Are you an uber SEO or card game nerd? Then you’ll love this crossover. This is a great (and really fun) breakdown of the players in the world SEO and each of their “powers”.
Which character are you?
Over the past year, Google has been using a cuddly toy to wipe out what it sees as spammy content, taking down some pretty big players in the process. It made a lot of people nervous – so I thought I’d share this infographic that does a good job of breaking down it’s history and how you should go about making your site Panda proof…
We had a few great SEO blog posts in the Unbounce Conversion-Fest blogging contest, one of which (The Adaptive SEO Approach) hit a record number of comments for a post on Unbounce, and another (The Cat in the Hat Teaches SEO) was one of the most creative SEO posts of the year.
Landing page SEO is still one of the least written about topics online. Fingers crossed we have a guest post appearing in the near future from Aaron Bradley all about that elusive topic (subtle peer pressure applied).
So, who are the biggest players in the search marketing space? Like a perfectly timed asteroid of awesome, I was made aware of the infographic below (from SEO.com) which showcases a mix of the best search and social players.
Once you’ve finished gazing at the stars, you can follow them all on Twitter in this handy list I created – The Stars Of SEO on Twitter.
NOTE: Not all are really recognized as SEO experts, so there’s a great debate happening in the comments, where you can add the SEO stars of tomorrow (all will be added to the Twitter list).
Some of the best information in the graphic is at the bottom – where the stars were interviewed and asked about the future of search.
To keep abreast of the latest information in the ever shifting SEO field I’ve extracted the Twitter accounts of all the SEO rockstars mentioned in the graphic and bundled them neatly into a Twitter list – so you can get their updates all in one place.
As I mentioned above, not all of the members are typically included in SEO circles, but some have been included in the graphic and the Twitter list due to their influence in social media – which is becoming an increasingly important element of search.
Most Search Engine Marketers (SEMs) will have to step in on already running projects and deliver results.
I have built a process to take a page of content that already exists and improve it for users and for search engines. This process was created for working with interns, so that they will have a framework to follow to improve website content.
I am going to us a case study of a client with luxury hotels in Croatia to show how this can be applied to a real life example.
The clients only mentioned one of their big selling points, scuba diving holidays, in passing on their website. The Hotel Dubrovnik Palace has a full PADI diving school attached to it and a crystal clear diving spot right in front of the hotel. Their website currently focuses on the end of the buying cycle; getting people to book a hotel room right away. They don’t use informational or inspirational content to target people earlier in the buying cycle, when people are looking for information on where they want to go on holiday.
If you, like me, are stuck behind a desk in a cold, rainy part of the world, I apologise for the images you are about to see.
The page below was their original activity page to promote a diving holiday in Dubrovnik. Diving in Dubrovnik is amazing but this short bit of text is not going to convince an American diver to swap their Cozumel dive holiday for one in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
So let’s dive into how I could give this problem to an intern to solve.
The client approached us after they had already had their website built and spent their budget. This will be familiar to SEMs; you have to create value with few resources. In this case, we have stuck to their original page structure to minimise the work their developers need to do to implement improvements.
When working with interns, clearly setting these boundaries early in the process means I am more likely to get appropriate content back from them.
These are the tools I find useful and examples of how I get the most out of them. There are a number of alternatives to each tool, but I stick to a core set that I understand and am familiar with so that I can explain them to interns and get a consistent output.
Using “Dive Croatia” and “Diving Dubrovnik” as my starting points, I set the Google’s keyword tool to use language:English and Locations:All
Very quickly I can pick up new keywords to expand my content with, like “scuba” and “snorkelling” as well as conversion related words like “dive shop”, “dive center” and “diving equipment”. Luckily the hotel has a PADI dive centre on its lower floor so it’s a perfect match to search queries. I hope to be able to rank for all these “halo” diving words quite easily.
You can see from the competition column that there is not a lot of PPC activity around these terms, meaning I can cheaply drive Paid Search towards this page.
Google Sets automatically creates sets of items from a few examples.
I use this tool as a proxy for understanding what term and keywords Google thinks are related. For my input of dive, diving, scuba and scuba diving I get back the following:
As I want to add more text to the page, I also want to make sure the text I add is strongly related to my main keywords.
From this output will make sure to include words like “fish” and “wreck” and “island”, to attempt to capitalise on what Google is telling me is its contextual understanding of my main diving terms.
Next we turn to divers themselves to find out what they want in a page. I searched Google for diving forums and found one that seemed active. I signed up and asked them what information they would like to see in a diving page.
It turns out real divers wanted more and very specific information. Some examples out of a long list:
Although I grew up on the coast, there is no way I would have known this specific diving data without asking the experts.
I only thought of doing this after the page went live, but I will be doing this as part of the initial process going forward. This is one of those things that seem so obvious when you do it, and you kick yourself that you didn’t do it before. This is the reason for creating an iterative process; we will improve this page over time, based on data.
There are two main reasons for using multiple types of media on the page.
From a conversion point of view, users are hitting this page are early in the buying cycle; trying to make decisions rather than buying straight away. Adding data and utilising rich media allows me to educate and inspire users, rather than immediately driving a hard sell.
I am making sure I can link content to social sharing, to build audiences outside of search. This is one of the main drivers to adding Call to Action to drive people to Facebook and Twitter, so that we are not dependant on search for all our traffic.
I personally found this video on youtube to be inspirational and a little unusual, so we have run with it.
With Google’s recent Panda updates negatively affecting low quality, generic content, I am writing content that provides a lot of specific, useful content, utilising multiple media types to make sure that content is more likely to be counted as unique by their algorithms.
Using multiple media types also allows us to rank in different search verticals – organic, image and video search.
Seomoz’s Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) tool allows us to make measurably better content and gives us a focused process of content development. LDA is a form of topic modelling whereby search engines can pick up the main keyword focus of a page by evaluating the semantic connectedness of other keywords on the page.
We input our page text and then check for relevance against a specific keywords. These would be keywords we are interested in ranking for organically, using for PPC or believe are closely related to our main keyword topic, in order to add relevant, supporting contextual keywords.
You can see in my first pass I had a low score for the important term “Scuba diving”. I reworked the text and improved the score on the second pass. “Scuba diving” is an important term not just from a user point of view but from a search point of view, in setting the page context via keyword usage.
PS: Need a LDA review? Catch up on LDA with Rand Fishkin’s quick LDA overview with nice pictures
So what the point of doing all this work if you don’t get results? Let’s have a look at the page we made and how it has performed for us so far.
See the page here http://www.alh.hr/en/dubrovnik-scuba-diving/
In the last 20 days in Google.com, for the term “Diving Croatia”, we entered at 221 and have worked up to 129. For the term “diving Dubrovnik” we entered at 37 and have worked up to 30. We have now had visits for 25 different diving terms
Creating a plan for content iteration means that large amounts of improvement work can be carried out by non-specialists. We get a lot of great interns at ILN and developing this process with them means I get an outcome much closer to what I need than if I just gave them a topic and said “get on with it”
Using these 5 steps, I can focus their writing and create measurably better content
I reckon a good part of that may be that Search Engine Optimization providers have little or no marketing background so we tend to get stuck in the technical dribble (K.I.S.S. and make up, anyone?) of it all. On the flip side, quick-fix SEO techniques like cloaking, keyword stuffing, and autoblogging made it easy to cut corners and not do the stuff that takes continued effort.
The bigger issue with SEO douchebaggery, as some would have it called, may very well be short-sightedness. Some of us take for granted “what works today” but fail to prepare for the future. Of course, there are the bullshit artists, which seems to be common in B2B services as a whole, especially in the New Media space. But I digress… Don’t let a few bad apples you lead you to dismissing valuable business strategies like SEO.
With all that in mind, disregarding the value of SEO can truly hurt your business or sell you short – SEO is amazing for conversions!
Editors note: Make sure you read all the way down to see Yomar’s great Sketchographic (or, as he likes to call it, Infodoodle)
Optimizing Title and Description Meta tags is one of the cornerstones of successful SEO. BUT if you’re designing your tags only to achieve a top SERP position the end result might actually be less traffic to your site. Why? Because when meta tags are optimized for ranking position you often sacrifice an effective call-to-action and your click-through rates will suffer as a result.
How many emails do you get every day from someone you never heard of who promises to put you at the top spot of Google? More than you care to remember.
And how often do you respond – “Yes, what a great idea!”? Never.
I’m going to be honest with you. I think rap music sucks in other languages. I’ve been around the world and met a lot of talented emcees in various different countries and I’ve listened to people rap in Czech, Japanese, German and countless other languages that I can’t speak. I might smile and nod my head just to be polite but – I don’t like it. What makes rapping in English so awesome is the elegance of the English language and its beautiful ambiguity. However for Search Marketing that same ambiguity is a gift and a curse. I’ve invited a poet we all know and love to help explain how to conquer that ambiguity using A/B testing. He’s rhymed his way into saving the day before. No it’s not Johnnie Cochran.
Ladies and Gentlemen I’d like to reintroduce you to the one and only Cat in the Hat!