SMX Live: Ask The SEOs

Jun 6, 2012 - 5:55 pm 12 by

Below is live coverage of the Keynote with Ask The SEOs panel from the SMX Advanced conference.

  • Alex Bennert, In House SEO, Wall Street Journal (@seosylph) (Q&A Speaker)
  • Greg Boser, SVP of Search Services, BlueGlass Interactive, Inc. (@GregBoser) (Q&A Speaker)
  • Bruce Clay, President, Bruce Clay, Inc. (@bruceclayinc) (Q&A Speaker)
  • Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land (@vanessafox) (Q&A Speaker)
  • Todd Friesen, SVP, SearchFanatics (@oilman) (Q&A Speaker)
  • Rae Hoffman-Dolan, CEO, PushFire (@sugarrae)

Disclaimer: The coverage is brought to you in real time, using a custom live blogging tool. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for inclusion into the live coverage. During the live event, live notes will auto-scroll with newest entries at top. After the session is complete the archive version will have the oldest entries at the top. We ask you to please excuse any typos, as these are live notes.

Finished Auto-Refresh: Off
Barry Schwartz: 1:58:30 pm
Starting soon
Barry Schwartz: 2:01:42 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 2:02:04 pm
Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land (@dannysullivan)
Q&A Moderator: Jonathon Colman, Internet Marketing Manager, REI (@jcolman)
Alex Bennert, In House SEO, Wall Street Journal (@seosylph) (Q&A Speaker)
Greg Boser, SVP of Search Services, BlueGlass Interactive, Inc. (@GregBoser) (Q&A Speaker)
Bruce Clay, President, Bruce Clay, Inc. (@bruceclayinc) (Q&A Speaker)
Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land (@vanessafox) (Q&A Speaker)
Todd Friesen, SVP, SearchFanatics (@oilman) (Q&A Speaker)
Rae Hoffman-Dolan, CEO, PushFire (@sugarrae)
Barry Schwartz: 2:02:50 pm
This is hard to cover, it is pure Q&A
Barry Schwartz: 2:03:42 pm
Danny introduces everyone...
Barry Schwartz: 2:05:11 pm
Bruce Clay apparently bought the name Bruce Clay because it was easy to rank for.
Yair Spolter: 2:05:39 pm
Thanks for the coverage!
Barry Schwartz: 2:05:51 pm
It is great, cause they make fun of each other
Barry Schwartz: 2:08:24 pm
Q) What is going on with Penguin? Alex did the WSJ get banned?
Barry Schwartz: 2:10:32 pm
A) Vanessa, people say to her asking why google doing new things? The thing is Google isnt doing anything new, they are just doing it better.
Barry Schwartz: 2:10:45 pm
Danny, well, it was a big new thing, it was a big thing.
Barry Schwartz: 2:11:36 pm
Greg, consider it a behavioral adjustment feature and the message is, we really dont want you to do this anymore in terms of linking.
Barry Schwartz: 2:14:22 pm
Bruce, almost all the people who called him were mostly those who were small businesses with small budgets at $200 month for SEO - so if they can't afford it, then they can't compete
Barry Schwartz: 2:14:27 pm
Bruce, quality shows
Barry Schwartz: 2:15:19 pm
Greg, biggest common factor is "article marketing"
Yair Spolter: 2:17:07 pm
Question: did mjr site revamp but old urls are not linked to - to deindex so many pgs look like duplicates. will G realize and deindex the old or do I have to undo (make sure the old ones get crawled and deindexed)?
Barry Schwartz: 2:18:17 pm
Todd Friesen, "we are back to the Google Dance" - Bruce, when the next time they ran Penguin or Panda - you are all not safe...
Barry Schwartz: 2:19:29 pm
Boser, "Everyone has skeletons in the closet."
Barry Schwartz: 2:20:15 pm
Q) Can author rank be a positive ranking factor on your site as a whole?
Barry Schwartz: 2:20:18 pm
A) Yes.
Barry Schwartz: 2:20:40 pm
A) Boser, it seems to work for Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz: 2:21:15 pm
Yea, my picture is everywhere when it comes to SEO searches, I apologize to the community. :)
Barry Schwartz: 2:21:48 pm
Rae, it also increases click through rate
Barry Schwartz: 2:22:45 pm
Todd then mocks my grammar and typos but then explains that I produce a lot of content, so it is kind of okay
Barry Schwartz: 2:23:31 pm
Q) JavaScript Q
Barry Schwartz: 2:23:49 pm
Vanessa said, never assume they can't crawl or access JavaScript and never assume they can also. :)
Barry Schwartz: 2:24:04 pm
Boser, they screw up and do weird things and it opens the door for issues
Barry Schwartz: 2:24:19 pm
Alex, the more ways the bot can discover your content, the better
Barry Schwartz: 2:24:49 pm
click for full size
Barry Schwartz: 2:26:08 pm
Q) A long Q on sniffing IPs, geo location, redirects, etc
Barry Schwartz: 2:26:19 pm
A) Vanessa, I'd never do something similar to cloaking...
Barry Schwartz: 2:27:08 pm
Boser, city stuff, if you have content for people in LA, you can geo detect based on IP for LA users and you can do it. It is normal. The problem is do you serve content to GoogleBot for mountain view, CA items?
Barry Schwartz: 2:27:43 pm
So you probably need to do so, some how
Barry Schwartz: 2:28:08 pm
Vanessa said, there is a different URL for each city... And you want the pages to be indexed.
Barry Schwartz: 2:28:28 pm
So serve the mountain view page to GoogleBot
Barry Schwartz: 2:29:41 pm
Q) on Paid Inclusion.. thoughts on it (Danny mocks it a lot of course)
yair spolter: 2:29:57 pm
Barry - can you ask my question? (above)
Barry Schwartz: 2:30:11 pm
@yair, the room is filled, hard to ask Qs
Barry Schwartz: 2:30:33 pm
A) Todd was going to say what Danny said... it already is paid inclusion but now Google is just owning up to it.
Barry Schwartz: 2:31:26 pm
Danny, Google historically has said they do not pay for listings, we figure it out... When Yahoo was doing it (as a handy way to do cloaking), Google was like, no, this is not right and it was in their IPO language. HEre we are now... We have financial search products and shopping search...
Barry Schwartz: 2:32:26 pm
Danny, I've never ever ever seen this from Google. Where they took a free listing product and change it to paid.
Barry Schwartz: 2:32:36 pm
Bruce is sitting their smiling because you know...
Barry Schwartz: 2:34:10 pm
Todd, he worked for a paid inclusion program, Google is calling out book with SouthWest... It is more than a guaranteed daily crawl, it wasnt about ranking. Google is actually doing more, where it shows and ranks at the top. Being those five companies that show up above the organic results. Very good point.
Barry Schwartz: 2:35:11 pm
Greg, the big picture take away, if you are in third party aggregation business, that is a dying model. Google will cannibalizing it like crazy and more and more fall...
Barry Schwartz: 2:35:50 pm
Rae, Google is like a drug dealer, they give you your first taste for free and then when you are dependent on it, they make you pay.
Barry Schwartz: 2:36:18 pm
Bruce talks, "I have a tendency to agree."
Barry Schwartz: 2:37:28 pm
Bruce, the fundamental difference is the definition of organic. Where we are seeing things change, the SERPs are no longer 10 blue links or 10 links and video, it is everything including products, local, etc...
Matt: 2:38:54 pm
Good we're able to catch this one live!
Barry Schwartz: 2:39:09 pm
Bruce said he expects only 3 organic results on the first page soon.
Barry Schwartz: 2:39:46 pm
Q) What is up with Cutts saying +1 is not a good ranking signal?
Barry Schwartz: 2:41:03 pm
A) Vanessa, they never said it is a signal, it is something they are looking at it as a ranking signal.
Barry Schwartz: 2:41:51 pm
Danny, when you are signed in, the evidence of my eyes show me that +1ing content makes content rank better. When Matt said I don't know if you should do Google+, how can he say that?
Barry Schwartz: 2:42:03 pm
Vanessa, that is not a ranking signal. it is personalization.
Barry Schwartz: 2:42:22 pm
Danny, well the content is ranking better when I search, that is the definition of a ranking signal.
Barry Schwartz: 2:42:39 pm
Rae, but most people don't use Google+
Barry Schwartz: 2:42:49 pm
Todd, it works for search people.
Barry Schwartz: 2:43:38 pm
Todd, Google will always be about the interconnectivity of the web. Social is on top of that.
Rob Bonham: 2:43:50 pm
if tweets can effect rankings, why wouldn't google make +1's a ranking signal. seems like a natural progression
Barry Schwartz: 2:44:11 pm
Greg, Google+ doesnt have enough critical mass to make it a real signal. Facebook yes, Google+ no.
Barry Schwartz: 2:45:00 pm
Todd, do you want to put a like button, Google+ button etc on all your pages? Most have 0 likes, 0 +1s, etc. Do you want to tell people that?
Barry Schwartz: 2:45:24 pm
Todd, non of us had the "balls" to try it yet (remove the social buttons)
Barry Schwartz: 2:45:35 pm
Greg, if you don't have audience, don't use social buttons
Barry Schwartz: 2:46:20 pm
Bruce said he took off the counts on their buttons. Danny asked, you don't have audience?
Barry Schwartz: 2:46:43 pm
Q) You are all SEOs, you all do what you can do to rank.... Poll of speakers: Social is it important?
Barry Schwartz: 2:47:13 pm
A) Rae, depends on industry, Vanessa, depends on audience. Greg, if you don't have audience- get one.
Rob Bonham: 2:47:15 pm
social buttons are many time implemented in anticipation of audience. leave them on!
Barry Schwartz: 2:48:29 pm
Greg, RSS is suppose to be dead and even good old Alexa, number of comments, etc. those metrics do very well.
Barry Schwartz: 2:51:46 pm
Alex, the search benefit for the WSJ is all the markup in the SERPs
Barry Schwartz: 2:54:06 pm
Q) Link questions... What are your top tips for doing links? Links is getting harder and harder. Competitors doing spam links, do I report them. The questions go on like this...
Barry Schwartz: 2:55:00 pm
Danny isnt half way through the links questions, its been like 5 minutes of reading off the link Qs...
Barry Schwartz: 2:55:16 pm
Do you have enough of the confusion out there?
Barry Schwartz: 2:56:27 pm
Penguin has been an eye opening experience... People felt, just get links... When we got links, we got links from web sites people actually went to and liked... Not sites from sites that sell links. Back then we have 3 directories because we had them to find stuff and now we have 1500+ directories banned in Google! This rant is awesome...
Barry Schwartz: 2:57:10 pm
This is awesome, I am a good live blogger, impossible to cover this rant. Worth the $1,400 or so just to see this live.
Barry Schwartz: 2:57:31 pm
click for full size
Barry Schwartz: 2:57:59 pm
That is why I want Googlers to try to get links...
Barry Schwartz: 2:59:26 pm
Danny, when I started Search Engine Land, I started from scratch a few years ago. I had to get links. He asked John Battlle to link to him, John said he would do it but it didn't happen for 6 months, so Danny asked again. But when he get the links, he was nofollowed. So he got his link and it was worthless and that is from someone who knows him and trusts him.
Barry Schwartz: 2:59:59 pm
That was the best answer in SEO conference history --- it was like a 15 min rant on links both anti, pro on both ends.
Barry Schwartz: 3:00:10 pm
Link building sucks it is hard but you need to do it.
Barry Schwartz: 3:00:19 pm
Rae said the 3:00:10 line
Barry Schwartz: 3:00:56 pm
Rae, end of the days of easy links and SEO. I miss those days. But it is over.
Barry Schwartz: 3:02:11 pm
Greg, is any link building technique has marketing name like link wheel or as a service, don't do it. Google does not like link building to be a stand alone thing. Link building should be a thing that happens by itself after you do other stuff and yes, it makes it harder but you need to do it.
Barry Schwartz: 3:03:03 pm
Bruce, if you have a video of Danny's last 15 minutes, you will get lots of links.
Barry Schwartz: 3:04:46 pm
Todd, there are some still gray hatish stuff that do work...
Barry Schwartz: 3:04:58 pm
Vanessa, but Google is going to find it
Barry Schwartz: 3:05:14 pm
Todd, arms length links (we are working on that - I think he said that)
Barry Schwartz: 3:05:56 pm
Greg, most SEOs did link building because everyone else was doing it for years and they were no where to be found. Companies were "forced to compete or day."
Barry Schwartz: 3:06:29 pm
Greg, that kind of behavior is no longer viable and I am fine with never doing that again. And it is actually more fun. I love marketing.
Barry Schwartz: 3:08:02 pm
Skate where the puck will be or tip the ball where you want to go... (Alex and Greg and Todd)
Barry Schwartz: 3:10:38 pm
Final tips:...
Barry Schwartz: 3:11:28 pm
Bruce: No matter how safe you think you are with your links... Google only remembers what happened with your bad links. Most of the inorganic links warnings are from links you didn't know you had. Review your inbound link inventory and address those weakest links.
Barry Schwartz: 3:12:01 pm
Alex: We are focusing on, not chasing search but chasing our audience and our audience is growing internationally. Targeting international search is confusing...
Barry Schwartz: 3:12:32 pm
click for full size
Barry Schwartz: 3:12:50 pm
Todd: In the light of penguin and linking a lot of people are hiring SEOs to audit links and try to clean up. Be honest with your SEOs please.
Barry Schwartz: 3:14:18 pm
Todd: Bounce rate... it probably doesnt affect your rankings but it means you have a bad site.
Barry Schwartz: 3:15:23 pm
Greg, so many take aways... Dirty secrets, social signals do not generate backlinks...great content with big audience generates backlinks, not social signals...
Barry Schwartz: 3:16:02 pm
Greg, First be accepted into the circle and then once you are, then you can publish content that gets links.
Barry Schwartz: 3:16:40 pm
Rae: Use schema markup and stop looking at rankings and start looking at your traffic
Barry Schwartz: 3:17:28 pm
Vanessa: You have to make sure you solve peoples problems and they are converting.
Barry Schwartz: 3:17:37 pm
click for full size
Barry Schwartz: 3:17:50 pm
That is all folks, SMX Advanced is done!

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