Recent Developments in SEO and Paid Search
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Recent Developments in SEO and Paid Search

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SEO and Paid Search have changed quite a deal in 2013. Learn the major trends and events that are shaping the industry and what to do about them.

SEO and Paid Search have changed quite a deal in 2013. Learn the major trends and events that are shaping the industry and what to do about them.

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  • Due to time limits, I will focus on three things.
  • Source: SEOMoz.com
  • This is the famous painting “Landscape with the fall of Icarus” by Hans Bol. Google blasted these networks and all the money spent on buying links on them went down the tubes.Easy link building worked for a long time… But like Icarus, SEOs got over-ambitious and flew to close to the sun, crashing to earth with the Panda, Penguin, and subsequent updates that aimed at identifying and penalizing paid link schemes and content farms relying on thin backlink profiles and heavy on-page optimization.
  • SERPs are mature and crowded. As this results page with 3 web results for the query ‘eyeglasses’ shows, different content types managed by different silos jostle each other. Understanding how one tactic can work synergistically with another tactic is a high art for online marketers.
  • Bit.ly was in our office and they said a huge amount of their URL clicks were from shared World of Warcraft URLs and they conveyed no referral data.
  • People used the term ‘keyword driven marketing’, but the Inbound Marketing term best sums it up. It first got traction on the b2b lead gen side and now is mainstream. B2B brands understood the need to invest in content that gets the phones to ring, not just of search as a tactic.
  • Due to time limits, I will focus on three things.
  • Kelsey group study: http://www.biakelsey.com/company/press-releases/120418-Mobile-Local-Search-Volume-Will-Surpass-Desktop-Local-Search-in-2015.asp
  • Source:
  • I used to run a large multi-platform SEM campaign in-house for Newegg. I would not try to do that today.
  • Facebook revels this data. The 16% number comes from http://mashable.com/2012/05/24/Facebook-post-reach/
  • As platforms expand, new digital tactics arise to keep any one solution from being comprehensive. Your web analytics dashboard will not include social activity, your SEO platform may not include paid media activity. The digital marketer needs to sit in the middle and do the analysis to connect these activities together. You really cannot manage holistically unless you have all the various tools and platforms in place. No tool can replace the insights and connections that you the marketer can make.
  • Keyword strategy informs a holistic search approach – identify your core keywords and map them to destination URLs. Then send them out to the various groups. Create a master keyword strategy and leverage it in discussions around content, promotion, communication, and with local teams. This helps clarify and focus discussions. SEOs are inherently used to working cross-group so they will be familiar with this approach.
  • Good content marketing is inherently holistic – it aligns to keyword strategy, spreads via social media, and drives to web sites for conversion. Brings traffic, links, citations, engagement on social media, social authority.Ask yourself – who’s job is it to do this?
  • Google’s guideline are intentionally vague to deal with the fact that there is often some exchange of value when a link is made.Underground link selling will be with us until the end of time. Or at least until a new approach to core web search emerges.Google’s guideline are intentionally vague to deal with the fact that there is often some exchange of value when a link is made.
  • Lots of anchor text images, ‘Here’ and ‘Learn More’s, etc. Do push keyword anchor text too hard.
  • Too many brands neglect their off-site local content (G+, Bing, Yahoo) and rely on templated, sterile on-site local pages. Both experiences need to be rich and compelling in order to convert effectively. Again –who is responsible for local search?
  • More details on the last bullet point to follow.
  • This is an example of a business that has merged their G+ and G+ Local pages. Currently this only works for businesses in the ‘local’ category.
  • Again – who’s job is it to insure this happens? This is exactly the sort of task that often falls, inappropriately, on SEOs or SEO firms. Rich snippet click through rate stat?
  • Search management platforms that integrate with analytics take some of the headache out of holistic management reporting. Adobe / Omniture and soon DoubleClick Search + Google Analytics are worth looking at.
  • Spread the love. Recognize the people that work holistically and reward them any way you can.
  • Because SEO, Paid Search are mature tactics. The next wave of value will be created by using holistic strategies and connecting platforms and tactics.
  • Keyword
  • Keyword Strategy, cooperation makes the difference. Lesson plans also bring in a lot of visits.

Recent Developments in SEO and Paid Search Recent Developments in SEO and Paid Search Presentation Transcript

  • Andrew DelamarterInbound Strategies GroupInboundStrategiesGroup.com@ADNYCEWhat’s Changed and What Hasn’t in SEO and SEMOMS San Diego 2013 | Room 29D
  • Agenda:1. What’s new in SEO.2. What’s new in SEM.3. What to do about it.
  • What changed in2012 – SEO.
  • 1. The decline of link schemes.2. The increase in complexity.3. The reframing of SEO into ‘InboundMarketing’.
  • The decline of linkschemes.SEO in 2012
  • What do I mean by ‘link schemes’?Buying links in an obvious way‘Private blog networks’(i.e. BuildMyRank.com)Paid link schemes
  • B2B or B2C, hyperlinks are SEO fuel.Links with optimized (keyword) anchortext are super effective in core websearch.
  • Domain Authority24%Link Popularity of Page22%Anchor Text of ExternalLinks20%On Page KeywordUsage15%Traffic & Click Data7%Social Graph Metrics7%Registration & HostingData5%Components of Ranking Algorithm
  • So what happened?
  • Link SchemesGoogle
  • • By attacking webmasters directly – penalizing brands.• With the threat in place, Google can rely on self-reportingand web spam reports.• Step 1: Send warning letter. ‘Tell us who you workwith’.• Step 2: Flag reported domains and review sitefootprints.• Step 3: Send out more letters to linked domains.• Step 4: Profit.So how did Google do it?
  • Remember:Google is built on the Link Graph. It’snot ready to tear it out and start over.
  • Which is why…Link building still works.
  • Increasingcomplexity.SEO in 2012:
  • Core web search is becoming a ‘winnertake all’ situation
  • Search engines are incorporating newranking signals.• Social signals – author, domain, page authority.• Citations - not just links.• User experience – high bounce rates hurt rankings.• Viral nature of content.• Device-specific mobile site performance:• Technical – Responsive design, mobile sites.• Content – local content.• User intent:• Search engines getting better at discerning ‘localintent’ & including local search info in products.
  • • Local search - map, review sites, G+ local, etc.• Mobile search (50% of which is also local)• Social search• Image search / infographics• App-driven traffic (Foursquare, Field Trip)• ‘Dark’ traffic make things tough to track:• ‘Dark social pools’ – URL shorteners strip out referrer data.• Much of your viral content traffic may show up in analyticsas direct referrer. Content Marketers take note.• No keyword shown for logged-in organic referrals.• IO/S traffic shows as direct traffic in analytics• Data feed / API-driven traffic.Organic traffic sources are morecomplex - and harder to track.
  • The transition from‘SEO’ to InboundMarketing.SEO in 2012:
  • ‘SEO’ does not even accurately describe what good ‘SEOs’do anymore:• Our SEO Recommendations memos address:• Social media / social profiles• APIs / Open data sets• Semantic markup• Local search / review sites• Conversion / landing page optimization• Keyword strategy & Content marketing• CommunicationsSEO is inherently holistic.
  • Current Online Marketing paradigm:Best of breed tools and processes runby experts.
  • UX /DesignAnalytics SocialSEO /agencyPaidmediaContent /Editorial“We call ‘em ‘Bankruptcy Tubes’” – Joel SalatinDirector of MarketingManaging Lieutenants in silos
  • But SEO does not work well in a silo.
  • Mix it in.
  • “Search, Social &Content Has Merged intoa Single Process”-Kevin Gibson
  • Inbound Marketing Paradigm:Managing SEO, High-intent Media,Local, Social, Content, andAnalytics,holistically.
  • Be these guys.Social / Local / Mobile
  • What changed in2012 – SEM.
  • 1. Mobile / Local grew up.2. Complexity increased.3. Lines got blurred.
  • Mobile. Local.SEO in 2012
  • Tectonic plates shift:Mobile search to eclipse desktopsearch by 2015.
  • Mobile search means lower CPCsand fewer clicks for Google
  • • Tablet search converts better, smartphone search worse,for most (but not all) keywords.• Google’s ‘Enhanced Campaigns’ make it harder to runplatform-specific SEM.• Requires advertisers to set multipliers that impact allkeywords in campaigns.• Find ways to make your business local – optimize locallanding pages, reach out to reseller networks, service orsupport pages – anything to make your business locallyrelevant and good for local SEM.Brands need mobile / local SEMstrategies.
  • Increasedcomplexity.SEO in 2012
  • • Advertising networks and exchanges now have a realwinner with remarketing.• DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms) and agencies haveexploded to help advertisers and agencies deal withcomplexity and exploit inefficiencies between adnetworks, publishers, and brands.• Real-time bidding across networks and goal setting.• Creative development and optimization.• Targeting (including mobile) and audience settings.• Social networks are jumping on the bandwagon.The remarketing boom.
  • • To really get the most out of these new tacticsdeep SEM / media expertise may be required formid-to-large sized brands at this point.• In-house SEM may need enterprise tools to get itdone ($$$) globally & to manage multipleengines.• SEM / Media agencies can afford to distribute thecost of tools and training over many clients.Agencies love complexity.
  • • Are you maxing out inventory on Google adWords?• Remarketing / Retargeting & Affiliate ‘display’ mediaopens a world of ROI-positive tactics.• Do you have budget to expand marketing if the ROI ispositive?• Do you have better things to do with your people?• Like creating, publishing, and optimizing content,maybe?• Or making sure everything is working together?How to decide if you need an SEM ormedia agency.
  • The blurring oflines in SEM.SEM in 2012
  • • Ad networks have become search-like and searchengines have acquired media firms and ad networks.• The result is search-like advertising tactics aboundoutside adWords and Bing.• Start thinking beyond adWords – there is a big worldout there.• Endless forms of targeting (site, URL, search, IP, geo) areadding real value to display advertising.• Remember: The real ROI is always on the bleeding edge,before the big, slow brands with big budgets pile in.Search engine marketing evolves.
  • All that work you put in to building a Facebook presence nowneeds paid media to get seen by your fans.• 16% of brand posts now make it into the newsfeeds offans• SEMs need to be heavily engaged in both Facebookadvertising (‘Premium’ ads) and working with Social mediacontent teams (news feed ads).• Social media content needs to be very compelling to beseen or else it needs to be promoted.Social media is looking more like paidmedia.
  • What to do aboutit.
  • Shift to an Inbound Marketingperspective.
  • SEM / SEO is a big part of inboundmarketing, but just a part.
  • It also includes:Content marketingSocial mediaConversion optimizationMedia alignment
  • The inbound marketer thinks aboutkeywords, content, and context, andfacilitates cross-group communication,strategy, execution, and optimization.
  • InboundMarketerSEM / media Web analyticsCM / SEO SocialWordPressConductorHootSuiteMarketing CloudDoubleclickMarinKenshooOmnitureGoogleAnalyticsEarned
  • Inbound marketers look for emergingsources of traffic that defy silos.
  • Just because you can’tstaff an inbound positiondoesn’t mean you can’tthink along these lines.
  • Inbound marketing in action.
  • Keywords andDestination URLsEditorial plan SEM / Paid / SocialLocal teams CommunicationsStart with a master keyword list.
  • Build out a keyword-driven editorial plan.Create content, promote with media.
  • Inbound content marketing –infographics.• This Infographicoptimized for ‘UXcareers’ keywordsdominated theentire searchresults page:
  • • Align media spend - adjust bids on PPCads based on organic rankings.• Use paid search data to drive contentmarketing• Create evergreen SEO content based onorganic landing pages use SEM data.• Expand beyond Google, beyond searchentirely to new ‘high intent’ tactics.Inbound marketing – SEM.
  • SEO & SEM: Competitive brand query.
  • SEO & SEM – Non-competitive brandquery.
  • • This is a bit redundant since Inbound Marketing isreplacing SEO.• Nevertheless, SEO in the Inbound Marketing erastill remains, just in a more subtle form.• Assuming your have decent content and no majortechnical problems, the big thing in core websearch is still links, which boils down to linkbuilding.Inbound Marketing - SEO
  • Understand the difference between linkbuilding and buying links. Buying linksin an obvious way is no longer wise.
  • Link building is a Grey area.
  • Optimize your backlinks viapartnerships, value exchange,whatever. But the second you seeresults, pull back and vary anchor textand URLs. Strive for a ‘natural backlinkprofile’
  • • Take ownership of G+ local, other business listings.Encourage channel partners to do the same.• Populate local pages with keyword-driven contentfrom content marketing program.• Make sure NAP (name, address, phone) matchesexactly to web site & add semantic markup to besure.• Cross-link your Google + Local page, Yahoo locallistings to on-site content.Inbound marketing tactics – local.
  • • Drive traffic with deep links and keyword anchor text.• Monitor link sharing trends (Bit.ly+) and feed intocontent calendar.• Seed keyword-driven content to social sites andcross-link using keywords.• Promote good social content with SEM / media.Inbound tactics – social.
  • Merging local + social.
  • Boost author digital social authority viaprofiles.
  • Klout score(Bing) or Google’sAgentRank are among theemerging ranking signals forissues-related content.Anyone who creates content forneeds to have a G+ profile linkedto their content:• Speeches• Press releases• Core site content• NewsAdd author attribution to syndicatedcontent.
  • • Enterprise SEO tools: ConsiderConductor, Brightedge ($$$), Raven($), Searchmetrics ($$)• Web analytics – Create cross-groupdashboards and reports (Domo).Consider integrated platforms likeAdobe and soon the DoubleClicksearch platform.• Ad Managers: Kenshoo has PPC,SEO rankings, social and local admanagement. Marin software hassearch, social, display, mobileTools to get it done.
  • It’s up to you to make the connectionsto show integration and cross-groupsuccess.
  • One last point…
  • Search is long in the tooth.
  • But… a lot has not changed.
  • Apersonal example.
  • Running a homeschool collective(radschool.org) is hard...
  • Like any business we needed to ‘acquirecustomers’.
  • We developed a marketing and keyword strategy• Changed target to ‘alternative schoolers’ fromhomeschoolers.• We mapped our keywords to digital content• We optimized on-page content for each keyword using asearch-friendly CMS platform like WordPress.• We had each parent link to the home page using thekeyword ‘alternative school’ or a variant.Start with the basics.
  • 2001 - era tactics still work.
  • I am continually amazed at how manybrands small or large that have noteven gone this far.
  • • LA smog image by Robert S. Donovan: CC-licensed athttp://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/1297903757/sizes/o/in/photostream• Ice tea image by Harsha KR: CC-licensed athttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mynameisharsha/4901750728/• Google CPCs chart: BusinesInsider.com on Google public data:http://www.businessinsider.com/fury-at-google-advertisers-say-new-search-rules-are-stealing-from-them-2013-2• Thor action figure image: By JD Hancock. CC-licensed athttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/8402660230/• Homeschool photos by Andrew Delamarter (author).Image credits.