Why SEO That Used to Work, Fails

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Rand's presentation from BCAMA covering the shifts in search engines and user behavior that have caused SEO tactics of years past to fail in the modern era.

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  • @Sudarshana Ph Shit - and to think I just spent an hour on this presentation.
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  • Get top ranking Google for just $5..Expert Analysis..Best satisfaction...https://www.fiverr.com/webexpert_guru/analyse-your-site-seo-and-send-detail-action-plan
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  • So Rand, this is all nice, but I have a question. Search (and search ranking) does not exist in isolation. There's a great saying stolen most recently by Sheriff Walt Longmire. I don't need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you. If you live in a vertical where most of your competition is only mediocre, do you really need to be the most sophisticated SEO or do you just need to be more sophisticated than your competitors.
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  • Search Engines have integrated Social Media Signals into search engine algorithm.
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Why SEO That Used to Work, Fails

  1. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com Why SEO That Used to Work Fails How shifts in the search landscape, marketing channels, & user behavior mean what used to work in SEO, doesn’t anymore.
  2. bit.ly/whyseofails Get the presentation:
  3. #1 Tactical SEO fails. Strategic SEO works.
  4. SEO as a Tactic: Example: Rand’s new site offering dating advice to Jewish guys I went on dates with four different people from 1995-2001 (then I met Geraldine). I must be qualified!
  5. I want to rank for these keywords. SEO as a Tactic: Controlling your nebbishy nature How to say no to Mom’s setup attempts What is this ‘sports’ thing? How schlubby is too schlubby? Keywords for Menschify.com
  6. I want to grow our search traffic by 33% this year. SEO as a Tactic:
  7. Why Doesn’t This Work? What Changed?
  8. The Ranking Algo Used to Feel Like This: Keyword Matching Domain Authority Link Signals QDF Ranking+ + + = Great. Just do that stuff on the pages I told you to rank.
  9. Now It Feels More Like This: Keyword Matching Domain Authority Link Signals QDF (& QDD) Ranking + + + + Uhhh…OK. So just do all that now, right? Intent Matching Topical Authority Usage Signals User Experience+ + + = HTTPS, Mobile, +
  10. We Used to Run Marketing Channels as Distinct, Separate Silos Organic Search Social Media Paid Search Email Brand Marketing Offline & WoM Onpage Channels Quality Score List Size & Quality Sentiment Virality Offpage Following Spend Open & Click Rate Reach Distri-bution
  11. Each Channel Contributed Individually to the Whole 3X Organic Search Social Media Paid Search+ + =
  12. Then, Some Marketers Realized the Benefits of Channel Integration 6X= Organic Search Social Media Paid Search
  13. This Integration Benefits from Two Trends Search Social Offline Email Content WoM #1: More web users consuming more of these in tandem: #2: Many of these channels directly & indirectly influencing each other:
  14. So What Does Strategic SEO Look Like?
  15. SEOAs a Strategy: Audience Amplification Funnel We need to answer questions about each of these to form a coherent SEO strategy
  16. Who is my target customer?And who will eventually become a target customer? Who/what influences mytarget customers? Audience What channels can I use toreach these three audiences?
  17. Funnel Which parts of our marketing funnel are right for SEO? What problems, questions, or topics do people have that align w/ our goals?
  18. How will we earn the visibility signals necessary tocompete? Amplification Why will those who see our work amplify us rather than our competition?
  19. SEOAs a Strategy: Audience Amplification Funnel Once you nail these, the tactical to-do list is much easier to create (and much more effective)
  20. #2 Building a well-SEO’d site may be less valuable than building a powerful brand.
  21. 2011: I think that’s the only one I’ve heard of…
  22. 2015: Hmm… Pretty sure that’s 5 of the 7 largest, best-known auto insurers in the US?
  23. 2011: I know Sunset, but none of these others.
  24. 2015: This is the only brand on page one I don’t know.
  25. Why? What Changed?
  26. #1: Brands Got SeriousAbout Investing in SEO In years past, big brands didn’t have in-house SEO teams. Today, it’s a standard.
  27. #2: Brands Benefitted from Shifts in Google’sAlgo More Links = Higher Rankings Better Links = Higher Rankings Brand familiarity & UX barely influence SEO Usage signals mean brand & UX are powerful influencers Naïve KW matching rewards KW-centric SEO Topic & intent-matching reward more holistic content 2015:2011:
  28. These brand info drop- downs suggest to me Google’s deeply interested in highlighting brands in their SERPs.
  29. In many results, there’s an eerie correlation between high rankings and sites that have the brand drop-down.
  30. Building a well-known brand may soon be a prerequisite for ranking in Google.
  31. #3 Choosing the right keywords is much more complex than in the past.
  32. Old Keyword Prioritization Methodology Term/Phrase Est. Volume Biz Value What’saMensch Whattowearona firstdate Sarmassophobia Kosherdateideas 100/month 1,000/month 20/month 30/month Low Medium Medium High Pri 2 1 5 3 Fearofdating 50/month Medium 4
  33. Why doesn’t this work anymore? What changed?
  34. Even ranking #1 probably won’t get the site many visits.
  35. This SERP has a bias to fresh content and an image block that probably gets a lot of the traffic
  36. It probably makes no sense to target these queries separately
  37. Opportunity seems higher and competition lower than the others keywords…
  38. What Should Keyword Evaluation Look Like in 2015?
  39. New Keyword Prioritization Methodology KW Volume Value What’saMensch Whattowearona firstdate Sarmassophobia Kosherdateideas 100/mth 1,000/mth 20/mth 30/mth Medium Low High High Pri 4 3 1 2 Fearofdating 50/mth High 1 Oppty FeaturesDiff 54% 47% 17% 50% 41% Low Medium High High High KG Images None ForumSitelinks None
  40. 54% 47% 17% 50% 41% New Keyword Prioritization Methodology KW Volume Value What’saMensch Whattowearona firstdate Sarmassophobia Kosherdateideas 100/mth 1,000/mth 20/mth 30/mth Medium Low High High Pri Fearofdating 50/mth High Oppty FeaturesDiff Low Medium High High High KG Images None ForumSitelinks None These two should be targeted by a single piece of content 4 3 1 2 1
  41. 4 3 1 2 1 54% 47% 17% 50% 41% New Keyword Prioritization Methodology KW Volume Value What’saMensch Whattowearona firstdate Sarmassophobia Kosherdateideas 100/mth 1,000/mth 20/mth 30/mth Medium Low High High Pri Fearofdating 50/mth High Oppty FeaturesDiff Low Medium High High High KG Images None ForumSitelinks None This may not even be a target at all given the low opportunity for traffic
  42. 4 3 1 2 1 54% 47% 17% 50% 41% New Keyword Prioritization Methodology KW Volume Value What’saMensch Whattowearona firstdate Sarmassophobia Kosherdateideas 100/mth 1,000/mth 20/mth 30/mth Medium Low High High Pri Fearofdating 50/mth High Oppty FeaturesDiff Low Medium High High High KG Images None ForumSitelinks None The image block may be an easier target for this query
  43. Keyword Evaluation in 2015 Has to Be Broader to Be Successful Potential Reach (volume) Intent Overlap Opportunity Business Value Verticals/ Features Content Requirements Audience Targeting
  44. #4 Earn links like a publicist, not like a link builder.
  45. Irony: IfAnyone Can Get the Link, No One Should Google should really have an answer box here warning searchers against using any of these results
  46. Same story here – chase links like this and Google will make your life rough.
  47. BTW – if you ever want to get around these annoying things, just use Google’s “cache:url” command and hit “Text only”
  48. Every One of These is Dangerous: Article Marketing Private Blog Networks Article Directories Link Directories Web 2.0 Links Article Spinners Xrumer blasts Link Wheels Press Release Submissions Link Pyramids Social Bookmark Links Dofollow Comments SENuke Open Edu/Gov Links Redirection links
  49. When it comes to links, stay away from these verbs and adjectives: Manual High PR BuySpin Dofollow Submit Blast Multi-tier Expired Domain Inject Separate C-block Private
  50. It’s not just manipulative links – manual link acquisition in general sucks I’ve spent months mastering link building, and can get 2-3 good links/day… why can’t I beat the competition?!
  51. Manual links can’t compete against a scalable flywheel Do Amazing Stuff (content, product, press, events, etc) Get attention from those who can amplify to a bigger audience Grow your amplification abilities (social, blog, RSS, PR, authority from links, etc) Earn more attention, amplification, and growth next time
  52. Manual links can’t compete against a scalable flywheel Do Amazing Stuff (content, product, press, events, etc) Get attention from those who can amplify to a bigger audience Grow your amplification abilities (social, blog, RSS, PR, authority from links, etc) Earn more attention, amplification, and growth next time So that’s why…
  53. Why can’t we “acquire” links? What changed?
  54. 1997-2011: Link Spam was Google’s Problem Via the Moz Blog
  55. 2012-Present: Link Spam is Our Problem Via Marie Haynes
  56. What kinds of links still work?
  57. Link from a guest post by Geraldine on MarieClaire. The Ones You Earn
  58. Link from an interview by Mashable. The Ones You Earn
  59. Granted, the anchor text is a little weird, but it’s still a great link! The Ones You Earn
  60. This Will Get You in Trouble: Crappy Links Seek out links to rank better Acquire them manually Submit, pay, beg, trade, etc. + + = Low Scalability Risk of Penalties This Will Get You the Right Links: Do stuff worthy of attention Earn amplifi- cation Links come in naturally+ + = Traffic Branding Rankings
  61. #5 Nailing SEO might not produce results w/o accompanying user & usage signals.
  62. Say you make some great content, get some great links, and rank here.
  63. But, the piece doesn’t engage visitors (or it loads slow, or doesn’t look right on their device). They click “back” and choose a different result. Unbelievably, eHarmony ranks w/ this awful page (10 signs? They only list 1!!)
  64. But, searchers who click this one engage with it, browse more pages on the site, and don’t repeat the query.
  65. All that effort probably won’t help you maintain those rankings (and having a poor user experience could hurt your whole site in the engines’ eyes)
  66. Why won’t I keep my rankings? What changed?
  67. Search engines call the click-back- and-choose-a-different-result behavior “pogo-sticking,” and they use it in evaluating rankings. Read more about Yahoo!’s Patent Application here.
  68. Read more about Google’s patent application on usage data here. Engines probably also use data related to the visit frequency of pages/sites, so getting traffic from other sources and satisfying those visitors might help your SEO, too.
  69. Perfect Keyword Targeting Domain Authority Loads of Links Anchor Text+ + + + Great Content Excellent UX Lots of Traffic High Engagement+ + + Schema Markup Might Be Worse Than:
  70. Perfect Keyword Targeting Domain Authority Loads of Links Anchor Text+ + + + Great Content Excellent UX Lots of Traffic High Engagement+ + + Schema Markup Might Be Worse Than:Smart players will invest in all of these.
  71. #6 SEO might no longer be a great way to get early traction.
  72. Bad biscuits make the baker broke, bro.
  73. Great Biscuits A Brand People Know, Love, & Share Great Rankings
  74. Great Biscuits A Brand People Know, Love, & Share Great Rankings The era of this formula being reversible is disappearing fast.
  75. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com bit.ly/whyseofails

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