SEO: Where to Next?
So where is SEO going? Like lifes many mysteries, similar to “Why are we here?” and “If a tree fell in a forest would it make a sound?”. There is no clear defined answer which is why SES kindly put together a panel of experts within the online environment to discuss…
It is always nice to be in an open session, I feel it allows the speakers more freedom to say what they want on a variety of aspects of search. More importantly it lets us hear them talk with their guard down; this hope of a slip up was mainly aimed at the Google employee, Maile Ohye.
The panel in question today were UK industry leaders and amongst a variety of channels including SEO, PPC and Publishing.
Dixon Jones Receptional LTD.
Lisa Myers Verve Search & SEO Chicks
Maile Ohye Google
Dan Cohen MSN
Julian Shambles Telegraph.
The first question is a good one and gets us straight to the point “What is the ONE thing you’re focusing on and the ONE thing we need to get right?”
Dan Cohen kicks off the keynote panel with the old cliché: great content attracts great links. He also talks briefly about the major challenges facing MSN in terms of SEO such as languages, 3rd party content and other complexities.
After Julian supports Dan Chen’s point about developing great content Lisa delivers a great point about focusing on Local Listings in the future. Local listings are becoming every popular as they are dominating the search results pages. More and more keywords are triggering local so be aware.
Maile supports Lisa by saying that SEOs should be looking at the wider picture, search world should not be all about organic listings.
“Dig deep and look at all properties and avenues available” is the main consensus.
Bing then gets accused of cloaking by Dixon as Cohen highlights an example of what Bing are doing/implementing. Bing is building technology to detect the what keyword the visitor has found Bing via search, then pinging the Bing API and then offering alternative pages that could be relevant within the site.
Lisa states that this approach combined with what publishers normally do when they analyse seasonal trends and write content based on the needs could lead to people “chasing keywords” This could stifle the originality of content and Lisa understands the value of this approach but feels content should be created in a smarter manner. Dixon agrees and backs this up by saying there are around 4 major news channels/portals on the web and they would all be running the same stories, the web is bigger than that and more attention should be paid to other news.
The best question of the session is the posed by Dixon “does Google like SEO’s?” He looks at Maile, signalling the spotlight is on her and the crowd cheer. The answer is YES. Google learn from us as much as we learn from them and the relationship is almost symbiotic. Maile states that they talk to advanced webmasters and SEOs as they can discover what is working and what areas they need to focus on. Apparently the new server response time in Web Master Tools came from feedback in SES London last year!
In response Dixon asks Lisa “if Google reaches out to Europe more or less now” Lisa feels there is more interaction between Google and the SEO community. A good example would be fili on Twitter and Adam Lasnik as he goes to conferences too. Apparently Adam Lasnik confirmed at a Norway conference that Google is paying a smaller amount of attention to header tags than previous years.
Dixon opens the question up to the room and more people believe that Google is now helping more than previous years. Google Local Business listings help are still poor though…
Questions from Audience:
Q. Google states they make around 400 changes a year to their algorithm so how we do keep up to date?
Lisa starts by saying events like SES really help as you can interact, discuss, argue and learn from a wide crowd. She also says if there are major changes then the black hatters would be in the know so keep your ear to the ground!
Q. In the ranking algorithm how many measures are defensive rather than proactive?
Maile advises that there is a mixture of offensive and defensive – spam teams which are defensive and then they aim to help make results more accurate through user behaviour signals.
Q. How does Google detect paid links?
Dixon chips in that it is a FREE market state so why should this be a problem. Maile, in my opinion answers really well and it is hard to disagree… We want our organic search results to be available to everyone and reflect what people like not how big an organisations wallet is to buy links.