Experts Exchange - SEO Demystified Part 2
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Experts Exchange - SEO Demystified Part 2

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View the webinar here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8if69iU4YVY...

View the webinar here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8if69iU4YVY

In Part II of "Demystifying SEO," Experts Exchange Search Engine Optimization pro Jonathan Hoekman present tips, tricks and best practices for your on-site and off-site optimization efforts. Specifically, you'll learn about:

• Site architecture and why it matters
• Keys for successful internal linking strategies
• Which on-page elements matter most for SEO
• Why social butterflies will rule the SERPs
• How engaging your community = building links

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  • For those of you who attended Part I, welcome back! For those of you who didn’t, hopefully you were able to review Part I from either the ExpertBase blog or on the Experts Exchange YouTube channel. But, let’s take a minute or so to quickly remind ourselves what we covered, as this two-part series is meant to flow together.
  • At it’s heart, Part I was all about building a foundation for a successful SEO campaign.
  • As you’ll recall, we started by looking at our customers. We looked at their needs, their wants, their motivations and their intent when looking to consume your product, good or service.We then developed keywords by making educated guesses about the keywords that our customers would use when trying to find our site. We then applied some powerful tools to help us ID which terms would be best for us to focus on and build our SEO campaign around. From there, we turned to building relevant, unique and useful content using the keywords that we had selected.
  • For part II, we’re going to discuss how we can optimize our site for performance, relevance and context as well as how we can build our site’s authority and reputation, mainly through link-building.
  • The goals of today are going to be similar to Part I, but as mentioned, we are going to be building on the lessons we learned in Part I.
  • A lot of you mentioned in both the survey and in your questions that you were not hearing terms like metatags, title tags, no-follow, etc and that you were looking forward to Part II in hopes that it would be more technical in nature…Well, it’s time for the gloves come off… it’s time to get tactical. Here we go!
  • In Part I, I told you about the three pillars of SEO and we proceeded to look at the first of the three pillars of SEO. Today, we’ll look at the other two.
  • And the first pillar we’ll examine is your on-site optimization.
  • You know how the saying goes, ‘If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’ The same principle applies with content and on-site optimization. You can have the greatest single piece of content ever created, but if search engines and visitors to your site can’t find it, does it really exist?  Just so we’re clear, the answer is no. The fact is, your content is only as good as your on-site optimization allows it to be. Without using proper accessibility, internal linking and on-page optimization practices, your content is doomed for a life of loneliness.
  • As we move forward talking about on-site optimization, the main components of effective on-site optimization are accessibility, internal linking and on-page elements.Let’s look at each individually.
  • When it comes to accessibility, your primary goal is to structure your site to allow spiders to effectively crawl your site so they can find and index your content.  Imagine for a minute that you are a Google Spider, crawling and indexing billions of pages per day. It’s natural to think that you’d need to do your job pretty efficiently, and you would have little patience for anything that got in your way.
  • So, your goal is to use the right approach regarding site accessibility helps make their job easier, leading to higher index rates, crawl rates and crawl frequency.
  • Don’t worry about your Google Page Rank when determining if your site is important to Google. Worry more about how often they crawl your pages and how many of your pages they crawl and index. If you are important, they will crawl your site deep and often.
  • The first thing you need to consider when designing your site for accessibility is your site architecture, specifically with the way your site is organized. You want to make sure that your site is organized categorically, flowing in a logical manner, grouped by common themes, topics or categories. You also want to make sure that you have a static link to every single page on your site. This means that you need to structure your site with landing and list pages in a manner that allows you to link to all of your content. Easy for small sites, a challenge for larger sites.  Think about it logically, if a piece of content is important, you are going to link to it, right? And if a piece of content is REALLY important, you are going to link to it more often and from prominent places (like your homepage). It’s natural, then, to deduce that Google use the same logic when determining what content has high value on your site and the more obscure your content is on your site, the less important it is.
  • Here’s an extremely simple example:As you can clearly see, there is a clear hierarchy between the homepage, category pages, sub-category pages and content pages. Ideally, you want to keep your site as flat as possible, as the further your content is away from the domain or homepage, the less relevance or weight it has. In this example, the structure of the site is relatively flat, but you can go flatter.
  • Here’s an example of the flattest your site can be. In this example, every single page is linked to directly from the homepage. I help my mother in law out with her website and because the total number of pages on her site is less than 12, this is how we have structured her site. For simple sites, this is ideal. It is easy for both users and bots to find their way around your site, and as we’ll talk about later, the flow of link-juice is maximized to each of these pages. But, for larger sites, this can get a bit more complicated.
  • What about a site that architecture looks more like this? Using Experts Exchange as an example, we have over 900 different categories and over 3 million pages. As you can imagine, this can get a little more complicated.
  • To combat this, we use a combination of category landing pages and list pages, and we try to do so in as organized fashion as possible. Here’s an example of our category pages. You can see that these pages are optimized to feature important content, link to no more than 100 pages on the page, and reinforce our zone hierarchy.
  • Here is an example of a list page. Each of these pages contains 100 results, paginated so that the spiders can go as deep as they would like. But sometimes, following a logical, organized site architecture isn’t enough. Which brings us to sitemaps.
  • Before we dive into sitemaps, I want to be clear that as an SEO best practice, everyone should use sitemaps, not matter how small or large your site is.
  • A site map is a list of pages on your website that are available to people visiting your site or to search spiders. Your site map can either be a web page or an XML feed.Let’s talk about your sitemap page first. Your site map page should be located somewhere in your sites navigation and should link to all of the primary pages on your site, usually your key categories. Best practice is to include the word ‘sitemap’ in the URL for this page. For example, when you look at Google’s sitemap, you can see that the page is clearly labeled sitemap.html.
  • And here is what the page actually looks like. It is clear from looking at this page all of the different key categories that Google includes on it’s site. Spiders and users can quickly get an idea of what is on your site and where they should go to find it.
  • Your XML site map, on the other hand, is an XML feed that literally lists every single page on your site, using a standardized file format. The XML site map allows you to provide the URL for each page, the date that the page was last modified, how often the page changes and the priority it should receive relative to all the other pages on your site when being crawled.
  • For example, here’s the XML sitemap for Experts Exchange. As you can see, this is pretty substantial file and you need to make sure that you format it well. There are many resources out there that tell you how to format your XML sitemap, so just perform a simple search for ‘site map’ and you’ll find plenty of them.
  • Here are a couple rules of thumb when it comes to your sitemaps.First, you want to make sure to include your sitemap location in your robots.txt so spiders know where to find it.  Second, because site maps help visitors and spiders find their way around your site, I suggest you use both XML site maps and site map pages whenever possible.And one last thing I want to stress before we move on from sitemaps is that having a sitemap does not guarantee your content will be indexed. Rather, they simply tell spiders where to go to find your content.
  • Now that we’ve covered how to tell Google bots where TO go, I want to show you how to tell them were they SHOULDN’T go.This last component of accessibility involves the triggers, cues or flags you can use to request that certain pages are not indexed. OR, if used incorrectly, accidentally block your content from being indexed.
  • These triggers are your robots.txt file and the noindex tag. The robots.txt file is located on any site at /robots.txt and is used to give instructions about your site to web robots or spiders.
  • The main instructions commonly included in the robots.txt file are your site map location and the pages you are going to ‘dissallow’. By dissallowing pages or entire sub-folders, you are indicating that spiders should not visit any of these pages. Here’s an example of our Robots.txt file.In addition to our XML sitemap you can also see the various pages and categories we dissallow.
  • Next, the noindex tag is an on-page tag included in the header of each of your pages. The full meta robots tag with noindex applied looks like this: .
  • Here’s an example of a noindex tag in action in our actual page HTML.Pages that include this tag in their page code will not be indexed by spiders. On Experts Exchange, we actually use both the robots.txt file and noindex tags, but for different occasions. For example, we use the robots.txt file anytime we want to block all content from within an entire subfolder from the index. We then use the noindex tag on a page by page basis.
  • You may be asking why someone would not want their content to be indexed. Well, there are many reasons. Some have to do with privacy, some with relevance
  • Now, although the noindex tag OR robots.txt file should do the trick in making sure a page is not indexed by spiders, I suggest applying both anyway. Yes, it’s redundant, but it’s worth the extra effort to make sure the page is not indexed.
  • As I mentioned before, there are ways to block access to content that can be accidently or inaccurately applied and as a result can block content that you actually WANT to be indexed. Which brings us to the file types to avoid when optimizing a site for SEO.
  • Specifically, I want to talk about Images, Flash, JavaScript and AJAX.The important thing to remember with each of these file types is that content accessed using these methods will not be indexed
  • I recently heard a great quote from Greg Bozer when he said “AJAX is good for cleaning your toilet, not for SEO.” I love this statement because it’s not only clever, but it’s true. When thinking about whether or not to use AJAX or JavaScript on your pages, you need to remember that spiders cannot execute these types of calls. Thus, the result of using either of these options to get to content on your site means that content will in essence be invisible to spiders visiting your site. If you are still planning to use AJAX or JS, make sure they are not the only way to get to key content on your site. If they are the gateway to key content, you’re in trouble.
  • You should also avoid images and Flash files whenever possible, but for very different reasons. While the issue with AJAX and JS calls has to do with execution, the problem with images and Flash files is that spiders cannot read the content within these types of files. So, if your creative team wants to come up with this ubber-sexy, super-hot website that slides from page to page using images and Flash files, just remember that all of the content in these files will in essence be invisible. [Transition]So, now that your site architecture is organized and categorized, you have your site maps set up and you are avoiding any accessibility pit-falls, you’re on your way to building an SEO-approved site.  But you’re not quite there yet.
  • The second element of on-site optimization is your internal linking. Your internal linking strategy is a very close relative to accessibility. The simple reason for this is that links are the spiders’ way of crawling from page to page on your site to discover your content. Without links and an appropriate internal linking strategy, spiders will be unable to crawl your entire site.
  • As a matter of fact, your linking strategy is so important, that Google even includes it the #1 point under ‘design and content guidelines’ in its Webmaster Guidelines. It advises to "Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link”.
  • Remember the example we used earlier when talking about accessibility and site architecture? Let’s bring it back.
  • All the lines in the image are links. As you can see, without them, you wouldn’t have much of a site for spiders to crawl and index.
  • So, while you spend your time and energy making your site look like this…
  • Spiders and bots see it like this…This is why your internal linking strategy is so important.
  • Okay, okay, internal links are important… you get that. But how do you use them? What’s your linking strategy?
  • There are two types of links on your site, they are navigational links and cross-links.
  • Navigational links are those links that appear on every page on your site and help people visiting your site navigate to key pages on your site. Here is a screen shot of our home page on Experts Exchange.
  • Here are the navigational links on our page. As you can see, navigational links tend to be on the top, bottom and side of your pages. When spiders crawl your pages, and they constantly see the same links over and over again in the same location, they automatically understand that these are navigational links and treat them as such.
  • The second type of internal link is the cross-link.
  • Wikipedia is by FAR the best example of cross-linking of any site on the web. As you can see, there are many links to other pieces of content on their site within the actual body of the page. These links are seen as highly relevant to the content on the page and are a great way to highlight related content.
  • On Experts Exchange, we use a simple ‘top solutions’ container on all our content pages that links to other relevant, valuable content on the site. This helps with our cross-linking.
  • So, when developing your linking strategy, it’s important to remember a couple things. First, know that link location matters. Navigational links are good, cross-links or in-body links are better. Also, you want to make sure to link only to valuable, relevant content. If a piece of content is highly relevant to your site and your user, you should link to it from multiple locations.Finally, you want to make sure you control the # of links on your pages, which has to do with a concept called link juice.Here’s how this concept breaks down.
  • Each page on your site has a certain importance or authority in the eyes of Google’s algorithm. Imagine that each page is a bucket and the authority of that page is liquid (or juice) in the bucket. Now, imagine that the links from that page to other pages are holes in that bucket. Now, imagine that juice flowing through the links to fill up the buckets of other pages on your site. That’s the basic concept of link juice and how it travels form page to page on your site. An important thing to remember with link juice is that 100% of link juice is not passed from page to page. This means that if one page has 8 units of link juice and links to 8 pages, each of the pages will actually receive less than 1 unit of link juice. In general, it’s pretty safe to assume that about 40% of link juice is lost from one page to another.
  • So, how do you apply that concept? Although it’s not an exact science, you can see that the more links you have coming from your pages, the less each one will be worth. Also, the further your pages are away from high value pages on your site, the less link juice they will receive. At the same time, in order to link to every single page on your site, you can see how some pages might need more links than others. So, the answer is going to depend on the size and depth of your site and should be applied intelligently on a site by site basis, after carefully considering the outcome of doing so.
  • Regarding the number of links on a page, I am sure that some of you have heard that you should always keep your links to less than 100 per page. Although historically, this was an SEO best practice, with the release of Google’s caffeine index, this is no longer an issue. You can now link to more than 100 pages on a single page on your site.
  • BUT, there are still some rules of thumb that you need to remember when thinking about how many links you should put on your pages. First, the further down the page a link is, the less the chances it will be crawled by a search bot. Second, the more links you have on your page, the more diluted your link juice will be. So, although technically you can have more than 100 links on your pages, I still recommend that when in doubt, less is more.
  • One last thing regarding your internal linking strategy that you need to remember is the anchor text you are using when linking to various pages on your site. Simply put, anchor text is the hyperlinked text on your page that links to anther page on your site. Whenever possible, utilize relevant keywords that help provide context of what the page you are linking to is about. This will help with both usability and SEO.
  • For example, using words like ‘click here’ or ‘read more’ in your links is a BIG no-no when it comes to SEO (and a personal pet peeve). It’s an absolute waste of time because you are not going to ever rank for ‘click here’ or ‘read more’ and even if you did, it provides zero context as to what content is on the page the user is being sent to. EE exmaple…
  • And if you aren’t sure what the best anchor text would be, use the title of the page as your default strategy. [Transition]You’re doing great! You’ve structured your site in a manner that enables visitors to your site and spiders to make their way from your homepage to important, relevant content. But now what? What do you do with them when they get there?
  • The final element in the on-site optimization toolkit is possibly the most important—and that is your on-page elements. Although there are numerous on-page elements that you can consider when creating your site, I am going to focus on the most important ones from an SEO perspective, specifically URL structure, header tags and body attributes.
  • We’ll start with URL structure. When determining how to structure your URL, there are a couple things to keep in mind from an SEO perspective and all of them are simple to execute, as long as you are disciplined. Let’s build a URL together.
  • First, let’s start with the domain. As we add different categories to our site, is it better to use a subdomain or a subdirectory (subdomain.sitename.com/subdirectory/)? Traditionally, best practice favored use of a subdirectory over a subdomain. However in a recent blog post entitled Google 2000 vs. Google 2011, Matt Cutts states that “it’s pretty much a wash now when deciding whether to use subdomains vs. subdirectories”. So, use whatever works best for the organization of your site. I’m going to stick with what has worked longer and use a subdirectory. Next, we want to make sure that the URL uses keyword-rich nomenclature and that any words are separated by dashes (-), per SEO best practice. Further, we want to use descriptive, keyword-rich names for the actual page name. This brings up an interesting point about dynamic pages that use database parameters, queries, etc in the URL. For example, let’s look at this URL: www.example.com/index.php?product=1234&sort=price&print=1. Traditionally, any page that was dynamic was bad for SEO. Although recently accepted that Google can consider these pages as different, unique pages, I still don’t like them because they do not provide any context as to what the page is about. In this example, is this page for a shoe, a t-shirt, a car, a hamburger? When it comes to SEO, no context = no bueno.
  • So, let’s pretend we are optimizing the URL for this webinar, and it is two categories away from the domain. Here’s our URL. Keyword rich, optimized for context, ready to go!
  • Next in line for on-page optimization are your header tags. These tags are your primary way for providing context to search spiders as to what each page is about. They should be unique and specific to each page and use relevant keywords. I have listed each header tag name as well as the actual tags to look for in your site’s HTML to find them.The most important tag, bar none, is the Title Tag. All important search engines use the title tag as the hyperlinked title of the search result for that page. As such, including keywords in your title tag will have the highest impact on that pages ranking than any other header element.  H Tags are the next most important header tag in terms of ranking for relevant keywords. H1 tags have the most impact, followed in declining impact by H2, H3, etc. I’d argue that using H3 and lower is good practice, but has little to no impact on your SEO.  The description and keyword tags are included in my list; however their impact on SEO is marginal at best. Although using the keyword tag is probably still a good idea for SEO purists, they have been deemed all but useless. The description tag, however, can still be important as major search engines can use the text in this tag as the descriptive text under the clickable text in their search results. This can help you with click through rates and conversion.  Finally, the canonical tag is a complex one with SEO pros on both sides of the debate.
  • Basically, the Rel=Canonical tag helps search spiders know which page should get the credit when different URL versions of a particular page exist. For example, say you have two URL structures for the same page (www.sitename.com/page-one.html, www.sitename.com/category-one/page-one.html). If you know that it’s possible for search engines to find the page via following category-one, but you want the page’s actual URL to be only www.sitename.com/page-one.html, you would use the rel=canonical tag on www.sitename.com/category-one/page-one.html to do so.  The main reason it is frowned upon is because it allows websites to be lazy in their practices, but there are very relevant, specific reasons why someone would need to apply this. The general rule of thumb, however, is to only use the rel=canonical tag as a last resort.  There are plenty of other header tags that you can use, however, few of them have any SEO impact, so I’ll skip them.
  • Here’s an example of how we construct our header tags on Experts Exchange.As you can see, your title tag is made up of the question title and keyword tags of the question.Our H1 tag consists of the question title. Our H2 tag consists of the keyword tags of the question. Our H3 tag consists of the category names for the question.Further, our description tag is the first 155 words of the question and our keywords tag is a combination of the question keyword tags and categories.
  • Here is the Google result for this page
  • As I have highlighted here, you can see how they use the title tag and description tag to populate the information on their search results for this page.
  • Here’s a quick and easy way for you to improve your on-page optimization: start your title tags with relevant keywords rather than the title of your site. I see too many sites do this and it’s an absolute waste of time. You should already rank for your site name, and from a context perspective, your home page is the best page for all branded search terms anyway. So, either move it to the end or ditch it altogether.
  • After you’ve optimized your SEO and header tags, there are a few other elements of your on-page optimization, specifically your body attributes. They include keyword repetition, keyword variations, alt attributes, filenames and font attributes. Keyword repetition has to do with the number of times keywords are mentioned in the body of your page. Best practice says that your keywords should be repeated 2 to 3 times in a short document, 4 to 6 times in a longer document. As long as you are not trying to stuff the keywords into your content in an unnatural manner, you will be fine. Just make sure you are making a conscious effort to use your keywords appropriately throughout your content. Keyword variation has to do with using variations of keyword combinations throughout a page. For example, let’s say that your page is optimized for the keywords ‘Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet’. You want to make sure that in addition to using the phrase Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet, you are also using ‘excel spreadsheet’, ‘excel’, ‘microsoft excel’ and ‘spreadsheet’ throughout your content as well.  Alt attributes are primarily beneficial, from an SEO standpoint, to provide context to search spiders for your images. The alt attribute is part of the Image tag and looks like this: . By adding text to your images using the alt attribute, you not only help your site rank better for your keywords, but you also help your images rank better for image search.  File names are also an important part of the SEO discipline and help provide context for the content on your site. Although it does not have a huge impact on your ranking, best practice is to use relevant keywords in your filenames whenever possible. For example, rather than naming an image ‘image1.jpg’, you could name it ‘link-juice-diagram.jpg’ The last element of your on-page optimization are your font attributes, mainly bold/strong and italic/emphasized. Although common SEO practice says they have little to no impact on your sites ranking, when used properly they can help with context and readability for you users, increasing their perceived quality, leading to greater shares and social queues. We’ll talk more about social queues in a bit.
  • The nice thing about ExpertBase, is that all of the on-site SEO is included. We use our years of learning and apply that to your ExpertBase instance. So, your on-site SEO is covered.
  • When it comes to on-site optimization, I find it best to draw a parallel between a map and your website. I’m going to base my example on a map of my alma matter, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Looking at this map, you can see that there are buildings (pages) and roads (links) with road names (anchor text). You can also see that they have color coded the map by building type (categories). And you can see that there is a method to the layout of the school with similar buildings being grouped by categories, and roads leading to all the different buildings (site architecture). Plus, each building has a name (title tag) to tell you what it is.In this parallel, the buildings are pages, roads are links, road names are anchor text, building types are categories, the overall layout of the roads is your architecture and building names are your title tags.  Let’s pretend you are in your car and you want to get from your house to one of the science buildings in the middle of the campus. By looking at this map, you would be able to tell which buildings were science buildings by looking at not only their color but also their name. You would also know whether or not you could get to them because you could see the streets necessary to take to get to that building. From a quick glance at the map, you would know if you were on the right path to get to the building that was most relevant to you.The same thing goes for users visiting your site and spiders crawling your site. 
  • We’re almost there! We’ve covered the foundation of SEO as well as it’s first two pillars. Now, it’s time to talk about the final and possibly the most important pillar for getting your site to rank. And that pillar is off-site optimization.
  • As we start to look at off-site optimization, one of the most important elements of being successful is with the trust or authority of your domain. The more your site is seen as an authority within your vertical, the better it will rank. And in SEO as in life, trust is not given, rather it is earned. So what elements impact your domain authority? Here are a few:
  • I want to take a minute to focus on usability, specifically in light of the Panda algorithm update. For those of you who don’t know, Google’s Panda update was it’s most recent significant algorithm update. It has rolled out in multiple phases over the past 3 months and it’s goal is to lower the ranking of sites that do not provide a good user experience—whether their site is spammy, they display too many ads, or the content is of low value. With this update, Google has given your site usability a HUGE role to play in the success of your SEO. So, now more than ever, if your site doesn’t add value to your users while also being clear and easy to understand, you run the risk of a lot of work for little results.
  • Another important element of your off-site optimization is the link popularity of your pages. Your goal with off-site optimization is to increase the number and quality of the links that are pointing to pages on your site. The more high-quailty links you get, the higher your sites perceived value will be in the eyes of Google. Again, think about it logically. If your site is relevant and important, people will want to share the content they receive on your site with the people in their social sphere. So, it would be natural for Google to think that the more people link to content on your site, the more important your site must be, and as a result, the higher you will rank. Especially when those links come from other high authority sites. And remember, the quality of the links to your site are more important than the quantity of the links to your site. Personally, I say any link is a good link, but if you can get links from highly related, high authority sites, you are better off than just getting random links form abstract sites.
  • So in a nutshell, off site optimization is all about links. Lots of links to many pages on your site from highly related, high authority sites.
  • And for the love of all things SEO, encourage people linking to you (either programmatically or by request) to use relevant keywords in their anchor text!!! If you build an automated sharing tool, make sure the language you use is optimized. If someone blogs about you or writes an article, request that they update their links to your site to include high value keywords. A link is good, but a link using optimized, keyword-rich text in the anchor text is better!
  • So, is SEO just one big popularity contest, then? In a way, yes, it is. But just like in life, what other people say about you is more important than what you say about your self. In the world of SEO, when people talk, they link and ultimately, links are the best way for search engines to deduce quality content and quality sites.
  • So, if you are not on the Social bandwagon yet, you should be!Especially after the Panda algorithm update, Social queues are on the rise and are quickly becoming the de-facto rule for ranking well in SEO. But don’t just to for numbers. Just like anything in SEO, when it comes to social, quality reigns over quantity. So, don’t just randomly add followers to your twitter account, try to earn follows from people with high authority themselves. Not only will this validate you to your customers, but it will help with SEO as well.
  • As we talked about earlier…
  • I want to give you a specificexample of how the game has changed.Traditionally, it would take you months to break into the top 10 for a highly competitive term like ‘great content’. But, when you apply social queues to the equation, everything changes.This is a quick study of an article written by Rand Fishkin on SEOmoz about a clever way to create great content. The results are amazing.
  • As you can see, the article was written on Monday, April 26th. By the end of the day, it had received over 400 tweets and over 100 likes.Now, keep in mind that SEOmoz is a VERY high authority site, and Rand’s followers on Twitter are also very high authority which helps a great deal, but as you can see this rapid sharing in the social landscape, along with SEOmoz’s already high site authority lead this page to rank #2 for the term ‘great content’ by the end of the SAME day it was written. Update: Today, less than TWO weeks after it was written, this article ranks #1 for this term.
  • Here is a screen shot of is so that you know I am telling the truth. This is a perfect example of how social has changed the game of not only internet marketing in general, but also for SEO.
  • So, how do you build links? Here are 10 strategies that I would like to suggest to you today. Do these, and you’ll be on your way to being a link-building rockstar.
  • #1. Increase your social graph. Increase the number of times people are sharing your content by1. Making it easy for people to share your content 2. ASKing for the share!
  • #2. Become a subject matter expert. Figure out what you know more than anyone else, and begin to TEACH people. There is no better way to earn links than by providing valuable content.
  • #3. Start creating video content. Video is today’s content darling. Video receives higher engagement stats than text and converts at a higher level. I’ve seen cases where engagement and conversion increases 3X when including video in a campaign.
  • #4. Improve your sites usability and design.Especially considering the Panda update, you need to make sure your site’s usability is top-notch. And usability starts with design.
  • #5. Build tools that make people’s lives easier, specifically related to your vertical. Again this speaks to adding valuable content that people can use. Remember, if it’s a widget that they can use on their own site, you NEED to link back to your site in the widget.
  • #6. Secure and build your social sites.Begin engaging people on your social sites. Build your friends and followers.Not only will this increase your influence with them, but it will increase the chances that they like, re-tweet or share your content. BUT, you need to make sure they are AUTHENTIC! Just securing these sites is not enough. You need to build your community on them authentically.
  • #7. Join the conversation. Have something to say. Add value! Provide links to interesting articles/blogs that ENHANCE the conversation. Posing on forums, in news articles, on Q&A sites.Establish credibility, create a name for yourself, increase links to your site.
  • #8. Get people to review your site, product or service. Encourage bloggers, websites or brands who already have a voice in your vertical to review your site, product or service. If it’s good, they will link to it!
  • #9. Earn links from high value sites that are hard to get links from through PR.This can be tough, but if you can get here, you know you’re on your way.
  • #10. Launch a Q&A community!Engage in the conversation.Add value.Establish yourself as a subject matter expert.Teach.Pay it forward.
  • So, hopefully now you are officially demystified when it comes to SEO, and you see that to run a quality SEO campaign, the elements are simple. The hard part about SEO is staying FOCUSED and being diligent in your SEO efforts. Knowing what to do is only part of the equation. Diligently applying these principles over the long-haul and integrating them into your companies DNA is the hard part. BUT, if you can figure out how to do that…
  • You will be well on your way to becoming an SEO Jedi with the basic foundations of having a high quality SEO campaign.
  • But, where should you focus your efforts for maximum impact. Here are the steps I suggest you take, coming away from this webinar.
  • If you have already done this, GREAT. But if not, every great SEO campaign starts with great keyword analysis.
  • The next step is to make sure that your site is set up for maximum SEO impact so that when you add all of your content, it’s ready to go!
  • Secure your brand for each of these sites and develop strategies for how you are going to engage with your customers on these sites, specifically with how you are going to utilize them to distribute your content to them, once it’s created.
  • Now that you know your keywords, your site and social sites are optimized, it’s time to create the kick-butt content for them.
  • And once your content is build, it’s time to share it all over and encourage your visitors to do the same.
  • Finally, you should start an Q&A community. We’ve discussed how ExpertBase can help you with your SEO efforts throughout this webinar series, but here are some additional ways in which ExpertBase can be beneficial to your website.
  • And when you do, feel free to give me a call, tweet or email. Here is my contact information.
  • So, thank you for coming and spending the last 45 minutes or so with me! I hope that this was beneficial for you.Again, please take the time to fill out the survey that I will be sending you. I would love to know if you though this was amazing or just okay… even if it was a complete waste of your time (in which case, you probably already bailed).

Experts Exchange - SEO Demystified Part 2 Experts Exchange - SEO Demystified Part 2 Presentation Transcript

  • SEO DemystifiedPart II
    Why SEO Should be Less Like
    Rocket Science and More
    Like 3rd Grade Math
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  • Part I Review
    Keyword Analysis
    Content Development
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  • CustomerKeywordsContent
  • Part II Preview
    On-Site Optimization
    Off-Site Optimization
  • Goals
    Build on lessons learned in Part I
    Clear understanding of SEO fundamentals
    Give specific examples, tips and tricks
    Encourage you to give SEO a try
    Show how ExpertBase can help
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  • On-siteOptimization
    You’ve got great content, now what?
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  • Accessibilityinternal linkingon-page
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  • Accessibility
    Helpful Hint
    Don’t worry about your PR!
    Focus on crawl rate, crawl depth and indexation rate
  • Accessibility
    Site Architecture
    Allows content to be crawled/indexed
    Organized categorically, logically
    Static link to every page on your site
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  • Accessibility
    Best Practice
    No matter how large or small your site, you NEED to be using sitemaps.
  • Accessibility
    Site Maps
    Site Map Page
    www.google.com/sitemap.html
    XML Site Map
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Sitemaps#File_format
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  • Accessibility
    Site Maps
    Site Map Page
    www.google.com/sitemap.html
    XML Site Map
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Sitemaps#File_format
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  • Accessibility
    Rules of Thumb
    Include your XML sitemap location in your robots.txt file
    Use both types of site maps whenever possible
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  • Accessibility
    Robots.txt
    www.sitename.com/robots.txt
    NoindexTag
    <meta name=“robots” content=“noindex” />
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  • Accessibility
    Robots.txt
    www.sitename.com/robots.txt
    NoindexTag
    <meta name=“robots” content=“noindex” />
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  • Accessibility
    Why Block Pages?
    Privacy Concerns
    Low Value Pages
    Duplicate Pages
    Etc.
  • Accessibility
    Helpful Tip
    Use BOTH robots.txt AND noindex to block content, when possible.
    Especially important information
  • Accessibility
    Images, Flash, JavaScript and AJAX
    Does not execute JS files or AJAX calls
    Cannot read images or flash
    Content using these methods is NOT indexed
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  • Accessibility
    Images, Flash, JavaScript and AJAX
    Does not execute JS files or AJAX calls
    Cannot read images or flash
    Content using these methods is NOT indexed
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  • Internal linking
    Google Webmaster Guidelines
    “Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.”
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  • Internal linking
    Types of Links
    Navigational Links
    Cross-Links
  • Internal linking
    Types of Links
    Navigational Links
    Cross-Links
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  • Internal linking
    Linking Strategy
    Link location matters
    Link only to relevant content
    Control the # of links on your pages
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  • Internal linking
    Rules of Thumb
    The further down the page the link, the less chance that a spider will crawl it
    The more links on a page, the more diluted the link juice or link flow
  • Internal linking
    Anchor Text
    Hyperlinked text
    Utilize keywords
    Provide context
  • Internal linking
    Anchor Text
    Examples
    Click Here sucks
    Experts Exchange is better
    Microsoft Helpis better yet
    [Question Title]is the best
  • Internal linking
    When in Doubt
    Use the title of the page you are linking to as your default strategy.
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  • On-page elements
    URL Structure Ground Rules
    Subdomain vs. Subdirectory
    subdomain.domain.com/subdirectory/
    Use keyword-rich nomenclature
    Separate with dashes (-)
    /microsoft-excel/
    Avoid database parameters, queries
    index.php?product=1234&sort=price&print=1
  • On-page elements
    URL Structure
    www.expertbase.com/drive-traffic/search-engine-optimization/seo-demystified.html
  • On-page elements
    Header Tags
    Title Tag (< 70 Characters)
    <title>title of page</title>
    H1, H2, H3 Tags
    <h1>h1 content here</h1>
    Description Tag (< 155 Characters)
    <meta name="description" content=“description here” />
    Keyword Tag
    <meta name="keywords" content=“insert, keywords” />
    Rel=”Canonical” Tag
    <link rel="canonical" href=“URL” />
  • On-page elements
    Rel=Canonical
    Example
    www.domain.com/page-a.html
    www.domain.com/category-one/page-a.html
    <link rel="canonical" href=“www.domain.com/page-a.html” />
    Best practice to use 301 redirect instead
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  • On-page elements
    Helpful Tip
    Start your Title Tags with keywords
    Example:
    [Site Name] | Descriptive Keyword String
    vs.
    Descriptive Keyword String | [Site Name]
    vs.
    Descriptive Keyword String
  • On-page elements
    Other Elements
    Keyword Repetition
    Keyword Variations
    Microsoft Excel, Excel, Microsoft
    Alt Attributes
    <imgsrc=“URL" alt=“alt text" width="" height="" />
    File Names
    keywords-here.jpg
    Bold/strong and Italic/emphasized
  • On-page elements
    Key Takeaway
    Tags and keywords should be UNIQUE to each page on your site and provide context to what is on the page.
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  • OFF-SiteOptimization
    You’re only as good as others
    say you are!
  • Off-site optimization
    Trust/Authority of Domain
    With SEO, trust is not given, it is earned
    Elements Impacting Domain Authority
    Quality of Domains Linking to Your Site
    Number of Links to Your Site
    Growth Rate of Site
    Age of Site/Content
    Site Usability Metrics
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  • Off-site optimization
    Link Popularity of Pages
    Links = votes
    More links = higher perceived value/quality
    Links from high authority, highly related sites
    Links to specific pages, deep in your site
    Quality > Quantity
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  • Off-site optimization
    Anchor Text!!!
    Encourage linkers to use relevant keywords
    Links are good, links with optimized keywords in the anchor text are better!
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  • Off-site optimization
    Social Queues
    Quality content leads to action
    Action = shares, tweets, likes, blog posts
    Shares = links
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  • Off-site optimization
    Article Stats
    Written on 4/26/2011
    533 Tweets
    114 Likes
    Results
    #2 result for ‘great content’ by EOD
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  • Keywords +Great Content +Optimized Site + Social/Links =SEO Success!
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  • Step #1:know your keywords
  • Know your keywords
    Audience Analysis
    Needs
    Demographics
    Keyword Analysis
    Trending
    Competition
    Volume
  • Step #2:optimize your website
  • Optimize your site
    Site Architecture
    Indexation
    Linking strategy
    Link juice
    On-Page
    URL, Title Tag, H1 Tag
    Keyword use in content body
  • Step #3:secure your social sites
  • Secure social sites
    Bare Minimum
    Twitter
    Facebook
    YouTube
    LinkedIn
  • Step #4:create kick-butt content/tools
  • Kick-butt content
    Become an Expert
    Add value
    Thought-leadership
    Take a stance
    Content Types
    Video
    Whitepapers
    Articles, Blogs, Podcasts, Answers
  • Step #5:Share content, build links
  • Link building
    Make Sharing Easy
    Automate URL shortening
    Include social logos on pages
    Ask for the share
    Join the Conversation
    Engage customers on social sites
    Promote content to followers
  • Step #6:start a q&a community
  • Q&A Communities
    Use ExpertBase to:
    Engage Customers
    Build Online Community
    Establish Expertise
    Create Valuable Content
    Build Links to Site
    Drive Targeted, Relevant Traffic
  • Contact Info
    Jonathan Hoekman
    805.787.0603 x 202
    jonathan@expertbase.com
    @jhoekman
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