Fort Wayne:SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Presented by Kevin Mullett for Cirrus ABS on November 3rd 2010 at the NIIC in Fort Wayne Indiana.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Presented by Kevin Mullett for Director of Product Development for Cirrus ABS. You can find Kevin: http://www.kevinmullett.com (blog), http://twitter.com/kmullett (twitter), http://www.facebook.com/kevinmullett (facebook), and on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmullett
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Today we will discuss Search Visibility, which includes both Search Engine Optimization and Marketing. What does that mean? Not everyone agrees, but here has been my go to definition. The process of developing a website utilizing best practices and in such a manor that there are no encumbrances to the search engines ability to crawl a site and properly understand the subject of the site, find the sites pages, links, and documents, so that it might be included in the search engines organic or natural index appropriately.Search engine marketing is an open debate, but I have generally went with the definition that describes it as increasing the search engines awareness of your site and it’s pages to improve their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). There is little argument that search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and paid search are all part of search engine visibility.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: We will also discuss onsite (on page), offsite, and to a lesser degree technical (best practice) factors. And don't worry if you have no idea what that means, you will when you leave. I could bore you to death, and possibly will anyway, with search history, articles from the past, and crystal ball like predictions, but I won't. Some articles by top SEOs from last year have been rendered useless due to algorithmic changes. Some of the items I say today will have a limited shelf life. So goes search. There are some advanced concepts we use that are very time consuming and technical in nature. I could not begin to explain them all in this two hour presentation, so I will do my best not to digress into long explanations of such. So let's get to it.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: To win against your competitors in the search optimization game requires some knowledge, unless your competition isn’t trying. It’s easy to win if there is no competition. To win requires an understanding of the rules so you don’t get disqualified. You can be the best driver, but if you are stuck in the back of the pack you will not have a chance to show it. Optimization is part of the race regardless if you have the knowledge or not. Of course you need to decide early on how much winning is worth and what your budget is to go after it. And like most things if you don’t have a strategy, well, we all know how that goes.At this very race a competitor was disqualified for getting a bit too creative with the rules. This is analogous to black hat search optimization techniques.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: The Difficult Truth, it's not about money it is about time, unless you don't have time, then you need to spend money. If you don't have the time, or someone on staff who does, you will need someone you can call to explain it. Someone who will weed out fad from fact. Even if you engage us to help, we need you to show interest and participate in your marketing success. Another difficult realization is that launching a site is not an item to check off some list. Unless the check says, now it's time to get serious. I've never seen a PERFECT site launch. What's a perfect site launch? One where I was able to do everything I wanted to do. Heck, I didn't even get to do EVERYTHING for our site launch. Projects are always limited by one or more of the following; time, money (which can affect time), effort, resources, knowledge, and buy in (from HIPPOs or you; the client). Any company you deal with will have those same limiting factors.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Right now, you need to be going where the traffic is or more pointently, where you can be visible. And while being visible is great, if efforts are put into areas where there is no intent for action, ROI will be low. Just who or what do we want to be visible too? The obvious answer is people who would like to use our product or service. The not so obvious answer is where search bots frequent.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Even if you show up well in the SERPs you must pay attention to click ability for overall conversion, an often overlooked part of the success equation. It doesn't matter how much traffic you can drive if it's the wrong traffic (wrong keywords) or if they never take action. Lack of conversion can be caused by things like, poor site usability, design not fitting subject or demographic, lack of calls to action (CTA), etc.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: We simply do not have time today to cover the pitfalls common to poorly performing sites, nor can we go through step by step all the best practices. For the purpose of today I am going to assume you have a functioning website. A website that isn't a lame duck. We will be happy to look at your site and give you a free report on how it fairs. That said, here is a mach 1 flyby.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: This has been a huge year for search engine changes! Google has dozens of blogs, so it is hard to know which product is going to affect your business today. For example how does personalized search affect you? (you will think you are ranking better then you are!) The scary thought is that this is, so far only considering Google.WHO IS WATCHING THIS at your company?
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: The Google Mayday update, which actually took place between April 28th through May 3rd, was an algorithmic change. Matt Cutts mentions in the video above that a increased emphasis on quality signals were added which hurt some sites that were using long-tail techniques on sites that were not relevant to the long-tail terms. This was not a webspam team change and no human intervention took place.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: While Matt Cutts of Google recently downplayed previous comments about site performance as a potential criteria for ranking, there is no doubt that Google has made recent changes encouraging site performance. Google Caffeine is one of those changes. In short it makes Google’s old index look antiquated in size and speed. A heavy emphasis has been put on continuously updating their global search index.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Were you aware of this change? Did you understand it? Did you research it? Do you know how that will affect you business or site? Do you have the time too? And more importantly did you change anything on your site to take advantage of it?
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Did you know that search engine Bing and social media powerhouse Facebook partnered together to integrate social “likes” into your Bing SERPs? Does your site have a Facebook Like button on articles? Do you have a Facebook page? All else being equal, who do you think people will click on if they see a friends “recommendation”?Did you know? Who are you partnering with?
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Let's start by making sure we are all on the same page as to what are some of the key terms and areas of a SERP (search engine result page) are. We also want to keep in mind that each page of your site can be ranked and indexed, not just the home page of your website.Google Tags is a newer service Google offers to separate you from your competitors. At $25 per month.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: How is Google Instant going to change search engine optimization (SEO)? It may be a while before we really start to see all the nuances that come along with Google Instant. Various aspects of optimization will certainly have to take into account what comes up as people type, positioning to have your results come up as soon as possible to maximize traffic.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Take any of the 200 plus criteria and start by first comparing that to your competition. Let's say for example that your competition has a page (browser) title like this example (company name + service + location + stop words + other service + stop words) ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL you could likely win with (service + location | company name). Why include the company name? Branding and credibility which MAY lead to higher click through rate (CTR) from the SERP (search engine results page). Now if your competition has kept it to (service + location) and everything else was equal then you would want to match that method.
SEO // action 1: This seminar is all about having you leave today with actionable items. Care has been given to provide easy to implement SEO techniques that can have measurable impact on your websites performance. Knowing what your competition is doing allows you to extend efforts to the areas of highest return. And if all this seems too daunting, then it is time to call in reinforcements. 1.877.817.4442 // firstname.lastname@example.org // http://www.cirrusabs.comLet’s use Majestic SEO, although there are many others, to check to see how many backlinks we have. Hey while we are at it, let’s pull out that competitor list from earlier and see how they fare. Keep in mind it is not simply quantity of backlinks but also quality of backlinks that is considered. Yahoo Site Explorer:https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.comSEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: If you are not a national brand, localization matters. If you are a national brand, grabbing local listings is still a good idea. If you think of your own searching habits, you are very likely to have used localized search yourself. While mobile traffic directly to individual websites is still not stacking up to expectations and claims, mobile searches are defiantly on the rise. We also see local search as a high confidence indicator which can lead to higher CTR for no local listings lower on the SERP. And of course lets not forget about all our early adopter friends who are using location aware social applications like Brightkite, Foursquare, and Gowalla.
SEO // action 2: It’s free and easy to do. Go grab your local listings. Use http://www.getlisted.org to help with the process. Don’t forget to review your friends businesses, those service providers you appreciate, and ask clients to review yours.
SEO // action 3: It’s free and easy to do. Go grab your local listings, and set a reminder to go look at the Google places (formerly local business center) analytics. The Google places analytics is a separate service from the Google analytics on your website and is a newer feature released in 2009. Don’t forget to review your friends businesses, those service providers you appreciate, and ask clients to review yours.
SEO // action 4: Set up your Google Profile, tie in your various websites, social services, and create anchor text links in the about me section. You will also want to go through the process of verifying your name, which needs to be done through Google Knol. After you have your profile filled out and your name verified we optionally want to associate your Google profile with Google Buzz. Be aware though that as of right now, if you choose to cancel buzz it will close your Google Profile. Directly tying Twitter to Buzz is frowned upon because of the way Google pulls in tweets.While Google Buzz is still extremely new, it started life with a huge boost since it tied directly into to Gmail. Something that not everyone was crazy about. Either way it is already approaching the size of twitter in far less time. As with all the social services it really boils down to where you ideal client is spending time and what other perks come along for the ride.Simply “liking” a Google Buzz post can show your name or company name in the SERPs.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Let’s have a little reality check here. Who doesn’t want to be number one? When dealing with SEO we need to have reasonable expectations for KW (keyword) and KWP (keyword phrase) SERPs. We also need to understand that the higher the competition for KW/KWP terms the longer it is likely to take to move up unless more effort is brought to bear. The thing we need to understand is that all keywords and phrases are not equally valued. That is why we need to know volumes of traffic. More ROI may be available by scoring better for less competitive terms (long tail), until you build authority and correct issues.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: We've taken clients to number one on Google based on kw they insisted had to be there, only to find out that a slight derivation would have yielded exponential traffic. It can be the difference between the terms you use in the industry and what clients actually ask for, or much worse developing an entire website for the wrong profit center or term. What we need is the right keywords, for the right demographics, that fit the budget and effort that will be used.
SEO // action 5: The quandary many are left with is how to find the right SEO terms to optimize your site for. Let’s start with understanding who your clients are. After that let’s clarify what products or services return the most value to you, and how they fit with your online marketing efforts. Be specific about what you really do, who you really are as an organization, and who you compete with. Now put in keywords and keyword phrases from those exercises, and ones we will do later, into Google’s Keyword selector tool. Knowing the volume of the keywords and keyword phrases you wish to rank for affords you the opportunity to place emphasis on those that will yield the highest return, and you are most likely to be able to place for.
Onsite SEO // If I have heard it once, I have heard it a hundred times; I’ve nothing to write about. We are back to the truism, if you don’t have the time or the expertise you will need to engage someone who does. This simply is too important to your online marketing efforts to avoid. There is no magic pill to make it all better. You need to have fresh content, significant site depth, and individual pages with keywords and keyword phrases, to draw both human and search engine bot traffic. There are many tools available to us to find good content. Start by familiarizing yourself with Google suggestions that drop down related words as you type into the search box (although if you have Google Instant turned on use that instead), and the Wonder wheel which is under the “show options” link at the top left of a Google SERP. We also encourage you to use RSS feeds and Google Alerts as additional ways to find good similar material you can write about. It should go without saying, don’t copy other peoples articles. Instead, pull a snippet and summarize what that article means to your clients or business and include a link to the original article. Frequency of updates directly affects crawl rate and freshness of content is one factor for determining your rank on a SERP. Look, you and those in your employ are subject matter experts, it’s time to tell the world about it.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Due to the limited time we have today, I will leave you with some simple technical techniques and generalities. When creating titles and meta descriptions, think of how you want it to appear on the SERP as well as what keywords need to be included. Pay particular attention to what words you want to be bolded in the SERP for each page, white paper, pdf, or article on your site. And of course do not sacrifice readability, CTA, and general conversion methods just to get traffic. The traffic is almost completely for naught if you can’t get them to convert. Almost.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: Makesure that your website designer/developer has used appropriate header tags. You don’t need to use h1-h6, but you should at least have an h1 tag on the page and it should have the subject or keywords used in it. A commonly missed SEO item is picture or image alt text. Make sure to insert a descriptive alternate text representation of the pictures. Keep it short with a few keywords if applicable. Avoid mentioning that it is a picture or image as the search engines are already aware of that.
SEO // action 6: Repeat after me; I will not fret over meta keywords…I will not. Sure go ahead and include meta keywords, but do not treat them as a focus. Instead, review pages on your site where the search engines may not be clear on the subject or purpose. Change title tags and your meta descriptions as you create and alter content first. They are of high value and have a way of clarifying your thinking with regard to the subject of the page. See also SEOmoz: Latent Dirichlet AllocationShows relevance of a document to a query based on topics. (requires registration)tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density/Keep in mind that what ever KW/KWP’s appear in your title tag must be in the content of the page. Do not “stuff” either. It is always helpful to start with keywords and keyword phrases that you already have placement on the search engines for, rather then starting for terms that you have never ranked for. Do make sure though that the words are the correct words. The ones we validated earlier.
Onsite SEO // We want to at least think about how we will create our internal website linking structure. The term “click here” returns 4 billion results. Do you really want to fight for relevance with that many other links? In our example we use keyword anchor text to send people to the page on our site that has the most relevant information. The search engines match what is in the link, with the subject on the page.example: click here for our Search Engine Optimization Services.
Offsite SEO: Someonetold you that hundreds or thousands of backlinks were the key to SEO nirvana right? Well to be sure, backlinks are important, as it was one of the founding factors Google was based on. And yet we have the knowledge that there are over 200 criteria that Google uses to determine rank. Furthermore I have seen sites that have been active for years with tens of thousands backlinks still not rank well because they do not sufficiently cover other ranking factors. Which leads us squarely back to that all things being equal statement I keep saying.
SEO // action 7: Now lets look for ways to bolster our backlink strategy. Ask your suppliers to provide backlinks, but have them do so on relevant pages. Encourage customers and suppliers to have individual pages that make sense to be linking too and from. A giant page of links might be ok, but a page that is about XYZ uses our materials like this, is far better. Get into social media and tell the world about your new articles. A common mistake is linking to your home page, and while that is desirable in many instances, don’t forget to send people to inside pages that are more relevant.
SMO // action 8: Use a service like namechk.com to go grab your brands social id’s. I think it is wise for both branding reasons, and for online marketing presence to grab them. If you have an intern, this would be a great task to set them out on. Which ones are important? Which ones don’t you want a competitor or squatter to have? While the backlink value for many is not high, the fact that search engines are constantly crawling these networks is worth noting. This is especially important while the crawl rate on your website is low.Posting links to some of these networks, like ning.com or mybloglog.com where the search engines already spend a significant amount of time, can lead to pages being indexed in under an hour and subsequently lead to radical improvement in new pages being indexed on your site.
SEO // action 9: Now lets shoot for some social visibility. This concepts takes content you post via your website, twitter, facebook, linkedin, delicious and posts it on other services where others are spending time and where the search engines are crawling. Each unique URL on each service is a page that Google could choose to serve up in a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
SMO // action 10: Last but certainly not least lets go sign up for groups on the ning network and through our personal linkedin accounts. As you can see in this example we were able to promote our Fort Wayne Social Media Seminar on one of the groups we belong to on ning. This page was crawled within hours by google and ranked on page one for many terms within one day.
SEO for Visibility, Action & Conversion: A long time ago a client mentioned that they seen an abnormal spike in traffic in their analytics client. When asked what happen on that day, the client mentioned they had a story about them in the newspaper. Clearly the abnormal traffic was due to abnormal promotion. We want to look for successes so we can repeat them and failures so we can correct or avoid them. While it sounds geeky to discuss Google A/B or multivariate testing, this will not lead to conclusive results for clients with low traffic volume. It certainly may not provide enough measurable change to warrant the cost of creating those changes. This in no way means we should not constantly be testing for improvement. We can as an alternative look to landing page effectiveness, conversion funnels, bounce rates, time on site, and many other types of clues in order to fine tune ROI. We can also use the new Google Analytics annotation feature so you can look back and recall what caused a spike in traffic.
SEO // action 11: This would be a great time to input keywords you have selected based on validation efforts earlier into a tool like Rank Checker, a Firefox add-on, to establish a baseline for both your site, and that of your competitors. It is FAR from perfect but you can watch trends!When checking rankings use: IE = “InPrivate Browsing”, Firefox =“start private browsing “ , Chrome =“incognito”, Opera = “new private tab”, to avoid personalized results.You will also want to express the need for everyone in the company to be committed to monitoring contacts, calls, and lead sources for clues on what is working so you can do it again.
Join Mark Burke & Matt Nickolsfor our upcoming NetCentered Marketing seminar on Tuesday, December 7th. Click here for the NetCentered Marketing Seminar RSVP info page.
We at Cirrus ABS appreciate you taking the time to learn how to improve your internet marketing efforts. Please let us know how we can help you and if you liked this seminar please remember to sign up for our next event which will be on march 1st on social media, social networking, and social marketing concepts.
http://www.cirrusabs.com, http://www.twitter.com/cirrusabs, http://www.facebook.com/cirrusabs, http://www.youtube.com/user/cirrusabs, http://www.linkedin.com/compaines/cirrus-abs, by email: email@example.com or by phone: 1.877.817.4442.
All backlinks are not ranked equally. Refer to slide.
SEO // extra credit actions: http://usernamez.com/ free (?),http://claimid.com/free (?), http://knowem.com/ $$ (400), http://claim.io/welcome $ (300)
SEO // optimization, marketing, or visibility
search engine optimization is*:
developing a website utilizing best
practices and in such a manor that
there are no encumbrances to the
search engines ability to crawl a site
and properly understand the subject
of the site, find the sites pages, links,
and documents, so that it might be
included in the search engines organic
or natural index appropriately.
* but it depends on who you ask and
search engine marketing is an open debate.
SEO // technical, onsite& offsitefactors
There are technical, onsite, & offsite factors that
contribute to your sites SERP performance.
SEO // winningrequiresknowledge
• what are the rules
• how can i optimize within the rules
• which races can i win while staying within my budget
• am i dedicated to the winning strategy
• how much is winning worth
SEO // architecturematters
• i’ve never seen a perfect launch, i.e. one where I got to
do everything I wanted
• projects are always limited by: time, money, effort,
resources, knowledge, buy in (from HIPPOs or clients)
• test conversions, measure results
SEO // isittheintent winner?
• yellow pages
• search Marketing
SEO // visibilityisonlinecurrency
• no visibility = no clicks
• unattractive or spammy titles & descriptions (snippets) = no clicks
• clicks for incorrect terms = no conversion
• poorly planned landing pages with no CTA = no conversion
SEO // areyouintrouble?
if your site is…
• trapped by flash
• looking good but can’t
• built in a way that
prevents you from
changing or adding content
• if you can’t change page titles, and meta descriptions
you’re in trouble.
ask for a free lame duck site evaluation
big year for search engine changes
google alone uses over 200 criteria/signals for ranking site pages,
performs over 6000 tests and subsequently changes over 400
algorithms per year.
a few google changes in 2010
• real time search: if something is trending you will see it
• forced customized (personalized) search:
if you’re logged in you see customized results with social circle
• webmaster console: removed pagerank, added Labs which includes
site performance, fetch as googlebot, and malware detail tools
• normal (xml) sitemaps, news sitemaps, video sitemaps
SEO // keepmovingforward
SEO // googlemayday
google mayday (April 28th – May 3rd)
• no human intervention, all algorithmic
• looking for signals of QUALITY
• deep page content crawling
• looking for best sites for long-tailed queries
• not from the webspam team
SEO // googlecaffeinedata center change
google caffeine (June 8th)
• 50% fresher results over previous index
• over 100 million gig of storage
• emphasis on indexing speed
• emphasis on freshness and frequency
• continuous updating globally
SEO // bing+ yahoo = binghoo
did you know? will it change what your doing?
• yahoo has switched to bing SERP results.
(started in July, completed Aug 24th)
according to nielsen company that puts binghoo at 26%
SEO // bing+ facebook = social SERPs
did you know?
how will it
SEO // what’s what?
there are many ways google presents results
SEO // googleinstant
how will google instant change SEO?
• long tail, short tail, keyword phrases, traffic, adsense impressions…
SEO // all things beingequal
there are over 200 criteria so you must do competitive
analysis to maximize your return on efforts.
SEO // action 1
• create a list of competitors sites
• run competitive analysis with majestic SEO:
• develop a plan to win or call in reinforcements
SEO // belocal if local
• mobile device“local searches”on the rise
• local search instills high confidence with searchers
• social applications like brightkite, foursquare, gowalla
SEO // action 2
grab your local listings:
SEO // action 3
review your local analytics
SEO // action 4
setup google profiles for you & your business
SEO // weall want tobe#1
but we can’t all be number one
SEO // selecttheright keywords
We've taken clients to number one on Google
based on keywords they insisted had to be there, only to find out
that a slight derivation would have yielded exponential traffic.
SEO // action 5
• poll your customer facing employees; ask who are
• write down what you really do & who you are
• take the keywords & keyword phrases you think are
important and verify volume with
SEO // i’venothingtowrite
a common complaint is not
knowing what to write & what
keywords to target
• fresh content is crucial
• newest articles win
all else being equal
• increases site depth
• increases crawl rate
SEO // technical considerations
when writing page titles
• keep the title to 70 characters when possible
• use localization and keywords/keyphrases early in the title
• think about attractiveness + bolded words (will it get clicked?)
when writing meta descriptions
(these usually become snippet)
• keep the description to 156 characters when possible
• think about attractiveness + bolded words
consider the impact on your CTR and visibility
words included in your titles and descriptions should also appear on the page
SEO // technical considerations
header tags: H1-H6
alt tags: often missed
(don't say picture or image of, google already knows its an image)
SEO // action 6
• for each page of your site run & review
(don't try so hard to get a certain saturation that you lose good long tail
connecting words or relevance! Don’t stress about duplicate content.)
• change title tags & descriptions first because they are
valuable & clarify thinking
• start with keywords & keyword phrases you already
• make sure there is a call to action on every page
SEO // internal linking; don’tclick here
formulating your internal linking structure
• search engines want to know what’s on the other end
• keyword use where it is highly valuable
example: click here for our Search Engine Optimization Services.
SEO // all backlinks; aren’tequal
why do we want backlinks?
• visibility / brand recognition
• traffic generation / linkbait
(to pages or our site)
• to encourage page or site indexing
• increase page rank / authority to impact SERPs
• because someone told you to get them
SEO // action 7
• ask Suppliers for backlinks
• ask Customers (mutually beneficial btw)
• create new, subject matter expert, articles on
your site and tell the world
• link to the page with content, not always home
• look for places to post your site or site RSS feed
SMO // action 8
grab your brand
• mass id check with namechk.com
SEO // action 9
article awareness, distributing RSS
• social visibility mybloglog.com
SEO // action 10
network your brand
• join some groups on ning.com & linkedin.com
• check google analytics or server logs for:
bounce rates, time on site, pages visited, conversion pages,
confirmation pages (setup advanced filters & funnels)
• monitor contacts, calls, lead sources
• google a/b testing
SEO // diditwork? doitagain
SEO // action 11
get: Rank Checker
a Firefox browser add-on
• measure baseline
• measure changes
• measure competition
• check in private browsing
SEO // upcoming NetCenteredMarketing
join Mark Burke & Matt Nickols for our upcoming
NetCentered Marketing Seminar
Tuesday, December 7th, NetCentered Marketing Seminar RSVP
We'll HelpYouMaster Internet Marketing
These days it’s more important than ever for you to reach new prospects,
satisfy customers, find new efficiencies, and grow your business. The Web's
the way to do it. We can help. Call 1.877.817.4442