Below is live coverage of the Don't Panic! A Hitchhiker's Guide To Surviving SEO Changes panel from the SMX West conference. This coverage is provided by Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick & Keri Morgret of Strike Models.
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Stay tuned! Live updates will begin momentarily.
3:27:35 PM Barry Schwartz: Starting in a few minutes....
3:32:52 PM Keri Morgret: Quick Solutions spotlight to st art.
3:33:05 PM Barry Schwartz: That is Elisabeth who is holding the mike like she is a moderator or something
3:33:13 PM Barry Schwartz: mic not mike
3:34:23 PM Barry Schwartz: First up is Mark Munroe from Reply.com is now up
3:35:17 PM Keri Morgret: He shows a site that got penalized 13 times in seven months.
3:35:24 PM Barry Schwartz: This site was hit 13 times with a penalty
3:36:06 PM Barry Schwartz: The issue here was that hackers were injecting links and malware on the site
3:36:17 PM Keri Morgret: How do you protect yourself from Algo changes?
3:36:25 PM Barry Schwartz: Just write great content?
3:36:31 PM Barry Schwartz: Nope, it is not enough
3:36:54 PM Keri Morgret: Reviewing Google's goals for panda. Fast answers, relevant answers, high-quality sites.
3:37:03 PM Keri Morgret: What they said for Panda really applies to most of their updates.
3:37:24 PM Barry Schwartz: May Day, Above the Fold, Freshness
3:37:40 PM Barry Schwartz: In general, Google simply wants a good SERP experience that answers the search query
3:37:52 PM Keri Morgret: They want a result that makes it so the user doesn't need to ask the question again.
3:38:08 PM Barry Schwartz: Should you chase the algorithm?
3:38:13 PM Barry Schwartz: SEOs say no...
3:38:48 PM Barry Schwartz: Even after Panda, there is still poor content in the rankings, so Google is probably not done.
3:39:08 PM Keri Morgret: If Panda was completely successful, Google wouldn't have had to do the above the fold algo update.
3:39:26 PM Keri Morgret: Make your goals align with Google's goals. Create a quality SERP experience.
3:39:45 PM Keri Morgret: Think like a Google product manager to survive and thrive.
3:40:08 PM Keri Morgret: Every search is a question, every result is a promise to answer that question.
3:41:48 PM Keri Morgret: Why focus on the SERP experience? Because Good Content is not enough. What matters is that the user is satisfied.
3:42:20 PM Keri Morgret: Title and meta description in the SERP are the promise to the user.
3:43:30 PM Keri Morgret: You can have awesome content, original content, but you really need it to match what your promise the page to be about.
3:43:52 PM Keri Morgret: Example of great description of the history of San Francisco, but on a page about SF hotel reviews won't be a good page.
3:44:17 PM Keri Morgret: First, understand the users on keywords that dominate your SEO traffic.
3:44:38 PM Barry Schwartz: Understand the users on keywords that dominate your SEO traffic
3:45:03 PM Keri Morgret: Survey people from search, do user testing that starts at the SERP, not just at your home page.
3:47:17 PM Barry Schwartz: Expect Google do run somehting like Panda on a page level.
3:47:37 PM Barry Schwartz: Panda might eventually work specific to mobile and specific to sub folders, he thinks.
3:48:24 PM Barry Schwartz: The above the fold page algo is looking at ads
3:48:46 PM Barry Schwartz: Another thing that interests him is the "Reasonable surfer" model
3:49:00 PM Barry Schwartz: See http://searchengineland.com/seo-implications-of-googles-reasonable-surfer-patent-44222
3:49:05 PM Keri Morgret: Still lots of links done solely for SEO reasons.
3:49:26 PM Keri Morgret: Start thinking about good information architecture so you get your stuff indexed naturally.
- Concentrate on improving the SERP experience for users coming to your site.
3:50:01 PM Keri Morgret: Invest heavily in marketing, branding, social, widgets, linking.
3:50:57 PM Barry Schwartz: Next up is Kerry Dead from PMG
3:51:10 PM Keri Morgret: Kerry is also a writer at Search Engine Land.
3:52:54 PM Keri Morgret: Too many clients hear about social and forget all of what they learned in SEO.
3:53:37 PM Barry Schwartz: They want to go with what is hot and not what you first need to do to set up a foundation to work the hot stuff off of later.
3:53:46 PM Barry Schwartz: (Yes, I am talking about SEO )
3:54:04 PM Keri Morgret: Don't forget the basics of title tags, navigation, information architecture, crawling, sitemaps, etc.
3:54:32 PM Keri Morgret: Double up on your analytics! Pay for Omniture? Add Google Analytics for free!
3:54:42 PM Keri Morgret: Or if you use GA, add Statcounter.
3:54:53 PM Barry Schwartz: Omniture is like Photoshop, so it is so complex and people don't know how to use it.
3:55:37 PM Keri Morgret: One helpful thing is that there are a lot more people that know Google Analytics than Omniture.
3:56:16 PM Keri Morgret: Track everything that matters to you, then track even more.
3:56:30 PM Keri Morgret: Go hire a copywriter!
3:56:57 PM Keri Morgret: Tips include editoral calendars, being unique, rewriting product descriptions, posting to the blog.
3:57:49 PM Keri Morgret: You want to solidify how authoritative your brand is.
3:58:44 PM Keri Morgret: Every visitor tells you something -- even if they don't appear to do anything.
3:59:21 PM Keri Morgret: Embrace the age of personal branding. Building your team's authority will increase your website's authority.
4:00:03 PM Barry Schwartz: Author Rank & Agent Rank
4:00:35 PM Keri Morgret: Have everyone set up rel-author.
4:01:18 PM Keri Morgret: Give prominent placement to social sharing buttons. Be relentless about making it easy to share / check in.
4:01:32 PM Keri Morgret: They can help drive traffic, even if they aren't (currently) ranking factors.
4:02:38 PM Keri Morgret: Be even MORE relentless about mobile ecommerce.
4:03:15 PM Keri Morgret: Use HTML5 for mobile, it's awesome. All the SEO work you've done for the main site will help the mobile site.
4:03:54 PM Keri Morgret: Great content is like a panda force field!
4:04:04 PM Barry Schwartz: Panda was about the lack of value out there in the SERPs.
4:04:30 PM Barry Schwartz: Then JC Penney was caught buying links, then Forbes for selling links, then Overstock for incentives links...
(1) Great content is like a Panda force field.
(2) Don't be stupid about paid links
4:05:32 PM Keri Morgret: With social media, use ALL the social media sites and start monitoring referral traffic.
4:06:15 PM Keri Morgret: People treat social media like Weekend at Bernie's. Someone comes around, you make thing look alive, but ignore it otherwise.
Wrapping up this talk:
Google is telling us:
- Don't buy links
- Produce Quality Content
- Get involved in Google+
We know two things:
1) Fundamentally, SEO is still SEO.
2) Now, we have to get social.
4:07:41 PM Barry Schwartz: Last up is Marshall Simmonds from Define Media Group
4:08:52 PM Barry Schwartz: More has happened in the last two years since search has happened, he said.
4:09:35 PM Keri Morgret: These types of changes are a great opportunity to remind people again of SEO and get some stuff done again after people have forgotten about the SEO department.
4:09:47 PM Barry Schwartz: Universal Search has given us a way to integrate this stuff
4:10:36 PM Barry Schwartz: Freshness came out in 2011, so if you have fresher content, you can get up there in the SERPs faster
4:11:11 PM Keri Morgret: What are some of the things you can do?
4:11:40 PM Keri Morgret: Blog more often, pay attention to the technical details that sometimes slip.
4:11:59 PM Keri Morgret: Watch timely queries. Things people are searching for now, not necessarily historic data.
4:12:11 PM Barry Schwartz: This all feeds into the freshness update.
4:12:48 PM Keri Morgret: He shows a page of typical Google recommendations about content being trusted, and lots of nice vague suggestions.
Real panda suggestions:
PUSH THE SEO AGENDA.
Do an SEO audit.
4:13:12 PM Barry Schwartz: This was an opportunity for him
4:13:39 PM Keri Morgret: Basically, take the stuff that's been on your wish list to get done and go and push for it to be done, this is a great opportunity to get some of it done.
4:14:39 PM Keri Morgret: Search engines are distracted and can be confused.
Sitemaps are key:
4:15:49 PM Barry Schwartz: Sitemaps work, see this chart...
4:16:05 PM Barry Schwartz: Video: There is only one way in, and that is through YouTube.
4:16:11 PM Keri Morgret: Great post by Eric Enge about Bing and what you can get out of their webmaster tools. Bing is looking for a sitemap with less than 1% of "dirt" in the URLs. http://www.stonetemple.com/search-algorithms-and-bing-webmaster-tools-with-duane-forrester/
4:17:06 PM Barry Schwartz: Google News Standout Tag is one of his favorite, it is a tag to put on your news stories that this news item should really stand out.
4:17:40 PM Barry Schwartz: See http://www.seroundtable.com/google-news-standout-14080.html
4:17:57 PM Keri Morgret: You can use the standout tag for your own content seven times a week..but as many times as you want to for OTHER content.
4:18:05 PM Barry Schwartz: Rel=author is great
4:19:12 PM Keri Morgret: Internal Links is his favorite report in Google Webmaster Tools. Help find where their power pages are.
4:19:58 PM Keri Morgret: Shoutout to Open Site Explorer. They discovered a top page had an error.
4:20:03 PM Barry Schwartz: ThinkWithGoogle.com has great insight there
4:20:42 PM Barry Schwartz: Google constantly changing is a good thing for job security but more importantly, it is an opportunity
4:21:09 PM Barry Schwartz: Panda isnt bad, it was needed.
4:21:28 PM Barry Schwartz: That is all, now Q&A Time
4:25:13 PM Barry Schwartz: Michael Martinez introduces himself, he is at seotheory.com
4:29:50 PM Barry Schwartz: Everyone says YES, Panda improved Google's serps. Except for Marshall said in most categories.... (fyi, that was my question but for some reason Elisabeth didn't give me credit, she must hate me)
4:30:00 PM Barry Schwartz: Marshall said review category "got trashed"
4:31:59 PM Barry Schwartz: Michael revamped his site from scratch to cure himself from Panda.
4:36:54 PM Barry Schwartz: Michael now says that site's that accept guest posts will see a downgrade in about a year or so
4:37:35 PM Barry Schwartz: He then followed up to say what Search Engine Land does it high quality in terms of columnists
4:39:27 PM Barry Schwartz: That is about it, Q&A still going on... Michael is talking about machine learning but it has been a long day. Session is over in 5 minutes.
4:39:42 PM Barry Schwartz: Good night all, big keynote in the morning, 9am PDT and you don't want to miss it.