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Demystifying Moz’s Domain Authority

In the ever-competitive world of SEO, website owners are constantly looking for ways to improve their search engine rankings. One popular metric used to gauge this is Moz’s Domain Authority (DA). But what exactly goes into calculating this score, and how much weight does it really hold?

What is Domain Authority?

Moz’s DA is a score (from 1 to 100) that predicts how likely a website is to rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s essentially a way to estimate a website’s overall SEO strength. While not a direct ranking factor used by Google, a higher DA score suggests a website has a better chance of achieving higher rankings.

Lifting the Lid on the Calculation

The exact formula for DA is a closely guarded secret, but Moz does shed some light on the factors it considers:

  • Link Profile: This is a big one. The quantity and quality of backlinks a website has play a major role. Links from high-authority websites carry more weight than those from low-quality sources.
  • Number of Linking Root Domains: The number of unique websites linking to yours is important. A diverse link profile with links from various domains is favorable.
  • Overall SEO Health: While Moz doesn’t disclose specifics, it’s believed that factors like on-page optimization, content quality, and technical SEO also contribute to DA.

It’s Not All About the Score

While DA is a valuable tool, it’s important to remember it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Here’s why you shouldn’t fixate solely on the score:

  • Not a Google Ranking Factor: Google doesn’t directly use DA in its ranking algorithm. Focus on creating high-quality content and optimizing your website for relevant keywords.
  • Focus on Quality, Not Quantity: Don’t fall into the trap of building backlinks at all costs. Prioritize acquiring natural links from reputable websites.
  • The Competitive Landscape Matters: A DA of 50 might be great for a local bakery, but less impressive for an e-commerce giant. Consider your industry benchmarks.

Moz’s DA: A Tool, Not a Holy Grail

Domain Authority is a helpful metric for gauging a website’s SEO strength and tracking progress over time. However, it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your SEO strategy. By creating valuable content, building a strong backlink profile, and optimizing your website for search engines, you’ll be well on your way to achieving top rankings, regardless of your DA score.

Additional Resources:

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Submit all website versions in Google Search Console

To ensure comprehensive visibility into your domain’s performance, Google recommends creating five variations of your domain:

  1. http://example.com
  2. http://www.example.com
  3. https://example.com
  4. https://www.example.com
  5. example.com

While this may appear redundant, it can be beneficial for several reasons. First, Google treats http and https as distinct sites, necessitating monitoring of both variations. Additionally, registering both www and non-www versions enables you to specify your preferred URL format to Google.

Depending on your verification method, you should be able to add all four variations without further verification steps. The DNS entry method is preferred due to its lower likelihood of accidental deletion.

Once created, these views can be consolidated into a single ‘set.’ Simply select ‘Create a set’ on the homepage, add all four URL variations, assign a name, and view consolidated data by selecting the set instead of individual URLs. The relatively newer option to create a domain asset can span all 4 of these variations, but it’s still a good practice to set up the four because it can be used to set some directives and specifically subdivide your traffic for troubleshooting.

Local Landing Pages: A Guide to SEO Impact

Local landing pages are a critical part of any local SEO strategy. They can help businesses to improve their visibility in search results, attract more local customers, and increase conversions.

What is a local landing page?

A local landing page is a web page that is specifically designed to attract and convert local customers. It typically includes information about the business’s location, hours of operation, services offered, and contact details. Local landing pages can be optimized for specific keywords and phrases that are relevant to the business’s target audience.

How do local landing pages impact SEO?

Local landing pages can have a significant impact on SEO in a number of ways. First, they can help businesses to improve their visibility in local search results. When a user searches for a local business, Google will often show a local map pack in the search results. This map pack includes the three most relevant local businesses for the search query. Local landing pages can help businesses to appear in the local map pack, which can lead to a significant increase in traffic.

Second, local landing pages can help businesses to attract more local customers. When a user clicks on a local landing page, they are more likely to be interested in the business because the page is specifically tailored to their location. This can lead to more conversions, such as phone calls, website sign-ups, or in-store visits.

Third, local landing pages can help businesses to increase their brand awareness. When users visit a local landing page, they are exposed to the business’s branding and messaging. This can help to build brand awareness and trust, which can lead to more conversions in the future.

How to create a local landing page

Creating a local landing page is not difficult. However, there are a few things that businesses need to keep in mind in order to optimize their pages for SEO.

First, businesses need to choose the right keywords and phrases to target. These keywords should be relevant to the business’s location and services offered.

Second, businesses need to create content that is relevant to their target audience. This content should be informative and engaging, and it should encourage users to take action, such as calling the business or visiting their website.

Third, businesses need to optimize their local landing pages for search engines. This includes using the correct keywords and phrases throughout the page, as well as adding structured data markup.


Local landing pages are a valuable tool for businesses that want to improve their SEO and attract more local customers. By following the tips above, businesses can create local landing pages that are optimized for search engines and that will help them to achieve their marketing goals.

Here are some additional tips for creating effective local landing pages:

  • Use clear and concise language that is easy for users to understand.
  • Include high-quality images and videos that showcase the business’s products or services.
  • Make sure the page is mobile-friendly.
  • Track the performance of the page and make changes as needed.

By following these tips, businesses can create local landing pages that will help them to attract more local customers and improve their SEO.

ChatGPT: The end of blogging as we know it

ChatGPT has been in the news a lot lately. Everyone is at least vaguely aware that it’s some sort of artificially intelligent chat bot. But I didn’t fully grasp the ramifications until I took the time to play with the tool myself. You can check it out too at https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt/.

You will need to create a user account, but that is free. And then you can see some examples of prompts that it can respond to. Have a conversation and marvel at the fluidity. Ask it questions and get answers back promptly and completely.

The major criticism (and rightfully so) is that it is so fast and authoritative on subjects that people tend to believe it – even when it’s wrong. It’s also using information scrapped from the internet to build its knowledge. There was a time that Google Translate was a free online tool that could be used to translate websites in real time. Until they realized that most of the translated content out there was translated by them, and a feedback loop occurred resulting in poorer quality. They eventually put a very small fee to use the API and knocked most users off as a result to try to preserve the bank of human generated content to pull from. What happens to ChatGPT when the internet it pulls from was also written by AI?

Want to know why I think it will have a big impact? Because, secretly, I didn’t write my last blog: Registering your nonprofit with PayPal. Instead, I went to ChatGPT and said, “Write me a blog about registering a nonprofit with PayPal” and the body of that blog was its immediately response. Nobody noticed. And I really had no notes of how to improve it after the fact.

Now that’s scary.

Google Advanced Search: Site Syntax

In the The most basic SEO test I touched on a technique for restricting Google to only searching your specific domain. In this blog I want to expand a bit on that functionality.

Ways to use this kind of search

  • You can add site:yourdomain.com to any search. It doesn’t have to be stand-alone. It’s just one of the many advanced option in Google search so feel free to pair it with image searches, phrases, negations, etc.
  • You can use it for any site, not just your own. Many people use this trick when frustrated by a particular site’s poor on-site search algorithm.
  • You are not restricted to the entire domain. You can also restrict to a particular directory on a domain, like dijonmarketing.com/blog, for example.

A site search is something I do on a very regular basis and is a great tool to add to your advanced googling arsenal.

How to remove a URL from Google search results

Every so often, you may wish that a particular page of your website would suddenly disappear from Google. It might be that you’ve sunset a particular program and don’t want organic searchers to find your organization for related keywords anymore. Maybe an intern accidentally published a work-in-progress page unveiling an upcoming event you’re not ready for the world to see. Whatever the reason may be, it does happen sometimes that you need a result to disappear – and fast.

Just deleting the page is usually sufficient. Google’s crawlers will eventually discover that the address they’ve indexed leads to a 404 “page not found” error. They’ll then remove it on their own. But that could take weeks. Even if users won’t arrive at the page in question and view the content, your domain could still be linked to that particular search term much longer than you’d prefer.

Google Search Console to the rescue

There is an option to immediately (albeit temporarily) remove a particular URL or a pattern of URLs from Google Search results. Log in to your Google Search Console account and choose Index > Removals from the left-hand navigation. Select Temporary Removals > New Request. Here you can enter the URL in question, or choose “Remove all URLs with this prefix.” That second option is useful if you want to remove an entire directory of content.

As mentioned, this is not a permanent solution. But it is fast and effective for those emergency situations. You may find yourself having to submit a new request after about 6 months if you haven’t taken steps to permanently rectify. Only by deleting or completely obscuring the content from public crawlers will you permanently have it disappear from search results.

What influences personalized Google search results?

Google search results pages are always changing. You might get different results than a coworker for the same search query. You might even see different results for yourself on two different occasions. What all goes into personalizing Google search results just for you?

Search Result Influences

  • Search History – This one can be especially confusing if you search specific terms related to your organization often. Google will start to remember what you clicked on the last time you searched and may artificially bubble your preferred results to the top. If you are evaluating your current performance for a set of keywords, using a different browser or an Incognito tab can help avoid this bias.
  • Geographic Location – This one is sometimes obvious. If you search for “pizza near me” naturally you want your results to be restricted to within a certain radius of your current position. But it isn’t always so hyper local. What country you’re in, for example, can factor heavily into the results.
  • Time of Day – You might rightfully expect different results for a certain search at noon versus midnight. Certain ads may have “day parsing” activated that would only show them during potentially peak search times for related keywords.
  • Device – This was a big push recently towards “mobile first” indexation. Doing so allowed mobile-friendly designs to rank better for mobile searches. When you’re on a smart phone with the smaller screen, having content tailor suited for legible display is an obvious advantage. With the push toward more mobile searches every day it makes sense you might see different results than when you’re on your desktop computer.

Hopefully all of these enhancements (and there are certainly many more) provide a richer, faster, and more convenient searching experience for most users. But it’s important to keep it in mind especially if you are trying to demonstrate a search ad or organic ranking performance.

How to remove a Google Business listing

If your business or organization has permanently ceased operation, you’ll want to remove it from Google Business. Your Google Business listing will return results in both Google Maps and Google searches. Customers may try to find your website and reach a 404. They may try to call you and get an out of service phone number. Even though you’re not looking for conversions anymore, this is still a poor user experience.

To close a business listing, you’ll have to be an administrator of the business account. Assuming that’s in place, just head over to business.google.com and choose “Info” from the menu on the left. That will lead you to a page where you’ll see these options:

The tricky part here is that you may be tempted to choose “Remove listing” hoping to immediately remove all traces that your business ever existed. That’s not what this button does. “Remove listing” will remove this business from your account so you can no longer manage it. It will not stop it from appearing in searches or remove it from public view.

The best option is “Mark as permanently closed.” This will cause it to be returned less often in searches. Certainly for generic searches like “pizza near me” or “best massage parlor” it won’t be returned because it is not a relevant result. It might still come up and show “permanently closed” for very specific branded searches.

SEO trend in 2022

Happy New Year! And welcome to the year 2022! As usual, a new year brings up question – what’s the latest trend in SEO this year? And as with most years, I balk at the use of the word “trend” as SEO isn’t trendy. It’s the long game. A set of tried and true principles that while they do change, should be more building upon the knowledge of the past, not swinging between the latest hip recommendation.

Google has a great way of summing up their foundational approach to search rankings: EAT. EAT is an acronym that stands for:

  • Expertise – Write about what you know. Be the expert such that people would likely want to hear what you have to say on your chose topic.
  • Authority – This is the traditional off-page SEO practice of building up your website reputation in the way of backlinks from other reputable sites related to your target keywords.
  • Trustworthiness – Any accolades you’ve received from third party organizations help with trustworthiness, although just being transparent with who the author is and what credentials they have can be a great starting point.

Looking at these three pillars of ranking credentials you can see how they needn’t change from year to year based on the latest technology or evolving ranking patterns. They remain true from year to year and any minor nuanced change to your technical implementation of your site is really aside from trying to make sure you tick these three boxes.

Sorry to disappoint, but my top SEO trend for 2022 is the same as every year prior – there are no trends. Keep creating great content people want to read and the rest are just details!

Optimizing for Voice Search

The rise of omnipresent mobile phone digital assistants, home hubs, and car infotainment with voice commands can be an opportunity for you, the digital marketer. Considering voice search in your optimization efforts is one way that you can leap frog your competition for certain keywords and concepts.

Typical SEO optimization would focus on a keyword (or key phrase) and make sure to use that keyword multiple times in key areas – titles, headers, image alt text, body copy, etc. When you are optimizing instead for voice search, the game changes a little bit.

Think about things you would typically use voice search for:

  • Where is the closest pizza restaurant that’s open now?
  • How tall is Mount Everest?
  • What year was President Biden born?

Each of these has two things in common. First, they all use natural language to present the question. Instead of a list of keywords and facts, they use full English sentences that the context must be derived from. Second, they all have a definite answer. Rarely if ever would you use voice search for more esoteric search queries. “Hey Google, explain the theory of relativity.” (I don’t think so.)

Knowing these two aspects of a good voice query will help you optimize your content to take advantage. You want to be first on Google, but you would also like to be presented as a knowledge tile. Those are more likely to be read out loud as the response to a voice query. So follow the two characteristics of a good voice query:

  1. Instead of peppering your content with a target keyword, instead use full length natural language questions as titles and headers.
  2. Give a definitive answer boldly within the text – probably as a numbered list or otherwise offset.
  3. Monitor your search performance in Google Search Console to see if you are being presented as a knowledge tile. This lends itself to a good chance you are the voice search response.