Moderator: Mark Jackson
Speakers: Bruce Clay, President, Bruce Clay, Inc. Bill Hunt, Search Effectiveness Team Lead, IBM.com, Global Strategies Ash Nallawalla, Traffic Manager, Yellow Online, Sensis Pty Ltd Jill Whalen, CEO,High Rankings
Description: This session covers mid-level to super-advanced organic SEO. Topics may include on-the-page items, titles, tags, and URLs. Of course, the modern engines are all about off-the-page criteria like directory links and reciprocal links.
Although this is a 101 session, do not let that fool you into thinking this is a newbie session. You have some real old-school pros on this panel that are bringing their A-game. So be sure to read some basic and mid-level SEO writing before dropping in on this session, or you may be utterly lost.
Session Notes: Jill Whalen leads off the presentation with what SEO is and what it isn't. SEO is NOT: - submitting to search engines - don't even need to use a sitemap to get you indexed faster - tricking the search engines - not even following Google's guidelines - stuffing keywords - optimizing for one keyword phrase - optimizing for the long-tail - creating validated XHTML with tableless design - submitting to low quality directories - an attempt to increase toolbar Pagerank - placing a page in a specific position in SERP, can't we want to go form #8 to #3 - proprietary methods and automated tools
SEO really IS: - Making your website the best it can be for your website visitors AND the search engines - Have something remarkable - Does your site stand out from the crowd?
Best Time for SEO: - During the planning or redesign of your website
Basic SEO Strategies: - Keyword research - plan site architecture around those phrases - map phrases to pages - write compelling content with keyword-rich Title tags - write descriptive, benefit laden copy - get the word out
Next up is Ash Nallawalla speaking on content... - The Challenge is to get visitors eye balls and convert them - lack of content is bad for both visitors and search engines - One strategy is to have multiple feeder sites providing content to pages - After adding content, traffic actually dropped, then regained and surpassed past levels - Articles need to have a call to action, including links to internal pages - Make sure search box is above the fold, brought 10X as many searches
Outsourcing content: - use professionals from niche you are targeting - if using non-native writer, budget for editors to fix spelling, etc. - have good contract in place that covers all issues including plagurism
PDF files: - what a search engine sees, might not be what you intended
Next up is Bill Hunt... - SEO is really about relevance - Links are very important - Title tags are important - Keyword relevance is done via prominence on the page - Bill suggests reverse engineering your clients' pages to see how you compare, look at all elements - Flash can be indexed, leverage progressive degradation, ensure error traps are not blocking engines, ensure key text is available in XML layer
Internet relevancy: - link authority, how many links go to this page? - create thematic hubs, relevant pages link to you (tag cloud) - sculpt internal linking to create internal authority - not all about the quantity of links, it almost always the quality - Ask yourself if your content is "linkable", is your content portable? (video, pdf, widget), Have you syndicated it if it is?
Last presenter is Bruce Clay, a look into the future... - behavior-based search impact (or personalized search) will tailor results to the user and will change the perception of ranking in general - intent-based search impact determines what your intent is based on the search phrase used (i.e. research, local or shopping) - Local search impact targeted based on keywords on the site and the location of the searcher (IP) - Univeral search impact is already in play. Bruce predicts first qtr of 2009 will see a much deeper use of the Universal search pieces of the algorithm. (i.e. video, audio, pdf, etc.) Need to have heavy engagement of the visitor on your site. - Ranking is dead. Traffic is the ultimate measurement of success.
Take aways: - understand your audience & their intent - understand the intent of your site - understand how to include engagement objects (images, video, pdf, etc.)
Q&A portion: - How important are backlinks from syndicated content? Bruce does not feel it is a major factor in helping you get ranked. - Is true that you can have 100 links on a page on your own site? Jill says just make sure the navigation is good for the user, don't worry to much about specific guidelines or counting links. - How do you research "personal results" for clients? You can sign out of Google and use some FF extensions, but there are still products tracking where you go on the web. It's another reason you need to focus on traffic not rankings. - How important is link relevancy? Bill says it is critical. It can make the difference when it comes to rankings and making your site an authority. - Does Google treat 1, 2 & 3 spots differently than all others? Jill says generally that's because they are the authority sites and will hold their position. Newer sites may pop up and down as Google is analyzing them. - Should video be on your site or hosted elsewhere? If you want to traffic and authority, you need to host the video. Bruce Clay is adding 100 videos to his site. - How do you keep feeder sites from becoming a detriment to your site? You need to work hard at having unique content on those site and good links to core site.
These session notes were written by Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures a link building services and website publicity company. Please excuse any typos or grammar issues, the session notes are written live and meant to be posted as soon as the session is over.