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.
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 five best practices... > 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
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 RequirementsSome websites require support for various programming languages, like PHP or Ruby on Rails. These different ... > 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) be sold w... > 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 well at... > Read more
Rand Fishkin just had a great post over on the SEO Moz blog that listed off five creative solutions to tough SEO challenges. Number four in this post focused on the idea of competing against a site with a strong lead in the SERPs for a particular keyword. In the WordStream guide to keyword competition, Larry outlined a process for getting around an inability to rank for a particular term: For organic search, it looks like this: Publish something - It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Just something quick to get a read on how difficult it is for your site to rank on a particular term. Who knows? You might get lucky and your content might rank well immediately. Or it may only require minor optimization to rank better. If you got lucky, then mission accomplished. Move on to next keyword targets.... > Read more
This is a guest post by Terry Van Horne. Terry is the founder of SeoPros and a 15-year veteran of Web development, currently working out of his consulting and development firm International Website Builders. Terry's interests are primarily the socialization of search and analysis of social Web traffic and applications like Twitter.
As in all things I do for SEO, the segmentation process starts with a client interview and discovery consultation, where website and business goals of the client are established. The discovery consultation is important in order to understand website and sales goals so the best KPIs (key performance indicators) can be put in place. Keyword research is at the early discovery stage since it hasn't been put in context of the established goals for targeting at the mo... > Read more
This is a guest post by David Harry. David Harry is an SEO and search analyst with Reliable SEO. He also writes on his SEO blog and runs the SEO Training Dojo, a top community in the SEO space. You can also track him down via Twitter: @theGypsy. Not so long ago the SEO world was quivering with excitement at a new shiny bobble for their lexicon: LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation).
Yes, you remember that one, don't ya? It all started with the poorly named SEOmoz tool and continued since then ushering in a new era of three-letter initialization snake oil. But really, this can still be a good moment for the search geeks of the realm, I promise. While it has left many sheeple with new smoke to waft in front of their mirrors, it has done something else far more valuable; it has SEOs talkin... > Read more
Wordstream is looking to speak with search marketing practitioners to gather input on how we can evolve our SEO product to better meet customer needs. We’re conducting a series of 50-minute research sessions via phone on Tuesday, Sept 21, and Wednesday, Sept 22nd. These interviews can be scheduled at your convenience, and to thank you for your time, we’ll send you a $75 American Express gift card.
If you meet the following criteria and are interested, please drop a comment or send us an email: Search marketing specialist or practitioner who has responsibility for SEO for their organization Available to participate in a 50-minute session sometime between 8:30 am and 8:00 pm Eastern time, on 9/21 or 9/22 Have Internet access using a broadband, DSL, or T1 connection (no dial-up)... > Read more
If you’re a serious company you should care about how you appear to potential customers or employees on the Internet. People are always online nowadays, looking up information about a company before they do business or apply for a job. If someone searches for your company in Google, Bing, or another search engine, it’s important that the first page of search results contains positive information about your company.
Here are a few reasons why you should control the first SERP: If someone finds a negative review about your product or service, they’re less likely to purchase it (or anything at all from your company). If someone sees people complaining about working for your company, they might not apply for a job there. If someone finds negative articles about yo... > Read more
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an important part of building a web business. While advertising and social networking are important parts of growing your online presence, the majority of people still come across new websites by using search engines. Search engine traffic is also far more likely to be looking for something to buy than social traffic is.
But SEO has changed quite a bit over the years. In the past it was easier to try to outsmart the search engines by using questionable tactics that filled the web with sites that were little more than spam, packed with repetitive keywords and useless to the visitor. Unfortunately, some of these tactics are still taught by people claiming to have knowledge in the field of SEO. It is important to avoid these pitfalls that in the best cas... > Read more
[See More: How Much Should You Earn As An SEM?] Determining what your salary range should be for any position is a dilemma many job hunters face (especially in today's economic environment). "How much am I worth in this market? How much should I ask for in salary negotiations? How much do my positional peers earn?" are all common questions.
It's no different for SEOs. Search marketers wonder about salary expectations and inquire on message boards, forums and online SEO communities about how much they should expect to earn. The thing is there are so many factors that come into play that it’s difficult for anyone to say with certainty how much YOU should be earning as an SEO. Take for instance: Location – Cost of living varies depending on where you live. Salaries differ from coun... > Read more
Today I'm going to show you how to go about "future proofing" your SEO. Some call this "algo chasing," but the only similarity to algorithm chasing is that in future proofing, we learn something new or see a change in the results, review the cause and adjust the SEO strategy to position the site to move up in the flux that results.
We never look for exploits! IMO, we should be looking for what we need to change and how to work within what we anticipate the algorithm will definitively show later.Generally, if the change doesn't disrupt the current strategy drastically, then I will start implementing immediately. In this case there are some things I am doing currently that need more emphasis and some may require changes to the website development strategy. (Yeah ... I said website developmen... > Read more
Spying is all the rage in SEO. Search marketers love to secretly spy on their competitors to try and decode their winning tactics. The logic (and hope) is that if they can determine why a particular site is ranking so well, then they can apply the same strategy to their own websites to best the competition.
The inherent flaw in this logic is that it is impossible to duplicate a site's link profile, even with all their link data. Bottom line is there are some links you will never be able to obtain, no matter how crafty you are or how hard you beg (which speaks to the importance of building quality backlinks so your competitor's can't easily turn the tables and duplicate your link profile). But that's okay. Your goal shouldn't be to replicate a competitor's link profile, link for link. You g... > Read more
There's been a lot of talk recently about how "SEO is dead." The claim is based largely on the specter of mounting algorithmic complexities, rising barriers to entry, the advent of personalized search, integration of social usage data signals, global warming, the Tea Party movement, blah, blah, blah, (insert your own fatalistic theory).
There was one post in particular that I read a few months back where a blogger used a pretty compelling graph from Google Trends to make the case that SEO is on life support due to a steady decline in query popularity juxtaposed against a meteoric rise in social media query activity. Going by this graph, it appears that SEO is in fact "on the back nine." So if you make your living as an SEO, or if, like us, you just launched a line of ... > Read more
Understanding the Boundaries and How to Play SafeAre you a web spammer? No, seriously, I mean it. If there is one area that a lot of search peeps and marketers aren't always clear on, it's penalties and filters from search engines. This is something you will find very common in SEO circles. We need to look no further than something like duplicate content.
While it is (generally) a filter, there is no shortage of people that call it a "duplicate content penalty."As such, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the many faces of web spam, from the search engineer perspective. This isn't about teaching you how to be a better spammer -- quite the opposite actually, as I am not a fan of that crap. Sure, I have a few mates that play in the black hat world, but they are well aware I am not a... > Read more
I thought I'd post the presentation for the Webinar we hosted yesterday, which was titled "How to Organize and Create Content for SEO." The presentation was a step by step process detailing how you can create an SEO-friendly information architecture for better Google rankings, and how to create and organize content geared for search engines, which includes some tips on keyword research and integrating specific SEO best practice page elements.
This post includes both the slide presentation and the script I used for the Webinar. SLIDE 1 – INTRODUCTION Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us for today’s webinar: How to Organize & Create Content for SEO. My name’s Ken Lyons and I’m the Senior Online Acquisition Marketing Manager for WordStream. Today I’... > Read more
Spring is in the air, bringing thoughts of flowers blooming, spring break, and reevaluating the direction of your website. Alright, so maybe that isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of spring, but it should be. This time of year is as good a time as any to get your website priorities aligned with your goals, look at areas in need of improvement, and most importantly do a bit of keyword research to see if your efforts need a change.
Keyword Analysis When was the last time you looked at your keywords? And I'm talking about the search volume, trend, and competitive level of your keywords, not just your rankings. Devoting a few hours to this spring cleaning adventure is a wise decision, and I've found myself doing so every 3-6 months. A few tips: Use Tools WordStream’s ve... > Read more
This post was inspired by a discussion/questions in the SEO Dojo forums and the Google Webmaster Central blog announcing microdata is supported for Rich Snippets. Microdata is part of the HTML5 specification. Over the years not much has changed IA (Information Architecture) wise. The only real big change is the use of MRL (Machine Readable Languages) for distribution and use by Google's Rich Snippets.
The Salmon Protocol is an innovative protocol that could substantially reduce internet traffic, scrapers and other nonsense exacerbated by the bandage solution for opened arteries that Robots.txt is. The discussion in the SEO Dojo was about "best practices" for IA and the difference between the IA of e-commerce and lead generation sites. Future proofing my promotion strategy is always a chief... > Read more
A few months ago, I published an article about the Best SEO Rank Checkers. In it, I wrote a quick review of a keyword rank checking tool called Rank Tracker, by Link-Assistant.com. Of all the paid rank checkers I featured in that article, Rank Tracker was one that intrigued me the most. So recently, I decided to do some more extensive work with Rank Tracker to get a real taste for the tool's full capabilities.
And I'll tell you, after using this keyword SERP tracker for the past few weeks, I'm hooked. So let's take a closer look at Rank Tracker, so I can explain my newfound enthusiasm for this tool. Rank Tracker: Key Benefits There are a lot of keyword SERP trackers on the market, but they have their share of issues. First, they can be agonizingly slow. Some can only run checks on groups o... > Read more
Do I think the days of easy manipulation via links are gone? You betcha! Do I think SEO will require more "marketing" knowledge, not link algo manipulation? Oh Yeah!! On that point I'm of the opinion that third-generation SEO ("the blogging linkerati") is dead; "on-page" algos are still important because they are tied to query relevance, and unwanted manipulation using text makes it easier for search engines to determine intent.
I have never believed linking is SEO; that's a 3G SEO strategy and I knew it wasn't a long-term SEO technique, because it was out of the "complete control" of the webmaster/marketer. I have always instinctively known this technique could not be useful for ranking for the very long term unless the link is one-way and not paid for or schemed, i.e., not open to manipu... > Read more
When you're launching a new website (or doing a site redesign) it's vital to take SEO into account. From square one, you should do everything you can to make sure that the people interested in what you offer will be able to find you. And most people will be looking via search engines. There's an endless list of things you can do to optimize a website for search engines, but at a basic level, SEO-friendly site design is user-friendly site design.
It's important to create a site that: Is logically structured Incorporates keyword research to ensure relevance to your audience Is easily navigable from both the home page and deep pages You can actually use our new Free Keyword Grouper to start planning out the structure—or information architecture—of your new website. Here's how: S... > Read more
To be an effective and successful SEO, it's imperative that you're always testing, testing, testing. Why? Well, for starters, the variables that comprise and dictate the SERPs are totally out of our control. How do you know what truly works unless you test? Another reason is that's it's very unlikely you'll ever run into a search engineer from Google at a bar who's so hammered that he reveals Google's ranking algo to you.
But to be more specific, continuous testing is valuable and necessary because: Algorithms are constantly being updated, so what worked yesterday may not work today Without evidence or cold hard facts, you're operating blindly Every test you conduct adds to your knowledge base There's a lot of misinformation and SEO myths, so you can't believe in and rely on everything yo... > Read more
Ari Ozick, a friend of WordStream and a great contributor to the SEO Book forums, is launching a new SEO guide soon: The Contrarian Guide to E-Commerce SEO. We got a sneak peak at the guide and it's got a ton of advanced information for "e-commerce site owners and marketing managers who want the nitty gritty on SEO, and have the resources to drive their SEO efforts.
" You can sign up now on Ari's site to get on the waiting list for the guide. We'll do a more in-depth review when it becomes publicly available. ... > Read more
If you're under the impression that you control what searchers see in the meta description snippet of your SERP listings, you're living in fantasy land. Static meta descriptions are like Santa Claus, Unicorns and men who look "good" in toupees. They just don't exist. That's because the meta description is a chameleon: always changing its appearance.
That snippet you tag to show in the SERPs is often discarded by Google for text more germane to a searcher's query. And given that Google’s goal is to return the most relevant results to their audience, I can see how personalized meta descriptions make sense. But that doesn't mean search marketers have to sit by idly and let Google dictate what an audience will or won't see. There are ways to take control of your text snipp... > Read more
SEO is rampant with misinformation, speculation and myths about SEO. But that's the nature of the game, right? Since nobody but Google knows for certain which 200 plus ranking signals comprise the Google secret algorithmic formula, we're left to speculate. However, there's gross misinformation, complete speculation and then there are theories put into practice tested and proven to return results with some degree of reliability.
With that, I've decided to address some of the SEO myths I see or hear from time to time. Most of the following SEO myths I'm attempting to debunk are controversial, meaning the vast majority of SEOs will disagree with my assertions, and I'll probably take a lot of flack. But that's okay. Feel free to lambaste me in the comments. I stand behind everything I'm profe... > Read more
Our friend David Harry recently launched a new SEO community called the SEO Dojo. I've been a member through the community's "beta" period, and it is packed with a ton of great information and there are numerous "hardcore" SEOs offering up their expertise to answer questions and help drive discussions.
Some highlights: Ask the Experts & Dojo Chat - I haven't had a chance to be as active in the chat as I'd like but from browsing transcripts its obvious that there is a lot of activity and that there will be numerous SEOs eager to interact, answer questions and offer feedback. Knowledge Exchange - The forum area allows you to have your site reviewed, offer or shop for services, and more. Study Hall - This area is home to a lot of great SEO guides authored by David and the Dojo members. ... > Read more
Once again, this SEO for College Websites post comes on the heels of my popular yet somewhat contentious post on top seo college websites. I'm writing a follow up to share advice to colleges that are struggling with search engine optimization (SEO). These SEO tips should give colleges some ideas on how best to optimize their websites to rank better in higher education search verticals and attract more students though search engine marketing.
In SEO for College Websites, Part One, I covered how to conduct effective keyword research and how to create killer degree page title tags for SEO. In this post, I'll discuss how to optimize your degree page content and how to acquire some quality inbound links. Step Three: Optimize Your On-Page Content When optimizing your content for search, there a... > Read more