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Cracking the SEO Code for 2015: 
Tactics to Love vs. Leave 
Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com
This Presentation Is Online Here: 
bit.ly/seoloveleave
What Changed? 
A brief look at how SEO has 
evolved over the past five years.
#1: 
Ranking algorithms are far more 
complex – more inputs, more subtlety, 
more quality checks.
Advancements in User Data Signals 
Via Eric Fischer
An Uncanny Ability to 
Spot Editorial VS. 
Manipulative Links
Keyword Matching is Now Intent Matching
Personalization by History, Device, 
Location, and Google+
#2: 
SEO has become a job 
description, not a job title.
Analysis of LinkedIn Profiles
SEOs Have Learned that Just Doing Their 
Jobs Often Isn’t Enough 
And, that the title “SEO” may limit influence
#3: 
Policing of webspam is more 
aggressive, more difficult to recover 
from, & less evenly applied.
Non-Editorial Links Are More 
Dangerous Than Ever
Webspam’s Become Every Site Owner’s Problem 
Via Moz: Preparing for Negative SEO
#4: 
Google is shortening searchers’ paths 
and disintermediating content creators.
Less Opportunity in Many Simplistic “Give 
Me the Answer” Queries
No Traffic For You, 
NFL
No Traffic For 
You, City of 
Boston!
No Traffic For You, 
Moz!
No Traffic 
For You, 
Hubspot!
Less Opportunity In Some Non-Simple Queries, Too:
If You’re Expedia, These Results Suck…
But It May Mean More Opportunity in the Long Tail 
Almost 6 Billion queries/day
#5: 
The ubiquity of social media has 
broadened the field of 
“influencers.”
1997-2011: 
The Linkerati Rule 
the Web 
13% of web users can 
amplify content 
Via Forrester Research
2012-Present: We Are All Potential Amplifiers 
72% of web users can 
amplify content 
Via Pew Research Data
#6: 
Disappearing data makes SEO 
more challenging to measure and 
improve.
Keyword Referral Data is Gone 
On average, 87.5% of 
keywords from Google 
are now “not provided” 
(source)
AdWords’ 
[Exact Match] 
No Longer Exact 
Via 
http://adwords.blogspot.com/2014/08/ 
close-variant-matching-for-all-exact....
A Significant Portion of 
Search Traffic May Be 
Falsely Hidden in 
“Direct” 
Groupon’s experiment showing up to 60% of tr...
So… 
How do these changes affect which 
tactics we can still pursue vs. those we 
must leave behind?
Great SEO Is No Longer Just “SEO” 
Links Keywords 
SEO in 2004 
Crawl Rankings
Great SEO Is No Longer Just “SEO” 
Keywords 
Rankings 
Links 
Crawl 
SEO in 2014 
Social 
Content 
Design & UX 
Speed 
Web...
Our Job: Choose the Tactics that Marry 
Our Strengths to Our Opportunities
No tactic will be right for 
everyone. 
But, awareness of our 
potential arsenal is 
essential.
Tactics to Leave Behind vs. 
Tactics to 
Embrace for the Future:
Keyword 
Research
AdWords-Only Discovery
AdWords-Only Discovery 
Leave It Behind
AdWords + Suggest + Customer Data 
Many queries with 
100s or 1000s of 
monthly searches 
don’t show up in 
AdWords but wi...
This tool makes the 
process easier. 
My favorite tool for keyword suggest research: Keywordtool.io
Popular questions, 
phrases, and terms that 
your audience uses in 
web forums/social media 
are excellent sources of 
key...
Content 
Creation
Create & Scale Keyword-Targeted Pages of 
“Good, Unique Content”
This is a LONG 
page from Angie’s 
List that ranks #1 
for “Best 
Plumbers in 
Medford, OR”
This is the ONLY “unique 
content” on that page
Think you can build pages like 
that and rank? 
You’re dreaming!
Create & Scale Keyword-Targeted Pages of 
“Good, Unique Content” 
Leave It Behind
Modern Criteria for Content: 
One-of-a-Kind – doesn’t appear elsewhere on the web 
Relevant – contains content the engines...
A Great Example from Genius.com
Accurate, readable lyrics 
Uniquely valuable 
annotations 
A community of 
contributors 
One click to play 
Data re: 
popu...
Link 
Building
Acquire Links Via Directories, Forums, 
Account Profiles, etc.
Acquire Links Via Directories, Forums, 
Account Profiles, etc. 
Leave It Behind
Acquire Links w/ Off-Topic Infographics & 
Embeds
Acquire Links w/ Off-Topic Infographics & 
Embeds 
Leave It Behind
Acquire Links By Scaling Up Guest Posting 
& Commenting
Acquire Links By Scaling Up Guest Posting 
& Commenting 
Leave It Behind
The Truth: 
Google doesn’t want 
to count links you can 
“build.”
The Truth: 
Google only wants to 
count links you 
editorially “earn.”
Instead, Build Relationships 
My haircut place built a 
relationship & partnered 
with a local sex toy shop – 
now both ge...
Use Content to Drive Editorial Links
Aim for Resource Pages & Blogrolls
Buy Exposure that Leads to Links 
(not the links themselves)
For more link 
building tactics to 
love, see: 
Link Building from the MozBlog 
Paddy Moogan’sLink Building eBook 
Experts...
Social Media 
& SEO
Share Socially to Get Rankings 
No doubt about it – there’s a strong CORRELATION between tweets (and 
Facebook and Google+...
Share Socially to Get Rankings 
Leave It Behind 
No doubt about it – there’s a strong CORRELATION between tweets (and 
Fac...
Social Impacts SEO Indirectly 
Social shares expose content to 
those who might link to it (and 
amplify in other ways) 
T...
G+ is the Exception for Logged-In Results 
Because I follow Mark on G+, what he shares/+1s can usually 
ranks higher when ...
Content 
Marketing
Publish Content to Get Links & Rankings 
Blog Post 
Blog Post 
Article 
Article 
Blog Post
Publish Content to Get Links & Rankings 
Blog Post 
Blog Post 
Leave It Behind 
Article 
Article 
Blog Post
Links & Shares Skew to the Top 5% of Content 
http://www.simplereach.com/blog/facebook-continues-to-be-the-biggest-driver-...
There’s No Prize For Hitting Publish
Rules for Content Investments: 
Strategic & Relevant– the content must tie to business goals and fit 
with your branding 
...
Need Inspiration? Check out Buzzsumo 
Buzzsumo – my favorite tool for researching the competitive content landscape
Measuring 
ROI
Traffic & Performance by Keyword 
Pre-2012 Post-2012
Traffic & Performance by Keyword 
Leave It Behind 
Pre-2012 Post-2012
Instead, Measure Search Traffic 
Performance by Page (or Section) 
Observing the pages that receive search visits can get ...
And/OrUse Estimates in SEO Software Packages 
If you use a tool like Conductor, Searchmetrics, or 
Moz Analytics, you can ...
Attribution Models 
This is how most companies (& software 
packages) do web analytics by default
Attribution Models 
This is how most companies (& software 
packages) do web analytics by default Leave It Behind
Attribution Models 
A model something like this 
makes far more sense.
Pro Tip: Note which channels are frequently 
part of your overall conversion process 
Many times, these 
contain channels ...
The Best ROI Often Comes from Non-Measurable, 
Serendipitous Marketing
SEO is getting 
harder
But, that high barrier to entry means greater 
opportunity for those who succeed.
bit.ly/seoloveleave 
Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com
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#3: Policing of webspam is SEO Tactics to Love vs. Leave

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#3:
Policing of webspam is more
aggressive, more difficult to recover
from, & less evenly applied.

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