SES Chicago - 2011 - How much SEO is Too Much?


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Sam Michelson's presentation on aggressive SEO as part of a total online marketing approach. This presentation talks about various tactics used throughout the lifetime of a popular cell phone website. Over time the site was forced by Google to adopt better and better tactics that made customers happy and added value to their online shopping experience. (Which of course is a good thing!)

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SES Chicago - 2011 - How much SEO is Too Much?

  1. 1. SEO – Making it REAL Using Aggressive SEO tactics as part of a total Web Marketing Strategy Sam Michelson November 17, 2011 @sammichelson
  2. 2. Introduction Introduction - a brief historical journey Tactical SEO Building a Real Business Deserving to be at the top The Even Bigger Picture How Much is Too Much @sammichelson
  3. 3. Some Background Here from Israel – left my 8 kids at home! I run a company of 14 people Started when I bought an e-book for $50 in 2003 Grew from a Cell Phone Affiliate site into several real businesses Started selling VOIP, then Cell Phones, then Condos + Lead Gen for Mesothelioma Asbestos Lawyers Now working with Fortune 500 companies on SEO, Corporate Branding and Reputation @sammichelson
  4. 4. Tactical SEOLooking at Cell Phone Website as an example. @sammichelson
  5. 5. Tactical SEO (H&R SEO) To Promote YouNeverCall - starting in 2003 we used…  Exact match page names with target keywords  Use guestbook comments to cause affiliate to outrank brands  Buy clicks and arbitrage them out to affiliate programs  Use link trading like DigitalPoint Co-op to rank #1 and then get penalized real fast… My goal was to get between the customer and the sale. No intention of adding value or having a relationship with the customer. Lasted for several years – outranked AT&T, Verizon.. If Google hasn’t penalized you – you aren’t trying hard enough! @sammichelson
  6. 6. Advanced Tactical SEORealizing that overuse of certain tactics led to Penalties,We opted for more tactics (same drug – new delivery methods) @sammichelson
  7. 7. Advanced Tactical SEO Got ourselves involved in a RIM/Samsung Lawsuit @sammichelson
  8. 8. Advanced Tactical SEO Created a tool called TheGoButton “Free Worldwide Wifi” (9,960 results) @sammichelson
  9. 9. Advanced Tactical SEO Introduced Cell Phones in Second Life. (7,200 results) @sammichelson
  10. 10. Advanced Tactical SEO Had some Fiverr people write songs about YouNeverCall. @sammichelson
  11. 11. Advanced Tactical SEO YouNeverCall ups Google’s $30M moon prize! (3,500 results) @sammichelson
  12. 12. Building a Real Business Tactics got us pretty far but are there limits? Over time, Google has forced us to make our business more “real”  Need for unique, topical, non-spammy content  Need for links that are relevant, authoritative, useful  Time aspect – popularity needs to be ongoing.  People have to care We began to realize that the combination of aggressive SEO, including lots of linking… with high quality writing, a great user experience, etc. would work If you keep it real – your SEO doesn’t trip filters. Social Networking as an example @sammichelson
  13. 13. Deserving to be at the top The tactics brought in lots of traffic – thousands of people a day, and lots of sales, but made us hungry for more Thinking about the end-to-end process – being in all of the right places Conversion Optimization, Live Chat, Personal Follow-up Emails and Phone Calls The realization that this is a real business and we can learn from the competitors – and make sure we are at least as deserving as they are Convenient Plan Chooser, Phone Chooser, etc. Hard to succeed without PASSION! And all the while aggressively linking – but not toooooo aggressively. @sammichelson
  14. 14. SEO - The even bigger picture Some of the best value you can get from SEO is when you look beyond your own website.  Reputation Searches – take control of your brand’s online image  Optimizing promotional video to top spots  Optimizing images  Search Suggestions  Presence in Social Media  Affiliate Program for link building  Creating a fan club (free hats?) @sammichelson
  15. 15. How Much is Too Much? Immunity - When you are doing everything right – heavy linking is not as dangerous. Use your direct competition as a guide – if they all have low quality links – you can probably have them too. Think about real users  Focus on what looks “normal” and avoid keyword stuffed pages  Same for linking – what will real readers think when they are on this page Always think 2-3 years forward and imagine what Google is likely to do. Keep in mind the biggest issue is getting somewhere you don’t deserve to be – much bigger deal than using some aggressive tactics. @sammichelson
  16. 16. How Much is Too Much? Conclusions  Being Aggressive can get you traffic and sales/leads  Using a variety of tactics that real people like (bait) makes your company/brand/product more “Real”  Make sure you have a real strategy that includes the end-to-end experience of searching – researching – buying – returning to buy again.  If you are using SEO Linking to increase AUTHORITY that is more of a problem. Using SEO for Keyword RELEVANCE makes sense.  Use every SEO advantage you can within the boundaries of keeping it relatively real for clients (and Google Reviewers!)  Make sure you deserve a top position – then go grab it! @sammichelson
  17. 17. Thanks! Sam Michelson CEO Five Blocks (323) 238-4676 @sammichelson