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.
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!... > 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
Google this week has been serving up huge sitelinks for branded searches. Take for example, this organic search for "WordStream" and look at the huge sitelinks (highlighted in yellow):I've seen searches with as few as 2 huge sitelinks, and listings with many as 12 huge sitelinks. The new super-sized mega sitelinks take up the entire page! (Learn More: WordStream's AdWords Sitelinks Guide)SEO Impact of Huge Sitelinks in Google Search ResultsAll other organic search listings are now pushed down significantly "below the fold".
It's going to be very tough for an SEO to generate any traffic on branded keyword searchs. The new mega sitelink pushes the number 2 organic search result below the fold! And it's even worse when there are a few sponsored links above the organic search results. Tak... > Read more
Magento eCommerce Software is one of the most popular business e-commerce tools. Like any other web platform, Magento can and should be managed to obtain SEO (search engine optimization). This article will provide users of Magento e-commerce sites with five steps to optimize their websites for SEO. The following five tips will ensure that your e-commerce site is better optimized for search engines.
1. Use Page Titles and Meta Descriptions Creating properly optimized page titles and meta descriptions forms the basic first step for SEO. If you do not accurately name and identify your web pages, how can you expect a search engine to find you? Your Magento e-commerce website is full of content and usually contains various pages with categories and products. Therefore, ensure you correctly nam... > Read more
Over the past few months, there has been a lot of hot air floating around on whether or not SEO has seen better days. Last week I attended the MarketingProfs B2B in Boston and it was the topic of conversation for many interested marketers. Whenever I am asked this question I happily answer with, "SEO's NOT dying, it’s evolving.
It has simply expanded past the traditional borders of a website, and is moving into every aspect of SERPs domination." This new wave of SEO revolves around keeping the end user in mind. So instead of writing for the search engines, you NEED to be writing for the end users! And with all the new ways to claim real estate and communicate your brand within SERPs, there's no time for you to be dragging your feet. Being how SEO has evolved -- here are fiv... > Read more
One of the most important pieces in mapping out any SEO project is determining which keywords to target and how. There are a lot of great processes for this, but one thing that’s highly valuable as you research keywords is an ability to go beyond the rough estimates keyword tools give you to get at a more precise estimation of how much traffic you can expect from various keywords each month.
This information allows you to:Prioritize one basket of keywords over anotherMake rough projections around how many leads and sales you can expect based on historical conversion dataDetermine, based on a keyword’s competitiveness as well as how much traffic it will drive, if it’s worth your effort.In this post we’ll walk through a couple of quick and easy ways to get at your keywords’ organic... > Read more
Being a bit of an SEO virgin, I sometimes find myself confounded by the intricacies and details of creating a successful SEO campaign. Talk of conversions, meta-data, and keywords can be overwhelming for any SEO newcomer. For SEO newbs like myself, I suggest checking out Brick Marketing's SEO Checklist Guide, which is a great manual for any beginner hoping to better understand SEO.
I read it and found it easy to read and loved the plethora of recommended free tools. And best of all, the guide itself if free! And who doesn't love free stuff? An Overview of What You'll Learn The guide is divided into two main sections, with individual mini chapters. The first section is about developing your website to match your SEO goals. It details the importance of things such as: Site Structure (h... > Read more
The process of choosing a proper hosting service for your website is fairly straight-forward. First, you'll need to have an idea of the type of site you are aiming for. While you don't need to have every single page in mind that will be on your website, having good estimates will mean that you'll be able to properly gauge what type of hardware and software a web hosting server will need to be able to host your site.
During this planning phase, you'll also need to think ahead to how your website might grow, and what new hardware and software needs the site may have in the future. With this information in hand, you're prepared to start looking for a hosting service. Software Requirements Some websites require support for various programming languages, like PHP or Ruby on Rails. These differe... > Read more
If you're not familiar with it, Quora is a relatively new question and answer site. It's much-hyped and has a huge following within the tech/startup community, and features participation from well-known entreprenuers, angel investors, and venture capitalists. There's some debate about how scalable the site is, how useful and interesting it is to people outside this initial niche, etc.
We won't focus on any of that or on the basic mechanics of asking a question on Quora here -- what I want to talk about is two interesting ways an SEO can use Quora. 1. Find Content Topic Ideas for Tech-Oriented Content This is really true of any Q and A site, but if you can find a niche with some activity, Quora is a great way to find content topic ideas. Let's say I'm looking to build out an editorial calen... > Read more
Anatomy of a Personalized Search Result: Interesting Localized SERPs & Google Bidding on the Term "SEO"!
The evolution of Google's search engine results page is pretty well documented in the search engine marketing space. The reality is getting a clean, pure, consistent ranking in organic search is nearly impossible because of: More aggressively localized search results The attack of paid search on organic search listings Blended results for video and news Personalized search never sleeps Recently when I Googled the term "SEO" I saw a number of things I found interesting (DISCLAIMER: these are my personalized SERPs, your mileage may vary and the same query may be doing something different for you): (Click the image to enlarge.
) Specifically I think the things of interest here are: PPC is taking up a lot of this SERP, and we see a service that really can't (or at least shouldn't)... > Read more
One cross for each time SEO has died In his keynote address at SES this week, Danny Sullivan (as live-blogged by Lisa Barone) said we should “just ignore” the so-called pundits claiming SEO is dead: “Nothing’s going to kill SEO. Danny’s exhausted by the conversations … When ignorant people are talking about what SEO is and isn’t, why give them that time to respond? They’ve sucked up enough of our life.
” But journalists and other media blowhards continue to blame the SEO industry as a whole (if not the very concept of SEO) rather than individual scammers and spammers. I know we’re not supposed to feed the trolls, but what if the trolls are getting air time on high-authority sites like the New York Times and Business Insider?... > Read more
Every year about this time we find ourselves finalizing our goals and strategies for the New Year. Our bosses are looking to us for actionable strategies and suggestions to meet our new revenue goals. How much will PPC contribute? What is our primary SEO strategy, and what growth can we expect? Making accurate forecasts and predictions for yearly goals can be difficult.
We try to take what we already know from past performance to make intelligent estimates about the future. One great place for an SEO team to look is at PPC search query performance data (not keyword data); especially if your PPC strategy includes using broad match keywords with search query mining. Inside of your PPC search query data you will find search queries that may be big contributors for PPC and don’t rank wel... > Read more