This session is moderated by Detlev Johnson who is Director of Consulting for Position Technologies. It turns out that this was a purely Q&A slot, so I've included some of the Questions and Answers below.
1. What can I do to quickly rank a new website with no history or links?
Mike Grehan - There is no sandbox.
Dave Naylor - I agree with Mike, it used to exist although not so much now. Get a few .edu links and you're good to go (joke).
Todd Friesen - As long as you start up with some links from trusted sources such as Best of the Web, a site will start to get noticed and indexed.
Bruce Clay - I don't think that a sandbox ever existed, SEO/algorithms has just changed.
Dave Naylor - Don't chase after the golden link such as CNN, look for conduits (links from sites which CNN links to).
2. A lot of sites getting good positions seem to be using cloaking, what's a good software app?
Dave Naylor - Ralph's cloaking at fantomaster.com is a good IP Cloaking sofware. You really only need to use it though if you have lots of valuable content and want to show a subscription page or have another stumbling block which only humans could navigate past. Cloaking does not increase your search position alone, simply makes the site's content accessible.
Todd Friesen - IP Delivery (ip-delivery.com) is also a good cloaking app.
3. Should I split sites which I host with similar content across different IP addresses?
Dave Naylor - I have a large cluster of servers using only 4 IP addresses. Hosting white labelled sites, this never used to be a problem until about 6 months ago, although now it seems to cause issues. I recommend spreading the site across different IP addresses now, personally I use proxy servers to detect bots and serve sites from different IPs.
4. When launching a website, how quickly should I build inbound links?
Bruce Clay - If you have a site giving the cure for cancer, you'd get a million links in a week and won't be counted as spam. As long as it's all natural and on topic you'll be ok. Your site should be something new or interesting and look for sites, which you would link to, for inbound links.
5. What really is the key to SEO, is content still king?
Dave Naylor - Search Engines don't go to your page and say "That's the best story I've ever read, I'll put that as #1", You want everyone in this room to say "The best story I've ever read is - Insert Anchor Text Here Please".
Detlev Johnson - With people buying links and using them for spam, the typical kind of link is becoming less important.
Dave Naylor - If I had 1,000 pounds to spend on a super cool design, super cool content or super cool links; I'd take the link package every time.
6. I have a main basketball site and sub sites for 30 different cities, where shall I concentrate my SEO efforts?
Bruce Clay - I would pool the sites all under one main site, all that content under one domain would be very valuable.
Dave Naylor - Just use subdomains or subfolders and point the city domains you've already bought over to the sub-domains/folders and use them for print advertising.
7. What do you think about the ODP (Open Directory Project - http://dmoz.org)?
Todd Friesen - It's not as important as it used to be - submit your site and then forget about it.
Bruce Clay - Submit your site every quarter if you haven't been added, although if the category doesn't have an editor you're unlikely to get in. Alternatively, submit your site to a category for your city/town and the editors are more likely to move you into the correct category.
8. Is the keyword Meta Tag still worth adding to a web page?
Todd Friesen - We spend a lot of time working on Page Titles, use the description Meta Tag for a sales message and haven't use the keyword Meta Tag in 2 or 3 years.
Bruce Clay - We think that every tag available is worth using and spending time on. There's hundreds of variables which make up the search algorithm and if keyword Meta Tags make up even a minute percentage of that algorithm, why not use it. Yahoo has said already that it takes notice of the tag, so that alone makes it worth it.
Dave Naylor - I agree with Bruce on this. Even though it's not the most important thing to concentrate on, even something which is 0.00001% of the algorithm could be the difference between position 2 and position 1.
These posts may have spelling and grammar issues. These are session notes, written quickly and posted immediately after the session has been completed. Please excuse any grammar or spelling issues with session posts.
I would like to thank my fellow SER bloggers for the support given to me on my first conference reporting, and also for providing this information resource which allowed me to follow sessions which I was unable to attend.