Give It Up: White Hat Edition - This session has SEOs sharing favorite, little-known and powerful techniques that wont get you banned in search engines from trying.
Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land
Michael Gray, President, Atlas Web Service Kimberly Krause Berg, Usability Consultant/Owner, UsabilityEffect.com Kate Morris, Search Engine Marketing Manager, RateGenius Tyler Shears, Online Marketing Manager, Databanq Media Stephan Spencer, President, Netconcepts Shari Thurow, Founder and SEO Director, Omni Marketing Interactive
This post is under embargo until November 7, 2008, at 9AM PST.
Shari is up first and she's going to talk about searchers intent with search engine's intent. You're designing for people who use the search engines - not for the search engines themselves.
When you design a site, you understand user goals, company business goals, and search engine goals. Understand those goals before usability tests. What does she do? She searches. She gets her keywords from keyword research tools (WordTracker, KeywordDiscovery), she does user interviews and usability testing (1on1 contact), and she looks at the how - analytics and click streams.
A few weeks ago, she was training some writers and they needed to rank for election terms. Google gives a lot of information about intent. There are some tabs on top like Web, News, Images, etc (blue tab) - you can SEO based on those aspects.
What about Wikipedia? Most people think it's evil. Wikipedia is telling you why SEs are delivering results that they do - it means it's an informational search!
When people use a SE they want to do 3 things: go to a website, find information about a topic, and they want to do something. Sometimes they want in-depth information. When they buy high ticketed items, they may do a search before adding to cart - 63-80% of web searches. Wikipedia in the SERPs is a strong indication that it's an informational search.
What about a search for "refrigerators?" There are product links on top. You may see product links and informational pages (HowStuffWorks). You also see Best Buy, Whirlpool, etc - these are category pages. Why should category pages appear in informational searches? That means that people are probably looking for a list of items before making the purchase. Look in search engines, see which results are appearing, and apply that to the type of web page.
If you search for "refrigerator" (without plural), things are different. It's an informational search here but it won't have the reviews and like. There's something to remember about search listings - title tag, meta tag, and URL. For informational searches, the snippet is HUGE. That's very important for the conversions. (She wrote about it on SearchEngineLand in May!)
There are also navigational searches - like "barack obama" - people look for that name and they want to visit his official site. These people rarely go beyond the #1 and #2 positions and will probably stay there for a long period of time. That's why sites like this are ranked high. Therefore, have realistic expectations about positioning. Use the right pages, right keywords, right place in search results for different searcher intentions.
Michael Gray talks about how to optimize Flickr photos to drive traffic
Take pictures people want to see. * Use a good subject and have a good quality picture. * If it's a dull subject and it's really a good picture, you can make it like a piece of artwork. * Another subject could be a good subject and bad quality picture - people will still want to see it. Think Bigfoot. * You can have a really bad picture that nobody is interested in. If you're taking these pictures, you're an idiot.
If you have a photo with the name DSC0392.JPG, you should optimize - put the keyword in the title. But for a title like "Walt Disney World," think about something narrowed down - "Magic Kingdom" is still broad. "Cinderella Castle" is broad too. Add the month or the year. That helps make it unique. If Google sees the same title on pictures, they'll filter it out. Chances are that will be yours! - West Side Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World is very long tail and probably won't get filered. - Keyword rich titles avoid duplication. Build as many internal links to that picture as you possibly can. Use Flickr groups. Submit to multiple groups - find the relevant ones. Submit to multiple groups. Titles of pictures will be your internal linking text. - Get your pictures to have ratings and comments. Higher ratings will give you higher ranks than others. There are groups of people who vote your pictures. Submit only your best pictures to this group. Follow all group rules. Have thick skin when you do this - there are some guys who will take the professional photographer angle and criticize your image.
Use Tags: name, city, location. There is no right way for Multiple Words - some people will split the words up (las, vegas instead of "las vegas") and some won't (lasvegas). Don't use too many tags.
Creative Commons - license pictures so others can use them. They will give you credit. Also, consider commercial re-use. Take pictures bloggers want to use.
Bring it all together: - Submit higher quality pictures and pics people want - Don't add links to all of your pictures. - Only add links to the ones that get traffic. Links are nofollowed but that's okay you just want the traffic. - Add a link to the most relevant deep page on your site, not homepage. - Drive traffic not just from Flickr. Eventually you will drive traffic from multiple sources. Some tools that help: - Picasa - Flickr Bulk Uploader - Picnik - onlne photo editor - WordPress Photo Uploader Plugin Kate Morris is next and talks about developing links from the inside out.
#1: Tell what you know. Hiring a student - we've all been interns. Why is this a link building tip? They are undergraduates and are willing to do anything you give them and they are moldable. You can also get graduate students and employees that are going to school. Here's why: .edu links! Every student and every university has space on a website. Ask nicely to display what they're working on, the clients they're working with, and more. That's another .edu link. You can also link from organizations. Also, they can just do other link building and that will be pricess for them down the road.
What do they spend most of their time doing? Research projects. What do we hate doing? Research projects! They love to write - let them do that! They are your content developers. White papers = school papers. They're young and creative. Pay your interns for their work. (Paid links? No, that's not it.) They will just be happier in their position.
Yahoo! Answers has been priceless because it's community building. She works in auto refinance and Yahoo actually has something related to this. Don't automate your answer though. Give details. Talk to their specific situation. Add the whole URL on Yahoo Answers. If you're chosen for the best answer, it will be indexed! Be transparent. If you're representing a company, tell them that you are. That transparency gives you more trust. She has built more business through this than any other link building campaign she's worked on. Also, clean up the spam. You are good at spotting what is not good for the end users. Vote and check daily.
Other answer services include Live Search QnA and WikiAnswers and Answers.com
Partner and affiliate links: if you have partners or an affiliate system, contact them for links! Use trackable URLs, SEO URLs, and blog posts. Ask them to write that blog post about you. Partners can build partner link pages. They're not the BEST links but they're still links. This is the easiest way to get people to talk about you. Use the network that you have.
Tyler Shears talks about white hat link building. stop looking at links to "get down the road." It's part of your business model. People don't think that they should have it in their business model.
Simple steps: start a WordPress blog on your domain. It gives you an opportunity to connect with your visitors and get them engaged. You should also focus on social media submissions. Just having great content, though, doesn't work. Find out industry standards. Find what's hot. What are people talking about? Use keyword research tools to generate the exposure. Certification type programs will work for relevant industries.
Many people don't really use directories but should. Create a directory, create a listing for the top 100 businesses and email them with their listing inforamtion. Require the businesses to place a badge on their site to claim their listing in the directories. Rotate anchor text and link.
What about juicy links? InternetMarketingNinjas.com and Linkscape are great tools. - Link sponsorship emails are spammy. - Giving out free SEO advice is the best way to get in touch with every webmaster. Point out WWW vs. nonwww, missing duplicate title tags, completely flash site, internal architecture suggestions. The benefits are that you can build a business relationship (affiliate, email marketing, content). If it develops into something further and they link back to you, the chances are the link will be more valuable after they listen to your SEO advice.
Kim Krause Berg is up next. She's going to talk about a real life case study and reputation management through organic SEO. She had a friend named Nathan DiStefano who is an artist. He wants high rankings. But another guy named Nathan DiStefano wrote a review in Amazon about a vibrator. How do you fix this problem?
He has nathandistefano.com and it's in the #1 spot. The #2 spot is the Amazon link, though. How does the good stuff get pushed up? - The site was old. There were too many images. It had a blah title tag. Google had a good meta description. The life of domain. He offered art for sale but didn't sell any because of a high bounce rates and no external links. - Got another domain, nathandistefanoart.com. Basic SEO optimization techniques were applied. * Wrote a testimonial which ranked #2 * The bio page was expanded upon (so that people would want to link in). * Connected with art galleries * Promoted new URL in new business cards * Local information added to metatag
What else can you do? Make an Amazon account - combat it where it's at. Write reviews on art and music - local books if possible.
Google: In 3 month's time, the site was in the #1 and #2 spot. The description says it's the official site and shows what he does. The #3 spot is the Chamber of Commerce link, #4 is his MySpace page, #5 is his Facebook page, #16 is his first website with his old domain.
Yahoo: Results in Yahoo were even better. Magazines were doing interviews with him. Kim's testimonial was in the #3 spot, new site was in the #2 spot, and the old site was in the #1 site. All other sites link to and reference the new site.
Stephan Spencer talks about some other things - Keyword competitive ness - intitle: operator shows pages that are more focused on your search terms than the pages returned without the operator. If you have a high ratio of 500:1, then people aren't optimizing for that search term becasue it's not in the title tag. - Anchor text: it's still an important signal for Google. Use the allinanchor: to see the strength of the anchor text. A low ranking indicates that you've got some work to do for improving anchor text of your backlinks. - Indexation: do a &start=990&filter=0 takes you to the last pages of results and turns off omitted results. - inurl: - lets you see past the first 1000 results. Refine into a subdirectory and add a directory or filename with inurl. - Mumber range helps restrict results set to a set of model numbers, product numbers, etc. Number range with inurl isn't supported. Product number must be on page. e.g. somesciencepage.com "product/1700..1750" - Number range operator is also great for copyright year searches. Use with intext: operator to improve signal-to-noise ratio: intext: "copyright 1993..2005" -2008 blog
Supplemental index doesn't exist. It's obscure now. Google closed the site:domain.com *** - adfadff loophole that returned all the supplemental results. Supplemental results aren't labeled either. - You can try site:www.domain.com -allinurl:www.domain.com will supposedly return main index pages only. You can also use a supplmental index ratio calculator - http://www.mapelli.info/tools/supplemetal-index-ratio-calculator/ Filetype refinement with filetype:operator - confidential business plan - template filetype:doc - forrester research grapevine filetype:pdf Matches the file extension on the URL.
Date stamping - Look for date range within the last 199 months. &qdr&m=199
Similar pages - related: operator - it shows who links to you in addition to he URL you speciifed. This limits to a result set of 26 through 31. It's useful for identifying neighborhoods. - He shows some InternetMarketingNinjas.com tools that show link opportunities.
OR operator - words in the search query are ANDed by default, but you can use | - site:edu | site:gov creidt cards "web | email" by *" for a search query - - No cached link? Use Google trasnlate and translate it from English to English.
Creative Commons - he loves this.
GOOG-411 - You can even map results.
Rob Kerry is last up. HE talks about link love.
- Websites love free content almost as much as free money. Suppling data/content makes your site an authority and strengthens your brand. It's cheap alternative to bying links or social media "gurus".
A case study - a site that offers financial news to major publishers. They rewrite stories toavoid duplicate content issues. They integrate a copyright link on every sotry. XML feeds ensure that content is loaded on a publisher's domain so that results in link juice. - Results in Sky News, AOL, and more.
Benefits - powered by logos can strengthen brands and copyright links and benfit SEO. The content publishers are choosing the links and are happy. Youy can gain links fro,m super hubs that never sell inlinks. It can work in any industry.
Examples: car insurance - offer gas prices comparisons or new car reviews. Poker - provide a feed of player stats or tournament news. Kitchen applicances - offer recipes that make use of any appliance.