This was my first time to attend SMX East and I was really pleased to attend the SEO and link building sessions. The sessions were Keyword Research and Copywriting, Surviving Penguins, Pandas and Other SEO Beasts, SEO is an investment and SEO Beware: Black Hat Tactics To Avoid and Be Wary of.
Here is summary of each of the four from the first day of SMX East..
Christine gave a fantastic presentation about keyword research and how important it is in search marketing. Due to trademarks, a summary of the presentation is provided below:
Reasons to Do Keyword Research
Keyword research is very important as people use search engines to find your website. By engaging in keyword research, you improve the performance of online marketing for your site as it is seen in the SERPs
Speak the Language of the Customer
It is important to know what your customers are looking for. This will help your site to improve conversion and capture any missing traffic and missing sales.
Discover new KW opportunities
There may be keywords that you have overlooked or new ones that have appeared in the market. As an online marketer, you should take advantage of longer tail phrases.
Keyword Research never stops
It is constantly evolving. When you begin a project, find keywords in the analytics or the PPC. If it is a brand new site, look at the competitors, what are they ranking for and why? At the beginning of a project, start Site log files for converting keywords.
Create Keyword Lists Using Diverse Source
It is important to use many different sources for the keywords. Look at the internal site search data. Also conduct a brainstorming session with your colleagues and client. You need to create a broad list and then you can trim this down.
Christine also spoke about the many keyword research tools available, some are free such as Google Keyword Tool, Google Instant and Google Trends, where as others are paid SEM Rush, Wordtracker, Wordstream.
This is a very hot topic in the SEO world and there was a lot covered in the session, here is a summary:
Erin talked about the fact that a website needs really good content. You need to focus on the content you have on your website. Your job is to make it look like SEO does not exist. Here are some of the ways to do this:
Fix your title tags
Fix your content
Find your faults
Really analyse your site and ask some of the following questions:
Common Duplicate Content Problems
1. URLs are not case sensitive - Solution: canonical tag
2. Multiple version of home page – http://www.example.com and http://example.com Solution – 301 redirect and canonicalisaton
3. Pagination Problems
4. URL Parameters – Solution - Ignore these in GWT and canonical tag
5. Internal Search
Many pages with similar content.
Google does not like internal site search so meta=noindex
Panda affects your link building as well
1. Focus on building good links in the future
2. Diversify your links
3. Diversify your anchor text – people should get brand name links – include non descriptive links like “click here”
What can you expect
You will see a change to your analytics
You have never built an organic link. What do you do now?
Use the Minimum Viable Product Philosophy – To develop success content strategies
1) How do you do MVP?
Find top tier freelancers through Twitter lists to other freelancers – http://rossh.gs/design-lists
How to get good content writers?
2) How do you build links?
3) Generating qualified traffic quickly
Check out rosshudgens.com for more information
Penguins at the Zoo
Google has been talking about links for some time.
1. Keep calm and Carry on
2. Keep calm and get to work
If you did not get hit by Penguin, it may be that you have not been hit yet.
Google wants to get rid of all these spammy links for now. If you have been hint, need to get down to the detail and get rid of the bad links.
If you have been hit
It will take time to go through all this, but you will see the results.
Only when you have tried to get rid of all those links and nothing has happened, then you can submit a reconsideration request. You need to follow the rules.
Full Disclosure, Full Documentation – tell Google all the links, methods of contact, dates of outreach, successful removals.
Eric spoke about The Future of Panda and Penguin
The first Panda hit Feb 2011
Then Penguin – April 24 – 2012
Eric interviewed Matt Cutts about link building and asked him about what the future may hold.
If you have a really solid profile and are engaging in all white hat SEO, then you should not be affected. Penguin was the result of bad links, but people were still affected before Panda and Penguin if they did not adhere to the Google guidelines.
Nuts and Bolts
Debra spoke about the search engines and the fact that no surprise really, Google is the market leader. Bing should not be underestimated though, but Yahoo will probably not be seen as competition in this space as they may be going towards a mobile platform. As we are aware, there are over 200+ signals to determine where a site ranks, but link building is the main nut to drive search results.
Link popularity is comprised of 4 main components
Quality is determined by the authority of the host sites and the sites linking to them. The quality flows from one page/site to the next through links. All 3 engines use a formula in organic rankings to measure and compute quality.
Signals vs Links
Before Placing the Link
Debra spoke about questions you should ask yourself before placing a link on a third party site. You really want to get more traffic from link building as well as increasing your visibility so find out if the website participates in social media. If it does not, it may not be the right site for you. You need to target sites that have relevant content to yours and where the web page ranks for relevant keywords. Online marketers will be penalized if they post their content on spam sites and they will receive a message from Google which cannot be ignored.
You are not alone
There are many link building tools to help you with this task. Some are free, some are paid such as Searchmetrics, Raven Tools, Majestic SEO and SEOmoz. For those who are interested in a paid version, there are many “free trials” for a limited time. Before you start your link building activities, use one of these tools to help create a benchmark report for the number of links. Set up all your social media profiles especially G+ and make sure you have a great copywriter to produce the engaging content.
A very useful presentation by Debra who stressed the importance of being active on social sites and diversifying your link sources (not just sticking with guest blogging). All of this will help increase the authority of your site which in turn will mean more links will come to you naturally, instead of you always asking for a link.
The last session of the day (before the evening forum with Danny Sullivan) featured 3 great speakers Kerry Dean @KerryDean, Rob Kerry @robkerry and Michael Streko @streko with moderator Danny Sullivan @dannysullivan.
It is important to know about black hat, why those who engage in it have success now, but this will be short lived and
What is BlackHat SEO?
Kerry went into detail about one Blackhat Method: SEO Sabotag
The goal is to get your competitors removed from the SERPs
1. Link removal tactics (drop their rankings)
2. Link creation tacticts (get them penalized)
3. Get really shady with cross site scripting
4. Hjiack their sites
Kerry then proceeded to show us how a site ranked for “pay day loans” in Google by hacking their site. Is Google watching?
Rob addressed the issues of blackHat which are against the Google guidelines:
Black Hat involves
- hacking websites and embedding links/cloaking
- Using deception/fraud to acquire/remove links
Are White hat sites popular on Google?
Rob explained the the audience an example of a company that was carrying out white hat techniques was penalized by Google. example:
These white hat tactics can get your into trouble