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Mac Taylor

A Comprehensive Analysis of the New Domain Authority

Moz’s Domain Authority is requested over 1,000,000,000 times per year, it’s referenced millions of times on the web, and it has become a veritable household name among search engine optimizers for a variety of use cases, from determining the success of a link building campaign to qualifying domains for purchase. With the launch of Moz’s entirely new, improved, and much larger link index, we recognized the opportunity to revisit Domain Authority with the same rigor as we did keyword volume years ago (which ushered in the era of clickstream-modeled keyword data).

What follows is a rigorous treatment of the new Domain Authority metric. What I will not do in this piece is rehash the debate over whether Domain Authority matters or what its proper use cases are. I have and will address those at length in a later post. Rather, I intend to spend the following paragraphs addressing the new Domain Authority metric from multiple directions.

Correlations between DA and SERP rankings

The most important component of Domain Authority is how well it correlates with search results. But first, let’s get the correlation-versus-causation objection out of the way: Domain Authority does not cause search rankings. It is not a ranking factor. Domain Authority predicts the likelihood that one domain will outrank another. That being said, its usefulness as a metric is tied in large part to this value. The stronger the correlation, the more valuable Domain Authority is for predicting rankings.

Methodology

Determining the “correlation” between a metric and SERP rankings has been accomplished in many different ways over the years. Should we compare against the “true first page,” top 10, top 20, top 50 or top 100? How many SERPs do we need to collect in order for our results to be statistically significant? It’s important that I outline the methodology for reproducibility and for any comments or concerns on the techniques used. For the purposes of this study, I chose to use the “true first page.” This means that the SERPs were collected using only the keyword with no additional parameters. I chose to use this particular data set for a number of reasons:

  • The true first page is what most users experience, thus the predictive power of Domain Authority will be focused on what users see.
  • By not using any special parameters, we’re likely to get Google’s typical results.
  • By not extending beyond the true first page, we’re likely to avoid manually penalized sites (which can impact the correlations with links.)
  • We did NOT use the same training set or training set size as we did for this correlation study. That is to say, we trained on the top 10 but are reporting correlations on the true first page. This prevents us from the potential of having a result overly biased towards our model.

I randomly selected 16,000 keywords from the United States keyword corpus for Keyword Explorer. I then collected the true first page for all of these keywords (completely different from those used in the training set.) I extracted the URLs but I also chose to remove duplicate domains (ie: if the same domain occurred, one after another.) For a length of time, Google used to cluster domains together in the SERPs under certain circumstances. It was easy to spot these clusters, as the second and later listings were indented. No such indentations are present any longer, but we can’t be certain that Google never groups domains. If they do group domains, it would throw off the correlation because it’s the grouping and not the traditional link-based algorithm doing the work.

I collected the Domain Authority (Moz), Citation Flow and Trust Flow (Majestic), and Domain Rank (Ahrefs) for each domain and calculated the mean Spearman correlation coefficient for each SERP. I then averaged the coefficients for each metric.

Outcome

Moz’s new Domain Authority has the strongest correlations with SERPs of the competing strength-of-domain link-based metrics in the industry. The sign (-/+) has been inverted in the graph for readability, although the actual coefficients are negative (and should be).

A Comprehensive Analysis of the New Domain Authority

A Comprehensive Analysis of the New Domain Authority

Moz’s Domain Authority scored a ~.12, or roughly 6% stronger than the next best competitor (Domain Rank by Ahrefs.) Domain Authority performed 35% better than CitationFlow and 18% better than TrustFlow. This isn’t surprising, in that Domain Authority is trained to predict rankings while our competitor’s strength-of-domain metrics are not. It shouldn’t be taken as a negative that our competitors strength-of-domain metrics don’t correlate as strongly as Moz’s Domain Authority — rather, it’s simply exemplary of the intrinsic differences between the metrics. That being said, if you want a metric that best predicts rankings at the domain level, Domain Authority is that metric.

Note: At first blush, Domain Authority’s improvements over the competition are, frankly, underwhelming. The truth is that we could quite easily increase the correlation further, but doing so would risk over-fitting and compromising a secondary goal of Domain Authority…

Handling link manipulation

Historically, Domain Authority has focused on only one single feature: maximizing the predictive capacity of the metric. All we wanted were the highest correlations. However, Domain Authority has become, for better or worse, synonymous with “domain value” in many sectors, such as among link buyers and domainers. Subsequently, as bizarre as it may sound, Domain Authority has itself been targeted for spam in order to bolster the score and sell at a higher price. While these crude link manipulation techniques didn’t work so well in Google, they were sufficient to increase Domain Authority. We decided to rein that in.

Data sets

The first thing we did was compile a series off data sets that corresponded with industries we wished to impact, knowing that Domain Authority was regularly manipulated in these circles.

  • Random domains
  • Moz customers
  • Blog comment spam
  • Low-quality auction domains
  • Mid-quality auction domains
  • High-quality auction domains
  • Known link sellers
  • Known link buyers
  • Domainer network
  • Link network

While it would be my preference to release all the data sets, I’ve chosen not to in order to not “out” any website in particular. Instead, I opted to provide these data sets to a number of search engine marketers for validation. The only data set not offered for outside validation was Moz customers, for obvious reasons.

Methodology

For each of the above data sets, I collected both the old and new Domain Authority scores. This was conducted all on February 28th in order to have parity for all tests. I then calculated the relative difference between the old DA and new DA within each group. Finally, I compared the various data set results against one another to confirm that the model addresses the various methods of inflating Domain Authority.

Results

A Comprehensive Analysis of the New Domain Authority

A Comprehensive Analysis of the New Domain Authority

In the above graph, blue represents the Old Average Domain Authority for that data set and orange represents the New Average Domain Authority for that same data set. One immediately noticeable feature is that every category drops. Even random domains drops. This is a re-centering of the Domain Authority score and should cause no alarm to webmasters. There is, on average, a 6% reduction in Domain Authority for randomly selected domains from the web. Thus, if your Domain Authority drops a few points, you are well within the range of normal. Now, let’s look at the various data sets individually.

A Comprehensive Analysis of the New Domain Authority

A Comprehensive Analysis of the New Domain Authority

Random domains: -6.1%

Using the same methodology of finding random domains which we use for collecting comparative link statistics, I selected 1,000 domains, we were able to determine that there is, on average, a 6.1% drop in Domain Authority. It’s important that webmasters recognize this, as the shift is likely to affect most sites and is nothing to worry about.

Moz customers: -7.4%

Of immediate interest to Moz is how our own customers perform in relation to the random set of domains. On average, the Domain Authority of Moz customers lowered by 7.4%. This is very close to the random set of URLs and indicates that most Moz customers are likely not using techniques to manipulate DA to any large degree. 

Link buyers: -15.9%

Surprisingly, link buyers only lost 15.9% of their Domain Authority. In retrospect, this seems reasonable. First, we looked specifically at link buyers from blog networks, which aren’t as spammy as many other techniques. Second, most of the sites paying for links are also optimizing their site’s content, which means the sites do rank, sometimes quite well, in Google. Because Domain Authority trains against actual rankings, it’s reasonable to expect that the link buyers data set would not be impacted as highly as other techniques because the neural network learns that some link buying patterns actually work.

Comment spammers: -34%

Here’s where the fun starts. The neural network behind Domain Authority was able to drop comment spammers’ average DA by 34%. I was particularly pleased with this one because of all the types of link manipulation addressed by Domain Authority, comment spam is, in my honest opinion, no better than vandalism. Hopefully this will have a positive impact on decreasing comment spam — every little bit counts.

Link sellers: -56%

I was actually quite surprised, at first, that link sellers on average dropped 56% in Domain Authority. I knew that link sellers often participated in link schemes (normally interlinking their own blog networks to build up DA) so that they can charge higher prices. However, it didn’t occur to me that link sellers would be easier to pick out because they explicitly do not optimize their own sites beyond links. Subsequently, link sellers tend to have inflated, bogus link profiles and flimsy content, which means they tend to not rank in Google. If they don’t rank, then the neural network behind Domain Authority is likely to pick up on the trend. It will be interesting to see how the market responds to such a dramatic change in Domain Authority.

High-quality auction domains: -61%

One of the features that I’m most proud of in regards to Domain Authority is that it effectively addressed link manipulation in order of our intuition regarding quality. I created three different data sets out of one larger data set (auction domains), where I used certain qualifiers like price, TLD, and archive.org status to label each domain as high-quality, mid-quality, and low-quality. In theory, if the neural network does its job correctly, we should see the high-quality domains impacted the least and the low-quality domains impacted the most. This is the exact pattern which was rendered by the new model. High-quality auction domains dropped an average of 61% in Domain Authority. That seems really high for “high-quality” auction domains, but even a cursory glance at the backlink profiles of domains that are up for sale in the $10K+ range shows clear link manipulation. The domainer industry, especially the domainer-for-SEO industry, is rife with spam.

Link network: -79%

There is one network on the web that troubles me more than any other. I won’t name it, but it’s particularly pernicious because the sites in this network all link to the top 1,000,000 sites on the web. If your site is in the top 1,000,000 on the web, you’ll likely see hundreds of root linking domains from this network no matter which link index you look at (Moz, Majestic, or Ahrefs). You can imagine my delight to see that it drops roughly 79% in Domain Authority, and rightfully so, as the vast majority of these sites have been banned by Google.

Mid-quality auction domains: -95%

Continuing with the pattern regarding the quality of auction domains, you can see that “mid-quality” auction domains dropped nearly 95% in Domain Authority. This is huge. Bear in mind that these drastic drops are not combined with losses in correlation with SERPs; rather, the neural network is learning to distinguish between backlink profiles far more effectively, separating the wheat from the chaff.

Domainer networks: -97%

If you spend any time looking at dropped domains, you have probably come upon a domainer network where there are a series of sites enumerated and all linking to one another. For example, the first site might be sbt001.com, then sbt002.com, and so on and so forth for thousands of domains. While it’s obvious for humans to look at this and see a pattern, Domain Authority needed to learn that these techniques do not correlate with rankings. The new Domain Authority does just that, dropping the domainer networks we analyzed on average by 97%.

Low-quality auction domains: -98%

Finally, the worst offenders — low-quality auction domains — dropped 98% on average. Domain Authority just can’t be fooled in the way it has in the past. You have to acquire good links in the right proportions (in accordance with a natural model and sites that already rank) if you wish to have a strong Domain Authority score.

What does this mean?

For most webmasters, this means very little. Your Domain Authority might drop a little bit, but so will your competitors’. For search engine optimizers, especially consultants and agencies, it means quite a bit. The inventories of known link sellers will probably diminish dramatically overnight. High DA links will become far more rare. The same is true of those trying to construct private blog networks (PBNs). Of course, Domain Authority doesn’t cause rankings so it won’t impact your current rank, but it should give consultants and agencies a much smarter metric for assessing quality.

What are the best use cases for DA?

  • Compare changes in your Domain Authority with your competitors. If you drop significantly more, or increase significantly more, it could indicate that there are important differences in your link profile.
  • Compare changes in your Domain Authority over time. The new Domain Authority will update historically as well, so you can track your DA. If your DA is decreasing over time, especially relative to your competitors, you probably need to get started on outreach.
  • Assess link quality when looking to acquire dropped or auction domains. Those looking to acquire dropped or auction domains now have a much more powerful tool in their hands for assessing quality. Of course, DA should not be the primary metric for assessing the quality of a link or a domain, but it certainly should be in every webmaster’s toolkit.

What should we expect going forward?

We aren’t going to rest. An important philosophical shift has taken place at Moz with regards to Domain Authority. In the past, we believed it was best to keep Domain Authority static, rarely updating the model, in order to give users an apples-to-apples comparison. Over time, though, this meant that Domain Authority would become less relevant. Given the rapidity with which Google updates its results and algorithms, the new Domain Authority will be far more agile as we give it new features, retrain it more frequently, and respond to algorithmic changes from Google. We hope you like it.


Be sure to join us on Thursday, March 14th at 10am PT at our upcoming webinar discussing strategies & use cases for the new Domain Authority:

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Ultimate SEO”Ultimate SEO”

How Cable News Reacted To The Cohen Hearing

Not everyone has time to watch C-SPAN for five-and-a-half hours in the middle of the week. Not even to watch President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen call Trump a “racist,” “con man” and “cheat,“ as happened on Wednesday. And not even to watch Cohen be forcefully questioned by Republicans in response.

As such, we rely on the news media to watch for us. But the media is not a monolith. How an outlet condenses a big event like the Cohen hearings can shade how its audience interprets the events. And when it came to cable news, the networks differed in their coverage of the hearing’s aftermath, as you might expect. But an analysis of how the words used by each network differed is a window into how they’re framing the threats to Trump’s presidency. MSNBC, for example, appeared particularly focused on the legal implications of the hearing — on Robert Mueller and prosecutors. CNN was heavy on issues of credibility, money and payments, and the claim by Cohen that Trump is a “racist.” And Fox News was especially focused on other news altogether, namely what was happening thousands of miles away, where Trump was sitting down with Kim Jong Un.

Certain specific words gave the Cohen hearing these flavors on each of the three cable networks. Using data from the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive and processed by the GDELT Project, we analyzed the coverage of Cohen on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC from 5 p.m. to midnight the day of the testimony.1 To suss out any differences in the networks’ coverage, we first looked at when “Cohen” was spoken and which other words were said within the same 15-second window. (That’s the size of the clips we can access from the data sources.) Then we looked at the 200 most-used Cohen-adjacent words across the three networks and isolated the 15 words that were most particular to each network. (By most particular, we mean the words that were used relatively more often in a network’s Cohen coverage.)2 You’ll see those words plotted on the chart below; we arranged each word by what percentage of clips that used that word came from each network. For example, of all the Cohen-related clips mentioning the word “summit,” 80 percent were on Fox News, 15 percent were on MSNBC and 5 percent were on CNN.

The words close to each network’s corner of the coverage triangle are the ones most specifically associated with its coverage. For CNN, “certainly,” “credibility” and “racist” stood out. Fox News was notable for its use of the word “summit” — presumably in reference to Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which happened around the same time as the Cohen hearing. And MSNBC’s coverage was distinguished by its talk about “prosecutors” and “Mueller.” (Words in the center, such as “news,” were used a lot but not especially favored by any network in particular.)

And the qualitative flavor of the coverage varied widely as well. CNN talking head Chris Cillizza baldly declared “winners” and “losers” from the hearing. The former included the performance during the hearing of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — “and man, did she nail it.” Ocasio-Cortez’s interrogation of Cohen was praised elsewhere for being “well thought out.” The latter included Mark Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, who was “out for blood,” revealing little in his questions beyond his contempt for Cohen.

On the other hand, other coverage suggested that the hearing was merely a tool for Trump’s opponents and that given Cohen’s history of lying, the whole thing was something of a farce. The day after the hearing, the morning show Fox & Friends, for example, went meta, declaring that the media “misses the mark.” “This is what you get when you have partisan political operatives masquerading as journalists,” said Ned Ryun, a Republican strategist and the show’s guest. “They can barely control their glee.” He went on to call it “theater of the absurd” and a “total clown show.”

Fox & Friends then stepped hard on the FiveThirtyEight brand, comparing data on the amount of time the cable news networks had spent on Cohen versus the U.S.-North Korea summit during the run-up to the hearing, lamenting the fact that the other networks had given far more airtime to the former. “There’s a reason they call us fair and balanced,” a host said. (FiveThirtyEight has not independently verified those numbers.) The summit fell apart early, and no deal was reached.

There will be more political events in the weeks and months to come. The cable networks’ coverage surely won’t march in lockstep on those, either. We’ll be watching.


From ABC News:


The Best Site To Buy Your Domain Name

Name Silo Best Registrar

Name Silo Best Registrar

Hands down The Best Site To Buy Your Domain Name is NameSilo.com.  They deal with all manner of TLDs (the last few letters after the last . in a name i.e. .com) and they are consistently cheap to register, they come with FREE Privacy Protection (Which Godaddy Charges Like $8 For) AND heres the kicker … when you need to renew the next year ….

Godaddy’s .com is 17.99 + 8.99 Privacy or $26.99Name Silo $8.99 + free

Now that might not be a big deal if you have one .com address and you just like paying 3 times the price for stuff.  But we are currently operating about 200 domains and NameSilo.com will save Ultimate SEO about $3598! There isn’t any other trade off I can think of … Godaddy provides lots of add on stupid services like email ( comes with your hosting usually ) … Website Builders … look like website builders sites look.  Hosting but I prefer AWS which is what they are anyway.

Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find the complete listing of NameSilo’s renewal costs for domains.

Network Solutions is the absolute worst registrar I’ve used in twenty years of buying domain names.  My experience runs from 2018 to 2019 with only one domain name, I was skeptical of them and bought just the one address as a test and they failed in every opportunity and then some.  I say and then some because 3 or 4 months before my name had to be renewed they couldnt bill the card on file ( I didnt want them too ) so they emailed and I ignored it…they suspended the domain pending email verification!

I had been tipped off to issues from the start when their website kept crashing or the forms kept forgetting what was going in to them…it took me multiple attempts to order the single name.  I then pointed the DNS as I wanted but nothing happened for 3 days…so I created a ticket and had a run around issue when finally they gave it turned on….I lost a couple weeks there.  It also then stopped working magically a week later and was down another week.  They also have Auto Opt In services you need to be watchful for…like email.

I had months of paid time that I didnt get from them … I was ignoring their promotional crap.  So they turned me off until I verified my email again.  Outrageous I immediately started the transfer process out.  Here are some more people’s Network Solutions stories…..the worst place to buy a domain name.

The Second Worst Place To Buy Your Domain Name

Is with your hosting company.  I prefer checks and balances and your hosting company already holds all your files over your head…dont give them your name too.  It may be free but for 8 bucks pay someone else so no matter what your host company says or does you can take your name and run.

BTW No one paid us or gave us anything for free, this is what Ultimate SEO actually thinks.  Here’s the prices from our pick for Best Site To Buy Your Domain Name.

Name Silo

$8.39
.net $11.79
.org $10.79
.club $9.00
$9.89
.biz $12.79
.life $23.99
.icu $6.59
$6.99
.info $12.67
.top $7.19
.store $43.99
.xyz $9.29
.ac $42.99
.academy $23.99
.accountant $11.50
.accountants $73.99
.actor $29.99
.agency $15.99
.airforce $23.99
.apartments $37.99
.archi $51.95
.army $23.99
.art $10.69
.asia $11.79
.associates $23.99
.attorney $29.99
.auction $23.99
.audio $114.99
.band $18.99
.bar $54.99
.bargains $23.99
.beer $23.99
.best $80.00
.bid $2.75
$11.50
.bike $23.99
.bingo $35.99
.bio $51.95
.black $40.45
.blackfriday $114.99
.blog $22.99
.blue $12.84
.boston $10.50
$11.99
.boutique $23.99
.builders $23.99
.business $15.99
.buzz $27.99
.ca $8.99
.cab $23.99
.cafe $23.99
.camera $37.99
.camp $37.99
.capital $37.99
.cards $23.99
.care $23.99
.careers $37.99
.casa $6.09
.cash $23.99
.casino $114.99
.catering $23.99
.cc $9.99
.center $15.99
.charity $22.00
.chat $21.99
.cheap $23.99
.christmas $53.99
.church $23.99
.city $15.99
.claims $37.99
.cleaning $37.99
.click $8.59
.clinic $37.99
.clothing $23.99
.cloud $8.99
.co $22.49
.coach $37.99
.codes $37.99
.college $52.99
.consulting $23.99
.coffee $23.99
.community $23.99
.company $6.99
.computer $23.99
.condos $37.99
.construction $23.99
.contractors $23.99
.cooking $23.99
.cool $23.99
.coupons $37.99
.courses $27.99
.credit $73.99
.creditcard $114.99
.cricket $11.50
.cruises $37.99
.dance $18.99
.date $2.75
$11.50
.dating $37.99
.deals $23.99
.degree $34.99
.delivery $37.99
.democrat $23.99
.dental $37.99
.dentist $29.99
.design $35.99
.diamonds $37.99
.diet $114.99
.digital $23.99
.direct $23.99
.directory $15.99
.discount $23.99
.doctor $73.99
.dog $37.99
.domains $23.99
.download $2.75
$11.50
.earth $18.99
.education $15.99
.email $15.99
.energy $73.99
.engineer $23.99
.engineering $37.99
.enterprises $23.99
.equipment $15.99
.estate $23.99
.events $23.99
.exchange $23.99
.expert $37.99
.exposed $15.99
.express $23.99
.fail $23.99
.faith $6.35
$11.50
.family $18.99
.fans $53.99
.farm $23.99
.fashion $23.99
.feedback $329.99
.film $65.99
.finance $37.99
.financial $37.99
.fish $23.99
.fishing $23.99
.fit $23.99
.fitness $23.99
.flights $37.99
.florist $23.99
.flowers $114.99
.football $15.99
.forsale $23.99
.foundation $23.99
.fun $16.99
.fund $37.99
.furniture $37.99
.futbol $9.99
.fyi $15.99
.gallery $15.99
.game $329.99
.games $13.99
.garden $23.99
.gift $14.99
.gifts $23.99
.gives $23.99
.glass $37.99
.rocks $9.99
.gmbh $23.99
.gold $73.99
.golf $37.99
.graphics $15.99
.gratis $15.99
.green $53.99
.gripe $23.99
.group $15.99
.guide $23.99
.guitars $114.99
.guru $23.99
.haus $23.99
.healthcare $37.99
.help $22.99
.hiphop $114.99
.hiv $195.99
.hockey $37.99
.holdings $37.99
.holiday $37.99
.horse $23.99
.hospital $37.99
.host $69.89
.hosting $329.99
.house $23.99
.immo $23.99
.immobilien $23.99
.in $6.89
.industries $23.99
.ink $22.99
.institute $15.99
.insure $37.99
.international $15.99
.investments $73.99
.io $31.99
$42.99
.irish $11.99
.jewelry $37.99
.jetzt $15.99
.juegos $329.99
.kaufen $23.99
.kim $12.85
.kitchen $37.99
.la $27.99
.land $23.99
.law $80.00
$85.00
.lawyer $29.99
.lease $37.99
.legal $37.99
.lgbt $33.99
.link $8.69
.lighting $15.99
.limited $23.99
.limo $37.99
.live $18.99
.llc $23.99
.loan $2.75
$11.50
.loans $73.99
.lol $22.99
.love $23.99
.ltd $15.99
.maison $37.99
.management $15.99
.market $23.99
.marketing $23.99
.mba $23.99
.me $14.15
$15.99
.media $23.99
.memorial $37.99
.men $2.75
$11.50
.menu $27.99
.miami $13.99
.mobi $15.15
.moda $23.99
.moe $13.99
.mom $27.99
.money $23.99
.mortgage $34.99
.movie $219.99
.mx $36.99
.navy $23.99
.network $15.99
.news $18.99
.ninja $13.99
.observer $9.99
.one $7.99
.online $15.99
$26.99
.ooo $90.00
.organic $53.99
.partners $37.99
.parts $23.99
.party $2.75
$11.50
.pet $12.84
.photography $14.50
$15.99
.photo $22.99
.photos $15.99
.pics $22.99
.pictures $8.99
.pink $12.84
.pizza $37.99
.place $23.99
.plumbing $37.99
.plus $23.99
.press $52.99
.pro $12.84
.productions $23.99
.promo $12.84
.properties $23.99
.property $114.99
.protection $2,079.99
.pub $23.99
.pw $17.25
$18.00
.racing $6.35
$11.50
.realty $9.99
.recipes $37.99
.red $12.84
.rehab $23.99
.reise $73.99
.reisen $15.99
.rent $49.99
.rentals $23.99
.repair $23.99
.report $15.99
.republican $23.99
.rest $28.99
.restaurant $37.99
.review $6.35
$11.50
.reviews $18.99
.rip $13.99
.global $53.99
.rodeo $23.99
.run $15.99
.sale $23.99
.salon $37.99
.sarl $23.99
.school $23.99
.schule $15.99
.science $6.35
$11.50
.security $2,079.99
.services $23.99
.sexy $43.99
.sh $42.99
.shiksha $10.89
.shoes $37.99
.shop $26.99
.shopping $22.99
.show $23.99
.singles $23.99
.site $23.99
.ski $34.70
.soccer $15.99
.social $23.99
.software $23.99
.solar $37.99
.solutions $15.99
.space $17.25
$18.00
.storage $529.99
.stream $2.75
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.style $21.99
.sucks $218.99
.supplies $15.99
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.support $15.99
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.surgery $37.99
.systems $15.99
.tattoo $34.99
.tax $37.99
.taxi $37.99
.team $23.99
.tech $39.99
.technology $15.99
.tel $10.79
.tennis $35.99
.theater $37.99
.theatre $529.99
.tickets $389.99
.tienda $37.99
.tips $15.99
.tires $73.99
.today $15.99
.tools $23.99
.tours $37.99
.town $23.99
.toys $37.99
.trade $2.75
$11.50
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$95.00

Ultimate SEO”Ultimate SEO”

LeBron And The Lakers Have Hit A Low Point

On the one hand, the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night wasn’t the most surprising thing. After all, the Bucks — who staged a late run to earn the victory in Los Angeles — own the NBA’s best record and have a leading MVP candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo.

On the other hand, the Lakers surrendering a 15-2 run — and the lead — over the final three minutes of play may have put the team’s back against the wall in an entirely new way.

With the defeat, LeBron James and the Lakers find themselves staring at just a 14 percent playoff probability in FiveThirtyEight’s NBA projection model, the lowest mark they’ve had all season, and a damning scenario given that there are only 20 games left in the campaign. That 14 percent figure is an enormous drop-off from even a week ago, when the club held 25 percent odds to get in. (Three weeks ago, the Lakers’ number was 41 percent.)

But a number of realities are setting in now. The Lakers are 4 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the seventh seed and 3.5 games back of the San Antonio Spurs, who own the head-to-head tiebreaker (meaning their lead is more like 4 games, since the Lakers would miss out on the postseason if they were to finish with the same record as San Antonio). Perhaps the most disheartening thing, aside from having a lot of ground to make up, is the fact that the other teams vying for the last two spots have much easier remaining schedules.

Our projections surmise that it will ultimately take about 44 victories to earn a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. In order to reach that win total, the Lakers would need to finish 14-6 against the NBA’s 10th-toughest remaining schedule — one that has 10 home games and 10 road ones. They still have to play the Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Bucks again, Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder, among others.

By contrast, the indestructible Spurs need to go only 10-9 to finish with 44 wins. They have an easier-than-average slate the rest of the way, with 11 of their last 19 games in San Antonio. The Clippers have it even better, needing a 9-9 finish to get to 44 victories, with 12 of their last 18 contests at home. (The young, fun Sacramento Kings are positioned in about the same spot as the Lakers in the standings, needing a 13-7 finish to reach 44 wins. But their remaining schedule is the third-easiest in the NBA, giving them some hope in an uphill battle.)

James has faced late-season pressure to lift his team out of the doldrums each of the past few seasons. But this scenario with the Lakers stands apart, both because of how much time he missed with injury (one that now looks as if it will cost the team a playoff spot), and because of how the young supporting cast struggled to hold the rope during his absence, going 6-11. It’s one thing to coast into the postseason, the way James’s Miami and Cleveland clubs often did. But James himself hasn’t missed the playoffs in 14 years, not since the 2004-05 season.

If there’s a bright side, it’s that the Lakers finally look engaged. They held Antetokounmpo to just 16 points, one of his lowest-scoring outputs in a dominant season. Youngster Brandon Ingram has showcased his scoring ability lately and was unstoppable Friday, finishing with 31 points.

But the time to celebrate moral victories for this team has run out, unfortunately. A sixth-straight season of missing the playoffs — especially now, after adding one of the league’s all-time greats — would be disastrous. And after Friday’s loss, the Lakers are staring directly at that possibility.

The Pistons Are Far From Perfect, But They Could Make Noise In The Playoffs

There’s a natural tendency in the NBA to lavish attention on teams that, with every bad loss, send social media into a tizzy because of what it might mean for the league’s landscape. For instance, if the LeBron-led Lakers don’t reach the postseason — a 80 percent probability at this point — it would seem a foregone conclusion that major changes would take place in L.A. this summer.

On the other extreme, then, are the Pistons. Detroit, which has been to the NBA playoffs once in the past nine seasons, desperately craves a postseason berth. But if the Pistons don’t make it, there won’t be headlines in national news outlets criticizing them for it. And even if there were, it would be tough to make big changes within an organization that has a first-year head coach and a top-heavy roster. This is their team for now.

The Pistons are clearly an imperfect club. But they can bolster their fortunes by simply continuing to play the way they have in recent weeks, winning eight of their past 11 games. Through Feb. 1, the sputtering Pistons’ offense ranked 29th out of the league’s 30 teams in both effective field goal rate and true shooting percentage. Since Feb. 2, though, the club has jumped into the top five leaguewide in both categories.

Unlike earlier stretches in the season, when All-Star forward Blake Griffin was carrying the offense, the Pistons have enjoyed a far more balanced approach over the past month. The team’s share of one-on-one plays — which was the NBA’s second-highest through Feb. 11 — ranked just 12th over the past month of action, according to stat-tracking database Second Spectrum.

After coming into the season showing off a jumper that wasn’t quite game-ready, two-time All-Star Andre Drummond has looked better than ever simply by getting back to the basics near the rim. He’s averaging more than 22 points and 17 boards2 over his past seven games and has found considerable success with a nifty little push shot from about 8 feet out. Beyond that, maddeningly inconsistent guard Reggie Jackson has been consistently good for a month now and is shooting a career-best 36 percent from deep.

All of this is noteworthy for an offense that sometimes shoots as if the object of the sport is to bruise the backboard with repeated misfires. On Wednesday in San Antonio, for instance, Detroit bricked 14 of its first 15 shots to begin the second quarter. Coach Dwane Casey has acknowledged that the iso-heavy games prior to February were largely a necessity: Griffin trying to break down an entire defense — or simply trying to post up — was often Detroit’s best hope.3

The team has to use an array of handoffs and screens, both on and off the ball, to convince defenders to move and to free up jump-shooters.4 No team scores fewer fast-break points per night than Detroit, and the Pistons are less efficient after forcing a turnover on D than any other NBA club.

If there’s been a surprise during the team’s stretch of solid play, it’s that Detroit has shot so well in the aftermath of trading its best shooter, Reggie Bullock — a deal that initially looked suspect and suggested to many that the Pistons were trying to dodge paying the luxury tax. (Signing perimeter threat Wayne Ellington obviously made up for much of that.)

But there’s a strong argument to be made that speedy backup guard Ish Smith has been the catalyst in the turnaround. The Pistons were terrible in the time he missed earlier in the season with an injury but looked competent again once he rejoined the lineup. (With Smith out, the only other point guard Detroit had outside of Jackson was 37-year-old Jose Calderon.)

Heading into Wednesday night’s games, only four players5 had helped boost their teams’ winning percentages more than Smith,6 according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Pistons have logged a 21-13 record with Smith (61.8 percent) and an 8-18 mark (30.8 percent) without him.

Buying stock in the Pistons feels risky because of their shallow depth and their cold spells that feel like arctic blasts straight from Canada. This 11-game stretch hasn’t been tough, featuring just two wins over teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

Still, Detroit owns an 87 percent playoff probability and a favorable remaining schedule — far easier than that of Brooklyn, Charlotte or Miami.7 The Pistons’ defense has been solid all year (Drummond is among the league leaders in steals), and the club limits opponents to a league-low 33.7 percent from the 3-point line.

There’s a bizarre universe in which the Pistons could reach the playoffs at below .500 and still be favored in the first round. If the Pistons land at the No. 6 seed, and the Pacers minus star Victor Oladipo hold on to the No. 3, not only would Detroit have the top player in the series, but it would also have a real chance to advance to the second round.

Beggars can’t be choosers, and those might be high hopes for now. But for a capped-out franchise that hasn’t reached the second round since 2008, the mere dream itself almost feels like a noteworthy accomplishment.

Check out our latest NBA predictions.

Politics Podcast: Our Best (Or Worst) Show

FiveThirtyEight

 

North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District will be the first district to redo an election since 1975, after evidence of absentee ballot fraud in 2018. Elections analyst Nathaniel Rakich joins the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast to discuss the evidence of fraud and what to expect from the redo. The crew also debates what would constitute a serious primary challenge to President Trump and plays a round of the game “Guess What Americans Think.”

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast publishes Monday evenings, with occasional special episodes throughout the week. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

Backlinks 101 – SEO’s Off-page Often Ignored Power Ranker

First off a little disclosure this article over laps the Backlinks category of the FAQ.

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links from other sites.  Think of them as votes of affirmation.  Only one vote can come from a domain so for SEO purposes it doesn’t matter if there are 100 or 1 link from the same domain one link is the count you gain.  Subdomains are viewed separately…thats why yourblog.tumblr.com isn’t a tumblr backlink.  Now those other links may increase traffic to your site but in regards to SEO value its one vote.  Some call this metric “Domain Pop” … how many different domains link to a site.  It’s also gotten more complicated as people would host multiple sites on a shared IP.  How many backlinks come from different IPs is “IP Pop.”  It’s common to see a little higher domain pop than ip pop but if its a huge gap its suspect.

The more domains that link to you the more authoritative you must be right?  Well Kinda.  If 1000 domains link to your site you likely are more authoritative than a site that 3 sites link too.  Not all domains or votes or backlinks….are the same.  A link to your site from UltimateSEO.org carries with it the weigh attributed to that site by its backlinks.  People refer to this as “link juice” basically the backlinks coming in to a site fuel the backlinks leaving a site.

Link juice prevents someone of registering 10 new domains and making 10 backlinks to their original site because those ten new sites probably lack link juice from their own backlinks.  Generally said though backlinks increase a site’s domain athority or citation flow.  Different companies refer to the authority of a site differently.  Beyond DA and CF there is also LIS but I have found DA to be the best singular indicator of a sites worth.

You can see a site’s backlinks from many indexes, most are paid.  Ultimate SEO recommends Monitor Backlinks if you want a tool that is really good at backlinks.  UltimateSEO received nothing for that endorsement.  The endorsement or vote …. as you see it’s a backlink.

What Kinds Of Backlinks Are There?

No-Follow vs Do-Follow Backlinks

No-Follow vs Do-Follow Backlinks

Beyond saying Good and Bad there are actually a couple to be aware of “follow” or “do-follow” and “nofollow.”  They get their names by the instruction they give search engine crawlers…no follow links mean don’t follow this to that site.  In theory a regular link is a follow link and serves as the backlink you ultimately want.

Some reason folks went a little crazy and no-followed everything … even internal links.  No-follows were meant to combat link building schemes such as blog comments.  While its fine to have no follow links to your site there should be a limited mixture of them in relation to your actual do-follow links.  No-follow links are still indexed and I feel strongly have some SEO value still even if its just to drive traffic to your site.  In the end you want do-follow links because they come as full fledged votes for your site, where as no-follows are more or less saying “here is this link to a sight I don’t want to be associated with necessarily.”

It’s that distance that makes “no-follows” a poor source of SEO efforts and its why you should use them sparingly in internal links.  Why would you send a signal to Google that you don’t stand behind an internal link to yourself?  Some try to hold onto all the link juice coming in and no-follow” every external link, this is a poor practice and its been shown that linking your content to relevant good external content helps you.

No-Follow Internal Links…Just Don’t

I rarely use no-follow links, I kinda think they system there is broken so I just follow them all.  Sometime ago people started no-following everything and lead their link juice to specific pages they wanted to rank.  Since this was a misuse of the no-follow Google changed how it handled no-follows, it doesn’t keep the juice in your site or on a page it just disappears.  No-follows take the same amount of link juice as a regular link but no one gets it.  Pointless then right?  We’ll debate that more another day.

What Is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the “keyword” of a backlink.  Ultimate SEO for example is anchor text for the link https://ultimateseo.org which that link had no anchor text.  Anchor text defines the backlink vote.  If enough people make a link to your site like “Miserable Failure” it will teach Google that the target of that link is a miserable failure.  This happen to George W Bush’s White House biography page long ago and is called a “Google Bomb”.  It’s that old saying…if you say something often enough it can become true.

How Many Do I Need?

A lot.  You need as many as you can get from as many places as you can get them.  Just keep in mind that a backlink from my personal site isn’t as powerful as a backlink from the CDC.gov website …. they have the authority.  Thats also why .edu and .gov backlinks are especially coveted.

Backlinks

Backlinks

A quick rule of thumb to determine how many you need is to simply Google the keyword you are attempting to rank for….lets say “cool music from the 60s.” I get pastemagazine.com leading the pack.  According the SEMrush.com that site has 2.7 million backlinks coming from 36,700 domains on 44,300 IP addresses.  So roughly keep that your target if you want to rank #1 for “cool music from the 60s.”

How Do I Get Backlinks?

Many ways….the Gods honest truth is to do it the obvious way …. by having content worth linking too.  If you want a page to rank at the top you need a site thats fast, optimized on page, has relevant … awesome content … and people will backlink to you.  Over years and years and years and you’ll need to keep that content better than everyone else’s … thats not super realistic though.  Sometimes the best content is on page 2 and it’ll stay there…I often Google something and skip the first things just cause they are often just the most SEOed things.  BUT most people by far pick the first result, then the second and so on.

What Are Some Popular Link Building Techniques?

So you need to prime the pump and simulate organic growth and popularity and now you’re in a link building scheme.  Some are looked down upon more than others but make no mistake any attempt to gain backlinks is a link building scheme.  Press Releases, Guest Blogging, Commenting in Forums, making profiles on other sites, link swapping, selling or buying links and finally PBNs.  PBNs are private blog networks where you make zombie sites that link to your important site … but considering that the example above had 37,000 domains linking to it how effective is a network of say 200 sites?  Well surprisingly effective…and thats why Google hunts PBNs like Buffy the vampire slayer.

Thats our Backlinks 101…I’ll talk more about some of these concepts in future posts.

Ultimate SEO”Ultimate SEO”

Politics Podcast: 99 Problems And Mueller Is Just One

The word is that special counsel Robert Mueller could wrap up his investigation as early as next week. Whatever the outcome, it will be an important political moment in Donald Trump’s presidency. However it probably won’t be the end of his legal troubles. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, legal reporter Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux shares an overview of the criminal investigations involving the president, ranging from campaign finance violations to fraud.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast publishes Monday evenings, with occasional special episodes throughout the week. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

Wait … Is LeBron James Actually Going To Miss The Playoffs?

LeBron James has been so good for so long that it’s easy to forget just how astounding some of his accomplishments are. For example, he currently owns one of the greatest ongoing streaks in sports: His team has made the NBA Finals in eight straight seasons, starting in 2011. That’s mind-blowing in a league where a single finals appearance can be the highlight of a player’s entire career — and he’s done it for two different franchises.

Of course, everyone knew it would be hard for James to keep that streak going this season after moving from the Cleveland Cavaliers — and the relative ease of the Eastern Conference — to the Los Angeles Lakers and the scary West. The thing that has taken NBA observers by surprise is the reason why the finals streak might not happen: James’s Lakers are in real danger of not making the playoffs at all.

According to our NBA projection model, Los Angeles currently has just a 26 percent probability of making the playoffs. L.A. sits a game under .500 in the West’s No. 10 slot, three games back of the eighth-seeded Clippers with 25 games left on the schedule, and it will face the league’s ninth-toughest schedule down the stretch. The Lakers’ only saving grace is that, at full strength, our model thinks they’re the West’s eighth-best team, significantly better than both the Clippers and the No. 9 Sacramento Kings. But it will be a race to the finish that James hasn’t had to worry about in a very long time.

The last LeBron-led team to miss the postseason entirely was the 2004-05 Cavs, in James’s second NBA season. They went 42-40 — which has traditionally been good enough to make the playoffs in the East — but lost out on a tiebreaker with the New Jersey Nets (who beat Cleveland 3-1 in the season series). Talent-wise, that team was a far cry from even later versions of the Cavs that would be prematurely bounced out of the playoffs: Journeyman guard Jeff McInnis was second on the team in minutes behind LeBron, and low-scoring swingman Ira Newble was also a full-time starter. (The next scoring options behind James were Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden.) James himself had not yet fully ascended to GOAT levels of performance, either, posting what would eventually be the fifth-worst Box Plus/Minus and fourth-worst win shares per 48 minutes of his career to date.

On paper, this season’s Lakers should not be drawing comparisons to Jeff McInnis and Ira Newble. Although L.A.’s supporting cast didn’t have the same immediate appeal as players in other potential free-agent destinations for James, it was assumed that the young quartet of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball would build on their promising 2018 performances — particularly by playing alongside James — and mix with the Lakers’ strange mishmash of veterans to make a functional team. But that hasn’t consistently happened during James’s debut campaign in purple and gold.

It’s been a tough season for the young Lakers

Performance metrics for four Los Angeles Lakers prospects, 2018 vs. 2019

2018 Season 2019 Season
Player BPM WS/48* PIE%† BPM WS/48* PIE%†
Kyle Kuzma -1.3 .077 10.4% -1.3 .078 10.6%
Brandon Ingram -1.3 .068 9.6 -3.2 .042 8.4
Josh Hart -0.1 .111 8.8 -0.4 .063 6.4
Lonzo Ball +1.7 .053 10.0 +0.7 .056 8.8
Average -0.4 .076 9.8 -1.1 .060 8.7

*Win shares per 48 minutes

†PIE% = Player Impact Estimate, a rough measure of the percentage of all positive on-court events (for both teams) the player accounted for.

Source: Basketball-Reference.com

Across a variety of metrics, LeBron’s young sidekicks have mostly declined in performance this season, despite benefiting from an extra year of development and getting to play next to one of the greatest offensive creators in NBA history. Only Kuzma can credibly say he has shown any amount of improvement, increasing his usage rate and true shooting percentage while reducing his turnover rate. The rest — particularly Ingram, whose advanced stats have slid into an abyss — have stalled out or worse, and none has even amounted to a league-average player, according to the consensus of metrics.

Making matters worse, it could be argued that those four cost Los Angeles a shot at trading for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis at the deadline (assuming that former Pelicans GM Dell Demps ever actually intended to deal Davis). If even a few of the Lakers’ youngsters had played well this season, showing the requisite star potential to be included in a trade package for Davis, it’s possible that L.A. would have been penciling a LeBron-AD duo into its lineup for a playoff push this year. Instead, it’s left waiting for Hart and Ball to return from injury and hoping the kids can play better down the stretch.

The veterans haven’t exactly helped much, either. JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler are an efficient pairing of defensive bigs, and both are above average in win shares per 48 — the most charitable stat for each — while shooting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the recently acquired Reggie Bullock are at least in the vicinity of average in the metric. (As is new power forward Mike Muscala.) But Rajon Rondo has shot the ball poorly this season, and Lance Stephenson hasn’t been an effective player in years. All told, James’s supporting cast hasn’t been appreciably better than the one he fled in Cleveland after last season.1

And it bears mentioning that James himself has not been as statistically dominant as in his last few seasons as a Cavalier. His usage rate, true shooting percentage, assist rate, rebound rate, steal rate, block rate and defensive BPM are all down from last year. He’s shooting worse on twos, threes and free throws. And most concerning, the 34-year-old missed 18 games between Christmas and early February with a groin injury, and he’s played only 49.5 percent of the Lakers’ available minutes this season — by far the lowest mark of his career.

James did tell reporters over All-Star weekend that he “feels great,” though, and that he’s ready to lead a playoff push for Los Angeles.

“[I’m] looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race,” James said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to happen in my mental space for these next two months, pretty much on how I can get this team playing the type of level of basketball we were playing before my injury.”

The Lakers will need to summon all of James’s focus and talent to storm back into the playoff picture. It’s more than possible, particularly if James is indeed healthy. But our projections are still low for a LeBron team even after accounting for James’s return to the lineup — and the fact that the Clippers were sellers at the trade deadline. (That’s why we give L.A. a 26 percent chance, while simpler forecasts such as the one at Basketball-Reference.com peg its odds at about 5 percent.) And even if the Lakers do make the playoffs, they would probably end up being heavy underdogs against the Golden State Warriors in the first round.

The Lakers’ long-term future should be brighter: The team will have plenty of cap space to use on free agents surrounding James and plenty of superstar options to choose from (in addition to the ongoing potential of a Davis trade). For now, though, James’s finals streak has a real chance of ending far earlier than anybody expected: April 10, the final day of the 2018-19 NBA regular season.

Check out our latest NBA predictions.

How To Rank Your Site On Google…Forget the Keywords

Ultimate SEO

Well don’t totally forget the keywords but I think if you spend more than 5 minutes on keywords you’re going to be pretty surprised by some purported data I stumbled across.  As you likely know Google uses about 200 factors in determining your sites ranking.  I personally have place a lot of emphasis on speed and backlinks and while I have thought it was important I must admit I didn’t give the social media factor as much attention as I should.

The first big thing to not is that 10.3% of ranking is CTR so if you have ever seen your content just jump up on the rankings and then slowly (or quickly) taper off as time goes its likely that people are clicking on you less and less as you slide below the pages.  Its the single biggest impact.  I feel Google gives you the benefit of doubt at first ranking you higher than average and then they allow people to determine if your site is worth it.  That’s important to consider and similar to conversion rates.

When we take human behavior out we have largely backlinks and social media deciding your ranking ability.  These make sense, if no one is talking about you but they are about your competition and more people click on your competitors site who also has the most backlinks you’re wasting your time trying to get your keywords exactly right in the headers, description and title….they combined contribute a value of 5  where backlinks are over 120.

If you’d like to access the Data Studio report directly you can visit https://datastudio.google.com/open/1lNt4SYd4jrfXWMo9HPKvrj1FWFO0oxG4

If this graphic surprises you it might be a good plan to check out our SEO Store or Upwork Profile.

Ultimate SEO”Ultimate SEO”

Adwords And Google Data Studio: Wordstream Alternative

I’ve been managing Google Adwords campaigns for political campaigns mostly but recently I stepped out into managing the Adwords campaigns for an IT consulting company. It’s a little bit of a challenge I’m not going to lie. More than just matching the search with the keyword I need to attract only business customer and cut out residential. So as you can image someone Googles “IT Help Desks” and they might be looking for a specific help desk, a personal help desk or a help desk to contract business services too.

Wordstream Free Alternative

In Ultimate SEO‘s  struggle to compete in this expensive market I tried Wordstream out for a week and a half of so and thats really not enough time to get much actionable help. I was pulled into a sales demo consultation and sure it seemed like it could offer insights but WOW … the expense associated with that out paced any other SEO tool I use. I felt the main task Wordstream was completing was organizing and presenting the data in a way that I could see the areas of need. Google Data Studio has been doing that for me in SEO for over a year now so I’ve tried my hand at making a Google Adwords Google Data Studio report with the aim to save about three hundred a month from getting Wordstream.

google data studio adwords

google data studio adwords

Data Studio Adwords Template

Google Data Studio also lets you copy reports that others make available and you can attach your own data respository to populate the report. Basically if you want a Google Data Studio Template for Adwords you’re welcome to copy this report in Google Data Studio.

I’ll come back in a month and let you know how this free product helped or didn’t help me rather than paying PPC software provides.

Ultimate SEO”Ultimate SEO”

Adwords Template With Search Console, Google Analytics In Data Studio

Adwords Template With Search Console, Google Analytics In Data Studio

SEO & PPC Data Studio Report Using Adwords, Google Analytics and Google Search Console All-In-One Template

Google Data Studio Reports are some fun things.  Here at Ultimate SEO you love visualizations and thats partially why we like Data Studio. Beyond the looks its also integrated easily with Google Sheets, Google Analytics and Search Console to name a few. These few though create a powerful free SEO PPC tool.

You can check out the report directly by clicking the link above, here is an embedded look at the nine pages of live data thats basically always right.  It’s nice to be able to pull in data from two very different Google tools.  Lots of people know of Google Analytics and think it covers Google Search Console but it doesn’t and I’ll discuss that more in another post but the unique data from these sources can all mix to form one handy live report.

You can check out all the information pulled here in this report and change the dates as needed using the drop down.  To personalize the report to your own site simply copy it and set the data sources to your own Google Analytics and Search Console sources.  Word of caution on the Search Console aspect there are two connections, one is the site and the other I believe is the page urls.  So make sure to connect those correctly.  Just like in electrical work it’s like to like.

Across these nine pages you’ll find insights into any site with an Adwords campaign including keywords, search terms, CTR and CPC.

Ultimate SEO”Ultimate SEO”

MAJOR GOOGLE SEO CHANGE FOR SOME: Website Traffic CREDITED To Where Google Chooses

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

In Search Console, the Performance report currently credits all page metrics to the exact URL that the user is referred to by Google Search. Although this provides very specific data, it makes property management more difficult; for example: if your site has mobile and desktop versions on different properties, you must open multiple properties to see all your Search data for the same piece of content.

To help unify your data, Search Console will soon begin assigning search metrics to the (Google-selected) canonical URL, rather than the URL referred to by Google Search. This change has several benefits:

  • It unifies all search metrics for a single piece of content into a single URL: the canonical URL. This shows you the full picture about a specific piece of content in one property.
  • For users with separate mobile or AMP pages, it unifies all (or most, since some mobile URLs may end up as canonical) of your data to a single property (the “canonical” property).
  • It improves the usability of the AMP and Mobile-Friendly reports. These reports currently show issues in the canonical page property, but show the impression in the property that owns the actual URL referred to by Google Search. After this change, the impressions and issues will be shown in the same property.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console

When will this happen?

We plan to transition all performance data on April 10, 2019. In order to provide continuity to your data, we will pre-populate your unified data beginning from January 2018. We will also enable you to view both old and new versions for a few weeks during the transition to see the impact and understand the differences.

API and Data Studio users: The Search Console API will change to canonical data on April 10, 2019.

How will this affect my data?

  • At an individual URL level, you will see traffic shift from any non-canonical (duplicate) URLs to the canonical URL.
  • At the property level, you will see data from your alternate property (for example, your mobile site) shifted to your “canonical property”. Your alternate property traffic probably won’t drop to zero in Search Console because canonicalization is at the page, not the property level, and your mobile property might have some canonical pages. However, for most users, most property-level data will shift to one property. AMP property traffic will drop to zero in most cases (except for self-canonical pages).
  • You will still be able to filter data by device, search appearance (such as AMP), country, and other dimensions without losing important information about your traffic.

You can see some examples of these traffic changes below.

Preparing for the change

  • Consider whether you need to change user access to your various properties; for example: do you need to add new users to your canonical property, or do existing users continue to need access to the non-canonical properties.
  • Modify any custom traffic reports you might have created in order to adapt for this traffic shift.
  • If you need to learn the canonical URL for a given URL, you can use the URL Inspection tool.
  • If you want to save your traffic data calculated using the current system, you should download your data using either the Performance report’s Export Data button, or using the Search Console API.

Examples

Here are a few examples showing how data might change on your site. In these examples, you can see how your traffic numbers would change between a canonical site (called example.com) and alternate site (called m.example.com).

Important: In these examples, the desktop site contains all the canonical pages and the mobile contains all the alternate pages. In the real world, your desktop site might contain some alternate pages and your mobile site might contain some canonical pages. You can determine the canonical for a given URL using the URL Inspection tool.

Total traffic

In the current version, some of your traffic is attributed to the canonical property and some to the alternate property. The new version should attribute all of your traffic to the canonical property.

MAJOR GOOGLE SEO CHANGE FOR SOME: Website Traffic CREDITED To Where Google Chooses

MAJOR GOOGLE SEO CHANGE FOR SOME: Website Traffic CREDITED To Where Google Chooses

Individual page traffic

You can see traffic changes between the duplicate and canonical URLs for individual pages in the Pages view. The next example shows how traffic that used to be split between the canonical and alternate pages are now all attributed to the canonical URL:

Mobile traffic

In the current version, all of your mobile traffic was attributed to your m. property. The new version attributes all traffic to your canonical property when you apply the “Device: Mobile” filter as shown here:

In conclusion

We know that this change might seem a little confusing at first, but we’re confident that it will simplify your job of tracking traffic data for your site. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out on the Webmaster Help Foru

Ultimate SEO”Ultimate SEO”

Did The Cubs Miss Their Chance To Be A Dynasty?

In addition to being one of the great sports stories of the 21st century — breaking a 108-year championship drought in extra innings of World Series Game 7 — the 2016 Chicago Cubs were legitimately one of the best baseball teams of all time. With a championship core of young talent that included Kris Bryant (age 24),1 Anthony Rizzo (26), Kyle Hendricks (26), Addison Russell (22), Javier Baez (23), Kyle Schwarber (23), Willson Contreras (24) and Jason Heyward (26), Chicago seemed poised to follow up that magical run by becoming a dynasty in the coming seasons.

That’s not quite how things have played out. The 2017 Cubs stumbled out of the gate and never quite clicked, eventually losing to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The 2018 version squandered the five-game division lead they held over the Brewers on Sept. 1, lost the division tiebreaker in Game 163 of the regular season and then promptly lost the wild-card game against Colorado. And the Cubs’ grip on the Central figures to loosen even further this season. According to a preliminary version of our 2019 MLB Projections, we give Chicago only the third-best projected record (84 wins) in the division, with a mere 24 percent chance of winning it.

The NL Central has caught up with the Cubs

How our preliminary Elo ratings are forecasting the 2019 NL Central race

Avg. Simulated Season Chance to…
Team Elo Rating Wins Losses Run Diff. Make Playoffs Win Division Win World Series
Cardinals 1528 86 76 +42 45% 28% 4%
Brewers 1525 85 77 +33 41 25 4
Cubs 1523 84 78 +31 40 24 4
Pirates 1502 79 83 -15 25 13 1
Reds 1497 77 85 -32 20 10 1

Based on 100,000 simulations of the 2019 MLB season.

Sources: Baseball prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport, Caesar’s Palace

How is it possible that the Cubs went from dynasty in the making in 2016 to a team struggling to stay atop its own division in less than three years? The answer lies in part with the team’s declining core and team president Theo Epstein’s inability to supplement it with effective reinforcements from the outside — particularly when it comes to pitching.

Few teams have ever undergone an overhaul as extreme as the Cubs did in the four years leading up to their championship season. Chicago improved from 16.6 wins above replacement2 during their dreadful 61-win 2012 to 56.8 WAR in 2016, with essentially all of those gains coming via newly acquired talent (rather than improvements from existing holdovers). As part of that process, Epstein made a number of shrewd trades, drafted several key contributors and increased Chicago’s payroll by 169 percent relative to the MLB average.

It all came together as a textbook example of tearing down and rebuilding a franchise. The 2016 Cubs had baseball’s third-most-valuable pitchers by WAR (including the No. 1 starting rotation) and the best defense by a country mile, on top of an offense that tied for the NL lead in adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage. The pitching side was expensive and creaky — one of the oldest ever to win a World Series, in fact — but Epstein and the Cubs seemed to be winning the battle of ideas about where to invest in order to build a ballclub with perennial championship aspirations.

Since 2016, though, the formula has broken down. The team’s net WAR on arrivals and departures — in which Chicago topped baseball from 2012 to 2016 — has dropped to eighth-worst in MLB. The Cubs haven’t added very many new faces, and what few acquisitions the team has made have largely flopped, particularly on the mound. Starters Tyler Chatwood, Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish all badly underperformed their established performance levels as members of the Cubs, for instance. As a result, Chicago has mainly had to rely on its existing core to keep the team in contention.

This makes some sense, to a certain extent. The natural maturation process of a championship team is to add talent in the lead-up to contention, then shift toward maintaining it once the roster finally reaches the top of the heap. But that hasn’t really happened, either. Not only have the new players underperformed, the team’s nexus of homegrown talent has, too. The Cubs’ holdovers are a net -14.8 WAR since 2016, which ranks fourth-worst in MLB. The multiyear plan to build a great core and then set it loose doesn’t work when that core regresses.

The rise and stall of the Cubs

Chicago Cubs’ net wins above replacement (WAR) added/subtracted by season from incoming/outgoing and existing players, 2013-18

Net WAR from…
Season Previous WAR + Arrivals Departures + Holdovers = Season WAR
2013 16.6 + 10.1 + 2.2 2.9 = 26.1
2014 26.1 + 7.8 6.1 + 2.2 = 30.0
2015 30.0 + 19.8 3.4 2.0 = 44.5
2016 44.5 + 10.8 + 0.5 + 1 = 56.8
2017 56.8 + 8.3 9.5 13.1 = 42.5
2018 42.5 + 7.5 6.2 1.8 = 42.1

Positive net WAR for departures means departing players cumulatively had negative WAR the previous year.

Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs

The 2018 Cubs shared some of the strengths of the 2016 club — both had top-5 defenses by WAR — but Chicago slipped to 14th in WAR from its starting rotation and was basically average offensively according to adjusted OPS. An injury to Bryant cost him 60 games, while Rizzo’s performance declined for reasons mostly unknown.

Bryzzo wasn’t alone in its combined downturn. Sixteen players appeared on the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Cubs. Some of them — such as Contreras, Baez and Schwarber — have flourished in expanded roles since 2016. But in more cases than not, this core group has produced less despite being asked to carry more of the load over time:3

The Cubs are relying on the same core … and getting less

For players who were on the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Chicago Cubs, share of team playing time logged* and wins above replacement (WAR) by season

Playing time WAR
Player Pos 2016 2017 2018 2016 2017 2018
Anthony Rizzo 1B 6.6% 6.8% 6.4% 5.2 4.2 2.8
Kris Bryant 3B 6.8 6.5 4.4 7.6 6.4 2.1
Ben Zobrist 2B 6.2 4.8 5.0 3.8 0.4 3.4
Jon Lester P 5.7 5.1 4.9 4.9 2.0 2.4
Javier Baez IF 4.4 5.0 6.2 2.7 2.6 5.7
Jason Heyward RF 5.8 4.7 4.7 1.1 1.6 1.8
Kyle Hendricks P 5.3 4.0 5.4 4.8 2.8 3.0
Addison Russell SS 5.8 3.8 4.5 3.7 1.9 1.7
Willson Contreras C 2.8 4.2 5.2 1.9 3.6 2.7
Kyle Schwarber LF 0.0 4.8 4.9 -0.1 0.8 2.3
Albert Almora CF 1.1 3.2 4.6 0.6 1.1 1.4
Mike Montgomery P 1.0 3.8 3.1 0.2 1.9 1.2
Pedro Strop P 1.5 2.1 2.2 0.8 1.0 1.4
Carl Edwards Jr. P 1.1 2.4 1.8 0.4 1.2 1.2
Tommy La Stella IF 1.7 1.5 1.8 0.6 0.5 0.1
Rob Zastryzny P 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.5 -0.2 0.0
Total 56.3 63.0 65.3 38.7 31.8 33.2

* Through plate appearances or (leverage-adjusted) innings pitched.

Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs

It also bears mentioning that Epstein and the Cubs have been hamstrung in how much outside talent they can add by a massive payroll bill, which has affected the team’s depth all across the diamond. In terms of marginal payroll per WAR, Chicago went from being the second-most cost-effective playoff team of 2016 to the least cost-effective playoff team of 2018.

Trade pickup Cole Hamels was one of the few pitchers who didn’t underwhelm in Chicago (he was very good upon joining the Cubs at last year’s deadline). And in the field, rookie David Bote was a pleasant surprise last season. Both will be back for 2019, along with practically all the rest of the aforementioned core.4 The Cubs were briefly rumored to be in on the Bryce Harper derby, but for now Chicago’s biggest offseason acquisition is utilityman Daniel Descalso. And the lack of upgrades is part of the problem heading into 2019.

Although FanGraphs projects the Cubs to have a top-5 lineup, the site sees the pitching staff dropping outside MLB’s top 10 — and with an 88-win prediction for the Cubs, FanGraphs is one of the forecasters most bullish on Chicago’s chances. If the Brewers caught the Cubs on talent last season, the Cardinals might have passed them both by now. Meanwhile, manager Joe Maddon is in the final year of his contract, with no extension in place going forward. From team leadership to the core of the roster, many of the factors that played a key role in Chicago’s rise now look shockingly uncertain three years later.

The good news for Chicago, though, is that the potential still exists for an exciting summer at Wrigley Field. Even if 2016 was an outlier, a team as talented as the 2017 and 2018 Cubs — which was, after all, good enough for an average of 93.5 wins per season — remains a contender. It might not be the kind of dynasty that either Epstein or fans on the North Side had in mind when they were celebrating their curse-breaking World Series victory. But hey, at least it’s far better than all the bad Cub teams of the 1980s and ’90s that many of us grew up watching on WGN.

Jay Boice contributed research.

Does Trump’s National Emergency Set A Problematic Precedent For Conservatives?

President Trump has declared a national emergency to obtain funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, after lawmakers did not approve the $5.7 billion he’d requested. And in doing so, he has sparked a debate on whether the executive branch can — or should — use its power to unilaterally achieve a policy goal. The president does have an enormous amount of latitude to declare national emergencies, but Trump’s use of the power in this way is unusual and could have far-reaching consequences.

“A Democratic president can declare emergencies as well,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Republicans on Thursday. “So the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.”

The action raises problems of both principle and precedent for some right-leaning and libertarian legal specialists. But others argue that Trump’s action is probably legal or say they’re not especially worried about potential consequences down the line.

First of all, some legal experts see a fundamental problem with Republicans’ endorsement of a potentially dramatic expansion of executive power. There is a potential case to be made that Trump’s action, regardless of what it means for the future, violates basic principles of limited-government conservatism, which is generally opposed to executive overreach and supportive of a strong separation of powers. “I think it’s problematic in general, regardless of the legality, for the president to stretch his authority under these broad statutory delegations in ways that haven’t been done before,” said David Bernstein, a professor of law at George Mason University. “It gives the president more power to act unilaterally, and that’s not the way our system is supposed to work.”

Bernstein added that he blames former President Barack Obama for beginning this trend. First in 2012 and then again in 2014, Obama issued sweeping executive orders that protected young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children. But he said Republicans shouldn’t allow this kind of executive overreach to continue, particularly for an expensive project like the wall. “It’s not just that overly broad executive power is being endorsed here — it’s being endorsed for a quintessential big-government boondoggle,” he said.

The question of property rights is another potentially sticky issue for conservatives, because Trump will likely need to use eminent domain — the government’s power to take private property and put it to public use — to seize much of the land he needs for the wall, according to Ilya Somin, who is a law professor at George Mason and identifies as a libertarian. Conservatives and libertarians both tend to be critical of eminent domain in general, and members of his own party have criticized Trump in the past for his history of support for the tactic and his attempt to use it in a real estate project. “Building this wall will require the seizure of a large amount of private property without congressional authorization,” Somin said. “To the extent that Republicans support Trump on this, they deserve censure for that.”

Others, however, pointed out that Trump isn’t drawing on powers that don’t exist — he’s acting within the broad authority that was given to the president by Congress. “This is not the president making stuff up,” said Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law Houston. But Blackman said that just because Trump’s action may be legal, that doesn’t mean Congress has to go along with it — and he thinks they shouldn’t. “The president asked for the authority to build this wall, Congress said no, and now he’s trying to go around Congress,” he said. “Do I think that’s a good idea? No. But I think the president probably has the authority to do this.”

John Malcolm, a senior legal fellow at the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, said he’s “not overly concerned” about future Democratic presidents declaring a national emergency to achieve their own policy goals because the declaration would need to be grounded in a statute and he doesn’t think there is an obvious candidate to use for something like climate change. “The president doesn’t get to declare a national emergency about anything,” he said. “I think creative presidents might try to do various things along these lines in the future, but they won’t necessarily be successful.”

He added that he’s inclined to trust Trump when he says there’s an emergency that justifies immediate action. “I think there’s no doubt that the threats the president is describing along our southern border are real,” he said. “The real shame is that Congress hasn’t worked with him to come up with a more workable solution that responds to those threats. It seems to me that they’re not doing that because they just don’t like this president.”

But Somin and Bernstein both said they thought Trump was setting a dangerous precedent — future Democratic presidents might want to declare a national emergency of their own over something like gun violence or climate change. “This is how slippery slopes work,” Bernstein said. “One president breaches the norm, then another president breaches it more, and it just keeps going.”

Trump’s declaration of a national emergency is now headed for what will almost certainly be a lengthy court battle. The more immediate question is how Republican politicians will respond. Congress has the power to terminate a president’s emergency declaration through a joint resolution of disapproval, but the resolution would need to pass with veto-proof majorities in both chambers to be successful.

Some Senate Republicans have already voiced concerns similar to Pelosi’s. Sen. Marco Rubio said that “today’s national emergency is border security” but also said that a future Democratic president “may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal,” a policy framework recently proposed by Democrats that calls for large public investments to combat climate change. But other Republicans — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — have changed their public positions; after originally opposing a national emergency declaration, they are now lining up behind the president. In the coming days and weeks, they’ll have a tough choice: whether to back the president or rebuke him.


From ABC News: