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10 Steps to Great SEO: InfusionCon 2011

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Rand Fishkin's presentation at InfusionCon March 2011 on the fundamentals of SEO.

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10 Steps to Great SEO: InfusionCon 2011

  1. 10 Steps to Effective SEO & Great Rankings<br />A checklist web marketers can use to build a foundation in strong,<br />white-hat SEO and inbound marketing.<br />Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz CEO, March 2011<br />
  2. SEOmoz Makes Software! We don’t offer consulting.<br />
  3. Why is SEO so Important?<br />
  4. In Feb. 2011, Google said they had 2 Billion+ searches/day!<br />Global Search Volume Growth <br />Millions of Searches (Monthly)<br />http:/<br />Data via ComscoreQsearch:<br />
  5. Search Engine Market Share<br />Most of the World (except China, Russia, Korea + Czech Republic) look like this<br /><br /><br />http:/<br /><br />
  6. Organic vs. Paid Search<br />Paid<br />Organic<br />http:/<br /><br />
  7. Organic vs. Paid Search<br />~20% of Clicks<br />~80% of Clicks<br />http:/<br /><br />
  8. Click-Through Rates<br />Ranking #2, #3 and #4 would send less traffic than just ranking #1<br />http:/<br /><br />
  9. How Can My Website Compete?<br />
  10. Step 1: Good Isn’t Good Enough;Make Your Content Great.<br />
  11. “Good” Content vs. “GREAT” Content<br />Satisfies the searcher’s basic information requirements<br />Surprises and delights the searcher by being remarkable<br />Written by a human and not duplicated elsewhere<br />Produced by extraordinary writers/designers/producers<br />Long enough to fulfill basic needs of engines for depth/uniqueness<br />May leverage video, audio, graphics & photos to convey a unique, shareable experience<br />Grammatically correct; free of spelling/punctuation errors<br />Produced by extraordinary writers/designers/producers<br />
  12. OK Cupid Dating Blog<br />http:/<br /><br />
  13. Hotel Reviews<br />http:/<br /><br />
  14. Unbounce Marketing Guide<br />http:/<br /><br />
  15. Searchers LOVE Great Content &People SHARE Great Content<br />http:/<br /><br />
  16. A Blog Alone Doesn’t Cut It.<br />http:/<br /><br />
  17. You Must Become a Hub for GreatContent in Your Niche<br />Answers on Q+A sites reference its resources<br />Referenced by industry blogs<br />Site that offers:<br /><ul><li> Unique Research
  18. Informed Opinions
  19. News/Trend Analysis
  20. Multimedia Content
  21. Authentic Expert Contributors
  22. Quality Discussion/Interaction</li></ul>Mentioned in news publications<br />Forum discussions link to its pages<br />People email links to each other<br />Links are Tweeted<br />Liked/Shared on Facebook<br />Cited at conferences + events<br />Sometimes, a single piece of content or just a few, can yield these results but, more often, it takes dozens to hundreds of attempts to become a resource hub.<br />http:/<br />
  23. Step 2: Make that Great Content Accessible to Search Engines.<br />
  24. Substantive, Descriptive, HTML Text Content<br />http:/<br /> is a great site, but there’s no real text content for engines to see! doesn’t have a ton more, but there’s at least something for Google/Bing to grab onto.<br />
  25. Google’s “Cached Snapshot” is a Great Way to Check<br />http:/<br />Using the “Cached” link on any search result, you can see what Google’s seen.<br />
  26. Clean, Crawlable URLs<br />Better<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Worse<br /><br />http:/<br />More on good URL structures here:<br />
  27. Preferably All on a Single Sub/Root Domain<br />http:/<br /><br />
  28. Logical, Shallow Information Architecture<br />http:/<br /><br />
  29. No Duplicate Content<br />http:/<br />Duplicate content causes problems beyond just rankings – it can hurt your esteem/trust in the engines’ eyes:<br />
  30. Rel Canonical to the Rescue (Sometimes)<br />http:/<br /><br />
  31. Proper Redirects (301 v. 302, etc.)<br />Good for Users<br />301 = Permanent Redirect<br />Good for Search Engines<br />Good for Web Servers<br />Fine for Users<br />302 = Temporary Redirect<br />Bad for Search Engines (treated as temporary)<br />Good for Web Servers<br />Fails for non-JS Users (including many mobiles)<br />Javascript Redirect<br />May not be counted by Search Engines<br />Slower on Web Servers<br />Fine for Users<br />Meta Refresh<br />Search Engines Don’t Always Treat as Permanent<br />http:/<br />Slower on Web Servers<br />
  32. Effective Error Handling<br />http:/<br /><br />
  33. Step 3: Delight Your Visitors with Phenomenal Design + Usability.<br />
  34. Search Engines Finally Care About Design<br />http:/<br /><br />
  35. Panda/Farmer Update was a First Step<br />Generic design is one of the features highly correlated with lost traffic in Panda/Farmer.<br />http:/<br />
  36. Great Design is Surprisingly Easy & Affordable<br />http:/<br />Using the search query “CSS Gallery” will bring up tons of sites like<br />
  37. Many Usability Basics are Intuitive<br />http:/<br /><br />
  38. Buy “Don’t Make Me Think.” Memorize It.<br />http:/<br />A great sample chapter is here:<br />
  39. Use Your Analytics to Establish Baselines and Measure Progress<br />http:/<br />Google Analytics is totally free!<br />
  40. Employ Usability Testing Software to Get Specific<br />http:/<br /><br />
  41. Step 4: Use Words Your Customers Use; Do Keyword Research.<br />
  42. The Best Keywords Are:<br />High Volume<br />(many searches/month)<br />Low Competition<br />(weak sites/pages in the top 10)<br />High Value<br />(large % of visitors convert)<br />http:/<br />The tricky part is finding these terms/phrases<br />
  43. Keyword Research Starts w/ the Right Brainstorming Process<br />http:/<br />Graphic via Elliance:<br />
  44. Researching Keyword Volume: Google’s AdWords Tool<br />http:/<br /><br />
  45. Microsoft AdCenter Keyword Data<br />http:/<br /><br />
  46. Determining Keyword Difficulty<br />Number of results is meaningless<br />We want to know how “strong” these sites/pages are<br />And how our site’s/page’s metrics compare<br />http:/<br />
  47. SEOmoz Has a Tool to Help With This<br />http:/<br /><br />
  48. Determining a Keyword’s “Value”<br />200<br />Visitors Searched “User Testing Software” and Arrived at the Site<br />1,000<br />Visitors Searched “Usability Testing” and Arrived at the Site<br />20<br />Visitors Took the Product Tour<br />40<br />Visitors Took the Product Tour<br />Conversion Rate:<br />2<br />Visitors Bought the Software<br />10<br />Visitors Bought the Software<br />5%<br />0.2%<br />http:/<br />Keyword volume is initially appealing, but conversion rate is critical to the evaluation!<br />
  49. Buying PPC is a Great Way to Test<br />How do these visitors perform?<br />http:/<br />Just be aware that PPC behavior isn’t always the same as organic click behavior<br />
  50. Put the Data Together and Start with Low-Hanging Fruit<br />http:/<br />I like to use heat indices based on estimated value: Excel can do this automatically<br />
  51. Step 5: Optimize your Pages Properly; Get Keyword Targeting Right.<br />
  52. Title Tags<br />Better<br />Usability Testing Software |<br /> | Usability Testing Software<br />Usability Testing Software<br />Usability Testing, Usability Test, User Testing, User Software<br /><br />Worse<br />NA<br />http:/<br /><br />
  53. Keywords in the URL Help, Too<br />Better<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Worse<br /><br />http:/<br />Not only is there direct benefit, but people who link using the URL will pass good anchor text, too<br />
  54. Meta Description<br />TITLE: Low Cost Usability Testing -<br />META DESCRIPTION:Usability testing has never been easier.'s online usability testing is the cheapest, fastest way to find out why visitors leave your website.<br />A good meta description acts like ad copy and draws the searcher in:<br />http:/<br />
  55. Meta Keywords?<br />The search engines don’t use these at all (and haven’t since the early 2000s)<br />http:/<br /><br />
  56. Body Text Keyword Usage<br />Not only do search engines like to see keywords in copy, but visitors will be comforted to see that you have content that addresses their query, too.<br />http:/<br />
  57. Keyword Density vs. TF*IDF vs. Topic Modeling<br />http:/<br /><br />
  58. Images & Alt Attributes<br />Keywords in alt attributes are surprisingly well correlated with higher rankings<br />http:/<br />
  59. H1, H2, H3 Headlines<br />Keywords in H(x) tags are not particularly well correlated with high rankings, but may provide some, minor value.<br />http:/<br /><br />
  60. The Trouble with Domain Names<br />http:/<br /><br />
  61. Rel=Canonical on Every Page?<br />http:/<br /><br />
  62. Step 6:Make Search Engine Tools & ProtocolsWork for You.<br />
  63. XML Sitemaps<br />http:/<br />This program can help -<br />
  64. HTML Sitemaps<br />http:/<br />The Sitemap Page from<br />
  65. RSS Feeds<br />http:/<br />Feedburner - – is a great tool for setting up and monitoring feeds<br />
  66. Google Webmaster Tools<br />http:/<br />It’s Free! Available at<br />
  67. Crawl Errors & Error Sources<br />http:/<br />Most of the time, you’ll want to fix these up.<br />
  68. SEOmoz Does a Good Job of This, Too<br />http:/<br />Via the PRO Web App:<br />
  69. Bing Webmaster Tools<br />http:/<br /><br />
  70. Step 7: Earn Citations Engines Can See; Build Links, Tweets, Likes & Shares.<br />
  71. From 1999 – 2008, What Page Ranked #1for the Queries “Exit” and “Leave”?<br />http:/<br /><br />
  72. From 1999 – 2008, What Page Ranked #1for the Queries “Exit” and “Leave”?<br />http:/<br /><br />
  73. Ahh… The Power of Links<br />http:/<br /><br />
  74. What Makes a Great Link?<br />Editorially given<br />From a trusted source<br />Uses descriptive anchor text<br />Points to the right page<br />http:/<br /><br />
  75. Google + Bing Now Counting Facebook & Twitter<br />Danny Sullivan: If an article is retweeted or referenced much in Twitter, do you count that as a signal outside of finding any non-nofollowed links that may naturally result from it?<br />Google: Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marking how many people shared an article <br />http:/<br /><br />
  76. SEO Properties of Classic HTML Links<br />Rel=“Nofollow”<br />(a tag that indicates search engines shouldn’t trust/count this link)<br />URL<br />(the link target)<br /><p><a href=http://www.seomoz.orgrel=“nofollow”> SEOmoz’s Website </a> is a good resource for those seeking to learn more about search engine optimization.</p><br />Anchor text<br />(tells the engine what this link is about)<br />Surrounding Text<br />(may provide context on the link’s relevance)<br />http:/<br />Text goes here<br />
  77. SEO Properties of Tweets<br />Tweeter<br />(the authority/importance of the tweeting person matters)<br />URL<br />(the link target)<br />Retweets<br />(possible signal that a link/ tweet is more important)<br />Surrounding Text<br />(in tweets, this sometimes seems used like anchor text)<br />http:/<br /><br />
  78. SEO Properties of Facebook Shares<br />URL<br />(the link target)<br />Shares<br />(how many users have shared the link)<br />http:/<br />Shares, Likes + Updates must be PUBLIC or Google/Bing can’t “see” them.<br />
  79. Why Do People Link/Tweet/Share?<br />Many of these blogs will use the badge and link to the list, because it makes them look good!<br />http:/<br /><br />
  80. Link Building & Social Sharing Resources<br /><ul><li>Beginner’s Guide: Chapter 7 – Growing Links & Popularity
  81. Link Building Blog Posts on SEOmoz
  82. Webinar on Link Building Strategies
  83. 101 Ways to Build Links from SEOBook
  84. Link Building Presentations on Slideshare
  85. The Science of Retweetsfrom Dan Zarrella</li></ul>http:/<br />These should help you get started!<br />
  86. Step 8: Don’t Go it Alone;Help Your Community Help You.<br />
  87. Encourage & Reward Community on Your Site<br />http:/<br />At Moz, we’ve made community central to our site:<br />
  88. Spread Your Message Across the Web<br />News/Media/PR<br />SEO<br />Email<br />Research/White Papers<br />Blogs + Blogging<br />Infographics<br />Comment Marketing<br />Social Networks<br />Online Video<br />INBOUND MARKETING!(Find Your Audience Organically on the Web)<br />Webinars<br />Forums<br />Document Sharing<br />Social Bookmarking<br />Word of Mouth<br />Podcasting<br />Direct/Referring Links<br />http:/<br />Type-In Traffic<br />Q+A Sites<br />
  89. Blogs & Blog Comments<br />http:/<br />
  90. Forums & Discussion Boards<br />http:/<br /><br />
  91. Social Profiles & Interaction<br />Facebook Company Page<br />SlideShare Profile<br />Google Profile<br />Twitter Profile<br />Crunchbase Page<br />Reddit Account<br />LinkedIn Company Page<br />Quora Profile<br />StumbleUpon Account<br />YouTube Account<br /> Page<br />StackExchange Account<br />Crunchbase Page<br />Scribd Profile<br />Wikipedia Profile<br />http:/<br />This is my top list of social sites to register with, but there’s likely more that are relevant to your niche.<br />
  92. Answer Questions on Q+A Sites<br />http:/<br /><br />
  93. Syndicate Your Content<br />Dozens of sites syndicate SEOmoz’s blog helping to send links and traffic back to the site<br />http:/<br /><br />
  94. Find Unique Ways to Engage & Reward<br />http:/<br />UrbanSpoon’s Blogger Outreach Program Sparked Thousands of Links + Great Awareness in Each City:<br />
  95. Step 9: Get Analytics Set Up Right;Track What Matters.<br />
  96. Basic Google Analytics Installation<br />http:/<br /><br />
  97. Key SEO Metric #1:Visits / Search Engine<br />These ones here!<br />http:/<br />This tells you how many searches resulted in a click on your site in the results<br />
  98. Key SEO Metric #2:Keywords Sending 1+ Visits / Search Engine<br />This One!<br />http:/<br />Track this over time to see if you’re ranking for more unique keyphrases<br />
  99. Key SEO Metric #3:# of Pages Receiving Traffic from Each Engine<br />This One!<br />http:/<br /><br />
  100. SEOmoz PRO Can Help Here Too<br />http:/<br />Traffic tab of<br />
  101. Tracking Keyword Rankings<br />http:/<br /><br />
  102. Critical: Set Up “Goals” / “Conversions”<br />http:/<br /><br />
  103. Understand Your Website’s Conversion Funnel<br />Home Page<br />List of Cheeses<br />Hours + Directions<br />15%<br />10%<br />Hopefully, this means a customer is going to come buy some cheese!<br />This is the weakest form of a funnel – applying actions to things like forms, emails, “buy” buttons, checkout pages, etc. is a better way to go.<br />http:/<br />
  104. Step 10: The Web is Not Static;Test & Improve<br />
  105. More Traffic<br />Home Page<br />List of Cheeses<br />Hours + Directions<br />15%<br />10%<br />More visits to the home page means more people will decide to visit<br />http:/<br />It’s a lot of hard work to get more visits, though, and we don’t know if they’ll be the kind who love cheese!<br />
  106. A Better Funnel<br />Home Page<br />List of Cheeses<br />Hours + Directions<br />25%<br />20%<br />A better “conversion rate” means more people who already visit the site will come to the store!<br />http:/<br />Woo hoo! Now for every 1,000 people that visit the site, 25 are potential cheese buyers!<br />
  107. A/B Split Testing Resources:<br /> - Awesome tool – easy to use, popular, good plugins<br /> - Another great option with excellent visuals<br /> - Hosted, so no dev required! Very easy to use and well made<br /> - Free, but sometimes complex/confusing<br /> - Don’t personally have experience with this one<br />http:/<br />
  108. Test Content Types<br />Blog<br />Videos<br />Email Newsletters<br />Photos<br />Webinars<br />Embeddable Content<br />Questions + Answers<br />Slideshows<br />Infographics<br />Research/White Papers<br />Community Forum<br />Web Apps<br />Some of these may resonate with you and your audience, others may not. You’ll never know until you experiment!<br />http:/<br />
  109. Test Marketing Channels<br />Step #1: Discover<br />Find inbound marketing paths that look promising and make a list.<br />Step #2:Test<br />Invest a few days/hours building authentic value in that niche/sector.<br />Step #3: Measure<br />Use your web analytics to track primary + second-order impact<br />Step #4: Repeat<br />Throw out low ROI projects; repeat high ROI ones.<br />
  110. Ranking Well is Not Enough<br />
  111. We Must DESERVE to Rank in Order to Win in the Long Run<br />
  112. Q+A<br />Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder, SEOmoz<br /><ul><li> Twitter: @randfish
  113. Blog:
  114. Email:</li></ul>You can now try SEOmoz PRO Free!<br /><br />
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Rand Fishkin's presentation at InfusionCon March 2011 on the fundamentals of SEO.


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