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Experts Exchange - SEO Demystified Part 1
 

Experts Exchange - SEO Demystified Part 1

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View the webinar here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr_Dsn8RW3o...

View the webinar here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr_Dsn8RW3o

Experts Exchange Search Engine Optimization pro Jonathan Hoekman discusses the basics of building an effective SEO campaign to drive highly relevant traffic to your website. This webinar (originally broadcast on April 26, 2011) will teach you:

- SEO foundations
- The 3 pillars of an effective SEO campaign
- Why SEO is more like third grade math than rocket science
- Where to focus your efforts and maximize your SEO impact

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  • Hello everyone! This is Jenn Prentice with Experts Exchange, and I’d like to welcome everyone to today’s webinar, Demystifying SEO, cosponsored by Experts Exchange and ExpertBase. We are pleased to have Jonathan Hoekman, Experts Exchange’s in-house SEO manager giving today’s talk. We will getting started shortly, but first a few housekeeping items to note before Jonathan’s talk: First, if you take a look at the right side of your screen, you should see a “chat” window. This is where you can ask questions you might have for Jonathan about his presentation. Just type your question into the message box and it will be sent directly to Jonathan and I. If we have time at the end, we will address those questions. If not, Jonathan and I will follow up with all of you after the webinar and make sure you get an answer. Second, this is part ONE of Jonathan’s webinar on Demystifying SEO. Jonathan will be following up with you after this webinar and sending you a personal invitation to part two on May 5th. Third, if any of you have to leave the webinar early, don’t worry. We are recording Jonathan’s presentation and will make it available to everyone by the end of the day.
  • So, like I said a minute ago, this webinar is co-sponsored by Experts Exchange and ExpertBase. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Experts Exchange. For those of you who are not currently Experts Exchange members, by attending this webinar, you will receive a free 30 day trial to Experts Exchange, no credit card required. The invitation will come via email, so keep your eye on your inbox!
  • What I’m assuming most of you are not familiar with is ExpertBase. ExpertBase is a question and answer platform that provides your employees and customers with incentives to ask and answer questions about your product. Essentially, ExpertBase gives you and your company or website your very own version of Experts Exchange. It’s a great way for your company to build online community, enhance your brand and as Jonathan is going to talk about during his presentation, drive traffic to your website.
  • And speaking of Jonathan, why don’t I tell you a little bit about him now? He has been working at Experts Exchange since 2006. In 2007, he started heading up EE’s SEO efforts and since then, the website’s traffic has more than tripled. Currently, Jonathan is working to launch ExpertBase; so he is a man of many talents who wears multiple hats around the office. Now, without further ado, I’d like to turn the presentation over to Jonathan to talk about Demystifying SEO…
  • Thanks Jenn! And thank you to all of you who have joined us today for this webinar. In my experience on Experts Exchange and talking with many business professionals about SEO, many see SEO as ominous, difficult and a big mystery. Terms like algorithm, link-bait, archive, no-follow, on-page optimization, even the term SEO itself invites many to write the practice off as some sort of weird science better left to ‘those people’ who understand what it is and how to use it. This is unacceptable for a couple reasons. Reason 1 – SEO is a key element in today’s marketing mix and is a discipline that every marketing professional, engineer or front-end developer MUST understand at a basic level. Better yet, they should know it well enough to make educated, informed, intelligent decisions about how to improve rankings and drive traffic to their website using SEO practices.  Simply put, there are few more effective ways to drive highly targeted, highly relevant eyeballs to your content than by using SEO.  Reason 2 – SEO is… well… NOT as hard as it has been made out to be. Are the constantly tweaked algorithms, metrics and calculations Google and other search engines use to determine which of the billions of pages they servefor a particular keyword phrase complex? Definitely. But the triggers, buttons and levers that you hit, push and pull when optimizing your site are not.
  • While some people see SEO like this…
  • I plan to show you why SEO is more like this
  • …diligently applied at a tireless pace—wash, rinse and repeat… ad nauseum.
  • Attracts Bots – discover, indexPlaces content high on SERPsEngages people, drives action
  • Before we dive into the various aspects of SEO and how to apply them to your site, you need to understand the key players in the space. Although SEO is pretty straight forward, the rules are constantly changing and what makes for a top-notch SEO strategy today could leave you standing all alone with no traffic tomorrow. Just ask anyone impacted by Google’s latest Panda algorithm update
  • Here are my top 10 SEO sites that I follow in the world of SEO. I would suggest regularly checking in to these site to see what they and others in the SEO world are talking about. Keeping up to date on these will keep you up to date on SEO in general.
  • Better still, if you don’t have time to regularly check in on these sites, I suggest creating a twitter feed of the following people, creating a SEO list and adding all of them to it. Check in with this list a couple times a day and you will have everything you could ever want to know about SEO at your fingertips. Remember, if it’s important to SEO, it will be important to SEO leaders.
  • Here are some of my favorite SEOers that I follow.Now that you’re all dialed in and up to date, let’s get started!
  • Buildings are only as strong as their foundation. You don’t see foundations and they’re not pretty, but you can’t have a building without them. And before you build up, you have to dig down.
  • Now, as you can imagine, there are large numbers of combinations of keywords that people can use to find your content. So, how do you determine which keywords are relevant to your audience. And after you know your keyword options, how do you determine which ones to focus on and try to rank for?
  • The difference between a successful campaign that drives highly qualified, highly targeted traffic to your site. Vs. A sub-par SEO campaign that might drive lots of eyeballs, but won’t drive business.
  • When starting your journey of keyword discovery, it all starts with your customer. Who is your customer? Is this perfectly cross-cultural sample of business people your target market?
  • Or does your target market look like this?
  • Or this?
  • Are they coming from here?
  • Here?
  • Or here?
  • STOP! I need to really nail a specific point.
  • If you don’t know the answers to these questions, go back to the drawing board and come up with answers to them. No amount of SEO can overcome lack of planning, value propositions or product quality.
  • Now that you know who your customer is and the needs your product fulfills, it’s time to put your thinking caps on and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think… What frame of mind are they in? Are they looking to buy your product, to find out more, to find the lowest price? What is their intent when they are searching?
  • The different types of search intent are Navigational, Transactional and Informational. Knowing the intent of your visitors is important to identifying the correct keywords to use when creating your content.
  • Here’s an example of a navigational search. In this case, the user has typed in facebook.com into the Google search bar rather than in their browser bar. You’d be surprised how much this happens. Matter of fact, for years, one of our highest referring terms on Experts Exchange was www.gmail.com. With navigational search, the most important keywords are your branded terms, such as your company name, product names, etc. If you don’t own the #1 spot for your brand name, you’re in trouble.
  • Here’s an example of a transactional search. In this case, the user has made up their mind and are looking to purchase a product, in this case, an iphone 4.With transactional searches, it’s important to use terms like ‘buy’, ‘purchase’, ‘cheap’, ‘price’, ‘low’, etc.
  • Finally, here’s an example of an informational search. In this example, the user is looking to figure out how to unlock their iphone 4. Question terms like ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ are triggers of informational searches. So are terms like ‘best practices’, ‘guides’, etc. Interestingly enough, most informational searches end up sounding like questions….
  • And this is where Q&A comes into play. Because Q&A matches information intent so well, Q&A sites naturally rank well for informational searches. So, by utilizing a platform like ExpertBase on your site, you are going to create content that answers common questions around your brand, good or service. This informational intent match will naturally lead to ranking high for these terms and driving relevant traffic to your site as a result.
  • Okay, back to your customers shoes again… it’s time for some predictions, well, educated guesses.Specifically, let’s think about what terms or keywords will your target audience use to find your product. These keywords will serve as the foundation for everything we do, moving forward.
  • And a good thing to remember as we perform our keyword analysis is that a) they should be specific to your brand, product or service and b) specific is better than general. If you are a local Day Spa, ranking for the term ‘Day Spa’ in general will be a challenge and will probably not yield relevant traffic to your business. However, ranking for the term ‘San Luis Obispo Day Spa’ is MUCH more realistic, AND will yield relevant traffic that will drive business success. Ultimately, when picking which keywords to use, it all comes down to a concept called keyword matching.
  • Keyword matching is when the keywords you are using on your site and in your content match the keywords that your potential customers are using when they search Google.
  • There are three different types of keyword matching, and you need to be aware of each kind as well as their relevance to your search results. Broad match – when your content matches the search keywords but not exactly or exclusively. It has the least impact, but is also the easiest to achieve. The next best is Phrase match – when your content matches the search keywords exactly, but not exclusively.The keyword match for ranking is Exact match – when your content matches the search keywords exactly and exclusively. This is also the most difficult to achieve. Let’s look at a real world example.
  • Here is a search for the phrase ‘beginners guide to SEO’.
  • The first result is an example of phrase match. As you can see, some of the keywords used in the search term are also in the title of the content, but it doesn’t match exactly and there are other words in the title that are not in the search terms.
  • Here is another example. Again, the same keywords are being used, but in a more broad or general sense.
  • Here is an example of phrase match. As you can see, the phrase ‘beginners guide to SEO’ is in the title of this content, but there are also other keywords in the title that are not in the search terms.Which brings us to the exact match example.
  • As you can see, the terms in both the search query and the content title match both exactly and exclusively. This is why the file for this page actually outranks the actual page where you can find the download. This brings up an interesting point about ExpertBase, Q&A and User Generated content in general.I call it the birds of a feather principle.
  • You know the saying “birds of a feather flock together.” Well, the same is true for search terminology. People of similar backgrounds, interests or demographics, also known as tribes, tend to use similar terminology when communicating. The implications of this principle are significant when it comes to SEO and Q&A.By utilizing a platform like ExpertBase, you give your target audience, brand advocates and employees a place to collaborate about your brand,communicating using terminology that is common to their tribe.When similar people search Google, they are likely to use similar terminology in their search terms, greatly increasing the chances of achieving a keyword match, which in turn helps drive traffic to your site.
  • You’ve studied your customers, discovered their motivations and should have a list of keywords or phrases that are relevant to your brand, product or service. I’d recommend limiting your initial list to about 8 to 10 keywords so you can focus on what’s really important. You can always expand your keywords later if need be. But are they the right ones? Are you using the correct vernacular? Should you use an acronym or the full word? Which version of the word should you use? If you are optimizing for a page for Search Engine Optimization tools, should you focus on the keyword ‘SEO’ or ‘Search Engine Optimization’. Knowing the answers to these questions are VERY important and boil down to three key elements…
  • …volume, trending and competition.After relevance to your business, these are the most important factors for selecting the right keywords.There are a LOT oftools to help you decide which keywords to use and to get ideas of other similar keywords to focus on.
  • And you need to choose the right ones, because as we all know, the right tool makes all the difference. So, we’ll walk through a couple together.
  • And because even when you have the right tool, you have to know how to use it, which is why I will also walk you through how to use each of them. And the best thing is, there are enough free ones out there to give you enough to get started with. Let’s look at a few tools now.
  • Google Autocomplete is a fantastic tool for discovering relevant keywords to your business that are popular enough for Google to suggesting them. And this tool is SUPER easy to use.
  • Simply start entering in keywords into a standard Google search and observe the keywords they suggest for you. These keywords are suggested because of their popularity in relation to the words you have typed and give you a solid indication of what’s relevant for those keywords.
  • Here’s an example of how to use the tool. Say you are a SaaS provider of Webinar tools, like GoToMeeting, and you are looking to see what keywords are relevant to the keyword ‘webinar’. Simply visiting Google.com and entering the word ‘webinar’ into the search yields some insightful results. As you can see, focusing on the keywords ‘software’, ‘services’, ‘providers’ and ‘hosting’ are probably good options as well.
  • Now, let’s take it a step further and type in ‘webinar hosting’ and you’ll get an even better, more specific, relevant list of keywords for your product. Spend a couple hours tinkering around with Google’s Auto-Suggest tool and you should have a clearer vision of which keywords you should focus on as well as ideas for how you can expand in the future.
  • The next tool for your keyword analysis is Google Trends. Google Trends is a perfect tool for comparing different keywords volumes as well as determining how keywords are trending. Using the tool is also very easy. Simply visit www.google.com/trends and enter any relevant keywords, separated by commas. The result is a nice little report that shows search volume over time.
  • Let’s go back to an earlier question: Should we focus on ‘SEO’ or ‘Search Engine Optimization’ when targeting keywords for an SEO firm. Here is a Google Trend result for the term ‘SEO’ compared to ‘Search Engine Optimization’. As you can see…But what about an example that’s a little less clear-cut? Pretend you are still an SEO firm, but this time you are writing an article on how using SEO can help you increase traffic to your website. In your keyword research, you have determined that the terms ‘increase traffic’ or ‘drive traffic’ are both relevant to your cause, and you don’t know which one to pick. Enter Google Trends.
  • In this case, a simple Google Trend analysis shows you that although close, ‘drive traffic’ actually receives more searches than ‘increase traffic’ and the gap is spreading, showing that they are trending in different directions or at different rates. In this case, your initial analysis would steer you toward the term ‘drive traffic’.  But we’re not done yet. You need to analyze the competition for each keyword before you can make your decision.
  • To use the Google Keyword Tool, you need to first set up a Google Adwords account. Don’t worry, it’s free and you won’t be charged unless you launch an Adwords Campaign. The Google Keyword Tool is excellent for keyword discovery, competition analysis and search volume comparison and yet again, using the tool is easy.
  • Simply login to your Google Adwords account, click the ‘Reporting and Tools’ tab in the top navigation, and select ‘Keyword Tool’ from the drop down list. Then, simply enter your keywords an off you go.
  • The Keyword Tool returns your keyword along with a list of keywords similar to the keyword you entered along with their competition and monthly searches globally and locally (determined by your advanced search ‘location’). It also allows you to export results into export the results into a CSV file for further comparison and analysis.  Here’s an example report for the term ‘drive traffic’.
  • So, how do you use it? Let’s go back to the ‘drive traffic’ vs. ‘increase traffic’ example.  In this report, you can see that although ‘increase traffic’ has a higher monthly search volume, it is also more competitive. ‘Drive Traffic’ is less completive, but you are also competing for a smaller pie. So which one do you go with? That’s where YOU come in. Check the various sites and results that are returned for those keywords as well as the strength/breadth of their keyword family (group of related keywords) to see which is better. Choosing between these keywords will ultimately be a gut-decision, but it should be an educated one, as much as possible.
  • Here is an example report. Remember, you want to run the referrals for the past 30 days so you can get an apples to apples comparison for share of search. You can also add different information to this to help with your analysis, such as conversion rate, competition, Estimated CPC, opportunity calculations, etc.
  • By charting these keywords in a quadrant according to their share of search and search volume, you can deduce some interesting information about each term. On the X axis, you have share of search.On the Y, search volume. High Search Volume and High Share of Search is your cash cow, but it also shows you areas where you can expand your reach with related terms.High Search Volume and Low Share of Search is your growth area. Look to figure out how you can improve your rankings for these keywords.High share of Search but Low Search Volume are possibly new markets that are being developed and you already have secured your place in them. Look to grow these markets and move them into the high search volume category.Low share of search and low seach volume = who cares. Don’t waste your time worrying about these keywords.
  • You should now have some great tools in your SEO tool belt for performing all your keyword analysis. But before we move on from keyword analysis, I want to talk about one more concept…
  • So, you’ve identified the keywords that you want to use for your site and built the foundation for your SEO campaign. Now what? Well, every building needs its walls, so let’s start to build them using the keywords you have identified.
  • In SEO, there are three main areas where you need to focus your efforts. I like to call them the 3 pillars of SEO. They are: Content Production, On-Site Optimization, Off-Site OptimizationEach of these pillars work together in coordination, like a three winged plane, if you will. If you are going to be successful with your SEO efforts, you need to constantly be working on all three pillars on a regular, on-going basis.We’ll spend the rest of today looking at Content Optimization and then in Part II of this Webinar, we’ll take the time to examine on and off site optimization and how to apply it effectively to your site.
  • Content is the first pillar I am going to address for a reason. And that reason is simple. Without content, you have nothing to optimize, nothing to use to drive traffic to your site, connect with your users or engage potential clients. Content is the engine of your SEO racecar. Without it, all you have is a shell of a car that might look pretty, but won’t do much. But not all content is created equal. The overall quality of your content is what counts.
  • To quote The Beginners Guide to SEO from the folks at SEOmoz.org: Developing "great content" may be the most repeated suggestion in the SEO world. Yet, despite its clichéd status, appealing, useful content is critical to search engine optimization. Every search performed at the engines comes with an intent - to find, learn, solve, buy, fix, treat, or understand. Search engines place web pages in their results in order to satisfy that intent in the best possible way, and crafting the most fulfilling, thorough content that addresses a searcher&apos;s needs provides an excellent chance to earn top rankings.At this point, you are probably noticing that I have mentioned SEOmoz in nearly all of my examples. That’s because SEOmozis one of the best resources available for helping you with your SEO efforts. They run on a subscription model, so you have to pay to play, but they are worth their weight in 24 carat gold! Rand and crew, you guys rock!
  • The quality of your content determines how much your users will engage with your content. The higher the quality, the more likely people are to bookmark it, share it with their friends, blog about it, Tweet it, etc. As we’ll talk about later, getting your users to engage with and share your content is a key to building links to your site, which is another key to a successful SEO campaign. And all quality content has some key elements in common…
  • And that is that all quality content is useful, unique and relevant.
  • Quality Content adds value to the lives of the people reading it. It helps answer a question, solve a problem, educate them, point them in the right direction, make a decision or accomplish a task. Another way to say it is that it is USEFUL to the person reading it. They can USE it to help them purchase a product, perform their job, fix their car or even be entertained.
  • Ask yourself; is the content I am creating useful to my target audience? Will they walk away with a resource that helps them satisfy a specific need? If your answer is yes, then you are on the right track. If it’s no, you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that is.
  • Every person in your business has a skill set, or an expertise. I’d argue everyone has something that they have mastered or know how to do more than most other people. And there are others out there who need that expertise. Leverage that using a resource like ExpertBase that allows your employees and customers to interact directly.
  • The internet is a HUGE place. Billions of pages are added to Google’s index each day. So, creating content that is unique is a challenge, but it is certainly do-able, and if you can figure it out, you have hit the jackpot. Unique content is ideal for a couple reasons.
  • If your content is unique, there is little to no competition for it. This means it will be easier to rank for. But, don’t confuse unique with obscure. You could have the most unique content on the web, but if it targets an audience or keywords that people are not searching for, you own the #1 spot for keywords that never get searched, defeating the purpose of creating content in the first place… well, from an SEO perspective, that is. Unique content is also valuable and useful by its very nature because it meets a need that has previously been met. If people are experiencing a common problem and you have the only solution for it, you are going to get a ton of traffic to that piece of content and simultaneously establish yourself as an expert in that particular field.
  • But don’t go too crazy with worrying about having perfectly unique content. As long as your content is useful and relevant to your audience and you are not repurposing content that already exists, you should be fine.
  • The last element that makes content quality is that it is relevant to you visitors. Relevance has to do with the compatibility of the content to the user’s situation. Three are a couple different types of relevance that I’d like to cover.
  • Internal motivation relevance has to do with the psychological state of the person visiting your site. We talked about this earlier. What is that person looking for, what do they need, what is motivating them? Is it to answer a question? To gain knowledge? To improve their career? To be happy? To make some sort of decision? Is it personal? Professional? Understanding the motivations behind your readers will help you craft content that is relevant to address those motivations in a useful way.
  • External event relevance has to do with external events or pressures being put on a person and speaks to the timeliness of the content. For example, are they being motivated by the season? Are they being told to figure something out by their boss or their spouse? Are they looking for a news story or current event?
  • Geographical relevance has to do with their location when they interact with your product. If you are a click and brick, this matters more than if you are a digital services provider. If you customer HAS to physically interact with you, as in the day spa example before, it matters even more.And when you are thinking about geographical relevance, this is where mobile plays SUCH a huge role. According to a Bing executive, HALF of all mobile searches have local intent.
  • So, we’ve discussed that quality content is relevant, unique and useful, but how does Q&A fit in? First, most people ask questions when they are unable to find content that answers their specific question. This means that it is unique to their specific need.Second, answers are by nature both useful and relevant, in that they literally answer all those questions that we were asking ourselves earlier. Finally, Q&A not only produces content that is useful, unique AND relevant, but because of the way the ExpertBase system works, the asker of a question actually selects the comments that worked best for them as their solution. So, you can be confident that answers indexed for others to search are quality.
  • Another thing to consider: Many companies today don’t have the resources to generate the kind of quality content that you need in order to rank well. A platform like ExpertBase creates an environment that results in the production of large amounts of quality content by your online community. And that content is immediately indexed by search engines and uses SEO best practices to drive traffic to your site.
  • The old adage of ‘content is king’…
  • … is dead.
  • Your new mantra needs to be relevant, unique & useful content is king!
  • Here is some quick information for ExpertBase. Note that this webinar will be uploaded to our YouTube channel as soon as we can get to it and I’ll let you know the location.If you have any other questions about ExpertBase, or how you can benefit from it, please let me know.
  • Here is my contact information. Feel free to contact me anytime, or follow me on Twitter.Before we turn it over to Jenn for Q&A, I wanted to remind you that I will be sending out a follow-up email to each of you that will include the date/time of Part II of this webinar as well as a survey for this webinar. PLEASE take a few minutes to fill it out. Whether you thought it was great, completely lame or somewhere in between, I crave your input.And I promise, I’ll keep it short! Okay Jenn, back to you!
  • Thank you for coming and spending the last 45 minutes or so with me!I hope it gave you a better understanding of SEO as well as some very real, tactical takeaways that you can start utilizing SEO now on your site.

Experts Exchange - SEO Demystified Part 1 Experts Exchange - SEO Demystified Part 1 Presentation Transcript