SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Presented by Kevin Mullett for Cirrus ABS on February 9th 2010 at the NIIC in Fort Wayne Indiana. Introduction by Matt Nickols (CEO).
Today we will discuss Search Visibility, which includes both Search Engine Optimization and Marketing. We also want to discuss click ability or overall conversion, an often overlooked part of the success equation. It doesn&apos;t matter how much traffic you can drive if it&apos;s the wrong traffic (wrong keywords) or if they never take action. Lack of conversion can be caused by things like, poor site usability, design not fitting subject or demographic, lack of calls to action (CTA), etc.
We will also discuss onsite (on page), offsite, and to a lesser degree technical (best practice) factors. And don&apos;t worry if you have no idea what that means, you will when you leave. I could bore you to death, and possibly will anyway, with search history, articles from the past, and crystal ball like predictions, but I won&apos;t. Some articles by top SEOs from last year have been rendered useless due to algorithmic changes. Some of the items I say today will have a limited shelf life. So goes search. There are some advanced concepts we use that are very time consuming and technical in nature. It would take the bulk of this two hour seminar to explain them, so I will do my best not to digress into long explanations of such. So let&apos;s get to it.
If you have not been already, this will be the year you are inundated with people telling you to get into social media, and I will be among those asking you to take a look at it, but I want to explain some factors to consider before deciding where to put your money and efforts in 2010. I also want to show you a bit about how social media is affecting SEO and more importantly how it is not. As I mentioned at a recent Social Media breakfast, this will be the year of talking to your audience in their preferred medium, that is to say those they pay attention to, not the ones you wish to participate in. In a down economy we are not afforded the opportunity to be steadfast in our ideals.
The Difficult Truth, it&apos;s not about money it is about time, unless you don&apos;t have time, then you need to spend money. If you don&apos;t have the time, or someone on staff who does, you will need someone you can call to explain it. Someone who will weed out fad from fact. Even if you engage us to help, we need you to show interest and participate in your marketing success. Another difficult realization is that launching a site is not an item to checkoff some list. Unless the check says, now it&apos;s time to get serious. I&apos;ve never seen a PERFECT site launch. What&apos;s a perfect site launch? One where I was able to do everything I wanted to do. Heck, I didn&apos;t even get to do EVERYTHING for our site launch. Projects are always limited by one or more of the following; time, money (which can affect time), effort, resources, knowledge, and buy in (from HIPPOs or you; the client). Any company you deal with will have those same limiting factors.
We don&apos;t have to be very old to figure out that if we want fed we have to go where the food is. Right now, you need to be going where the traffic is or more pointently, where you can be visible. And while being visible is great, if efforts are put into areas where there is no intent for action, ROI will be low. Just who or what do we want to be visible too? The obvious answer is people who would like to use our product or service. The not so obvious answer is where search bots frequent.
We simply do not have time today to cover the pitfalls common to poorly performing sites, nor can we go through step by step all the best practices. For the purpose of today I am going to assume you have a functioning website. A website that isn&apos;t a lame duck. We will be happy to look at your site and give you a free report on how it fairs. That said, here is a mach 1 flyby.
Who can tell me a recent Google change, preferably one I have not already stated? Did you understand it? Did you research it? Do you know how that will affect you business or site? Do you have the time too? And more importantly did you change anything on your site to take advantage of it? Google has dozens of blogs, so it is hard to know which product is going to affect your business today. For example how does the new personalized search affect you? (you will think you are ranking better then you are!) The scary thought is that this is, so far only considering Google. While Matt Cutts of Google recently downplayed previous comments about site performance as a potential criteria for ranking, there is no doubt that Google has made recent changes encouraging site performance.
Take any of the 200 plus criteria and start by first comparing that to your competition. Let&apos;s say for example that your competition has a page (browser) title like such (company name + service + location + stop words + other service + stop words) ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL you could likely win with (service + location | company name). Why include the company name? Branding and credibility which MAY lead to higher click through rate (CTR) from the SERP (search engine results page). Now if your competition has kept it to (service + location) and everything else was equal then you would want to match that method.
SEO // action alpha: This seminar is all about having you leave today with actionable items. Care has been given to provide easy to implement SEO techniques that can have measurable impact on your websites performance. Knowing what your competition is doing allows you to extend efforts to the areas of highest return. And if all this seems too daunting, then it is time to call in reinforcements. 1.877.817.4442 // email@example.com // http://www.cirrusabs.com
Let&apos;s start by making sure we are all on the same page as to what are some of the key terms and areas of a SERP (search engine result page) are.
If you are not a national brand, localization matters. If you are a national brand, grabbing local listings is still a good idea. If you think of your own searching habits, you are very likely to have used localized search yourself. While mobile traffic directly to individual websites is still not stacking up to expectations and claims, mobile searches are defiantly on the rise. We also see local search as a high confidence indicator which can lead to higher CTR for no local listings lower on the SERP. And of course lets not forget about all our early adopter friends who are using location aware social applications like Brightkite, Foursquare, and Gowalla.
SEO // action beta: It’s free and easy to do. Go grab your local listings, set up profiles, and set a reminder to go look at the Google local business center analytics. The Google LBC analytics is a separate service from the Google analytics on your website and is a newer feature released in 2009. Don’t forget to review your friends businesses, those service providers you appreciate, and ask clients to review yours.
Let’s have a little reality check here. Who doesn’t want to be number one? When dealing with SEO we need to have reasonable expectations for KW (keyword) and KWP (keyword phrase) SERPs. We also need to understand that the higher the competition for KW/KWP terms the longer it is likely to take to move up unless more effort is brought to bear. The thing we need to understand is that all keywords and phrases are not equally valued. That is why we need to know volumes of traffic.
We&apos;ve taken clients to number one on Google based on kw they insisted had to be there, only to find out that a slight derivation would have yielded exponential traffic. It can be the difference between the terms you use in the industry and what clients actually ask for, or much worse developing an entire website for the wrong profit center or term. What we need is the right keywords for the right demographics.
SEO // action gamma: The quandary many are left with is how to find the right SEO terms to optimize your site for. Let’s start with understanding who your clients are. After that let’s clarify what products or services return the most value to you, and how they fit with your online marketing efforts. Be specific about what you really do, who you really are as an organization, and who you compete with. Now put in keywords and keyword phrases from those exercises, and ones we will do later, into Google’s Keyword selector tool. Knowing the volume of the keywords and keyword phrases you wish to rank for affords you the opportunity to place emphasis on those that will yield the highest return, and you are most likely to be able to place for.
If I have heard it once, I have heard it a hundred times; I’ve nothing to write about. We are back to the truism, if you don’t have the time or the expertise you will need to engage someone who does. This simply is too important to your online marketing efforts to avoid. There is no magic pill to make it all better. You need to have fresh content, significant site depth, and individual pages with keywords and keyword phrases, to draw both human and bot traffic. There are many tools available to us to find good content. Start by familiarizing yourself with Google suggestions that drop down related words as you type into the search box, and the Wonder wheel which is under the “show options” link at the top left of a Google SERP. We also encourage you to use RSS feeds and Google Alerts as additional ways to find good similar material you can write about. It should go without saying, don’t copy other peoples articles. Instead, pull a snippet and summarize what that article means to your clients or business and include a link to the original article. Frequency of updates directly affects crawl rate and freshness of content is one factor for determining your rank on a SERP. Look, you and those in your employ are subject matter experts, it’s time to tell the world about it.
Due to the limited time we have today, I will leave you with some simple technical techniques and generalities. We will cover these in more depth at future events. Keyword saturation is not an absolute, it is a target to help clarify and force you to think in terms of subject per page of your site. You need to make it clear to the search engines what the subject matter of each page is. When creating titles and meta descriptions, think of how you want it to appear on the SERP as well as what keywords need to be included. Pay particular attention to what words you want to be bolded in the SERP for each page, white paper, pdf, or article on your site. And of course do not sacrifice readability, CTA, and general conversion methods just to get traffic. The traffic is almost completely for naught if you can’t get them to convert. Almost.
SEO // action delta: Repeat after me; I will not fret over meta keywords…I will not. Sure go ahead and include meta keywords, but do not treat them as a focus. Instead, review pages on your site where the search engines may not be clear on the subject or purpose. Change title tags and your meta descriptions as you create and alter content first. They are of high value and have a way of clarifying your thinking with regard to the subject of the page. Keep in mind that what ever KW/KWP’s appear in your title tag must be in the content of the page. Do not “stuff” either. It is always helpful to start with keywords and keyword phrases that you already have placement on the search engines for, rather then starting for terms that you have never ranked for. I will show you how to check that later in this presentation. Do make sure though that the words are the correct words. The ones we validated earlier.
Someone told you that hundreds or thousands of backlinks were the key to SEO nirvana right? Well to be sure, backlinks are important, as it was one of the founding factors Google was based on. And yet we have the knowledge that there are over 200 criteria that Google uses to determine rank. Furthermore I have seen sites that have been active for years with tens of thousands backlinks still not rank well because they do not sufficiently cover other ranking factors. Which leads us squarely back to that all things being equal statement I keep saying.
All backlinks are not ranked equally. Refer to slide.
SEO // action epsilon: Let’s use Majestic SEO, although there are many others, to check to see how many backlinks we have. Hey while we are at it, let’s pull out that competitor list from earlier and see how they fare. Keep in mind it is not simply quantity of backlinks but also quality of backlinks that is considered. Now lets look for ways to bolster our backlink strategy. Ask your suppliers to provide backlinks, but have them do so on relevant pages. Encourage customers and suppliers to have individual pages that make sense to be linking too and from. A giant page of links might be ok, but a page that is about XYZ uses our materials like this, is far better. Get into social media and tell the world about your new articles. A common mistake is linking to your home page, and while that is desirable in many instances, don’t forget to send people to inside pages that are more relivant.
Let’s talk about Social media. Actually let’s talk about the “social three” as I call it. Why? Because people use these terms interchangeably, when they are not in fact interchangeable. Social media is online tools that we use like twitter, facebook, friendfeed, foursquare, ning, to build followers, friendships, and contacts. Social networking is the day to day interaction we have with those contacts, in other words the “social” part. It is no different then when you attend a party, that you might otherwise pass on, in order to touch base with clients or potential clients. Social marketing is the subtle or overt use of one or more online tool to promote your business to the network you have established. Again no different then reminding those people you meet at parties, “hey I build killer websites, you should have me do one for you”. At the end of the day you can remove the social off all of these and revert back to traditional media, networking, and marketing methods.
SEO // action zeta: It is wise for both branding reasons, and for online marketing presence to grab your brands social spots. If you have an intern, this would be a great task to set them out on. Which ones are important? Which ones don’t you want a competitor or squatter to have? The additional power of these networks, which will be discussed in further depth in our next seminar, is far past just socializing. While the backlink value for many is not high, the fact that search engines are constantly crawling these networks is past simply noting. This is especially important while the crawl rate on your website is low. Posting to some of these networks can lead to those social pages being indexed in under an hour and subsequently lead to radical improvement in new pages being indexed on your site.
A long time ago a client mentioned that they seen an abnormal spike in traffic in their analytics client. When asked what happen on that day, the client mentioned they had a story about them in the newspaper. Clearly the abnormal traffic was due to abnormal promotion. We want to look for successes so we can repeat them and failures so we can correct or avoid them. While it sounds geeky to discuss Google A/B or multivariate testing, this will not lead to conclusive results for clients with low traffic volume. It certainly may not provide enough measurable change to warrant the cost of creating those changes. This in no way means we should not constantly be testing for improvement. We can as an alternative look to landing page effectiveness, conversion funnels, bounce rates, time on site, and many other types of clues in order to fine tune ROI. This would be a great time to input keywords you have selected based on validation efforts earlier into a tool like Rank Checker, a Firefox add-on, to establish a baseline for both your site, and that of your competitors. You will also want to express the need for everyone in the company to be committed to monitoring contacts, calls, and lead sources for clues on what is working so you can do it again.
We at Cirrus ABS appreciate you taking the time to learn how to improve your internet marketing efforts. Please let us know how we can help you and if you liked this seminar please remember to sign up for our next event which will be on march 1st on social media, social networking, and social marketing concepts.
http://www.cirrusabs.com, http://www.twitter.com/cirrusabs, http://www.facebook.com/cirrusabs, http://www.youtube.com/user/cirrusabs, http://www.linkedin.com/compaines/cirrus-abs, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 1.877.817.4442.
SEO for Visibility, Action, & Conversion
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion // Kevin Mullett
SEO // visibility is online currency
• no visibility = no clicks
• unattractive or spammy titles & descriptions = no clicks
• clicks for incorrect terms = no conversion
• poorly planned landing pages with no CTA = no conversion
SEO // technical, onsite & offsite factors
There are technical, onsite, & offsite factors that
contribute to your sites SEO performance.
SEO // visibility via preferred media
• preferred media not singular media
• the year of talking to your audience where they are
• not the time to be steadfast in our ideals
SEO // visibility via preferred media
• i’ve never seen a perfect launch, i.e. one where I got to
do everything I wanted
• projects are always limited by: time, money, effort,
resources, knowledge, buy in (from HIPPOs or clients)
• test conversions, measure results
SEO // where’s the intent?
• yellow pages
• search Marketing
SEO // are you in trouble?
if your site is…
• trapped by flash
• looking good but can’t
• built in a way that
prevents you from
changing or adding content
• if you can’t change page titles, and meta descriptions
you’re in trouble.
SEO // know thy algorithms
big year for google changes
• over 200 criteria
• 6000 test algorithm changes per year
• caffeine; the new algorithm
• google Gulp with Auto Drink » google.com/googlegulp
• real time search: if something is trending you will see it
• forced customized (personalized) search:
if you’re logged in you see customized results
• beta social circle search (will it be opt-out too?)
• emphasis on indexing speed
• emphasis on freshness and frequency
• webmaster console: removed pagerank, added Labs which includes
site performance, fetch as googlebot, and malware detail tools
• DNS 184.108.40.206.
SEO // all things being equal
since there are over 200 criteria you must do competitive
analysis to maximize your return on efforts.
SEO // action alpha
• create a list of competitive sites
• resolve yourself to run competitive analysis
(the ones i’m about to tell you)
• develop a plan to win or call in reinforcements
SEO // what’s what?
there are many ways google presents results
SEO // be local if local
• mobile device “local searches” on the rise
• local search instills high confidence with searchers
• social applications like brightkite, foursquare, gowalla
SEO // action beta
• grab your local listings:
• setup google profiles for you and your business
• schedule a time to review your local analytics
• review friends businesses & have clients review
SEO // we all want to be #1
we can’t all be number one
SEO // what’s in a name?
We've taken clients to number one on Google
based on keywords they insisted had to be there, only to find out
that a slight derivation would have yielded exponential traffic.
SEO // action gamma
• poll your customer facing employees; ask who are
• go to adlab.msn.com/demographics-
prediction/DPUI.aspx for additional insight
• write down what you really do & who you are
• take the keywords & keyword phrases you think are
important and verify volume with
SEO // i’ve nothing to write
a common complaint is not
knowing what to write & what
keywords to target
• fresh content is crucial
• newest articles win
all else being equal
• increases site depth
• increases crawl rate
SEO // technical considerations
• KW - Saturation: formula + kw phrases + length (this isn't absolute
but it makes you think)
• writing titles: formula + clickability + bolded words
• writing meta descriptions + clickability + bolded words
• alt tags: often missed (don't say picture or image of, google already
knows its an image)
• calls to action so they do something once on page
• image naming and using "-" not "_"
• don't try so hard to get a certain saturation that you lose good long
tail connecting words or relevance!
• duplicate content. Google essentially came out and said this isn't a
big deal, but still.
• so many more
SEO // action delta
• for each page of your site run & review
• change title tags & descriptions first because
they are valuable & clarify thinking
• start with keywords & keyword phrases you
already rank for
SEO // all backlinks; aren’t equal
why do we want backlinks?
• visibility / brand recognition
• traffic generation / linkbait
(to pages or our site)
• to encourage page or site indexing
• increase page rank / authority to impact SERPs
• because someone told you to get them
SEO // all backlinks; aren’t equal (part deux)
• BLNF: backlink nofollow = www.url.com (rel=“nofollow”)
• BLDF: backlink dofollow = www.url.com
• BLNA: no anchor = www.url.com (no <a href=“url”>bob</a>)
• CONNF: contextual nofollow = webdesign by company
• CONDF: contextual dofollow = webdesign by company
there are additional conditions that affect the value of backlinks
• TLD authority i.e. page rank or TLDPR
• link page authority / page rank
• backlink destination page: root or subpages
• topic relivance
• iframes, redirects, url-shortners, email, image links
• keyword anchor text match & proximity
• backlink age ?
SEO // action epsilon
• run Majestic SEO:
• ask Suppliers for backlinks
• ask Customers (mutually beneficial btw)
• ask friends and family
• create new, subject matter expert, articles on
your site and tell the world
• link to the page with content, not always home
SEO // the social three
• social media
the tools for building followers, friendships, & contacts
• social networking
the daily visibility & interaction, i.e. the “social” part
• social marketing
subtle or overt application of various media to promote
SEO // action zeta
grab your brand
• mass id check
• mass id with facebook app
• social visibility
• signup & join some groups
SEO // did it work? do it again
• check google analytics or server logs for:
bounce rates, time on site, pages visited, conversion pages,
confirmation pages (setup advanced filters & funnels)
• monitor contacts, calls, lead sources
• rank checker: firefox add-on
• google a/b testing
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