Archive for June, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Facebook May Have Secretly Messed with Your Head for Science




FacebookNot cool, Facebook

Ever wondered how social networks can impact your emotions? So did a Facebook data scientist and two other researchers who conducted a study that was recently published by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Facebook’s controversial study has drawn outrage from many of the site’s members because it played with people’s emotions without their knowledge or consent.

The study was conducted over a one-week period in 2012 and included about 689,000 unwitting participants. What the researchers wanted to find out is “whether exposure to emotional content led people to post content that was consistent with the exposure — thereby testing whether exposure to verbal affective expressions leads to similar verbal expressions, a form of emotional contagion,” according to an excerpt from the study, USA Today reports.

Sure enough, the study discovered that users with less postive content in their news feed used more negative words in their status updates. According to James Grimmelmann, a law professor at the University of Maryland, one of the experimental groups had positive words like “love” and “nice” filtered out of their news feeds.

“This, however, was not an observational study. It was an experimental study—indeed, a randomized controlled trial—in which participants were treated differently. We wouldn’t tell patients in a drug trial that the study was harmless because only a computer would ever know whether they received the placebo,” Grimmelmann states in a blog post. “The unwitting participants in the Facebook study were told (seemingly by their friends) for a week either that the world was a dark and cheerless place or that it was a saccharine paradise. That’s psychological manipulation, even when it’s carried out automatically. This is bad, even for Facebook.”

The fallout from the study prompted one of it’s co-authors to offer additional insight into why it was conducted, and an apology to those angered by it.

“The goal of all of our research at Facebook is to learn how to provide a better service. Having written and designed this experiment myself, I can tell you that our goal was never to upset anyone,” study co-author Adam Kramer wrote on Facebook. “I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my co-authors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused. In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety.”

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PostHeaderIcon Analyzing 11,555 Questions Asked by SEOs: The Moz Q&A Meta Study



Posted by gfiorelli1

Fear and Loathing in Mozlandia

Sometimes we don’t need to travel to exotic linked data sources to discover treasure troves of precious information about our audience’s desires, aspirations, fears, and complaints.

Sometimes that treasure is just far as a phone call to the customer care department.
Sometimes it is just a click away in the Q&A and/or Forum section of our site.
And sometimes it’s just there, freely offered by our own competitors to everybody able to retrieve the correct information from them.

Understanding what our audience is really talking about, what the specific language is that they use, and what their topics and themes are can be easier than we may first think.

Be aware that I don’t mean that extracting useful information about our audience is easy – that would be trivializing the audience targeting work – but I mean that nowadays, thanks to the social nature of the web, it is much easier finding valuable sources from where retrieving information than just ten years ago.

For this reason, as I already said in 
my previous post, I asked the editorial team at Moz to let me analyze one year of Moz Q&As, with the purpose of identifying what the community was most frequently talking and asking about, and what they discussed most often, and so trying to paint a better portrait of the community itself. Finally, I wanted to offer the Moz team insight that can help them offer a better experience to the users.

I don’t know if was able to understand the “100 most asked questions,” as Rand asked, but the method I used, and that any of you can refine, is the correct one for offering that kind of list.

The Method

The first thing I did was
extract from the Moz database the following information related to questions published in the Moz Q&A between May 1, 2013, and April 28, 2014:

  1. The ID number of the questions (this is extremely important, because the same question may be published to a maximum of five categories and because, yes!, there are questions that are 100% identical in their phrasing);
  2. The date each question was asked;
  3. The URL for each question;
  4. The question itself (labeled “Title”);
  5. The number of answers to each question;
  6. The number of thumbs up obtained by each question;
  7. The categories to which the questions were assigned

From the database extract, it was not possible to retrieve other very important information, such as:

  1. The number of views (I had to manually scrape this information, as I don’t have direct access to Moz’s Google Analytics);
  2. The Real category (I had to look those up manually and add them to my speadsheet)

You are probably asking, “What is the real category?”

In the case of the Moz Q&A, the “real categories” are those that include the actual categories. They are a upper taxonomy level, which is shown to the users when they are asking a question, but not when filtering the questions:

The “real categories” are necessary information, because they help organize the questions into very recognizable macro-topics.

In order to quickly and easily understand topics,
I decided to use Wordle to create word clouds. Wordle has the great option of letting you hide words that complicate your analysis, letting you focus on the relevant words.

Finally, to understand what the questions were that really mattered to the Moz community in the analyzed time-frame,
I followed these simple consecutive rules:

  1. Questions with more views matter more than questions with less views;
  2. Given the previous value, questions with more answers matter more than questions with less answers.

I didn’t take into account the number of thumbs up of the question as metric for the simple reason that very rarely is a question thumbed up. My decision would have been different if I was also taking into consideration the answers.

For a more refined analysis, then, I’d recommend also considering the number of “Good Answers” and the presence or absence of a “Staff Endorsement.”

What other tools did I use for conducting my analysis? None but Excel.

Moz Q&A bird’s eye view

Between May 2013 and April 2014, 26,775 questions were published in Moz Q&A, but if we eliminate the duplicates from those that were published in more than one category, there were
11,555 unique questions published.

First problem: Which number should I consider in my analysis? The raw number of questions or the one including the duplicates? The answer was easy: the raw number.

The reason is that it is impossible to understand what a user was considering to be the “main category” when publishing their question in more than one category; therefore any choice I would have taken would be totally subjective and so void the analysis;

In certain cases, though, I preferred checking the de-duplicated list as well, in order to confirm my first impressions.

What are the Q&A users talking about?

The word cloud is quite clear. The Moz community is:

  1. Obsessed with Google;
  2. Composed mainly of SEOs (SEOs, Site, Ranking, Link…);
  3. Asking primarily on-site questions; and
  4. Interested in content, but not as interested as it is in relation to SEO (as we will see later).

This is even clearer if we see how many questions have been asked during the 12 months I analyzed:

We can easily see how “The SEO Process,” which includes all the categories directly related to SEO in the Moz Q&A, stands far above all the others. 

If we hide the “The SEO Process” questions, we can better understand what the other macro-topics Moz users are interested in are:

Q&A is also the space where Moz users can publicly ask questions to the Help Team about the Moz Tools, and that specific nature of this category explains why “Moz Products” is the second most-popular topic in the Q&A.

Then, two different but equally important points emerge from this graphic:

  1. Despite the tireless efforts in evangelizing inbound marketing, the “Online Marketing” category, which includes all the inbound disciplines but SEO, is not really performing well in Q&A, as if the users (mostly SEOs) were still too worried about classic SEO issues;
  2. “Local Marketing,” a category that was only created in January 2014, has quickly reached an interesting volume of questions. This could be telling us that Moz did well creating Moz Local, because local search marketers are an important percentage of the Moz users.

Be aware, then, that the decrease in the number of questions we see in the charts is not due to a diminished interest about SEO by the users, but—as described in my previous post—to the design of the Moz.com site in comparison to the old SEOmoz.org one.

Digging into the data

The SEO Process

The SEO Process category comprises seven subcategories.

On-Page / Site Optimization (3,967 questions) and Technical SEO Issues (4,118 questions) are almost tied in the first position, which is clearly indicating to us how
classic SEO still is the most important source of doubts for the Moz community.

A reason for the success of these categories, confirmed by the third position of Intermediate & Advanced SEO, could also be the increased difficulty of technical SEO, which has a steep learning curve—especially for the new generation of SEOs coming from the marketing/communication fields and not engineering/computer science.

Content & Blogging, which could be considered the “content marketing” side of the SEO Process, is only fifth, after the supposedly dead Link Building.

The Vertical SEO and Keyword Research categories are the last ones, and while we can consider Keyword Research somehow as a smaller topical niche by comparison to much wider ones like Technical SEO, it’s quite surprising to see how questions about vertical searches (news, videos, images) are not so common. Sure, Local Search, which was the most important vertical, now has its own macro-category (Local Marketing), but nevertheless I was quite surprised.

In this Wordle related to The SEO Process category, I omitted the word Google, because it was dwarfing all the others in the word cloud, making the analysis difficult.

Looking at the word cloud, it is almost obvious that Moz users are especially concerned with these topics:

  1. Duplicate Content
  2. Duplicate Pages
  3. Duplicate Site/Website
  4. Links/Backlinks
If we associate the topics, we can understand that
two big fears are constant:
  1. Panda (which, curiously, is not called out explicitly in the questions);
  2. Penguin.

User are coming to the Moz Q&A in order to find help for their penalized sites
(drop, dropped, penalty, disavow, problem, manual…) or because they have understood their site is at high risk of penalization, or because they really have to make explicit its indignation.

Link Building

I want to start with the Link Building subcategory because it is a very good example of what I’ve just said above.

I removed the words “Link” and “Links” for better visibility of all the other words.

It’s interesting seeing how the questions tend to be about 
penalty issues (Penguin, Penalty, Ranking, Disavow, Unnatural, Spam, Anchor…), about outdated tactics (Press Releases, Directories…) or risky ones (i.e. buying old domains with strong link profiles) and substantially blaming Google for letting other sites (especially competitors’ sites) rank well even if they have a supposedly spammy link profile (or because it is “killing” every link building option).

What doesn’t emerge from the word cloud is the frequently viewed and commented 
questions about tools, usually link analysis tools for Penguin recovery (i.e. Link Detox, Cognitive SEO).

In general, the sensation is that the users asking questions are usually 
new to the link building practice. A constant trend, though, is evident: people ask for creative help because they are working on so-called boring niches, or because they are dealing with niches usually dominated by spammy link building practices. This trend should make all us reflect when writing about link building, because we tend to write as if everybody was dealing with big brands and big budgets, when clearly it is not so


Another useful exercise
is seeing how very specific topics return over and over in the Q&A. Obviously, for this very granular kind of analysis, it would be better to also have the question in the dataset, and not only its title.

Let’s take “Penguin” as an example:

The spike we see in October coincides with the rollout of Penguin 2.1, and confirms
the importance of Q&A for feeling the pulse of our audience almost in real time. For this reason, using tools like Fresh Web Explorer for monitoring our keywords’ mentions in our own Q&A is essential in order to spot hot trends and eventually creating very timely content.

Finally,
there’s a word that I totally missed and that, IMHO, should be one of the most relevant ones in the words cloud: outreach. And there are very few questions and discussions about strategy, too, which is making me very sad.

Technical SEO Issues

This is the king of all the categories of the Moz Q&A. And it is quite ironic, because if in the SEO-blog world technical SEO is losing visibility for other topics, at the end of the day the most common questions asked by SEOs are about the most classic of the SEO subjects.

But what are the topics that worry the Q&A users the most?

Duplication issues, and the related canonicalization issues, seem to represent a big portion of the SEOs’ worries when it comes to Technical SEO. Another classic cause for concern is a site’s migration.

And, clearly, SEOs are worried about optimizing their site for Google (I feel sorry for Bing, but this is the real world).

The presence of “Links” and link-related words is partly caused by the liberty given to users to publish questions up to five categories, therefore many questions that should fit almost exclusively in the Link Building subcategory are present also in the Technical SEO Issues one.

That said, there are also a good bunch of questions related to
internal linking, especially in relation to information architecture, budget crawl management and no-indexation of duplicated pages.

We can also find quite a few questions about
“Why is my site not indexed by Google?

A smaller but relevant amount of questions surround 
Technical SEO issues generated by the most common CMS platforms (WordPress, Magento, Drupal, and Joomla), and, apart from Wordpress, this is the kind of topic that is not taken into much consideration in the Moz and YouMoz blogs.

Finally, classic evergreen topics are 
htaccess and regular expressions: Maybe Moz could think about a specific cheat-sheet or even creating an htaccess generator better than the ones already available online.

The quality of the questions and answers, then, is higher than the Link Building one, even if it is still big the number of “newbie” kind of questions.

The engagement level of the community is greater, too, and good examples of this engagement can be found in this 
question about a migration gone wrong or this less-silly-than-it-seems question about the use of the meta keyword tag. Both are confirming how the biggest part of the Moz Community is still composed by SEOs.

On-Page / Site Optimization

The On-Page / Site Optimization is the second most-used category in all Moz Q&A, but this data is strongly influenced by the fact that users tend to categorize their questions in both Technical issues and SEO On-Page / Site Optimization.

For this reason, in order to better understand what exclusively can be attributed to this category we must de-dupe the questions. The result is something like this:

The topical landscape we see is showing us how
users still tend to think of on-page / site optimization in terms of keywords and related keyword-centric topics (i.e. Title tag).

Quite surprising is seeing how a hot topic like
semantic search is barely present; we almost don’t see words like schema, semantics, structured data et al.

One of these two things is likely correct:
  1. Users do not have any problem with Semantic SEO (and I do not think so); or
  2. Semantic SEO is still in an “early-adopters” phase (and this is what I believe).

If we analyze our Q&A sections to finding new ideas, then this “absence” should aim us toward creating better and more understandable content about semantic search, so as to educate our audience and be consistent with our mission.

Intermediate & Advanced SEO

This category suffers from the same problem as the previous one; users tend to categorize things as Intermediate & Advanced SEO questions that really should be attributed to other categories.
For this reason, if we do not make a conscious de-duplication effort, the topics seem to be essentially identical to other categories.

The
problem, then, is not being able to provide a clear definition of what is meant for Intermediate & Advanced SEO. Without defining this clearly, the concept of “advanced” totally depends on the SEO education grade of the users who are asking questions, and what emerges quite clearly is that the Moz Q&A public generally is not really advanced.
This explains why, again, questions about 
rankings being lost, sites being de-indexed (or not indexed at all) etc. dominate.
But if we decide that advanced stands for questions that experienced SEOs may also find difficult to answer, than we can see
interesting topics:

  1. Ecommerce sites tend to be the most difficult ones to handle with from an SEO perspective;
  2. Duplicated content and canonicalization questions, even if the most basic questions are omitted, are still the most asked, especially in relation to product pages and blog posts/categories/tags;
  3. Robots.txt, noindex and the nuanced uses of rel=”canonical” can result in a sort of puzzle that is difficult to be solved;
  4. Information architecture, site structure, and crawlability tend to be asked almost exclusively in this category.

A
special mention must be made for infinite scrollingparallax design, and SEO for Ajax in general, which are topics that can be discovered as relevant to the community only if we consider metrics like page views and number of comments.Their popularity and level of of engagement, then, is confirming to us that there’s a space in the Moz Q&A for really advanced SEO questions; the problem is keeping them from sinking into a sea of basic SEO questions.

Content & Blogging

The questions present in this category represent how
SEOs look at content:
as a method of ranking better.

This could lead to a discussion about how much SEOs have really understood the importance of Content Marketing (and blogging) as an inbound tactic for making your site/brand relevant for the users, and hence able to earn popularity, shares, and links, and not just another SEO task for ranking better on Google.

That’s not to say that the Moz users aren’t aware of the real meaning of Content Marketing, but they still  struggle to understand its effects on SEO. Good examples of this attitude are found in these two questions:

All this also explains why the most popular questions are related to the SEO
technical side of content optimization:

  1. Rich Snippets
  2. Indexation of non-HTML content (i.e. PDF files)
  3. Authorship
  4. Indexation and Duplicated Content

Or, to content creation for link building (i.e. guest blogging, good or bad?)

Keyword Research and Vertical SEO

These are the Cinderellas of The SEO Process category.

This is due to their very specific nature. A nature which is very clear to all users, and that means that we don’t find replicated topics like duplication or canonicalization, even if they still are present.

In the case of keyword research, questions tend to be very specific, the most popular usually being about tools (
like this question) or keyword mapping (like in this other example).

Vertical SEO, instead, is particularly interesting because it effectively maps what the most common vertical the Moz users are dealing with is:

The dominance of
Local Search is evident, and it justifies:

  1. That Moz created a specific Q&A category for Local Marketing; and
  2. That the number of questions posted in the Vertical subcategory has plummeted since the Local Marketing category was created.


Video Search
, with questions mostly about video hosting and YouTube optimization, is the second vertical for importance and frequency, followed by Images Search. News search, instead, is almost absent, with just one question that explicitly asks about that topic!

Online Marketing

As I have told before, the Online Marketing category included all the Inbound Marketing disciplines except for SEO.

What emerges from the word cloud, though, is how
the unofficial title for this category should be “How to use other Online Marketing disciplines for SEO.” The outstanding presence of Google and, secondly, of SEO, is telling us just that.
Nine subcategories are present in the Online Marketing category:

As we can see, the interest SEOs have for any single discipline determines the ranking of these subcategories. This explains why Social Media ranks first, immediately followed by Web Design, while a discipline like Email Marketing is ranking in the last position (tied with Affiliate Marketing).
The poor performance of Affiliate Marketing is telling us that the SEOs working in that niche are not substantially part of the Moz community, or that they don’t consider Moz as their site of reference.
What we can conclude is that
Moz is mainly used by SEOs who use other online marketing disciplines in a wider Inbound Marketing strategy, but their main focus is the relation between those disciplines and the SEO process, more than specifically about their intricacies.
A last observation we can do is that the Moz community is very practical and looks for tools that can make their professional life easier or for tips about how to better use the tools.

Social Media

Let’s give a look to the Social Media words cloud:

Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the social media platforms people are asking about most. Social networks like LinkedIn or Instagram are present, too, but their presence is almost symbolic.

Google+ is the most cited social network
by far, and this should not surprise us if we remember how SEOs compose the vast majority of the Moz users and the importance Google+ has for SEO.
It is quite common to find questions about 
the correct use of rel=”author” or rel=”publisher”, questions that are showing some sort of confusion about the real nature of these two tags, and the classical business’ doubt about giving too much power to authors with authorship, thinking it is detrimental to the brand.

The questions about Facebook are practical
, and widely range from very basic to more complex ones. Discussions that are quite common between social media marketers are present too, but tend to receive fewer views, even if their engagement grade is quite high.
The analysis of the questions about Twitter shows almost the same trend, but there are some that really could be taken as example of my theory that SEOs ask questions, such as 
this question that asks if the same content tweeted by two different accounts could be considered duplicated content: No social media marketer could have even imagined asking this.

Web Design

It should not surprise us that Web Design is the second most asked-about online marketing discipline. Aside from the timeless love/hate relationship that SEOs have with web designers, the evolution of Google and the increasing importance of correct web development for SEO performance explains it.

In this word cloud I purposely deleted words like
Google, Design, and SEO in order to better see the real topics users discuss in this subcategory.

We see two trends:

  1. Asking questions related to CMS, especially WordPress (but also Magento is quite present);
  2. Asking questions about Mobile Web and Responsive Design.


Site speed and performance optimization
emerges as a third topic if we examine the questions more deeply.

Generally, though, again we see SEOs asking questions and many times they categorize as Web Design questions that they also asked in some of the subcategories of The SEO Process, which may indicate to us that many users are convinced that, for instance, the duplicated content issues are somehow related to a poor design of the site (when, maybe, they should look more at information architecture).

Online Marketing Tools

I think the correct name for this category should be “SEO tools:”

If we look at the questions, and take into consideration also views and answers, what we see is that
the vast majority of questions are directly related to the SEO process

We have questions about 
Google Webmaster Tools, keyword tracking, Google Analytics (and others analytics needs, such as tracking phone calls, or alternative tools), the Google Places dashboard, and so on.

The only Online Marketing discipline that emerges with some force in this SEOed landscape is 
Adwords. Instead, we have a very small and dispersed presence of questions about tools for Social Media (which comes third as topic) and other Online Marketing areas. 

Is this a sign that SEOs:

  1. Know about the importance of the others Inbound Marketing disciplines, but don’t deal directly with them?
  2. Or that they deal sporadically with those disciplines, therefore don’t feel the urgency of using specific tools for them?

Other Online Marketing categories questions analysis

The remaining six online marketing subcategories generated fewer questions than the three previously described (1,019 vs. 1,291 questions). Moreover, many of their questions could be considered duplicates from other categories.

Some of these Online Marketing subcategories, then, generated less than 100 questions:

  1. Affiliate Marketing > 54 questions;
  2. Email Marketing > 56 questions.

A special mention, though, must be given to Paid Search Marketing and Internet Advertising:

We easily see how AdWords is dominating the attention of the users, but we should not forget the emerging importance of Native Advertising or Social Advertising for Link Building purposes.


It would be interesting matching this interest in AdWords with the data collected by the Industry Survey
Moz did few months ago. In fact, we could probably notice how many SEOs also offer PPC services or (in the case of in-house SEOs) have AdWords as one of their tasks.

Again, the predominant SEO nature of the Moz users emerges.

Measuring & Testing

Aren’t we saying all the time that SEO and Inbound Marketing are data-driven Internet Marketing disciplines? Yes, and search marketers are aware of the importance of measuring and testing, but nevertheless this category has only 1/7 of the questions that “The SEO Process” has (2,127 questions vs. 16,015).

Five subcategories are present:

The
evident decline of Reporting over time made me wonder, could the reason behind its decline in interest be due to the fact that Moz users were asking questions in this category about the Moz Pro / Moz Analytics reporting functions? Once Moz created a better Moz Product category in Q&A, almost all those questions disappeared from Reporting.

The chart seems to confirm and reassure us that the users of the Q&A are data-driven folks.
But is it telling us the real story?

The answer is:
not really.

This word cloud is clearly telling us that
“analytics” is a synonym of Google Analytics for the Moz users.

Moreover, the great relevance of the word
Traffic should alert us. In fact, if we examining the Analytics questions one by one, we will discover how very frequently users refer to Google Analytics just because it was the tool that showed them a loss in organic traffic. Users, then, tend to publish these questions also in some of the most popular subcategories of The SEO Process category.

Again, the freedom given to the Moz users is making difficult to retrieve unique information on a subcategory level.

Difficult, but not impossible.
If we want to find questions that are completely devoted to Analytics, then we must focus on the word Tracking. Doing so, we find the most interesting questions, mostly about Google Analytics implementation issues (how to set up goal with event trackingEcommerce GA implementation issuescustom URL tracking, etc.).

All these questions hardly find an answer in other sections of the Moz site, but clearly
they manifest a need. Maybe is it time for creating a very practical Google Analytics Implementation Guide or Cheat Sheet?

Research & Trends

Personally, this is my favorite Q&A category. Why? Because in it we can find questions about international search, alternative search sources, and a space for discussing the most advanced trends in search and everything related to audience targeting.


We could define it as a category devoted to strategy, but that doesn’t forget to translate it into concrete tactics
.

Unfortunately not so many Moz users feel the same enthusiasm: In these 365 days, they asked only 1,319 questions in this category, half of them limited to the “Search Engine Trends” subcategory:

Search Engine Trends

What are the Search Engine Trends Moz users discuss?

Personally I already imagine the answer, but let’s check to see what the word cloud tells us:

Looking at the word cloud, something doesn’t add up here.
Where are Hummingbird, Knowledge Graph, MyAnswers, semantics, and patents? Instead of those terms, we see: ranking(s), drop(ped), bad, traffic, update, penguin, duplicate and semantically related words.

If we look directly at the questions, what we observe is how
Search Engine Trends is practically a synonym for penalties, and—let me tell you openly dear Moz community members—penalties are not a Search Engine Trend.

Only three questions about Knowledge Graph have been asked in 12 months. Four about Hummingbird (two of which by people convinced Hummingbird penalized their sites!). A topic like Personalized Search—which should be talked and asked about here—is completely absent.


Something is wrong here
. Probably the Search Engine Trends subcategory is just another category users classify their questions for because they have this option. Or, maybe, Moz (and I count myself in) still has not being able to create the right awareness about the importance of being constantly updated about how search engines are evolving.

Or Moz users simply are more interested in finding immediate answers for very practical needs; and if it is under the aspect of tips and tricks better.

International Issues

This subcategory is substantially different. In this case, almost all the questions are really on topic and very specific, as is made clear by viewing the word cloud:

Topics like
localization vs. simple translation, the correct implementation of the hreflang annotationskeyword research for multi-country sites, and how to deal with social media for multinational businesses, all are present with a many grades of difficulty.

I am surely biased, but the International Issues subcategory is the best example of what a Q&A category should be: clear in its nature.

The other Research & Trends questions

I must admit that when I saw the word cloud of
Alternative Search Sources I laughed a lot:

GOOGLE?! Alternative search source?!

In seriousness, apart from this obsession with the Big G, it’s interesting to notice the presence of Bing, Yahoo, and the very few questions about Baidu, Yandex, and Naver (only two!). It’s clear that Moz users are spending 99% of their time on Google and only allocate a very tiny amount of time to other search engines. It is also clear that SEO outside of the classic American-focused search engines is not something they are concerned about (probably because they are not dealing with it).

Finally, if you return to the chart with questions asked in the Research & Trends category, it is interesting to see the
strong decrease in questions about Behavior and Demographics. Why? Because people aren’t really asking questions about those topics, and the biggest percentage of the questions classified as Behavior and Demographics are what I’ve defined as “duplicates” of other categories.

Community

Community is a Q&A category mostly meant as a space for discussing topics about the inbound marketing industry, not one where people ask for help.

Seeing that the only topic within Community that really matters to the Moz users is White Hat / Black Hat SEO is quite depressing, but it reflects the worries SEOs have for practices like Negative SEO or penalizations for spammy link building tactics that have been used in the past.

And those same topics dominate the other subcategories, which are not formally about spam, link penalizations, and negative SEO:

It’s certain: we can find words like
Mozcon and Articles, but they are just few words between many not relevant ones.

If I was Moz, I would seriously reconsider this category.

Business Development

The Business Development has a very multi-faceted nature where the common denominator is the practical life of a search marketer. This being the nature, a subcategory I wish were here is one about how to deal with clients:

The questions present in this category, then, seems to suggest that it’s a
category mostly used by independent SEO consultants or owners of small SEO companies.

This may explain why only 504 questions have been asked in Business Development.

But, despite the small number of questions, this is the category with the
highest ratio of answers per question: 4.47

Local Marketing

Local Marketing is a relatively new macro-category; it was created on January 2014.

Despite being new, it has been able to attract the attention of the many SEOs specialized in Local Search:

Local Strategy, Local Listings, and Website Optimization for Local Search are the most-used categories, and this interest is also reflected in the word cloud:

What surprised me was (finally!) seeing “schema” present in the word cloud.

It turns out that how to use Schema for local search is quite a hot topic that is able to create great engagement, 
like in this question.

The Moz Support Q&As

A
Q&A section, at least in Moz’s case, is also a place a company can use for offering customer service.

Aside from the obvious benefits, a great
advantage of using Q&A for this purpose is that the company itself can collect useful data about their own products perception, weakest points and needs the users are expressing.

Initially, the support side of the Moz Q&A was limited to two categories (Moz Products and Pro Application), but during this last twelve months Moz rationalized the questions creating a taxonomy based on the different areas of Moz Analytics (Search, Social, Links, and Brand Mentions) and stages of learning the tool. Finally, specific Q&A categories were created for all the other tools owned by Moz (Moz Local, OSE, Followerwonk, APIs).

The chart above speaks for itself:
the tools users are most concerned with are the ones more strictly related to classic SEO functions:

  1. Search
  2. Links
  3. Other Tools (which includes tools like the Keyword Difficulty Tool, the Rank Tracker and the Crawler test)

What a clear confirmation of what has been repeatedly said in this analysis:
Moz users are SEOs, maybe adopting inbound marketing as a way of thinking, but ultimately SEOs.

For this reason, we can say that the partial return Moz is doing onto focusing again more on SEO practitioners, even if under the inbound marketing philosophy, is very well justified by the composition of its audience.

And what its audience is telling about its products to Moz? This:

Moz subscribers’ concerns, doubts, and desires are mainly directed toward pure SEO tools:

  1. Keyword tools;
  2. More extended crawling functionalities (and some better clarity, as in the case of the duplicated content algorithm Moz applies to its crawler);
  3. Links-related tools;
  4. Better reporting functionalities.

Not that other inbound marketing facets of Moz Analytics are not considered useful, but they are not considered as essential as the SEO ones. 

One thing, though, clearly emerges from analyzing the Support Q&As: the strength and participation of the Moz community itself. In fact, the biggest percentage of the answers given to these questions are from Moz users.

Conclusions

The analysis of the Moz Q&A tells us many interesting things about the
Moz community:

  1. It is composed in its majority by SEOs;
  2. A big part of the community is represented by SEOs who are beginners or have an intermediate knowledge of SEO itself;
  3. Advanced SEOs tend to ask fewer questions, and when they do, it’s usually in very defined niche subcategories (i.e. international issues);
  4. The Moz community is generally proactive: only 2,120 over 11,555 questions (de-duped count) didn’t received fewer than two responses.
  5. Notwithstanding point 4, fewer than 500 were able to generate an ongoing discussion (10+ answers)
  6. Users tend to turn to Q&A in cases of extreme necessity: penalties and (apparently) unsolvable technical issues;
  7. Moz users look for and appreciate more concrete actionable tips than discussions about the whys of search strategy;
  8. SEO dominates and influences every Q&A category, and this means that:
  9. Inbound Marketing seems considered as a new framework where SEO is included, but SEO substantially seems considered as having the same functions it had before.

The analysis—to conclude this gigantic post—is telling us something we all need to reflect on: inbound marketing still hasn’t put solid roots in the minds of search marketers, and despite what the biggest majority of the Moz community says publicly, it seems it’s still thinking in terms of the old classic SEO.

Image credit: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Terry Gilliam – Universal Pictures

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PostHeaderIcon Ubisoft Gives Reason for Disabled Settings in PC Version of Watch Dogs




Watch DogsDisabled visual enhancements found in the game’s code

The PC version of Watch Dogs has caused quite a bit of frustration for PC gamers since its release back in May. The game’s launch was hampered by Uplay issues, Ubisoft’s digital distribution platform, and overall performance issues. But the latest controversy has caused Ubisoft to respond to the discovery of deactivated settings for the PC version of Watch Dogs.

Modders recently discovered that high-end graphical effects had been deactivated for the PC retail version with NeoGaf user Jibbed documenting the discovery.  References were found in the code that suggested the settings and animations were meant for an ”E3” mode when the game had been shown at the conference. Meanwhile, the discovery of the deactivated effects in the game’s code prompted a modder with the handle TheWorse to release a mod that activates the visual enhancements 

Speculation on Ubisoft’s reasons for disabling the graphical effects had prompted the developer to respond on its official website that reads, “The dev team is completely dedicated to getting the most out of each platform, so the notion that we would actively downgrade quality is contrary to everything we’ve set out to achieve. We test and optimize our games for each platform on which they’re released, striving for the best possible quality.” 

Admitting to the existence of the disabled settings in Watch Dogs, which broke into Raptr’s “most-played games on PC” list for the month of May,  Ubisoft continued, “The PC version does indeed contain some old, unused render settings that were deactivated for a variety of reasons, including possible impacts on visual fidelity, stability, performance and overall gameplay quality. Modders are usually creative and passionate players, and while we appreciate their enthusiasm, the mod in question (which uses those old settings) subjectively enhances the game’s visual fidelity in certain situations but also can have various negative impacts. Those could range from performance issues, to difficulty in reading the environment in order to appreciate the gameplay, to potentially making the game less enjoyable or even unstable.”

In light of its admittance, will Ubisoft release a patch, or multiple patches, to enable the visual enhancements or will it be up to the modding community to pick up where they left off?

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