Back from PubCon, Jessica Lee and Bruce Clay point out some of the highlights of the conference. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, was the featured keynote, and he shared his opinion that, despite some attention-seeking claims, SEO is not dead. Liveblog coverage of the keynote recalls Matt’s logic: SEO is not dead because SEO is a type of marketing. And marketing appeals to human nature and that’s never going to go away.” Marketing, it seems, only evolves. Jessica points to a move toward holistic digital marketing strategies, and the introduction of Marketing Land, a new sister site of industry gold standard news site Search Engine Land that will cover the growing realm of Internet marketing, including social media, affiliate marketing, email marketing and more.
Then Aaron Landerkin, software development manager, walks through how to use the Keyword Suggest Tool in the SEOToolSet suite of diagnostic SEO tools. The tool gathers keyword data primarily through Microsoft. It looks into adCenter numbers, including demographics for people searching for keywords, and categories in which a keyword is classified. This comes in handy, for instance, if you’re trying to target keywords that are broad and part of many categories as it helps to know what categories the search engine associates it with. To use the tool, enter a seed word or set of seed words and get suggestions based on one of three factors: 1) related searches; 2) larger keyword phrases that include the seed words; and 3) other words advertisers bid on when bidding on the seed word or phrase. Info on average cost per click, click through rate and categories are also presented.
Wrapping up the show, Aaron, Virginia Nussey and Michael Terry discuss currently proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress that would greatly hamper protected speech rights online. It creates a slippery slope that could lead to popular sites going out of commission as they would have to police content to the point where it’s not profitable to run the site. Content would be required to be taken down with as little as a copyright holders say so. The act appears to be stalling in response to public pressure.
Shows related to Search Engine Optimization
Bruce Clay and Jessica Lee are in Las Vegas this week attending, blogging, speaking at and having a good time at PubCon. Maryann Robbins, Aaron Landerkin and Virginia Nussey take over the podcast in their absence, analyzing the conference news and information as covered by blogs and reports on Twitter. Overall “site quality” is a buzz phrase from the conference, and by aiming for a high-quality site as a whole, SEOs can avoid scrutiny by Google. Site quality includes relevance and timeliness of content, site architecture and more.
Calling into the show from Las Vegas is Michael Dorausch, chiropractor at ADIO Chiropractic in Los Angeles, and a well-known SEO and webmaster and frequent speaker on local search. He shares points from his presentation on local search rankings, including tips for gleaning data from your in-store customers that can be leveraged in online marketing. He also talks about dealing with negative reviews and how Internet users interpret reviews.
Finally, the hosts devote time to Google’s social network Google+ and news surrounding it. Newly offered business pages and available with categories of local businesses and places, products or brands, companies or organizations, and arts, entertainment or sports. And it looks like +1s are officially expected to play a role in ranking results in search and in AdWords. An article by Bruce Clay Australia introduces businesses to the opportunities of Google+ business pages and their affect on search marketing.
The search engine industry is nothing if not fast moving. And as leaders and losers jockey for power, Bruce, Jessica and Virginia start the show by looking at what’s happening at Google, Bing and Yahoo lately. Google is rumored to be willing to help finance the purchase of Yahoo, which raises questions of what Google’s ulterior motive might be. The hosts also discuss Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s comments about Bing’s search quality, namely, that Bing and Google are the same 70% of the time.
The critical role link building plays in SEO efforts for any search engine is clear. Julie Joyce, co-founder of link building and social media marketing company Link Fish Media, Link Week columnist at Search Engine Land and blogger at SEO Chicks. Julie talks about tactics for link building on a budget, the lasting effect of a good reputation, and how to deal with the long life cycle of link building when clients expect results.
Then Aaron, Jessica and Virginia look at the ongoing tech war between the Web’s superpowers: Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. Google has its hands in just about everything from hardware to software to services and beyond. Amazon’s moves into the hardware space can be traced directly back to a wish to enable consumers to use the shopping service. Whether these companies are losing sight of what they’re good at or putting themselves in dominant positions remains to be seen.
Google takes front and center on today’s show. First Bruce, Jessica and Virginia explore what it’s like to compete against Google properties for search real estate. While it may be an ethically questionable for Google to directly use the knowledge of the ranking algorithm to help its own properties rank in search results, beliefs about what makes a quality website may infuse the organization, leading to indirect ranking benefits.
This week Google got the attention of SEOs by announcing organic search encryption. SEOs have been quick to call out Google for reducing search referral data. Another far-reaching implication of encrypted organic search, as Bruce explains, is an increased level of personalization. Google is able to build a detailed picture of individual signed-in users’ search and click behavior, and can leverage this data for increased ad targeting and enhanced personalization of search results.
Then Jessica, Michael and Virginia discuss between Google+ and Facebook’s social networks and sharing features. The expectations of online privacy are changing, and Google and Facebook attempt to keep up with what users will allow by introducing new features and settings.
Today’s show examines the importance of SEO awareness in business. Starting the show, Bruce explains the value of the SEO site audit or assessment. The first step in improving a site is identifying issues to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong. Along with Jessica Lee and Virginia Nussey, Bruce looks at when it makes sense to assess a site yourself and when it’s best to have an agency or consultant evaluate the site. Assessments are frequently provided to large brands that ask for an annual upkeep review, as well as those seeking an independent third-party opinion. Assessments also make sense for small businesses requiring SEO knowledge to make intelligent decisions about ways to improve the site.
Bruce presented SEO training in India in August, meeting a great demand for SEO education there. Siddharth Lal, managing director of Bruce Clay India, has practiced SEO in Australia and India and talks to Virginia about SEO best practices there. He’s found that spam tactics common in India are likely the result of lacking training and awareness. At the SEO training course, teams from AOL and Ibibo and more came to learn about practices not favored by search engines. He shares a rundown of the country’s popular social networks and search engines and looks at the effect of the Panda Update among companies in India.
Then Virginia talks to SEOToolSet training attendees at September’s course in Simi Valley, CA. She talks to Stirling Flynn, director of technology at Living on the Edge; Chase Anderson, marketing analyst at Belcaro Group Inc.; and Allison Kulage and Rebecca Huber, president and director of client services at Bare Knuckle Marketing. From an SEO beginner’s perspective, Stirling explains he’s learned stuff he can use right away. At his organization they’re finding that rebuilding a site is a great opportunity to have SEO involved at the outset. As an experienced SEO, Chase comes to maintain the dialogue around SEO at his organization, which recognizes the importance of buy-in at all levels addressing the many agendas at play. And Allison and Rebecca use SEO education to inform their clients about how to indicate a site’s authority.
At the Wappow Search and Social Conference in Kauai, Hawaii, Bruce Clay and Jessica Lee have been engaged in an intimate environment of educational sharing and networking. The pair sit poolside as they look at the show’s events, from inner-tubing through the rain forest to Bruce’s keynote on SEOs taking advantage of the opportunity in social media. Bruce explains that social media signals allow for the greater personalization of search for individuals. Much of the trouble of ambiguous queries has been alleviated, as have many ad targeting problems. Not only are rankings in SERPs affected by social signals, but +1s displayed alongside results has been shown to change click-through rates significantly.
Gillian Muessig, founding president of SEOmoz and host of the tech-entrepreneurship podcast CEO Coach, then talks to Jessica about her time at the conference, the future directions of social media and search, and her presentation at the conference on the interplay of social and mobile. While social media used to be considered a soft science, the presentations at this week’s seminar-style conference point to how social media is now analyzed in terms of ROI and monetization, and hard-number value is able to be assigned to social media efforts. There’s still a good deal of understanding that needs to be gained in small business and big corporation settings alike. Gillian explains that the understanding gap has two pieces: first, knowing the social principles of a mobile consumer on the go; and second, engaging with mobile users in a way that’s applicable to the real world. These two points are key for converting socially connected mobile users into customers.
Then Jessica talks to Ian Lurie. Last year on SEM Synergy, Ian shared insights into measuring success in SEO and PPC through analytics action plans. In his conversation with Jessica this week, he turns his analytical eye toward how social media engagement affects search results. At the conference, Ian gave a presentation comparing the value of social media responses such as comments and Likes on Facebook and retweets on Twitter to links as a search engine ranking factor. He also talks about the implications of recent changes to popular social networks like Facebook and Google+ and potential consequences of competition between these two Internet giants.
Today’s show has a social focus, with Facebook’s slew of major changes this week and Bruce preparing for a trip to the Wappow Search and Social conference. First, Bruce, Jessica and Virginia preview Bruce’s keynote address for the conference, a look at the need for social media and search marketers to understand one another, work together and integrate each other’s initiatives. They also talk about the increasing socialization of search, thanks to social indicators’ influence on search results.
Then Marty Weintraub, president of aimClear and author of Killer Facebook Ads, talks shares some practical and tactical advice for advertising on Facebook. The book includes an extensive appendix of Facebook targeting segments, which was the thrust of why Marty wanted to write the book in the first place. It’s a resource that the team at aimClear uses constantly to identify very specific audiences on the platform, known among marketers for its tightly focused targeting capabilities. Marty also shares a hack that allows advertisers to find related keywords and concepts that might be relevant targets.
Then Aaron, Jessica and Virginia discuss the interplay between social, local and mobile marketing online. A track at SMX East centered around the SoLoMo space and the intersection of these three distinct yet synergistic Internet marketing practices. Small and local businesses can cultivate a rich online presence through targeted social, local and mobile marketing strategies. If done with a plan and goals at the outset, it can be a highly efficient use of resources for maximum reach and ROI.
This week, Bruce and Virginia have spent their days in the Javits Center in New York City attending SMX East. In between liveblogging sessions, Virginia interviewed conference speakers to talk about their areas of expertise and the sessions they spoke on.
Starting off the show Virginia talks to John W. Ellis, a paid search specialist, about his suggestions for ad remarketing as well as some insights into a paid search platform that’s great for small businesses, Google AdWords Express.
Then Virginia speaks with local business specialist Mike Ramsey, also known as Nifty Marketing. Mike spoke on the session Hard Core Local SEO Tactics, part of the best of SMX Advanced track. Mike shares some of his tactics for integrated O-pack local optimization, including citation building, link building and reviews.
Then Jessica, Aaron and Virginia take a look at some of the most recent headlines in search. They examine Google’s acquisition of Zagat and what that means for local search, as well as Bing and Twitter’s renewed partnership and what that means for social search.
Today’s show features Bruce’s new SEO and Web development offering for local businesses, a conversation with Jonah Stein about website security threats, and user concerns over social network privacy.
Starting off the show, Bruce, freshly returned from Affiliate Summit East, talks to Jessica and Virginia about the unique demands of affiliate marketers and their laser-focused concern with driving traffic. It’s an objective shared by many doing business online, and a challenge for smaller businesses with fewer resources available to devote to optimizing an online presence. As Jessica says during the show: “It’s not supposed to be in the small business owner’s skillset to do this stuff. This is stuff that people who work at agencies do every day, keeping on top of changes.” Enter Localware, an all-in-one program for local businesses, including a SEO, content development, social media management from Bruce Clay, Inc.
Then Jonah Stein, speaks with Virginia about efforts to make the Web a safer place. After noticing a plague wipe out online communities, turning them into “ghost ships flying through cyberspace,” Jonah started encouraging conversations to combat “virtual blight.” What followed in the years to come was a realization that businesses online don’t have solutions in place to protect them from malicious hackers, some aiming to distribute malware, some planting black hat links, and others simply stealing traffic. The consequences of becoming a victim to hackers can be mitigated with the help of CodeGuard, a website backup, monitoring and reporting system.
And wrapping up the show, Susan Esparza makes a special appearance to talk with Aaron Landerkin and Virginia about privacy expectations on social networks. Since they had that discussion, Google+ began requiring users use their actual names on the service. Eric Schmidt even referred to the network as an “identity service,” highlighting the platforms utility for Google as a data mine. Facebook seems to be moving in the right direction as far as giving users more granular privacy control with enhanced sharing features.
After 8 months away from the microphone, Bruce Clay, Inc. is excited to be back on WebmasterRadio.fm with our weekly broadcast and podcast. In the time the show has been on hiatus, Bruce Clay, Inc. has remained an active member of the Internet marketing industry, servicing clients, attending conferences, and providing training around the world as interest and understanding of SEO continues to grow. Still, much has changed since SEM Synergy last rode the airwaves, and to start the show, Bruce examines recent news stories effecting the industry, including ICANN opening generic top level domains to all options.
For our first special guest of the show we welcome Bryan Eisenberg, conversion optimization thought leader, technology and marketing analyst, conference speaker and best-selling author. Bryan and Virginia discuss a framework for thinking about CRO that Bryan calls the conversion trinity. By optimizing relevance, value and call to action, a marketer can increase the rate of conversions. A characteristic all three concepts have in common and a common theme in marketing today, Bryan says, is the focus on the users’ interests, desires and needs. Users are in charge and their needs should lead your decisions as a marketer — not your competition’s and not your own. Google seems to have hit upon this strategy in developing Google+, it’s first seemingly successful social network. Bryan believes that Google+ will find popularity because it allows users to share and gather social content in a way that they understand intuitively. He likens Facebook to AOL in an illustrative and illuminating analogy that speaks to privacy and openness demands online.
Then, Aaron, Virginia and Susan (in one of her final appearances on the show) further discuss the evolving expectation of privacy online. With Google requiring all Google+ profiles to include publicly viewable information, have we reached an age where consumers should abandon the hope for privacy on the Web? Over time there has been a gradual move toward openness on the Internet, and today the majority of users are comfortable sharing contact information and personal details in public spaces. Those who embrace the public nature of social media can build a powerful and positive online persona.