This section contains SEO marketing articles, covering advanced SEO marketing tips, tricks and strategies. Also in this section are interviews with some of the Web's most prolific and well-known SEO search marketers.
Recently, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) suggested that a code of ethics be created to govern how SEOs conduct themselves. In light of the black-hat tactics that regularly make headlines in industry publications, it’s understandable – but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, or even practical.
A Code of Ethics Will Create – Not Solve – ProblemsSEMPO’s proposal for a code of ethics is admirable. After all, with many self-styled SEOs still using underhanded tactics on behalf of their clients or for their own sites, something needs to be done. However, the creation and enforcement of a formalized code of ethics would create many more problems than it would solve.Increased Risk of Frivolous LawsuitsAs numerous SEO experts have said, the creation of a... > Read more
A few weeks back, I took part in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) in the Big SEO community on Reddit.I love participating in AMAs – they’re a great chance to see what’s really on people’s minds right now and which issues are causing the industry grief. Each one is also an opportunity to connect with marketers of all experience levels, across a range of industries and in different types of roles.
I definitely learn a ton every time I do one!I did an AMA on Inbound.org back in April and put together a list of the top PPC questions I was asked. This time, I wanted to share some of the super smart SEO questions the Reddit group had for me, along with my answers. Enjoy! (Also check out our Mega Collection of SEO Expert Advice from other Reddit SEO AMAs.)1. What’s Your Keyword Research Secret?... > Read more
What is a Rank Checking Tool?There is an abundance of SEO rank checking tools on the web, each promising to deliver results on where your site ranks on Google for your chosen keywords.For most keyword rank checking tools, all you need to do is type in a keyword, and the tool’s bot will scrape data from Google and spit out a number showing where you rank in Google for your key phrase.
Sounds like a dream come true? Well, sure. But a dream is all it is. In truth, keyword rank checking tools are pretty useless.The Ranking Myth: There’s No Such Thing as RankingThere was a time, years ago, where SEO rank checking tools were fairly accurate and could provide a decent assessment of how your site was performing and allow you to check website SEO rankings.But those days are over, and this is no ... > Read more
Google's Matt Cutts announced July 3 that he is taking a few months' leave of absence from his position as head of web spam to spend more time with his wife. He assured webmasters and SEOs that there are still a ton of resources people can use to keep up to speed and contact Google while he's away.Even so, some couldn't resist cracking jokes in the comments on his post about the black-hat mice playing while the web spam cat is away.
No, you shouldn't run out and buy some links now. What you can do is take this time as an opportunity to give your online presence and SEO strategy an overhaul. When Matt gets back, he'll be so proud of all the hard work you've done! (And in the meantime, this is really something you should stop and do once in a while – it's good for your business. People get ... > Read more
If you're at all familiar with Reddit, you know about their AMA series, AKA, Ask Me Anything. Superstars from Obama to Rob Delaney have done AMA's, committing to answer questions from anyone and everyone who shows up to submit a question. And in recent months, a number of top SEO's have been doing Ask Me Anything sessions in the SEO subreddit (r/bigSEO).
Today, we’re bringing you the best of the best: hand-picked advice from the top SEO experts who took to Reddit to share their wisdom in the AMA series.Our panel of SEO experts answered myriad questions posted on Reddit, which we’ve sorted into the following categories for your convenience:Social SignalsLocal SEOLink BuildingContent MarketingGuest BloggingGeneral SEOLearning SEO AdviceSEO PredictionsSearch Spam & Black Hat SEOPageRan... > Read more
Including schema microdata in your web pages is a lot like eating well, exercising or getting a good night’s rest – you know you should be doing it, but actually following through can be harder than it sounds. Unless you’re a health nut, in which case please stop telling us about Crossfit.Although schema and other structured markup formats have been around for several years, relatively few sites bother to include schema microdata, and even fewer people actually know what schema is or what it’s for.
However, there’s no need to be embarrassed – we’re going to answer your questions about schema and why you should make it an integral part of your SEO strategy. Pay attention – there’s a test at the end*.*Not reallyWhat is Schema?Schema is a type of microdata that makes it easi... > Read more
When I suggested last month that someday, search engines could work without links, a lot of people thought it was an interesting gedankenexperiment (they didn’t use that word but hey, it’s one of my favorite words) but didn’t believe Google is really moving in that direction. The future, by definition, remains to be seen, but today in his webmaster video, Matt Cutts revealed that Google has already experimented with a version of Google that doesn’t use links as a signal:A user asked:Does the big G have a version of the search engine that totally excludes any backlink relevancy? I’m wondering what search would look like and am curious to try it out.
And here’s Matt Cutts’ response (emphases mine):We don't have a version like that that is exposed to the public, but we have run e... > Read more
Whether they saw it coming or not, and whether they believe it or not, everyone in SEO sat up and noticed when Matt Cutts declared that guest blogging is dead. We’d all like to believe that we only guest-blog to share our knowledge, but the truth is, most of us have guest-blogged and gladly taken the links that came along with it.
And the conversation has really been about links all week: Can guest-blogging survive without links? How do we get links if we don't guest-blog anymore?But aren’t we just treading water here? Guest blogging was just one tactic as part of a larger link-building strategy. Google is slowly chipping away at all our link-building tactics. Rather than replacing guest blogging with another kind of link building, maybe it’s time to think about a system that isn’t... > Read more
Lately there have been a lot of rumors circling the web saying that small businesses will need to have a higher SEO budget in 2014. It’s clear that SEO efforts have become more popular, therefore more competitive, and therefore more expensive, but just how much needs to change in 2014? And what has changed in the SEO industry that is giving experts reason to say, “Yes, a higher budget is the answer to success”? Is this just a ploy by the industry experts, or will a higher SEO budget really be necessary this upcoming year – and if so, how much of an increase are we looking at here?4 Reasons Why You Need a Higher SEO Budget in 2014Unfortunately for many small businesses, your SEO budget in 2014 is going to need to increase if you hope to stay in line with your competition.
It’s not... > Read more
One of the biggest complaints about Google’s Keyword Planner – the new keyword tool that replaced the old Google Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator – is the lack of broad and phrase match traffic support. Contrary to what’s being suggested when you use the Google Keyword Planner, Google will only return exact match traffic.
Today I’ll be showing a few tricks to help you get your phrase and broad match traffic data back.What Google Says About Search Volume in Keyword PlannerGoogle suggests entering your keywords with standard match type formatting to get volume based on keyword match type:Naturally, an SEO would try all three formats for the same keyword, to compare the traffic volume data:Here are the results you see on Google Keyword Planner for the three match type variations:An... > Read more
There’s been a lot of talk around here (and everywhere) lately about over-optimization. There’s a feeling in the air that a lot of SEO tactics that worked in the past are becoming less effective, if not grounds for a straight-up penalty. Some ranking signals are falling out of favor and others are coming into the fore.
Earlier this week, in a post about viral content marketing techniques that can help any kind of content, I posted this jokey meme with a recent quote from Larry:A couple of people took issue with this remark in the comments; Chris Mayhew said “I wouldn't say that SEO's time has come and gone.” Neither would I! “Unoptimized is the new optimized” is an exaggeration (Overstatement! Used for effect! Yay, rhetoric!). We’re not actually going to de-optimize our whole ... > Read more
Whoa there buddyThe changing SEO landscape was one of the most pervasive and controversial topics in Internet marketing last year. While some high-profile marketers maintained that good, legitimate, white-hat SEO has always been clear-cut, and claims to the contrary are just snake oil peddling, we believe that SEO is full of gray zones and judgment calls.
Although we’re primarily a PPC company, we’ve always believed in the power of SEO as a marketing channel, and in fact our business is highly dependent on organic search traffic, so we take this stuff seriously. Due to Google’s evolving algorithm and continuing battle against search spam, we’ve reconsidered some of the tactics that have seemingly worked for us in the past, for two reasons:Recent evidence suggests these tactics... > Read more
As the founder of a search marketing startup, I’ve had the opportunity to interview, hire and work with some of the most amazing SEOs on the planet. I am so proud to have worked with people like Tom Demers and Ken Lyons, who not only helped me turn wordstream.com into a website that holds its own against domains like google.
com for SERP rankings, they went on to found a successful internet marketing consultancy of their own!Because WordStream’s business is in the internet marketing industry, the competition for SEO keywords in this vertical is incredibly fierce. We’re always competing against other search agencies, or search marketing product companies who obviously know a thing or two about SEO. If you think your insurance or travel industry has fierce competition, try competi... > Read more
After months of denying/downplaying the impact of Negative SEO, Google today has launched a new and widely anticipated disavow links tool. The tool was announced by Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam, at today’s keynote at the Pubcon conference, implicitly proving the existence of Negative SEO.
The new Google disavow links tool is live and can be used now.New Disavow Tool: What Does It All Mean?My take on the new disavow tool:Proves that Negative SEO is a Real Issue: Obviously (duh!). Otherwise why would Google roll out such a tool. Not all webmasters are sophisticated enough to use the disavow tool to disavow links. Unscrupulous SEOs could target unsuspecting, competing websites with devastating effect.Creates Moral Hazard: The disavow links tool is a get-out-of-jail-free card ... > Read more
“Why is SEO harder for small businesses?” This question has popped up a couple of times in our organic keyword referrers. We’ve been saying for months that SEO is getting harder, and that it’s especially difficult for SMBs to excel at. But why? Why is SEO easier for the big dogs? Make no mistake, it is – even if it’s getting harder for them too.
Here are 10 reasons why smaller businesses struggle to succeed at SEO.1. You have less money.This is the #1 reason SEO – and everything else! – is harder for small businesses. It’s an old saw but it’s true: You have to spend money to make money. The reason companies spend money on marketing and advertising is because they deliver ROI, but sometimes there’s a tipping point. For example we’ve seen small businesses ... > Read more
While digging through our analytics for question keywords (as outlined in “3 Ways to Find Questions to Answer in Your Content”), I found the following question: Why are popular keywords so hard to rank for with a new website? It’s a good question, although the longer you work in search marketing, the more obvious the answer becomes.
New websites have difficulty ranking for popular, high-volume keywords for two primary reasons:New websites don’t have much site authority yet. The amount of on-page optimization you do when targeting a specific keyword is only half the battle. The Google algorithm takes site or domain authority into account when assigning rankings. Your site’s authority depends on factors like age of domain (hence, new websites necessarily have less authority) a... > Read more
You may have noticed recently that Google has been showing just 7 organic search listings on the first page for many searches, instead of the usual 10. Take for example, this search for "adwords," which shows just 7 organic search listings.Dr. Pete noticed that too, and yesterday he reported on the SEOmoz blog that Google had reduced the usual 10 search listings to just 7 on over 18% of Google searches! In my article today, I’ll just quickly summarize his rather incredible findings pertaining to the Incredible Shrinking Organic SERPs, and follow that with my own analysis and thoughts.
First, here’s a graph of the percentage of first page search results with fewer than 10 organic listings since April 4, 2012:In just two days, sometime around August 12-14, the number of first page search ... > Read more
Note: This article, originally titled "Debunking the Myth of the Long-Term Value of SEO," has been edited from its original version. I've taken some of the arguments in the comments into consideration, and upon reflection a lot of my points were unclear or misleading, and I've adjusted my language accordingly.
Thanks to everyone for contributing to the debate. - LarryOne of the most common responses to my recent “War on Free Clicks” study and yesterday’s article, “Why SEO’s Suck at PPC,” was the notion that PPC stops the moment you stop spending, whereas SEO provides benefits forever.It reminds me of the “better to buy than rent a home” advice that was all the rage in the days leading up to the housing meltdown. Millions of homeowners got completely wiped out listenin... > Read more
Howdy, sports fans! Thanks to the good people at MarketingProfs, we have a special offer for our readers to save $200 on an upcoming MarketingProfs University (MPU) online training course: Search Marketing School: SEO. This training course features classes on keyword research, content strategy, link building, social media, SEO metrics and more, with expert speakers including Vanessa Fox, Andrew Hanelly, Jill Whalen, Ian Lurie, John Doherty, Ruth Barr, and yours truly.
Read on for more details on this offer.About MarketingProfs UniversityMPU provides affordable, comprehensive online training in the interrelated disciplines that make up your marketing mix.With each course you'll get 10-17 hours of instruction in what you need to plan, build, and measure successful marketing programs. Plus yo... > Read more
Do SEO Footer Links work? Are SEO-optimized footer links at the bottom of your web pages any good for SEO or are they bad? (does it hurt SEO?). The official answer as of now is No - that SEO footer links don't work.Matt Cutts today announced at the SMX conference that: “We’ve done a good job of ignoring boilerplate, site wide links.
In the last few months, we’ve been trying to make the point that not only is link buying like that not doing any good, we’re turning the dial up to let people know that certain link spam techniques are a waste of money.”What have your experiences been with SEO Footer Links? Are you finding that they no longer work? Is your SEO footer hurting your traffic? Let me know what you're seeing! Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more
Generally speaking there are three kinds of website traffic: direct traffic, search engine traffic, and referral traffic. All are valuable and serve different purposes, but this post focuses on the third kind, referral traffic.Referral traffic is valuable in online marketing because it sends interested readers and qualified potential customers to your site from new domains.
It also provides added SEO benefits, since by definition referral traffic is driven either by an inbound link or social activity, both of which send positive signals to the search engines about your site.Need some of that sweet ol’ referral traffic? We’ve got you covered with five simple referral traffic strategies to help.Guest PostsGuest posts are a great way to build up referral traffic. Especially in light of th... > Read more
Across the planet, over 300 billion emails are sent every day. That's over 2.8 million emails every second, and 90 trillion over the course of a year. No wonder the U.S. Postal Service can't keep up with the competition.And neither can we. Corporate workers send and receive an average of 225 messages per day.
If we gave each email coming through our inbox our full attention, we'd be hard-pressed to get any other work done.Most of us have adapted to the deluge with a "first cut" strategy. Before even opening an email, we glance at the sender and subject line and determine if it's worthy of our time. If it's a sender that often sends us marketing material we haven't found especially useful, it becomes instinctual to click delete before ever looking at these messages.Although our personal pro... > Read more
Over a year ago now, both Google and Bing announced that they factor social signals from social media into their organic search algorithms. As the lines between social media and search engine optimization continue to thin, social media will gain importance for SEO. As Google described it, social media is about relationships and relationships prove relevance.
Relevance is at the core of organic search.It’s well known that Facebook has 845 million active users and 50% log in daily. These numbers are astounding! I guarantee you that your customers and prospects are included in those numbers. They are on Facebook and they’re likely trying to engage with your brand.If you don’t yet have a Facebook Page for your organization, you really ought to consider optimizing your content marketing s... > Read more
Keyword stuffing, or the practice of shoving as many seo keywords onto a page as physical possible, has long been the bane of SEO white hats everywhere.There was a time when the method of stuffing worked as well on a webpage as it does in a turkey. Back in the early years of search engines, one could easily manipulate a page’s ranking on Google’s SERP with keyword stuffing.
Sites could rank on a large variety of keywords by simply cluttering them onto a page, even if the keywords were unrelated and the site was absent of any real content.You could be (somewhat) classy about it by hiding the offending keywords, matching their text color to the background color, or you could just be blatantly obnoxious.Naturally this led to a terrible user experience, because most people aren’t looking ... > Read more
If you’re relatively new to the world of search marketing, you may have heard the term “SEO content” being thrown around in marketing meetings. This beginner’s guide is designed to answer three questions:What is “SEO content”?What types of SEO content are there?What is my SEO content strategy?If you have any questions about SEO content creation that I don’t answer here, let me know in the comments and I’ll answer them here or in a future blog post.
Let’s get started!What Is SEO Content?To understand what marketers mean by SEO content, it’s helpful to break down the phrase into its component parts:“SEO” refers to search engine optimization, or the process of optimizing a website so that people can easily find it via search engines like Google.By “content,” we mean... > Read more
Part 2: Optimizing YouTube VideosYesterday we posted Part 1 of this guide, which discussed:How YouTube Can Help Your BusinessStep 1: Creating Video ContentStep 2: Recording Video ContentToday we cover Part 2of the 5-Step Guide For Creating & Optimizing Video Content that Ranks on Google, in which we continue with:Step 3: SEO For Your VideosStep 4: VSEO On Your SiteStep 5: Getting Your Video NoticedWhile Part One of the guide deals primarily with video content creation ideas and recording your video content, Part Two covers how to upload and optimize your videos on YouTube so that they rank as high as possible on search engines.
Step 3: VSEO: SEO for VideosGoogle normally "scans" the text of a page to figure out what a piece of content is about. But Googlebots can’t actually watch vide... > Read more
Part 1: Creating and Recording Video Content for Your BusinessThis guide on creating and optimizing high-ranking YouTube video content for your business, which can appear on Google, the YouTube site, and the YouTube for mobile app, is divided into two parts. Today, we will be posting part one, which covers:How YouTube Can Help Your BusinessStep 1: Creating Video ContentStep 2: Recording Video ContentIn Part 2, we'll cover uploading videos to YouTube and how to optimize your video content with VSEO.
How YouTube Can Help Your Business: Why Video Content Is Great for SEOHaving a hard time getting your business to show up on Google's first page? You might be surprised at just how much a YouTube video could help.In an aim to give searchers the best set of results possible, Google has continued t... > Read more
If you’re a small business that hasn’t given much thought to how you can benefit from local search, you’re missing out. Optimizing for local search is a fanatic way to reach consumers and get traffic to your site. Phone books are good for little more than testing your strength these days as people turn to search engines in order to be introduced to local businesses that can meet their needs.
Optimizing for local search requires the same rigorous SEO work required for any page, but there are some additional things you can do to boost your appearance for local searches.Here are SEO 11 tips to make sure you are getting the most out of local:Claim your spot on Google Places – Set up a Google Places account if you haven’t already, and be sure to spend some time filling out all your inf... > Read more
R.I.P. Reputation Management – New Huge Google Sitelinks Kills Online Reputation Management Industry?
Quick! Google the name of your company. See anything you don't like? A Reputation Management service firm can make it disappear or so that was their sales pitch, that is, until now.Yesterday we reported on Google’s roll-out of new, huge site-links that appear on branded searches, which pretty much crowds out the entire browser screen contents.
Organic search listings not affiliated with the company (such as any damaging reviews) are pushed “below the fold” or to page 2 and beyond, where fewer and fewer eyeballs venture out to.And of course, buying a paid advertisement on AdWords for your company’s name can now even further push stuff below the fold since ads are now also huge.The Reputation Management industry has sprouted up in recent years to defend clients against potentially da... > Read more