and find opportunities, then stash them in keyword lists
For example, let’s say you’re looking to determine which pages or content on your site might only require a little nudge to garner meaningful search visibility and traffic. Run a report for your site in Keyword Explorer and then use the filters to quickly hone in on these opportunities:
Our focus on data quality
We’ve made a few decisions to help ensure the freshness and accuracy of our keyword corpus. These extend the cost and work to maintain this dataset, but we feel they make a discernible difference in quality.
- We recollect all of our keyword data every 2 weeks. This means that the results you see are more recent and more similar to the results on the day that you’re researching.
- We cycle up to 15 million of our keywords out on a monthly basis. This means that as new keywords or terms trend up in popularity, we add them to our corpus, replacing terms that are no longer getting much search volume.
A few improvements we’ve made since launch:
- Keyword recommendations in your campaigns (tracked sites) are much improved and now backed by our keyword corpus.
- These keyword suggestions are also included in your weekly insights, suggesting new keywords worth tracking and pages worth optimizing.
- Coming very soon: We’re also on the cusp of launching keyword corpuses for the UK, Canada, and Australia. Stay tuned.
A few resources to help you get more from Keywords by Site:
2) Site Crawl V2: Big enhancements to site crawling and auditing
Another significant project we completed in 2017 was a complete rewrite of our aging Site Crawler. In short, our new crawler is faster, more reliable, can crawl more pages, and surfaces more issues. We’ve also made some enhancements to the workflow, to make regular crawls more customizable and easy to manage. Here are a few highlights:
Week-over-week crawl comparisons
Our new crawler keeps tabs on what happened in your previous crawl to show you which specific issues are no longer present, and which are brand new.
Ignore (to hide) individual issues or whole issue types
This feature was added in response to a bunch of customer requests. While Moz does its best to call out the issues and priorities that apply to most sites, not all sites or SEOs have the same needs. For example, if you regularly noindex a big portion of your site, you don’t need us to keep reminding you that you’ve applied noindex to a huge number of pages. If you don’t want them showing your reports, just ignore individual issues or the entire issue type.
Another workflow improvement we added was the ability to mark an issue as fixed. This allows you to get it out of your way until the next crawl runs and verifies the fix.
All Pages view with improved sorting and filtering
If you’re prioritizing across a large number of pages or trying to track down an issue in a certain area of your site, you can now sort all pages crawled by Issue Count, Page Authority, or Crawl Depth. You can also filter to show, for instance, all pages in the /blog section of my site that are redirects, and have a crawl issue.
Recrawl to verify fixes
Moz’s crawler monitors your site by crawling it every week. But if you’ve made some changes and want to verify them, you can now recrawl your site in between regular weekly crawls instead of waiting for the next crawl the start.
Seven new issues checked and tracked
These include such favorites as detecting Thin Content, Redirect Chains, and Slow Pages. While we were at it, we revamped duplicate page detection and improved the UI to help you better analyze clusters of duplicate content and figure out which page should be canonical.
A few resources to help you get more from Site Crawl:
3) Major investments in infrastructure for performance and resilience
You may not have directly noticed many of the updates we’ve made this year. We made some significant investments in Moz Pro and Moz Local to make them faster, more reliable, and allow us to build new features more quickly. But here are a few tangible manifestations of these efforts:
“Infinite” history on organic Moz Pro search traffic reports
Okay, infinite is a bit of a stretch, but we used to only show the last 12 months or weeks of data. Now we’ll show data from the very inception of a campaign, broken down by weeks or months. This is made possible by an updated architecture that makes full historical data easy to surface and present in the application. It also allows for custom access to selected date ranges.
Also worth noting is that the new visualization shows how many different pages were receiving organic search traffic in context with total organic search traffic. This can help you figure out whether traffic increase was due to improved rankings across many pages, or just a spike in organic traffic for one or a few pages.
More timely and reliable access to Moz Local data at all scales
As Moz Local has brought on more and bigger customers with large numbers of locations, the team discovered a need to bolster systems for speed and reliability. A completely rebuilt scheduling system and improved core location data systems help ensure all of your data is collected and easy to access when you need it.
Improved local data distribution
Moz Local distributes your location data through myriad partners, each of which have their own formats and interfaces. The Local team updated and fine-tuned those third-party connections to improve the quality of the data and speed of distribution.
4) New instructor-led training programs: Never stop learning
Not all of our improvements this year have shown up in the product. Another investment we’ve made is in training. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for this over the years and are finally delivering. Brian Childs, our trainer extraordinaire, has built this program from the ground up. It includes:
- Boot camps to build up core skills
- Advanced Seminars to dig into more intensive topics
- Custom Training for businesses that want a more tailored approach
We have even more ambitious plans for 2018, so if training interests you, check out all of our training offerings here.
5) Customer Success: Helping customers get the most out of Moz
Our customer success program took off this year and has one core purpose: to help customers get maximum value from Moz. Whether you’re a long-time customer looking to explore new features or you’re brand new to Moz and figuring out how to get started, our success team offers product webinars every week, as well as one-on-one product walkthroughs tailored to your needs, interests, and experience level.
If you want to learn more about Moz Pro, check out a webinar or schedule a walkthrough.
Bonus! MozPod: Moz’s new free podcast made its debut
Okay, this really strays from product news, but another fun project that’s been gaining momentum is MozPod. This came about as a side passion project by our ever-ambitious head trainer. Lord knows that SEO and digital marketing are fast-moving and ever-changing; to help you keep up on hot topics and new developments, we’ve started the Mozpod. This podcast covers a range of topics, drawing from the brains of key folks in the industry. With topics ranging from structured data and app store optimization to machine learning and even blockchain, there’s always something interesting to learn about.
Join Brian every week for a new topic and guest:
We have a lot planned for 2018 — probably way too much. But one thing I can promise is that it won’t be a dull year. I prefer not to get too specific about projects that we’ve not yet started, but here are a few things already in the works:
- A significant upgrade to our link data and toolset
- On-demand Site Crawl
- Added keyword research corpuses for the UK, Australia, and Canada
- Expanded distribution channels for local to include Facebook, Waze, and Uber
- More measurement and analytics features around local rankings, categories, & keywords
- Verticalized solutions to address specific local search needs in the restaurant, hospitality, financial, legal, & medical sectors
On top of these and many other features we’re considering, we also plan to make it a lot easier for you to use our products. Right now, we know it can be a bit disjointed within and between products. We plan to change that.
We’ve also waited too long to solve for some specific needs of our agency customers. We’re prioritizing some key projects that’ll make their jobs easier and their relationships with Moz more valuable.
Before I go, I just want to thank you all for sharing your support, suggestions, and critical feedback. We strive to build the best SEO data and platform for our diverse and passionate customers. We could not succeed without you. If you’d like to be a part of making Moz a better platform, please let us know. We often reach out to customers and community members for feedback and insight, so if you’re the type who likes to participate in user research studies, customer interviews, beta tests, or surveys, please volunteer here.