Based on WebmasterWorld's most popular thread ever: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/2010.htm
Brett Tabke's "26 Steps" has received nearly 25 million page views and 15 million unique visitors since it was first posted almost seven years ago, and has been used as a training manual by numerous Fortune 100 corporations.
Brett will look at the controversial issues the post raised and the potent strategy that so effectively builds Web sites.
Moderator: Brett Tabke Speakers: Brett Tabke, CEO, WebmasterWorld.com
In this session, Brett starts with the stats the post has received to date:
• 29 million page views • 5 million uniques • 200 copies on the web • 290 cease and desists issued so far • First chapter in Google Hacks - the post owned by O'reily now. • Total income = $500 paid by O'reily for Google Hacks Book. • 10,000 thousands back links.
Brett goes over a lot of the points he wrote about in 2002, while opening up the discussion to the audience:
Prep work: The initial document stated to start with 100 pages of content before you throw it online. Back then that was good. Now you need probably 5x that to get to a real site.
Says the posts is not really about SEO. More about content, traffic, building a successful sustainable site. Mainly a content play, not an SEO play.
Asks the audience- What are your experiences? Most of the audience's experience with less than 100 pages aren't doing well. One guy here has a niche sites that is an exception. Another guy with a niche site says he does OK too. Another guy sells memberships in the real estate vertical and makes just under $200k.
Domain name: Wrote back then you don't want "mykeyword.com". Based on Web 2.0 names today, (demos a site that's a Web 2.0 name generator, pretty funny, audience laughs), it supports the original claim. Domain name game is more complicated than ever. Now you can make up your own TLD. That game is changing fast.
One guy talks about the volume of leads he generates from browser based traffic, over many different sites. Owns sites like kentuckyhomemortgages.com, etc. and lots of tail end query domain names like that.
Site design: Back then, the rule of thumb the simpler the better. New wild-card is the iPhone which validates that. iPhone users use the phone 5X as much as other mobile devices. Get into mobile as quick as possible. That is part of the design. Adapt your current template to the iPhone.
Asks if anyone has static sites still? Thought they were extinct. Talks to one guy, very curious. Wants to know why people still have them. Static sites are becoming extinct. One person wants to know if you can build the site in HTML, what's the point?
Google is still proof the easy, retro look is cool.
Content: Content is a complex thing. Not such the case that content for the sake of content is such a good idea. Big believer in quality targeting content. Smart content.
Matt Tuens takes the mic. States that the original SEO was content. That's why search engines were created. Stickiness - people are too busy to go to 20 sites. Creating one site that is the "go to" site is key. Brett talks about user generated content. Now suspect, there's a lot of noise out there. Asks if people relying the same on UCG these days? On trusted sites, like TripAdvisor its less of an issue.
Outbound links was a controversial topic back then. Sites should be generous. Back then, you were who you link to. Search engines know you by who you link to. Now people talk about sharing the wealth. Suggested cross linking to offer PR to lesser value pages. Goal is the right balance.
Hosting: Now you can't even think about shared hosting. Everyone's got their own servers, costs have dropped dramatically. Asks who still has their site on shared hosting? Polls the audience regarding regular log tracking software anymore? Brett says they use one they built themselves and compares against other analytics package. Incredible to see the wide variation. Try different analytics packages, will get a whole different view of the site.
Spiders: Lots of CMS's these days are still not spider friendly.
Directories: Still favorite. Lots of them out today Look for ones you should be in.
Gimmicks. Still a million. People much more web savvy today.
Rounding out the offerings: Add options like email a friend. Still valuable today.
Back to content. Still important, not as hot as used to be. Hot on targeted content. Talks about the sandbox. Built a few sites that are still taking a year to rank. Used to think it was be all end all, now its about smart content.
Matt Tuens elaborates on "smart content". when you think about the content, realize that everyone is going to criticize your content. Judging what you put out there. If you help your demographic - info that people are looking for vs. garbage just to rank for, your going to lose credibility, sales, customer based, business in the foot - just for a ranking.