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Long term seo - how to win for years - not days


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Long term seo - how to win for years - not days

  1. 1. Long-Term SEO: How To Win For Years, Not Days Mark Munroe Director SEO, Trulia @markemunroe blog: 3/12/2014 #smx #21a
  2. 2. Introduction  In-house SEO perspective from sites with a large organic footprint. My experience includes:  – current  EverydayHealth (includes,   (now integrated into Kayak)  My focus today:  Enabling ‘Embedded SEO Intelligence’  The importance of ‘baking in’ knowledge throughout the organization.  Creating and leveraging a reputation in regards to link building.
  3. 3. What is long lasting SEO?  For us, we are not simply talking about preserving traffic! We are talking about sustaining growth.  Yet all successful SEO initiatives are going to tend to level off (outside of branded SEO).  My challenge … our challenge … is keeping that growth going.
  4. 4. SEO success – it’s not just about me! • I don’t want to be the mysterious SEO guru placed on pedestal, cautiously guarding his SEO secrets. • I want everyone to own SEO success! • I want everyone’s eyes guarding our SEO jewels. • I’d never have enough SEO resource to do what I want.
  5. 5. Creating an SEO Machine • My objective: embed SEO intelligence into every party of the enterprise, every nook and cranny to create an SEO machine.
  6. 6. Teams to work closely with SEO BD Content Team Quality Assurance Product Management UX – User experience Marketing Engineering • Need to get the team working with me. • Working with each other. • With SEO goals in mind.
  7. 7. Over-communicate SEO at every step  Informal, day-to-day communications  Guides  Formal training sessions
  8. 8. Every SEO question should be followed with an explanation Product Designer: ‘We are redesigning this page. Any SEO impact’ Me: ‘Well, you taken our most important keyword phrase, reduced it to a small font and reduced the contrast to make it less visible.’ Possible answers: A. Don’t do it! B. Make it an h1 – we should still be OK. (this was actually the designers suggestion). A. That keyword is important to us. For Google to think it is important, it needs to visually appear to be the most important thing on the page. Let’s keep in mind Google’s intent. Fooling Google may work, but likely won’t be long lasting and at some time in the future we may get a traffic drop and never understand why.
  9. 9. Example conversation 2:  Product Manager: ‘I fixed the canonicals on the page on Wednesday. It’s 2 days now and yet I am still seeing the wrong page in the index. What up?’.  In this case I do 2 things, I explain and I demonstrate. 1. Explain that it will take Google a while to re-cache the page. 1. Demonstrate how to find the page in the SERP and how to view the cache.
  10. 10. Link building  Link growth is still critically important to SEO.  As a site and a brand grows, it becomes harder to move the needle.  When you have 50 linking domains, 20 new domains is a big deal.  When you have 5000 linking domains, 20 new ones will have minimal impact.  Tremendous amount of work required to sustain impactful growth Linking Domains New Existing Linking Domains New Existing
  11. 11. Meeting link goals - break down the silos PR BD Marketing ContentSEO Outreach
  12. 12. Set Targets!  Set aggressive links goals across each organization  How to you set goal for other groups? Executive buy-in!  Periodic reviews (twice quarterly)  Review goals and performance  Adjust based on what’s working, what’s not  Look for synergies between groups.  When everyone is working together, with targets in mind, the improvement is staggering.
  13. 13. Bad News: Your SEO is a disaster waiting to happen Tech problems can crack you finely crafted SEO program Some of these problems can go undetected for months or years
  14. 14. SEO Disasters – just waiting to get you! Incident Meta noindex and/or nofollow Sitewide, homepage, site sections Broken rel canonical Broken syntax, target to the wrong page, bad link Disappearing, de- optimized tittles Sections of the site, entire site Broken 301s Lost the value of historical 301s Deletion of cross- linking units Lose value being passed to key pages Ajaxing search results Making all the content in the search result un-crawlable Unreachable content Link path to content removed Robots.txt Blocking site Crawler overload Crawlers hit your site so heavy that they kill peformance
  15. 15. Training focus Session Teams SEO 101 All SEO Tech QA, Engineering, Product, IT Link building, Promotion PR, Content Marketing, Product, BD, Social SEO, IA and UX UX, Product, Engineering Content Optimization Content, PR, Product
  16. 16. Follow the spider  Where is the spider spending its time? Don’t let it go down a rat hole! On a large site with a billion possible pages, this can be a concern.  Even if a site is well indexed, key pages may get stale in Google’s cache because too much time is spent on low-value pages.  Beware of search result modifiers containing potentially nearly infinite combinations.  Log analysis is key to analyze exactly where and when the Spider is spending it’s time.
  17. 17. Crawler capacity  Always over engineer your crawler capacity.  If possible, have dedicated servers for crawlers vs. users.  If possible, have dedicated servers for Bing vs. Google.
  18. 18. Conversation #1 Below is a conversation I never want to have. CEO Me Did our traffic drop because of that change we pushed out last week? I don’t know!
  19. 19. Better CEO Me Did our traffic drop because of that change we pushed out last week? No. We did a controlled test on a statistically significant sample before rolling out.
  20. 20. Protect your Jewels  Most large organic sites have a few different templates or content type that dominate the traffic metrics.  These need to be protected!  These need to be nurtured for growth.  The answer is testing!
  21. 21. How to test SEO changes  Implement changes on a random set of pages.  These changes will persist at the URL level.  Setup sample rankings and traffic monitoring on the test vs. control.
  22. 22. What is a Reputation?  Reputation - the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something  With Google/Bing, links are citations that build a reputation. Social, at a minimum help build reputations by generating links.  As SEOs, we’ve scrambled for ways to build those reputations.
  23. 23. Reputation Building Techniques 2004 • Link Swapping • Directories 2006 • Link buying • Press release 2008 • Article directories 2010 • Infographics • Social • Widgets 2011 • Guest blogging 2014 • Content Marketing
  24. 24. Increased Skittishness with Link Building Techniques  Even brands have not been immune:  Expedia (unconfirmed)  Halifax bank (unconfirmed)  Rap Genius  Overstock  J.C. Penney  With so many things crossed off the list, what can I do?
  25. 25. Earned Reputation vs. a ‘faux’  An earned reputation:  Based on realized value proposition  Arises naturally  Is not manipulative  Makes the recommender look good  A ‘faux’ reputation  Does not deliver on the promise  Is obviously an unnatural recommendation  Is manipulative
  26. 26. Best Way to Get Links  The best links are not asked for. Create a reason to be linked to.  Compelling content or tools  Extreme value  In short, the best way to get links is that a link to your site makes the linking site a better site.
  27. 27. Echo Effect  My favorite techniques are ones that build the brand and have a potential echo effect.  Content Marketing  PR  I want influential news outlets and industry bloggers to know who we are. The more we market valuable content, the more they will think of us when we are not marketing to them.
  28. 28. Should I ask for links?  Of course!  By creating a site, content, features that will organically generate links, it is even easier to get links via outreach.  It’s fine to ask for a recommendation, as long as the recommendation is genuine.  Relevant sites  Relevant pages  Added value for the linking site.
  29. 29. What about anchor text?  Anchor text manipulation stills work but brings the most risk. Don’t do it.  It is the single biggest signal to Google that your reputation is not earned.  For distributable digital assets, I recommend to not optimize for money keywords and focus on brand.  For SEO outreach initiatives, I recommend leaving the anchor text in the hands of the linking site, let them do what makes sense. What could be more organic than that?
  30. 30. Final Word Whenever making a decision on an SEO strategy or tactic, consider Google’s intent. If your strategy matches the intent of Google algorithm, you are moving in the right direction.
  31. 31. Thank you! Mark Munroe Director SEO, Trulia @markemunroe blog: #smx #21a