When you run a startup or small business, sometimes it’s difficult to know when to handle projects yourself and when to hire an expert. For entrepreneurs whose expertise doesn’t lie in tech, search engine optimization often falls into this gray area – should you shell out the money to hire an SEO expert or agency, or is it something you can DIY?
Today we’re talking about a tool that can help tremendously with getting your site’s SEO on track, even if you aren’t an SEO expert and don’t have one on your payroll: Moz.
What is Moz?
Moz (the artist formerly known as SEOMoz), is one of the big names in SEO analytics software. At $99/month, their Moz Pro subscription includes a full suite of tools for tracking your website’s search ranking, link profile, site traffic, SEO and much more. It has so many tools and reports, in fact, that it can be quite overwhelming to a newbie, especially if you don’t have much background knowledge about SEO.
Today we’re providing a general overview of what Moz has to offer. If you are considering whether a paid SEO analytics subscription is right for you, we hope this review is helpful.
When you sign up to start a free trial with Moz Pro, the first step is to create your campaigns. You can have up to five campaigns at one time, and each campaign represents one brand’s website. So on our account, for instance, we have a campaign for Belle Communications, and then additional campaigns for several of our clients.
To add a new campaign, Moz will guide you through a series of steps – connecting your Google Analytics and social accounts, entering the keywords you wish to track and listing any competitors you’d like to monitor.
You can have up to 350 keywords between all of your campaigns (an average of 70 per campaign). If you have already optimized your site with target keywords, enter those here. If you haven’t yet, no worries. Enter keywords that you’d like to rank for, or that you think people might be using to search for companies like yours. Moz will later help you identify additional “keyword opportunities” that are already bringing organic traffic to your site.
Note: A lot of the data that Moz collects comes from Google Analytics, so it’s really helpful to have an Analytics account already set up if you are going to use Moz tools.
Moz Analytics Review: Features and Tools
Moz offers several tools to show you how well your site is optimized for search engine ranking, as well as how it is performing in search results. There are reports to show you how much traffic is coming to your site from organic (unpaid) search and which keywords are bringing those visitors to your site. You know the keywords you entered when you set up your campaign? This is where you can see how well you rank for each of those keywords.
The Crawl Diagnostics report is particularly useful. Moz will crawl your site once a week and show you any issues that need to be corrected in order to improve SEO, including the priority level of what you should fix first.
If you connect your social accounts in Moz, this section of analytics will show you what percentage of site traffic comes from social media and provide an overview of activity on your social networks (total fans/followers + number of interactions). It also shows a list of your most engaging posts so you can tweak your social media strategy based on what’s working and what isn’t.
Links are an important piece of the SEO puzzle. Things like the number of sites you link out to, the number of other sites linking to yours and the quality and authority of those sites – collectively known as your site’s “link profile” – all factor into how well your site ranks in search results.
The Links section of Moz Analytics shows you how well you’re doing in this area. You can view the number of External Followed Links (links from your site to another site), Linking Root Domains (sites linking to yours, aka inbound links), and your site’s Domain Authority. Domain Authority is a score from 1-100 that Moz assigns to your website to indicate how well the domain is expected to perform in search results. The higher your score, the better. For more on this topic, here’s a good article on how to improve your domain authority.
In this section you can also view Link Opportunities – places around the web where your brand is being mentioned without a link back to your site. With this information, you could potentially reach out to those external sites that are talking about you and ask them to include a link (if they are reputable and authoritative sites, of course).
Brand & Mentions
The Brand & Mentions section works similarly to Google Alerts or Talkwalker. You put in your brand name and any other brand names you wish to track (such as competitors or variations of your company name), and Moz will show you any mentions of these brand keywords that happen anywhere on the web.
Whether you’re using Moz for your own company or for your clients, the reporting features are fantastic. You can export any individual reports from any of the analytics sections or sub-sections, or you can design a custom report to include only the info you want.
With the custom reporting feature, you can add notes, move sections around and even schedule the custom report to be automatically emailed to you at the frequency of your choice (daily, weekly or monthly).
The Bottom Line
Moz encompasses such a robust set of tools with so many different features and capabilities, this review has really only scratched the surface of how you can use it for monitoring and improving your SEO and marketing efforts. There’s a whole set of additional research and analysis tools we didn’t even cover here – maybe we’ll cover those in a separate post!
Bottom line: For our agency, we find Moz to be a highly valuable tool that is worth the price tag. If you want to invest in SEO but hiring an SEO expert or agency to work on your site is out of the budget, Moz can serve as a great guide and resource for helping you do it successfully on your own.
Interested in learning more about SEO? Check out Moz’s free Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
What tools or resources would you like to see us cover next in our Toolkit Tuesday series? Leave a comment below.